Govt approves 8 FDI proposals worth Rs883 crore

New Delhi: The government has approved eight foreign investment proposals worth Rs883.16 crore, with L&T Finance accounting for the major inflow, but deferred decision on those of Hindalco, Intel Capital and Reliance Broadcast Network, along with 11 others, reports PTI.

The government also rejected six proposals, including that of by DLF Limitless.

“Based on the recommendations of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in its meeting held on 3 December 2010, the government has approved eight proposals of foreign direct investment (FDI) amounting to Rs883.166 crore approximately,” an official statement said today.

L&T Finance proposal entails FDI inflow of Rs641.25 crore.

Besides, the proposal of Konecranes Finance Corporation, involving FDI of Rs169 crore, has been cleared. It plans to invest in a company engaged in the financing, investment and consultancy activities in the field of manufacture of cranes.

Similarly, Tata Advanced System’s Rs42.82 crore has also been cleared. It is a subsidiary of Tata Sons and the company focuses on providing solutions for defence, homeland security and disaster management.

However, the government has deferred 14 proposals including that of Intel Capital Corporation, ABG Shipyard, Hindalco Industries, Verizon Communications India, Reliance Broadcast Network and Essar Capital Holdings (India).

Reliance Broadcast Network is the Anil Ambani Group company engaged in FM radio broadcasting. The proposal is to get foreign investment through portfolio investments or private placement of equity was deferred.

Intel Capital plans to make investment by subscribing to warrants in an investing company, while Hindalco Industries’ proposal is for issuance of partly paid up shares.

The FDI proposals of six companies have been rejected.

These include Pharmac Analytic Solutions, Asha-Kiran Shelters Foundation of Pune, Forbes Bumi Armada, Associated Broadcasting Co, Flagship Infrastructure of Mumbai and Delhi- based DLF Limitless Developers.

The other companies whose proposals have been cleared include Knowledge Investments (Mauritius), Gigant India Automotive, Catvision Products Ltd of Delhi, Elbee Express and Thane-based Alan Dick & Company (India).

Enam India Infrastructure Fund Ltd of Mauritius, which wants to bring FDI of Rs5,750 crore, has been recommended for the consideration of CCEA, as the investment involved is above Rs1,200 crore.

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BSE to suspend trading in 12 firms on non-compliance

Mumbai: The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) today said it has decided to suspend trading in 12 companies, including Vishal Exports, for varying periods with effect from 13 January, 2011, on non-compliance with the Listing Agreement, reports PTI.

“... a company listed on BSE is required to comply with various clauses of the Listing Agreement, failing which trading in securities of such defaulting companies is liable for suspension,” the exchange said in a statement.

Apart from Vishal Exports, Ambalal Sarabhai, Bafna Spinning Mills, CMM Broadcasting Network, Computech International, Enso Secutrack, Indage Restaurants, Indo-Pacific Software, Invicta Meditek, Linkhouse Industries, NetVision Web Tech and Orind Exports, have failed to comply with various provisions of the Listing Agreement up to quarter ended June 2010, it said.

If a company will be able to comply with all the provisions of the agreement on or before 3 January 2011, trading will be suspended for only five trading days in 2011, but if the company complies before 28th January, trading will be suspended for 30 days, the statement added.

It, however, said that in case the company will fail to comply with the provisions of the listing agreement on or before 28 January 2011, the suspension will continue till the company complies with the procedure prescribed for revoking suspension in a scrip.

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M-commerce will revolutionise the way we deal in money; but how safe is it?

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Dewang Neralla, director, atom Technologies and co-founder, Financial Technologies, discussed the modalities and merits of using mobile phones as a medium of transaction, at a Moneylife Foundation seminar at the weekend

It is the slated to be the next big thing in payments systems that could revolutionise the way we do day-to-day business. Mobile commerce, this much-talked about system, is witnessing a phenomenal growth of 100% every year and is likely to grow multi-fold in the near future, says Dewang Neralla, director of Atom Technologies. It will facilitate smoother transfer of money through a mobile device. While it could make life a whole lot easier, it is necessary to understand just how it works. How will it benefit users? Will it ensure that transactions are safe and secure? These were some of the issues that were discussed at length by Mr Neralla at the Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research in Mumbai on Saturday.

Mr Neralla made a detailed presentation highlighting how the future is likely to be shaped more and more around mobility. "The future is increasingly linked to mobility. There is no better way to describe this than how we are going to perceive money and spend money. There is going to be a strong tectonic shift in the way people look at money."

