Education boost for Gauteng

first_imgWith 36 new schools opening in Gautengprovince alone in early 2012, morechildren will be able to receive a soundbasic education. (Image: Shamin Chibba)MEDIA CONTACTS • Charles Phahlane  Communications head, Gauteng   education dept  +27 11 355 1530 or +27 71 860 4496. RELATED ARTICLES • SA businesses urged to adopt schools • SA prioritises quality education • Zuma: SA to meet 2015 education goal • Tackling SA’s education challenges • Can drive raises R8.5m for educationEmily van RijswijckThe Gauteng Department of Education is making good on its promise to step up education efforts, with 36 new schools opening and 500 additional teachers reporting for duty in the first term of 2012.Another 300 pre-fabricated classrooms will also be added to existing schools where overcrowding is a problem.Thirteen of the schools will be ready to accept pupils when inland provinces start their 2012 academic year on 18 January, while another five will open later in the month.The remainder of the schools will be opened during the rest of the first term.While the majority of the new school buildings are pre-fabricated buildings, five of the new schools are solid brick and mortar structures.This brings the number of primary and secondary schools in the province to 2 595 – including independent, non-subsidised schools – with almost 72 000 teachers.The buildup to the new school year already starts six to eight months before, with teachers required to place orders for their support materials in May and actual pupil admissions taking place from August to October the year before.“It’s all systems go for the start of the new academic year,” education MEC Barbara Creecy confirmed at a recent press briefing, adding that the new facilities will go some way towards alleviating pressure in some of the overcrowded schools.Demand for learning space Of the nine provinces, Gauteng has seen the biggest rise in pupil numbers in recent years.According to Creecy, pupil numbers has been growing on average by 2% over the last five years, which means the province has to make space for about 36 000 additional children each year.The province has over 2-million pupils, while more than 14-million children attend school countrywide.“There is no other province that has experienced this level of demand for learning space,” said Creecy in her mid-term budget speech last year.In areas such as informal settlements, where it’s not always possible to build new schools, the education department has expanded its scholar transport scheme to accommodate these already disadvantaged children.In addition a budget of R100-million (US$12.5-million) has been allocated for pre-fabricated classrooms in schools where there is overcrowding.“We will provide 300 pre-fabricated classrooms and 100 pre-fabricated ablution blocks within the financial year,” said Creecy.Maintenance work at existing schools is also ongoing, with work in progress at 42 sites.Schools at the coast opened one week before, with the Western Cape Education Department welcoming pupils at 11 new schools in 2012. In 2011 the Gauteng education department opened six new schools.Aiming for millennium goals South Africa aims to eliminate all mud schools over the next three years and to improve basic safety and functionality of about 3 600 schools by 2014 as part of its contribution to the UN Millennium Development Goals, said President Jabob Zuma during a Parliamentarian session after his State of the Nation address in 2011.The Millennium Development Goal for education is to ensure that, by 2015, the majority of children all over the world are able to access and complete a full course of primary schooling. The government also hopes to increase enrolment rates in secondary schools to 95% by 2014.According to basic education minister Angie Motshekga, concerted efforts on the government’s part has resulted in rises in gross enrolment rates by 20% in primary education and about 15% in secondary education.“In fact, South Africa has almost achieved universal access in primary education,” said Motshekga at a December 2011 meeting on building public-private partnerships in education.Statistics South Africa’s 2010 general household survey found that nationally, 72,8% of persons aged 7 to 24 were attending educational institutions.Steady gains have been made since 2002, yet the number of young people not studying remains unacceptable – most respondents indicated that this was for financial reasons, a situation that the government is addressing. The right to basic education is entrenched in South Africa’s Constitution.Helping children to learnJust in Gauteng alone, almost 900 000 learners are attending the 1 237 no-fee schools, said Creecy. Of these children, over 800 000 also benefit from the government’s nutritional programme.Nationally, Statistics South Africa recorded that the percentage of pupils countrywide who paid no tuition fees increased from 0.7% in 2002 to 54.6% in 2010.To keep up with rising demands, the Gauteng education department’s budget has increased by over 13% from 2010/11 to 2011/12, with R25.9-billion ($3.2-billion) allocated for the current financial year.“Almost 74% of this budget will be spent on salaries for teachers, school administrative staff and office based personnel,” said Creecy.last_img read more

Pivots of the Web: What’s Next After Social Networking?

