Gurugram sees biggest drop in house prices: Report

Bengaluru was followed by Kolkata, a 44 per cent decrease, and Ahmedabad, a 42 per cent decline

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Gurgram drops house prices:  A year after demonetisation, Gurugram saw an 18 per cent decline in house prices in the first eight months of 2017, the biggest year-on-year drop among top 10 residential markets, said a new study.

“Almost all the cities witnessed a drop (5-10 per cent) in weighted average absorbed price after demonetisation as many developers reduced rates and offered freebies during the period worth five to seven per cent, resulting in a discount or correction of up to 15 per cent,” said the report by data analytics firm PropEquity.

Cities such as Gurugram, Kolkata and Chennai witnessed a considerable dip in weighted average absorbed price (month-wise year-over-year comparison) while Gurugram witnessed the launch of lottery projects impacting the price to a considerable extent, it said. It said in the resale market, prices witnessed a dip of 10-15 per cent immediately after the demonetisation. Gurugram witnessed a 10 per cent drop in prices in the resale market in the first eight months of 2017, the highest among top markets.

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“Price corrections happened after implementation of goods and services tax, particularly for ready-to-move-in properties and properties nearing completion. Some (four to five per cent) recovery has been witnessed in the past two to three months,” it said.

The country’s information technology hub, Bengaluru, saw a 45 per cent dip in residential sales in the first eight months of this year, the biggest among the top 10 residential markets in the country.

Bengaluru saw absorption of 20,505 units between January and September as compared to 37,200 units a year ago, said PropEquity. The average sales drop in the top 10 cities is about 36 per cent, PropEquity said.

HDFC Life IPO opens today: From anchor investment to mkt share, all you should know

The price band of the IPO has been fixed at Rs 275 to Rs 290 per equity share

IPOs

HDFC Standard Life Insurance, one of the top three private life insurers in profitability, will open its Rs 8,700-crore initial public offering (IPO) today and close it on Thursday. This will be the fourth IPO of an HDFC arm.

The HDFC Life IPO is an offer for sale (OFS), consisting of 191,246,050 equity shares by HDFC Life and up to 108,581,768 equity shares by UK-based Standard Life.

Here are key things to know about the company’s IPO:

1) Super demand from anchor investors

We have received superlative response from anchor investors, including a global investor who has never invested in the Indian IPO market or any Indian insurance IPO, informed Chaudhry. The company will share the details of anchor book investment on Monday.

2) Open to acquisition of small, big players

Chaudhry also said the company is open to any kind of acquisition, including of Max Life if the “structural issues” that hampered its earlier deal are resolved.

“If the right kind of business comes along, we will definitely look at it. We are not saying that we will look to gobble up only small players. There could be some large players also which could come to the table,” he said.

3) Business overview

The company’s flexibility and ability to adapt to changes in the Indian life insurance industry has allowed business to grow and profitability to improve. During FY15-17, the total premium saw a CAGR of 14.5%, driven by a CAGR of 12.6%, 43.6% and 7.3% in individual New Business Premium (NBP), group NBP and renewal premiums, respectively. In addition, the company improved its Value of New business (VNB) margins from 18.5% in FY15 to 22% in FY17 by bettering cost efficiencies, increasing persistency ratios and selling a balanced product mix.

4) Dividends

The company paid dividends (including dividend distribution tax) totalling Rs 760 crore between the first in FY14 and FY17. Chaudhry informed the next dividend will be announced in December and the new shareholders of the company will be eligible to receive that.

5) LIC losing market share?

In the presentation, Chaudhry noted that the private sector gained higher market share than LIC, for the first time in FY16, after regulatory changes in FY11. LIC’s market share slipped below 44% during the first half of FY16 according to the Individual Weighted Received Premium (WRP), he said, quoting IRDAI and Life Insurance Council.

6) Key risks

i) Given the fact that each bank can now act as a non-exclusive corporate agent for up to three life insurers, three general insurers and three health insurers. Thus, the company’s bancassurance arrangement with HDFC Bank is no longer exclusive in nature, and the latter has entered into bancassurance arrangements with other life insurers. | READ MORE

GIC Re IPO opens today. Should you invest?

GIC Re is the largest reinsurance company in India in terms of gross premiums accepted in fiscal 2017

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General Insurance Corporation of India Limited (GIC Re’s) initial public offer (IPO) opens today for subscription. The company aims to garner over Rs 11,000 crore. The price band has been fixed at Rs 855 – Rs 912 per share. The IPO would be India’s third biggest ever, after Coal India’s Rs 15,200 crore and Reliance Power’s Rs 11,700 crore issues.

