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The lockdown has changed the status quo for the TV industry with consumers willing to pay a premium to brands, which can give direct consumer service and durability as opposed to low cost TVs that have been flooding the market in the past few years.

Vu Televisions launched the Vu Cinema Smart TV on Flipkart during the lockdown, and both 32” and 43” variants of the product have been sold out within 24 hours of its launch. There has also been high demand from offline retailers, who say consumers are demanding products from the brand because of their 4K inspired features such as 40W sound bar and voice activated remote. Consumers are also using TV now for more than just entertainment. Gaming and workouts are being done in front of large screens as small screen fatigue took over during the lockdown phase. Vu Televisions had launched these TV range starting Rs. 12,999 and reached a wider audience by supplying to over 10,000 pin codes.

Commenting on the demand for the brand’s products, Chairman and CEO of Vu Televisions, Devita Saraf said, “The Vu Cinema TV is the most top-of-the-line smart TV in the market and users have given an all-time high rating of 4.7/5 to this product range. In spite of our prices being 8%-10% more expensive than other premium TV brands, we were surprised to see overwhelming sales for this product range. This can be attributed to customers seeing our products as value for money due to better quality and service along with easy to use 4K type features. We pioneered Smart TVs in May 2016 and were the first to launch Android TVs in March 2018. We have sold over 15 lakh Smart TVs until now and our Vu Cinema TV is the most feature-packed and highest quality smart TV in the country.”

Vu Televisions has taken an aggressive approach with product launches in 2020, with 6 successful products being launched since January in 4K and Smart range. The last two launches were done during the lockdown with the digital launch happening from the Chairman’s home, opening to rave reviews by tech bloggers and experts across the web. The lockdown has also changed the status quo for the TV industry with consumers willing to pay a premium to brands, which can give direct consumer service and durability as opposed to low cost TVs that have been flooding the market in the past few years. The change in consumer demand has resulted in certain new age brands taking market share from traditional players, with Vu being the fastest selling TV brand on Amazon and Flipkart in June 2020. Vu Televisions has not commented on any upcoming launches as the company launches products without market indication, focusing on innovation as their driver for sales. Source : ht

 

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The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday launched new guidelines on the role that tobacco product regulations can play in saving lives by reducing the demand for tobacco and tobacco products – estimated to kill over seven million people annually.

The new guide together with an accompanying publication will help governments “do much more” to implement regulations and address the exploitation of tobacco product regulations, highlighted the UN health agency.

“The tobacco industry has enjoyed years of little or no regulation, mainly due to the complexity of tobacco product regulation and lack of appropriate guidance in this area,” said Douglas Bettcher, the Director of the WHO Department for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases.

“Tobacco product regulation is an under-utilized tool which has a critical role to play in reducing tobacco use [and] these new tools provide a useful resource to countries to either introduce or improve existing tobacco product regulation provisions and end the tobacco industry ‘reign’,” he added.

The guide, titled Tobacco product regulation: Building laboratory testing capacity, provides practical and stepwise approaches to implementing tobacco testing relevant to a wide range of countries, especially those with inadequate resources to establish testing facilities.

It also provides regulators and policymakers with comprehensible information on how to test tobacco products, what products to test, and how to use testing data in a meaningful manner to support regulation.

The guidelines will also assist in the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – a global treaty combatting the tobacco epidemic – through strengthening tobacco product regulation capacity in WHO member States.

According to Vinayak Prasad, the head of the Tobacco Free Initiative at WHO, most countries “hesitate” to implement policies, due in part to the highly technical nature of such policy interventions and the difficulties in translating science into regulation.

“Failure to regulate is a missed opportunity as tobacco product regulation – in the context of comprehensive control – is a valuable tool that complements other tried and tested tobacco control interventions, such as raising taxes, and ensuring smoke-free environments,” he explained.

The accompanying publication, Case studies for regulatory approaches to tobacco products – Menthol in tobacco products, includes practical steps as well as policy options countries can employ to make regulations more effective, such as the regulators’ enforcement of a total ban on the use of flavours in tobacco products such as menthol.

The guidance document and the accompanying publication were launched at the 2018 World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Cape Town, South Africa. Source : un.org

 

 

 

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For tourism, here is an Incredible India 2.0 plan

Written by Saturday, 23 September 2017 10:24

The pandemic has affected the sector. But it has the potential to become the biggest employment generator

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every sector, but perhaps, the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors have been most affected. Which is why, with the proper compliances, safety and sanitisation measures, and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for responsible reopening being issued, these sectors should now resume. The time for recovery is around the corner.

