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Not A Level Playing Field Complain Indian Toy Makers

Indian toy factories seem to be getting badly affected and many of them are faced with closure because of various issues caused by non-implementation of various rules and guidelines. Members of the Toy Association of India and The All India Toy Manufacturers’ Association feel that both these representative bodies urgently need to present various facts to the government, especially as Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has focused on the toy industry in his own speech stressing the Aatmanirbhar programme. Officials of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which is tasked with certifying toys among other items, have also been pleading pre-occupation with other work over the past three years. Some foreign manufacturers have invaded the market by flouting BIS norms and rules under various umbrellas provided to protect the Indian industry. Another issue is the huge, continuous supply of imported non-BIS compliant toys – especially from China – because of leakages in the ports, with many customs officers and, later, BIS/ISI inspectors, willing to look the other way for a consideration. Also, the fact that components attract the same customs duty of 50-60% as readymade toys allows importers to misuse this and take advantage of the lower rates of around 20% levied on other products by declaring consignments as other products. This makes it important to define what a ‘component’ is: an organ inside a toy, like mechanical gearboxes, electric motors, coreless motors, PCBs, chips, LED for toys and the like. The duty on these should not be more than 20%, with strict adherence to the law. Unless these and other issues – including the unhealthy challenges from some e-commerce platforms – are addressed at the earliest, the Indian manufacturer will succumb to the uneven competition.
Tiss farmer report

Average Income Of Farmers Up 10 Fold, Says TISS Report

Even as farmers in Punjab and elsewhere are flexing their muscles to force the government to fulfil their various demands, their counterparts in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are seeing a tenfold increase in their mean annual income per acre, thanks to the interventions of a Parli, Marathwada-based NGO working in agricultural development. An independent impact assessment study by the Centre for Excellence in CSR of the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has found that 1248 surveyed farmers’ average income had jumped from Rs 38,723 to Rs3,93,986 because of the initiatives of the Global Vikas Trust (GVT). The comprehensive report has been prepared by TISS based on a meticulous survey of these farmers, who represent 15% of a total of 8299 farmers in eight clusters within GVT’s operational domains in the two states. The focal point of the analysis was to assess the tangible effects of the NGO’s work among the farmers. Nearly two in every three of these farmers — 63.9% — had incomes below Rs 25,000, far lower than the average. Covering the project locations of Palghar, Nanded, Beed, Solapur, Osmanabad (Dharashiv) and Jalgaon in Maharashtra and Burhanpur and Dhar/Barwani in Madhya Pradesh, the study was conducted with the specific objective of evaluating the impact of agriculture development initiatives on the rural communities, analysing the stakeholders’ engagement with communities in the areas, and suggesting measures for the effective implementation of GVT’s activities in the focus areas. As the GVT tagline says: “India can wait no more!”

David Versus Goliath In Hybrid Vehicles And Electric Propulsion

  Many companies who have got into the electrical vehicle (EV) manufacturing space are looking forward to the music of their cash registers ringing since the government announced its renewed push for such engines. Adding to the euphoria has been the report released in end-January by HSBC Global Research that hybrid vehicles are a practical midterm solution on the decarbonisation road. The smaller players like the Bengaluru-headquartered Altigreen Propulsion Labs, which was a pioneer in hybrids and has announced plans to move towards 100% EVs, is however being cautious in view of the biggies that are already in the field, like Mahindra, Bajaj, Piaggio and TVS. This David is trying to establish its footing in the last-mile transportation space, for electrically-operated cargo as well as passenger delivery vans. Along the way, the company raised Series A funding, which it says is the largest fund-raise from Indian venture and corporate investors by an electric 3W startup. The first investment into the Indian EV sector for all five funders – Sixth Sense, Xponentia, Reliance New Energy, Accurant USA and Momentum Singapore — is a reflection that EVs and last-mile transport have come into their own and are being studied, and investors are willing to take sizeable and long-term bets on them. Of these, Accurant — the investment venture of Bahman of Open Systems International, Inc. — is making its first India investment and promises to be a big player in EV charging infrastructure. As the government moves towards achieving its target of ‘only electric vehicles’ by 2030, will David beat Goliath again as in the original story?
marathwada auto cluster

Growth Comes Rapidly To Maharashtra’s Erstwhile Backward Regions

Interesting things have been happening in Marathwada, one of the erstwhile backward regions of Maharashtra. Industry took hesitant steps into the region’s capital city five decades ago to take advantage of the state government’s concessions for setting up manufacturing units in the backward area, led by Bajaj Auto which set up a full-fledged scooter manufacturing plant. The first problem it faced was getting executives to work in the plant – they needed homes, which it was simple enough to build. But they also had to have good schools in which their children could study. The Marathwada Industries Association – which morphed into the Chamber of Marathwada Industries & Agriculture – was established, and began to take steps to solve these problems. There were a couple of missionary schools, but the newcomers wanted their children to imbibe not just learning but the culture of the country to which they belong. The head honchos of Bajaj, electronics major Videocon, non-stick cookware pioneer Nirlep and paper manufacturer Nath group joined hands to set up what has evolved into a world-class residential school: the Nath Valley School. This was followed by a number of colleges: there are now 22 for engineering alone in Aurangabad and other parts of Marathwada. Along the way came the Marathwada Auto Cluster to cater to the training needs of the host of automotive and automotive companies and their ancillaries that came up in the area. More than 1,000 customers have used the organisation’s facilities to train their workers and students.
firoz manoj

Firoz Tarapore (left) and Manoj Chacko

FLY91: Connecting The Dots On The Country’s Small-Town Aviation Map

Start-up regional carrier FLY91 has just signed its first agreement with an international operator, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, to induct its first two ATR 72-600 aircraft. The Dubai-headquartered company is a global aviation services provider with over 35 years of experience, whose leasing and engineering divisions serve over 170 customers around the world. With this deal, signed between FLY91 founder Manoj Chacko — former vice-president of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines – and Dubai Aerospace chief executive officer Firoz Tarapore, takes the Indian company a step farther in its aspiration to make air travel accessible to every Indian. The professionally-funded airline’s vision is to enable the next 100 million Indians to take flight, with its focus on regional towns reflected in the selection of the ATR 72-600. These aeroplanes have been specifically chosen to enable efficient and sustainable operations from most regional airports in the country, serving tier-2 and tier-3 towns all over India. This also follows the flight path of the Indian government’s UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik) regional connectivity scheme, which aims to develop smaller regional airports to allow common citizens easier access to aviation services. The commercial operations are expected to begin in February. The airline, headquartered in Goa, was originally scheduled to take off in October 2023, with a plan to go national gradually in only about five years. It has obviously redrawn this plan. Fasten your seat belts!
madhushree dabke

