Tesla Motors, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Consultancy Services among word's most innovative companies
Three Indian companies figure in Forbes' annual list of The World's Most Innovative Companies topped by Tesla Motors, leading maker of fully electric vehicles.
 
Ranked 41st, Hindustan Unilever, India-based fast moving consumer goods company, tops the list of Indian Innovative Companies.
 
It operates in seven business segments ranging from soaps and detergents to tea and coffee and packaged foods.
 
It's followed by Tata Consultancy Services in the 64th spot. India's largest IT company appears on the list for the eighth time.
 
It took a major step toward bolstering its digital services with a training programme in digital technologies for a third of its workforce.
 
Ranked 71st, Sun Pharma Industries, India's largest drugs company, with 45 manufacturing sites across the globe, appears on the list for the fourth straight time.
 
Worldwide, Salesforce.com has been pushed to the No. 2 spot for the first time in five years. Alexion Pharmaceuticals follows at No. 3 for the fourth consecutive year.
 
Rounding out the top five are Regeneron Pharmaceuticals at No. 4 and ARM Holdings at No. 5.
 
The rankings are based on, what the US business magazine calls an innovation premium (IP), the difference between a firm's enterprise value and a net present value of cash flows from its existing businesses.

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RBI to issue small finance bank licences next month
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will issue licences to small finance banks to operate next month, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said on Thursday.
 
On Wednesday the RBI issued the "in principle" approval to 11 applicants to set up payment banks.
 
The new entities - small finance banks and payment banks - are not threats to the existing banks, Rajan said here at a conference organised by the State Bank of India (SBI).
 
Small finance banks are similar to universal banks but would operate on a small scale.
 
According to him, payment banks and small finance banks would help in expanding financial inclusion.
 
Some months back Rajan said the Indian banking sector was all set to see a sea change in two years with several new institutions and existing government banks undergoing a great change.
 
He said new institutions like payment banks and small finance banks would be in the market.
 
The central bank has got 41 applications for payment banks and 72 applications for small finance banks.
 
On Wednesday, the RBI set the ball rolling by granting 'in principle' approval to 11 applicants, including Reliance Industries Ltd, Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd, Department of Posts and Cholamandalam Distribution Services Ltd to set up payment banks.
 
The others who got the approval are Airtel M Commerce Services Ltd, Fino PayTech Ltd, National Securities Depository Ltd, Dilip Shantilal Shanghvi, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Tech Mahindra Ltd and Vodafone m-pesa Ltd.
 
Reliance Industries has roped in banking giant SBI as an active equity partner with 30 percent stake in the payment bank venture.

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Red Cross CEO Tried to Kill Government Investigation
Despite public vows of transparency, CEO Gail McGovern lobbied a congressman to spike an inquiry by the Government Accountability Office
 
This story was co-produced with NPR.
 
American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern has long portrayed her organization as a beacon of openness, once declaring “we made a commitment that we want to lead the effort in transparency.”
 
But when the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, opened an inquiry last year into the Red Cross’ disaster work, McGovern tried to get it killed behind the scenes. 
 
“I would like to respectfully request that you consider us meeting face-to-face rather than requesting information via letter and end the GAO inquiry that is currently underway,” McGovern wrote in a June 2014 letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.
 
McGovern sent the letter, which was obtained by ProPublica and NPR, after meeting with Thompson, the ranking member of the homeland security committee. At the request of Thompson’s office, the GAO had earlier that year started an inquiry into the Red Cross’ federally mandated role responding to disasters and whether the group gets enough oversight. 
 
In her letter, McGovern suggested that, in lieu of the investigation, the congressman call her directly with questions. She provided her personal cell phone number.
 
In a statement, Thompson criticized McGovern’s request to spike the investigation. 
 
“Over time, the public has come to accept the American Red Cross as a key player in the nation’s system for disaster relief,” he said. “It is unfortunate that in light of numerous allegations of mismanagement, the American Red Cross would shun accountability, transparency and simple oversight."
 
Craig Holman, a veteran observer of congressional investigations as an advocate with the watchdog group Public Citizen, said he couldn’t remember another instance in which the subject of a GAO inquiry asked for the inquiry to be called off. 
 
“This is both a unique and particularly brazen lobby campaign by Gail McGovern to bring an end to an independent GAO investigation,” he said.
 
In a written statement, Red Cross spokeswoman Suzy DeFrancis said the group worked “cooperatively” with the GAO, providing documents and making at least a dozen senior officials available for interviews. 
 
“We had discussions with the GAO and members of Congress about the purpose and intent of the GAO study so we could respond in a way that would meet their goals, which we are doing,” DeFrancis wrote.
 
The GAO inquiry continued despite McGovern’s appeal. The agency’s final report is expected to be released… Continue Reading…
 
Courtesy: ProPublica

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