Reliance Jio Prime membership subscription to end on March 31: What next?

Jio Prime subscriptions, started April 1 last year, expire on 31 March. Now, with the expiry approaching, it is expected that Jio would make a new announcement sometime soon

Reliance Jio

Reliance Jio shook the Indian telecommunication space with the launch of its affordable, data-centric network. After doling out freebies for more than the first six months since the launch, the Mukesh Ambani-owned telecom major introduced Prime membership at Rs 99 with the promise of offering subsidised recharge options and additional benefits for a period of one year.

The Jio Prime memberships, which came into effect on April 1 last year, are valid until 31 March. Now, with the subscription expiry approaching, it is expected that Jio would make an announcement sometime soon.

While there is nothing official yet, it is expected that the company might completely do away with the Prime subscription or offer it as a free service.

Here is what the company offered in the first iteration of the Prime membership:

  • Free unlimited data and voice services for one year at an effective price of Rs 10 per day
  • Special recharge plans with additional data and validity
  • Free VoLTE-based voice calls to any network, even on roaming with no black out days either.
  • Free access to Jio app suite

The Prime membership was initially rolled out as a loyalty programme to retain subscribers as the company moved from free to paid services.
In the first leg, the Prime membership was advertised as a limited period offer. However, as time moved, the company continued offering the membership to get more subscribers. Now, according to Jio’s official portal, there is no mention of services that the company offers to non-prime subscribers. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the subscription based membership program may eventually fade out.

Maggi fails lab test again, UP imposes Rs 45 lakh fine on Nestle India

According to authorities, it had collected the samples last year in November and sent them for lab test, which had found ash content above the permissible limits of human consumption

Nestle, which internationally has over 2,000 brands, is betting on its pharma business to reduce dependence on Maggi in India

The district administration of Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, has slapped a fine on Nestle India and its distributors after its popular noodles brand Nestle Maggi allegedly failed to pass the lab test, even as the FMCG major maintained that “it’s a case of application of incorrect standards”.

The district administration had imposed a fine of Rs 45 lakh on Nestle, Rs 15 lakh on its three distributors and Rs 11 lakh on its two sellers. | Today’s Paper 

According to the district authorities, it had collected the samples last year in November and sent them for lab test, which had found ash content above the permissible limits of human consumption.

Questioning the lab findings, Nestle India said it has not received the order yet and would file an appeal urgently once it receive the order.

“While we have not received the orders passed by the adjudication officer, we have been informed that the samples are of year 2015 and the issue pertains to ‘ash content’ in Noodles,” said a Nestle India spokesperson.

He further said: “This appears to be a case of application of incorrect standards, and we will file an appeal urgently once we receive the order.”

In 2015, Nestle India and other companies had represented to the relevant authorities, via industry associations, to set standards specific to instant noodles to avoid confusion amongst enforcement officers and consumers.

“The standards have since been introduced and the product complies with these standards. We regret the confusion it may cause to consumers,” he said, adding that “We strongly reiterate that Maggi Noodles are 100 per cent safe for consumption.”

Maggi was banned by FSSAI in June 2015 for allegedly containing lead beyond permissible limits, forcing Nestle India to withdraw the product from the market. Even in 2015, the Maggi trouble for Nestle had begun in UP.

Following legal battles, the popular noodles brand was back in the market in November 2015.

Flipkart founders booked for cheating Bengaluru businessman of Rs 10 cr

A first information report (FIR) was filed with the Indiranagar police

Sachin Bansal (left) and Binny Bansal

The Bengaluru police is investigating a case of cheating against Flipkart co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, along with three other employees after a city-based businessman accused them of withholding payment amounting to Rs 9.96 crore.

Naveen Kumar, owner of a computer shop C-Store in Indiranagar, alleged he had supplied 14,000 laptops to Flipkart, of which, about 12,500 were sold. However, the payment for the remaining laptops was not made. | Today’s Paper

On contacting Flipkart, he alleged the company’s response stated it had returned 4,000 laptops. The resultant loss to his business amounts to Rs 9.96 crore, Kumar stated in his complaint.