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market In this post we take a closer look at the paradigm shifts of the web, especially forthe near future. What approaches have dominated the web over the years and which ones failed; and why?Also, since Facebook is already widely accepted as the next big thing, the new questionis: what is the next “next big thing”? Is it already out there? To start withcheck out the graph below, summarizing the Web’s stages up till now and our vision for the future: A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Analysis#web Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting As you can see, the current trend is for social interactions to take oversearch as the pivot of the internet. But if you’re not convinced, here are a few examplesof why:Google and Microsoft’s billion dollar ad partnerships with MySpace and Facebookrespectively;Yahoo and Viacom’s bets on Facebook;Yahoo’s rivals.com acquisition and rumors of Fox offering to sell MySpace to Yahoo! in exchange for a 25% stake.The Eras of the WebAge #0 – eCommerceE-commerce is the most primitive way of making money online. It’s identical to the realworld, where you have some products (real or virtual) and you sell them to consumers andpocket the money. The only difference from the world we live in is that the “e” prefixeliminates some frictions and allows this process to get completed faster and easier eachyear. That’s why the first age of the Web was full of online sellers; companies gotfunded to sell and specialize in a variety of things. Some of them have become successfulbecause what they sold was aaleable (e.g. Amazon with books), but others failed becausetheir motivation was “everything can be sold over the internet” – which turned out to bewrong in some cases. Overall, e-commerce is still a very important component of theinternet’s revenue stream – albeit not as mighty as we once thought it could be.Age #1 – Single Sign-onWhile everyone was building and investing in e-commerce sites, two Stanford studentsfigured out a new way of making money online. Yahoo started out with a simple webdirectory, but their idea was to port traditional media business models to the onlinespace. They weren’t focused on selling goods, but they brought great services togetherand glued them with a single sign-on mechanism. Consequently, they created some sort ofvendor lock-in; because signing up has been the biggest friction that awaits web surfers.Remember the old tedious sign up processes – they even asked you how much money you makeper year! And note that there was no such thing as OpenID at that time.The motivation of Yahoo at that time was to keep the visitors as long as they could ontheir properties (actually not much has changed). After all, the longer users stay, themore ads they can view. This seemed like a perfect business model at first, because itallowed people to get great services for free. Everyone liked it and Yahoo became theposter child company of the late 90’s.Age #1.5 – GeocitiesWhile Yahoo was rising, a new service emerged and started to take the lead slowly –Geocities was one of many sites that provided free web hosting and web site creationservices. However GeoCities was different in some ways. It was more like the socialnetworking sites of today; the self expression level was high and the weird naming schemebased on city names gave it a human touch. That’s why we can call GeoCities the firstutterly successful social interaction platform. However, after it was acquired by Yahooit became yet another web hosting service provider – and it lost its soul and failed. Noone can blame Yahoo for that though, because that was the first of its kind and at thattime everyone was unaware of the social impact of such a big web acquisition.BoomThe Boom period (aka Dot Com) is not an age like the others, but is worth looking into.The reason of the boom was the lack of calibration between the pace of internetapplications and the internet infrastructure. VC firms invested heavily in web sites,with the dream of being the next Hotmail, eGroups, Viaweb – but the internetinfrastructure didn’t scale well to the increasing production. People were not spendingenough time on the internet and download speeds were slow – therefore the demand couldn’tsatisfy the production. Moreover, there wasn’t any adequate monetization method of thecontent spread over the web. As a result, revenues fell short and the market crashed verybadly.Age #2 – SearchWhile Yahoo was trying to get people to spend as much time as possible on theirproperties in order to maximize their advertising revenues, 2 other Stanford students –this time Larry Page and Sergey Brin – came up with the idea of excelling at search.Because they