Friday, April 19, 2013

ESCAP flagship Survey calls for a paradigm shift in macroeconomic policies to make growth inclusive and sustainable

Asia-Pacific economies will see subdued growth in 2013 after last year’s sharp slowdown caused by external factors, the United Nations said here today, adding that efforts to stimulate demand must go hand in hand with macroeconomic course correction to promote broad-based and sustainable development.
Noting that the region’s economic progress has been marked by widening income inequalities and severe natural resources depletion, the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2013: Forward-looking macroeconomic policies for inclusive and sustainable development argues that macroeconomic policies can play a vital role in reorienting the region towards a more inclusive and sustainable growth path – a high priority of its post-2015 development agenda.
Inclusive and environment-friendly growth is key to creating new sources of economic dynamism amidst the persisting global uncertainty, says the flagship publication of the Bangkok, Thailand-based United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) which estimates that economic policy uncertainty in the eurozone and the United States since the onset of the global crisis has shaved 3 per cent off regional GDP – a loss of $870 billion in output.
“The 2013 Survey reminds us that this is no time for complacency, as the need for a more inclusive and sustainable pattern of economic and social development continues to be critical,” United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer said in her preface to the Survey.
“In the light of the region’s high degree of economic insecurity, large development and infrastructure gaps and heightened environmental fragility along with extreme exposure to climate change-related risks, it is necessary to better balance the stabilization and the developmental roles of macroeconomic policies,” Executive Secretary Heyzer added.

Limited pick up in growth

The expected improvement in global demand arising from steady growth in the United States and the limited rebound in major emerging economies is projected to help raise developing Asia-Pacific growth to 6.0 per cent in 2013 from 5.6 per cent last year.
China is estimated to record a moderate increase in growth from 7.8 per cent in 2012 to 8 per cent while India is projected to recover somewhat from last year’s low of 5 per cent to 6.4 per cent in 2013.
Oil and gas exporting North and Central Asia will continue to benefit from high global energy prices, maintaining steady growth. In South and South-West Asia, the economies of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka are projected to grow 6 per cent or more in 2013.
The export-led economies in East and North-East Asia as well as South-East Asia are expected to gain from “improved, although still tepid, global trade”. However, domestic demand will be the main economy driver in Indonesia, giving it a robust growth of 6.6 per cent in 2013. Strong private consumption will support growth in the Philippines (6.2 per cent in 2013) and Thailand (5.3 per cent in 2013) while Viet Nam’s economy is expected to pick up in the second half of 2013 to 5.5 per cent.
Growth is expected to decelerate in Pacific island developing economies in 2013 due to a sharp, energy sector-led slowdown in Papua New Guinea, the largest Pacific island economy.

“New normal” of lower growth underlines need to make development inclusive and sustainable

The Survey cautions that “much lower growth compared to recent years could become a new normal for many regional economies if present economic trends were to continue” and this could cause an estimated economic output loss of about $1.3 trillion by end-2017.
Long-term structural issues, such as rising inequality, energy and infrastructure shortages are compounding the regional slowdown and the Survey says the “structural solution to invigorating the domestic drivers of growth…will lie in making the development process more inclusive and sustainable”.
With the region home to nearly two-third of the world’s poor and having more than a billion people with insecure livelihoods, the Survey highlights the economic benefits of social protection. It makes a first-time estimation of the public investment requirement of a package of social protection and sustainable development policies comprising a job guarantee programme, a universal pension scheme, disability benefits, increased public health spending , universal school enrolment and universal access to modern sources of efficient energy.
Requiring between 5 and 8 per cent of GDP in many Asia-Pacific countries surveyed, this can be self-financed by most countries, although least developed countries, some geographically disadvantaged nations and small island developing states would also require external support.
Moreover, these investments do not carry any risk of macroeconomic destabilization.

