Kisan Sansad: Farmer protest to hit Delhi today

Farmers from across the country will gather in thousands in New Delhi on Monday for a ‘kisan sansad’, or farmers’ parliament. As many as 180 big and small farmers’ organisations of all political and non-political hues have come together to form the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC).

The farmers would walk from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street and hold a meeting there to highlight farm distress and farmer suicides. The AIKSCC has put forth two chief demands to the Centre – 50% profit margin over the cost of production and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations.

A profile of seven of the prominent leaders of the movement.

Hannan Mollah, 71

Kisan Sansad: Farmer protest to hit Delhi today
Mollah is an eight term Lok Sabha member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), winning consecutively from West Bengal’s Uluberia from 1980 to 2004. Mollah currently is the general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS). He is also a member of the politburo of the CPI (M). The AIKS is one of the largest farmers’ organisations with influence in several states, particularly Kerala, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Mollah has been a leading voice both inside and outside Parliament raising issues of agricultural workers and farmers. He has been a member of several parliamentary committees on farm-related issues, including of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development in 2007.

Raju Shetti, 50

Raju Shetti Raju Shetti
Shetti, also known as Devappa Anna, is a two-term Lok Sabha member, winning from Hatkanangle seat in Maharashtra in 2009 and 2014. Shetti leads the Swabhimani Paksha, and is considered the successor to farmer leader Sharad Joshi. Shetti had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance. But farmer agitations in several states, including in Maharashtra, in the run up to and after six farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh in June, he quit the NDA in end-August. Shetti is also the preeminent leader of the Shetkari Sanghatana, which he founded after quitting Joshi’s Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana in 2004. Since his younger days, Shetti had led several farmer agitations to demand better price for sugarcane. In 2002, Shetti says he was attacked by “sugar factory goons” and had suffered severe head injuries. He crowd funded his election campaign to win the legislative assembly seat in October 2004.

He founded the Swabhimani Paksha, a political party, in 2005 and has also founded several cooperatives.

Shiv Kumar Sharma, 65

Shiv Kumar Sharma Shiv Kumar Sharma
Shiv Kumar Sharma, also known as ‘Kakkaji’, is the national president of the Madhya Pradesh-based Rashtriya Kisan Majdoor Sangh (RKMS). He was sacked from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) after his repeated attacks on the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh. He says the BJP government has jailed him no less than 44 times in the last few years. Born on May 28, 1952, in a farming family in the Hoshangabad, Kakkaji shot into prominence in 2010 when he brought Bhopal, the state capital, to a standstill by leading 15,000 tractors into the city. Kakkaji was a student activist in Jabalpur University where he studied law from in the 1970s. In 1981, he took up a job in the state’s legal aid department, where his first posting was in Bastar—then part of undivided Madhya Pradesh.

There too, Kakkaji fought for the land rights of tribals, which irked his seniors and according to him led to his repeated transfers. He then started a farmers’ magazine called ‘Kisan Ganga’ with his own money. But the magazine didn’t take off and he lost the two acres of land he had mortgaged to fund the magazine. In 1998, he joined the RSS affiliated farmers’ outfit, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh.

Amra Ram, 62

Amra Ram Amra Ram

Amra Ram, of the AIKS, recently led a farmers’ agitation in Rajasthan that made the entire nation sit up. He, along with former legislator Pema Ram and others of the AIKS, brought the Shekhawati region in Rajasthan to a standstill for 13-days from September 1, which eventually forced the Vasundhara Raje-led government to constitute a committee to look into the demands of the farmers. Ram is a four-time CPI (M) legislator and has been a youth leader.

Sunilam, 56

Sunilam Sunilam

When six farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh in June, the incident refreshed the memory of a similar incident in Multai in Betul district in 1998. As the leader of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Sunilam (or Sunil Mishra) had led farmers in Multai to demand compensation for crops destroyed in winter. The police opened fire when the farmers laid siege to the Multai tehsil office. In the firing 24 farmers were killed and 115 injured. The then Digvijaya Singh-led Congress government filed 66 cases against Sunilam and his associates, which the activists claimed were false. In 2003, Sunilam won the assembly election from Multai. He is a doctorate in physics from Delhi University and has been associated with the Janata Dal and Samajwadi Party.