No Need To Wait For The Mango Season Any Longer

In the mood for a mango-based dessert? A father-and-daughter start-up offers the delectable taste of the world-famous Ratnagiri alphonso mangoes in any season. Prakruto Foods, a private limited company set up by Pune-based entrepreneurs Madhushree and Prasad Dabke last year, is all set to launch its mango powder in the Indian and global markets. Having started production of its GTM (Gradual Thorough & Moderate) dried products at its own automatic plant, sourcing its mangoes from the alphonso-growing Ratnagiri and Devgad areas in Maharashtra, the company has been formally recognised as a ‘startup’ by the Union Commerce & Industry Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Its introduction of such a new product has also been recognised as an “innovative venture with great potential to generate employment and create wealth”. Prakruto Foods has been granted BRCGS certification, too: the first standard to be benchmarked under the Global Food Safety Initiative, recognised by leading buyers around the world as a mark of the highest standards in food safety. This international certification, the Dabkes point out, allows food businesses to access all corners of the global market and the company is now qualified to supply to global B2B and B2C customers. The aim is to give a substantial thrust in exports to developed countries, targeting not only overseas Indians and persons of Indian origin, but the western palate for 100% natural products: pure mango, minus the moisture — which is removed gradually, thoroughly, and at a moderate, low temperature – with no added sugar or chemicals, and a long shelf life. There is also a Purios Alphonso Mango recipe book with directions for use in breakfast cereal, milkshakes, lassi, ice creams, cakes, mousse, and a wide variety of Indian delicacies. Purios also offers dried Alphonso mango slices and chunks as a healthy bite-sized snack, perfect for children and adults alike, granules as a topping for milkshakes,...
nitin welde

Limo In The Sky: Helicopter Service A Big Hit In Pune

Make way, limos-helicopters for hire are here. The Oxford helipad at Bavdhan, a suburb of Pune city, saw the launch last year-end of a new mode of transport that offers to literally leapfrog the crawling road traffic. On December 11, 2022, former IAF officer Nitin Welde took off on his maiden commercial flight in a helicopter, carrying six passengers who paid an all-inclusive inaugural fare of Rs 5000 each for a 10-minute joyride over the sprawling city of the Peshwas. Group Captain (retired) Welde, who has launched his Mahalaxmi Aviation under the umbrella of 17-year-old construction company Mahalaxmi Developers, has since taken his ‘birds’ on flights for a variety of clientele: for a ‘Pune darshan’ sightseeing trip offering an aerial view of the city’s attractions, a ‘Dev darshan’ temple tour covering pilgrimage destinations like Tuljapur, Shani Shingapur, Shirdi, Mahalaxmi Kolhapur, Pandharpur, Akkalkot and Shegaon in Maharashtra with an option to choose any other spot anywhere in India, and private charters for weddings – including showering the bridal couple and their guests with rose petals – and business trips. In keeping with the current need with elections round the corner all over India, it has flights for political rallies, especially in far-flung areas and outlying rural areas for politicians to address gatherings to explain their agendas. In today’s world, the flier’s website says, a helicopter is not just an enjoyment but is becoming a need in our day-to-day life. The developer’s take-off in the new business is in consideration of the prospects: a “collaborative effort to save time with the use of modern technology”. The aim: to create a sweet spot where belief and devotion meets comfort and luxury. As its tagline says: “#helicopterspreadsjoy” Powered by: IDFC First Bank

Wind Energy Evangelist PKC Bose Starts A New Innings

After successfully restarting the Indian operation of Enercon GmbH as its chairman and managing director, PKC Bose hung up his boots after five years at the German wind turbine manufacturer and made it a huge success. The man who proved his friends and critics wrong when they told him he was taking on an “impossible task” in bringing Enercon India back on keel, is not one to rest on his laurels, but continues to take on challenges and changes as he has in the last 30 years of his professional life. Believing as he does in doing things differently, Bose has now launched a new venture with his former colleagues. ENREGO (ENdless REnewable Energy to Go) is engaged in wind, solar hybrid, green hydrogen and energy storage management. This answer to his close friends’ questions of why he had decided to step down from Enercon and what he would do next, ENREGO is his next and biggest challenge. With global experts assessing the wind energy market as being poised to grow from $80.42 billion in 2022 to $160.24 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 9%, the venture is set for a flying future as wind currently contributes just over a third of the total global installations of 121 GW of renewable energy installed by the end of 2022, making India the world’s fourth-largest wind market.

Taking Indian Cuisine To Feed The Vikings

India, says Sarita Sehjpal, has given what is probably one of the most important ingredients to the world, crystallised sugar. It was back in the year 290 BC that Greek ambassador Megasthenes reported that people in the India Valley eat honey made by men and not by honeybees, the India-born entrepreneur writes in her new book in Norwegian, Saritas Indiske Kjokken. In those days, they made sugar out of sugarcane, which is native to Papua New Guinea.  Describing her well-researched book as “not only a recipe book but also a history of Indian food, tracing its journey from pre-historical times till today”. Having grown up in Norway she is fluent in the local language, besides Hindi and Punjabi, which were spoken at home, and decided to introduce Indian food to the Scandinavian region. Beginning with selling home-made, ready-to-eat Indian meals in grocery stores in her city of Kristiansand, she built her own brand, SaritaS. Along the way, the minority immigrant has blossomed into a distinguished name in Norwegian society, whose life story is taught as an inspirational biography in an English textbook in Norwegian schools, Step by Step. Her first book, Sarita’s India, was sold widely across Norway and was even nominated for a literature prize. Today, having made SaritaS the biggest Indian brand in Norway, with a portfolio of chilled Indian ready-to-eat meals, Indian sauces, chutneys and the like.
Shekhar sardessai

Goan Entrepreneur Over The Moon As His Company Kineco Goes To Space On Chandrayaan-3

The defining moment started for Shekhar Sardessai, CMD, of the 28-year old Goa-based Kineco Ltd, when the rocket carrying India’s moon lander Chandrayaan-3 took off on 23 August 2023. The next 23 days were very anxious for all 50 people involved in the project.  Having had a long relationship with ISRO, Sardessai and his team should have been more blasé about their latest project, but it was a bag of mixed emotions. Sardessai always had an ambition to be in aerospace and space since 2002, and his first big moment was when we won the bid for supplying 10 antennae for India’s space programme in 2012-13. This project has established the Kineco group’s credentials, rocketing its reputation from being a company that was “too small for this game” to a situation where it is rubbing shoulders with international giants. The opportunities now available to Kineco and other Indian companies are “huge”. This is a very interesting era, in which the next generation of entrepreneurs can give their dreams the power to take them anywhere they want to go.

