Aishwarya Rai draws flak for advt

Aishwarya Rai draws flak for advt

Chennai, Apr 23 (TruthDive): Aishwarya Rai drew flak for her  advertisement issued by  Kalyan Jewellers has invited flak from social activists for being racist in nature. Meanwhile JoyAlukkas, a jewellery  showroom in the metro, has disputed the claim that the newly opened showroom of Kalyan Jewellers in Chennai is the biggest one in the World. To support the claim, JoyAlukkas issued full page advertisements with its owner displaying a certificate issued by Limca Book of World records certifying it as the biggest jewellery showroom in the World. Kalyan Jewellers had claimed that the new showroom that opened a few days in Pondy Bazzar , the hub of jewellery and textile trade in Tamil Nadu had 40,000 sqft showroom with 650 kgs of gold,the largest in the World.

Aishwarya Rai and her father –in-law Big B along with Nagarjuna, Shivraj Kumar , Prabhu ( all sons of veteran actors ANR, Rajkumar and Sivaji Ganesan respectively) threw open the showroom at a public function. From Kerala, actress Manju Warrier and Prabhu’s actor son Vikram Prabhu too were part of the opening ceremony. Huge crowds gave a rousing welcome to Aishwarya Rai and Bachchan. Later the actors were given a traditional Tamil Nadu style vegetarian lunch at Prabhu’s house.

Jewellery showroom’s in Pondy Bazzar are now opening outlets at the outskirts of Chennai and in other cities in Tamil Nadu to take on the new enterant Kalyan Jewellers. A business survey says that bulk of the buyers of gold jewellery are those who come from areas outside Chennai and other districts. The idea is to offer these buyers the same jewellery near to their homes. Tambaram a suburb in Chennai is fast emerging as the new commercial hub as it is easily accessible to many parts of  Tamil Nadu and saves time in travel and is not overcrowded. Dulquar Salman riding the wave of success with OK, inaugurated a jewellery store in Tambaram.

Kalyan Jewellers has earmarked Rs200 crore to open showrooms in suburbs like Adyar, Velachery, Anna Nagar and Chromepet. Its media blitz with actors in TV and print across all the South Indian media is a big hit. A print advt that came a day ago which showed Aishwarya Rai  as a queen and a black kid holding an umbrella over her head. In an open letter to Aishwarya Rai , published in the media and signed by many activists  said that it was racist in nature.

Aishwarya Rai through her publicist replied that the photograph that she had posed had no kid holding an umbrella and that it was blank. The creative team of the agency had added to it and she was not responsible for it and said that the matter has been raised with the agency and the client.

How unethical is your Uber ride?

How unethical is your Uber ride?

If you’ve been following the mobile tech scene at all, you’ll find one company being dragged into the news for many things other than its initial promise of easy and hassle-free ride sharing. Yes, Uber is what I am talking about.

With a recent $17 billion valuation, it is quite easy to see why Valley VCs love this “technology company” that enables ride sharing. By playing rough and aggressive, Uber is allegedly the most ethically challenged company on the block today. With great power comes great responsibility – however, Uber has had trouble recognizing qualities like discipline and wisdom, in the wake of its aggressive and fierce approach to bring benefits to customers.

In order to save money and gain unfair competitive advantages, the company has ignored taxi regulations in several cities and countries, especially in Canada. Vancouver has initiated a lawsuit against Uber citing that the company has bypassed various regulatory and safety standards, tantamount to providing illegal services, simply by calling themselves a technology service when in fact, all they are is a taxi service.

With no respect for its drivers (Uber’s CEO can’t wait to replace its fleet with self-driving cars), sophisticated plans with field agents to undermine and sabotage competitors, and reports of sexist campaigns in France, the service is treading choppy waters. Several proponents are now publicly speaking up against the ruthlessness and the audacity with which the rider service company operates. This how-to guide on deleting your Uber account, should give you an idea of what Uber’s future is looking like, right now.

