4 things Mark Mobius is looking for as he plans to invest in India


Investment guru

Mark Mobius,

has started his second innings with

Mobius Capital Partners

. In an interview

with Nikunj Dalmia of ET Now, at the Morningstar Investment conference, Mobius explains why he wants to put money in India, why India is a special case and doesn’t need rate hikes to contain inflation and how he is looking for companies that other than valuation, have strong balance sheets, focus on ESG factors and are paying dividends.

Edited excerpts:

What brings you to India?

The Morningstar Conference, and also we are planning to put money into India because we have a new fund and it is taking more time. I hope, we will be able to accelerate that.

What gives you that confidence? Do you think that we are at the end of the pain when it comes to India?

Well we know there is a liquidity crisis, we know that you had this problem with the infrastructure company and all these issues are at play and therefore the market has gone down may be a little bit too far. The currency has gone down as well. Put this all together and it means there are bargains, there are good opportunities.

You have been making a call that one should always go and commit when bear markets are on. Do you think the current route of selling in emerging markets across categories is a buying opportunity?

Yes. We are at a stage where with interest rate going up in the US, currencies in emerging markets are going down dramatically and the markets themselves have gone down. It is an opportunity to start buying. I am not saying we are at the absolute bottom, no one can predict whether it is going to be 20%, 30% at the beginning of the year. Who knew emerging markets would go down by 20 odd percent and we are now about 22-23% on the index. The important thing to remember now is that some companies are bargains, tremendous opportunities but some are not. We now have to separate the men from the boys, so to speak.

You have to stay away from companies that have weak balance sheets, do not pay dividends and have poor management. Companies that have strong balance sheets, pay dividends and have a forward looking management are going to be the winners. Separate these two and do not pay so much attention to the overall index.

Emerging markets currently account for nearly 30% to 35% of the global market cap. That is a sizable chunk. It is no longer a billion dollar or a two billion dollar market. This 30% market cap now has corrected by 50% to 15%. So, even though emerging markets are supposed to be high growth pockets, why are these market correcting at a time when growth in general has been very precious?

It is mainly because of what has happened in the US. We must remember the biggest pool of money globally is in the US and so what US investors do, have a big impact. Of course, that impact is declining. As emerging markets grow internally, you are getting big pockets of money investing in the local markets. India, for example, has a big domestic market. But nevertheless, people look to the US and the US dollar. They trust the US dollar.

If interest rates are going up in the US, money flows in to the US dollar until interest rates in emerging countries catch up. Look at Europe, the euro is still paying almost zero per cent interest. That has got to come up. Once that comes up, you may see money flowing out of US and into emerging markets. By the way, you have already seen reversal. We have seen money going into emerging markets recently as a result of these developments.

You believe that crude could go up all the way to $100. That is like a double edged sword, which is not working in favour of India. Do you think if crude were to move up higher and get to $100 per barrel, the whole India investment hypothesis will change?

No, not really We must remember India is a big country. There are lot of things going on where oil prices may not impact. For example, you have got huge coal resources. Agreed coal is polluting but the reality is that when people want to produce fuel, then coal becomes a big factor. You have increased your solar. You have increased your wind. So yes, oil does have an impact but it does not have to be disastrous and it depends again on the industry. In some industries, power consumption is not a big factor, it is very small part of their total cost.

Where do you find tactical opportunities when it comes to India? A year back. it was financials, but look what is happening with financials right now. Just about everyone is shunning even quality NBFCs. Is that the right pocket to hunt now?

There are going to be opportunities. You would think micro lending and the non-banking institutions would be dangerous but there are opportunities in this sector and we are looking at that very carefully.


In your previous avatar you have bought stocks like Reliance. You have bought nearly 5-7% in Sesa Goa. What is your view on commodities first and then commodity stocks as we stare at a trade war and a potential slowdown in China?

Commodities will continue to be a big factor. Just take your oil. Companies that are producing oil are going to be doing very well with the higher oil price. I always tell people do not give up on commodities because commodities are required and in increasing quantities. We must remember that two most populated countries in the world India and China are going to use more and more commodities. It is going to be a big challenge because there are environmental problems with commodities as you know. I do not think commodities are not going to get cheap. They are going to get more expensive.

