After a year of diminished venture investments, the VC community appears positive that a rebound in deal volumes would occur this year
The venture capital (VC) industry is optimistic about renewed investments this year, with focus shifting primarily to the green technology sector, a survey by global consultancy KPMG has said.
According to a poll of around 200 investors, venture capitalists and bankers, after a year of diminished venture investments, the VC community appears positive that a rebound in deal volumes would occur this year.
The survey found that 67% of respondents expect venture capital investment to increase in 2010, a drastic shift from only 23% predicting a rise in last year's survey. Only 7% see a decline in investment levels for 2010 compared to more than half (56%) predicting a year-to-year drop last year.
The survey indicated that the green-tech sector would be more attractive to investors this year.
About 77% of those surveyed say venture investment in green technology would increase this year as compared to 2009, including 15% who project investment to jump by more than 20%.
"There is no doubt that the green-tech sector remains an attractive investment area, but the difficult economic environment had investors operating in a cautious fashion in 2009," KPMG's venture capital practice co-leader Brian Hughes said.
"Our 2010 data shows that investors are more bullish in their investment projections and with all the federal funding and programs, the green-tech sector will undoubtedly benefit from the improving investment environment," Mr Hughes added.
Outside the US, venture capitalists expect green-tech investment to be focused primarily in Asia and then in Europe.
In addition to the expected increase in venture investment in 2010, respondents in the KPMG survey agreed that the government would play an increased role in green-tech activity.
As much as 65% of those surveyed anticipate an increase of federal funding for green-tech initiatives and 92% expect more public-private partnerships to initiate green projects.
KPMG conducted the survey in conjunction with AlwaysOn, a venture capital new media organisation.
Reliance Capital was ranked the topmost retirement fund manager overall by the EPFO for providing good returns and investing money in quality assets, while State-run SBI finished at the bottom
ADAG-promoted Reliance Capital Ltd was ranked the topmost retirement fund manager overall by the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for providing good returns and investing money in quality assets, while State-run State Bank of India (SBI) finished at the bottom.
HSBC Asset Management (India) Pvt Ltd and ICICI Prudential Asset Management Co Ltd, which are the two other retirement fund managers, have been ranked second and third respectively for their performance during the nine-month period ending December 2009, as per EPFO analysis, said a labour ministry source.
The analysis placed before EPFO's key advisory body, the Finance and Investment Committee, last week, pointed out that HSBC AMC churned out the highest yield (return) of 8.43% followed closely by Reliance Capital at 8.41%.
Interestingly, the country's largest public sector lender SBI has been placed at the lowest position on all parameters including yield, maturity profile and asset quality profile.
On the basis of the maturity profile, Reliance Capital AMC continues to perform the best on the said parameter followed by ICICI Pru AMC, HSBC AMC and SBI in that order. On asset quality profile, ICICI Pru AMC is ahead followed by Reliance Capital, HSBC AMC and SBI.
However, among all fund managers appointed in July 2008, ICICI Pru has been ranked first on an overall basis for managing funds since 17 September 2008 till 31 December 2009 followed by HSBC AMC, Reliance Capital and SBI.
A major chunk of EPFO's funds are invested in government schemes and securities having poor yields—less than 8%. Hence, the government brought in four fund managers to churn out better returns.
The EPFO manages PF deposits of over 4.71 crore subscribers with a corpus of around Rs2.57 lakh crore. Its incremental deposits every year are close to Rs25,000 crore.
EPFO is maintaining an interest rate of 8.5% for depositors since 2005-06 because of low return of government securities, schemes and instruments. Before that it was 9.5% for the three consecutive fiscals from 2002-03.
It gave 11% and 11.25% interest on PF deposits in 2000-01 and 2001-02, respectively. It maintained an interest rate as high as 12% for 10 years between 1989-90 and 1999-2000.
When paid information is presented as news content, it could mislead the public and thereby hamper their judgement to form a correct opinion and there is an urgent need to protect the public's right to correct and unbiased information, according to the government
Describing the 'paid news' phenomenon as a serious matter, the Indian government on Friday said the right of the public to correct and unbiased information needs to be protected, reports PTI.
"There exists strong circumstantial evidence of the malpractices," information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni said in the Rajya Sabha in response to a Calling Attention Notice on the issue.
She said that the phenomenon of 'paid news' is a serious matter as it influences functioning of a free press.
"When paid information is presented as news content, it could mislead the public and thereby hamper their judgement to form a correct opinion. Thus, there is no denying the fact that there is an urgent need to protect the public's right to correct and unbiased information," Ms Soni said.
She said it was important that all sections of society should introspect on this issue as "it has wide ranging implications for our democratic structure."
Representatives of the Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) have named six newspapers, carrying numerous 'paid news' stories, she said in response to the notice given by CPI-M member Sitaram Yechury.
Concerned over the trend, leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said that there should be a regulator in the field which should impose 'deterrent' penalties on the malpractice. He said if political parties are found to be indulging in the same, there should be action against them as well.
He asked the government whether it would take steps against the problem or leave the menace of unlawful trade and business to the Press Council of India (PCI) which he called a 'toothless wonder'.
Giving clarifications, Ms Soni said the government did not view the 'paid news' syndrome as freedom of expression. The proposals to give more teeth to the PCI were 'under the consideration' of the government, she said.
She was responding to concerns expressed by Mr Jaitley, who said that the minister's statement seemed to be based on a premise that 'paid news' is freedom of expression. He wanted the government to show a will and solutions could be found.
Ms Soni said that the PCI has been writing to successive governments to enhance its powers but "for one or the other reason", it was not done.
While the government is committed to ensuring freedom of speech and expression, "all sections of society should introspect on this issue (paid news) as it has wide-ranging implications for our democratic structure."
She said that the report of the sub-committee on the issue would come by the end of this month.
Ms Soni said that the PCI is giving adequate attention to ensure editor's primacy in news organisations.
She welcomed a suggestion from Mr Yechury to stop government advertisements to media houses, which are found to be indulging in such malpractices. But even if she had given a hint in this regard, she would have been charged with arm-twisting the media, Ms Soni said.
Ms Soni agreed to look into the issue of Television Rating Points (TRPs), which BJP leader and former broadcasting minister Ravishankar Prasad dubbed as the "biggest fraud and the biggest incentive behind paid news."
The minister said she will be in the “front row to check” anything that affects “unadulterated news.”