The latest woes for the company arise from comments by its senior vice president for business, Emil Michael who has suggested that the company would likely establish a team of researchers to smear its critics from the media. Obviously, this has created a frenzy in tech as well as media circles, and led to an apology. However, the odd thing in all of this is, it is entirely unclear, if anyone from the Uber camp recognizes the ugliness of this statement and attitude.

Also, in a related revelation from Buzzfeed, Josh Mohrer, Uber’s New York general manager, used an internal Uber app called ‘God View’ to track reporters and journalists who had openly criticized Uber’s campaigns and aggressive strategies. Apparently, the app is commonly used by all Uber employees, to allow them to track customer activity.

In India, where demand for transportation services always outstrips supply, Uber has launched a low cost service UberGo, purported to be cheaper than an auto. Initially presumed to be axed by the RBI due to the two-factor authentication rule for payments in India, Uber has smartly sidestepped this by partnering with Paytm wallet to enable payment. Even though, it uses an overseas payment system, it allows Uber to bypass two-factor authentication.

Although the goal for Uber seems laudable, this is one giant in the making that needs to know and understand when to apply wisdom and maturity, as it grows.

Budget 2015: Economists say thumbs up

Budget 2015: Economists say thumbs up

New Delhi,Feb 28 (TruthDive): Budget 2015 has mostly got thumbs up from economists but with some reservations. Stock markets have given a thumbs down to certain stocks and Opposition has termed it as hollow and pro-corporate.

Widely, the impression is that Jaitley had spelt out a roadmap for the Indian economy in the coming years of NDA. The stress is on building infrastructure; that would drive in investments is another stress in the budget. It is a plan that Modi put across in Gujarat to woo investors. The biggest boost is for companies that deal in infrastructure and manufacturing defence equipment.

Jaitley has done away with Chidambaram’s direct taxes and brought in indirect taxes. Economists say that the budget has not just kept the corporates happy but has something for the middle class and the poor too, a point that Opposition does not agree. Modi who hit out at UPA’s MNREGA in yesterday’s speech at Parliament, has now Jaitley increasing funds for this scheme.

Taxes getting simplified and a bill to give ten year imprisonment for tax evasion and not just a penalty is seen as BJP’s anti-black money posture taken in the polls. A new law to bring black money stashed away in countries abroad is a welcome announcement in the budget.

For the salaried class, higher tax exemption for medical insurance and increase in travel allowance limit for taxation, social security scheme and new pension scheme as well as affordable homes will reach out to the poor.

Budget has taken the view of the economic survey that subsidies should be given directly through banks and Jaitley has said that cashless transactions will be the order of the day. Increase in service tax and education cess for the common man means that the mobile bills will get costly and eating out will be costlier.

Stocks of housing finance companies rose as 6 crore affordable homes are to be built in a five-year span. Chidambaram would have chuckled on Jaitley’s comment in his budget speech claiming that NDA had turned around the economy in nine months. The budget also takes away some controls from RBI and will merge MCX and Sebi.

IT hails US rules on H4 visas

IT hails US rules on H4 visas

Chennai,Feb 25 (TruthDive): US decision to allow spouses of H1B visa holders to work has been widely welcomed by the Indians, mostly by the families in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Telugus and Tamils who form the backbone of migrant population working in IT sector in US and recruited by outsourcing firms like TCS and Infosys have heaved a sigh of relief after the announcement. The new rule will come into effect from May 26 this year. Many Indian associations in US, those mainly in North America have welcomed the bold move taken by Obama administration. Reforms in immigration laws was one of the topics in discussion with Obama and Modi. The change in immigration laws were mooted long back by Obama. Main grouse was that money earned by US embassy in Chennai through fees for H1B visa was so high and most of it was for rejecting the applications.

H4 visa is given to spouse and children (unmarried) of H1B visa holder. Those holding H4 visa cannot take up any work during their stay in US with the H1B visa holder. H1B visa holder can stay up to six years. Many of the immigrants’ family lives were disturbed as many of the qualified women with Masters degree who accompanied their husbands had to relocate back to India. Around 76% of the H1B visa holders in US are from South Asia.

