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Apollo Hospitals Pick 60% Stake In Ayurveda Hospital Chain AyurVAID

Apollo Hospitals is diversifying into the ayurveda business. The hospital chain has acquired a 60% stake in AyurVAID, a pioneering chain of new generation Ayurveda hospitals, for a consideration of Rs 26. 4 crore. Cochin headquartered AyurVaid, operates nine hospitals and clinics across India. The hospitals are located at Kochi, Gurugram, Uttarakhand and Bengaluru. Bulk of Apollo’s investment will go towards upgrading existing facilities, setting up new centres, strengthening enterprise platforms and digital health initiatives. AyurVaid, which has set up new generation ayurveda hospitals with around 150 beds, specialises in applying Ayurveda to solve modern health problems. “We believe there is immense scope to deliver evidence-based integrated medicine, combining allopathic and traditional models, to improve outcomes and quality of life of our patients,” according to Pratap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals. Elaborating on the acquisition, he said that it is a transformational journey which will lead to the evolution of care models In India and around the world. Apollo hopes that its investment will push the turnover of AyurVAID from Rs 15 to Rs 100 crore in three years’ time.
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Electronics Mart India Locked In A Legal Battle With Bajaj Electricals

Is having a famous surname boon or bane? Ask the Hyderabad-registered Electronics Mart India Ltd (EMIL), a leading consumer durables and electronics retailer. It is facing a court battle on this front. It was originally set up as a proprietorship firm under the banner of Bajaj Electronics in 1980 over the years it became a public limited company with the present name but sells goods under the brand name Bajaj Electronics. But they are not connected with the famous Bajaj conglomerate. Bajaj Electricals Ltd (BEL) have filed a suit against EMIL, its promoters and Astha Bajaj, director of EMIL, alleging infringement of the trademark “BAJAJ ELECTRICALS”. In the suit, BEL has prayed for a perpetual order to restrain EMIL, its directors, subsidiaries and other associated persons or entities from infringing and passing off its said registered trademarks by manufacturing, marketing, selling and/or dealing in any products bearing the said trademark or using any name/mark containing the word “BAJAJ” for any goods/products or service/ business activity including on any e-commerce/online platform, except for using the trade mark/trading name “BAJAJ ELECTRONICS” for the electronic retail business/retail stores in the State of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, alone. The suit and interim application are currently pending before the Bombay High Court. If the legal proceedings are not decided in EMIL’s favour, then it may not be able to use the trademark “BAJAJ ELECTRONICS” outside the states of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. By arrangement with https://investlive.net/
Collage Maker-03-Oct-2022-01

Tesla’s Secret Sauce, Tickling The Palate Of Indian Techies

Imagine being 22, and working as an intern at Tesla’s Palo Alto facility and getting Indian food fix every day. For intern Surya Krishna from south India that by itself is a high point. When the company chose Dosa by DOSA , co-founded by Anjan Mitra and Emily Gilels whose passion for “sharing the cultural and culinary diversity of India with the world “ brought Emily the Michelin rating, the Tesla employees lucked out. DOSA was founded in San Francisco in 2005, inspired by the savory, fermented South Indian dosa. Over the years, DOSA grew to four Bay Area restaurants with 12 consecutive years of Michelin awards under its belt. Dosa by DOSA was later founded in 2017 to share the brand’s favorite, regionally-inspired food and beverages with the rest of America. It is easily the best in terms of convenience. Indian techie invasion brought a tandem culinary revolution to the Bay Area workplace. A global desi thrives anywhere, but his desi cravings for home style food is now on a global footing. Dosa by DOSA which marries Indian flavours and food with revolutionary packaging, logistics and promotion has made the brand a runaway success. Tesla is the pioneer on the cusp of an energy revolution. Partnering with Dosa by DOSA, Tesla has captivated techies decoding the algorithm…the way to their head is through good spicy Indian food.
Red Blue Minimalist Modern Consumer Aren't Willing to Give up Convenience to Shop Value Marketing News Instagram Post (47) (1)

Three Penal Delisting Has Not Stopped Dharnendra Group From Tapping The Capital Market Again

A seven-year-old company whose revenue is only Rs 10 crore and bottom line is just Rs 54 lakh against a capital base of more than Rs 18 crore is asking for an IPO premium of Rs 60 crore! Still worse, market regulators, despite the group’s murky past, has allowed the promoter to sell at Rs 103 a share which was acquired by him at just Rs 10 in 2021. Pune-registered but Ahmedabad-headquartered Pace E-Commerce Ventures Ltd is entering the capital market with an initial public offer of Rs 66.53 crore. Incorporated in 2015, Pace E-Commerce Ventures offers children’s furniture, bedding, housewares and essentials. It may be recalled that between 1989 and 1993, Gandhi brothers Navinchandra, Dharnendra and Bhupendra floated public issues under the banners Dharnendra Ice-cream, Fly Up Fashions and Dharnendra Agro Food. Few years after their public issues, not only they performed miserably on the operation front but also failed to comply with the listing guidelines which resulted in compulsory delisting of the shares by the stock exchange. In fact, Group flagship Dharnendra Ice-cream was suspended by BSE for 13 years and was eventually delisted by the exchange in 2016. But, that has not stopped the generation-next of the Gandhis from tapping the capital market. By arrangement with https://investlive.net/
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IRDA Told That Senior Citizens Want Physical Copies Of Insurance Policies, Not Digital Ones

Ashok Patni IPS (Retd.) C B Sharma IAS (Retd.) and Brigadier Atul Mishra (Retd.) are on a mission mode. They have formed an informal group comprising mostly senior citizens from across the country to take on public issues.  Former diplomats, journalists, social and consumer activists form part of this group.  They have now moved IRDA (Insurance Regulation and Development Authority) seeking its immediate intervention to right a wrong that is causing serious hardship to common citizens. They are peeved that the insurance companies are using a notification issued during the Pandemic to deny crores of common citizens physical copies of their policies. The non-issuance of physical copies have come in the way of quicker settlement of their claims.  This specific appeal comes in the wake of numerous insured policyholders, especially those living in the rural belt and in remote areas of the Tier-III towns, encountering extreme difficulties in getting their claim benefits from the respective insurance companies. The insurance companies, it is alleged, are taking advantage of an IRDA circular dated March 23, 2020. The circular was issued following the spread of Covid-19. Now that the Covid situation has eased, there is no reason why the policy-holders should not get physical copies of their policies. After all, the ecosystem for a paperless solution is far from fully developed.
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Why Foxconn Partnered Vedanta To Set Up $22 Bn Semi- Conductor Plant In India

Vedanta-Foxconn’s proposed $22-billion joint venture project in India for an integrated display and semiconductor fabrication ecosystem has kicked off a controversy over a sudden change in the project location from Maharashtra to Gujarat. Significantly, the location change came just three months before the Gujarat assembly election.  Both Foxconn and Vedanta’s Anil Agarwal have long experience in dealing with political powers in host countries. During Donald Trump’s presidency in the US, Foxconn planned a $10-bn unit in Wisconsin. The project was announced by Trump himself at the White House in 2017, boasting of it as an example of his ‘America First’ agenda to revive technology manufacturing in the US. However, within months of Trump’s defeat Foxconn drastically pruned the project! The planned investment was reduced to merely $672 million, slashing the number of new jobs from originally promised 13,000 to 1,454. However, it is difficult to understand why Foxconn, the 22nd ranked Fortune Global 500 company needs the shoulder of Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta to enter India when the government allows up to 100% foreign holding in this hi-tech sector. Could there be a political reason on Foxconn’s part to tie-up with Vedanta to ensure best incentive deals from a BJP-governed state? Or, is there an understanding on Vedanta’s part to exit in favour of Foxconn after the project gets started? Time alone can tell the future of the project.
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Why SEBI Has Kept Go Digit General Insurance IPO In Abeyance

