Economy
Monsoon starts on a weak note but should catch up: Nomura
As expected, the Monsoon is off to a slow start. So far, in June, cumulative rainfall stood at 16% below normal, but there is a forecast to improve in coming months. Indeed, in four of the last seven years rains improved in Jul-Sep after a weak start in June 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014. Therefore, the likelihood of a catch-up seems fairly decent, says Nomura in a note.
 
 
According to the research report, the monsoon season has begun on a weak note and the spatial distribution of rains has been uneven. The slow start of rainy season has affected sowing. "However, we expect rains to recover in July and likely to result in higher food output," it added.
 
Spatial distribution of rains has been uneven: 
Region-wise, Central India (-30% below normal) and North East India (-24%) have witnessed the highest rain deficiency. South India, on the other hand, has received good rains. The deficient regions (Central & North-East) together account for about 45% of India’s crop production. A production weighted rainfall deviation for each crop shows that areas growing jute, oilseeds, pulses and cotton have witnessed the largest rainfall deficiency.
 
Bigger states reporting deficient or scanty rainfall, such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan have a higher share in the production of pulses, oilseeds, coarse cereals and cotton, which could be at risk, if rains do not improve, Nomura says.
 
 
Crop sowing lags; reservoir levels worryingly low: 
With monsoon rains slow to start, sowing has taken a hit. Total sown area stood at 11.7% of normal sowing area as on 24 June, lower than 15.4% in 2015. Reservoir levels (at 15% of the live storage capacity) are at worryingly low levels. 
 
 
Rains to recover in July; food output to rise: 
Even as June rains have disappointed, Nomura says it is not worried, as July rains matter more for crop output and there is a forecast in improvement. "Assuming rains recover in July, we expect kharif production growth to rise to 3.2% y-o-y in 2016 compared with -3.2% in 2015). This, coupled with a weak base, should push up agriculture gross value added (GVA) growth to 3.6% in FY17 from 1.2% in FY16, adding about 30 basis points (bps) to headline gross domestic product (GDP) growth," it added.
 
 
Food price inflation elevated; should trend lower in Q4: 
Food price inflation rose sharply in May but Nomura estimates that it has moderated in June. Going forward, although good monsoons are a positive for production, they do not guarantee low food price inflation. Despite that, it expects food price inflation to ease from current levels owing to relatively stable rural wage growth and favourable base effects in Q4 2016.
 
 

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Smartphone apps putting Indians' privacy at risk: Norton by Symantec
Nearly one in two Indians have granted access to contacts and mobile data in exchange for free apps and close to 40% have granted access to their camera, revealed global leader in cyber security Norton by Symantec on Tuesday.
 
Commissioned with 1,005 Indian smartphone and tablet users aged 16 and above, the findings from the Norton Mobile Survey shed light on the security gaps and the privacy risks smartphone and mobile applications (apps) present. 
 
The most concerning security issues for the Indian mobile users were virus/ malware attacks (34%), followed by threats involving fraudulent access or misuse of credit card or bank account details (21%) and hacking or leaking of personal information (19%). 
 
"Humans are their own enemies. Nearly 65% of Indians now access the internet more often on a mobile device than on a personal computer. So consumers' usage behaviour is one of the major reason why people in India are so vulnerable," Ritesh Chopra, Country Manager (India), Norton by Symantec, told IANS.
 
"Close to 50% Indians have over 20 apps on their smartphones or tablets and 36% of people grant the access to mobile data because the app they downloaded 'looked cool', regardless of its origin or reputation. Only 8% reject the request to access the data on their smartphones," Chopra added. 
 
According to the report, nearly 40% have granted permission to access their camera, bookmarks and browser history and close to 30% have granted permission to apps for tracking their geolocation.
 
Talking about the new trends in India, Chopra said that e-commerce apps (76%) along with mobile banking (67%) and mobile wallets (62%), rank amongst most popular apps, preceded only by social networking (86%) and messaging apps (78%).
 
When asked about steps to be taken to beef up smartphone security to avoid fatal privacy damage, he said among many solutions, consumers in India need to pause and take stock of how they may be compromising their security and privacy in return.
 
"First of all, people need to be educated about the attacks and how to secure themselves from the vulnerabilities. Consumers should use strong passwords and lock screen patterns. Also, use different passwords for different apps and change them often," Chopra told IANS.
 
"Keeping your phone or tablet's software updated is important, as is the case with your computer. If your mobile device is not regularly updated, it is vulnerable to threats. Download apps from official app stores and use a reputable mobile security solution," he added. 
 
Norton Mobile Insight protects against Android apps that leak personal information/content from devices, change settings, place ads in the notification bar, and require high battery or data usage.
 
When asked what Norton has done to secure its customers, Chopra replied: "Norton has made the best and lightest antivirus solution for smartphones that has won many accolades globally." 
 
Talking about the upcoming trends, he said that attacks would occur where money is involved.
 
"Our survey said 52% of users believe their mWallet has come under threat and an average users find it safe to hold over Rs19,000 across their mWallet accounts at any given time. So attacks on such app where money is involved is one of the major trends in 2016," the Norton official noted.
 
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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Tata Comm to sell Neotel to Liquid Telecom for ZAR 6.55 bn
Privately owned pan-African telecom group Liquid Telecom has entered into an agreement to acquire South African network operator Neotel, owned by Tata Communications and Nexus Connexion, for South African Rand 6.55 billion (Rs 29 billion), a company statement said on Tuesday.
 
“Liquid Telecom, a privately owned, pan-African telecom group, majority owned by Econet Wireless Global, announces that it has entered into an agreement to acquire South African communications network operator Neotel,” the statement said here.
 
“The shareholders of Neotel -- Tata Communications of India and minority shareholders led by Nexus Connexion -- have agreed for Liquid Telecom to acquire Neotel for ZAR 6.55 billion. Liquid Telecom is partnering with Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), a South African empowerment investment group, which has committed to take a 30 per cent equity stake in Neotel,” it added.
 
The transaction will create the largest pan-African broadband network and business-to-business telecom providers. “Through a single access point, businesses across Africa will be able to access Liquid Africa’s 24,000km of cross-border, metro and access fibre networks. These currently span 12 countries from South Africa to Kenya, with further expansion planned,” the statement said.
 
“We are excited about this transaction. Leveraging the strengths of RBH, Neotel and Liquid Telecom will offer an unprecedented fibre network with a unique set of services and international connectivity for telecom operators and enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa,” said Nic Rudnick, CEO, Liquid Telecom.
 
“For the first time, African companies will be able to connect with each other in a cost effective and reliable way, all on a single fibre network. We will also be increasing investments into Neotel to cater for rapidly accelerating mobile and enterprise traffic, enabling us to launch exciting new products and services,” said Rudnick.
 
"Liquid Telecom is the right partner for the next phase of Neotel's evolution. Convergence of technologies and services will be the key driver of growth across the globe and this transaction will encourage inclusion and support the growth aspirations of the African continent," said Vinod Kumar, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Communications.
 
The transaction is subject to approval by South African regulatory authorities and is expected to be completed later during this financial year, the statement added.
 
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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