Thailand and China show the way

Among measures to support inclusive development, the Survey makes a case for a minimum wage policy which can also benefit employers and the economy. It estimates that the recent minimum wage hikes in Thailand could increase job growth by up to 0.6 per cent and real GDP growth by 0.7 per cent by 2015.
Another model of a pro-inclusive growth policy is the ongoing rebalancing of China’s economy which aims to reduce reliance on exports and boost domestic consumption-driven demand by promoting inclusive and sustainable growth. ESCAP estimates this will also benefit intraregional trade, triggering an additional $13 billion worth of exports by other Asia-Pacific countries to China during 2013-2015 and cause regional export growth to pick up by up to 0.5 percentage points above the level it would otherwise have been.
“The good news is that Asia and the Pacific has already started to rethink and reinvent itself. These efforts should be supported, enhanced and propagated throughout all countries in the region,” Dr. Heyzer said.
VentureNursery readies for acceleration program Season-3 in May ‘13
Start up applications to be evaluated using tech platform from VentureNursery
Season-2 graduate InterviewMaster
Mumbai April 19, 2013
Up to eight differentiated ideas of passionate start-ups, from Media and Entertainment, Retail, e-Commerce, Consumer Technology, Education and CleanTech sectors, will get an opportunity to be mentored and groomed by the team at VentureNursery. The Season-3 of the acceleration program by VentureNursery, India’s first angel-backed startup accelerator begins May 2013 in Mumbai.
Four start-ups participating in the Season-2 of the acceleration program--InterviewMaster, Klip, Smart Sample and The Venturator--graduated last week.
The first two acceleration boot camps of VentureNursery attracted over 300 applicants from 27 cities. One of the portfolio companies at Venture Nursery, Oravel, an online value stays portal, secured seed funding from VentureNursery angels in September 2012.
For the convenience of startups from distant locations like Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Calicut, Chandigarh, Kanpur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Nasik, Patna among other, VentureNursery will use a technology platform from InterviewMaster to seek responses from the shortlisted startups from the comfort of their work places, asynchronously.
InterviewMaster platform will help VentureNursery to get to know the applicants, understand the team's clarity on the concept and gauge their passion and commitment.
In addition, it will allow the team to evaluate the lot of applicants via video rather than a text-based application.
Inviting new applicants, Ravi Kiran, Co-founder, VentureNursery said, “Enabling fledgling ideas to bloom into business opportunities is a wonderful experience.  Transferring the experience of VentureNursery’s 50 angels, experts and mentors to the start-ups will help us create many such opportunities.”
VentureNursery helps in five broad areas: active mentoring by successful entrepreneurs and senior executives, access to good quality business support partners at a competitive price or gratis, business connections, opportunity to learn from other start-ups and an opportunity to raise seed funding.
Shravan Shroff, Co-founder, VentureNursery added, “VentureNursery’s active acceleration approach helps budding start-ups to work on their weak areas in a focused manner. More and more start-ups are approaching us to bridge their business gaps.”
Entrepreneurs whose ideas have been in the making for 6 to 9 months can apply online ( this month.
VentureNursery team will review and shortlist start-ups for interview using InterviewMaster. Up to eight start ups will be selected for the Season 3 and announced in May 2013.
VentureNursery set up by well known entrepreneur Shravan Sarnoff (who founded Fame Cinemas) and eminent marketing and management expert Ravi Kiran (former CEO, South East and South Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group) in March, 2012 was joined by 10 Individual angel investors and two Institutional investors as the country’s first Charter Angel group dedicated to an accelerator.
VentureNursery Executive VP, Apoorv Ranjan Sharma says, “VentureNursery will offer a customised mentoring program for 13 weeks. The program begins with identification of the key gaps and challenge areas in each participating start-up by the Angels-in-Residence.”
“These challenge areas are then addressed through multiple mentoring sessions by experienced serial entrepreneurs, Charter Angels, VCs, technologists and senior corporate managers. The feedback given by each advisor and investor is then collated and incorporated into the business plan of the participating start-up,” adds Sharma.