He discussed at length how the banking and payment systems in have evolved in the country and how the mobile platform and financial system is slowly but surely converging to create an ecosystem for mobile commerce. "From the era of cash-based transactions, we moved into a period where cheques replaced cash, and then credit and debit card payments took over. Now, mobile phone transactions seem set to change everything," Mr Neralla said and he listed the advantages that a mobile phone enjoys which will drive the adoption of this new concept. "It is ubiquitous, has multi-purpose functionality with low adoption hurdles, is highly interactive and provides security as well."

Consumers are increasingly looking for ease of use and convenience in the execution of daily transactions. People would like to avoid standing in long queues to make payment for their shopping at the counter. They want a hassle-free experience. This is where the mobile commerce platform comes into the picture. "Simplicity, speed and security" will be the fundamental blocks on which the mobile commerce platform will be built, Mr Neralla said. He explained that it will benefit all participants in the ecosystem-customers, banks, merchants and telecom operators. Customers are already using their mobile phones to re-charge talk-time as well as DTH subscriptions, buy train and movie tickets. Soon, they will be able to also pay utility bills, shop online, send gifts, and so on. "The customer will have the liberty to experiment in shopping as he pleases," he said.

While the promise of mobile commerce is phenomenal, it has not yet reached the 'tipping point' or a stage of exponential growth and there are some issues that need to be ironed out before large-scale usage of the platform becomes possible.

The penetration of electronic transactions remains strikingly low in India compared to  the US and South Korea. Today, only 3% of the transactions in the country are done electronically, whereas in the US, electronic transactions account for almost 52% of total traffic. "Even if we can achieve 20%, it will mean a huge jump. The sheer size of our economy and consumption power is very large. The moment we get organised retail onto the electronic payments bandwagon, the transaction volumes will be phenomenal," Mr Neralla suggested. atom Technologies, which is involved in building the platform for m-commerce, is witnessing a daily volume of 25,000-30,000 transactions.

Mr Neralla admitted that it would take some time for the customer's mindset to be tuned to accept this new technology as many are wary about security issues when transacting online. "This confidence has to be first created in the minds of users. A lot of educational drive will be required to get customers onto this platform."

But how safe is it to use the mobile phone as a transaction medium? "Yes, it is very safe," assured Mr Neralla, "I don't think people should be worried about someone snooping on their transactions, because all security checks have been built into the platform itself." He elaborated the security features that would ensure safety during transactions-like PIN protection, data encryption, security at data level and security certifications like PCI-DSS and PA-DSS. He pointed out precautionary measures that one should employ while using this system. "Just as one is careful while using the internet or credit/debit cards, customers should exercise the same level of caution with their cell phones." For instance, one must not store his or her password or PIN on the phone itself.

The workshop saw healthy participation from an eager audience. After the presentation, the participants asked many questions during an extended Q&A session. A participant raised the issue of having to use and remember multiple PINs or passwords for transacting on the phone. Mr Neralla replied that this need not be the case as ultimately there will be aggregation of all services at one service provider itself, which will enable users to transact with the help of one PIN.

Asked whether stored value on the mobile phone is the first step towards full-fledged mobile commerce, Mr Neralla said that although stored value exists in the form of pre-paid cards, it faces problems in terms of the need for KYC documentation. RBI currently does not allow transaction amount of more than Rs1,000 daily without KYC documentation.

Will transaction costs impede the growth of mobile commerce, another participant asked. "I don't think cost is an impediment right now. Here the biggest impediment is in terms of availability of smart GPRS enabled phone. There are 10 million people having GPRS in the country. Impediments are more in terms of network availability."

atom Technologies is helping to advance mobile commerce in a big way in the country. atom is already actively helping business houses and individuals to build convenient transaction systems that are quick and secure. The company is expected to play an increasingly important role in expanding mobile commerce in India.

As director of atom Technologies, Mr Neralla has played a key role in identifying and implementing the architectural and product strategies and plans for the technology business. Through atom, a Financial Technologies group company, he has defined the technology roadmap of the entire organisation and drives the vision, strategy and architecture for the company's products, solutions and services.

Mr Neralla is also co-founder and principal technology architect at Financial Technologies. He has initiated new technology architecture, components and protocols for dealing room solutions, internet trading engines, exchange trading systems and messaging solutions.
 
Moneylife Foundation is holding a day-long seminar titled 'Investor, Empower Yourself!' in Vashi on Saturday, 8 January 2011. The seminar will discuss 'How to be safe and smart with your money', explain the importance of 'Wills, Nominations and Transmission' and 'How to invest smartly in mutual funds'. Click here for details and registration

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