A New Airline Fly91 Gets Ready To Take Off

The travel boom set off by the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is seeing action in every mode of transport, from roads to rail and, of course, flights. But while the Indian Railways are using the opportunity to push the new Vande Bharat Expresses with premium facilities and premium prices, a number of small airlines are still trying to find their bearings after the sector nosedived during the pandemic. One entrepreneur who is waiting to take off is Manoj Chacko, former vice-president of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. Chacko, CEO of the recently registered Fly91, from India’s telephone dialling code, has seen it all. Air Deccan, the forerunner in the field that made flying affordable to all, took off well but made the mistake of going in for Airbus aircraft too early. “They should have stuck to the ATR with which they began,” he says. “Introducing a mixed fleet compelled them to compete in a different space.” Kingfisher’s acquisition of Deccan was a “big mistake”, says Chacko, who quit soon after. “Vijay Mallya called me back after three years, but too much water had already flowed under the bridge by then.” Flying to Hubli, Kolhapur and smaller places was not an issue, but the attempt to go international was the killer, he says. His new airline, headquartered in Goa, will operate small 76-seater aircraft from October 2023, with a plan to go national gradually in about five years. “We’ll be playing a test match, and aim to replace short rail journeys of 10 to 12 hours,” he explains, adding: “We won’t get into the ‘cheapest fare’ race: our fares will compare with those for the railways’ 2nd-class AC. We will pay salaries comparable to, say Indigo but keep a low-cost structure with neutral distribution channels and a consumer-friendly booking app.” Happy flying!

The World Now Respects India As A Partner Across Hi-Tech Verticals

The current push from both the Indian and UK governments to expand their engagement on defence, aerospace and homeland security has seen an intensity of engagement between the two countries that is unprecedented since Independence. A recent meeting with the UK’s national security advisor, on the sidelines of a meeting in London for cooperation in the defence industry, showed the ‘huge’ respect India now commands from the world. The delegation met three UK ministers including the minister for defence procurement, besides the national security advisor and many senior bureaucrats. Says a ‘happy and proud’ Shekhar Sardessai, Executive Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the Goa-based Kineco Ltd and Kineco Kaman Composites, who was part of the delegation: “I have seen how we were treated 10 years back as an insignificant country. The same people are now keen to woo India as a partner. All credit to what our government has done in the past few years to build a formidable position for our country.” Other business leaders agree. “Great!” says Senator Dr PKC Bose, Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the Bengaluru-based Enercon Windenergy, a subsidiary of Germany’s Enercon Group. “It’s India’s time.”
Atmanirbhar_Pawan Anand

Taking Atmanirbhar A Step Further In India’s Defence Industry

The USI Atma Nirbhar Bharat Initiative (USI-ANBI) has given new meaning has been given to the work of the United Service Institution (USI) of India in furtherance of its avowed objective of “furtherance of knowledge in the art, science and literature in the interest of national security”. Such initiatives bring defence industry players in contact with the Services departments dealing with procurement and indigenisation. In July 2022, for example, it had a panel discussion (PD) with Aditya Birla Securities Ltd on the impact of the geopolitical situation on global and India’s financial markets, followed by one with Microsoft on cybersecurity, where the apex cybersecurity officials were brought in. Start-ups are allowed to register and asked to join when there is a round table discussion (RTD), seminar or closed-door meeting on the issue relevant to them. USI of India is a strategic think tank with a wealth of retired officials from Services, IAS, IPS and IFS, explains Major General Dr Pawan Anand, AVSM (Retd), Distinguished Fellow and Head of USI-ANBI. “It is a great brand!” he says. “We are now planning on foreign industry offerings too at our RTDs.” Obviously, India’s role on the global stage continues to grow in its presidency of the G-20 which it took over in December last year.
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Indian Firms Should Acquire Japanese SMEs To Promote Business Relations

There is a huge potential to increase bilateral investments between Japan and India, says Tomio Isogai, director of the Kansai Japan-India Cultural Society. Agreeing with the Japanese government-run Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) on the crying need to increase the number of SMEs in India. Quoting JETRO India’s Chief Director General Takashi Suzuki, he says this is definitely necessary because small and medium enterprises (SMEs) here account for only one in five of the over 1400 Japanese companies that operate in India. The corresponding figure in China, ASEAN and Bangladesh is between 40% and 60%. This “abysmally low” presence of Japanese companies here, Suzuki has said, is “a very unique element” of the business relationship between the two countries. Indian companies in the fields of healthcare, elderly care and social care related services have major opportunities in Japan, while green hydrogen and the renewable energy sector also offer big scope. Isogai, a veteran in both Japan and India, spent 37 years in Japan’s Sharp Corporation and is a former managing director of the erstwhile Kalyani Sharp in Pune. He is currently a freelance advisor to the Hyderabad Management Association. Companies in both countries have already unveiled manufacturing plans, they point out.
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Global Gaming Platform Plans To Enter The Indian Market This Year