VentureNursery leverages its strong network and introduces startups to potential co-founders, if needed. On successful completion of the program, each start-up is given an opportunity to present its business idea to Charter Angels and Angels-in-Residence for feedback and potential seed-funding. VentureNursery continues to support start-ups even after the acceleration program is over.
Brief on VentureNursery Graduates from Season-2
InterviewMaster, the next generation ‘Candidate Pre Screening’ tool, is an innovative web application which helps conduct Interviews without an Interviewer. It creates one-way video interviews where job applicants respond to pre-set questions without a live person on the other side. The job applicants can record the interviews anytime convenient to them and hiring managers can watch and share the interviews with their team when they have time, thus providing complete scheduling flexibility.
InterviewMaster's advantage is it helps ensure companies meet meritorious candidates for face to face round, avoid interview scheduling conflicts, fraud telephonic interviews and location constraints.  Using Interview Master for recruitment can lead to 90% savings in time and cost compared to traditional methods. The estimated savings is more than Rs 10 million per 1000 hiring. InterviewMaster is co-founded by a group of dedicated enthusiasts from IIT Bombay and NMIMS having experience of working with MNCs like KPMG, National Instruments and Larsen & Toubro.
Klip is a Social Curation tool that helps users discover interesting lifestyle and fashion products. The past couple of years have seen a lot of new players in e-commerce space in India. It has made interesting and offbeat products accessible to the consumers. However, the consumers, not exposed to all the products and stores, spend time searching for things that match their taste. Klip, aggregates all the products on one platform, and curates them based on the users social connections and interest graph and simplifies the process of product discovery.
Smart Sample
Smart Sample is an evolving community of new product enthusiasts. The platform enables the user to not only voice her feedback but also try and experience new products and services. Marketers generate trial, awareness and advocacy through SMART SAMPLE community of more than 1,00,000 plus trained volunteer brand evangelists by providing them free samples and accelerating word of mouth to drive sales. The start-up is founded by marketing professional having experience of working with leading FMCG majors and is also a serial entrepreneur.
The Venturator
The Venturator is an online marketplace that connects start-ups with eco-system enablers. With its exclusive start-up business driven focus, it aspires to be the first of its kind of social media portal that helps early stage start-ups to connect to the right resource pool, thereby accelerating their growth in the shortest time span. It works on an invite-based model and signing up is free. The Venturator is founded by an experienced start-up media professional.
What is an Accelerator and how does it work
In an accelerator program, start-ups have access to the mind of gurus--advisors, angels and other experts. They propel the start-ups to an accelerated path of business building, via their vast experience and guidance.
If the start ups respond to the Guru’s inputs and create a potentially viable business, the Gurus may invest seed money which could be used to develop a product prototype or a service offering framework.
However, only the angels invest money, while others mentor the start-ups during the difficult phase of launch and expansion.
About VentureNursery [@venturenursery]
Venture Nursery is India’s first angel-backed start-up accelerator.  It was established in March 2012 by two like-minded Angel Investors -Shravan Shroff, Founder and former MD, Fame Cinemas and Ravi Kiran, former CEO-South East & South Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group and Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Friends of Ambition.
Based on its belief that the angel ecosystem must focus primarily on maximising the success potential of start-ups, VentureNursery undertakes an intensive and immersive coaching and mentoring role in the chosen start-ups and helps them with end-to-end infrastructural and learning support.
VentureNursery conducts a minimum of two boot camps annually in Mumbai and targets to accommodate up to eight start-ups in each program. At the end of each program, successfully graduating start-ups are evaluated for investment by a dozen strong group of committed and seasoned angel investors.
Although designed to be sector agnostic in the long run, VentureNursery focuses on six sectors at present, – Media & Entertainment, Retail, e-Commerce, Consumer Technology, Education and CleanTech.
In addition to the Angels-in-Residence and Charter Angels, VentureNursery works with a group of 40 Advisors-in-Residence and Executives-in-Residence to provide complete support to the start-ups.
For queries, please contact:
Sanjiv Kataria, Strategic Communications and PR Counsel
Sanjiv dot Kataria at gmail dot com +91 98100 49095