The move to extend job permit to spouses comes at a time when there is growing discontent that Americans are losing out to H1B visa holders who they say are working for half the salary.

Few days back , US media reported that thousands of Americans were laid off by Southern California Edison and instead hired Indians holding H1B visa at half the salaries. Laid off workers were quoted as saying that the management told them that the salary paid to one American worker was enough to hire five Indians instead.

TCS and Infosys are the two firms that are now doing outsourcing for Edison. Media reported that these outsourcing firms cheated the workers by giving low wages and not giving them the tax refund checks and after facing a law suit went in for a settlement. Senator Jeff Sessions, chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, had voiced his concern on Obama’s move to increase the quota of H1B visa.

Andhra farmers get a raw deal

Andhra farmers get a raw deal

Hyderabad,Feb 19 (TruthDive): Andhra capital zone land pooling is caught in inauspicious days and Shivratri. Farmers are staging rythu dheeksha in villages against the land pooling system.

Meanwhile, Andhra government has asked district authorities to identify urban lands that are encroached and list them out. On the lines of Telangana, Andhra plans to regularize these encroachments and mop up revenue.

Farmers owning fertile lands are refusing to part with it under land pooling system as a clause in the consent form circulated by CRDA and translated into Telugu has created a new problem. The clause says that once the land is handed over to CRDA, the owner does not have the right to approach any court over the transfer. This has scared the farmers from giving away the lands. Religiously too, CRDA was caught on the wrong foot.

Farmers said that till Shivratri , they would not give any land and yesterday they were told it is Ammavasya and for centuries no Andhra origin people did any business.

CRDA is hoping that from today the situation improves. Farmers in Andhra are in for a jolt as the government decided to not supply free power to pumps from morning till dusk. Andhra government has told them that if they need power for pump sets then it has to be through solar powered pumps. Andhra government has offered to give 70% subsidy for solar energy pump sets. A solar energy powered pump set will cost Rs 5 lakh and an ordinary one is just Rs 50,000. The balance amount can be taken as loan, said the Andhra principal secretary.

Farmers who are already in debt will not get any loan from banks. Andhra loan waiver scheme is stuck in red tapism as there is CB-CID inquiry going on into multiple loan accounts. Andhra capital region farmers who were to get Rs 1.5 lakh as compensation have not got it . This has triggered a protest against the capital land pooling.

Banks to lose Kingfisher Airlines’ Rs 7000 crore loan

Banks to lose Kingfisher Airlines’ Rs 7000 crore loan

New Delhi,Feb 17 (TruthDive): Kingfisher Airlines has told the courts that it is not in a position to pay the Rs 7000 crore it had borrowed from a group of banks led by SBI. The brand value of Kingfisher now stands at Rs 6 crore and nobody wants to buy it. Out of the Rs 1600 crore, SBI had got back Rs 144 crore.

With the banks wondering as to how to get the money back, Kingfisher’s owner Vijay Mallya and son Siddharth are sitting at the IPL auction table. They have a booty of Rs 21 crore, can sell off 7 players and make more money. In 2009, a credit rating agency known globally put the brand value of Kingfisher at Rs 4000 crore. In two years, Kingfisher licence was suspended by DGCA due to the liabilities that it owed to aircraft owners by way of lease amounts, dues with oil companies and outstanding rentals of airport user fee. Added to this, staff salaries including that of pilots were not paid.

Kingfisher did an internal audit of the brand value and came out with a Rs 3000 crore price. SBI’s deal with the airline is that the name, logo and other terms like Flying Models, King of Good Times and Funliner including the goodwill owned by them can be sold to recover the money.

SBI has now decided to sell them for Rs 6 crore but there are no buyers. Curiously in 2012, Kingfisher’s debt rose to Rs 7000 crore when it put the brand value at Rs 3000 crore. IDBI which was told not to give any loans went ahead and ended up with a Rs 700 crore debt.