The IPO consists of an offer for sale (OFS) of 10.75 crore shares (12.5% stake pre-issue) worth Rs 9,804 crore at the higher price band and a fresh issue of 1.72 crore shares worth Rs 1,569 crore. The amount raised from the fresh issue will be used for augmenting the capital base to support future business growth and to maintain current solvency levels.

ALSO READ:  MARKETS LIVE: Sensex up 100 pts, Nifty tests 10,050; Q2 earnings in focus

GIC Re is the largest reinsurance company in India in terms of gross premiums accepted in fiscal 2017. The company, according to CRISIL Research, accounted for nearly 60% of the premiums ceded by Indian insurers to reinsurers in FY17.

Should you subscribe to the IPO? This is what leading brokerages and research houses across the country suggest:

PRABHUDAS LILLADHER

GIC Re showed strong net premium growth at 73% YoY mainly led by four‐fold jump in crop insurance premium collections in FY17 due to the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) scheme whereas fire insurance continues to grow stable at ~23%. GIC Re does not look to increase third party motor business and health group business which has historically had high losses and has not been a profitable business line. At the upper band of Rs 912, the company trades at 27.4x Mar‐17 EPS which we believe is fairly priced, but given the liquidity in the markets and company’s performance in the recent past, we recommend to Subscribe for long term gains..Read More

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

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

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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)

 

Upcoming bank and government exams in 2017

The candidate should be careful while filling out the application

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More than 1.5 crores candidates took up the bank exams of IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection) in the last three years and vacancies in the Indianbanks equaling 68000 were occupied.

When it comes to making a career choice that promises security and financial stability, bank jobs in India have always been roped in first. Public sector banks are getting a tough competition from private banks. As a result, they are reaching out to rural and semi-urban areas. Despite the rise of Information Technology, millions of people still prefer bank jobs and apply for various positions in public sector banks.

Here’s the list of upcoming bank exams and jobs in 2017. It also features other government exams.

Listed are the important details regarding the bank exams and jobs for the year 2017-18: Read More

Ransomware attack: Why do hackers want payments through bitcoins?

‘WannaCry’ – the ransomware, asked users to pay a $300 ransom in bitcoins

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The recent ransomware attack has renewed a long-running debate about the dangers of digital currency. For those who are not yet aware, a malicious malware attacked almost 150 countries. The concept of the attack was simple: Your computer gets infected with a virus that encrypts your files until you pay a ransom.
 
Why do hackers prefer Bitcoin over other modes of payments?Of late, digital currency Bitcoin has emerged as a favourite tool for hackers.

Why is it a soft target? – When you pay something digitally, you use net banking, credit card or debit card. Now your information is attached to the card such as name, address, etc).

However, the case is different with bitcoin. The transactions you make using the currency are completely anonymous. According to a NDTV report, whenever customers trade in bitcoin, a private key associated with their wallet is used to generate a bit of code. That code is publicly associated with customer transaction but with no personal identifying information.

Thus, every transaction is recorded and securely signed in an open ledger that anyone can read and double-check.

Experts say that one of the probable reasons why hackers chose bitcoin as a form of payment was this – It protects identity.

Earlier, hackers used to ask for money from PayPal but due to stringent KYC (Know Your Customer) norms in PayPal, they have shifted to bitcoins.

This Twitter user has put an interesting flowchart on the Ransomware cyber attack.
 
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But what is Bitcoin?Bitcoin however, is not just a technology that can facilitate crime. It is a kind of digital currency. The coins are created by users who “mine” them by lending computing power to verify other users’ transactions. They receive bitcoins in exchange. The coins also can be bought and sold on exchanges with U.S. dollars and other currencies.

You store it in an online “wallet.” And with that wallet, you can spend bitcoin online and in the physical world for goods and services.

Bitcoin trade

According to Investopedia, Bitcoin price has undergone a price revision following the WannaCry cyber-attack. Bitcoin has enjoyed a phenomenal rally in the past few weeks, hitting a record high at $1,800 levels. However, now, the correlation between Bitcoin and criminals appeared to rapidly affect sentiment about the currency and Bitcoin’s price dropped.