Parallels are being drawn between 2008 and 2018, looking at the quantum of the selloff. If one works with an assumption that the US economy will start slowing down in 12 to 18 months after the sugar rush which they are enjoying because of tax cuts, how do you see the flow of money moving and changing?

You will see flow out of the US increasing because as you reach these higher interest rates, that will come to an end. There will be a point when inflation will not come up at the rate they are expecting it to. This is one of my big theses these days –we are not in an inflationary environment globally, we are in a deflationary environment. Why? Because of technology. Technology is making things cheaper. The CPI is based on a basket of goods which are changing. But if you look at the basics, the food prices are going down. The World Health Organisation is looking at these prices and they seeing a declining trend. We are in that kind of environment which I believe will hold up the rise of interest rates by central banks but as the US central bank slows down interest rate hikes, other banks around the world have to catch up because they have not yet risen as much as they should. So, you are going to see money flowing back to take advantage of these higher rates.

In that sense would you say the Reserve Bank of India has been a little behind the curve because just about everyone on the Street was expecting it to be a 50 bps hike but they chose to hold back.

In the case of India, I am a little bit on the other side of the equation because I think in India, the central bank has been in the past too aggressive about raising rates. It would be better in the Indian environment to have lower rates because it will help the community at large and industry at large. India is kind of a special case, It is not necessary to raise rates in order to contain inflation. If you want to contain inflation, you have to increase productivity and that means you have to reduce the regulatory environment.

The single excise tax or GST is a giant step in the right direction because that has the impact of lowering inflation, reducing overall cost. I think India is a special case.

When you think of India, you think of consumption. Consumption is just such a large basket. Just about everything falls under the bracket. Take autos. In the market correction, auto stocks fell down.Do you believe it is the time to buy this decline in autos because whenever the economy recovers a little bit, the auto stocks will come back?

It is now time to look at companies that are advanced in electric automobiles because that is the future and not only for the domestic market but for exports. So the degree to which Tata Motors or any of these companies can develop an inexpensive electric vehicle will be very important going forward. That is what I would focus on. And the technology is here, there is no reason why this cannot be done.


You have been an emerging market veteran and you generally have been investing into emerging markets for over 25 years now. If you have to make a list of your favourite investable companies in India, what will it show?

My favourite companies in India are those that have strong balance sheets, number one, that are focussing on ESG factors, number two and are paying dividends.

What about valuations?

And the valuations of course. We look at price earnings, price to book but we found that these are not really good long-term indicators in itself. Of course, they are important but we are looking more at the growth. I am not so much interested in what the PE is today but what it is going to be in five years.

Can you give me an example that what is looking expensive today may look cheap tomorrow because growth will come back?

If you look at the banks here, if you really do the numbers and look at the non-performing loans, you will find that the price to book is very high because a lot of the assets have been wiped out. But then if you look forward, the reforms that are taking place in the banks could look pretty good going forward. So that is an example where you have to take a five year view.

So let us take the next five years, EVs is one that you talked about. Where do you think the big disruption is going to come in when it comes to India, economy, stock markets all put together?

The big disruption will be the impact of the internet and technology in general. The reason why I say that is that many of the traditional industries have not yet adopted a lot of the technology that is required. You take retail, they do not have an inventory control based on the internet, they do not have an inventory of their customer base. All these factors have to come in into play because they are going to be running into a tremendous competition.

The India romance always has been centred around consumption and when I say consumption it is autos, staples and durables. Would you buy an HUL, would you buy a Britannia or would you buy a Nestle with a five-year view?

This is a very good question because very often you will find these tremendous names, that are selling at very high multiples and again I have to emphasise what are they doing going forward? If they are going to stay where they are, I am not interested. If they are making innovations in their product base, in the way they manage their businesses then I am interested, that means growth. Even though the valuation may appear to be high now, if you are seeing that growth, going forward PE levels will go down, price to book levels will go down, dividend yields will go up that is what we are looking for.

In your investing career in India, I have been told that Templeton had nearly $10 billion directly, indirectly invested in India. Which is one business you regret buying late and one business you regret selling early?

I would say that more than business buying too late was probably the outsourcing businesses. We did not recognise the incredible potential there. Some of the mining companies, we bought a little bit too early. They had a lot of reforms to go through and the whole environmental issues came in play. We could have been waiting.

A year from now, the texture of the market would be a lot different than what we are at now. We also have a very big political risk as well. This year, you have got three state elections, the run up to the big 2019 election. What would you want to see from the government in the next one year because the big fear in the market is that they are bound to turn a little populist in the run up to the election.