Avik Saha

Avik Saha Avik Saha

Saha was a Kolkata-based corporate lawyer who switched to hands-on natural farming and working for farmers’ rights and issues of food security. His journey started in 2008 when he petitioned the Joint Parliamentary Committee to make extensive submissions on the proposed changes in land acquisition laws, in the backdrop of the war on farmers to forcibly acquire their lands that was then raging in West Bengal. He is a pupil of renowned scientist-conservationist-farmer Dr. Debal Deb and is a committed ecological farmer and seed conservationist. In 2015 he joined Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan-led Swaraj Abhiyan and associated himself with the Jai Kisan Andolan of the Abhiyan. “We are trying to create an agitation on economic issues and not just farmers’ rights and one which won’t pit one community against the other. I see leaders of future emerging from this nationwide farmers’ agitation,” Saha says.

Kiran Kumar Vissa, 43

Kiran Kumar Vissa Kiran Kumar Vissa

Vissa studied at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, and moved to the US in 1995 to pursue his masters in satellite communication. He worked in the US for several years. Along with his job, Vissa contributed to several non-profit groups working to support social causes in India, particularly the Association for India’s Development. In 2008, Vissa quit his job in the US and returned to India and started working on farmers’ issues at the grassroots level in the undivided Andhra Pradesh. He is one of the leaders of the Rythu Swarajya Vedika in Andhra Pradesh. In 2009, Vissa promoted cultivation of millets, a drought resistant crop which requires less water and minimal investment, as an alternative to paddy in the dryland regions of the state that were then faced with a drought. The Vedika reaches out to families of farmers’ who have taken their lives and try to understand the causes.

 

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Kisan Sansad: Farmer protest to hit Delhi today

How to link Aadhaar to various financial instruments

The December 31 deadline for linking your Aadhaar number with various financial products is approaching fast. For linking of mobile number to Aadhaar, the deadline is February 6, 2018. But, the first step you need to take is link your mobile number to Aadhaar. This will make the process of linking Aadhaar with other financial instruments easy as you will be able to receive a one-time password (OTP) on your mobile phone. Here’s what you need to do to avoid last-minute hassles:

TO CHECK IF MOBILE NUMBER IS LINKED TO AADHAAR

How to link Aadhaar to various financial instruments

Go to https://goo.gl/rv7w3v and

Step 1: Enter Aadhaar number, mobile number and security code; then click on ‘Get one-time password (OTP)’

Step 2: If your mobile is linked, you will receive an OTP. Enter it and verify your mobile number

Step 3: If it is not linked, you will get a message: “Your mobile is not enrolled in our records”

To link mobile number with Aadhaar

Step 1: Download Aadhaar update/ correction form from the UIDAI website or get it at the nearest Aadhaar centre

Step 2: Along with filled form, submit a copy of your Aadhaar card and a photo identification document (PAN card, passport, voter ID, etc)

Step 3: Your biometrics (thumb impression) will be verified

Step 4:You will be given an acknowledgement slip. Linking happens within 10 days

Step 5: At the telecom service provider’s store, give your Aadhaar card and mobile number

Step 6: After biometric verification, you will receive an OTP on your phone. Submit it to complete the verification process

From December 1, you will be able to go to the telecom service provider’s website and generate an OTP

• This will be received on a mobile number registered with UIDAI (at the time of enrollment)

• Enter it and your Aadhaar number and authentication will get done

• An interactive voice response system (IVRS) from a registered mobile will also allow you to do the same

 

LINKING BANK ACCOUNT

How to link Aadhaar to various financial instruments

OFFLINE APPROACH:

Step 1: Visit a branch with a copy of the Aadhaar card (along with original for verification) and passbook

Step 2: Fill the form, submit it, along with a photocopy of your Aadhaar card.

Step 3: You will be given an acknowledgement after which linking will happen

THROUGH NET BANKING:

Step 1: Log into your internet banking account.

Step 2: Immediately a box will pop up. Click on ‘Link Aadhaar card details’. Enter required info and it will be linked

SMS BASED:

• Type the following ‘Aadhaar XXXXXXXXXXXX AC XXXXXX’

• The first number will be your Aadhaar number and the second will be the last six digits of your account number

• Once the bank receives your SMS, it will process your request and notify you

 

LINKING MF ACCOUNT

How to link Aadhaar to various financial instruments

FROM THE REGISTRAR AND TRANSFER AGENT’S (RTA) WEBSITE:

There are four RTAs. CAMS, Karvy, Franklin Templeton International Services, and Sundaram BNP Paribas Fund Services