In his Independence Day speech last year, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi emphasised the importance of making India a global hub for tourism, urging each citizen to visit 15 tourist destinations in India by 2022. With an inward focus on travel, we must convert this into an opportunity and advance our domestic tourism and hospitality sectors.

Travel, tourism, and hospitality have an immense multiplier effect on the economy. These are sectors that can exponentially create jobs, and India needs high-quality job creation now. Travel and tourism has employed more than 42 million people in India or accounted approximately for 8.1% of the total employment opportunities. Last year, it contributed 9.3% to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and received 5.9% of total investments. It can accelerate the path to 9-10% annual growth and add millions of high-quality jobs each year. This is necessary, given that 72% of India’s population is below 32 years, and the average age is 29. Tourism is the perfect fit for the future generation.

India is ranked third in the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC)’s Travel and Tourism Power Ranking, which assesses 185 countries on the basis of four key sector ingredients: Total travel and tourism GDP, foreign visitor spending, domestic spending, and travel and tourism capital investment. India is now ranked behind only China and the United States (US). The World Economic Forum conducts a biennial study across 14 vital parameters, and India has improved by 12 places over the last two years, now ranking 40th out of 136 countries in terms of travel and tourism competitiveness.

This is encouraging and makes the sector an essential cog to the New India growth story. The sector is relatively untapped. An added aspect of the travel and tourism sector is that not only does the sector provide high-quality jobs and countless synergies, it also enhances investment into India, accelerates development, and showcases India’s unique treasures.

Systematic tourism promotion campaigns will be important in the near future. There are two that I have helmed, which brought the spotlight on India’s attraction for tourists. Incredible India and God’s Own Country blended potential with awareness, allowing Indian entrepreneurs, global entities, domestic and foreign tourists, and the government machinery to work together and accelerate growth in the sector. A domestic-focused Incredible India 2.0 that showcases what the nation offers to Indians could be the post-pandemic plan for the sector. India, after all, has amazing diversity, from 38 Unesco World Heritage sites to the Himalayas to pristine beaches, and plenty of other natural assets. Besides that, India’s achievement in tiger population conservation has led to a rise in the tiger population to 2,967 in 2018 from 2,226 in 2014. This is an increase of 741 tigers or nearly 25%, making India home to around 70% of the world’s tiger population.

Prior to the pandemic, work on transportation to allow access to many of India’s hidden treasures was paying off. The UDAN scheme has been a huge success, and now the government can focus on the earlier plans of launching 100 tourism-oriented trains. Also adding to the ease of access is the work that has been done on highways, roads, and ports, highlighted by the Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects. There has also been work done to enhance airport capacity and expand regional connectivity. The Airports Authority of India has estimated capital spending targets of more than ~20,000 crore by 2022, and more than 70 regional airports that are under-utilised will be developed.

The Holistic Island Development plan is an ambitious policy directive focusing on the Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) and Lakshadweep Islands. It addresses tourism-based projects that automatically create jobs for the islanders, and enhance connectivity through key infrastructure projects.

Until the pandemic, the restaurant industry was a dynamic sector. Expect to see them rebound, starting with Unlock 1.0, with delivery services such as Zomato and Swiggy having been involved in essential goods deliveries and maintaining the supply chain for food delivery throughout the lockdown. India has recently become a major player in the culinary ecosystem, making restaurants a ~4,25,000 crore market. They create millions of jobs and have a massive multiplier impact as well.

Travel and tourism will be the key driver for high-quality employment and unparalleled sustainable growth for the next 30 years. Despite challenges, as we responsibly reopen, the opportunities for the sector to help growth will continue to increase, and the domestic demand will help build confidence in the sector’s revival. The pandemic has only altered the progress, not stopped it. A responsible and phased recovery is imminent, and there is no better time for it than now. The positive impact of the sector will span all the downstream and upstream benefits that accompany growth in this sector. This has the potential to become the biggest job creator for India. Source : ht

 

 

 

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The Path to Responsible Sourcing in the Jewellery Sector

Written by Tuesday, 19 September 2017 10:15

These days, jewellers use many terms to describe their efforts to ensure that their products aren’t the result of abusive mining practices: “Responsible sourcing,” “ethical sourcing,” “responsible business conduct,” and “sustainable luxury” for example. Many jewellers want to be sure to avoid unwittingly using gold mined by children—a valid concern, as I found out when I visited gold mines in Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, and the Philippines and met children working in deep pits and processing gold with mercury.

But what should jewellers do to avoid contributing to human rights abuses in their supply chain?

It’s clear jewellers should make sure they have traceable, transparent supply chains that are regularly assessed for human rights conditions. Let’s unpack this.