I would say that if the current government could focus more strongly on the reforms that they announced when they were elected, that would go a long way towards strengthening their position. So is implementing these reforms more forcefully. A good example is what we are talking about; of foreign investment making it easier for investments to come in, particularly now because the opportunity is tremendous with the trade war between the US and China, India has got an incredible opportunity to garner some of this manufacturing.

Do you think there is a big political risk attached to the markets right now,? If the same government does not come to power, is it going to be a big derogatory factor for the equity momentum?

I do not think so because any government that gets in is going to be pushed to reform because with the internet and smartphones, everybody is aware of what is going on. The young generation are very impatient, they do not want to wait, they want action now and any government is going to be forced to act.

After an extremely successful career as an emerging market strategist with Franklin Templeton, normally people retire at this age, but you are starting your second innings. What prompted this?

Well I recognised that there was a new era taking place and it was time to get away from index investing and focus on the index. It was time to look at the ESG factors. So looking at all this, I said well maybe I better turn over a new leaf, separate myself from what went before and start something new and that is really the exciting thing,

When you hear the new ideas of the analysts it is just incredible. The analysts today are so much more advanced in technology it is quite something.

What is the mantra for you fitness because we have been seeing you for the last 15 years and not a single wrinkle, the skin is as glowing?

The key is to exercise everyday without fail. I get up in the morning, I get on the stationary bicycle, I read from my i-Pad. I read a book or something and then in the evening, I try to do some weight training. It is very important because as you get older you bones will get weak. Now my weakness is proved, that is the problem. I love sweets. So. when I come to India I go wow about Indian sweets. It is a real problem.

So Indian stocks or Indian sweets, where is the preferred choice right now?

Mark Mobius
: They are both sweet.

Saudi to sign deals worth $50 billion in oil, gas and infrastructure


RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia started signing deals worth more than $50 billion in sectors including oil, gas and infrastructure at an investment conference in Riyadh on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: General view of Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo

Companies involved in the deals included Trafigura, Total, Hyundai, Norinco, Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes, state television said.

The deals include the establishment of a copper, zinc and lead smelter with Trafigura Group; an agreement to build an integrated petrochemical complex and downstream park in the second phase of the SATORP refinery, jointly held by Saudi Arabia’s Aramco and Total; and investments in retail petrol stations also by Aramco and Total, a source familiar with the matter said.

Saudi Arabia’s transport minister signed a deal for the second phase of the Haramain high-speed railway with a Spanish consortium, state television al-Ekhbariya said on its twitter account.

Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Writing By Maha El Dahan; Editing by Susan Fenton and Dale Hudson

Turkey’s leader says signs show Khashoggi killing planned


ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday there were strong signs Jamal Khashoggi’s “savage” killing was planned and attempts to blame it on intelligence operatives – Riyadh has suggested it was a rogue operation — “will not satisfy us”.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey October 23, 2018. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

In a speech to parliament, Erdogan did not mention Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who some U.S. lawmakers suspect ordered the killing. But he said Turkey would not complete its investigation into Khashoggi’s death until all questions were answered.

“Intelligence and security institutions have evidence showing the murder was planned…. Pinning such a case on some security and intelligence members will not satisfy us or the international community,” he said.

Erdogan said the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body were still unknown and he demanded Saudi Arabia reveal the identity of a “local cooperator” who purportedly took the body.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, disappeared three weeks ago after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.

Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate by Saudi agents.

A Still image taken from CCTV video and obtained by A News claims to show Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and his fiancee entering their residence on the day he disappeared in Istanbul, Turkey October 2, 2018. Courtesy A News/Handout via REUTERS

Turkish sources say authorities have an audio recording purportedly documenting the killing of the 59-year-old. Erdogan made no reference to any audio recording in his speech.

Riyadh initially denied knowledge of his fate before saying he was killed in a fight in the consulate. That version of events was greeted sceptically by several Western governments, straining relations with the world’s biggest oil exporter.

Erdogan said three operatives arrived in Istanbul the day before his killing on an apparent reconnaissance mission.

The next day 15 people came to the consulate.

“Why did these 15 people meet in Istanbul on the day of the murder? We are seeking answers to this. Who are these people receiving orders from?” Erdogan said.