CBI probing the loans saw that Bank of India advanced Rs 300 crores after taking office equipments, tractors, stationery as collateral. IOB who loaned money against two copters is now looking for buyers for the machines that are not airworthy.

On paper, Vijay Mallya pledged properties to banks that he owned then and today none of them are his. Banks are now facing legal suits filed by Kingfisher Airlines over recovering the properties. There are mysterious payments made to companies registered in tax havens. All these were amounts paid towards lease of aircraft and the rates have been much more than the market rates.

Ram Charan Teja owned airlines to start service

Ram Charan Teja owned airlines to start service

Hyderabad,Feb 16  TruthDive): Ram Charan Teja, actor and son of Chiranjeevi will have Turbo Megha Airways Private Limited, owned by him , to start operations from April, connecting Andhra and Telangana regions. The airline has acquired a 72-seater ATR aircraft aimed at budget class passengers visiting pilgrim destinations like Tirupati and will be based in Vijayawada. A subsidiary of this airline is Turbo Aviation Corporation who will operate a nine –seated aircraft from Vijayawada on the lines of a chartered flight. With the new Andhra capital zone coming up in Vijayawada, the new airlines would get sufficient business says the MD of the airlines. With TDP’s MP Gajapathy Raju as Aviation minister , the bonhomie between Seemandhra people is likely to see all clearances from DGCA coming soon . The destinations that connects Vijayawada are Hyderabad, Rajahmundry, Tirupati and Aurangabad.

The nine-seater planes are available on demand and will operate from Vijayawada. The parent company Turbo Megha Airways Private Limited was formed in 2013 with Ram Charan Teja and Umesh as partners Turbo Aviation which is a subsidiary has Umesh and D. Radha Rani as promoters.
Sources close to Ram Charan Teja said, that they have no clue on how the presence of the actor will help the brand . They said that Ram Charan Teja is attending all director board meetings of the company. Meanwhile, the Vijayawada airport watch hours when flights can operate will need to be increased.
Watch hours of Vijayawada airport are from 6.45 am to 1.30 pm and shuts down to open from 4.00 pm to 9.30 pm. AAI will increase the watch hours only it has more staff and infrastructure. Parking space for the nine seater aircraft also needs to be provided. Vijayawada airport director confirmed that there was an expression of interest from Turbo Aviation for operating nine-seated aircraft. He said that an application from Turbo Megha Airways is also before the DGCA.
There was reports that on Feb11, Ram Charan Teja and a few of his politically influential person’s sons had a party at his father’s house in Jubilee Hills. The party disturbed the neighbours and an IAS officer complained. A patrol party went to the house and told Ram Charan Teja and his friends to abide by laws. Next day Ram Charan Teja tweeted that no such incident happened.

266 kilo gold of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple missing

266 kilo gold of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple missing

Thiruvananthapuram,Feb 16 (TruthDive): Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple gold jewels amounting to 266 kilos which went out of the premises did not come back, says a report filed by ex-CAG Vinod Rai. This gold ornaments mostly necklaces were taken out on the pretext that they had to be diluted to be converted into liquid gold and used for plating the entrance and other parts of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple.

According to ex-CAG report, Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple had 866 kilos of gold in stock. When the apex court appointed audit panel headed by Rai took a stock check, 266 kilos of gold was missing. The so-called B Vault which the Travancore Royal family claimed was never opened, had been opened 16 times in the past, said the audit report. The audit report is silent on the persons who could be behind the loss of gold.

The audit report mentions that the gold was taken out of the vault by flouting RBI directions. According to RBI rules, any bulk quantity of gold given to a contractor for dilution has to be certified by the apex bank and valued. Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple authorities ignored this rule and ferried the gold outside to the contractor. The report says that it took almost 16 years for the gold that went outside to come back in bits and pieces. Most of the ornaments were multi layered necklaces.