realized that search was the start point of the web. Even though people werelikely to spend time on Yahoo properties, they still needed long tail sites to getinformed and reach other stuff that Yahoo couldn’t offer. What Google did was to offer abetter search service with absolutely no clutter. Their sparse but highly efficientservice opened the doors to big deals and hugely profitable online advertising.Eventually they became the center of the web. Now, Google’s new purpose is to bringdesktop applications to the internet too.Age #2.5 – On-demand VideoIt’s a fact that humans are born lazy. Yes, we love spending time on the internet andinteract with many things; but still many of us prefer spending our free time on TV andwatching meaningless shows. What the new high speed internet infrastructure did was, insome sense, bring TV to the internet. And what YouTube and others did, was to bring it tous. Yes, Google was the center and we were still using it, but YouTube grew sharply tooduring this time. We started to spend more time watching videos than mining the internetfor more information. That didn’t only steal time from Google and the long tail sites,but also stole from the traditional TV networks – because we prefered on-demand TV overthe old linear one.What happened then is Google saw the potential at YouTube and bought it. This cost$1.65 B (an amount that Yahoo couldn’t or wouldn’t risk). But actually the number wassurprisingly low for a paradigm shifting company. Couldn’t YouTube become the new Googleby itself, couldn’t they make an IPO and become a billion dollar company? The answer isunexpectedly “no”. The reason was YouTube’s legal hassles. They knew that they wouldconfront legal problems sooner or later and that’s why they chose the quick exit and getunder the wings of a well established company. Google could protect them and spend therequired money to fight in courts. In fact, YouTube got sued almost immediately after theacquisition – Viacom wanted Google to pay $1 B for the illegal videos YouTube published.This was a big threat, that could’ve allowed other content producers to demand the sameas well.Age #3 – SocialActually social interactions have always played an important role in the internet.GeoCities, Friendster, ICQ, IRC were all signs of the fact that social interactions cancontrol the destiny of the web. But all of these products had problems and couldn’t makeit to the end. For example acquisitions finished GeoCities and ICQ. Friendster had badmanagement problems. MySpace kept growing, but it couldn’t take the necessary steps tobecome a real big thing. IRC became obsolete with ICQ. Only one company figured out theway of putting social interactions to the center of the web and it was Facebook.Facebook, for the first time, opened the gate and merged all social services into itself.Now you can integrate your IM (meebo), Twitter, and other services into Facebook easily.Thus Facebook became a true platform company and is increasingly many peoples startpage.Bigcos had already realized that social networking sites would eventually become ourstart pages and that all of our internet actions will get reshaped there. On the likes ofFacebook, our actions will be shaped by our friends and trusted communities. That’s whyGoogle signed a billion dollar deal with News Corp to become the default search providerof MySpace. Their thought was that hopefully this would give them some time before theyneeded to reorganize themselves and make an attack in the social world as well. Yahootried to buy Facebook, as it didn’t have this Platform feature yet, but failed. Theyended up by buying a niche site Rivals.com, to create their own Facebook and possibly try toexplore opportunities with News Corp’s MySpace.Age #4 – Joost ???It’s hard to guess the 4th phase of the web because we don’t even have the3rd one yet, fully. But what the past eras (see ages 1.5, 4 and 2.5) show isthat we will end up with the rebirth of online TV. Since we are all born lazy, video ondemand is the way to go. And what Joost is offering is higher quality content (thanks totheir collaboration with big content providers), higher quality watching experience(thanks to P2P technology) and a legal hassle-free alternative to YouTube, which hasalready shown tremendous success.ConclusionThis is an open ended article. You may not share the same ideas as me, especiallyabout my Age #4 estimation, because it’s completely subjective. For example some of youmay think that Second Life, meebo or NetVibes is the next next big thing. Please shareyour thoughts in the comments. I’m stopping here for the sake of keeping the articleshort(ish), but I am ready to discuss in the comments other possibilities. emre sokullu 1last_img read more