Sindhu upsets former world no. 1 Shixian Wang of China in Taipei

19 04 2013
Indian shuttler P V Sindhu pulled off an upset victory over former world No. 1 Shixian Wang of China to storm into the women’s singles quarterfinals of the Badminton Asia Championship in Taipei on Thursday.
World number 16 Sindhu, who is the lone Indian woman in the fray in the absence of star compatriot Saina Nehwal, came back from a game down to win 15-21 21-14 22-20 in a tense contest.
It took the unseeded Indian an hour and two minutes to overcome the current world No. 6 Chinese in what was their first-ever encounter.
Sindhu will take on seventh seed Eriko Hirose of Japan in the last-eight stage of the competition.
The 17-year-old Hyderabadi, who has earned the reputation of being a giant-killer, turned out to be more aggressive than her fancied opponent as she went on to hit 14 smash winners as opposed to the 10 hit by the third seeded Wang.
However, India’s campaign ended at the men’s singles event after world no. 7 Parupalli Kashyap lost his third round match to Huan Gao of China.
The 15th seeded Chinese outplayed Kashyap, seeded fourth, 21-19 21-15 in 50 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Kashyap had won his second round match against Han Chou Chu of Taipei 21-17 21-19 in 31 minutes.
Sai Praneeth, meanwhile, failed to cross the second round hurdle, going down 15-21 16-21 to sixth seeded Zhengming Wang in 36 minutes.
It was a disappointing show by the Indians in the doubles category as well.
The doubles women’s pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Pradnya Gadre lost the second round match against Lok Yan Poon and Ying Suet Tse of Hong Kong 15-21 11-21 in just 26 minutes.
On Wednesday, all other Indian combinations in men’s, women’s and mixed doubles categories had already lost their respective first round ties