Following the global outrage prompted by the journalist’s disappearance, U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments have varied from playing down Riyadh’s role to warning of possible economic sanctions.

Trump has also repeatedly highlighted the kingdom’s importance as a U.S. ally and said Prince Mohammed was a strong and passionate leader.

Slideshow (2 Images)

For Saudi Arabia’s allies, the question will be whether they believe that Prince Mohammed, who has painted himself as a reformer, has any culpability. King Salman, 82, has handed the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to the 33-year-old prince.

Editing by William Maclean and Jon Boyle

Asthana moves HC on FIR against him in bribery case


Special CBI Director
Rakesh Asthana Tuesday moved the
Delhi High Court against the lodging of an FIR against him in a bribery case.

Asthana has sought the high court’s direction that no coercive action be taken against him.

His petition was mentioned before Chief Justice Rajendra Menon, who allocated the matter to an appropriate bench that will hear it in the post-lunch session.

The CBI had yesterday arrested its DSP Devender Kumar in connection with bribery allegations involving the investigative agency’s second-in-command, Asthana.

Kumar, earlier the investigating officer in a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, was arrested yesterday by the CBI on the allegations of forgery in recording the statement of businessman Sathish Sana, who had alleged to have paid bribe to get relief in the case.

In his statement, Sana had purportedly said that he had in June this year discussed his case with Telugu Desam Party‘s Rajya Sabha member C M Ramesh who, after speaking to the CBI Director, had assured him that he would not be summoned again.

“From June onwards, I was not called by the CBI. I was under the impression that investigation against me is complete,” he is believed to have said.

The CBI has now alleged that Kumar had fabricated this statement as an “afterthought…to corroborate the baseless allegations made by Asthana against CBI Director Alok Verma to the CVC (Central Vigilance Commissioner)”.

They said the agency was also looking into the alleged role of other members of the special investigation team headed by Asthana.

Asthana, who was booked by the agency on bribery charges in an unprecedented action, had complained against Verma on August 24, 2018.

Activists smoulder over ‘green’ Diwali firecrackers


NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the use of “green” firecrackers for Diwali next month to try to curb pollution, but it was unclear how the rules will be enforced or whether there was such a thing as an environmentally safe firework.

A woman and her son sit at their firecracker shop in the old quarters of Delhi, India, October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

The court banned the sale of firecrackers outright during the Hindu festival of lights last year but revellers bought them from neighboring states and air pollution in New Delhi hit 18 times the healthy limit.

Each year, smoke from firecrackers covers Delhi and its satellite cities in a haze that can linger for days as wind speeds drop in the cooler weather, adding to pollution caused by the burning of crop residue, vehicle exhausts and industrial gases.

Activists in India, home to the world’s 14 most polluted cities, had petitioned the court for another ban on fireworks ahead of Diwali, when millions of firecrackers are lit.

Environmentalist Vimlendu Jha said there was no such thing as an environmentally safe firework and blasted the court decision as others raised concerns about how the order can be enforced.

“Your one decision to allow sale and use of firecrackers in current times, while half of our country turns into a gas chamber, will kill toddlers, children and elderly,” Jha said in a Tweet.

But authorities have been reluctant to enforce an outright ban to avoid offending millions of Hindus across the country, for whom Diwali is one of the biggest festivals.

A two-judge bench said firecrackers would be permitted during Diwali, Christmas and New Year, with conditions.

Only “safe and green firecrackers” would be allowed, for a maximum two hours on Diwali, and only in designated areas such as parks. Online sales were banned.

“This decision should have come earlier because manufacturers are ready with all kinds of firecrackers and it will be very hard to stop them,” said Greenpeace campaigner Sunil Dahiya.

New Delhi accounts for nearly half of India’s demand for firecrackers although Diwali is celebrated across the country.

“These celebrations should not be spoiled. Such petitions for a ban are deliberately targeted against Hindu festivals,” said Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, a spokesman for the Delhi unit of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

But Judge Arjan Kumar Sikri said a balance had to be drawn between religious practices and safeguarding public health.

“If a particular religious practice is threatening the health and lives of people, such practice is not entitled to protection,” Sikri said.

On Tuesday, Delhi’s air quality index, which measures the concentration of poisonous particulate matter, stood at over 300 in some parts of the sprawling city, far above the safe limit of 100.