On the heels of the Indian Information & Broadcasting Ministry setting up a Task Force for the promotion of animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC), the Singapore-based Gamepay has made plans for a launch in this country by the end of 2023. “We see a big opportunity in India so that gamers can be rewarded and incentivised for the time they play games,” says Gamepay’s founder-director Daniel Santos. “We also see gaming as one of the fastest-growing sectors and we want to make an impact to Indian GDP by playing an active role in its growth.” Rolling out the project involves establishing a chain of investors and game partners, whom he has invited through a series of social-media posts: “Anyone interested in gaming and tech, pls message me,” says the entrepreneur, originally a Brazilian who had earlier floated another game, Chickey Chik, on his platform. Gamepay, described as “the ultimate gaming destination to incentivise gamers”, is an avenue for gamers to vibe and create a community across various game genres, as well as a platform for listing and promoting games. With more than three billion people worldwide spending time playing online games and Web 3 gaming activity accounting for almost 1.3 million unique active wallets (UAWs), Santos is in a win-win situation, which he is offering to share with his Indian partners, making money from subscriptions, advertisements, and transaction and service fees.
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Bitcoin Craze Has Badly Hit An Unexpected Target, The Direct Selling Business

The Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA), the apex body of companies like Amway, Herbalife, Tupperware, is going through bad times. Not due to regulatory issues and being badmouthed for being multi-level marketing rackets, as its members were branded in the past, but because of another factor that has generated a lot of hype and interest among entrepreneurs looking to make astronomical returns on their investments. With Bitcoin exchanges having mushroomed, and many of them having vanished after collecting money from investors, the cryptocurrency – touted as “the new oil – has lured many of the players’ younger elements away from direct selling. The impact of the Bitcoin frenzy is particularly severe in the direct selling, which is based on a self-entrepreneurial business model, leading many top leaders in the industry to brainstorm strategies to retain their sales field force in training which they have invested heavily. Emerging industries, like food, cab hailing services and e-commerce marketplaces, as well as direct selling and FMCG, which have adopted an aggregator business model using gig workers for last-mile delivery, are experiencing attrition. Industry leaders have also expressed concern about Bitcoin exchanges propagating their businesses as MLM. “We are all over the place,” says an IDSA official who doesn’t want to be named. “Sales have taken a hit because of Bitcoins – the lure of making quick money is attracting the youth.”
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Established Branded Jewellers Unfazed About Newbie On The Block

The news that the Aditya Birla Group (ABG) is planning to move into selling branded jewellery has, expectedly, not elicited any reaction from the Tatas which got into the market first with the Tanishq brand. Other players in the jewellery retail business, as well as the umbrella All-India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) which is the industry’s national apex body, are unfazed, too. While ABG’s decision marks a departure from its traditional areas of strength, textiles and cement, it has not even made ripples in the market. Besides Tanishq, the branded jewellery sector already has major players like Reliance, Kalyan, PC and SHUBH. With ABG’s entry, for which the group has earmarked almost Rs5,000 crore, there will be more big-format retail stores for jewellery retail including its in-house brands. “One more joins the stream,” says former GJC chairman Dr C Vinod Hayagriv, who is managing director of C Krishniah Chetty headquartered in Bengaluru. “The more the merrier!” But will it shake up the market? “Doubt it,” says his successor Ashish Pethe, partner in the Mumbai-based Waman Hari Pethe Jewellers. An independent industry report forecasts that future growth in the sector will be led by the development of such large brands.

Taking Flight: Not Just To A Holiday Resort, But Away From Business Woes

The travel bug has been let loose in India, as in the rest of the world, like the champagne from a just-uncorked bottle. Flights are full despite the high fares, hotels and resorts everywhere are choc-a-bloc and travel agents are doing brisk business with visa appointments, especially for the US and Europe, being available only months later. A new finding, however, is that all this is not only because of the average person having been allowed out of home after more than two years of having been confined since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. Many travellers to more soothing climes are businessmen and industrialists. In the salubrious hill station of Madikeri in Coorg district of Karnataka, for instance, scores of tourists are strolling about on guided tours to look at the coffee plantations and the historic 17th-century Madikeri Fort and Omkareshwar temple. A difference this time is that they include a large number from other parts of the country who are getting away from falling sales and profits. “Nothing to do with business here,” says one auto components manufacturer from Maharashtra, who is here with his family. “We are just trying, unsuccessfully, to forget about the impending recession.” The only plus point, he adds, is that Coorg is “a nice place for a holiday, a must-visit destination”.

L To R: Dr T Vinay Kumar, Navas Meeran, Zubin Meeran

Group Meeran To Ginger Up The Tea Market With New Launches

A squat factory building looks incongruous on the drive up the hill road from Kochi to the holiday town of Munnar. It is Eastern Spices, a company that Kerala entrepreneur ME Meeran set up half a century ago to make and market a range of condiments. His son Navas Meeran, now Chairman of the renamed Group Meeran, has just launched a new product, tea bags in three flavours under the brand Eastea. “For over a century, the packaged tea business has remained more or less static even as lifestyles and consumption patterns have changed,” says Navas Meeran. “We plan to introduce a range of packaged tea offerings in the upmarket segment including flavoured tea and teas that cater to the wellness segment, as well as a cold brew.” The new products in ginger and cardamom flavours alongside green tea and a black Assam blend, will be followed by others across different segments. Indian consumers’ online exposure has made it easier to introduce new tea offerings, unlike in the past when innovations in the consumer market in the West would take years to be introduced in the Indian market. What Meerans describe as a strategy to shake up the traditional packaged tea segment looks set to ginger up the tea market in India and the Gulf where the Group’s spices are sold. Group Meeran also markets Jackfruit365, a dietary supplement to help control diabetes.  
Collage Maker-12-Sep-2022-01

With Laxman Narasimhan At The Helm What’s Brewing At Starbucks?

While all of India is understandably going ga-ga over another desi rising to the top of a global company, the people of Pune have particular reason to celebrate: Laxman Narasimhan, the new CEO designate of the U.S. headquartered Starbucks Corporation is an old Puneri. Narasimhan, now based in London, will join Starbucks on October 1, 2022 after relocating to the Seattle area and will work closely with Howard Schultz, interim CEO, before assuming the CEO role and joining the Board of the world’s largest chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves on April 1, 2023.  The first outsider to be tapped to lead the company, he was born in the city of the Peshwas, where he finished his studies and graduated from the COEP (College of Engineering Pune). Twitteratis are asking whether Narasimhan’s ascension will bring a new culture into Starbucks: the midday break. “Starbucks ek te char band rahil” is the most commonly tweeted quip, reflecting the Pune tradition of all shops being closed from 1 pm to 4 pm. Legend has it that the staff of a leading saree shop have asked customers to leave in the middle of making large purchases for weddings. “Come back at 4,” they were told. The rumour got so persistent that another user tweeted that Starbucks had clarified that this would not happen at their stores in the city.
kineco isro3

