Postal Dept’s global money transfer service comes under ED scanner

While the Enforcement Directorate has asked India Post to check for suspect transactions, the Financial Intelligence Unit has asked the State-run postal service provider to strictly comply with the reporting norms

Global money transfer and banking operations of the country's postal department are being scanned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and other agencies for suspected terror-financing and hawala-like transactions, reports PTI.

At present, there are no other official channels, besides the pure banking route, to transfer or receive money from abroad.

The Department of Posts had started this service in association with US-based Western Union Financial Services in April 2001 and customers can send or receive money from 205 countries.

According to top finance ministry sources, the ED and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) — an agency to monitor suspect financing in Indian financial channels — have initiated steps to check remittances and transactions on the wires on a "real time basis".

In 2008-09, the 'India Post' had delivered remittances to the tune of more than Rs7,649 crore.

While the ED has asked 'India Post' to keep a check on all "kinds of transactions" and inform it of suspect transactions, the FIU has asked the service provider to strictly comply with the reporting norms.

Under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), all banking entities or financial intermediaries who facilitate telegraphic or wire transfers or electronic remittances have to report the nature and value of the transactions to the FIU.

"Also, the banking operations conducted by the India Post have been largely unregulated. There are many small accounts with a lot of money. The enforcement agencies are now tracking the remittances and withdrawals," a source said.

The international money transfer service is currently available from 8,511 post offices.

Enforcement agencies believe that this step to monitor India Post network would help them track down suspect financial transactions and further share it with international agencies to combat money laundering and financing of terror.

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Air India to hire chief strategy officer, COO for budget arm

The decision came as part of its continued efforts to restructure and beef up management, as the national carrier carried out a major shake-up among its top-level executives

In a bid to restructure its top hierarchy, Air India (AI) plans to hire some senior executives, including a chief strategy officer (CSO) and a chief operating officer (COO) for its low-cost international arm Air India Express, reports PTI.

The decision came as part of its continued efforts to restructure and beef up the management, as the national carrier carried out a major shake-up among its top-level executives, airline sources said today.

In the exercise which will come into effect from 15th July, a reshuffle of jobs handled by six executive directors was carried out. It would also see shuffling of eight general manager level and three deputy general manager level officers.

Now, National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL), which runs Air India, plans to hire a chief strategy officer and a chief operating officer for Air India Express, the sources said.

Air India Express does not have a COO since the exit of Captain P P Singh, who completed a three-year contract with the airline last September.

NACIL also plans to hire a chief information officer to oversee its IT division as well as a chief communication officers to handle its corporate communication division and a chief human resources advisor, the sources said.

The chief strategy officer would be responsible for managing the business transformation office and work closely with CMD Arvind Jadhav and COO Gustav Baldauf to ensure that the turnaround strategy is translated into action, the sources said. He or she would also be responsible for identifying and tracking strategic initiatives, they said.

These decisions come over a month after COO Baldauf was appointed.

The national carrier is in the process of taking major steps to restructure itself by curtailing costs and enhancing revenue and savings.

The move comes ahead of a meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Air India, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, next month.

The GoM would deliberate on the measures taken by the ailing national carrier to effect a turnaround after suffering an estimated loss of Rs5,400 crore in 2009-10.

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India Inc's hiring activity soars 21% in June

According to jobs portal naukri.com, hiring has been bullish in the first six months of this year, with 22% more recruitment seen in the January-June period of 2010 compared to the same period last year

India Inc's hiring activity grew by 21% in June this year compared to the year-ago period, led by the improving business sentiment, according to job portal naukri.com, reports PTI.

Naukri.com's monthly job index — JobSpeak — moved up to 947 in June this year compared to 784 in the same month of 2009.

Hiring activity in June also showed an improvement over the previous month as well, with the job index increasing by 4% in June from 913 in May, the study revealed.

"Companies are actively hiring now and have shed their 'wait-and watch' policy. The hiring growth in June is secular in nature, with a balanced rise seen across all sectors and cities," Info Edge (owner of naukri.com) COO and director Hitesh Oberoi said.

Hiring has been bullish in the first six months of this year, with 22% more recruitment seen in the January-June period of 2010 compared to the same period last year.

"The first half of 2010 has been very encouraging, as most of the key industry sectors have been able to move out of the slowdown phase and are heading towards recovery," Mr Oberoi added.

The IT-enabled service (ITeS) sector has been bullish on hiring, with the sector registering a notable growth of 25% in the job index for June compared to May.

Other key industry sectors such as telecom and oil and gas exhibited strong hiring growth, with the sectoral job indices moving up by 14% and 11%, respectively, in June compared to May.

On his outlook for the months ahead, Mr Oberoi said, "Second half of 2010 is expected to create increased opportunities, as indicated by the increased gross domestic product (GDP) figures of the country."

Among cities, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore witnessed an upsurge in jobs in June, with their job indices moving up by 10%, 6% and 4%, respectively, compared to May.

Similarly, demand for professionals in production and marketing moved up by 4% in June from the previous month, he said.

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