AdMob: iPhone Internet Use Sees Major Growth Spurt in August

first_imgAccording to the latest data from mobile advertising company AdMob, traffic from Apple’s iPhone on AdMob’s advertising network almost doubled in August. Apple’s iPhone saw the fastest growth of all smartphones worldwide, closely followed by the Samsung Instinct. It is also noteworthy that the top 5 smartphones in the U.S. generated 54% of all smartphone traffic. The iPhone is now responsible for 7.8% of all smart phone traffic in the U.S., up from 5.2% last month. It’s important to note that this does not necessarily reflect the actual market share of the iPhone, as iPhone users, thanks to the ease of use of the iPhone user interface, are probably spending more time online on their devices than most other smartphone users. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… frederic lardinois What About Nokia, Palm, Motorola, and Rim?While Nokia devices were responsible for just over 62% of all smartphone traffic worldwide, none of Nokia’s smartphones ranked in the top 20 in the U.S. Palm’s Centro, on the other hand, looks like a major boon for the company, as it is only trumped by the Blackberry Pearl when it comes to traffic volume. Motorola, which does not have a single smartphone ranked in the top 20, still dominates the mobile traffic rankings with its RAZR V3. which was responsible for 3.7% of all mobile Internet use worldwide in August. The iPhone was the 17th most used phone on the mobile web and generated 1% of all worldwide traffic, up from 0.6% in July.The iPhone is clearly growing quickly in the U.S. and now that Apple seems to have gotten its supply chain under control, chances are that it will continue on this track. However, it is also important to point out that, in the overall market, Apple is still only a small player. Most users, according to AdMob, are still accessing the mobile web on a RAZR. Tags:#news#web last_img read more

Loss Prevention Jobs in Georgia

first_imgLowe’sArea Asset Protection Manager – NW Atlanta Atlanta, GAStore LevelFull-time04/04/2019Goodwill Southeast GeorgiaSafety ManagerSavannah, GACorporate/ExecutiveFull-time04/04/2019Kohl’sLoss Prevention OfficerColumbus, GAStore LevelPart-time04/04/2019To find more jobs, in Georgia and around the country, click here to search the LPjobs website, the premiere online source for loss prevention employment and e-recruiting.[text_ad use_post=’2385′](This post was originally published in 2017 and is updated regularly.)- Sponsor – Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Government Willing to Discuss Aspects of Microcredit Bill with Stakeholders

first_imgStory Highlights Mr. Green was speaking at the Jamaica Micro Financing Association Limited’s (JaMFA) seventh annual microfinance sector leadership forum, at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, on Tuesday (May 28). State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Administration has no intention of taking a “big stick” approach to the implementation of the legislation’s provisions. The Government says it is prepared to entertain stakeholder discussions on aspects of the proposed Microcredit Act that are generating some concern.State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says the Administration has no intention of taking a “big stick” approach to the implementation of the legislation’s provisions.Mr. Green was speaking at the Jamaica Micro Financing Association Limited’s (JaMFA) seventh annual microfinance sector leadership forum, at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, on Tuesday (May 28).The State Minister said he has already had discussions with the Minister of Finance and the Public Service (Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke), “which came out of my very first meeting with the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) Implementation Task Force, where concerns were raised”.Mr. Green said Dr. Clarke indicated his willingness to meet with industry stakeholders “to review aspects of the Bill they have a difficulty with”.The Bill, which was tabled in Parliament by Dr. Clarke in February, is intended to regulate microcredit service providers by ensuring they are licensed by the designated regulatory authority.They will also be required to keep proper accounting and other records and make timely reports to that authority.Meanwhile, Mr. Green said he will maintain an open door policy on the matter and advised that he is prepared to meet with stakeholders, such as the advocacy team, comprising representatives of JaMFA and the Jamaica Association of Microfinancing (JaMFIN), which was established to lobby government intervention to address the areas of concern.He explained that the Act is intended to aid in facilitating the microfinance sector’s growth, safeguard consumers, and ensure that all stakeholders are “playing by fair rules”.For his part, JaMFA’s Executive Director, Raymond Gabbidon, said the advocacy team will be lobbying the support of both Ministries on the matter.State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green (left), greets Jamaica Micro Financing Association Limited’s (JaMFA) Executive Director, Raymond Gabbidon, during JaMFA’s annual micro finance sector leadership forum, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, on Tuesday (May 28). In the background is JaMFA’s Acting Chairman, Andrew Mais.The Act also seeks to regulate the provision of microcredit services offered by microcredit institutions, in order to ensure that microcredit services may be utilised by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and individuals to facilitate their financial or economic advancement; and that the interest of borrowers may be protected by discouraging excessive interest rates and predatory lending practices by microcredit institutions.It prohibits false and misleading advertising by microcredit institutions; and makes it an offence for microcredit institutions to use threats and violence in the process of collecting a debt.The Bill identifies the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) as the body responsible for accepting complaints against microcredit institutions, investigating complaints against microcredit institutions and formulating a code of conduct for microcredit institutions on consumer-related matters. The Government says it is prepared to entertain stakeholder discussions on aspects of the proposed Microcredit Act that are generating some concern.last_img read more