A first information report (FIR) was filed with the Indiranagar police, which said it had registered a complaint under three Sections of the Indian Penal Code for common intent, criminal breach of trust and cheating.

Business Standard has reviewed the police complaint. “He supplied 14,000 laptops, of which 1,482 were returned. Flipkart did not pay for the remaining laptops. It also did not pay TDS and shipping charges. When we asked them, Flipkart falsely said it had returned 3,901 laptops and has withheld a sum of Rs 9,96,21,419,” the complaint stated.

Flipkart denied the accusations and said the complaint filed was fales and baseless. “Flipkart strongly denies all the allegations, and averments made in the FIR in entirety. Further, Flipkart is exploring all available legal possibilities to safeguard its interests, including but not limited to initiating proceedings for defamation against the complainant,” the company said in a statement late Monday evening.

The FIR appears to be nothing but an endeavour to harass and pressurise the company to succumb to baseless demands,” Flipkart added.


Mired by ownership battle, McDonald’s shuts 80% Delhi outlets as hygiene take toll

Ownership tussle between Vikram Bakshi & McD dented CPRL’s growth, hurt profitability since 2013

McDonald, soft drink, beverage, McD

Today’s Paper : Fast food major McDonald’s is shutting nearly 80 per cent of its stores across Delhi-NCR starting today. Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt Ltd (CPRL), which runs the McDonald’s franchise for North and East India, has been forced to close down 43 of its 55 outlets in the region as it failed to secure regulatory health clearances to keep the business rolling.
While the move could prove to be lethal for the firm, maintenance of quality and hygiene at the stores had been an ongoing issue since mid-2013.

The decision comes at a time when the long-drawn battle over the ownership of CPRL between its founder Vikram Bakshi and McDonald’s India has dislodged the company from the growth track. The conflict has also hampered its profitability, while most other quick service restaurant chains have managed to grow. CPRL is a 50:50 joint venture between the two and is currently operated by four board members — Vikram Baksi, his wife, and two representatives of McDonald’s.

According to data available at the Registrar of Companies, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, CPRL’s revenue growth fell to six per cent in 2014-15 compared 29 per cent in 2010-11 as investments came to a standstill. The slide being pronounced in 2014-15, when CPRL posted Rs 645 crore revenue compared to Rs 609 crore in the previous year.

In 2013-14, too, revenue growth halved to eight per cent from 16 per cent in 2012-13. In 2012-13, CPRL generated Rs 562 crore in revenues and in the previous year it stood at Rs 490 crore. Data has been sourced from the industry. | READMORE…


Vodafone offers free Netflix for a year: Here is how to avail of the scheme

Here is how you can claim the free Netflix gift if you are a Vodafone RED subscriber

File photograph of a man casting a silhouette onto an electronic screen displaying a Vodafone logo, in Mumbai

Today’s Paper : Now, Vodafone customers can avail up to one year of free Netflix subscription. Exciting, right? Tapping on the popularity of Netflix in India, the telecom service provider, over the weekend, announced an all-new Netflix subscription benefit for its RED postpaid customers in India. However, the plan is not for everyone. The company has also added the condition that postpaid subscribers on Vodafone RED Netflix plans of Rs 1,299 or higher value are eligible to get a free up to one-year Netflix subscription as a free gift, according to NDTV.

Here is how you can avail free Netflix subscription with Vodafone RED plans

— If you are a Vodafone RED subscriber, you can claim the Netflix gift by visiting the official website –

— Vodafone customers can also SMS ‘Netflix’ to 199 to activate the eligible plan.

Netflix – Internet TV network giant.

Earlier in the year, global video streaming service Netflix had announced strategic partnerships with Airtel, Videocon d2h and Vodafone – making it the world’s leading Internet TV network.

With these partnerships, Netflix’s critically-acclaimed programmes like ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Narcos and The Crown’ will be easily accessible to consumers across direct-to-home and mobile platforms throughout the country.