Markets regulator SEBI has kept in abeyance the “issuance of observations” with regard to the IPO of Go Digit General Insurance Ltd which had filed draft papers for the IPO on August 17. Go Digit’s proposed IPO consists of a fresh issue of Rs 1,250 crore from the company and an offer for sale of 109,445,561 shares from four shareholders, including the promoter. Though promoted by Kamesh Goyal, former CEO of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance and Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company, Go Digit, which counts cricketer Virat Kohli and his wife, Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma among its investors, is largely controlled by the Fairfax Group owned by Canadian person of Indian origin, Prem Watsa, who was awarded the fourth highest civilian award of India, Padma Shri, in 2020. SEBI has not disclosed the reason for withholding the issuance of observations on Go Digit IPO. However, a close scrutiny of the IPO draft papers reveals that the company is yet to obtain IRDAI’s clearance on certain matter related to the promoter-company. Currently, almost the entire promoter holding (83.65%) of the issuer company is held by Go Digit Infoworks Services Private Ltd (GDISPL). While Kamesh Goyal and his Oben Ventures LLP together hold 54.75% of GDISPL’s tiny equity capital of Rs 1.02 crore, Mauritius-registered FAL Corporation of the Fairfax group has a minority stake of 45.25%. By arrangement with https.//investlive.net/
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Australia Woos Indian Students With Unique Skill Oriented Courses

Australia is the latest country to woo Indian students in a big way. In order to avoid competition with traditional destinations, like the US, UK, Canada and Ireland, Australia is offering unique courses to attract Indian students. Skill oriented courses are the ones being targeted to Indian students. Also the Study Australia programme gives enough weightage to enhancing employability skills. After Covid, the Aussie government has gone all out to launch a marketing campaign to attract more students to the 40-odd Universities there.  According to Vik Singh, Program Director, Digital Education Hub, Australian Trade & Investment Commission, of the 260,000 international students studying in various Universities in Australia, 130,000 are from India. The students who go the Australia do not go for the conventional courses. The courses most in demand are those related to sports, healthcare nursing and aged care, he added. The post-study work opportunities being offered has now been made more attractive for Indian students. The Aussie government recently increased the post-study work rights from two years to four years for students pursuing select bachelor degrees. Three years to five years for select post-graduate degrees and four to six year for select PhDs. And it has also made available scholarships at the national and institutional levels. Australia intends to offer world class education, strong career pathways and unmatched lifestyle for students.
Collage Maker-22-Sep-2022-12

Inox Green Energy Services: Consultants Become `Key Managerial Personnel’!

The draft offer document of Inox Green Energy Services Ltd (IGESL) has a peculiar disclosure. The company has listed five people as Key Managerial Personnel. Of these, two are the whole-time directors namely Manoj Shambhu Dixit and Mukesh Manglik. The other three are `consultants’ hired without remuneration! Strangely, none of the Inox-Jain family members, promoters of the Inox Group, are on the board of IGESL. Promoter-family member Devansh Jain is named as one of the consultants along with Kailash Lal Tarachandani and Jitendra Mohananey. Devansh Jain is a whole-time director of Inox Wind, Kailash Lal Tarachandani is CEO and Jitendra Mohananey is senior vice-president of Inox Wind. The 2012-incorporated IGESL proposes to float an IPO of Rs 740 crore. Though loss-making with an accumulated deficit of Rs 367 crore, the company has managed to raise a huge share premium amount of Rs 920 crore based on which it may even ask the IPO investors to shell out hefty premium. But, is the management capable of rewarding the investing public? The track record of the parent company, Inox Wind would surely advise caution.  In the so-called `disclosure era’, the dismal performance of Inox Wind under the same management should have been the main risk factor that the market regulator should have insisted on for the benefit of the prospective investors of Inox Green. By arrangement with https://investlive.net/
Collage Maker-20-Sep-2022-01

Toyota, Honda Bet Big On Hybrid Models For The Indian Market

There has been a mad scramble among Indian automobile companies to get on to the EV bandwagon. But Toyota Motors, the world’s top car maker, is treading a different path to attract new Indian auto buyers. Toyota has taken the hybrid route. Twenty years back, Toyota introduced hybrid cars through the Prius brand. Today hybrids have given way to EVs led by Tesla. . But Toyota does not think Indian consumers are ready for it due to infrastructure and charging bottle-necks. In fact after the launch of Toyota Hyrider and Maruti’s Grand Vitara comes the news of Honda’s entry with City Hybrid. According to Takuya Tsumura, CEO, Honda Cars India, “ EVs may be picking pace but Honda believes that strong hybrids are currently the best bet for India as they are practical and worry free given the state of charging infrastructure.” Hybrids combine the power of petrol engines and the fuel savings of electric motors to give you lower emission without waiting for the battery to be recharged. Hybrids are environment friendly, require less maintenance and get a higher resale value but compared to EVs they have less power, higher upfront cost and high repair cost.  Toyota feels that the Indian market is just not ready for the latest offerings in the international market but Korean makers like Hyundai are offering the best of technologies and latest gizmos to attract Indian buyers.
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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.  
Dhanalaxmi bank

Dhanvarsha Group Makes Hostile Bid Of Rs 300 Cr For Dhanlaxmi Bank

Thrissur based Dhanlaxmi Bank has always been in the news for the wrong reasons — labour/union strife, mis-management and hostile takeovers.  The Delhi-based diversified group, Dhanvarsha Group, has made an Rs 300 crore unsolicited bid. The group has offered Rs 11.85 per share as against the market price of Rs 12.45. The bank is not new to takeover bids. ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank have all eyed Dhanlaxmi Bank but seem to have faltered at the altar. The first hostile bid was made during its public issue in 1996. Ind Global and the Concept group, both involved in the public issue, intended to acquire controlling stake of the bank. This failed once the media got wind of their interest. To tied-over its problems, the then promoter, R Kalyanaraman (Goodnight Mohan) brought in the Bangalore-based Raja Mohan Rao, who owned JT Mobile. Rao also entered through the back door when the bank’s 2002 public issue bombed. Rao then picked up 37 % stake for Rs 20 crore thereby making him the single largest shareholder ever. By then the RBI changed the rules of the game. No private entity could hold more than 40% in a bank and the voting right for each individual/company was restricted to 10% only. The bank, started in 1927, has Kerala’s two top businessmen, Yusuf Ali (4.9 %) and Ravi Pillai (4.4%) as shareholders.
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.
Tamilnad Mercantile Bank

After Several Twists And Turns TMB On The Cusp Of Making History

With the public issue of one of the oldest private sector banks in the country oversubscribed, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank (TMB) is set for an historic moment on September 15 as its shares get listed. TMB is, perhaps, among the last of the community-led private banks in the country to get listed.  Indeed, TMB has come a long way since the quarrelling Nadar community members sold over 65% stake to the Ruias of the Essar Group in mid-90s. In the face of a strident RBI, the Ruias were forced to palm off TMB shares to serial entrepreneur C Sivasankaran in exchange of cellular licence for the Delhi circle. But Sivasankaran had to face hostility from the Nadar community and had to give in because it became a political issue with warring parties jostled among themselves to woo Nadar community, which is a crucial component of electoral politics in Tamil Nadu. Nearly 33% were bought back by the community members after a deal brokered by the then deputy prime minister LK Advani. After several twists and turns the TMB is on the cusp of making history. That could herald a new beginning for the over century-year-old private sector bank. Even post the public issue, the Nadar community will have controlling stake in the bank – though a distributed manner among members.
Collage Maker-12-Sep-2022-12