Donations to Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple were neither accounted for nor deposited in a bank account. It was all held as stock within the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple vault and all along, the royal family claimed that it was spending money from its own pocket for the upkeep of the temple. Royal family had told the court and auditors as well as the amicus curiae that B vault was never opened. If it was opened there would be catastrophe, said the family.

Records show that the vault was opened and silver was taken from it. As per records, Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple did not get any offerings in 2009-2010 from public, says the report.

Telangana to rain government jobs

Telangana to rain government jobs

Hyderabad,Feb 12 (TruthDive): Telangana would soon offer lakhs of jobs to unemployed youth in government sector after it completes the enrollment of unemployed in the State. It has come to light that for past 14 years not one person who enrolled with the employment exchange was given a job. The situation reached a point where unemployed youths did not renew their registration. Most of the appointments were done adhoc and to those coming with the right political connections.

Records show that those originating from Telangana were discriminated by the Congress government and favoured Seemandhra. Going by the previous registrations, 22 lakhs are unemployed in Telangana and 16 lakhs in Andhra.

Telangana CM KCR has asked officials to list out vacancies in 80 departments and compile a database of unemployed in the State. 1526 jobs in Panchayat Raj and RWS, Singareni (5478 jobs), Power (2681 jobs) have already been sanctioned by Telangana CM.

The creation of a new body to oversee the irrigation grid project will attract IT skilled youth in plenty. The problem is however with the private enterprise namely the IT sector. It alone can generate jobs and Telangana is hoping for some big ticket investments in this sector. Telangana is however determined that the State’s residents who were denied jobs in government offices due to the parochial attitude of Congress rulers that came from Seemandhra are compensated.

Telangana govt. recruitment notification 2015 will be the website where the unemployed can see the vacancies and apply.

Telangana and Andhra have envisaged creation of 15 million jobs by 2015. Mission Kakatiya of Telangana will provide jobs to rural youths as not less than 7000 irrigation tanks will be desilted. Rs 16 crores has been allotted for first phase. Eight lakh acres of land to be irrigated in Mahbubnagar were left neglected by previous Congress governments. This resulted in migration of farmers from this district to other States during the summer. A corporate approach to the lift irrigation by the State is expected to come up with more jobs to all sectors.

Andhra to takeover liquor trade

Andhra to takeover liquor trade

Hyderabad,Feb 11 (TruthDive): Andhra government has decided to take over the sale of liquor from June. This follows a study of Tamil Nadu and Kerala which had taken over the sale of IMFL and runs its own outlets.

The study of two States has made Andhra adopt the Tamil Nadu model as the Kerala model is caught in a controversy over classification of bars. Cash strapped Andhra in a report submitted to it found that as per existing terms, a vendor selling liquor pays Rs 50 lakhs towards license fee and makes a profit of Rs 1.5 crore a year. The license expires in June every year.

Andhra government now plans to forego the license fee and VAT and pocket the entire profits. It has decided to appoint two employees for one shop and on a commission basis. In 2013-’14, undivided Andhra got around Rs 7000 crores and in 2014-’15 budget the newly formed Andhra has pegged Rs 4000 crore from liquor sales.

In contrast to this, Tamil Nadu had a revenue of Rs 21,000 crore from liquor sales. This revenue is fuelling the populist freebie schemes of the Tamil Nadu government. Tamil Nadu has around 6000 shops and 4000 of them are having bars attached to them. Andhra has only 4000 shops that earn Rs 50 crore as license fees and in 2014-15, it projected an income of Rs 4000 crore. The next budget will see a tripling of sale outlets and bars.

Andhra will continue the existing bars operating in hotels and unattached to retail outlets. In addition, it will open new bars that will be attached to retail outlets.

Kerala does not permit bars to be attached to retail outlets that it operates. In Tamil Nadu, the bars can be operated alongside retail outlets and also license is given for those functioning in hotels and clubs. The bars operated along with retail outlets in Tamil Nadu are given to ruling party members in the area. TD might take this route to make its party members happy in Andhra.