“India is one of the most important and vibrant countries in the world and we are delighted to be teaming up with three of its leading companies to make it much easier for consumers to enjoy Netflix,” Reed Hastings, Co-founder and CEO of Netflix, told Times of India. | READMORE…

Infosys staffer found dead in firm’s Chennai premises, foulplay suspected

Body moved to Chengalpattu hospital, police registers case of suspicious death

A young software employee with Infosys was found dead in the company‘s office premises on the outskirts of Chennai.According to police officials, a 30-year old Ilayaraja, hailing from Tindivanam, in Villupuram district, was found dead in the office premises in Mahindra World City, close to Chennai.

The body has been moved to Chengalpattu hospital. The police has registered a case of suspicious death and the investigation is going on, said an official from the Chengalpattu Taluk Police Station. The police also confirmed that no suicide note had been found.

“We are saddened by the loss of our employee in Chennai. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with the family of the deceased. Infosys will provide all the necessary support to the family in their hour of grief,” said a statement from Infosys. (READ MORE)


IT’s past, present and future: Industry and people will always be important

Layoffs have nothing to do with Trump’s visa stance; its impact will show after rules are framed

There has recently been a lot of angst about the Indian IT industry(IT LAYOFFS). The anxiety has mainly centered around two themes. First: Is the $150-billion industry, which is about 7 per cent of Indian GDP, now heading for a period of stagnation? And second: The impact of the above and other global developments such as visa restrictions on the job market for IT professionals, considering that the industry employs 4 million professionals and indirectly generates many more jobs.

The anxiety tends to breed cynicism, as witnessed by the response to a question in the Economic Times of May 15 “Are laid-off techies paying the price for IT cos’ inability to foresee the future?” A resounding 78 per cent replied “Yes”.

Even more surprising is a mast head quote in the Business Standard of May 19 from Rajat Gupta, the former head of McKinsey: “The Indian infotech industry ‘rightly’ should be in ‘panic’ mode, as it has not kept pace with rapid innovation. Code writing-testing is the most inefficient industry that existed.”

I consider both the question and response to the ET question cynical because the persons who have been let go constitute mostly between 0.5 and 1 per cent of the workforce of the larger companies, and only in the case of Cognizant it is 2-4 per cent. All these numbers are within the range of annual “weeding out” to continuously improve the quality of talent.

Rajat Gupta, for whom I otherwise have the highest regard, in my view should have known that the IT industry moved beyond cost arbitrage at the turn of the century and has progressively embraced solutions around the latest technologies. This is reflected in the fact that Indian IT industry has continued to gain market share. Here we have decline in growth, whereas some of the global leaders have had decline in revenue for multiple quarters. |READMORE…

IT job cuts: Up to 600,000 engineers likely to be laid off in next 3 years

McKinsey & Company report says half of IT workforce will be irrelevant over the next 3-4 years


Executive search firm Head Hunters India said the job cuts in IT sector will be between 1.75 lakh and 2 lakh annually for next three years due to under-preparedness in adapting to newer technologies.

“Contrary to media reports of 56,000 IT professionals to lose jobs this year, the actual job cuts will be between 1.75 lakh and 2 lakh per year in next three years, due to under- preparedness in adapting to newer technologies,” Head Hunters India Founder-Chairman and MD K Lakshmikanth told PTI, analysing a report submitted by McKinsey & Company at the Nasscom India Leadership Forum on February 17.

McKinsey & Company report had said nearly half of the workforce in the IT services firms will be “irrelevant” over the next 3-4 years.

McKinsey India Managing Director Noshir Kaka had also said the bigger challenge ahead for the industry will be to retrain 50-60 per cent of the workforce as there will be a significant shift in technologies. The industry employs 3.9 million people and the majority of them have to be retrained.

“So, when we analyse these figures, it is clear that 30 to 40 per cent of the workforce cannot be retrained or re- skilled. So, assume that half of this workforce can continue to work on old skills, then balance will become redundant.