Government Strongly Advise Turks Islanders Should Not Travel 5 West African Countries

first_img Recommended for you Olive branch extended by Opposition Leader, says it is time for Turks and Caicos leaders to unite Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 17 Oct 2014 – Turks and Caicos Islanders should not travel five West African countries because the government is strongly advising against it… you may find yourself unable to reenter the territory if you do. The government this morning issued a travel advisory around 8:30am which likely takes immediate effect… nations named were: Liberia, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. No change on how long you could be quarantined; still 21 days according to the Minister of Health, Porsha Smith. Who explained, “We have been monitoring movements globally, and note that each day additional cases of Ebola are identified in various countries. We are not isolated from the world; therefore TCIG has issued a travel advisory as a precautionary measure.” The Turks and Caicos remains Ebola free.Questions arising now about how much influence the Premier has over his Cabinet as yet again, members of the governing side went MIA during voting on critical legislation. MM has confirmed that the Immigration Bill 2014 failed to get a second reading yesterday because both Minister of Health Porsha Smith and Minister of Government Support Services George Lightbourne were not in the House of Assembly during voting. The PDM with its eight NOs edged out the PNPs seven YESes. The governor’s appointed members abstained from voting. Minister Don Hue Gardiner who presented the bill for a second reading was encouraged to seek consultation. TCI Country Leaders condemn vicious memes Related Items:donhue gardiner, george lightbourne, guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Pdm, pnp, Portia smith, Senegal, Sierra Leone, tci government Opposition Leader responds to Throne Speech  11 days later; says PDM Govt plan puts TCI in ‘deep doo doo’last_img read more

5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Wednesday January 30 2019

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Below are 5 things to do in Wilmington on Wednesday, January 30, 2019:#1) WHS Class Of 2021 Fundraiser At 99 RestaurantThe WHS Class of 2021 is holding a “Dining For A Cause” Fundraiser at the 99 Restaurant (144 Lowell Street) on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, from 4pm to 11pm. Bring this flyer and 15% of your bill will be donated to Wilmington High School’s sophomore class. Applies to both dine-on AND take-out orders.  (No coupons, discounts or promotions are accepted during the fundraiser.)#2) WHS Boys Hockey In ActionThe Wilmington High School Varsity Boys Hockey Team hosts Lexington High at 8pm at Ristuccia Arena. The JV Boys Hockey Team hosts Woburn High at 2:30pm at Ristuccia Arena.#3) Preschool Storytime At LibraryThe Wilmington Memorial Library (175 Middlesex Avenue) is holding a Preschool Storytime at 10:30am. This mixed-age storytime for preschoolers includes books, rhymes, music and a fun craft. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to accompany the child and participate in the activities.#4) Tech Help At LibraryThe Wilmington Memorial Library (175 Middlesex Avenue) is holding its weekly tech help drop-in hours from 2pm to 3pm. Have a tech question that’s been bugging you? Drop in the library to see if Technology Librarian, Brad McKenna, can help.#5) Wilmington High School Advisory Council MeetingThe Wilmington High School’s School Advisory Council meets at 3pm in the High School’s Main Office Conference Room. Read the agenda HERE.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Wednesday, January 16, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Wednesday, January 9, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Monday, July 15, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”last_img read more