Cement Industry Wage Settlement Talks Stuck As Labour Leaders Demand ‘Similar Pay For Similar Jobs’

Time was when industry wage settlements were watched with quite an expectation from stakeholders across the canvass. Much water has flowed under the bridge since then. The economic context may have transformed significantly post the liberalisation. But this industry has been a role model in putting in place a consensual wage ecosystem. The cement industry has seen eight such settlements in the past. A little trip down memory lane will reveal how N Srinivasan, MD & Vice-Chairman of The India Cements Ltd, has been a fulcrum in hammering out an amicable wage accord. The industry is due for a fresh wage arrangement following the expiry of the accord in April this year. Indeed, the talks were held for two days some time ago in Chennai. But the discussions remained inconclusive. This time around, the unions – six in all – are insisting that the issue of temporary workers be resolved first before deliberating on a fresh wage pact. Only 18% of the workforce in the cement industry is permanent employees. The rest are temporary workers. Given this, the unions are worried over this increasing trend in the industry. Similar pay for similar jobs is what the unions are demanding now irrespective of the permanent or temporary tag attached to a workman. Rising cost pressures and demand instability are giving a new dimension to the IR (industrial relation) scene in the cement industry, it appears.
Collage Maker-06-Sep-2022-01

Stranded Retail Investors Ask Why MNC Sold INEOS Styrolution Stake To Original Promoter At Hefty Discount

This is an unusual story of an Indian promoter selling his company to a MNC and buying back the same company from another MNC. In 1997, on the eve of ABS Industries’ Silver Jubilee, promoter Rakesh Agrawal sold his stake to Bayer AG which rechristened it as Bayer ABS Ltd. Now, in 2022, on the eve of the same company’s Golden Jubilee, Agrawal has bought back the same company now known as INEOS Styrolution India Limited (ISIL), controlled by a MNC — INEOS Styrolution — by paying Rs 645 crore for 61.19% stake. The parent company INEOS Styrolution, a global leader in styrenics, recently announced that it had entered into an agreement for the sale of its entire shareholding in ISIL to Shiva Performance Materials (SPM) – part of the Vadodara-based Shiva Group. Incidentally, the promoter-chairman of Shiva Group is Rakesh Agrawal. But, what’s surprising is MNC selling its stake to the original promoter at less than one-third the peak price? How did MNC agree for a price of Rs 600 for a stock which was quoting above that price for the last 20 months? Since the current market price of the stock is hovering above Rs 900, no retail investor is expected to tender their shares. Hence, the open offer has become meaningless.  Clearly, this below-the-market-price transaction has hit the small investor’s hard and the deal warrants market regulators’ attention. By arrangement with https://investlive.net/.
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hellomeets.com

Bleak Future For EdTech Companies As Kids Go Back To School

The EdTech industry which was booming during the Covid-19 pandemic as parents and students preferred online classes, is now battling for its very own survival. Some are laying off employees, opening offline centres, offering discounts and restructuring their businesses. Byju’s has laid off 500 employees and Vedanta 425. Unacademy has stopped offering complimentary snacks and meals across offices. The economic slowdown is also leading to funding problems. Byju’s which announced raising $ 800 million in March 2022, is yet to receive $ 250 million from two of its investors. Abu Dhabi’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and Qatar Investment Authority are willing to invest but at 40-50% discount. A PwC India report says that funding for EdTech companies has declined 50% in the second quarter of 2022. The funding is now phase-based which is target and revenue driven. The downhill run started once kids started going to school and parents not renewing EdTech services. This has prompted Byju’s, Unacademy, Vendantu, Physicswallah, Eruditus, Lead etc to open offline tuition centres to attract students. The problem was that the industry focused only on growth and not stability, says an industry expert. The EdTech companies have now realised that 360 degree attention is required. The sector needs to communicate clearly so as to ensure students are not misled. More transparency and clarity are required on courses and cost factors.
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Fotocorp

Are Adanis Using Foreign Route To Acquire Ambuja Cements, ACC In India?

The country’s fastest growing business house of the day, Ahmedabad-based Adani Group, is reportedly entering into the cement business by acquiring two major companies of the Indian cement industry from world’s second largest cement producer, Holcim of Switzerland. The deal is worth more than Rs 50,181 crore. Strangely, none of the India-based Adani Group companies is involved in the acquisition process. Interestingly, the net worth of the so called acquirer of the two large Indian cement conglomerates at the end of fiscal 2022 was less than Rs 20 lakh! To acquire Ambuja Cements Ltd (ACL) and ACC Ltd (ACCL), Adanis have adopted a complex route. The main face of the group, Gautam Adani, does not come into the picture. The takeover process is executed via elder sibling, Vinod Adani, a citizen of Cyprus, a resident of Dubai and Singapore and a director of dozens of companies & trusts spread across many tax havens like Mauritius and British Virgin Islands (BVI). The acquirer of ACL/ACCL is the Mauritius-registered Endeavour Trade and Investment Ltd which is 100% owned by another Mauritius-based company, Xcent Trade and Investment Ltd, which is again 100% owned by Acropolis Trade and Investment Ltd which too is a Mauritius incorporated company. Acropolis Trade is held 100% by Adani Global Investment DMCC, a UAE incorporated company. Adani Global is held 100% by AR Global Holding Ltd, a BVI incorporated company. AR Global is held 100% by another BVI incorporated company Amulya Resources Holding Ltd which is held 100% by Amulya Resources Family Trust, a BVI incorporated trust. By arrangement with https://investlive.net/.
Collage Maker-29-Aug-2022-05

BEST Losses Mount To Rs 2110 Crore Despite Wet Leasing 50% Of Its Fleet

Cutting down on its huge losses was cited as the reason for introducing private buses into the fleet of Mumbai’s public transportation provider — the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking in 2019. Three years down the line, despite almost half of the fleet of Mumbai’s popular road transport system being operated by private wet leased buses today, the BEST continues to bleed reporting annual losses to the tune of Rs 2,110 crore as per its 2022-23 budget. “Currently, of the total fleet size of 3613 buses, about 1794 or 48.4 % are private buses. The losses continue to be stable despite support of Rs 4300 crore provided by its parent body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) over the past three years,” says Hussain Indorewalla, an architectural professor, who as co-convener of the Aamchi Mumbai Aamchi BEST, an advocacy group is working to save BEST. Activists like him believe that there is a systematic campaign to run down the BEST to push commuters towards the Metro network. While the BEST has a daily footfall of 30 lakh passengers, the metro is struggling to attract commuters. The BEST has already stopped buying new buses and almost all of its ventures, including the project to get 900 AC double decker electric buses and have an entirely electric fleet by 2027 are based on the wet lease model.
Collage Maker-25-Aug-2022-05

