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Economic Survey recommends increasing public health spending to 2.5-3% of GDP

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New Delhi [India], January 29 (ANI): The Economic Survey has strongly recommended an increase in public spending on healthcare services from 1 per cent to 2.5 to 3 per cent of GDP as envisaged in the National Health Policy 2017.
It notes that this can significantly reduce the Out-of-Pocket-Expenditure (OOPE) from 65 per cent to 35 per cent of the overall healthcare spend.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey 2020-21 in Parliament on Friday.
The survey observes that the health of a nation depends critically on its citizens having access to an equitable, affordable and accountable healthcare system.
The OOPE as a share of total health expenditure drops precipitously when public health expenditure increases.
The survey also underlines that OOPE for health increases the risk of vulnerable groups slipping into poverty because of catastrophic health expenditures.
It says that life expectancy in a country correlates positively with per-capita public health expenditure and India has one of the highest levels of OOPE in the world, contributing directly to the high incidence of catastrophic expenditures and poverty.
An official release said the survey notes that Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) has been “a marquee evolution” for providing financial affordability to a large percentage of the Indian population.
In the chapter focused on healthcare, the survey points out that the recent COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of the healthcare sector and its inter-linkages with other key sectors of the economy.
One of the key learning from the ongoing pandemic is that it has showcased how a healthcare crisis can turn into an economic and social crisis.
It also cautions that healthcare policy must not become beholden to “saliency bias”, where policy over-weighs a recent phenomenon.
It advises that to enable the country to respond to pandemics, the health infrastructure must be agile. Also, India’s healthcare policy must continue focusing on its long-term priorities in the sector.
The survey observes that countries with more fragmented health systems tend to have lower performance as reflected in higher costs, lower efficiency, and poor quality.
“Therefore, in addition to providing healthcare services and financing healthcare, a key role for the government is to actively shape the structure of the healthcare market.”
Observing that the National Health mission (NHM) has played a critical role in mitigating inequity as the access of the poorest to pre-natal and post-natal care and institutional deliveries have increased significantly, the survey has recommended that the NHM should be continued in conjunction to with Ayushman Bharat Yojana.
The Economic Survey has deeply examined the issue of information asymmetry in the healthcare sector.
It notes that as a bulk of the healthcare in India is provided by the private sector, it is critical for policymakers to design policies that mitigate information asymmetry in healthcare, “which creates market failures and renders unregulated private healthcare sub-optimal”.
“Therefore, information utilities that help mitigate the information asymmetry can be very useful in enhancing overall welfare.”
A key finding notes that the mitigation of information asymmetry would also help lower insurance premiums, enable better products and help increase the insurance penetration in the country.
Information utilities that help mitigate the information asymmetry in the healthcare sector can be very useful in enhancing overall welfare, it says.
The survey has recommended a sectoral regulator in the healthcare landscape to regulate and supervise the healthcare sector given the market failures stemming from information asymmetry.
Best practices from several countries such as Australia, England, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands and USA have been shared.
Drawing from the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Economic Survey makes a strong case for complete adoption of telemedicine for meeting the last-mile challenges of healthcare delivery in the country.
Noting that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has helped showcase the role of technology-enabled platforms (such as eSanjeevani) as an alternate distribution channel for remote delivery of healthcare services, the survey has recommended harvesting the potential of technology-enabled platforms coupled with digitization and artificial intelligence at-scale.
As telemedicine depends crucially on internet connectivity, and health infrastructure and the number of telemedicine consultations correlate strongly with the internet penetration in a region, both central and the state governments have been advised to invest in telemedicine on a mission mode to complement the government’s Digital Health Mission and enable greater access to the masses.(ANI)

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1 out of 5 Indian UHNWIs planning to buy a new home in 2021: Knight Frank

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 27 (ANI): One out of five of India’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) plan to buy a new home in 2021 compared to one out of 10 in 2020, according to Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2021.
An UHNWI is defined with 30 million dollars (about Rs 217 crore) or more.
The preferred investment locations for ultra-wealthy Indians are largely concentrated in domestic market followed by preferences in international markets of the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
Globally, about 26 per cent of the ultra-wealthy also plan on purchasing a home in 2021, up against 20 per cent of 2020. The pandemic-induced residential mini-boom is expected to continue through 2021.
Knight Frank estimates this demand to fuel price rises of up to 7 per cent this year for key markets globally.
In terms of attributes while choosing a new home, transport links, internet connectivity and leisure amenities close-by are of prime importance to Indian UHNWIs.
Office and logistics emerged as the top two real estate sectors of interest to UHNWIs for investments in India, while globally it was the residential private rented sector and logistics, which are the top two asset classes of choice.
Indian UHNWIs have 17 per cent of their wealth allocated to property investments compared to 21 per cent globally.

