Citizens' Issues
Maharashtra tops Internet readiness index: Report
New Delhi : Maharashtra has emerged as the top ranking state in terms of overall Internet readiness index, followed by Karnataka, Gujarat, Telengana and Tamil Nadu, according to a report unveiled here on Monday.
 
The report, Index of Internet Readiness of Indian States’, was published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Indicus Analytics.
 
Internet readiness index is a composite index on components like e-infrastructure index, e-participation index, IT-services and e-governance index.
 
Among the smaller states, Delhi has emerged as the topmost state in terms of Internet readiness index, followed by Puducherry and Goa. 
 
Even in the smaller states, the northeastern States do not figure among the top three. “Therefore, much more needs to be done in the form of investment and infrastructure development in the region,” the report stated.
 
Among the Union Territories, Chandigarh is ranked top in terms of Internet readiness index.
 
The purpose of the report was to help the business and governments to leverage the strength, policy measures can also be taken where improvements are required.
 
“Given the rapid advancement in e-services and e-commerce, it is essential to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the states,” the report said.
 
“Internet readiness in this study is not limited to how industry friendly each state is for investment in the IT sector, but aims to give a more holistic picture of the digital ecosphere that presently exists in the states. 
 
"This stems from the understanding that only an organic linkage between the digital world and the real world can lead to the development and wellbeing that digitalization promises to deliver,” the report stated.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Cold is gold for tourism industry
New Delhi : Micro light flying in Mysore, heli-skiing in Auli, scuba diving in Netrani Island, dune bashing in Jaisalmer, zip lining at Neemrana Fort, spelunking in Meghalaya, bunjee jumping in Rishikesh... All this and more! The harsh winter is no more an impediment to a great holiday.
 
Tourism industry comes alive in winters, offering a wide range of adventure activities for those who do not shy away from experimenting.
 
Film editor Sandeep Singh finds snow-capped landscape and cold winds exhilarating. For this travel junkie, winter is best suited to pack bags and set off to a new destination.
 
“I love travelling during the winter. I take off to the mountains. The biting cold seems to open up all my senses and makes them sharper,” Singh, an avid traveller, told IANS.
 
“Be it para-gliding, trekking or bunjee jumping, I do it all. My wife and friends are game for it. Winter certainly is the best time for such adventure."
 
Winter travellers are by no means rare species any more.
 
More Indians are finding winter travel exciting. That is perhaps the reason why men and women, with children in tow, make a beeline for the Himalayan spots for a glimpse of the first snowfall, or just to brave the chill.
 
The travel industry is exploiting the season with attractive packages.
 
“A winter break has become almost as mandatory for Indians as vacationing in the summer. In fact, Indians have started exploring not only domestic but also international destinations during the shorter winter break,” Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com, told IANS.
 
The popular travel portal claimed that its bookings were 132 percent higher than the previous year in the winter season.
 
Added Ranjeet Oak, Chief Business Officer-Holidays, MakeMyTrip.com, India’s leading online travel company: “Winter tourism as a concept has picked up in India. 
 
“With the growing popularity of adventure tourism in India, winter snow sports have become a hot tourist attraction. Gulmarg (Kashmir) is considered one of the best skiing destinations in the world.”
 
Yatra.com offers special packages like “Alluring Gangtok” (starting from Rs.10,650) to “Manali Super Saver” (starting from Rs.5,999) and “Hilly Escapades in Himachal” (starting from Rs.10,900) to woo travellers.
 
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) acknowledges that winter is the best season for the tourism industry's growth.
 
Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat told IANS that winters were ideally the best season across India.
 
As per Assocham estimates, over 15 lakh domestic and foreign travellers would have visited tourist attractions across India in the winter (December-February).
 
Most demand has been for Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
 
Those going abroad prefer Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Singapore and other affordable destinations.
 
Hari Nair, founder and CEO of Holiday IQ, told IANS that Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore were among the popular international destinations for Indians in winter.
 
Indians on an average spent Rs.82,000 in 2014. This rose to Rs.100,000 in 2015, said Nair, adding that average trip length of an international destination has gone up by 14 days.
 
Adventure travel is the biggest attraction among couples. 
 
Nair said 52 percent of adventure travel business goes to couple-travellers. Families comprise 21 percent and only nine percent are single tourists.
 
He said the top 10 winter activities included trekking, wildlife safaris, paragliding, skiing, rock climbing, jet skiing, river rafting and surfing.
 
So get ready and strap your boots!
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Indian economic recovery likely to slow: Nomura
New Delhi :  India's economic growth momentum is likely to slow down in the face of weak external conditions and sluggish investment demand, according to the Japanese financial services firm Nomura.
 
Nomura's proprietary indices for India, together with the high frequency data, indicate some slowdown in the growth momentum towards end-2015 and a high likelihood of further monetary policy easing, it said in a research note.
 
There is a "downside risk" to its baseline forecast of 7.8 percent GDP growth in 2016, it said, adding that a reading still above 100 on the Nomura Composite Leading Index "suggests a mid-cycle consolidation, rather than the start of a downturn" in India.
 
"The economic recovery, which began in the fourth quarter of 2014, is headed into a consolidation zone into the second quarter of 2016," Nomura said.
 
While improving urban consumption demand and a robust transportation sector are supporting growth, weak external conditions and sluggish investment demand are weighing on the pace of the recovery, it said.
 
The report also said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to deliver a final 25 basis points rate cut in April, utilising the room afforded by lower commodity prices.
 
"Beyond that, we expect the RBI to stay on hold until end-2016. We will monitor our growth and policy indicators on a monthly basis for early signs of any further deterioration in growth outlook or possible room for further easing," it said.
 
Earlier this week, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan left the central bank's short-term repo rate at which it lends to commerceial banks, unchanged at 6.75 percent, citing inflation risks and growth concerns, and saying further easing of monetary policy would depend on the government's forthcoming budget proposals.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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