High Import Duty Gives Big Boost To Domestic Toy Manufacturers

The Indian toy business is turning traditional. This festival season look out for Lagori games, spinning tops and Gilly-Danda from Funskool. Check out Hasbro’s Monopoly which has Indian cities and locations in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada. Also, Shumee Toys is lining up Janmashtami picture collections and board games on Ramayana and Indian fables this Diwali. The industry owes its new outlook to the hike in import duty from 20% to 60% and introduction of BIS trademark certification. This ensured that low quality imported toys especially from China took a hit. The $ 1-billion Indian Toy industry is no longer a small business, it is set to double by 2025, according to the FICCI-KPMG report. This is still considered minuscule going by the world business which is set to touch the $ 230.64 billion by 2028 from $ 141.08 billion in 2021. Today the unorganised sector has cornered about 90% of the $1 billion Indian toy market. And BIS has issued 800 licences to toy makers. This has resulted in a wave of innovation among desi toy makers. The new products reflect Indian culture and popular themes from various regions of India. The spike in business has also seen big players like Reliance Brands takeover UK toy retailer Hamleys, and pick up 40% in Italian toy maker Plastic Legno SPA’s manufacturing business in India.
Ashu Thakur

Legal Eagle Ashu Thakur On A Roll, Closes Deal For Asian Paints And Mumbai-Based Restaurateur In Europe

Mumbai-based Ashu Thakur who heads Ashu Thakur & Associates, a law firm, has been flitting in and out of London for the past few months to help two of her key clients close the deal. It may be recalled that the Mumbai-based Restaurateur Riyaaz Amlani was keen to sell his stake in Mumbai-based French restaurants Slink & Bardot, and Soufflé S’il Vous Plaît back to his partner Alexis Gielbaum and Nick Harrison. Now, there has been a change of heart. Amlani, CEO of Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality and President of National Restaurant Association of India, is keen to stay invested and Thakur seems to be working on the finer points in light of the new development. The other deal Ashu worked closely on was the signing of the JV between the French designer Maximiliano Modesti’s Les Ateliers 2M and Asian Paints. The JV between two firms Asian Paints and Modesti saw the launch of brand INK in India. The collection comprising six distinct patterns combines techniques of screen-printing, block printing and embroidery. According to Amit Syngle, MD & CEO of Asian Paints, this collaboration will help the customers provide a complete portfolio of home décor products and services. Clearly, Ashu is on a roll.
Collage Maker-24-Aug-2022-04

Narain Karthikeyan and Sudarshan Venu

TVS Motor Picks Up 48.2% Stake In Narain Karthikeyan’s Start-Up

In the new world of competition, one has to keep running to stay where you are. Well, this realization has forced many to think out-of-box. What comes out of this new thinking? Fresh alliances of unusual kinds appear to be the order of the day. This Chennai-based two-wheeler major has just inked a partnership with a start-up promoted by the Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan.  TVS Motor Company is picking up over 48% stake in a start-up promoted by Karthikeyan. NKars Mobility Millennial Solutions Private Limited (NMMSPL) is a pre-owned two-wheeler platform. TVS Motor will invest Rs 85.41 crore to get 48.27% stake in NMMSPL by way of primary and secondary investments. Founded in April 2020, NMMSPL runs a digital platform ‘DriveX’ which provides two-wheelers to customers on a subscription model for a flexible tenure and on a purchase model. The coming together of Narain Karthikeyan and TVS Motor indicates a tale or two. For one, this signals a convergence in the mindsets of GenNext. Perhaps Narain Karthikeyan and Sudarshan Venu, MD of TVS Motor, have lots in common in terms of thinking and approach. For another, the pre-owned two-wheeler segment is also seeing a significant shift away from the unorganised and moving towards the organized field. Well, the race for two-wheeler share is heading for an interesting phase.
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Consultancy Firm’s New Angle To Market India Cements’ CSK Brand Yields Dividend

In the fast unfolding dynamic environment, the key to success lies in the quick reconfiguration of the thought-process. A legacy mindset often proves to be a stumbling block to embrace any new idea. This is no rocket science for anybody to comprehend. An expert, nevertheless, can play the change-agent with finesse. Well, this is what this consulting firm Circular Angle is now doing at one of the top cement companies in India.  Circular Angle, a decade old consulting firm which provides consultancy services to some of the big names in the corporate world suggested a few tweaks in the way India Cements sells its cement.  This has seen this Chennai-based company slowly changing over to communication-oriented applications and making products for each application. This is reaping dividends at the ground level as seen from the success that the recently-launched CSK brand of cement is showing in the marketplace. The beneficial impact of the engagement with Circular Angle is now being sought to be extended to other areas of India Cements. From implementing new business strategies to ultra-efficient work processes, Circular Angle is ready to tackle any challenge and put its clients on the path to success. Well, a make-over is definitely happening to make this cement major a modern company.
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IIM-K Case Study: How And Why 100-Year Old TVS Group Split Four Ways

The family enterprises are a dime a dozen in the city of Chennai. All of them have made a significant impact on the industrial landscape of Tamil Nadu. TVS, Murugappa, Rane, Chemplast and Apollo group have made enormous contributions to not just the economy of Tamil Nadu but the nation as a whole. With families expanding – through induction of new members via marriage – the dynamics of their management has changed. And, the metamorphosis has introduced fresh implications in the management of these family-run enterprises. The TVS – comprising four wings – has recently gone in for a legal separation. Coming as it did after internecine quarrels – that at times took legal overtones – the smooth formal legal separation in the TVS conglomerate is looked upon by other groups which too are experiencing some pressure or the other within. For the first time perhaps, the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, has come out with a comprehensive case study on “Splitting the century-old TVS Group – The Family Arrangement”. It’s a comprehensive effort, chronicling the history of the tension within the larger TVS empire, one of India’s oldest and prominent family business groups with more than 110 years of history. The study dwells on the framework for the split and highlights the governance issues in its wake. An insightful exercise in education indeed!
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Kerala’s Left Front Govt Launches App Hailing Cab Service, Will It Succeed?

Now you can travel hassle free without being taken for a ride by rude taxiwalas or auto guys as Kerala’s Left front government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan has launched an App hailing cab service called Kerala Savari. Unlike other App hailing cab services which charge 25% more than normal fares, Kerala Savari will charge only 8 % more. There are several differences between existing players and Kerala Savari. First, drivers are vetted and cleared by the police. Second, the fares are fixed, there is no surge rush hour and drop-in lean hours pricing. A cancellation option has been built into the app. Comrades turned capitalists have even conceptualised a driver training program that includes training for tourism skills for out-of-state tourists. Even a panic button will be installed in the vehicle for both passengers and driver, to access the police, hospital or fire service. Kerala’s Minister for Education and Labour V Sivankutty proudly claims that Kerala is the first state to enter the online ride business. It may well be the first, worldwide too. The 360 degree vision plan includes discount rates for tyres, batteries, insurance and diesel for those who register for the Savari. The only downside…Kerala is known for its militant workforce, and the best intended App may fail if the drivers and taxi operators raise the red flag.
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Bad Bank, A Non-Starter Till Date

The National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL), which was supposed to start functioning in April 2022, is yet to take off. Also known as Bad Bank, NARCL was to acquire bad loans worth Rs 51,000 crore by April 2022. The Bad Bank was supposed to acquire the bad loans from Indian Banks and transfer them to the India Debt Resolution Company (IDRCL) for part-realisation. It is believed that the Bad Banks initial offers to acquire bad debts stunned banks for their low value, raising questions about the validity of the exercise. NARCL offered Rs 80 crore for an outstanding due of Rs 1136 crore from Rainbow Papers. And for Consolidated Construction Consortium Ltd the offer was Rs 60 crore for an outstanding of Rs 2623 crore. In fact, both the offers dwarf the offer of the existing promoters of both the companies. The Bad Bank has been plagued with regulatory issues, talent and operational headwinds.  NARCL now plans to buy 15 accounts aggregating Rs 50,000 crore initially and 38 accounts overall totalling Rs 83,000 crore. The game plan is simple but cumbersome. The banks will transfer their bad debts to NARCL for 15% per cent cash.  Security receipts will be issued for the remaining 85% for which the government has approved a five year guarantee of Rs 30,600 crore. If things go as per plan, NARCL will now kick-off in September 2022.
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The late V.Srinivasan who founded the company

Will The Chennai-Based WS Industries Regain Its Past Glory Under New Management?