“The pandemic is super-charging demand for locations that offer a surfeit of wellness — mountains, lakes, and coastal hot-spots,” said Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank.
“Demand is especially strong for rural and coastal properties, with access to open space being the most highly desired feature.” (ANI)

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Airmeet proudly announces certification for ISO 27001:2013 security standard

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New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI/NewsVoir): Airmeet, an all-in-one platform for virtual and hybrid events designed to deliver real engagement and better interactions, announced the issuance of the certificate for ISO 27001:2013 security standard.
ISO 27001:2013 specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system within the organization’s context.
The certificate has been awarded for design, development, implementation and support of a virtual and hybrid platform for events, meetups and conferences along with innovative services and solutions. It also certifies the management system, service, or documentation procedure, has all the requirements for standardization and quality assurance.
Keeping up with Airmeet’s performance driven culture, the ISO certification is a testament of the company’s devotion to continually enhance their product. In order to become ISO 27001:2013 compliant, the firm had to undergo a series of extensive audits, pre-audit assessments and reviews. ISO certification is one of the world’s most highly regarded standards and a huge milestone for Airmeet.
“I feel extremely proud of our team and their commitment to deliver nothing but the highest quality standards for their clientele. We as a team are dedicated towards raising the bar for security standards in the industry and vow to continue improving ourselves in compliance with the set standards,” said Lalit Mangal, Co-founder and CEO of Airmeet said, talking about the certification.
Airmeet is an all-in-one virtual events platform for event organizers, marketers, community builders, and enterprises. Airmeet was founded in 2019 by IIT alumni and ex-CommonFloor executives Lalit Mangal, Manoj Kumar Singh and Vinay Kumar Jasti. With a core focus on creating the most interactive immersive virtual events platform for knowledge professionals, Airmeet’s scalable platform supports a variety of event formats including fairs, expos, meetups, workshops, summits, town halls and more, virtually.
Airmeet is currently a 60 plus person remote-first team based out of six countries. Airmeet has raised USD 15M plus in venture capital from Sequoia Capital India, Accel India, Redpoint Ventures US, Venture Highway, Global Founders Capital and some marquee angels. Airmeet is growing aggressively globally.
This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)

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AEPC welcomes Noida getting town of export excellence tag

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New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) on Saturday thanked the government for declaring Noida as a town of export excellence for apparel products, saying it will help set up expensive facilities for common use by exporters in the region.
Chairman Dr A Sakthivel the recognition entitles common service providers in the area to avail the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme, which in turn will enable them to provide advanced technologies and services to the 700 existing apparel units in Noida.
Common service providers are critical to the apparel industry as they help in reducing the cost of technology by providing common services like specialised knitting, dyeing and embroidery, which require high end machines. But due to their limited use, these machines are not procured by MSMEs.
“We have also requested for including apparel clusters like Faridabad, Delhi and Erode in the list of towns of export excellence. Faridabad and Delhi have turnovers of Rs 5,880 crore and Rs 5,894 crore respectively, way more than the requirement of Rs 750 crore turnover from a town to get the tag,” said Sakthivel.
These cities provide a huge amount of employment with value addition, he added. (ANI)

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Gen X bets on work experience, millennials focus on upskilling: LinkedIn