Step 1: Go to the website of the registrar and transfer agent used by your fund house

Step 2: Download the form, fill it, and submit it at the nearest branch of the RTA or fund house (use this option if you mobile number is not linked with Aadhaar)

Step 3: On the next page, again enter PAN, Aadhaar number, OTP and give the necessary permission to the RTA, and submit

FROM FUND HOUSES’ WEBSITES:

There is a link on some fund houses’ websites that take you to the Aadhaar linking page of RTA’s web site

FROM DISTRIBUTOR’S PORTAL:

As soon as you login, you see a window prompting you to link. Click on ‘Link now’

Step 1: On the next page, enter your Aadhaar number twice

Step 2: You will receive an OTP on your Aadhaar registered mobile number

Step 3: Click on ‘Verify Aadhaar with OTP’

Step 4: If you have trouble getting the OTP, you can upload a copy of your Aadhaar card for verification, and they will do the needful

 

LINK BROKING ACCOUNT

How to link Aadhaar to various financial instruments

OFFLINE

• Submit a scanned self-attested copy of Aadhaar to your broker

ONLINE:

• Log into the broker’s portal and enter your Aadhaar number. The broker’s system will send this and a few of your demographic details to the UIDAI server, which will then authenticate you

LINKING INSURANCE POLICY (ONLY OFFLINE)

How to link Aadhaar to various financial instruments

• Send a scanned copy of their Aadhaar card to their agent, broker or relationship manager

• No biometric authentication is required

How to link Aadhaar to various financial instruments

Asia’s dividend payouts set for biggest increase in 6 yrs as profits surge

Dividend payouts by Asia’s biggest companies are poised for their biggest increase in six years as profits surge and pressure grows on firms to be more generous with their shareholders.

Across Asia, dividend payouts in 2017 are expected to grow by 12 per cent year-on-year, a Reuters analysis showed, marking the largest increase in payouts since 2011.

That corporate generosity, driven to some extent by improving economic growth, is only partly reflected in the share price, analysts say. If, as consensus forecasts show, earnings growth stays strong into next year and 2019, there is plenty of room for Asian stock markets to rally beyond current multi-year highs.

“2017 is the year when earnings finally recover after five years of disappointing growth in Asia,” said Frank Benzimra, head of Asia equity strategy at Societe Generale in Hong Kong.

“Accordingly, we see dividends rising, in line with earnings growth.”

ALSO READ: Bond yields fall sharply as RBI cancels open-market sale of debt

The numbers, compiled from Thomson Reuters earnings data, show technology companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Corp, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Sony Corp are expecting record profits and higher dividends this year as the launch of new smartphones drives up demand of memory chips and image sensors.

Malaysia’s CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, which announced its second-best quarterly earnings in four years in the June quarter, issued an interim dividend of 1.18 billion ringgit ($281.96 million), translating to a dividend payout ratio of 51.6 per cent of first-half profits.

The analysis covered 1,571 Asian companies each with a market capitalisation of at least $1 billion across 12 markets for which Thomson Reuters has available data on dividend estimates. Dividends grew between 0.5 per cent and 9 per cent between 2012 and 2016.

Across the region, corporate profits are climbing owing to higher commodity prices, a revival in global demand for consumer products and an improvement in bank profits as loan growth soars even as funding costs stay low.
ALSO READ: Fed to raise rates 4 times in 2018 over tight labour market: Goldman Sachs

The markets have priced in some expectations of these bumper returns but analysts expect earnings and therefore dividends growth to stay strong even in 2018 and 2019, said Benzimra.

“I don’t think this is really priced into the market,” he said. “If we indeed have this kind of earnings growth, that could lift the market.”

MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan index has risen about 30 per cent this year and is at its highest since 2007.

Grace Tam, a senior market strategist at HSBC Global Asset Management based in Hong Kong, said free cash flows are higher among Asian companies and investors might find themselves surprised by future payouts.

Thomson Reuters data on the same set of companies showed their total free cash flows for 2017 are estimated at $374 billion- the highest in at least a decade.

Not fully in the price

Asian shares arguably have more room to grow than developed markets such as the United States, based on forward dividend yields, the ratio of estimated dividend payments over the next 12 months to share price.

Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have forward dividend yields in excess of 3 per cent, much higher than United States’ 1.9 per cent. Asia’s average yield stood at 2.4 per cent.