Goa-Based Company Bags Prestigious Order From ISRO For Its Manned Flight Project

With the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) reportedly planning for eight programmes in the next decade, companies are confidently going ahead with the use of carbon-fibre composites. These, say those using them in their products – from windmill blades to railway bodies to rocket components – comfortably outsmart all other materials thanks to their high chemical resistance, tensile strength and stiffness as well as low thermal expansion. It is no wonder that Shekhar Sardessai, chairman & managing director of the Goa-based joint venture Kineco Kaman Composites, is over the moon with a new order from ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) for crew orbiter module adaptor assemblies (OMAs) for the country’s maiden first manned space flight, Gaganyaan. The contract for these was signed just after the successful supply of a composite equipment bay shroud to VSSC for the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) Mk-III as well as several other space and aerospace programmes. The OMA, a conical carbon fibre reinforced plastic structure integrated with metallic rings machined to tight tolerances, is a critical component of the GSLV, which acts as an adaptor between the crew escape module and the escape bay shroud.  “We will definitely meet the stringent quality parameters and delivery timelines,” says Sardessai. The company will supply the first three assemblies by the end of 2023. After that, the sky is no longer a limit!

Dr PKC Bose, Enercon Windenergy

Government To Farm Windmills Off-Shore, Make Electricity Off TN, Gujarat As the Wind Blows

While India’s Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has set a target of 100 GW for wind energy by 2030, it is also understood that the government is proposing two pilot research projects for sea-based windmills, one each in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. These initiatives, according to alternative energy experts, should result in reduction in the oil import bill. Prominent wind evangelist Senator Dr PKC Bose, for one, was gung-ho about World Wind Day (June 15). “Let’s enjoy the natural therapy of wind,” says Bose, who is Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the German Enercon Group’s Indian subsidiary Enercon Windenergy. Kochi-based boat builder Dr Jeevan Sudhakaran, CMD of Samudra Shipyard in Kochi said,“The sail harnessed it first and continues to do so”, and then told Bose “You are electrifying it without a carbon footprint!” Wind is surely slated to play a large part in the future of energy, with people like John Burroughs, American naturalist and nature essayist of the 19th and 20th centuries, having declared: “The fuel in the Earth will be exhausted in a thousand or more years, and it’s mineral wealth, but man will find substitutes for these in the winds, the waves, the Sun’s heat, and so on and so forth.”

Hong Kong's Strict Laws Edging Out Lax Indian Public Sector Banks, Except SBI

A huge amount outstanding in bad loans which they will have to write off because they can never recover the money is seeing Indian public-sector banks (PSBs) winding up their operations in Hong Kong. The city state, unlike back home in India, has strict laws about bad loans in bank’s books. Many of these PSBs, perhaps, were pressured to open branches for political and not commercial reasons. These allowed businessmen to get easy loans, allegedly for a fee, and these borrowers then declared huge losses and, eventually, bankruptcy – obviously leaving the lenders in the lurch. Says a local banker: “Even today, there are too many Indian banks here and none making money!” While there is an uproar in Parliament if banks write off loans, HK laws say that bad loans must be written off if they are not collectible. “Bahut chor hain – and banks are bakras!” he adds. “It is good that finally, this government is closing down banks which are not profitable.” The Union Bank of India has already transferred its client accounts to its Singapore and Australian branches and is on the threshold of winding up in HK totally. There are three more in the process of winding up in HK. Eventually, State Bank of India will probably be the only PSB left there.

Green Jackfruit Powder Can Help Control Your Sugar Problem

A decade ago, he was told that he couldn’t head an incubator company being set up by Microsoft because he had no start-up experience. James Joseph, a 25-year tech veteran, took a year’s sabbatical to write a book – which was when he saw his future growing outside his study window in Kerala: a jackfruit tree. The idea that hit him fructified further when he met a diabetic parish priest, who told Joseph that raw jackfruit had brought his sugar down. He researched it, and came up with Jackfruit365, a flour made with green jackfruit. “This is a diet supplement for diabetics and has beneficial effects when used as a replacement for an equal volume of rice or atta,“ he says. “But it should not be compared with medicine.” Along the way, he won the 2020 National Start-up Award for Food Processing and found another supporter: Infosys co-founder and billionaire businessman Kris Gopalakrishnan, who has provided his start-up with the all-important corporate connect. “CII, especially Kris, wants more members to use Jackfruit365 as an example to foster more such partnerships,” he says. Why? “I am an admirer of James and his entrepreneurship,” Gopalakrishnan explains. “So I talk to my industry colleagues and government officials about the product and how James has established the benefits of using it. He alone is responsible for jackfruit becoming the state fruit of Kerala.”

Electric Scooters Bursting Into Flames Cause Concern In The Booming Electric Vehicle Industry

The recent fire that destroyed 20 electric scooters manufactured by a firm in Nashik, Maharashtra, has set the cat among the pigeons in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, which has already got the jitters over several isolated instances of spontaneous combustion of EVs. Why and how does this happen, is the question in the minds of everybody? There’s a lot riding – literally – on electric two-wheelers, more than cars and three-wheelers even as sales in the segment have rocketed nearly 500% in just one year. According to the government’s VAHAN portal, 2021-22 saw the producers laughing all the way to the bank with well over a quarter million EVs sold, compared to mere 40,000 sales in 2020-21. Chetan Maini, Co-Founder & Vice Chairman at SUN Mobility, the pioneer in the EV world who created India’s first electric car REVA, gives a variety of possible reasons: “Such things can be caused by poor cell selection, defective cells, poor thermal management, manufacturing issues and poor charging management amongst others.” According to his fellow Bengalurite Amitabh Saran, Founder & CEO of Altigreen, which started off in 2013 creating EV technology and now manufactures electric three-wheelers, these products were “not engineered in or for India”. Whatever the cause, the hope that it can be controlled – and soon — is universal, with EV being widely seen as the future of mobility.

