QBiz: No H-1B Visas for Infosys Juniors; FPIs Pump in $3.4 Bn

A roundup of important business news.

1) Infosys Decides Not to Apply For H-1B Visas For Juniors

Infosys has decided not to apply for H-1B visas for junior employees, three sources with knowledge of the matter told the Economic Times, as the IT company comes to terms with the prospect of a tougher regulations governing the work visas.

“The company is not applying for visas for employee with under four years of experience. We are talking to clients about offshoring more work to India, and the work done by junior employees can be brought to India,” an executive at the company told ET.

A second executive confirmed that the company had not raised visa requests for systems engineers and senior systems engineers, among the lowest rungs in the Infosys corporate ladder.

(Source: Economic Times)

2) Cognizant May Fire 6,000 Employees

Cognizant is expected to fire more than 6,000 employees as part of its regular appraisal cycle this year, two sources told the Economic Times. Media reports have suggested as many as 10,000 could be let go though it has been specified that this is part of Cognizant's normal appraisal process.

“This is part of the normal cycle. And Cognizant will not be alone in this, most IT companies will have rigorous appraisal process this and employees who have not taken efforts to reskill will not find it easy in the next two years,” a source with knowledge of the matter told ET.

In a typical year, Cognizant generally lets go of 2-3 percent of its workforce, who are under-performers. Cognizant has over 2,65,000 employees.

(Source: Economic Times)

3) E-Commerce Firms to Pay up to 1% Tax Collected at Source Under GST

E-commerce firms like Snapdeal and Amazon will have to mandatorily deduct up to 1 percent tax collected at source (TCS) while making payments to their suppliers under the goods and services tax (GST) regime which is expected to kick in from 1 July.

The model GST law, finalised by the GST council, provides for 1 percent TCS to be deducted by the e-commerce operators.

The model law provides that every electronic commerce operator, not being an agent, shall collect up to 1 percent TCS, as may be notified on the recommendations of the council, of the net value of taxable supplies made through it by other suppliers where the consideration with respect to such supplies is to be collected by the operator.

(Source: Livemint)

4) Adani to Start Mining Coal From Australia in 2020

India’s Adani Group plans to begin extracting coal from the $16.5 billion Carmichael project in Australia in 2020 after environmental protests had delayed the first phase of the mine.

The company will begin work on the project three months after it gets final approval from Australia’s federal government, Gautam Adani, billionaire chairman of the Indian group said on Friday. Adani expects permission from Malcolm Turnbull’s government for the project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin as early as May, he said.

Protests against Australia’s largest coal project had delayed production, prompting the company to cut underground mining capacity by 38 percent. Environmentalists are concerned that the development will threaten vulnerable species including a lizard known as the yakka skink, as well as the Great Barrier Reef.

(Source: BloombergQuint)

5) 80% of Informal Economy to Be Brought Under Formal Sector: Nadda

More than 80 per cent of informal economic activities, especially in the retail sector, will be brought into formal economy through digitalisation and cash-less transactions, Union minister J P Nadda said. It will increase the number of tax payers with availability of adequate funds for development, the Union Health Minister said at ‘Digidhan Mela’ in Shimla.

He said 27 crore savings bank accounts were opened under Jan Dhan Yojana with a deposit of Rs 63,800 crore and that this amount could be used for economic development.

(Source: Financial Express)

6) Foreign Investors Pump in $3.4 Billion in March

Foreign investors pumped in $3.4 billion in the capital markets so far this month, buoyed by expectations that BJP’s landslide poll victory is a precursor to “bold reformist policies” by the government.

The latest inflow follows a net investment of Rs 15,862 crore in equity and debt last month. Prior to that, FPIs had pulled out a total of over Rs 80,000 crore in October-January.

According to depository data, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) infused a net sum of Rs 17,124 crore in equities during 1-17 March and another Rs 4,950 crore in the debt segment, translating into a combined inflow of Rs 22,074 crore ($3.44 billion).

(Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

7) Centre to Infuse Rs 8,586 Cr Capital in 10 Weak Banks

Contrary to its earlier stand of infusing fresh capital in strong banks, the central government has decided to infuse fresh capital totalling Rs 8,586 crore into 10 weak banks subject to commitment to quarterly milestones by bank boards, management, employees and unions, said a top leader of All India Bank Employees' Union (AIBEA).

He also said SBI caps will draw a bank wise action plan based on which a tripartite agreement between the government, bank management and employee unions will be signed committing themselves towards certain milestones.

(Source: Economic Times)

8) BSNL-MTNL Merger to Be “Advantageous”

Amid renewed push for BSNL-MTNL merger, BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava has said the combination will be “advantageous” for both the state-owned telecom firms but issues pertaining to debt and salary structure will need to be sorted out first.

A Parliamentary panel report has pointed out that the telecom department is planning to place the merger proposal before the cabinet by June. The standing committee on information technology last week had said: “On the plan for merger of BSNL and MTNL, the same would be taken to cabinet before June.”

Earlier, a top-level meeting at the telecom department last month discussed the possibility of merging both the entities that are facing financial stress due to increasing competition in the sector.

(Source: Livemint)

9) LeEco Not to Exit India

Amid reports of layoffs leading to speculation of LeEco’s possible exit from India, the Chinese electronic firm said it remained committed to the Indian market and is revamping its strategy with an eye on turning profitable within a year.

The company has also dropped plans to open exclusive offline products store for now.

“India is one of the most strategic markets for LeEco,” Alex Li, group vice president and COO LeEco India said. “We will definitely not exit. We will continue to launch new products, service existing customers and acquire new ones. Yes, we did have some change in strategy, but we want to have a consistent and sustainable business in India. This is a long-term strategy.”

(Source: The Hindu)