Last week, hundreds of protesters from conservative Hindu groups defied a Supreme Court decision allowing women of menstrual age to enter a Hindu temple in southern state of Kerala, saying it would hurt a centuries-old tradition.

For graphic on India’s pollution, see tmsnrt.rs/2OnHG61

FILE PHOTO: A shopkeeper waits for customers at his firecracker shop in the old quarters of Delhi, India, October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File photo

Additional reporting by Suchitra Mohanty; Writing by Neha Dasgupta; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Nick Macfie

326 products under geographical indication so far


As many as 326 products such as Kancheepuram silk saree, Alphonso Mango, Nagpur Orange and Kolhapuri Chappal have been registered as
geographical indications (GI) so far, according to government data.

“The GI Registry hits a new milestone with the registration of 326 Geographical Indications classified into different categories. This also includes 14 foreign GIs,” the Cell for IPR Promotions & Management (CIPAM) said in a tweet.

CIPAM is an arm of the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP).

A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.

Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.

Once a product gets this tag, any person or company can not sell a similar item under that name. This tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.

The other benefits of registration of GI include legal protection to that item, prevention against unauthorised use by others, and promoting exports.

Any association of persons, producers, organisation or authority established by or under the law can apply. The applicant must represent the interest of the producers.

It is a legal right under which the GI holder can prohibit others from using the same name.

The famous goods which carry this tag include Basmati rice, Darjeeling Tea, Chanderi Fabric, Mysore Silk, Kullu Shawl, Kangra Tea, Thanjavur Paintings, Allahabad Surkha, Farrukhabad Prints, Lucknow Zardozi and Kashmir Walnut Wood Carving.

Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributed to its origin in a defined geographical locality, region or country.

Under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of intellectual property rights (IPRs).

They are also covered under the WTOs Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.

India’s Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act 1999, has come into force with effect from September 15, 2003.

Delhi’s air quality index stays in ‘poor’ category


Delhi’s air quality continued to be in the “poor” category Tuesday, a day after it had improved from “very poor” Air Quality Index (AQ1) zone.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded the city’s overall AQI at 252 at 11 am.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

The air quality in the national capital had shown signs of improvement Monday as it moved from ‘very poor’ to ‘poor’ category, but experts said it could deteriorate in the coming days due to toxic air coming out of a fire at Bhalswa landfill site.

The fire was extinguished Monday by a team of firefighters even as the area’s civic body said it was keeping a watch on it, while Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain directed the municipal corporation to work on preventing landfill site fires.

The Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) also reported an AQI in the ‘poor’ category.

On Sunday, the AQI had oscillated between ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ categories.

On Saturday, a haze had engulfed the national capital and the worst air quality of this season was recorded at 324.

Anumita Roychowdhury of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) Monday said, as winter approaches, toxic air emanating out of such landfill fires is likely to affect the air quality.

“If the wind speed is lower and the temperature dips, the polluted air coming out of landfill fires will get trapped, which would severely affect the air quality,” she said.

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Protection Control Authority (EPCA) had last week held a meeting with officials of Punjab, Haryana and the Delhi governments to discuss the pollution situation in the national capital.

Right to pray, but no right to desecrate: Irani


Amid protests against the Supreme Court order opening the
Sabarimala temple in
Kerala to women of all ages, Union minister
Smriti Irani Tuesday said the right to pray did not mean the right to desecrate.

On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, lifted the ban on entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.

Women have been stopped by Ayyappa devotees from climbing up to the Sabarimala temple as protests against the Supreme Court order opening the hilltop shrine to women of all ages continued across Kerala.

“I am nobody to speak against the Supreme Court verdict as I am a serving cabinet minister. But just plain common sense is that would you carry a napkin seeped with menstrual blood and walk into a friend’s house. You would not.

“And would you think it is respectful to do the same when you walk into the house of god? That is the difference. I have the right to pray, but no right to desecrate. That is the difference that we need to recognise and respect,” Irani said.

The Union textile minister was speaking at the “Young Thinkers” conference organised by the British High Commission and the Observer Research Foundation here.

“I am a practising Hindu married to a Zoroastrian. I have ensured that both my kids are practising Zoroastrians, who can go to the fire temple and pray,” she said.

Irani recalled that when her children were inside the fire temple, she had to stand outside on the road or sit in the car.

“When I took my newborn son (to the fire temple), I would give him at the (temple) entrance to my husband and wait outside, because I was shooed away and told not to stand there,” she said.