Traceability

First, jewellers need to make sure they know where their gold, diamonds, or other minerals come from. They need to map their supply chain. How else can they find out what human rights issues are lurking in their supply chain?

An increasing number of small jewellers are doing this, for example Anna Loucah, a UK jeweller who sources most of her gold from traceable small-scale mines in Peru. Large jewellery companies can do this too. Tiffany and Co. is able to trace all its mined gold back to one mine of origin.

The Swiss jeweller Chopard and the French jeweller Cartier can trace at least a portion of their gold back to the mine. And gold refiners can, for a higher price, refine gold in segregated batches to preserve traceability.

Human rights assessments

Second, jewellers need to find out what human rights concerns are present in their supply chains and address them. This requires visits to the mines of origin and regular monitoring to investigate concerns about labour rights, indigenous people’s rights, health rights, and the protection of civilians in war. Human rights experts should conduct these assessments. If abuses are found, a company needs to take corrective action.

Companies can build human rights assessments into their operations in a variety of ways. One option is to source from rigorous certification schemes that monitor conditions in mines and reduce human rights risks that way, such as Fairtrade or Fairmined.

Anna Loucah sources from Fairtrade mines. Chopard sources part of its gold from Fairmined certified mines in Latin America. But companies can also source from mines that are not part of any certification scheme. Sometimes they source directly from mines that are supported and monitored through programs by nongovernmental agencies. Others conduct assessments themselves or use qualified auditors to identify and respond to human rights concerns in their supply chain.

Transparency

Finally, jewellers need to be transparent about their actions. Some companies, including Tiffany and Co., Cartier, and the Danish jeweller Pandora publish annual reports on their efforts to source responsibly. This is good, but more can still be done. In particular, companies should disclose the human rights risks they have identified in their supply chains, the steps they have taken to address them, and the results of external audits. Jewellers should deal publicly and actively with risks. Pandora has made a step in this direction by recently disclosing that its supply chain audits found problems needing addressing in the areas of health and safety and working hours.

Companies should also make their suppliers public. Such transparency is vital to ensure that affected communities, miners, consumers, and the wider public can scrutinize the actions of companies and match the companies’ words to their actions.

Consumers increasingly demand that jewellers act responsibly. But not only that—international norms on mineral sourcing, such as the due diligence guidance developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) spells out how companies in the mineral supply chain should assess and mitigate risks and be transparent about it.

Jewellers owe it to their consumers and to communities they get their minerals from to source truly responsibly.

Juliane Kippenberg

Associate Director, Children's Rights Division

Source : Human Rights Watch

 

 

 

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Air Deccan takes wings again, flies to Jalgaon

Written by Monday, 18 September 2017 09:34

India’s first low-cost carrier Air Deccan, which ceased operations after being acquired by erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines in 2008, took off wings again as a commuter airline with its maiden flight taking off for Jalgaon from Mumbai on Saturday.

The flight, DN 1320, took off for Jalgaon, around 400 km from here in North Maharashtra, from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) here this afternoon.

“It’s a sense of great beginning. A sense of being fortunate that Air Deccan is taking off again,” Air Deccan chairman Capt G R Gopinath told PTI.

There was a dream of taking flying to every possible corner of the country, which did not come to fruition because of Air Deccan’s merger with the Kingfisher Airlines in 2008, he said.

“Now I have the opportunity to relaunch operations across the country,” said the pioneer of low-cost aviation in India.

The flight was inaugurated by Maharashtra PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil along with Gopinath.

However, the maiden flight was marred by delay. The aircraft took off at around 2.55 pm instead of the scheduled departure of 1.20 pm. It landed at the Jalgaon airport at 4 pm where it was given a traditional water cannon salute.

Air Deccan’s strategic partners Shaishav Shah of Ahmedabad-based GSEC Ltd and Himanshu Shah of Monarch Networth Capital as well as senior DGCA officials were on-board the inaugural flight.

Air Deccan received the scheduled commuter operator (SCO) permit from regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) yesterday.

In the first phase of operations, Air Deccan plans to provide connectivity to Jalgaon, Nashik and Kolhapur from Mumbai and Pune.

Air Deccan had bagged 34 routes in the first phase of bidding for Udan scheme, which caps fares at Rs 2,500 for a flight under hour duration.

For the Jalgaon flight, the airline has pegged fares at Rs 2,250 for 50 per cent of the seats, to be operated under the Regional Connectivity Scheme, while the ticket price for the remaining nine will be Rs 4,500 per seat, an official said.

Air Deccan has deployed a 19-seater plane, Beachcraft B-1900D, (18 passengers and one crew member) on the Mumbai- Jalgaon route. The same aircraft will come back to Mumbai and then fly to Nashik this evening.

