What is it? The potentially improper payments mainly related to real estate and procurement in India which Cognizant has identified in an internal investigation.
Why is it important? In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, the company said some senior managers may have participated or not taken action to prevent making these payments. Cognizant said the people involved in this case are either no longer with the company or in a senior management position. It also said that the ongoing investigation had identified a “material weakness” in its internal control over financial reporting.
Tell me more: In September, the IT firm had disclosed that it was conducting an enquiry into possible violations of US anti-corruption laws related to these payments.
What is it? The number of masala bonds worth £600 million ($748 million) are expected to be listed in London in the next three months. Masala bonds are rupee-denominated bonds sold overseas.
Why is it important? This comes during Britain’s prime minister Theresa May’s first bilateral visit to a non-European Union country since taking office in July and is likely to strengthen ties between the two nations after Britain’s exit from the European Union. These bonds, which are expected to attract foreign participation in India’s development plans, would provide financing to expand its railway and highway networks, besides boosting renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Tell me more: The bonds would be issued by public sector companies: Indian Railway Finance Corp., Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, Energy Efficiency Services and the National Highways Authority of India.
What is it? The number of people hired by the top four Indian IT companies in the September quarter, according to a report.
Why is it important? This is a 43% decline from a year-ago period and is in line with the slowdown in the growth rates of these companies. The report by Kotak Institutional Equities attributed the slowdown in hiring to factors such as clients deferring projects, uncertainty in macro environment, some customers (especially in the financial services segment) moving software development and maintenance work to their captive centres and measures taken by these firms to drive up productivity.
Tell me more: Increasingly, companies are pushing for automation to improve productivity. According to data by industry body Nasscom, the IT industry was estimated to require 16,055 engineers to generate every additional $1 billion of export revenue in 2015-16 compared with 31,846 engineers in 2009-10.
What is it? The percentage by which beef prices should go up annually to compensate for the damage caused by their production via climate change, according to an Oxford University team of researchers.
Why is it important? The study calculated the impact of imposing climate taxes on different food groups based on the climate damage their production caused. They then evaluated how much less of each food type would be consumed due to the increased prices. Based on an optimum tax plan, such taxes could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one billion tonnes (more than that generated by the global aviation industry) and could save half a million lives a year due to healthier diets. Food production accounts for a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions driving global warming.
Tell me more: Keeping in mind food security, the researchers suggested some food groups known for their health benefits could be excluded from such tax plans and that some poor countries where a large number of people suffer from hunger and starvation could be exempted.
What is it? India’s share in global social science research articles (16.6 lakh) published in reputed journals between 2009 and 2014, according to a study.
Why is it important? It indicates the low level of importance assigned to social science research in India, despite huge scope with its vast and diverse population. Overall, India has just 159 autonomous social science research institutions and of the 148 for which detailed data could be obtained, over 60% were found to be concentrated in states including Delhi (has the maximum), Maharashtra, Kerala and West Bengal. About 30% of the 148 has less than five faculty members per institution, while just 9% have more than 20 members. Most of the articles published in India were in English (90%) with very few in vernacular languages.
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