Companies & Sectors
Nasscom concerned about US immigration bill

The Bill being pushed by the Obama administration gives the domestic IT professionals in the US a 60-day period to find a new job after they lose the existing one, among several other sweeping reforms


Software services industry body Nasscom today raised concerns over proposed discriminatory restrictions in the draft US Immigration Bill.

“Surely, we have got huge concerns on the restrictions that are being proposed in the Senate Bill. There is discrimination because it is based on visa dependent companies versus non-visa dependent companies.” Nasscom president Som Mittal told reporters.

He said “it puts restrictions on our ability to service our customers and prevents our ability to have a level-playing competition in the US”.

Mittal said the restrictions would have a major impact on US corporations served by Indian IT companies, because of which the first impact would be on the US economy and customers there. “So, it is the US corporations who are actually batting for us,” Mittal added.

Officially called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernisation Act, 2013, the Bill being pushed by the Obama administration gives the domestic IT professionals in the US a 60-day period to find a new job after they lose the existing one, among several other sweeping reforms.

Out of the $108-billion software exports from the country, as much as $46 billion comes from the US alone for most of the domestic IT companies. These companies will also have to shell out more fees to get H-1B visas, if the draft legislation is cleared by the Congress and is signed into law by Obama.

To a query on whether the Indian government and IT companies were lobbying on the issue with the US government, he said, “Whether it is our customers (in the US) or whether it is our own government or Nasscom, we are all ensuring that we provide these perspectives to the decision makers there“.

“Our Ambassador (Nirupama Rao) is actively working (on this issue). Government of India at the senior levels have written to their counterparts in US. I don’t think any country wants discriminatory bills to come in. They do not want this to become a trade issue”, he said.

Mittal said Indians working in the US for several IT companies have contributed more than $15 billion in taxes and social security in the last five years.

“So we are creating jobs there as well. We have to ensure during the negotiations (before passing the bill), negative provisions do not come. Our hope is on the process of legislation in the US. That’s the way democracy works“.


Vodafone India reduces 2G data charges by 80% in 3 circles

“The rate cut from 10p/10KB to 2p/10KB will make internet access affordable for customers who use mobile Internet in a limited way,” Vodafone said in a statement


In a significant move, Vodafone India today said it has reduced data charges by up to 80% in three circles and the new cheaper rates will be rolled out nationally in a phased manner.

The telecom operator has reduced the price from 10 paisa per 10 KB to 2 paisa per 10KB for Karnataka, UP West and Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh circles.

“The rate cut from 10p/10KB to 2p/10KB will make internet access affordable for customers who use mobile Internet in a limited way,” Vodafone said in a statement.

The company said this rate would be applicable for all pre-paid and post-paid customers using 2G network on a “Pay as you Go” basis in these circles.

“These rates are currently applicable in Karnataka, UP West and Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh circles and will be rolled out nationally in a phased manner,” Vodafone said.

As part of its strategy to ‘democratise’ data, Vodafone is educating current and potential users about how Internet can add significant value to them.

The company is also building content partnerships, simplifying pricing, educating retailers and offering choice to customer basis their interests and consumption patterns.

“We, at Vodafone, want to accelerate mobile Internet adoption ...This 80% reduction in data charges for customers using 2G network is an important step in this direction,” Vodafone India chief commercial officer Vivek Mathur said.


Are humans inherently un-generous?

A new research by Jef­frey Wink­ing and Nich­o­las Mizer of Tex­as A&M Uni­vers­ity on human generosity suggests that past studies may have overestimated this human quality


All this while it was believed that humans are inherently generous. Several studies seem to confirm this. A new study however, offers a totally opposite conclusion. 


Scientists recreated a game—the Dictator Game—often used to assess people's altruism--but this time there was a twist, and a darker result. In real-life enactment of the game, no one gave anything. The new findings may “demand a re-evaluation” of the “true nature” of these human qualities as exhibited in laboratory experiments.