Flight operators, awarded routes under the scheme, are entitled to a subsidy to keep fares low for the passengers. An airline has to set aside 50 per cent of its seating capacity at the discounted fares. Source : ht

 

 

 

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GST effect: Rs 800 crore dip in state revenue

Written by Saturday, 16 September 2017 12:18

HYDERABAD: As feared by the Telangana government, the newly introduced Goods andServices Tax (GST) has administered a big shock to the state. In a development that the state is still trying to figure out, the first month of GSTimplementation showed a dip of `800 crore in the revenue.In July, the first month of GST, Telangana received Rs 850 crore under state GST, Rs 690 crore from petroleum products which are not under GST, Rs 500 crore from the sale of liquor, and `150 crore from other taxes. Through central GST, the state contributed around Rs 518 crore and another Rs1,000 crore was estimated to be collected as Integrated GST (IGST), and both these amounts were credited to the Government of India account. A senior official said, "The tax collected on products coming in from other states and consumed here will come under IGST. Though Telangana has a share in that, there is no clarity over the amount to be shared by each state."

Inflicting more pain on the state, the Centre has postponed devolution of central funds to states to 15th of every month as against the first. The delay is creating havoc as states are left with no money after paying salaries, pensions in first week.

Adding to the woes, the Centre has once again extended the date of the filing of GST returns. The due date for the filing of returns for GSTR-1 has been revised to October 10 from September 10. While GSTR-2 has a revised due date of October 31 from September 25, GSTR-3 has been revised to November 10 from September 30. The dates for filing returns of GSTR-4 for the tax period of July to September 2017 remains unchanged at October 18.

"We are now clueless as to when we would get our rightful share in the GST from the Centre as it has to adjust the accounts after the returns are filed," said an official in the revenue department.

In June, a month before the launch of GST, Telangana collected `3,200 crore revenue through commercial taxes, excise, transport and other taxes. After GST came into force in July, the state received only Rs 2,400 crore, which is Rs 800 crore less than what it had earned in the previous month. Another disadvantage for Telangana is that it would not get compensation for loss of revenue as the state already reported more than 14 per cent annual growth in the tax revenue. In the GST regime, states with less than 14 per cent growth are eligible for making a claim for compensation. The figures related to August has not yet been compiled but state officials apprehend that tough days are ahead for the state with regard to the implementation of GST.

 

 

 

 

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Rupee opens 3 paise down at 64.15 against US dollar

Written by Friday, 15 September 2017 06:38

The rupee on Friday opened 3 paise down at 64.15 against dollar on account of buying in American currency by banks and importers amid persistent foreign capital outflows. 

The local currency on Thursday settled 12 paise down at 64.12 against dollar. 

Foreign portfolio investors sold shares worth a net Rs 762.42 crore on Thursday, as per data available with NSDL. 

Meanwhile, domestic equity markets opened in red following weak global cues. The BSE Sensex opened 34.30 points, or 0.11 per cent, down at 32,207.63, while NSE Nifty index opened 24.25 points, or 0.24 per cent, down at 10,062.35. 

Other Asian stocks were mostly trading lower after North Korea launched a missile in the direction of the east. As per reports, the unidentified missile flew over Japan before landing 2,000 km east of Hokkaido. 

US equities closed mostly lower on Thursday after strong inflation data raised the possibility of tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve. However, the Dow index closed at its record high. 

 
 

 

 

 

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Mumbai: Pretty soon, your wallets will boast of Rs 100 coins as the government is set to introduce these new coins to commemorate the birth centenary of Bharat Ratna awardee and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late M G Ramachandran.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Finance, the government will also roll out new Rs 5 coins to mark this occasion. “The coins of the following denominations (Rs 100 and Rs 5) shall also be coined at the Mint for issue under the authority of the Central Government to commemorate the occasion of Dr MG Ramachandran birth centenary,” the Ministry of Finance said in a notification dated September 11.

The newly minted coins will be etched with MGR’s portrait in the centre. The words- 'Dr M G Ramachandran Birth Centenary' will be inscribed in the lower periphery while the same will be inscribed in the Devanagari script on the upper periphery.

The years marking the great actor and politician’s lifetime -'1917-2017' will be etched below his sketch, said the notification.

The reverse side of the coin will bear the Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar in the centre with the inscription 'Satyamev Jayte'.

The Rs 100 will weigh 35 grams and will be made of 50 per cent silver, 40 per cent copper, 5 per cent nickel and 5 per cent zinc.

The Rs 5 coins will weigh 6 grams and will be made of 75 per cent copper,  20 per cent zinc and 5 per cent nickel.

Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran, popularly known as 'MGR', was the founder of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the ruling party in Tamil Nadu now.

The film actor, who was elected as the chief minister thrice in his lifetime, was awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1988. He continues to be a political and cultural icon.

 

 

 

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The Reserve Bank of India used sophisticated Currency Verification and Processing (CVPS) machines for checking the accuracy or the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes.

Quoting a Right To Information (RTI) reply, PTI had earlier reported that RBI was not using machines for counting Specified Bank Notes (SBNs).

The central bank in a late Sunday evening press release said that the "RBI actually uses sophisticated Currency Verification & Processing (CVPS) machines for checking the numerical accuracy and genuineness of the currency notes, including SBNs (including SBNs scrapped on November 8). These machines are way superior to the note counting machines."

According to the PTI report, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had said in an RTI reply that counting machines are "not being used" for tallying the total number of demonetised notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 in any of its offices.

The central bank, which is responsible for printing of currency notes, later said, "With a view to augmenting processing capacity, RBI is using the available machines in two shifts and has been using some machines temporarily drawn from commercial banks after suitable modifications and it is also exploring other options to augment processing capacity even further."

In the RTI reply, RBI refused to give the total number of personnel deployed for counting of the scrapped notes, saying compiling the information would "disproportionately divert" its resources.

"Counting machines are not being used for the purpose in any offices of Reserve Bank of India," the RBI said in the RTI reply dated August 10.

The central bank also said no counting machines were taken on lease to reconcile the total figure of the junked notes.

It was asked to give details about machines being used for counting the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

RBI also denied sharing information on the total number of personnel deployed for counting of the old notes.

"Compiling the information would disproportionately divert the resources, the information sought cannot be furnished as per Section 7 (9) of RTI Act, 2005," the RBI said in its reply to the RTI query filed by a PTI correspondent.

In its annual report for 2016-17 released on August 30, the RBI had said Rs 15.28 lakh crore, or 99 percent of the demonetised 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, had returned to the banking system.

It further said that only Rs 16,050 crore out of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore in the old high denomination notes have not returned.

As on November 8, 2016, when the note ban was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there were 1,716 crore pieces of Rs 500 and 686 crore pieces of Rs 1,000 notes in circulation, totalling Rs 15.44 lakh crore, it had added.

RBI is exploring other options to further augment the processing capacity.

 

 

 

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This Is What States Are Demanding From GST Council

Written by Saturday, 09 September 2017 12:24

 

As the 21st meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council kick-started in Hyderabad on Saturday, various states brought different concerns on board. The demands ranged from the issues faced by businesses in filing their maiden returns for the month of July to concerns over GST being levied on public utility projects. Chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the 21st meeting of the GST Council was being attended by finance ministers of states and GST Secretariat officials.

Over 150 delegates were attending the meet being held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, news agency Indo-Asian News Services (IANS) reported.

Telangana is seeking relief for public utility projects like irrigation schemes, Mission Kakatiya for restoration and revival of tanks and for providing piped drinking water to every household and a two-bed room housing scheme for the poor, IANS said.

Telangana Finance Minister E Rajender said the state would reiterate the demand for scrapping GST on ongoing work contracts or at least reducing it to 5 per cent. The state is also seeking reduction in GST for the granite, marble industry and the beedi sector in view of their huge employment potential.
He said most of the states were supporting reduction in GST on public utility projects.

Telangana argues that its flagship projects were launched before July 1, when GST came into effect, and hence it will not be fair to impose a higher slab.

On the other hand, Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu said that the issues faced by GSTN are operational and technical, and these would have happened even if the GST was implemented a year later. Mr Drabu suggested that a group of ministers be formed to look into issues faced by taxpayers on GSTN portal.

Ahead of the meet, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said that although it was claimed that GSTN can handle 3 billion invoices, the glitches in the portal show that GST was implemented in haste. Mr Mitra suggested that a white paper be brought out on the preparedness of GSTN-- the company which operates the IT backbone for GST.

Due to a huge rush of July GSTR-3B return filing on the penultimate date, the GSTN software witnessed glitches and the last date of filing was extended. Also the date of final return filing for GSTR-1 was extended to September 10 in view of rush in invoice uploading.

Ahead of the meeting, Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Y Ramakrishnudu said that he will highlight various demands that the state had made earlier. "After the implementation of GST, as per our initial estimation, the state may see a short fall of Rs. 2,900 crore in revenue," Ramakrishnudu said, reported news agency Press Trust of India. "We also requested the Council to take a lenient view on the tax slab with regard to ongoing government projects. As of today, projects worth about Rs. 20,000 crore are under implementation," he saiid.

 

 

 

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