Yet, Asia’s price-to-earnings ratios are lower, ranging from South Korea’s 9.6 to China’s 13.5, against the global average of 15.4.

The ability of Asian companies to pay dividends has never been in doubt, but their desire to sit on large cash piles has traditionally affected shareholder returns.

Asia’s dividend payout ratio stood at 34 per cent over the last 12 months, less than Europe’s 45 per cent and North America’s 43 per cent, despite Asian profit growth exceeding the other two regions.

Analysts said Asia’s dividend culture is likely to change, as government pressure on companies grows.

China, where the securities regulator has vowed to penalise companies that do not pay cash dividends, is seeing rising payouts. Coal miner Shenhua Energy Co proposed a special dividend worth 50 billion yuan ($7.53 billion) earlier this year.

Japan introduced the corporate governance act in 2015, aimed at protecting shareholder rights and enriching their returns. Since its inception, more companies have started to comply with it.

Japan, as well as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand, have introduced stewardship codes aimed at institutional investors agitating for better governance and returns on their investment.

South Korea is expected to adopt the stewardship code this year and has strong backing from new President Moon Jae-in.

Samsung last month said it would double dividends next year to 9.6 trillion won and keep them at that level until 2020, as it responds to investor pressure to share its vast cash reserves.

Asia’s dividend payouts set for biggest increase in 6 yrs as profits surge

Auto exporters under pressure as over Rs 1,000-cr GST refund gets stuck

Passenger vehicle exports from India have run into a goods and services tax (GST) speed breaker as manufacturers have been unable to file claims since July and the pending sum has crossed over Rs 1,000 crore.

Industry players said as the current GST system of making payments upfront and claiming input tax credit refund is not functioning properly, the working capital requirement for companies have increased and they could rethink on exports till the issues stay unresolved.

Moreover, Ford India CFO David Schock told PTI that the quantum of cash needed to meet compensation cess of 1-22 per cent under GST from 1-4 per cent as existed earlier has been a “steep increase”.
Elaborating on issues faced by automobile exporters, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) Deputy Director General Sugato Sen said, “Companies which are exported-oriented are suffering because the current GST system of making payments upfront and claiming the refund is not working properly.”

It is leading to accumulation of GST credit, which is hurting the exporters, he added.

“There are companies whose refund has gone up to hundreds of crores of rupees. It has led to an increase in the working capital requirements of the companies, which has made them cautious in exports,” Sen said.

In the July-October period, passenger vehicle exports declined by 14.45 per cent to 2,35,933 units as compared with 2,75,789 units in the same period of last year.

ALSO READ: Ford exports slow down in H1 FY18
In the same period, total vehicle exports, including two-wheelers and commercial vehicles, rose by 8.07 per cent to 13,17,936 units as compared with 12,19,460 units in July- October period of 2016.

While some of the major export markets have slowed down, industry players said the GST refund issue has also played a part in the decline of vehicle exports.

According to an industry source, the pending refund amount of the top-four passenger vehicle exporters alone have crossed Rs 1,000 crore so far.

Although Schock did not comment on the amount, he said while the government provided the functionality of refunds, “it is yet to be operationalised (and) because of lack of clarity and processes, companies have not been able to file refund claim from July 2017 until October 2017”.

“In case of refund of input tax credit, the absence of a clear procedure and roadmap is another area of concern,” he added.
He further said, “Exporters now need to allocate significantly more funds due to the revised norms/tax structure and blocking working capital for an extended duration, especially at a time when interest rates are high, doesn’t augur well.”

Expressing similar views, Volkswagen India Pvt Ltd President & Managing Director Andreas Lauermann said, “We are facing challenges since there is no clarity on how refund of GST will be paid on export cars. This has led us to having a lot of credit blocked with the authorities.” Seeking exemption from payment of compensation cess on exports, he said with the increase of cess on cars, the situation has worsened.

“Going forward, we could be forced to rethink our exports if these challenges do not get resolved,” Lauermann said.
An executive of another major passenger vehicle manufacturer said on the condition of anonymity that the increased working capital to meet exports requirements is putting extra pressure on business.

“When a company is made to block Rs 100 crore a month for exports due to the current issues regarding refund and not exactly knowing when will it be refunded, it raises many questions,” the executive said.

Companies with big domestic sales can still manage it but the pressure is mounting more on the export-oriented manufacturers, Sen added.

Ford India, Volkswagen, General Motors, and Nissan are the top export-oriented manufacturers in India, while Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai are also major exporters but with significant domestic presence.