Going bust Steeling up for insolvency and the intriguing case of Electrosteel

first_imgWHEN THE CRACKS SHOW: Scheduled commercial banks, who are staring at non-performing assets worth lakhs of crores of rupees created through loan defaults by major steel and infrastructure companies are going all out to recover them. REUTERS/Adnan AbidiInsolvency is more than the flavour of the season when there are no more favours to be done. A National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) inquiry on steel company loan paybacks is being carried out on the recommendation of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The deliberations have proved to be stinging verdicts on the profitability of companies seconded for insolvency by RBI under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), following several failed attempts at loan recovery.Equally chastening has been the sense of resignation, — more in the nature of a barely disguised sang froid –, among companies towards their prescribed fates to be assigned by NCLT. Not much of an objection to insolvency proceedings at all, as things stand.Steel is a cyclical industry and firms battling debt is not new. But successive investment cycles, as a byproduct of booming stock markets and optimistic investors, could make it tempting to relax one’s grip at the wrong moments. As the bosses of 12 steel companies are finding out, complacency is not an option in basic materials industries, and the wrong results lead to acute pain.Auto grade steel manufacturing giant Bhushan Steel is facing the heat on behalf of its struggling power venture Bhushan Power & Steel as well. The two companies together owe 41 banks, including seven foreign banks, more than Rs 80,000 crore. Privately held Bhushan Steel, which is said to owe banks a whopping Rs 44,447 crore, has all but run out of steam after some mild brawling to prove SBI wrong (the company had alleged that the bank inflated its dues by around Rs 100 crore).NCLT death rowLast week, Bhushan Power, promoted by the Singal family, had not objected to the insolvency proceedings but requested the court to ensure the company was treated as a ‘going concern’. Data from Capitaline reveals that the company reported net loss of Rs 2,433 crore in 2015-16 on the back of Rs 8,491 crore in revenues. The firm reported net loss of Rs 3,501 crore in 2016-17 on revenues of Rs 15,027 crore. Its annual report for 2015-16 says that it has been facing severe stress in its debt servicing over the past few years.Other companies on NCLT’s death row include Jyoti Structures, Monnet Ispat, Alok Industries, Amtek Auto, Era Infra and Electrosteel Steels. Among them, the case of Electrosteel Steels stands out like a sore thumb.Electrosteel is among the six companies which were specifically referred to the NCLT for a debt resolution plan.Kolkata-headquartered Electrosteel is not among the top five loan defaulters on NCLT’s tickoff roster, owing Rs 14,000 crore in all and Rs 1,404 crore to SBI alone. An unduly high share of non-banking debt is what sets it apart from the rest. Electrosteel is not known to have repaid debt since April 2015. And, it is understood to owe lenders Rs 9,600 crore and a “couple of hundred crore more to non-financial creditors”, as pointed out by a company source in various news reports. ALL SACKED UP: A worker rests on sacks filled with sponge iron at a steel factory on the outskirts of Jammu on July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Mukesh GuptaFresh loans have not helped the company turn the corner. Even as SBI moved in to recover dues by taking control of its assets and manage it under the IBC, Electrosteel did not demur.This was a clear triumph