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Govt launches SoNwvereign Gold Bonds today. Click to find all about it

The government is preparing to tap on the surge in gold-buying during the festive season. It will launch the next batch of sovereign gold bond (SGB) scheme on October 9. This batch is second in the financial year 2017-2018. Why SGBs? The SGB offers an alternative to owning gold in physical form. It is safe as it eliminates the risks and costs of storage. SGB is also free from issues like making charges and purity as in the case of gold in the form of jewellery. The bonds are held in the books of the RBI or in Demat form eliminating risk of loss of scrip etc.  All that you need to know about the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 1.Where can investors get the application form? The application form will be provided by the issuing banks/designated Post Offices/agents. Forms can also be downloaded fro...

Now, Aadhaar made mandatory for post office savings too

Taking the Aadhaar compliance ahead, the Finance Ministry has now made Aadhaar mandatory for even small saving schemes. People eager to save through post office deposits and Public Provident Fund too will need to get their accounts linked with Aadhaar. Kisan Vikas Patra and National Savings Certificate too would require Aadhaar or Aadhaar enrollment number. What about non-Aadhaar savers? Where Aadhaar number has not been assigned, the depositor shall submit proof of application of enrolment for Aadhaar. All depositors have been given time till December 31, 2017 to provide the 12-digit unique identification number and link it with their accounts. Why Aadhaar? The Aadhaar-linking move by the government is to crack down on tax evaders and black money hoarders. Earlier, the Finance Ministry ma...

Have we identified the caretakers of mentally-ill? Is it Government, Doctors, Families or Community?

After the introduction of the Mental Healthcare Bill in India, we thought the moment of reckoning has arrived. The bill promised lot of ground level action by putting clinical resources in place. More than that, a mental healthcare bill meant that there should be, or is already, deeper recognition of the prevailing problem in India. At least, it marked the beginning of a formal recognition of what we commonly associate with stigmatisation, family neglect, lack of treatment accessibility and so forth. Bill overlooks many ground facts The fact that institutional based care is now available, at least in the papers, is unfortunately not good enough. Because, only if mentally ill patients are sent for clinical treatment, will the unthinkable happen. The problem is deep-rooted in India, agreed; ...

Waste on my plate: Startups making protein food from landfill gas

If this agro start-up has its way, we may have the gas from the waste-landfills as some solid food on our plates.  String Bio in Bengaluru is turning methane from the waste landfills into edible protein. The idea is not new Calysta Inc in California, a biotechnology firm, has also separately discovered ways to turn methane into protein. What’s the idea? A liquid containing the methane gas is fed to the bacteria found in soil. This sparks a fermentation process (similar to making beer) but unlike alcohol, protein is released into the water. This protein is then dried into a brown powder. Can that be eaten? The product is not ready for human consumption yet but it is already being used in animal feeds. About the taste The producers say that the taste is similar to whey — a protein deri...

Government permits 100% FDI in food retail

Giving a major boost to retailers and grocery startups such as Bigbasket and Grofers, the Indian government in June 2016 allowed 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in food retail, including via e-commerce, provided such products are produced, processed or manufactured in India. Permission for B2C food retail operations The move will allow multi-brand retail players such as Walmart to begin operations in B2C food retail. Till now, the US giant was only running a B2B food business with a strong backend infrastructure, since FDI in multi-brand retail was hitherto not allowed in India. Similarly, it will also help Indian hyper-local grocery startups like Grofers and BigBasket to raise funds more easily. According to a certain Walmart official, the 100 % FDI permit will help to minimize food ...

Startup Incubator Techstar to commence operations in India

US-based startup accelerator, Techstars has launched its operations in India to join a league of foreign players like Microsoft, Google and Oracle who have launched accelerators to capitalize on India’s growing startup ecosystem. Techstars enters into a JV with ANSR As part of its foray into India, Techstars has forged a joint venture with ANSR Consulting- which helps global companies build and manage in-house or external accelerators and similar startup-centric infrastructure. ANSR is backed by Infosys and Accel Partners, and through its innovation arm Kyron, also operates startup-led programmes for its corporate partners. Founded in 2016, Techstars operates globally (including NYC, Tel Aviv and London) and has accepted over 1000 early-stage startup ventures into its programme, and their ...