With French Major Total As Partner Adani Group Steps On The Gas

The Gujarat-based Adani group, with interests in every field that involves energy, has announced a massive expansion in its construction financing. So too the group company Adani Gas Ltd (AGL) with its city gas distribution and piped natural gas to the domestic, commercial, industrial and vehicle users in 15-plus distinct geographical areas. AGL, which is going great guns, also supplies compressed natural gas to the transport sector. Though a very small part of the Rs 20,000-crore group, the Ahmedabad-headquartered AGL is important to the business, thanks to its involvement in the daily lives of both employees and outside customers. The company changed its name to Adani Total Gas Ltd at the end of 2020, 15 years after it was incorporated, when French energy major Total took a stake of 37.4% – equal to its own, making it a joint-venture company. The remaining 25.2% is with public shareholders. “Passion, perseverance and self-belief enable you to overcome obstacles and deliver solutions that benefit the business and our consumers,” says Sandip Adani, Head, Techno Commercial, Adani Total Gas. Big brother Adani Green Energy is the world’s largest solar power developer and is in the process of completing the construction of its projects to meet its stated renewable energy capacity target of 45 GW in the next eight years.

Maharashtra Rationalist Group Sought Chitra Ramkrishna's Arrest Under ASBMA For Appointing 'Himalayan Guru' As NSE COO

A little-read news piece got buried in the avalanche of revelations on Chitra Ramkrishna, her shenanigans at the National Stock Exchange and more. The interesting news has lost relevance now thanks to the identity disclosure of Ramkrishna’s ‘Himalayan Guru’ – Anand Subramaniam — her right-hand man at the NSE.  A couple of days before the bombshell caused a blast, the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (superstition eradication committee), founded by the late rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, had submitted a memorandum to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), also Mumbai Police seeking the arrest of the NSE’s former CEO and MD under the Anti- Superstition and Black Magic Act. Pointing out that Subramanian’s appointment as the exchange’s COO in 2013 had cost the NSE Rs 5 crore, the Samiti said the entire case was an embarrassment for India, as a highly-educated person like Ramkrishna took advice from a self-proclaimed guru. “MANS has brought it to the notice of CBI and Police Commissioner Mumbai that according to the Act it is an offence to claim divine powers and deceive people on the basis of it,” the organisation had said. “The current case is a clear incidence of a person holding important public office working under the influence of superstitious beliefs and hence doing harm to the greater public good hence we have decided to take up this issue.”
Vande bharat_Shikhar_Sardesai

Shekhar Sardessai

Goa’s Kineco Bags Orders To Fabricate Front End Of Vande Bharat Trains

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget announcement of 400 new Vande Bharat trains at a time when only two currently ply in India — Delhi-Varanasi and Delhi-Katra — has set the wheels in motion at high speed. Train 18, as it is called, is a semi-high-speed, intercity EMU train with airplane style rotatable seats designed and manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory at Perambur in Chennai. Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishwav says a new version series of these trains has been designed and serial production for the rakes is likely to commence by September. With the focus on safety and comfort, including reduced noise and vibration levels, the Indian Railways and its vendors are working hard to meet these new targets. “We have an order for the front end of 35 trains and are now building them,” says Shekhar Sardessai, Executive Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the Goa-based Kineco Ltd. A pioneer of composites for the manufacture of a wide range of products for rail, road, air and space transport vehicles, Kineco is also understood to have bid to create  the complete interiors for the first rollout of the trains. The Railways is also considering the use of aluminium over steel for building the coaches, to make the trains lighter and faster, as well as, improving energy efficiency.
Sudha_Recipe for life

Secret Recipes That Tickle The Palates Of The Rich And Famous

Did you know that billionaire banker Uday Kotak fondly remembers the udad ni dal, ring na olo and chokha na dashmi his mother made?A new book brings back a host of recipes used by the mothers of Kotak and half a dozen other big business leaders. These, as well as a couple of dozen other celebrities across films and sports like Aamir Khan, Vidya Balan, Irfan Pathan, Mithali Raj, Mary Kom, and author Amish Tripathi and commentator Harsha Bhogle, share precious family recipes.The ‘food memoir’, as business journalist-turned-author Sudha Menon describes her seventh book Recipes for Life, is a collection of interviews, anecdotes and stories about her subjects growing up with their mother’s food. Menon, who is also an actor and motivational speaker, says she started writing this one after her mother-in-law’s death, with dementia having wiped out her legacy of hundreds of family recipes that she had mastered over decades. “The same heart-breaking situation is replaying with my mother now – she too was a brilliant, passionate cook, but has slowly lost her memory over the last year or so.” The book, she adds, is a documentation of family recipes that come down the generations through word of mouth and “a celebration of the bonds we forge with our mothers and those who cook for us with love”.

Kerala’s New World Record: Farmed King-Sized Shrimps Bigger Than Jumbo Prawns

What is the difference between a shrimp and prawn? The simple answer: both belong to different suborders of Decapoda, but are very similar in appearance and the terms are often used interchangeably in commercial farming and wild fisheries. Kings Infra Venture Ltd has gone a step further in dispelling another common notion: that prawns are bigger than shrimp. The Kochi-headquartered company has just created a world record by growing 80-gm L Vannamei shrimps – better known as the whiteleg shrimp – in its pond. These measure 210 mm, against a record of 230 mm in the ocean. Kings Infra – earlier Victory Aqua Farm – is looking at its shrimps attracting a premium in both domestic and international markets by providing sustainability and traceability certifications. This is special because Greenpeace International had added the whiteleg shrimp to its seafood ‘red list’ in 2010 with its risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries which contribute to the destruction of vast areas of mangroves. Explaining that the record-breaking growth was achieved in normal earthen ponds by applying proprietary protocols developed by his company’s R&D wing, Chairman & Managing Director Shaji Baby John says: “Being a technology-driven sustainable aquaculture company, we used only antibiotic-free feed, probiotics, and natural supplements including ingredients like curd, jaggery, turmeric, moringa leaves, garlic and tamarind regularly to improve immunity, disease resistance and growth rates.”
Ramkrishna_Mukkavilli_water pump

Hyderabad Company Installs World’s First Atmospheric Water Generator At ONGC’s Offshore Rig

Getting a steady supply of drinking water is a problem not only in the most backward areas of any country, but in modern facilities, too. One such place has been the Mumbai High oil drilling platforms in the Arabian Sea. The offshore oilfield, about 75 metre deep in the water, was discovered in 1974 and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) pumps up about 12 million metric tonnes (MMt) of oil a year from the 1,659 MMt the oilfield holds. The supply of drinking water for the officials and crew manning the drilling platforms 176 km away from Mumbai, however, has been a logistical challenge since production began in 1976. No longer: Maithri Aquatech, a Hyderabad-headquartered manufacturer of atmospheric water generators, has installed its machines on the oil rigs. “These are the first installations of their kind in the world!” says an excited Ramkrishna Mukkavilli, founder-chairman of Maithri, which has set up four AWGs after winning an ONGC tender. The entire system for these machines – which cost about Rs15 lakh each against the normal ones at Rs10 lakh – had to be specially designed to suit the conditions, Ramkrishna explains. The evaporation coils needed to be strong enough that they wouldn’t get blown away in the high wind velocity of nearly 150-180 kmph, while the entire machine was made of stainless steel to resist seawater corrosion.