Auto exporters under pressure as over Rs 1,000-cr GST refund gets stuck

Act fast on GST rate cut or face action: Hasmukh Adhia

Companies, including FMCG firms, might be prosecuted if their retailers do not immediately cut the prices of products whose goods and services tax (GST) rates have been slashed.

Union Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia says the retailers or the companies cannot continue with higher prices on grounds that the old stocks have not been exhausted.

“We have made provisions for the companies to claim the difference from the government as input tax credit. But I am not willing to accept their argument to postpone passing on the benefits to consumers till they have disposed of their old stocks.”

 

According to him, the new prices should be effective from November 15.

The GST Council in its last meeting this month cut the tax rate on 176 items from 28 per cent to 18 per cent and on two to 12 per cent.

There was a huge demand to make these cuts. Speaking in a Doordarshan interview in which Business Standard was present, Adhia, who is also revenue secretary, said it was inconceivable that a 10 per cent cut in the price of, say, detergent products should be minuscule for consumers.

“We cannot track each retailer. So we have made it clear to manufacturers like FMCG companies that the onus is on them to ensure the retailers immediately pass on the benefits to the consumers if they want to escape action under the anti-profiteering clause of the GST.”

He advised companies to “transparently” advertise in newspapers by how much their prices had come down. Items on which tax rates have dipped include detergents, sanitary ware, suitcase, beauty products, chocolates, marble and granite, wall paper, plywood, and stationery articles. Making the changes in prices visible would be a measure of their standards of corporate governance. “It is the responsibility of companies to inform their supply chain about the new price, going all the way down from distributors to wholesalers and retailers if they wish to escape the glare of anti-profiteering action by the government.”

He added that the ministry of consumer affairs given manufacturers the elbow-room to alter their maximum retail prices till December.

“But this does not mean they can wait till December. The new prices have to become effective immediately.”

Last Thursday the Union cabinet cleared setting up a national-level anti-profiteering authority. In the three-level authority complaints of local nature will be sent to a state-level screening committee. Those with inter-state ramifications will travel to a standing committee set up at national level. This committee, if satisfied, would refer cases for investigation to the Directorate General of Safeguards, which will send its report to the authority. It will have a sunset date of two years from the date the chairman assumes charge.

The categorical assertion by the finance secretary follows plenty of feedback that the rolling out of the GST on July 1 has not led to any reduction in the prices of goods and services. A reason given is the apparently high tax slabs, which has left little room for manufacturers and service providers to cut prices. Taking note of these, the last GST Council meeting, which brings together the finance ministers of all states along with the Union finance minister, cut rates, made eating out cheaper by cutting the tax on restaurants irrespective of size to 5 per cent, and eased compliance requirements on trade and industry to file returns.

Clarifying the air about the new rates for restaurants, he said most of them, especially the smaller ones, did not need to avail of large sums as input tax credit. “It made sense to take them out of the input tax credit chain. I would expect very few claims to emerge from there for anti-profiteering action. Competition should take care of anyone who tries to spike prices.”

Speaking about the larger adverse impact of GST rates on the Centre’s tax collection, Adhia said he was confident that the numbers would hold up for the Budget. Referring to the upgrade of India’s sovereign rating by Moody’s, which has endorsed its fiscal marksmanship, he said it would be necessary to watch the trends in the three GST taxes — the integrated goods and services tax, state goods and services tax, and central goods and services tax — till the end of December to make a call. “I am confident we shall do well.”

A reason for his confidence is that almost all the pending tax returns for July have been filed.

“The numbers for August are closing in and now September too has turned every encouraging.” The government had given extra time to businesses for filing their tax returns so that they could become conversant with the requirements. As a result, the pace of filing returns had slowed considerably.

Act fast on GST rate cut or face action: Hasmukh Adhia

OnePlus 5T launched with 6-inch screen, face unlock feature from Rs 32,999

OnePlus on Thursday launched its next iteration of its flagship OnePlus 5T in New York. The smartphone, which uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, can be purchased in 64GB and 128GB storage options at a price of Rs 32,999 and Rs 37,999 respectively. OnePlus 5T will go on early-access sale on November 21 at 4.30 PM on Amazon India – for Prime member only — and OnePlus online store. The device will also be available through all sales channels starting November 28.

This is OnePlus’ first smartphone to feature an 18:9 aspect ratio display and Facial recognition features that could help to compete with Apple and Samsung.