In the new study, re­search­ers, Jef­frey Wink­ing and Nich­o­las Mizer of Tex­as A&M Uni­vers­ity recre­ated the game commonly used in lab­o­r­a­to­ry ex­pe­ri­ments to as­sess peo­ple’s will­ing­ness to give away money or their al­tru­ism. Usually, the participants are granted an­o­nym­ity. In the new study also the researchers assured anonymity, but more than what is usually assured. The participants did not know any ex­pe­ri­ment was even hap­pen­ing or that they were being watched. The result to this was that the level of giv­ing fell to ze­ro. The lev­els of al­tru­ism recorded in previ­ous ex­pe­ri­ments may be “sub­stanti­ally in­flat­ed,” wrote Winking and Mizer. The results are pub­lished in the Ju­ly is­sue of the jour­nal Evo­lution and Hu­man Be­haviour. The findings also highlighted that ‘an­o­nym­ity’ and ‘se­cre­cy’ can be dif­fer­ent things, be­cause any vis­i­ble ex­pe­ri­men­tal situa­t­ion can threat­en a par­ti­ci­pant with “very sub­tle cues”. 


The al­tru­ism game, known as the Dic­ta­tor Game, along with many vari­ants, is rou­tine fare in psy­chol­o­gy and eco­nom­ics ex­pe­ri­ments. Usually, the participants are given somemoney and are instructed that may share some of the money with any unknown, ran­domly as­signed part­ner if they wish. An­o­nym­ity is generally prom­ised.

In the new version, a random stranger would approach the people waiting for the buses near the Las Ve­gas casi­nos and offer them some free ca­si­no chips which are con­vert­i­ble to mon­ey, say­ing that he did­n’t have time to cash them in. In certain scenarios, the strang­er would al­so sug­gest that the re­cip­i­ent could share the chips with a sec­ond strang­er, who was stand­ing some dis­tance away with his back turned, chat­ting in­to a cell phone. Both strang­ers were actually ac­tors. The chip-giver would then leave, and the sec­ond strang­er who was on a call would put down his phone and come to the bus stop. The chip re­cip­i­ent’s next move was then se­cretly not­ed.


Wink­ing and Mizer wrote that in the stand­ard Dic­ta­tor Game, the over­all average dona­t­ion based on past stud­ies is 28% of the to­tal, with nearly two-thirds of peo­ple offering at least some­thing, but in their “real-life” re-enactment of the game, no one gave a thing. They speculated that one of the reasons could be that the participants were reluctant to start a conversation with a stranger. However, there were two participants who did start a con­versa­t­ion with the cell phone guy but only to say how lucky they were.

There were 60 par­ti­ci­pants in this “real-life” Dic­ta­tor Game. But for another version that com­bined as­pects of the “real-life” form and the lab­o­r­a­to­ry form, thir­ty ad­di­tion­al par­ti­ci­pants were re­cruited. These people were approached in the same manner as before, butwere told that it was an (an­o­nymous) ex­pe­ri­ment. This was done to as­sess wheth­er the “real-life” form and the lab­o­r­a­to­ry ver­sion were in­deed com­pa­ra­ble, apart from their in­tend­ed dif­fer­ences. The researchers said that the re­sults from this hy­brid Dic­ta­tor Game were si­m­i­lar to the lab­o­r­a­to­ry ver­sion which has been re­peat­ed in at least 129 pub­lished stud­ies since 1986. They said that the new findings are important be­cause coop­era­t­ion and al­tru­ism is an ac­tive ar­ea of stu­dy, with one great rid­dle be­ing their ev­o­lu­tion­ary ori­gins and the new find­ings may “de­mand a re-evaluation” of the “true na­ture” of these hu­man qual­i­ties as ex­hib­ited in lab­o­r­a­to­ry ex­pe­ri­ments.






3 years ago

āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca
sāmānyam etat paśubhir narāṇām
dharmo hi teṣām adhiko viśeṣo
dharmeṇa hīnāḥ paśubhiḥ samānāḥ

Food, sleep, fright and sexual urge are common - to both human beings and animals. However, 'dharma' is the only special thing humans have and without 'dharma' humans are also animals.

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