It was an iconic name once upon a time in the industrial landscape of Tamil Nadu. Today, it is a shadow of its past.  Is there a way to salvage it? Well, some are still willing to get into it!  A well-known player in the electrical industry, W S Industries, founded in 1961 by V. Srinivasan, was closed down in November 2018 due to assorted reasons. The demise of Srinivasan in July 2017, the intense competition from Chinese firms and the like had all short-circuited the company, and W S Industries had downed shutters of its factory at Porur, just on the edge of the city of Chennai, after a golden handshake with its 400-odd employees.  Close to 31% shares changed hands a couple of months ago for Rs 115 million. On behalf of the acquirers, Saffron Capital Advisors Private Ltd has come out with an open offer for the shares of W.S. Industries.  The acquirers – C K Venkatachalam, C K Balasubramaniam, Trineva Infra Projects et al – reportedly have expertise in infrastructure development. Indeed, W S Industries is set for a metamorphosis of an entirely new kind. Hopefully, under new owners there is hope for the company which runs two divisions: Insulator Business that manufactures porcelain Insulators and Turnkey Projects Division which offers Erection, Installation and Commissioning of Electrical High Voltage Lines, and Substations, and Line Quality Solutions.
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Why Is CBI Investigating Odisha’s High Profile Businessman Mahimananda Mishra?

Mahimananda Mishra, one of the richest businessmen of Odisha with an estimated net worth of Rs 10,000 crore seems to be in trouble with the CBI on his tail. Mishra, who runs Orissa Stevedores is being investigated for questionable business practices that includes corruption and bribing officials at Paradip port. Four decades old Orissa Stevedores is the flagship company of the OSL Group which has presence in shipping, mining, logistics, and exports. The allegations against Mishra, who has been arrested in the past, ranges from bribery, corruption, ducking court summons. But what is worrying Mahima is that CBI after raiding his office and residence also raided the residences of his two sons Chandan and Charchit but took into custody only Charchit. So what led to Mishra’s downfall? He is known for making a killing by providing labour for loading and unloading cargo at the Paradip port by questionable methods. His company held sway at Paradip port and nobody dared challenge him. Little wonder he is known as Odisha’s stevedore king. His meteoric rise saw him being conferred business leader award 12 years ago by the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. But, nobody reckoned Mishra’s reputation will hit rock bottom.  “With CBI investigating  Mahima’s ways of doing business in Odisha, is bound to improve accountability, plug loopholes and bring in transformational changes in the state so as to ensure such incidents do not recur,” says a confident retired  bureaucrat.
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Spices Board Scouts For Brand Ambassadors In The UK To Promote Turmeric Latte Globally

To add more “zaika” to the growing exports of spices from India, BN Jha, Marketing Director, Spices Board of India has embarked upon a new mission:  promote Turmeric Latte. Jha who was in London at the IFE Manufacturing 2022 Fair is scouting for brand ambassadors from UK who can promote this turmeric drink globally. During the pandemic and post Covid “haldiwala doodh” has given big boost to turmeric sales, and its exports have quadrupled because of its medicinal properties, says Jha. During 2020-21 turmeric ranked fifth with an export share of 6.16% of the total exports of spices valued at Rs 27,193.20 crore. Turmeric is globally recognised for its immunity properties. This is why Spices Board is aggressively marketing Turmeric Latte world over. Interestingly, the demand for organic products is growing rapidly in developed countries like Europe, USA, Japan and Australia. The current estimated share of organic foods in these countries is approximately 1-1.5%. This awareness and value for turmeric including other spices is seeing the Spices Board going all out to increase their market share from the current level.  Under the Act of Parliament, 52 spices have been brought under the purview of the Spices Board. However 109 spices are notified in the ISO list.
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Will Odisha Govt’s Second Attempt To Push Local Air Travel Via India One Air Take Off?

There is good news both for the Government of India UDAN scheme and Government of Odisha’s sustained effort to link its inaccessible airports.  With a view to boost inter-state and intra-state travel the Naveen Patnaik’s administration is making air travel affordable for both the government officers and local citizens. Towards this flight tickets on 9-seater UDAN flights are capped at Rs 2500 per ticket for 500-600 km travel. This pricing will bring in a multiplier effect, boost tourism, regional growth vis a vis Odisha economy. The UDAN maiden flight Bhubaneswar-Jeypur-Vizag is expected to take off any time soon. The Odisha government has roped in the Ahmedabad-based regional airline India One Air. This company has already secured an operating licence to fly the Odisha sector from DGCA.  According to Prasanna Pradhan, Bhubaneswar Airport Director this initiative will meet with success as most seats will be filled by the state government officials. Once the subsidized air travel takes off, UDAN flight capacity will be increased to 18-seater. This new initiative comes against the backdrop of Odisha government’s failed efforts a few years back. By definition the airline industry’s success depends on several factors, the most important being ATF pricing, occupancy ratio and punctuality. What will work this time will be the viability gap funding; 80% will be shared by the Aviation Ministry and 20% by the state government. Besides, GST will not be levied in certain sectors.
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OTT Boom Spells Doom For DTH Players

The Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms may not have set the cash registers on fire but they sure are gaining traction at the expense of direct to home (DTH) operators. According to latest figures by TRAI, DTH subscriber base has shrunk from 68.52 million to 66.92 million in the last quarter ended March 31, 2022. In fact, the DTH numbers have not been looking good since 2020, when the overall subscribers were 100 million. This dropped to 70.99 million in 2021. The OTTs made their entry in the Indian market in 2019 with Netflix leading the way followed by Amazon Prime. Indian players like Zee5, ALT Balaji, Sony Liv, Voot, Jio Cinema and Disney-Hotstar have cornered 102 million subscribers. This is expected to double to 224 million by 2026. Among the DTH players. Tata Play continues to be the market leader with a share of 33.23 % down from 33.48 %. Bharati Telemedia, ranked second, saw its share drop from 26.36 % to 26.24%. Only two players recorded gains — Dish TV from 22.04% to 22.10 % and Sun Direct from 18.11 % to 18. 43%. Reliance Big TV DTH seems to be nowhere in the picture. The OTTs have also hit satellite channels with many big players like Star, Zee, Sony Colors etc reducing the number of channels in their bouquet, especially in English language.
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Dr Kondal Reddy Kandadi (centre) receiving MBE Award

UK's Bolton University Forges Ties With Hyderabad-Based iVOlViS

University of Bolton in Greater Manchester has been in the forefront of forging ties with India’s educational institutions. To strengthen its ties with India, Bolton University sought special permission from the Queen’s Office, and conducted the MBE Award Ceremony to honour Dr Kondal Reddy Kandadi at its recent Graduation ceremony. This was unprecedented; never before such an award ceremony was held at the University’s graduation ceremony. Reddy was the former Deputy Vice Chancellor at University Of Bolton who left the UK shores last year at the peak of his career to return to his homeland Telangana to start his own educational venture iVOlViS by collaborating with Bolton University. “At iVOlViS, we are deploying globally proven educational pedagogies, systems, processes, people and technologies to achieve this core goal of realising the Power of Education in every child,” says Dr Reddy. Besides, Dr Reddy, Telangana’s high powered bureaucrat Jayesh Ranjan was conferred with Honorary Doctorate degree for his “outstanding contribution to the development of collaborative relationships between India and Manchester (particularly in the technology sector). “For the past many years I have tried to forge more partnerships between the province of Hyderabad and the UK and that is why I am getting this fabulous recognition by the University of Bolton and why I have received this honorary doctorate,” explained Ranjan.
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Union Bank To Auction Paintings, Watches Belonging To Wadhawans Of DHFL