As for launch offers, OnePlus 5T users will be eligible for a complimentary 12-month accidental damage insurance by Servify on downloading the Kotak 811 savings account and activating it with an initial deposit of Rs 1,000 in the introductory period. Additionally, those who get the OnePlus 5T will get 100GB data from Idea. Moreover, HDFC Bank debit and credit cards users are eligible for a Rs 1,500 instant discount on purchase of OnePlus 5T through Amazon India till December 2017.

 

ALSO READ: OnePlus 5T sets benchmark; 1.1 mn people subscribe for more info on Amazon

OnePlus 5T
Chinese firm OnePlus today said it will continue to focus on the premium smartphone category in the Indian market, competing with heavyweights like Samsung and Apple.

“There was a duopoly in the premium segment in India. With our entry three players now account for about 98 per cent of the segment. We have been able to secure a significant part of the segment by offering feature-rich device at a competitive price,” OnePlus India General Manager Vikas Agarwal said.

According to Counterpoint Research, OnePlus had over 30 per cent market share in the premium category smartphones (handsets priced above Rs 30,000).

OnePlus 5T
Features

The OnePlus 5T marks the introduction of a 6-inch “Full Optic AMOLED Display” with an 18:9 aspect ratio to deliver a more immersive viewing experience.

The device features a new “Sunlight Display” that adapts automatically to harsh light.

OnePlus has moved its fingerprint sensor to the back of the device.

The OnePlus 5T comes with the same main camera as that of OnePlus 5 but also houses an improved secondary camera for superior low-light photography.

ALSO READ: OnePlus 5T launch today: Know all about specs, features & how to watch live

The smartphone is touted to come with new camera sensors on the back. Unlike the OnePlus 5T, which sports a dual-camera set-up of a 16-megapixel primary camera and a 20 MP telephoto lens, the OnePlus 5T is reported to sport a 16 MP primary sensor mated with 20 MP camera sensor sans telephoto lens. The new 20 MP camera sensor, however, is expected to come bigger aperture of f/1.7 for better low-light pictures.

OnePlus 5T
With “Intelligent Pixel” Technology, the secondary camera merges four pixels into one, reducing noise in low-light environments and enhancing clarity.

OnePlus’ operating system, OxygenOS, offers a refined Android experience that is faster than other Android experiences.

“OxygenOS” has “Face Unlock” feature which allows users to unlock the device just by looking at it. “Face Unlock” uses over 100 identifiers to unlock the OnePlus 5T.

The phone, like its predecessors, comes with “Dash Charge” technology. A quick half-hour charge gives the OnePlus 5T enough power for the day.

The device has super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. The “Adreno 540 GPU” boosts graphical performance.

OnePlus 5T launched with 6-inch screen, face unlock feature from Rs 32,999

Visa woes: Why Americans, Chinese students outnumber Indians at Oxford Univ

A black-and-white photograph of Cornelia Sorabji, the first Indian woman admitted to Oxford in 1889, hangs in a nook of the law library of Somerville, a former women’s college. Portraits of Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher share a wall in another section of the campus on Woodstock Road.

 

Women achievers also frame the walls of its dining-hall, a place usually reserved as a bastion of all-male portraits in other colleges in Oxford. And one may walk on its lawns, an activity strictly banned at the bigger manicured colleges where Harry Potter was filmed.

It’s over a century since Sorabji became ‘the first woman (Indian or British) to sit the examination for the degree of bachelor of civil law at Somerville College in 1892’, as Vadgama wrote.

Oxford–number one among 1,000 universities on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018–is home to 390 Indian students among 23,195 students from over 140 nations, and over 140 academics from India.

India’s student strength in the very expensive intellectual capital of the UK is fourth-highest after the US, China and Germany.

“Between 2006-2016, Indian students in Oxford increased by 52.9%,’’ Nina Tomlin, acting director at the international strategy office of the University of Oxford, told IndiaSpend. “The average annual growth rate is 4.6%.’’

But it’s below potential; Indian students outnumber those from Italy by just five. Germany sends nearly twice as many students as India.

The Indian diaspora, one of the highest ethnic minority groups with approximately 1.5 million people, is equivalent to 1.8% of UK’s population. India invests more in the UK than in the European Union. But barely an hour-long train ride away from London, on the leafy streets of Oxford’s grand old city-centre, one is likely to bump into more American and Chinese students: 1,573 and 1,151 respectively, according to Oxford University data.

