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Infosys elevates Pravin Rao as whole-time director

IT services major Infosys today said it has elevated its newly appointed President U B Pravin Rao as a whole-time Director in the company's Board till 2019. Earlier this month, in a major rejig at India's second largest software services firm, Rao was appointed President along with BG Srinivas. He currently heads retail, consumer packaged goods and logistics, life sciences, resources and utilities, services, growth markets, cloud and mobility, quality and productivity and Infosys Leadership Institute. As a whole-time director for five years, Rao will be paid over Rs. 53 lakh in salary annually, besides incentives like performance and long-term bonus as well as allowances. In a filing to the BSE, Infosys said Rao has been appointed for "five years beginning January 10, 2014 and ending January 9, 2019, subject to the retirement policy applicable to the Board of Directors of the company". His salary per month will be Rs. 4.48 lakhs in the scale of Rs. 4.45-8 lakhs per month, it added. Rao will also be eligible for bonus, up to a maximum of 20 per cent of the salary, payable at intervals decided by the Board. Besides, he will get a performance bonus and long term bonus payable at intervals decided by the Board, the filing said. While Srinivas will focus on global markets, Rao will look after global delivery and service innovation, at the Bangalore-based firm. Industry observers have said that Srinivas and Rao are being groomed to take over the top job when Infosys CEO and MD S D Shibulal retires in 2015.

Amazon may predict and ship your order before you place it
London: World's largest online retailer Amazon has developed a 'mind-reading' technology that will predict what people want to buy and ship packages even before customers have placed an order. Amazon has filed a patent for the technology called "anticipatory shipping". The technology aims to eliminate a major disadvantage of online shopping: customers cannot receive their items immediately after purchase, but must instead wait for the products to be shipped to them. The American company will use an array of factors, such as previous purchases, items customers have searched for, and even the amount of time a user's cursor hovers over a product, in order to predict what purchases a person may make, a newspaper reported. Using this information, Amazon will send these predicted items to a nearby "hub" or local warehouse.

This would mean that when a person actually clicks to buy merchandise on the website, their chosen item will be housed closer to the buyer's address. This will allow a package to be delivered within minutes or hours, rather than the days and weeks it currently takes. "One substantial disadvantage to the virtual storefront model is that in many instances, customers cannot receive their merchandise immediately upon purchase, but must instead wait for product to be shipped to them," according to the company's patent filing. "The availability of expedited shipping methods from various common carriers may mitigate the delay in shipment, but often at substantial additional cost that may rival the price paid for the merchandise. "Such delays may dissuade customers from buying items from online merchants, particularly if those items are more readily available locally," the patent document said. Amazon has been working toward reducing delivery times. The company is experimenting with a fleet of flying drones to deliver packages through the air to a customer, within half an hour of an order being made.

Airbus A380 superjumbos can now land at 4 airports


New Delhi: India lifted a landing ban on Airbus A380s on Monday, enabling carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Emirates to fly their superjumbos into the world's second-most populous nation. A380s will be allowed to land at the country's four main airports - New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad - which are equipped to handle the planes, a decision welcomed by foreign carriers looking to tap India's fast growing air travel sector. "The operation of A380s will help airports to generate more revenue, give more comfortable and luxurious travel to passengers, (and will) liberalise the civil aviation milieu in India," the civil aviation ministry said in a statement. The ban on A380s was imposed due to concerns that foreign airlines could grab a high share of international traffic, hurting state-run Air India. Air India could not be reached for comment. The A380 can carry more than 800 passengers in a single-class configuration and more than 500 passengers in a three-class set up. The aviation ministry said Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa had all expressed an interest in operating A380s in India on various international routes. "We will be reviewing our existing operations, and look forward to serving Indian travellers with our flagship aircraft in the near future," an Emirates spokesman said, adding a decision would depend on passenger demand. A Lufthansa spokesman said the carrier would look at the possibility using A380s on flights to India, but had no plan at the moment. Germany's largest airline has 10 A380s.

Singapore Airlines, which is setting up a full-service carrier in India in a joint venture with Tata Group, said it would consider flying A380s into India. The rule change will also benefit British Airways that operates the superjumbo and flies to India, as well as A380 customers like Etihad and Qatar Airways who have yet to take delivery of the aircraft. Etihad last year bought a 24 per cent stake in India's Jet Airways and the two carriers are expanding flights. Big planes Rising income levels are seeing more Indians fly in the country of 1.25 billion. India's overall passenger traffic is expected to triple to 452 million by 2020. India has consulted ground handling and immigration officials before changing the laws on the A380, Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said this month. His ministry said Monday's decision was taken after consulting the aviation regulator, Air India and the state-run airport operator Airports Authority of India. The state-run airport operator manages 125 airports in the country. The four airports equipped to handle A380s are managed by private sector companies. Amber Dubey, head of aerospace and defence at KPMG's Indian unit, said the A380s would help bring down fares and improve the competitiveness of Indian tourism sector, adding it would also boost the efficiency of airports. None of the Indian carriers have A380s on order. Airbus recently said it cancelled A380s ordered by grounded Kingfisher Airlines.

Export duty on iron ore pellets raised; excise up on tobacco items


New Delhi, January 27: New Delhi, January 27Exporting iron ore pellets will become costlier, as the Finance Ministry has raised the Customs duty. At the same time, excise duty (levied at the factory gate) on pan masala and tobacco products, including gutka, chewing tobacco and filter khaini, has also been revised upwards. Iron ore pellets are made from iron ore fines and used in making steel. Iron ore fines and lumps attract an export duty of 30 per cent. Iron ore pellets are, however, exempt from export duty. In 2012-13, exports of iron ore pellets were negligible. However, in April-November 2013, exports of iron ore pellets have risen sharply, causing an apprehension about shortage of iron ore in the country, said a Finance Ministry statement. The Government has also increased the duty on pan masala and tobacco products packed in pouches. These products attract excise duty on the basis of the production capacity, which is determined by the speed of the machines used to pack pouches.

Mahindra to invest Rs. 500 crore on commercial vehicle development


New Delhi: Mahindra Trucks and Buses Ltd, part of the Mahindra group, plans to invest Rs. 500 crore in 2-3 year on developing new products and strengthening of the line-up of commercial vehicles.

Mangalore to host cashew exporters meet


Mangalore, January 27: The Karnataka Cashew Manufacturers Association (KCMA), in association with the Federation of Indian Export Organisations and Visvesvaraya Trade Promotion Council, will organise an Exporters Meet in Mangalore on January 29. A press statement by the association said the meeting would discuss demand constraints, supplyside bottlenecks and policy issues, and other constraints, including domestic regulations and non-tariff barriers, being faced by Mangalore-based exporters. H.A.C. Prasad, Senior Economic Advisor (Additional Secretary), Union Ministry of Finance, will address the participants. Walter DSouza, Chairman of FIEO (southern region), will showcase the strengths of the region and flag off issues concerning pending infrastructure projects in the region. He will also make a presentation on the disproportionate transaction costs Indian exporters are subjected to, compared to their counterparts, and the need to reduce them at every level of the supply/value chain. K. Sudhakar Kamath, President of KCMA, will make a representation to H.A.C. Prasad on the requirements of the cashew industry and its growth, the statement said.

The meeting would discuss demand constraints, supply-side bottlenecks and policy issues, and other constraints.