Flipkart becomes the third most funded private firm globally

With the Japanese conglomerate Softbank’s Vision Fund investing $ 2.4 billion, Flipkart has become the world’s third most funded private company, and also the most funded e-commerce startup. Flipkart, which is Amazon’s main domestic rival in the fray for dominance of India’s online retail market, has till now raised almost $ 7 billion in capital, higher than the funding raised by global giants like US-based online house rental aggregator Airbnb ($ 3.3 billion) and China-based smartphone maker Xiaomi ($ 1.4 billion). The top two spots are taken by ride-hailing companies – China-based Didi Chuxing with a total of $ 15 billion funding raised and US-based Uber which has raised $ 12.9 billion. Among the top 10, four represent ride-hailing platforms; the other two are Silicon Valley-based ...

Why Estonia promises to be an ideal destination for Indian startups

After failing to draw attention from Indian investors, Indian entrepreneurs Deepak Solanki and Saurabh set up their business in Estonia with the support of accelerator BuildIt. After signing up for Estonia’s Residency Program, the duo registered their firm Velmenni, a startup venture that is developing light fidelity (LiFi) technology, a system that uses LED light bulbs to enable high-speed data transfer across devices. Now, Velmenni services clients in Germany, France and a few Nordic countries through their offices in Tartu and New Delhi. Many Indian startup advisors and investors are advising their entrepreneurs to take advantage of Estonia’s Residency Program to develop their technology products in Estonia, build an international clientele and gain access to the EU market. How the Resi...

Mswipe raises $31 mn in fourth-funding backed by UC-RNT Fund, others

Mumbai-based mPOS startup, Mswipe raised $ 31 million from a joint venture capital between Ratan Tata`s RNT Associates and the University of California (UC-RNT Fund). The Series D funding round has also seen participation from existing investors Matrix Partners India, Falcon Edge Capital and DSG Consumer Partners. However, existing investor Axis Bank decided to exit the fin-tech startup divesting its 8 % stake in the firm which represented 1,90,500 shares worth Rs. 80.94 Crore. Utilize funds to widen user base across cities Mswipe, which makes credit card swipe machines, will utilize the additional funds to develop the large network of merchants accepting digital payments in India. Earlier, the startup has acquired PayU`s offline POS division, and partnered with Samsung Play, Sodexo and la...

Fintech startup Ezetap raises $ 16 million

Fin-tech startup Ezetap, which offers merchant payments solutions, raised $ 16 million in a funding round led by JS Capital Management, the US-based VC arm of Jonathan Soros. As part of the round, existing investors, Social Capital and Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures, also increased their stake in the startup. Ezetap had raised $ 23.53 million in a Series C funding round in August 2015. Ezetap is a mobile point of sale (mPOS) platform that claims to be the first to move payments to a pure software-as-a-service business model used by merchants in India to accept digital transactions. It currently claims to have a user base of more than 200k merchants across India. Fund utilization The company will be using the additional funds as growth capital to increase its sales, customer base and enh...

Indian fin-tech startups disrupting the UAE financial space

India’s disruptive tech-startups are increasingly finding financial support and growth prospects in UAE, as the Middle East nation aspires to be a technology hub and address its immediate growth needs across sectors, especially in finance. While India’s fin-tech sector exponentially grew in 2015 with investments touching the $2 billion mark, UAE is recently showing signs of steady growth. According to a Wamda report, the number of fin-tech emerging in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will reach 250 by 2020 and will be primarily involved in offering payment solutions, P2P lending or raising capital. Remitr, an Indian startup offering cross-border payment services, was invited by a Dubai-based incubator summoned In5 Innovation Hub to collaborate in providing financial resources...

To solve perennial water problems, India signs MoUs with Israel

Taking the bilateral cooperation between India and Israel to the next level, PM Modi and PM Netanyahu signed two agreements in July 2017 to cooperate in areas of water conservation and management. • MoU for water conservation in India: The agreement will help India learn advanced water conservation, water purification and its efficient use from Israel, known globally for their water conservation technology. It will provide succor to the water scarce regions of the vast country and with water conservation, productivity in agriculture will also increase. • MoU on State Water Utility Reform in India: The introduction of reforms on the use of water across states will help India in developing and implementing best practices, thereby India’s water crisis. According to an ISAS Insights research a...

2016-17. www.IndiaHub.com

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