 

Source: University of Oxford. *including Hong Kong & Macao

The decrease in Indian enrolments in the UK since 2010 is blamed mainly on tightening visa and immigration policies that impose restrictions on working after studying in the UK. India saw the largest percentage decrease of 44% between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016, according to data from the the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the data analysis agency for higher education in the UK.

“In numbers, this meant that in 2015-16, the number of student enrolments domiciled from India was 13,150 less than in 2011-12,’’ the HESA reported. In contrast, HESA said that there were 12,500 more student enrolments domiciled from China in 2015-16 than in 2011-12.

“The mere idea of not having Indian engineering students in my classroom makes me sad and worries me,” Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, professor of enterprise and engineering education, was quoted saying by The University of Sheffield on January 13, 2017.

While the number of Indian students studying in the UK declined by 49% from 2010–2011 to 2013–2014, numbers to the US have grown by 6%, according to this 2014 report by the British Council.

“There are now more students from America studying in the UK than from India,” The Independent reported on January 14, 2016. “Just five years ago, Indian students outnumbered their US counterparts by two to one.”

The decline in Indian students is also partly due to the closure of bogus colleges, according to British officials, Hindustan Times reported on July 16, 2017.

International students should be removed from the annual net migration targets and offered better post-study work opportunities to reverse the decline, London mayor Sadiq Khan said recently.

A niche Indian corner in Oxford

A four-year-old centre housed in airy offices at Somerville College, established as a partnership between the Indian government and the University of Oxford, is trying to make its niche contribution to expand the Indian student community in Oxford. The Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development was launched in 2013 to support ‘exceptional Indian scholars’ to study topics relating to India’s sustainable development at Oxford and ‘translate academic ideas to the ground’.

“Every week, I get emails from students in India who are eager to study here,’’ Sara Kalim, director of development at the centre, told IndiaSpend. “Each year, we sift through 150 short-listed applications for Master’s to DPhil courses from students who have already been accepted into Oxford. The calibre of Indian students is always outstanding.’’

“We were made aware of falling numbers of students from India to UK, due in part to funding restrictions,” said Kalim. “The Centre’s focus on talent development through scholarships seeks to address this.”

oxford_620

Somerville College, Oxford. The Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development, housed in airy offices at Somerville College, was launched in 2013 to support ‘exceptional Indian scholars’ to study topics relating to India’s sustainable development at Oxford and ‘translate academic ideas to the ground’.

Three of its new-comers are Indian women enrolled in the Cornelia Sorabji Law Programme launched last year. The Centre offers about 10 scholarships at any time and is in ‘fundraising mode’ to launch more scholarships for example, in environmental law.

Engineering, science and law are the most popular postgraduate research degrees for Indians at Oxford, according to the university website. The ‘majority of its Indian students are graduate students, with over half concentrated in social sciences’.

“I was attracted to Oxford university to study criminal law from a comparative perspective,’’ Aradhana C V from Bengaluru told IndiaSpend.

Aradhana is here to pursue a bachelor of civil law postgraduate degree, with funding from the Cornelia Sorabji Law Programme.

“I doubt I would have come to the UK without a scholarship,” she said, “It’s extremely expensive.’’

She reckoned that in her class of approximately 160 students studying bachelor of civil law, about nine are Indians.

Almost half the Indian applicants to the India Centre say they are unable to make it to Oxford largely due to lack of funding. Average annual cost for an overseas student can be around 35,000 pounds including fees and living costs.

There are multiple scholarships in Oxford–over 180 Rhodes scholarships were awarded to Indian graduates since 1947, and 60 Indians received the Clarendon scholarships since 2001–and nearly every campus is said to be in fundraising mode to expand access.

“Funding is always a challenge,” Kalim admitted. “In the short-term, we would like to double the number of Indian students on scholarships here. In the long-term, we would hope to build a place to house meaningful interactions between Oxford and India.’’

The Centre’s research activities focus on healthcare–developing inexpensive, remote technologies to monitor and treat Parkinson’s disease patients, for example, and sustainable nutrition issues like mapping the rice supply chain, marine pollution and studying sustainability of the public distribution system.

“The natural inter-disciplinary environment of Oxford lends itself well to some of the sustainable development problems of India,’’ Kalim said. “We are a centre for India, rather than about India.”

Visa woes: Why Americans, Chinese students outnumber Indians at Oxford Univ