Redefining Payments, Simplifying Lives!
New Delhi, April 18, 2013 – PayU India, the fastest growing online payment company in country, today, launched PayUPaisa, a revolutionary web based product which empower buyers to pay and sellers to get paid online. It’s a first product of its own kind in India which allows any individual or a business to go online in a matter of few minutes and start collecting online payments. The product is free for sellers and provides beneficial selling tools like a free webstore, free storefront and email invoicing. On the other hand, PayUPaisa has a strong dispute resolution centre to safeguard buyers and keep their money safe even when they have paid for a product or service.
Why Sellers will use PayUPaisa:
What actually hinders a seller in India to come online and sell? (a) Seller needs to invest time and money in making a website (b) Investment required in getting a payment gateway (c) Series of documentation process which has a significant lead time
PayUPaisa solves all these 3 problems: It’s FREE, It’s FAST and everything is ONLINE including the documentations process.
FREE & FAST: PayUPaisa enables a seller to make a free webstore in few minutes. The seller can upload the logo of his store, information regarding the store, contact details etc. He can upload as many product as he wants along with product images. Once he’s through this short process, he can publish his store on web and publicise the URL of his store on social networking platforms and thereby pull in the consumer traffic. By default every store on PayUPaisa has a free payment gateway integrated in it (powered by PayU) This way a seller clears two major roadblocks when it comes to online selling
ALL ONLINE: For the first time, a payment company has introduced the concept of ONLINE DOCUMENTATION. This means no more lengthy signups or bulky form fill ups. No physical documentation required and not even scanned copies. If anyone wants to sell online all he/she needs to do is just punch in the PAN card number, bank account details and the verification process is over!
A PayUPaisa store looks like:
Seller Use Cases: Who can be a seller on PayUPaisa? Virtually anyone! Be it a small handicraft seller in chandi chowk or an individual who wants to sell paintings online. A school which wants to collect fees online, a Housing society which needs to collect maintenance fees, an event organizer which intends to collect entry fee/ticket fee, a restaurant which wants to get paid for home delivery etc.
Why Buyers will use PayUPaisa: Because PayUPaisa safeguard buyer’s money and protect him through its strong dispute resolution process. PayUPaisa has various safety checkpoints to make online buying totally safe.
Safety Checkpoint 1: A buyer purchases a product from any PayuPaisa webstore or storefront, his money is kept safely with PayUPaisa and is not released to the seller in first go.
Safety Checkpoint 2: When the seller sends a proof of product delivery to PayUPaisa or the buyer explicitly informs PayUPaisa to release the payments, only then the buyer’s money is transferred to the seller. In case if PayUPaisa doesn’t receive any confirmation from the buyer in 3 days after the product delivery, the payments is released to the seller by default.
What if something goes wrong with the buyer’s placed order?
Safety Checkpoint 3: In an unlikely case, where a buyer faces a problem with the delivered product, he can raise a quick dispute with PayUPaisa’s dispute resolution team. This team will resolve the dispute in an unbiased way so that the buyer does not face any financial loss. The dispute needs to be resolved in maximum 12 working days and PayUPaisa refunds back the money to the buyer if the dispute is found to be genuine.
PayUPaisa’s Buyer Protection Mechanism
For a country like ours which has a population of over 1.2 billion out of which more than 300 Million have a bank account, and an internet penetration which exceeds 150 million; only fewer than 7 million people actively buying online is a miniscule number. What is even more disappointing is that with over 30 Million SMEs and around 5 Million freelancers in India, fewer than 10,000 people sell online today. PayUPaisa was born out of these needs and intends to solve the above problems. Our objective is to enable 1 million sellers and 20 million buyers on PayUPaisa platform in the next 3. We will redefine the way payments will happen in this country and believe PayUPaisa is a market disrupting payment solution.” quoted Nitin Gupta, Co-founder and CEO at PayU India.
About PayUPaisa
PayUPaisa is brought to you by PayU India which is India’s fastest growing online payment company.
Founded in October 2011, It started as the 14th Player in the online payments space and offered payment gateway solutions to the e-commerce businesses. Owing to its innovation leveraging technology, patent pending algorithms, robust sales force and amazing customer service, PayU achieved the feat of having the highest merchant acquisition rate in the country. PayU’s success story is seconded by the fact that is now the NO.1 payment aggregator in the Indian e-commerce category and No.3 player in the overall payments Industry. PayU services more than 4000 merchants as on date. Its merchant clientele includes names like Goibibo, Snapdeal, Bookmyshow, Jabong, Ferns n Petals, Freecharge, Zomato, Tradus, Rechargeitnow and Groupon India.
PayU India is headquartered in Pearl Tower, Gurgoan and has regional offices in Mumbai and Bangalore. It’s close to 150 people strong and has dedicated Pan India teams for Engineering, sales, operations, customer support, dispute resolution and marketing.

Union Tourism Minister Shri K. Chiranjeevi today Inaugurated the new sprawling campus of Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) at Dumduma in Bhubaneswar. Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha and Shri Srikant Jena, Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers, Statistics and Programme Implementation also graced the occasion.

IITTM, Bhubaneswar started its activities in October 1996 when the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India opened the first regional centre of IITTM at Bhubaneswar. Eyeing the immense potential of tourism in Eastern India and realizing the growing popularity of this region on the tourism map of the country led to the establishment of this centre which was named after the famous freedom fighter of the state Baji Rauta. Initially the centre functioned from a building provided by the State Govt. at Sishubhawan Square.

IITTM offers fulltime post graduate programmes in Travel and Tourism Management . Now with the opening of a full-fledged Campus in Bhubaneswar, IITTM is expected to begin a new chapter in the quality of Tourism and Travel education in the eastern region. Besides imparting quality education in its respective area, IITTM Bhubaneswar, since inception has been committed to sensitize and upgrade the skills of existing manpower of tourism and allied sectors in the eastern region. The Institute has accordingly conducted many programmes targeted at staff of travel agencies, tour operators, officials of the State Tourism Dept., Indian Railways and State Police personnel etc.