The correlation between Bitcoin and criminals appeared to rapidly affect sentiment about the currency and Bitcoin’s price dropped.| read more…

 

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

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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…)

Reliance Jio is offering 100% cashback on JioFi: Here’s how to avail of it

In lieu of the exchange, Reliance Jio provides additional data worth Rs 2,010

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Reliance Jio is currently offering 100 per cent cashback on its JioFi portable Wi-Fi device, which connects to 10 devices at the same time. The cashback offer is valid for those buying JioFi in exchange for an old dongle, router and 4G data card.
According to the terms and policies of the cashback offer available on Reliance Jio’s online portal, customers seeking to avail of a 100 per cent cashback on JioFi need to exchange their old dongle, router or 4G data card. In exchange, Reliance Jio provides additional data worth Rs 2,010 – 5 GB data worth Rs 210 per month for 10 months – that equals 100 per cent of the device amount.
JIO
Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can avail of 100% cashback offer:
Step 1: To avail of 100 per cent cashback, you need to purchase JioFi device through Jio online portal by paying Rs 1,999.

Step 2: You have to visit a Reliance Jio store with original invoice, JioFi Box with or without old dongle or other device for exchange

Step 3: You need to purchase a Reliance Jio SIM card, which can be done at a Jio Store or any other partner store by furnishing identity proof, address proof and passport size photograph or Aadhaar card.

Step 4: You need to recharge with Rs 408 (309 + 99) or Rs 608 (509 + 99) plan and enjoy the benefits of a Jio Prime membership, along with Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan offer. (READMORE…)

At least 9 months’ pay! Cognizant top execs get voluntary separation option

IT major expects process to be concluded by the end of the second quarter

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Cognizant Technology Solutions has floated a voluntary separation option for its employees at the senior management level, at a time when the company is pushing for automation and digital technology and is in the process of trimming its workforce.

The Nasdaq-listed US-based company, which has most of its India operations in Tamil Nadu, confirmed the development. Other information technology majors did not respond to calls and emails from Business Standard on whether they were also considering similar schemes.

Cognizant said the option had been offered to senior executives — from director level to senior vice-president. Sources in the company said that those who had annual salaries in excess of Rs 40 lakh might also be eligible for the option. A minimum of nine-month salary will be paid as compensation under the initiative, depending on the executive’s post.

The IT firm said the move was related to its overall strategy to accelerate shift to digital and deliver high-quality, sustainable growth. The company will, however, continue to hire across all of its practices and is expanding facilities globally, ensuring that it has the “right expertise to help its clients”.

“As part of these initiatives, we are offering a voluntary separation incentive to some eligible leaders, representing a very small percentage of our total workforce,” said a company spokesperson.

Asked about the compensation, the spokesperson said, “We believe it provides a fair and positive experience for those choosing to leave.” He didn’t disclose any details. (READMORE…)

Trump era and the return of the NRI: Tips for people shifting back to India

Determine your tax residency status, pay taxes, get bank accounts re-designated

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With President Donald Trump ordering a review of the H1B visa program in the US, there are widespread fears among Indians working in the IT sector that they may have to return home. For those who have migrated to the Middle East, too, obtaining citizenship is difficult, necessitating a return at the end of their work tenure. Whatever the reasons for returning, non-resident Indians (NRIs) need to plan the shift meticulously. Besides finding a job that does justice to their skills and getting their children admitted into the right schools and colleges, they also need to handle the financial aspects of the transition well.

Tax residency status: Upon his return, an NRI first needs to determine his residency status for the purpose of income tax. This depends on the number of days he has been present in India. “India follows a physical presence test as the sole criterion for determining an individual’s residential status for income tax purpose,” says Suresh Surana, founder, RSM Astute Consulting. An individual can fall in any of these three categories: resident and ordinarily resident (ROR), resident but not ordinarily resident (RNOR, an intermediate stage for returning NRIs), and non-resident (NR). His residency status will determine how he is taxed

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During the first financial year after his return, assuming that he spends more than 182 days in India, his residential status will be that of a resident. However, if out of the preceding 10 years, he has been a non-resident for at least nine years, his status will be RNOR, irrespective of the period of stay in India during the first year. In the second year also, similar rules will apply and he may remain a RNOR. “If he qualifies for RNOR status in the first two years, he can stay throughout the year in India without any adverse tax implication on income accruing or arising outside India, except income accruing outside India from a business controlled in India,” says Surana. In the third year, assuming that he has been resident during both the first two years, he can claim RNOR status only if his stay in India is for 729 days or less in the seven years immediately preceding the third year. Otherwise, he will become an ROR and his global income will be taxed in India. In subsequent years, the benefit of RNOR status will no longer be available and he will become an ROR. (READMORE…)