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New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): The world’s largest online professional network LinkedIn says professionals in India are confident about career progress despite growing uncertainties about the job market and financial future in the current environment.
Nearly 80 per cent professionals are confident about skilling opportunities while 79 per cent are confident about the strength of their curriculum vitaes, according to its workforce confidence index, which was based on survey responses from 1,752 professionals during January 1 to 29.
However, the index shows a dip in India’s overall confidence as the composite score dropped from 58 in December 2020 to 54 in January 2021.
The survey attributes dip in optimism to the workforce’s growing concerns about the status of Covid-19 pandemic, surmounting expenses and job availability in the present economic climate.
This professional uncertainty comes right after the year-end holiday season when India’s hiring rate dropped to 17 per cent year-over-year in December 2020, according to LinkedIn’s labour market update.
While the job market looks bleak, entrepreneurship looked up for Indian professionals last year. The labour market update highlights the rise of entrepreneurship in India as findings show a 10 per cent growth in members with the title ‘founders’ or ‘co-founder on their profiles from January to December 2020 on LinkedIn.
This uptick in new entrepreneurs was particularly strong in the fields of mental healthcare, e-learning and online media.
“Skills are expected to become the new professional ‘currency’ this year as workers from different generations rely on learning new skills to future-proof their careers at a time when industries continue to strengthen their remote operations,” said Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager at LinkedIn.
Employees from traditional sectors like corporate services, healthcare and IT software industries are found to be most confident about the future of their employers as companies continue to adopt newer technologies and revamp their talent strategies.
“Reimagining employee skills and roles to welcome the post-pandemic ways of working will be crucial to building resilience for companies across sectors,” he said.
The workforce confidence index shows that while India remains resilient, professionals from different generations have contrasting reasons to stay confident in these testing times.
While 92 per cent of Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) and 98 per cent of Baby Boomers (between 1946 and 1964) say the strength of their work experience and academic qualifications make them more confident, 86 per cent of Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) state they are more inspired by opportunities to grow their skills and climb the ladder.
Besides, 80 per cent of Gen Z professionals (born after 1997) say the likelihood of progressing their careers makes them more confident today. (ANI)

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ICRA reaffirms AA-plus rating on United Spirit’s financial instruments

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Feb 27 (ANI): ICRA has reaffirmed AA-plus rating with a stable outlook on United Spirits Ltd’s (USL’s) Rs 3,425 crore long-term, short-term and non-fund based financial instruments.
It also reaffirmed A1-plus rating on USL’s commercial paper and has withdrawn the rating on Rs 750 crore non-convertible debentures at the company’s request as there was no outstanding against the facility.
ICRA said the ratings continue to factor in USL’s strong operational and financial flexibility besides robust corporate governance and compliance practices by virtue of being a 55.94 per cent subsidiary of Diageo Plc.
USL continues to benefit from the business synergies through the implementation of Diageo’s global best practices across business functions which have complemented its large scale of operations.
ICRA said the ratings also consider USL’s strong market position in the domestic spirits industry supported by its large distribution network, wide product portfolio and presence across price points, flavours and segments.
USL manufactures, sells and distributes a portfolio of premium brands like Johnnie Walker, Black Dog, Black & White, VAT 69, Antiquity, Signature, Royal Challenge, McDowell’s No.1, Smirnoff and Captain Morgan.
With sales volumes of 79.7 million cases during FY2020, the company is the largest player in the domestic spirits industry. Headquartered in Bengaluru, the company’s footprint is supported by 50-plus manufacturing facilities across states and union territories.
In FY20, it had operating income of Rs 9,325 crore and profit after tax of Rs 624 crore. (ANI)

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ABB Power Products posts 6.9 pc fall in Q3 revenue at Rs 1,044 crore

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Feb 27 (ANI): ABB Power Products India has reported 6.9 per cent fall in total revenues for the December quarter (Q3 FY21) on a consolidated basis at Rs 1,044 crore.
The company formed two years ago by demerger from ABB India’s power grid business.
While the Covid-19 pandemic impacted revenues, it is yet to see its topline revenues fully recover. The company caters to the power segment and demand tends to be cyclical.
The consolidated profit after tax was up by nearly 55 per cent at Rs 55 crore. On a pre-exceptional basis, the profit was actually lower than the December 2019 quarter.
However, there was an exceptional write-down of Rs 39 crore on account of demerger expenses. At the same time, the December 2020 quarter saw a clawback of Rs 32 crore towards previous provisions made for customer receivables, which has now been reversed.
The combination of exceptional loss in December 2019 and exceptional gain in December 2020 resulted in net profit growing. (ANI)

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