“So, the number of people who will become redundant in the next three years will be about five to six lakhs. This will workout to, on a average, between 1.75 lakh to 2 lakh per year for next three years,” Lakshmikanth explained.

However, he said job cuts will not take place in major cities like Mumbai or Bengaluru, but cities like Coimbatore or a few remote places, he said.

Lakshmikanth further said the IT services industry is passing through an uncertain time as the growth in digital technologies like cloud-based services is happening at a much faster pace and the companies are combining learning of some of the new technologies and reskilling.

“Because of the changing technology, the most affected will be the professionals aged 35 and above, for it would be very difficult for them to get jobs,” Lakhsmikanth said. | READMORE…

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Pink slips galore: Wipro, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Cognizant cut India jobs

Tech Mahindra recently fired close to 1,000 employees; Wipro was the canary in the coal mine

Once India’s global claim to fame, the country’s information technology (IT) sector is seeing a spate of layoffs by IT majors like Tech Mahindra, Wipro, Infosys and Cognizant.The churn in the IT sector — which is moving towards increasing automation, use of artificial intelligence and is beset by tightening visa regulations — is likely to affect mid-level employees with 10-15 years of experience the most, as many are averse to learning new skills, industry experts have said.

Further, Indian IT firms are witnessing their slowest growth in a decade, while global firms are shifting their budgets from traditional IT services to newer areas such as digital and cloud, which require engineers to engage with clients instead of working remotely. Even as this shift takes hold of the sector, automation is increasingly taking over low-end maintenance work, forcing companies to shift workers to other projects and reduce hiring from campuses.

Tech Mahindra joins the bandwagonAs reported earlier, software services firm Tech Mahindra has sacked a thousand-odd employees this month.

However, what happened at Tech Mahindra is not an outlier, other IT majors like Wipro, Cognizant, Infosys and Capgemini are also facing their own share of challenges, and moving to either prune or re-skill their respective workforce.

“We have a process of weeding out bottom performers every year and this year is no different,” a Tech Mahindra spokesperson said.

As on December 31, 2016, the company’s total employee headcount stood at 117,095, while the software division had 80,858 employees.

Wipro was the canary in the coal mine

Late in April, Wipro move to sack around 500 of its employees as part of its appraisal process. (Read more)

The company is reported to have weeded out “non-performers” after a “rigorous performance appraisal”.

While Wipro did not specify the exact number of affected employees, the company said it “undertakes a rigorous performance appraisal process on a regular basis to align its workforce with the business objectives, strategic priorities of the organisation, and requirements of our clients”.

“This systematic and comprehensive performance evaluation process triggers a series of actions, such as mentoring, retraining and up-skilling. The performance appraisal may also lead to the separation of some employees from the company and these numbers vary from year to year,” it said. (READ MORE…)

IT professionals protest sacking in Cognizant

Cognizant trimmed 5% of its 260,000 workforce in March


Two groupings — the Forum of IT Employees (FITE) and NDLF IT employees wing — are petitioning the Tamil Nadu government against what they call unjustified dismissals of employees at Cognizant.

The FITE has filed a petition at the Tamil Nadu labour department to protect the interests of software engineers who have been sacked on performance grounds, even as companies struggle with changing technology and business shifts.

Cognizant has denied that there have been any layoffs and said employees had been let off because they did not meet performance requirements.

“Cognizant has not conducted any layoffs. Each year, as is the best practice across our industry, we conduct a performance review to ensure we have the right employee skill sets necessary to meet client needs and achieve our business goals. This process results in changes, including some employees transitioning out of the company,” said a company spokesperson on email.

“Any actions as a result of this process are performance-based and generally consistent with those we’ve made in previous years. In the March quarter, we hired thousands of professionals — top talent from campuses, as well as from the lateral market,” the company said.

In March, Cognizant trimmed five per cent of its 260,000 workforce as it looked to shift its focus on emerging areas such as digital.

India’s export-focused software firms are facing challenges of automation, and protectionism in their main markets — the US and Europe — and business shifts towards cloud and digital which require skills that are different from traditional services.(READMORE…)