Regulations
US finds no visa violations by Infosys, TCS
Indian software majors Infosys Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) on Tuesday said that the US labour department did not find any violation of visa rules by them.
 
"The US department of labor concluded its investigation, with no violations of compliance found in the applications filed in the Southern California Edison project," the $8.7-billion Infosys firm said in a statement here.
 
Similarly, TCS said audits by the US labor department from time to time found it had always been compliant.
 
"We attach highest importance to a strict compliance programme and abides by all regulatory requirements and visa laws," a TCS spokesperson said from Mumbai.
 
In all, the department reviewed 145 files and found no violations by Infosys or TCS.
 
"We are a responsible participant in the H-1B programme and do not practice or condone unfair and unethical visa practices, as our priority is to operate fairly, ethically and with integrity," nfosys' Americas head Sandeep Dadlani said in the statement.
 
The city-based IT outsourcing major also said that it was recruiting and hiring in the US, which was facing shortage of technology skills.
 
Offering to cooperate with any future government agency inquiries to demonstrate its commitment to compliance, company's chief compliance officer David Kennedy said its immigration compliance programme was robust, as evident from positive verification from the state department.
 
The labour department in June opened the investigation against TCS and Infosys for possible violations of visa rules for foreign technology workers under contracts they held with electric utility Southern California Edison.
 
The power utility had laid-off about 500 tech workers amid claims that many of them were made to train their replacements who were immigrants on temporary work visas brought in by the Indian IT firms.
 
H1-B visas, which permit foreign nationals to work in the US for a maximum of six years, are granted to overseas firms for sending their skilled employees to work on onsite projects of their clients across North America.
 
Both the IT bellwethers have hundreds of their techies working in the US firms on H-1B or L-1 (temporary) visas, generating over 60 of their export revenues.
 
"The labor department regularly selects a percentage of visa and labour condition applications for extra scrutiny in this (IT) industry. We work closely with the department to assist it in this activity in the ordinary course of our business," said Infosys.
 
Echoing the stand of Infosys and TCS, a top official of the IT industry representative body Nasscom said a deliberate attempt was being made to project the Indian IT sector wrongly without considering their commitment to compliances and contribution to the US enterprises.
 
"Indian software firms have been complying with the US visa regulations and cooperating with the US labor department in responding to any query on judicious use of its visas," Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar told IANS from New Delhi.
 

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Indian Railways create new wing for housekeeping activities
To improve cleanliness onboard trains and stations, the Indian Railways on Tuesday announced the creation of an exclusive wing for integrated management of all housekeeping activities.
 
According to the railways, the new wing would manage all housekeeping activities onboard trains and at railway stations.
 
"This (wing) has been named as "Environment and Housekeeping Management Directorate". This (wing) was created after incorporating certain administrative and structural changes," a railways statement said.
 
The statement elaborated that the integrated housekeeping wing is being set up in all the 16 zonal railways. 
 
"In the first phase, the integrated housekeeping will be done in northern, south-central and southern railways. After its successful implementation, it will be further introduced in other zonal railways also," the statement said.
 
The move envisages the employment of professional housekeeping service providers to bring in latest technology and know-how into the sector. 
 
Currently, housekeeping activities are managed by three different departments of the Indian Railways. This had posed limitations in improving the standards of housekeeping. 
 
"The unification of the management of housekeeping activities will help in synergising the efforts, as well as inputs for achieving the best results in this regard," the statement said.

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Sahara stares at bleak future after RBI cancels its para-banking license

While the company has been in hot water for some time now, the development is being seen by both insiders and observers outside as a "major blow" to the company, whose chairman Subrata Roy 'Sahara' has been languishing in Tihar jail for more than a year now

 

The cancellation of Sahara India's para-banking license by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has sent the multi-million rupee conglomerate here into a tailspin.
 
While the company has been in hot water for some time now, the development is being seen by both insiders and observers outside as a "major blow" to the company, whose chairman Subrata Roy 'Sahara' has been languishing in Tihar jail for more than a year now.
 
While top sources in the company say this was coming for long and that they were "as such not very shocked at the development", they concede in private that the top management, which was "hoping against hope" to stay afloat, has been jolted by the decision of department of non-banking supervision to cancel the license of its holding company - Sahara India Financial Corporation Limited (SIFCL).
 
The company has been charged with not complying with earlier advisories and warnings of not overlooking the rules and regulations of financial transactions in the non-banking sector. "There are several irregularities which were pointed out from time to time but it looks like no one was listening at Sahara," said a top-ranking official. 
 
The notice cancelling its license to conduct financial business was sent to the Kapurthala headquarters of Sahara India earlier this week.
 
The move is being seen as the 'final nail' in the fortunes of the once-prospering company as SIFCL was its core wing from which money was collected through small time subscribers and then routed to other wings such as media, real estate and others.
 
Under the new order, Sahara India would be barred from any sort of financial transactions. The RBI had in 2008 barred the company from taking any deposits from the people under its chit fund operations. Many depositors had since then complained to the RBI that they were not being paid back their money by Sahara, following which the RBI orderd a probe.
 
A report of the investigations was sent to the RBI HQ in Mumbai last month after which the penal action of cancelling the license of SIFCL was taken. The cancellation could also leave in lurch thousands of small depositors who have put in the money with SIFCL for many years. 
 
The RBI has, however, said that anybody's whose payments are being denied by Sahara can make a written complaint to its Kanpur office.
 

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