Moreover many Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDPs) and Management Development Programmes (MDPs) have also been conducted for the unemployed youth of the region in general and state in particular. Further, to enrich the knowledge on tourism education and research many Faculty Development programmes (FDPs) have been conducted by the Institute for University and College teachers. Besides this, the Institute also organises Seminars and Workshops at frequent intervals.

Local favourite Mithun Perera storms into lead at Sri Lanka Ports Authority Open 2013

Colombo, April 18, 2013: Local favourite Mithun Perera shot a brilliant seven-under-64 to open up a three shot advantage in round three of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Open 2013 at the Royal Colombo Golf Club. Colombo-based Perera now has a total score of 13-under-200. Bangladesh  Zamal Hossain Mollah is placed second with a total of 10-under-203.

Mithun Perera (69-67-64), who shot a bogey-free round on Thursday, hit a purple patch with three consecutive birdies from the fifth through the seventh and thus made the turn at three-under. On the back nine, Mithun had another golden run of three consecutive birdies from the 10th through the 12th. The three-time winner on the PGTI made his last birdie of the day on the 17th to end up with a blemish-free round of 64.

It was great to have a bogey-free round today. A seven-under- 64 is obviously a good score, but it could have been better as I had a few near misses. The course is in really good condition and greens are playing better than previous rounds. I think local knowledge helped me a lot, particularly with the speed of the greens. I hope I can continue to exploit the local conditions and capitalize on the three-shot lead,said Perera, who climbed from overnight tied sixth to the top of the leaderboard.

Md Zamal Hossain Mollah (70-64-69) stayed within striking distance of Mithun with a two-under-69 that gave him a cumulative score of 10-under. Zamal started with a bogey on the first but then birdied holes 4, 5, 7, 10 and 11. Back-to-back bogeys on 14, 16 and 17 pushed him back but he sank another close putt on 18thto finish his round with a birdie.

Overnight leader Anura Rohana had a tough day on the greens and came up with a one-over-72 to lie in third place at nine-under-204. hitting was decent but putting let me down. I could not convert some close putts and was a little unfortunate on the eighth where my 20-foot putt came to rest on the edge of the hole. I hope for the best tomorrow,said Anura.

Rashid Khan and Chiragh Kumar were the highest-ranked Indians after round three. Both the golfers are five shots behind the leader at eight-under-205 in tied fourth.
Incredible India Website Crosses Two Million Hits Mark
The revamped Incredible India website has crossed two million hits mark today. It has started receiving almost six thousand hits every day. This major increase is the result of the Ministry of Tourism’s new policy to place a large number of services on the website in pursuit of the directions of Shri K.Chiranjeevi, Union Minister for Tourism to concentrate marketing efforts through the internet in proportion to the number of potential tourists using the internet vis-à-vis other traditional media.

A study commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism two months ago, revealed that in USA 15 percent of those polled received the Incredible India message through the internet, 15 percent through television, 26 percent through the print media and the remaining through at least two of the three media. In Australia, the figures were 14 percent for the internet, 19 percent for television and 22 percent for the print media and the remaining through two or more media.

Through the Incredible India website it is now possible for an internet user sitting in any part of the world to book a domestic airline ticket in India on the five main domestic airlines and also to book a hotel room at any hotel in India that is a member of one of the three major hotel associations.

The spurt in the popularity of is also attributed to a number of other services that have been put on the website, in collaboration with Google and its affiliate YouTube. Now anyone can watch complete recordings of 14 sound and light shows at different locations in India through a collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism and YouTube.

Anyone wishing to get a glimpse of the luxurious hospitality given to delegates of the recently concluded United Nations World Tourism Organisation conference held in Hyderabad can go through a video of the hospitality and entertainment provided at the various palaces of Hyderabad through a button on the home page of the Incredible India website. This film was produced free of charge by Shri Chiranjeevi’s own production company.

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