It is turning out to be the season of precious artefacts owned by controversial people up for sale both at home and abroad. Recently, a watch said to have belonged to Adolf Hitler was sold for $ 1.1 million at the Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland, much to the consternation of the Jewish community. The timepiece made by German watch firm Huber has a Swastika and initial AH engraved. It was picked up by an anonymous bidder. Also, on the auction table was a dress belonging to Hitler’s wife Eva Braun. Back home, Union Bank of India, is set to auction artefacts owned by scam-tainted Wadhawan brothers of DHFL-fame. During raids at their premises, CBI found rare artworks of S H Raza and FN Souza, luxury watches manufactured by Jacob & Co and Frank Muller Geneve and loads of gold and diamonds. While Raza’s 1956 oil-on canvas painting titled Village is worth over Rs 3.5 cr, FN Souza’s 1964 untitled oil-on-linen piece is valued at Rs 2 cr. The two watches of Jacob & Co and Frank Muller Geneve are worth Rs 5 cr. The gold and diamond jewellery including bangles and necklace were worth Rs 2 cr. Though the Rs 12.5 cr of artefacts recovered is miniscule compared to Rs 34,615 cr losses of DHFL, the consortium of 17 banks say something is better than nothing.
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Cooperative Bank Scam Rocks Kerala, 160 Unable To Return Depositors’ Money

Things took a bleak turn for the Kerala Government recently, when the Thrissur-based Karuvannur Cooperative Bank rejected pleas by a customer to withdraw a part of his deposit of Rs 40 lakh. Consequently, the customer’s wife died as they did not have money to meet the hospital bills for a critical operation. After that similar deeds of mismanagement, embezzlement, and non-disbursement of deposits have surfaced not only from the Karuvannur but other cooperative banks across Kerala. Kerala has 1600 cooperative banks in all, with bulk of them controlled by CPM. The Kerala Cooperative Minister, VN Vasan, admitted in the assembly that 160 cooperative banks are unable to return funds to depositors due to financial crunch. The modus operandi of cooperative banks are simple. The political parties/leaders start the bank first in each district and then in big towns. Local leaders at the municipality, block and ward level, head these banks. They then employ their cadre in the bank as clerks, managers, peons, sweepers etc. Then they use their clout and political muscle to garner deposits promising higher rates of interest than scheduled banks. Loans are then disbursed to those who curry favour with the party and leaders. Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also the Co-operative Minister is yet to swing into action as majority of the 98,042 co-operative banks in India are in two politically sensitive states, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
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The Complete Picture: Street View Service Back On Google Maps

Six years after being banned, Google is relaunching its street view service in India in partnership with Tech Mahindra and Genesys International. Starting Wednesday (August 3) — Street View — which displays 360 degree panoramic street-level images will be available in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Nashik, Vadodara, Ahmednagar and Amritsar. Google intends to expand the service to 50 cities by 2022. Starting with Bengaluru, Google Maps will also inform users of the speed limits data shared by traffic authorities. The Mumbai-based Genesys International has been a pioneer in the introduction of street imaging maps in India. Over the next 12 months, Genesys plans to cover all of urban India street imaging, spanning over a million kms. This makes it the largest street imaging exercise in the country. Genesys has the technology and capability to capture almost 150,000 unique kms of street imaging data, according to Sajid Malik, Chairman & Managing Director. To put this number into perspective, the island city of Mumbai is 5000 unique kms. The company is building one of the biggest imaging platforms in India, across both street and aerial, in sync with the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India reflected in the geospatial policy, added Malik.
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Last Ford EcoSport Rolls Out Of Chennai Plant Signalling The End Of The Road For 4000 Workers!

On July 21, a beautifully decked up bride left her home with 4000 well-wishers (read workers) shedding tears and bidding her adieu. That was not just the last Ford EcoSport car rolling out of their beloved Ford manufacturing plant at Maraimalainagar in Tamil Nadu.  It was the end of the road for all 4000 workers with the Ford parent deciding to exit India.  The Chennai plant was set up in 1995 on 350 acres to make 4 lakh vehicles along with the Gujarat plant. The Figo, Endeavour, Ikon, EcoSport were hugely popular. But how long can a business sustain losses, whatever the emotional quotient tagged to a product made with pride? The President of Ford Motors, Jim Farley had candidly admitted that Ford had accumulated $ 2 billion losses producing only 80,000 vehicles a year with the plant having an installed capacity of 4 lakh vehicles. The Covid-19 lockdown, global downturn and business cycle factors are quoted ad nauseam. Even a brief dalliance for a second time with Mahindra was tried in 2019. No one can really pinpoint why it did not succeed. But for now, it is the plight of these 4000 workers that is heart wrenching. Even as we talk about Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, the future of such trained dedicated workers who suffer the whims of global business has to be seriously considered.
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Big Tech Majors Not To Have It Easy In India

The free run that tech majors like Google, Meta, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, Amazon enjoyed in India will be a thing of the past. Already, they have come under pressure to take down content considered unlawful, inappropriate and disturbing public order. And if Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for IT and Electronics has his way, all of them will be paying Indian newspapers and digital news publishers a share of revenue for using original content. The move is being mooted through regulatory interventions, which is expected to happen as part of the revisions being made in the existing IT Laws. “The Indian news publishers have no negotiating leverage at all, and this needs to be tackled legislatively,” said Chandrasekhar in an interview. The market power on digital advertising that is currently being exercised by the Big Tech majors, has already put Indian media companies at a disadvantage. Several countries like Australia, France and Spain have passed rules that require Tech majors to compensate content producers for using their content and search results. It comes as no surprise that spear-heading the Indian initiative is Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a media honcho himself. Chandrasekhar owns two satellite channels, Asianet News and Suravana News and a clutch of digital news websites in South Indian languages.  Incidentally, he was one of the founder-promoters of Republic TV, but sold his stake subsequently.
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In God’s Own Country Get High On Wine And Liquor Brewed From Tapioca

Soon tipplers in Kerala will be sipping wine and liquors made from locally grown fruits and it will be relatively cheap. By giving license to make fruit-based, low alcohol content beverages, the Kerala government intends to boost cultivation of bananas, pineapple, jackfruit, cashew and nutmeg in the State. The government has also initiated steps to extract liquor from tapioca, for which it has allocated Rs 2 crore in the Budget.  Studies show that 250 ml of spirits can be produced from 1 kg of tapioca at a cost of Rs 48. Meanwhile, a local cooperative bank, Payyavur Service Cooperative Bank has been given permission to produce liquor from cashew apple on the lines of Goan Feni. The new President of the Cooperative Bank, TM Joshy, had mooted the idea of making liquor from cashew apple way back in 1991. “As the state and its people always hesitate to accept new and non-conventional ideas, my attempt had failed then”, said Joshy. As per rough estimates, farmers are expected to make Rs 300 crore per annum and excise department another Rs 300 crore from production and sale of Feni. It is learnt that liquor and wine made from fruits and vegetables sourced locally will be processed and distributed by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation Ltd (Bevco), which has a wide distribution network.
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Deepak Parekh Bought A Smart Phone During Lockdown: Chandra