of experience over hope. For, Electrosteel had debt of Rs 10,274 crore on its books in fiscal 2016 and lenders had first opted for the strategic debt restructuring (SDR) path to resolve the issue.The SDR was introduced by the RBI to tackle the issue of burgeoning debt by allowing banks to acquire control of a defaulting company by converting loans into equity. Following this, the banks were supposed to bring in new promoters and upgrade their sticky assets to standard ones. Electrosteel was the first case where lenders invoked the SDR mechanism, as reported in financial daily HT Mint.The Electrosteel Steels management would quickly blame the failed debt restructuring plan in September 2013 and a botched line of credit for the company’s woes.Riding the market waveIn many ways, Electrosteel was a product of unreal market euphoria which did not measure companies on fundamentals like earnings potential, asset quality, or even revenue history – often, like it repeats history today. When Electrosteel floated its initial public offering (IPO) in late 2010, investors did not ask too many questions. The company hadn’t finished a full year of operations and had no earnings or revenue history. In fact, one of the main purposes of its IPO was to finance its maiden manufacturing plant, for which private equity players would have been a better bet.In the event, the IPO did not have a promising start, and Electrosteel and its IPO managers ran foul of the market regulator after SEBI received complaints about non-disclosure of a rejection of the company’s proposal for forest clearance at the Kodolibad iron ore mine. Electrosteel and its merchant bankers SBI Cap, Axis Capital and Edelweiss Financial were hit with fines totalling Rs 2.5 crore on that occasion.The company had serious execution issues, and it was all downhill after that, as it teetered on the edge of bankruptcy in a couple of years. After the IPO price of Rs 10-11 per share, it went as low as Rs 2 per share. It traded on July 27 at Rs 4.73 per share, down 8.33 percent over its previous closing. Essentially, the company stock is trading at over 50 percent below its IPO price nearly seven years later. Raghavendra NWhen management promises to investors turn out to be a sheer mirage in a sea of IPOs, instances like that of Electrosteel Steels are glaring examples of the quantum of mismanagement (see chart above) which Indian banks and taxpayers face. Not to mention greed and misuse of power in the top echelons of banking which is the root cause of humongous NPAs running into the lakhs of crores encumbering India’s PSU banks.Besides declaring insolvency, the possibility of calling international bidders for the steel assets after they are put on sale would work — provided it does not set a precedent. It is equally vital for banks to take care while appraising loan proposals in future and exercising stronger oversight over disbursements to ensure that loan money assets are created and loans not diverted. This will help projects generate sufficient income to repay their loans on time.The RBI expects the average GNPA ratio of banks to increase from 9.6 per cent in March 2017 to 10.2 percent by March 2018, and fears that this number could easily rise. Banks have reduced lending to the steel, infrastructure, construction, real estate, oil and gas and telecom sectors. These are the key drivers of the economy and also comprise the highest amount of stressed assets within the banking system.Withholding lending to these sectors will not work for long. Derisking through the agency of discretion may be a safety valve for banks at the moment, but may not help the Indian economy even in the medium term.last_img read more