TCS among top 10 cos that just got H-1B nod


WASHINGTON: Tata Consultancy Services (
TCS) is the only Indian company among the top 10 firms to get foreign labour certification for the H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2018 by receiving over 20,000 such certifications, according to official data in which Ernst and Young was ranked No 1.

The H-1B visas are the most sought-after among Indian IT professionals.

The visa programme allows employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in the US on a non-immigrant basis in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.

London-headquartered Ernst and Young, a multinational professional services firm, has emerged as the top employer to have received the certification, the date from the US labour department said.

In fact, Ernst and Young with 151,164 H-1B specialist occupation labour certifications accounted for the 12.4 per cent of all foreign labour certification for the H-1B work visas for the fiscal year 2018 ending on September 30, according to the latest annual report released by the Department of Labour early this month.

Ernst and Young is followed by Deloitte Consulting which received 69,869 H-1B specialty occupations labour conditions programme.

Indian-American owned Cognizant Technology Corp comes at number three with 47,732 specialty occupations labour conditions programme, the Department of Labour said in its latest annual report.

Cognizant is followed by HCL America (42,820), K Force Inc (32,996), and Apple (26,833).

India’s Tata Consultancy Services or TCS is the only Indian company in top 10 for the year 2018.

According to the Department of Labour in the fiscal year 2018, ending on September 30, TCS had received 20,755 H-1B specialty occupation labour certifications.

Qualcomm Technologies (20,723), Mphasis Corporation (16,671) and Capgemini America (13,517) are the other companies in top 10.

In the 2018 fiscal year the Department of Labour’s Office of Foreign Labour Certification processed 654,360 applications for the H-1B specialty occupations labour conditions programme, of which 599,782 were certified, 8,627 were denied and 45,951 were withdrawn.

It received requests for 1,266,614 position of which 1,223,053 were certified.

Among the positions certified, software developers and applications accounted for nearly one-fourth with 285,963 positions being certified.

This was followed by computer systems analyst (176,025), Computer Occupations (120,736), Software developers, system software (67,262), accountants and auditors (54,2410 and computer programmers (53,727).

California with 309,205 certifications topped the list of States for getting maximum H-1B labour certification, followed by Texas (115,484), New York (95,722), New Jersey (65,232), Illinois (56,196), Washington (52,522) and Pennsylvania (51,471).

According to Department of labour, a specialty occupation requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialised knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in the specific specialty (e.g. sciences, medicine, health care, education, biotechnology, and business specialties, etc.).

Congress has limited the annual number of qualifying foreign workers who may be issued a visa or otherwise be provided the H-1B status to 65,000 with an additional 20,000 under the H-1B advanced degree exemption.

Before applying for the H-1B visas the employer submits a labour condition application to the Department of labour. Companies can proceed with the H-1B petitions, only after they receive such a certification by the Department of labour.

Can’t dub Masood Azhar global terrorist: China


By Gaurav Sharma

BEIJING: China on Tuesday said it has told India many times that it has issues in declaring Pakistan-based Masood Azhar a global terrorist and it will take its own call on the merits of the matter, a day after New Delhi nudged Beijing again to blacklist him.

Beijing denied giving shelter to Paresh Baruah, the chief of banned Indian outfit ULFA, saying it does not interfere in domestic affairs of other countries.

At a high-level meet between Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his visiting Chinese counterpart Zhao Kezhi, New Delhi urged Beijing to back its pending application at the UN to list LeT chief Azhar as an international terrorist.

“As to India’s request for the listing of Masood Azhar, we have already stated our position many times. On the issue of counter-terrorism, China has always actively participated in international anti-terrorist operations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

“We have always made our judgment and decisions on the merits of the matter itself,” Hua added.

Azhar is the mastermind of the deadly attack at an Indian Army base in 2016. He also plotted the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

China, Pakistan‘s main ally, has repeatedly blocked India’s application at the UN to get him declared an international terrorist. It says there is not enough evidence against Azhar, frustrating India.

This has become one of the major issues between New Delhi and Beijing.

Asked about India telling China at the same meeting not to give shelter to Baruah, Hu said: “The Chinese government has always adhered to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ affairs. This remains unchanged.”

Baruah is reportedly making frequent visits to China and smuggles arms to India’s Northeast.