Are people adapting to digital technologies? Well, if the question is posed to Tata Sons’ Chairman N Chandrasekaran, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. “Deepak Parekh bought a smartphone, otherwise he was always using a SMS, text phone. When he said abhi (now), I need to be at least on WhatsApp, I need to do Zoom calls, so I bought a smartphone,” Chandra, as is fondly known in the industry, said. It is no brainer that the Tata group chairman was referring to HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh, who is 77 years old. Despite his oversized stature in the corporate world, Parekh, the Padma Bhushan awardee never upgraded his normal cell phone, until the pandemic struck. Hence, Parekh buying a smartphone becomes the benchmark or the proof of ‘digital adoption’ gaining ground. In comparison, Chandra, also a Padma Bhushan awardee, is known for his technological prowess. The head of IT behemoth Tata Consultancy Services is also the author of ‘Bridgital Nation: Solving Technology’s People Problem’. Chandra’s comments were made at the 74th Founding Day Lecture Meeting of Bombay Chartered Accountants Society (BCAS), where he was the guest speaker. In his speech, Tata Sons’ Chairman also hailed the “huge innovation” and the huge human spirit and how people could adapt – poor and rich – during the last two years of Covid.
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Ghanshyam Nabar and Anand Piramal

How West Midlands Is Attracting Indian Businesses

Birmingham-based Ghanshyam Nabar is go to man. This 40-year old director of West Midlands India Partnership (WMIP) is helping Indian businesses find opportunities in the UK, particularly West Midlands. As somebody responsible for WMIP he is driving collaborative engagement between the West Midlands and India to unlock mutually beneficial and sustainable economic opportunities. He brings to table rich experience to ensure deals fructify and its win-win situation for both India and the United Kingdom. Such a laser-focused approach has seen him and his organisation gaining recognition and bagging awards. At the recently held UK India Awards his organisation won the award for the Best Business Promotion Agency Of The Year Award. WMIP edged out contenders like The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Department of International Trade UK, Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Manchester India Partnership to win the award. Nabar had won the same award for two years in a row for the Manchester India Partnership. Recently, WMIP hosted a do for the Indian delegates at Edgbaston ground. Spotted at the cricket match were Ajay Piramal and his son Anand. Besides, there were Telangana’s Principal Secretary Industries & Commerce Jayesh Ranjan, Prakash Wakhankar, BBC commentator and head honcho at the Mahindra BSA, Ankit Agarwal, CEO, Sterlite TECH, Dr Ravi Limaye, MD of Wockhardt. Looks like Nabar and his organization are creating the desired impact among the Indian diaspora.
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Akshaya Patra Chalks Up Plans To Serve Another 1 Million Free Meals In The UK

Former BBC Global Food Champions, The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) UK, is growing rapidly with huge support from UK people. Speaking to shortpost.in, Bhawani Singh Shekhawat, CEO &Trustee, TAPF UK stated that his team is exploring all possibilities to open more kitchens in the UK. This means an addition to the existing kitchen at Watford which is already serving half million free meals a year.  The new kitchens are likely to come up in the Midlands and North England in Manchester and will serve one million free meals every year, taking the total free meals distributed to 1.5 million a year. According to a TAPF study there are 8 million people in the UK affected by food poverty. Of these, nearly 5 million suffer from acute food insecurity. This includes low-income homes, the unemployed, the vulnerable and the homeless. There are close to 3 million children who sleep hungry during school holidays. Unfortunately, for 3 million children in the UK, holidays turn out to become “hungry holidays” instead of happy holidays. Besides, there are close to 300,000 homeless persons across England today. There are even more adults who are deprived of a basic plate of food.  TAPF, winner of the Organization for Social Impact award at the India Global Forum, serves hot, tasty vegetarian food to the needy every day at no cost.
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A First In India: Lulu Mall’s Midnight Shopping Concept Draws Huge Crowd In Trivandrum

Kerala’s capital city of Trivandrum is not quite a place of shopping frenzy like Mumbai, Bengaluru or Delhi. But Yusuf Ali’s Lulu Mall has done the impossible by introducing a midnight shopping concept in Trivandrum. What started on a trial basis has ended in a resounding success. The Mall owners have now promised to conduct the night shopping spree on a frequent basis. Huge crowds started milling around the Mall hours before the official opening at 11.59 pm (July 6). The roads nearby were chock-a- block and so were the parking bays. “Our intention to encourage midnight shopping was to offer a new and peaceful shopping experience,” said Joy Shadanandan, Regional Director, Lulu Group. To ensure the success of midnight shopping, there were many firsts like 50% discount on all purchases, a pink parking area exclusively for women customers. The security was upped with more personnel in mufti to ensure women safety at night. The Kerala Government also helped in with more policing and traffic management. Special bus services were introduced by the public transport provider, KSRTC. Lulu Mall in Trivandrum has crossed the one-crore-footfall mark since its opening in December 2021. With the success of the night shopping the erstwhile Travancore Kingdom could well attain the tag of “a City which never sleeps”.
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India Cements Leverages Cricket Brand CSK, Launches New Product Line

It did poorly in the last edition of the IPL (Indian Premier League). That has not in any way brought down its brand equity, however. Proof of the pudding is in eating it is said. If at all any proof is required, here is the latest. For the first time perhaps in the annals of the IPL team Chennai Super Kings (CSK), its original franchisee owner, The India Cements Ltd (ICL), chose to leverage the CSK brand name and launched a new product sometime in the middle of March this year.  India Cements launched on March 16, 2022, Conkrete Super King (CSK), a new brand of cement, across the country. Touted as a one-stop concrete solution – from foundation to roof, the launch of Conkrete Super Kings was followed by some aggressive digital campaigns, digital advertisements, hoardings, jingles et al. Well, the CSK brand of cement has sold one lakh tonnes since March when it was launched. The CSK brand launch has, coincidentally, seen India Cements beefing up its marketing apparatus. The N Srinivasan-led cement major has strengthened its marketing and sales force by recruiting a number of foot soldiers to give brand CSK a big push in the marketplace.  A new-found focus is certainly on to give CSK cement an all-India visibility. Well, the numbers appear to be encouraging for the ICL mandarins.
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After Intense Bidding Tatas Retain Taj Malabar Hotel For Next 30 Years

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The Taj Group of Hotels has retained the iconic Taj Malabar Hotel at Willingdon Island in Kochi, Kerala. The Cochin Port Authority (CPA) which owns the property, finalised the bid for operating the heritage property on July 1. Though many leading hospitality groups showed interest in the bid, but the Taj Group managed to retain it for an enhanced lease amount of Rs 1.25 crore per annum. Taj Group paid Rs 71 lakh per annum for the earlier lease. Under the new agreement which is for 30 years, the lease amount will increase marginally every five years. Quite a few hospitality chains had picked up the bid documents, but ultimately there were only two bidders. Though the Taj group had the benefit of first right of refusal, they resorted to outright bidding to retain the property. CPA, did not disclose the name of the competing bidder. With the new Coastal Regulation Zone rules in place, no expansion of the hotel can be undertaken. So, the Taj Group will undertake an exhaustive renovation of the hotel and resort. Ever since CPA indicated that it was going for a fresh bidding of the resort, no upgradation or renovation was done at the premises for nearly two years.
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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!
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With Adani Group Taking Over Trivandrum Airport, Duty Free Shops Reopen After A Gap Of Four Years