US Supreme Court backs Trump travel ban

first_imgDemonstrators chanting during a #NoMuslimBanEver rally and march “to protest discriminatory policies that unlawfully target and hurt American Muslim and immigrant communities across the country” in Washington, DC. AFP file photoThe US Supreme Court said Monday that the government could fully enforce a revised ban on travelers from six mainly Muslim countries pending appeal, backing President Donald Trump in the year-long battle over the controversial measure.The court stayed October rulings from two lower courts that had blocked implementation of the ban on visitors from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen while legal challenges to it continued.The third version of Trump’s travel ban, unveiled in September, drew immediate challenges in federal appeals courts in Richmond, Virginia and San Francisco, California.Plaintiffs argued that the measure targets Muslims in violation of the US Constitution and did not advance security goals as the government claimed.The challengers convinced the lower courts to put implementation on hold while they and government lawyers fight out the legality of the policy.But the Trump administration, which says the ban is crucial to protect US national security and deter terror attacks, secured strong support from the Supreme Court in a 7-2 vote to let the government move ahead while the appeals continue.“We are not surprised by today’s Supreme Court decision permitting immediate enforcement of the President’s proclamation limiting travel from countries presenting heightened risks of terrorism,” the White House said.“The proclamation is lawful and essential to protecting our homeland. We look forward to presenting a fuller defense of the proclamation as the pending cases work their way through the courts,” it added.The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, criticized the ruling.“This decision ignores the very real human consequences to American citizens and their families abroad imposed by President Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri.The Supreme Court justices said they expect the lower appeals courts to expedite their decisions, leaving open the possibility that the policy could return to the Supreme Court in yet another legal challenge to the White House.The San Francisco court will hear the case on Wednesday and the Richmond court on Friday.Open-ended banThe ban also covers people from North Korea and a selection of senior officials from Venezuela, but its main focus is travelers from the six mainly Muslim countries.Trump has battled to implement a travel ban since just after he became president on January 20, after having repeatedly promised during last year’s election campaign to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.Those promises have undermined the administration’s argument in a series of court challenges that its policy is not Muslim-focused but rather based on security needs.After Monday’s court ruling the Department of Homeland Security said: “the administration’s common sense travel restrictions on countries that do not meet basic security standards and do not share critical information with us about terrorists and criminals are designed to defend the homeland and keep Americans safe.”The initial ban was to be for 90 days, ostensibly to give the US and the targeted countries time to implement tougher and more thorough vetting procedures for visitors.After rolling court battles, the 90 day ban was finally allowed in June. Meanwhile, vetting for US-bound travelers from every country has intensified.But when the six-country ban expired in September, the administration sought to replace it with an open-ended ban, with Chad added to the list while Sudan was removed, and North Korea and Venezuela appended as well.Immigration and civil rights activists maintain it still essentially targets Muslims, which would violate the US Constitution’s guarantees of religious rights.When Trump last week retweeted three video clips from an extremist British group that vilified Muslims, his critics said it supported the idea that his immigration policies were anti-Muslim.“President Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudice is no secret-he has repeatedly confirmed it, including just last week on Twitter,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.“It’s unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims. We continue to stand for freedom, equality, and for those who are unfairly being separated from their loved ones.”last_img read more

Jeff Bezos Enigmatic Aerospace Company Scores Knockout Contract

first_img 2 min read September 18, 2014 As celebrated entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Elon Musk continue to make highly-publicized bids for space travel, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos just scored a knockout contract of his own.Bezos, who founded the notoriously tight-lipped aerospace company Blue Origin in 2000, has announced a new partnership with the United Launch Alliance (ULA) — a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing that provides spacecraft to the U.S. government.As part of the four-year contract, Blue Origin will produce a special engine, the BE-4 — which has spent three years in development, according to CNET — for the ULA’s Alta and Delta rocket lines. The ULA then supplies these rockets to the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA.The partnership marks a brand new day for the ULA, which previously relied on Russian-made engines — a relationship that has become strained as the U.S. has heightened Russian sanctions given political unrest in Ukraine, according to CNET.Related: A Poor, Sleepy Border Town Just Won Billionaire Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s BusinessAnd Bezos’ contract is not the only move the U.S. space industry has made to cut ties with Russia. Yesterday, NASA announced a combined $6.8 billion worth of contracts to Boeing and Musk’s SpaceX outfit — both of whom will now shuttle astronauts to and from the International Space Station, located in low earth orbit. These services were formerly provided exclusively by Russian rockets.NASA aims to end partnerships with Russia by the end of 2017, according to CNET.While Blue Origin’s new deal brings Bezos’ aerospace efforts to the forefront — he is rumored to have spent roughly $500 million of his own money on the initiative, which has no affiliation with Amazon, according to Space News — the announcement is likely to heat up competition in a rapidly evolving field.In vying for the lease of a newly available launchpad last year, for instance, Musk famously snapped that Blue Origin was so incapable of developing a “reliable suborbital spacecraft” that “we are more likely to discover unicorns dancing in the flame duct.”Related: Buzz Aldrin on the Future of Space Travel: ‘Get Your Ass to Mars!’ Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Globalcenter_img Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.last_img read more