Ramdev Takes ICCR Schol­ars on a Tour of In­dian Cul­ture

For­eign stu­dents sent to Patan­jali Yogpeeth for talks on spir­i­tual and so­cial is­sues

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Anubhuti.Vishnoi @times­group.com

New Delhi: The In­dian Coun­cil for Cul­tural Re­la­tions, a govern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion that’s au­tonomously run, chose Baba Ramdev and his Patan­jali Yogpeeth as of­fer­ing the right kind of in­struc­tion to for­eign schol­ars in­ter­ested in learn­ing about the cul­ture and tra­di­tions of the country.

For­eign schol­ar­ship stu­dents at­tended the Patan­jali Yogpeeth camps in Harid­war and Rishikesh for talks on spir­i­tual and so­cial is­sues be­sides meet­ing Ramdev dur­ing their March 4-8 trip.

The sched­ule of the visit was posted by the New Delhi-based Hindu Her­itage Foun­da­tion on its Face­book page. The stu­dents trav­elled from Delhi to Patan­jali Yogpeeth in Harid­war on March 5, where they started off with a spe­cial yoga ses­sion by Ramdev.

sum­mer and win­ter camps for its schol­ar­ships hold­ers

four-day tour, be­gin­ning March 4, to Harid­war & Rishikesh

“I be­lieve there is a need for a new kind of com­pany that is based on in­no­va­tion,” said Sikka, 48, who joined In­fosys in June 2014f rom Ger­many’s SAP af­ter co­founder NR Narayana Murthy un­ex­pect­edly cut short his comeback from re­tire­ment amid an ex­o­dus of ta­lent and slow­ing growth. “That jour­ney has just be­gun,” he said.

Dur­ing the fourth quar­ter of fis­cal 2016, In­fosys’ top line grew by 1.6% and its op­er­at­ing mar­gin im­proved by 50 ba­sis points to 25.4%, bet­ter­ing ex­pec­ta­tions. The com­pany an­nounced a fi­nal div­i­dend of .₹ 14.25 per share. Rev­enue growth in 2016-17, it said, would be in the range of 11.8-13.8%, com­pared to Nasscom’s pro­jec­tion for 10-12% ex­port growth for the in­dus­try.

Shares of In­fosys were trad­ing 8.79% higher at $20 on the New York Stock Ex­change at 10 pm (In­dia time). In­dian stock mar­kets were closed on Fri­day for the Ram Navami hol­i­day.

Sikka, who is re­garded as the ar­chi­tect of SAP’s best-sell­ing in­mem­ory data­base soft­ware HANA, has been at­tempt­ing to reengi­neer In­fosys around the themes of in­no­va­tion and a fo­cus on the cus­tomer. His so-called ‘ Re­new and New’ strat­egy, an­a­lysts said, ap­pears to be pay­ing div­i­dends. While the pace of growth has picked up, em­ployee at­tri­tion lev­els are down, and the stock mar­kets are show­ing their faith—In­fosys shares have risen by 44% on the NSE since Sikka took over. “More than any­thing, the com­pany has sta­bilised, es­pe­cially the sales en­gine, and the flurry of neg­a­tiv­ity ap­pears to be a thing of the past,” said Tom Re­uner, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at HfS Re­search.

By re­turn­ing un­equiv­o­cally to nor­malcy, and even in­dus­try-lead­ing growth, In­fosys is set­ting it­self on a path to again be­com­ing the trend-set­ter, es­pe­cially where it mat­ters most—de­liv­er­ing re­sults based on ex­per­tise in cut­tingedge tech­nol­ogy which works for cus­tomers. With Tata Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices show­ing signs of de­clin­ing growth mo­men­tum, and Wipro con­tin­u­ing to strug­gle with growth, In­fosys and Sikka will be keenly watched for their abil­ity to show that the trans­for­ma­tional project work sus­tain­ably.

The strong per­for­mance from In­fosys also comes dur­ing a time when global IT spend­ing is grow­ing at its slow­est pace in nearly a decade. In Jan­uary, tech­nol­ogy re­searcher Gart­ner said it ex­pected global tech spend­ing to grow by just 0.6% to $3.54 tril­lion in 2016. Sikka has been ad­vo­cat­ing what is known as ‘De­sign Think­ing’ which in­volves a user-cen­tric prob­lem-solv­ing ap­proach, and em­brac­ing au­toma­tion to re­duce costs and im­prove ef­fi­ciency. He has at­tempted to bal­ance the twin de­mands of build­ing rev­enue mo­men­tum while po­si­tion­ing the com­pany to cope with changes brought on by tech­nolo­gies such as cloud com­put­ing.

“Go­ing by In­fosys’ per­for­mance, its im­prov­ing client met­rics, its mar­ket share gains/po­si­tion­ing with an­chor clients and the con­tin­u­ally broad-bas­ing na­ture of its growth, it seems the ar­tic­u­lated slo­gans are be­gin­ning to have their bite,” said Viju Ge­orge of JPMor­gan In­dia in a note to clients on Fri­day.

For the Jan­uary-March quar­ter, In­fosys posted a net profit of $533 mil­lion on rev­enue of $2.45 bil­lion. It added a net 47 clients, raked in $757 mil­lion worth of con­tracts from large deals and slowed an­nu­alised em­ployee at­tri­tion to 17.3%.

An­a­lysts on av­er­age were ex­pect­ing a rev­enue guid­ance of 11-13% in con­stant cur­rency terms, ac­cord­ing to an ET poll. In ru­pee terms, net profit rose 16.2% to .₹ 3,597 crore on rev­enue of .₹ 16,550 crore, which was up 23.4% from last year. Other than fi­nan­cial ser­vices and in­surance, growth was ro­bust in all ver­ti­cals, and North Amer­ica was the only area of soft­ness.

The ‘nor­mal-is-bor­ing’ rou­tine could po­ten­tially be dis­rupted by any of the co­founders who are still clas­si­fied as pro­mot­ers of the com­pany, but Sikka said he is not con­cerned by that. Ear­lier this month, less than a quar­ter of the pro­moter-share­hold­ers voted in favour of res­o­lu­tions ex­tend­ing Sikka’s term (and in­creas­ing his per­for­mance-based com­pen­sa­tion) and ap­point­ing in­vest­ment pro­fes­sional Pu­nita Kumar Sinha as an in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor. “Ask the pro­mot­ers about their vot­ing,” Sikka said.

In­fosys CEO Vishal Sikka

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