Prof Satyanarayanan Chakravarthy with his student Pranjal

Are Indian Cities Ready For Flying eTaxis?

The Chennai-based ePlane Company, which provides electrically-operated air taxis for intra-city commutes, announced last week that it has raised $ 5 million in seed funding. The company, founded by Prof Satyanarayanan Chakravarthy with Pranjal, one of his engineering students at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, said it would use the funds to hire top talent, conduct R&D and continue to work for air-worthiness certification for its pollution-free small aircraft. An analysis conducted on the business of urban air mobility and electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (VETO) by JP Morgan Securities LLC describes the sectors as “nascent, with big potential”. These markets, it says, can change the way people travel – but they are, for the most part, new markets with a lot to prove.  US-based Dr Aravind Melligeri, Chairman & CEO of Aequs Inc which manufactures about 3,000 different types of products at its aerospace facility in Belgavi, Karnataka for aircraft makers and others – was too far ahead of his time for small aeroplanes which he had launched for personal use more than a decade ago. “The winner takes the most in this business,” he says. “When the dust settles in this space, we will have one or two left globally and several in the graveyard.”

CtrlS Datacenters Founder & CEO Sridhar Pinnapureddy

Asia’s Largest Gas Insulated Substation Holds Out Promise Of Game Changing In Data Center Industry

Move over Japan and USA, India now has a 300MW gas insulated substation (GIS), which can scale up to 700MW, that ensures full power 24×7 to 10 data centers on the two-million square feet Mumbai campus of CtrlS. Backed by three different sources and diversified paths that power it at all times, the GIS facility will allow businesses to co-locate their high-density IT infrastructure with seamless scalability, customized to growth requirements. The Hyderabad-headquartered data center major, with a campus in Noida too, is in the business of guaranteeing totally safe data hosting to its global clients. The new GIS facility with “very limited” sensitivity to environment and humidity, is corrosion proofed, seismic resistant, operating life longevity of over 50 years and maintenance free for 25 years. It is not only advanced but sustainable, too, possessing LEED Platinum certification and, designed to withstand earthquakes measuring 9 on the Richter scale. “This deployment is our commitment to the industry as we continue to address the growing needs of hyper-scalers, telcos, BFSI, healthcare, gaming and new-age companies,” says CtrlS Datacenters Founder & CEO Sridhar Pinnapureddy. The GIS technology originally started in Japan in the 1960s to save space as against, conventional air-insulated substations. Even in the USA only about 2-5% of new substations constructed are GIS facilities.

May The Better Batter Win In The Battle Between MTR And iD Fresh

The Bengaluru-headquartered MTR Foods has fired the first salvo in its battle with fellow Bengalurite iD Fresh through an advertisement announcing its distinctive batters for idlis, dosas and even its ‘signature dosa’. “Idli and dosa are not the same. Why is your batter alike?” the advert questions. “Shots fired! How would iD react/respond?” asked a Twitter user. Others are quick to take up cudgels on behalf of one or the other of the two and say “Those who make it at home know there’s no major difference” or, even point out that the real competition for both MTR and iD is from mothers who make batter by themselves at home. One self-proclaimed ‘Delhi-Malayali’ says the convenience and taste of iD is “good enough to keep me loyal” while another asserts that those who love idli and dosa but don’t make it at home wouldn’t be too bothered. Musthafa PC, Co-Founder & CEO of iD Fresh, is unruffled: “We had tried it (separate products). Consumers prefer the same batter for both.” Meanwhile Musthafa has announced that the company has received Rs 507 crore in a Series D round of funding, led by NewQuest Capital Partners, in one of the largest deals in the food start-up space.   Clearly, with such big funding the battle for batter could intensify in the coming days.

Exiting Hospitality Business Offers No Guarantee For Vascon Engineers Honcho From Union Bank

An advertisement in a newspaper, issued by the Credit Recovery and Legal Service Department of the public-sector Union Bank of India, announces an e-auction of immovable property at Mahalunge in Pune district to recover loans totalling Rs 52.74 crore. The property, around 1.27 hectare, is being auctioned because of borrowings by Viorica (sic) Hotels, which operated the erstwhile Hotel Holiday Inn — now Hotel Ramada – at Hinjewadi on the city’s outskirts. The ad names four personal (which the bank spells ‘personnel’) guarantors and, five corporate guarantors, headed by Vascon Engineers. “We will not be affected by this,” says Vascon founder chairman R Vasudevan, whose son Siddharth is among those named in the notice. “I don’t know why they are still dragging us into it. We got out of the hotel business five years ago, when we sold the property to Maruti Navale, formerly of Singhgad Institutes.” Navale and his Neemco Traders are also named in the notice.  Vascon, which got into the hospitality sector in 2006-07, exited it because, as Vasudevan had explained then, this was a specialised job which did not fit into their specialisation of construction. The company held stakes in three hotels in Pune — Holiday Inn, Hyatt Regency and Golden Suites — and two in Goa, Galaxy Resort and Vista Do Ria.