International travellers flying in and out of Trivandrum Airport in Kerala were deprived of duty free shopping for the last four years. With Adani Group taking over the airport in October 2021, things have changed for the better. The Customs authorities had shut down the duty free shop at the airport on the grounds of illegal sale of alcohol to the tune of Rs 6 crore.  The allegation was that the then Malaysia-based operator, Max Plus, was diverting foreign liquor meant for sale at the airport to the black market. Max Plus was using travel documents of passengers passing through Trivandrum without their consent for the illegal sale. Even after four years, the Customs Authorities and the then operator, Airport Authority of India (AAI), were least bothered to hasten the investigation and reopen the duty free shop. Adani on the other hand meant business. After all, the group paid Rs 476.10 crore to earn the right to operate Trivandrum Airport. They immediately got the Customs NOC to reopen the duty free shop with a new partner, the Dubai-based Flemingo. In fact, Flemingo also operates the duty free shop at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport. With the footfalls expected to increase manifold, the Adanis are out to make a handsome packet. Incidentally, Adani is also the operator of the Vizhinjam sea port at Trivandrum.
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Hunt On For CII’s UK Head With Sudden Exit Of Lakshmi Kaul

The news that Lakshmi Kaul, Head & Representative, Confederation Of Indian Industry, UK has moved out caught everyone in London by surprise. Nobody knows where Kaul is headed. Unlike her predecessor Suchita Sonalika who moved to the USA in 2018 to head the CII office in Washington, sources say it is unlikely that Lakshmi will stay within the CII.  While Lakshmi was in New Delhi last week, CII’s senior director in Delhi, Kavita Choudhry flew to London to hold the fort till a new successor is found. Kavita who has worked with CII for over a decade was responsible for the Europe sector for over four years as well as the South East Asian corridor. Though Kavita is capable and has rich experience, the sudden departure of Lakshmi has perplexed trade, business and media especially at a crucial time when negotiations related to the Free Trade Agreement are in full swing. CII plays a stellar role in the UK as a powerful trade organisation representing Indian business interests. Lakshmi’s warm demeanor and social engagements have proved very valuable to CII over the years. Lakshmi who worked for over 15 years in the UK handled a whole gamut of things ranging from relationship building, public relations, research, strategy and policy work to creating community networks. Lakshmi will definitely be missed.
Shiv Nadar

Eyebrows Raised As Theosophical Society Leases Out 14-Acre Chennai Land To Shiv Nadar Foundation

Land is a touchy subject. Not surprisingly, any land deal in this part of the world draws more than cursory interest across the canvass. This time it belongs to the venerable Theosophical Society in Chennai. This institution at Besant Nagar in the heart of the city of Chennai has now penned a pact with an equally well-known name – Shiv Nadar Foundation. The society has decided to give the foundation 14 acres of its land on a long-lease basis to the Shiv Nadar Foundation. The Shiv Nadar Foundation is planning to set up a world-class K-12 school in Chennai, which, it claims, will be a progressive, ecologically-sensitive school with the highest international standards. Shiv Nadar Foundation is India’s leading philanthropic initiative by Shiv Nadar, founder of the HCL Group. It has established a chain of not-for-profit progressive schools in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi. Today, these are among the most sought-after educational institutions in the area, and are consistently ranked among the top schools in the country. With their novel pedagogical approach, Shiv Nadar School nurtures young children into life-long learners and conscious citizens. The Society-Foundation alliance comes years after its lease pact with J Krishnamurthy Foundation-run school expired. In a state where anti-anything sentiment sprouts up at the drop of a hat, the society-foundation agreement has also come under intense focus.
Cow-Dung

Kashmir Digest

Holy Cow! India Exports 192 Tonnes Of Dung To Kuwait

India has experienced the full gamut of sentiments concerning the cow — from cow worship, cow vigilantism, to riots to protest beef eating and intolerance to use of leather products.  Against this backdrop, a new chapter has just opened up. For the first time a whopping 192 metric tonnes of indigenous cow dung has been exported to Kuwait by the Jaipur-based Sunrise Agriland Development & Research. The company’s director Prashant Chaturvedi is elated that even Islamic countrIes like Kuwait understand the nutrient value of cow dung. Atul Gupta, President of the Organic Farmer Producer Association of India is gung ho about the potential for organic fertilisers, especially cow dung. Reportedly, in 2020-21, the export value of natural fertilisers was Rs 27,155 crore. According to Kashmir Digest, “Many countries have found after research on indigenous cow dung that it can, not only increase the production of crops, but the use of the products produced from it can relieve humans from serious ailment. This is the reason that many countries have started importing indigenous cow dung along with organic manure from India.”  Kuwait has singled out cow dung as an appropriate fertiliser nutrient for increased Date size and yield. This move has made Goshalas in India optimistic which had all along claimed that dung was the best organic fertiliser for healthy agri-products. Holy Cow, dung in demand!
wind

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.”
Sterlite

Sterlite Copper On The Chopping Block, As Promoter Anil Agarwal Seeks To Exit Tamil Nadu

The going has been tough for this one right from the word go. This one came to Tamil Nadu after two States – Maharashtra and Goa – spurned it. Finally, it found sanctuary in the Dravidian state. And, the Sterlite Copper smelter plant at Thoothukudi had run freely for over two decades under the dispensation of AIADMK and DMK – the warring political parties in Tamil Nadu. Problem began when it went in for expansion. A protest followed. Not just that. A police firing on the anti-Sterlite protesters saw 13 people killed. A panicked government ordered the immediate closure of the plant. Well, this has caught everybody in an inextricable position. Many jobs have disappeared and thousands of crores lost in the process. And, India slipped from its pre-eminent position in the global copperfield. Virtually caught in a cobweb, Anil Agarwal, promoter of Sterlite Copper has now chosen to sell the immobilised plant. The move has taken everybody off guard. Is it a positioning strategy? Or, is it a business decision? With Ford exiting India, the proverbial sword hangs over the heads of workmen at its Maraimalai Nagar plant in Tamil Nadu? Coming as it does in the wake of Agnipath imbroglio, the Sterlite Copper sale move has surprised everybody alike, including the authorities. Well, it is yet unclear how Sterlite wants to go about selling its assets in Tamil Nadu.

TRENDS & VIEWS

We Have Created A New Segment That Has Resonated Well With Readers: Short Post Editor

Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come, said Victor Hugo a long time ago. I felt likewise. So instead of waiting endlessly for the Covid-19 tide to ebb, I decided to take the plunge and launch www.shortpost.in on January 28, 2021. This website, the first of its kind in the country, focuses only on short ‘Authentic Gossip’. Clearly, content is king more so if it is short & crisp (225 words), as a large section of our society is steadily shifting to digital and mobile space. To achieve this, I was fortunate to muster editorial support of some of the most senior and respected journalists in the country to bring out credible content that involves, stimulates and entertains our highly discerning readers — from across continents. We have so far uploaded close to 1,000 posts covering areas like Business, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment. Yes, today we have crossed an important milestone in our journey – #ShortPostFirstAnniversary —  and we are confident many more will follow in keeping with our stated vision – to become a one stop site for authentic gossip. So, what next?  With the third wave showing signs of slowing down things can only look better. So as the year rolls by we promise to pack in more punches. Before I sign off I would like to thank our advertiser IDFC FIRST Bank, angel investors Anuradha Verma, Ashish Kakkar and you readers for making this journey possible.