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FEB. 11, 2007
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Taxing Times
The phase-out of central sales tax is yet another move towards ushering in the national goods and services tax (GST). The compensation to the states, in lieu of CST phase-out, will include revenue proceeds from 33 services currently being taxed by the Centre as well as 44 new services of an intra-state nature that will be traded by the states. However, VAT is the way forward, though much needs to be done to iron out the anomalies in the current VAT regime.

India, Ahoy!
Indian investments overseas are growing and how. For instance, total Indian investment in Latin America and the Caribbean has topped $3 billion (Rs 13,500 crore) so far. The latest investment is by ONGC Videsh, which acquired an oilfield in Colombia for $425 million (Rs 1,912.5 crore). Earlier, ONGC bought an offshore oilfield in Brazil for $410 million (Rs 1,845 crore).
More Net Specials
Business Today,  January 28, 2007
India Arrives
Global tech firms are now relocating top management functions to India.
"From Cisco's perspective, there are several factors that attract it to India"
Wim Elfrink
Chief Globalisation Officer/ Cisco
In early January, Wim Elfrink, the 55-year-old chief globalisation Officer at networking giant Cisco, made an unusual career move. He packed his bags and moved his family from the relative comforts of Silicon Valley (the real one) to the hustle and bustle of its Indian clone. This is no short-term commitment for Elfrink; he has got his two sons admitted to the tony Bangalore International School and rented a plush apartment just off Airport Road. His mandate: oversee Cisco's $1.16 billion (Rs 5,220 crore) investment in this country. "Today, we see India as a big opportunity. From Cisco's perspective, there are several factors that attract it to India. The country has been able to create an environment that's unlike anywhere else in the world," says Elfrink. He isn't the only high-ranking Cisco employee to relocate here. The company is moving 20 per cent of its top talent to Bangalore. Elfrink will collaborate with senior company executives across functions such as engineering services, R&D (Research & Development) and hr (Human Resource) from his Bangalore base and will also be responsible for Cisco's customer advocacy services (comprising 7,000 employees worldwide).

Cisco's highly-publicised initiative follows those by a raft of other large global tech giants that have also moved senior managers with global responsibilities (albeit quietly) to India. "We see the world as a global resource and these moves are part of our strategy to tap the best talent and markets across the globe," says an IBM spokesperson. IBM executives admitted that the company has relocated senior executives (such as Jecy Cherian, IBM India's Director for the Global Technology Services Centre), though they remained curiously coy about going on the record about these moves. "India is a very important market and there are no arguments on this. IBM's strategy is based on being globally integrated and India is an important strategic piece in this strategy," says Amitabh Ray, Vice President and Partner (Global Delivery, Consulting and Application Services), IBM Global Business Services. Incidentally, IBM has moved its global procurement office from New York to China.

Q&A: Hamid Ahmadi
Europe is Ripe for the Picking