Pre-Owned Vehicles & Equipment Worth Over Rs 3,000 Crore Sold Via Shriram Automall

Anyone in Mumbai wanting to sell a vehicle is now digitally enabled to exchange his or her vehicle registered in, say, Nagaland but parked on the outskirts of Delhi with a buyer from Bengaluru. This, according to Shriram Automall India Ltd (SAMIL), is thanks to a new cutting-edge system of ‘Phygital’ (Physical plus Digital) solutions, which helps to connect buyers and sellers all over India to exchange their pre-owned vehicles and equipment. The company, which is India’s largest platform for such transactions, used the same system for its latest strategic partner, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, and exchanged and delivered the first batch of 10 BharatBenz trucks in Manesar (close to Delhi). Such transactions, of over 160,000 vehicles and items of equipment, with more than 4,000 physical events and over 25,000 online events conducted across the platforms, brought SAMIL business worth more than ₹3,000 crore last year – at an average selling price that was 10% higher than in the earlier year. In addition to all this, what Chief Executive Officer Sameer Malhotra is really excited about is that the company is now also certified as a “Great Place to Work”. “This reiterates SAMIL’s focus on achieving business goals while managing work-life balance and building what the Great Place to Work Institute has recognised as a High-Trust & High-Performance Culture,” he says. “This is a proud moment for us.”  
toy_Vikram goel

PM Says Make Toys In India But Where Are The Facilities Industry Asks

Nothing much has happened in the year since Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the Indian toy industry to ‘make in India’ instead of relying on imports, especially from China. After his appeal in February 2021, the industry has been waiting for incentives, but in vain. The only positive development was a month earlier: the introduction of compulsory BIS certification, for both domestically-manufactured and imported toys, with effect from 01 January. This has cut down official imports – but CKD is still permitted – which, say industry spokespersons, allows traders to bring in the entire item in collusion with customs officers who are content to look the other way for a consideration.  “We need more positive action”, says Vikram Goel, CEO of the Mumbai-based Infotech Resources, a manufacturer, exporter, supplier and retailer of hand puppets and soft toys. First, he says, the Government should give them free land to set up manufacturing facilities. It should also provide free space in Indian toy exhibitions and sponsor those abroad. A stall in a Mumbai or Delhi event puts an exhibitor back by Rs11,000 while a trip to Nuremberg for the biggest global exhibition costs about Rs11 lakh plus the fares. “Which small manufacturer can afford that?” he asks.
vikram S kirloskar

Back To Office Not An Option For Many As Companies Give Up Office Space

Even as the corporate world rolls up its sleeves and prepares to get back to offices and tables, not everyone will be able to resume the daily commute. Some companies, including large multinationals, have cut their overheads by giving up their plush leased offices soon after work from home (WFH) became the norm (prevalent). So, the many who have got used to working while lounging comfortably in their pyjamas cannot, even if they – or their families – want to, as they no longer have a workplace to go back to (which they can start going) again. The Bengaluru-headquartered Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), which has its manufacturing facilities at Bidadi on the outskirts of the city, gave up the lease on its corporate office in the city’s posh Vasanth Nagar soon after the pandemic made it impossible for people to get to it. “We have decided to stick to WFH,” said the India-Japan joint venture’s vice chairman and managing director Vikram S Kirloskar. “When we need to have meetings, we can have them in a hotel instead of our own conference room. Anyway, people who need to come in from our other offices stay in a hotel.” Surely, the company is making huge savings by way of rents but are the employees really happy to WFH?

Pune-Based Maritime Research Centre Pitches For National Deep Sea Policy

The Pune-based Maritime Research Centre (MRC) has achieved a milestone by submitting an interim report on a proposed national capacity- and capability-building policy to bring about effective Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA). This is a ‘whole-of-nation’ approach to bring all the stakeholders in UDA together, feels the founder-director of MRC, Dr (Cdr) Arnab Das, who presented it to NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant in Delhi last week. Kant is understood to have appreciated MRA’s continued efforts in taking the UDA framework forward. The project had started with a presentation to the NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar and four Advisors.  Cdr Das also had the opportunity to meet Milinda Moragoda, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India, and brief him on the UDA framework and its importance for Indo-Sri Lanka relationships. The increasing maritime activities in the Indian Ocean Region lead to higher noise levels, affecting marine species that use sound for multiple biologically critical functions like foraging, navigation, communication and finding mates. The sensing of the undersea domain for threats, resources and activities, making sense of the data generated for security strategies, conservation plans and resource utilisation plans are vital; and the MRC is keen to play a major role in this critical national and regional initiative.

Photo : Dr PKC Bose with minister Parshottam Rupala

Will The Govt’s Go Green Expedition Boost The Marine Sector?

Sustainable energy is big on the Indian government’s agenda, from harnessing wind for the county’s energy needs to making it the primary source of energy for fishing vessels and the processing of marine products. Meetings with top government functionaries from Dr KV Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor, to Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala demonstrated to wind energy evangelist Dr PKC Bose that the country is striving for excellence through renewable energy. Senator Bose, Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the Bengaluru-based Enercon Windenergy, a subsidiary of Germany’s Enercon Group, was in Delhi recently meeting top echelons of the government. They discussed India’s renewable energy sector — especially wind energy, its immense potential, untapped offshore market, policies and regulatory constraints as well as the challenges ahead. Their talks also covered the entire ecosystem consisting of energy, environment and economy, as well as energy economics – economic development and cost of energy under different market conditions, regulations, taxation and subsidies for renewable energy. The government functionaries, who articulated the relationship between energy, environment and economy for building a sustainable and net zero in India by 2070, gave all assurances to work in this direction. Renewable energy minister RK Singh’s commitment to achieve 100 GW wind energy by 2030 and his assurance of all support to the stakeholders was also ‘highly motivating’.

Global Major Atlas Copco Buys Out Bengaluru-Based Co’s Pumps Business

Global air compressor giant Atlas Copco, which has been on a buying spree over the last few years to take over major vacuum companies around the world, has just signed a sale and purchase agreement to buy out a Bengaluru-based company’s pumps business. The Indian arm of the $11-billion Swedish giant will, however, continue to use the latter’s HHV brand – which is a well-established and very strong one in the vacuum business – for the next three years. HHV Pumps was a 30% partner in a joint venture with a group of private individuals who were ex-CEOs of the century-old pumps manufacturer Edwards, which is now part of the Stockholm-headquartered Atlas Copco. Other vacuum pump companies that have been acquired include the 170-year-old Leybold and the comparatively young US-based Brooks Automation, which was established in Chelmsford, Massachusetts in 1978. HHV, founded in 1965 by SV Narasaiah (1924 -2021) as Hind High Vacuum Company Pvt Ltd, got a good deal, while the Swedish giant will gain a big foothold in the Indian market. The sale is expected to be completed in the first week of January 2022.


Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.