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CII All Set To Launch Indian Corporate Cricket League

India is a cricket-crazy country. The IPL (Indian Premier League), which followed immediately after M S Dhoni-led Men in Blue winning the World Cup in Mumbai, has now become one of the largest annual sporting events in the country. From this year we will have a women’s premier league as well.  The cricket mania is now really expanding. Industry body CII is now gearing up to hold Indian Corporate Cricket League (ICCL).  It is a national-level initiative of the industry body. This will be a pan-India exercise, done at the behest of the Sports Ministry.  It will happen across India in each state. At state-level, it will have a round-robin format. The Tennis Ball cricket will have T-10 matches at state-level in round-robin format. Post-qualifying round, it will take the T-20 format. The CII is reported to have commissioned the services of an event management organization, which will be entrusted with the job of providing end-to-end logistic and related support facilities for the conduct of the ICCL across the country. CII is hoping for a participation of 25 teams in each state in the round-robin level. If grapevine has to go by, the Union Sports Ministry is reportedly keen that this kind of a pan-India corporate initiative is spread to other sports such as kabbadi and the likes. Sports at long lost is given its importance. That’s a welcome sign, indeed.
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Soon Restaurants in New York To Ban Plastic Utensils & Condiments In Takeaways

This seems to be the global trend — banning the manufacture, sale and use of single-use plastic items like plates, cups, straws, trays and polystyrene. In India too it has been banned but some states like Maharashtra under pressure from the business fraternity have relaxed it. The latest news comes from New York. The extra but convenient plastic cutlery, chopsticks and sauce packets that restaurants throw in your takeout bag may soon disappear for good as New York City’s City Council has just passed a bill that would bar eateries and food delivery services from providing this accouterment unless specifically requested. Those businesses that keep including these items regularly, would be subject to civil penalties but warnings, instead of a monetary penalty, would be given for any violation occurring before July 1, 2024. The hope is to cut down on single-use plastic that can’t be recycled and ends up in landfills and take away the financial burden of purchasing these items from small businesses. Every year, more than 320 million tons of plastic are consumed globally, with 95% of plastic only used once and 14% for recycling. By arrangement with tfninternational.com.
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Kashmir Flights Cancellation: Airlines To Reimburse Up To 75% Cost If Flight Tickets Downgraded

Kashmir valley is witnessing heavy snowfall as a result all flights to and from Srinagar airport have been cancelled. Even the national highway has been shut. As per the latest reports, heavy snowfall has been witnessed across the valley while rain has been lashing the Jammu division. Reportedly, 5 inch snow had accumulated in Srinagar city till Monday morning, whereas other popular tourist places, like Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam received more than 1-3 ft of fresh snowfall. Realising the problems faced by tourists, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has amended its Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) rules on facilities to be provided by airlines to passengers due to cancellation of flights, denied boarding, and delays in flights. It added that the amendment will allow passengers, who are downgraded involuntarily and are carried in a class lower than that for which the ticket he purchased, to get reimbursements online. The DGCA proposed that airlines need to refund the full value of such tickets, including taxes, and that the said passenger will be flown free of cost in the next available class.  The reimbursement will differ between 30-75% in case of international ticket downgrade. By arrangement with tfninternational.com.
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BBB Trust: Bringing Brahmin Businessmen Worldwide On A Single Platform To Help Them Grow

A social economic forum, this one was founded in 2017.  This triple B forum is headquartered in Mysore, it has 19 chapters and claims to have a membership of over a thousand spread across the Southern states of India. They operated under a trust model. The trust acts as ‘head and shoulder’ for all chapters. It is to assist, support and monitor their engagements. The trust is intended to bring under a common fold all brahmin business entrepreneurs. The objective is to mutually share and refer businesses among the members. The Forum for Business By Brahmins – BBB Trust is a community-based entity. This is not a business body by itself, though.  It will work for business promotion and otherwise wellness of each individual in each chapter and community at large. Growing together is the chosen mantra. The objective is to build a strong global platform which will create growth opportunities for businessmen in the community. Also, it is intended to work for the improvement of the quality of life of the people in the community The BBB Forum has three chapters in Chennai. Well, it is planning to host its two-day annual conference in Chennai on February 4. The conference is expected to facilitate information sharing, relationship building, business leads and the like. A unity mantra to grow, it appears.
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Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you! So here we are raring to go.  But, when I look at the media landscape the disruption is indeed fast and furious. Technology is playing a very big role in how content will be consumed. In the past, we have seen how social media has disrupted the media world. Now, everybody is saying the same thing about ChatGPT. It has reached 1 million users in five days. Its scorching pace of growth is indeed frightening and will disrupt the media industry big time. My limited argument is can it do investigative stories, write gossip items using the digital world ecosystem. Unlikely. Clearly, the original content has to be created first — only then can ChatGPT do the magic. That’s what we promise to do – focus on original content. Before I sign off, I am reminded of an old advertisement of the early sixties: “Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So we try harder”. Likewise I can say, we are two years old and we are trying even harder to be relevant to you readers.
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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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Porsche, BMW To Mark Their Presence At Chennai’s Glitzy Leather Fashion Show

After a two-year Covid-induced hiatus, the Leather Fashion Show is back. Chennai is gearing up to host the India International Leather Fair next week, and the Fashion Show, as was in the past, will form a crucial component of this. This time around, the show will showcase products that are made out of recycled leather. For the first time perhaps, lifestyle car brands such as Porsche and BMW have chosen to mark their presence at the Leather Fashion Show. Such shows are often intended to woo high net worth customers. These high net worth people are the potential buyers of fancy high-end cars. Well, Porsche and BMW are finding the Fashion Show a useful platform to touch-base with their potential clients. It is unusual for these esoteric automobile brands to put their cars in a public area. A Fashion Show of international standard followed by dinner at a high-end venue like the ITC Grand Chola is an opportunity that these car majors aren’t willing to miss. They are more than happy to display their high-end cars in the Fashion Show. The association of such global car makers surely will add credence to the profile of the leather industry in India. And, the presence of various Miss India title-holders will add further spice to the upcoming Leather Fashion Show in Chennai.
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UP finance minister Suresh Kumar Khanna and Dr Shashank Vikram

Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister, Bureaucrats To Visit UK To Woo Global Investors

Uttar Pradesh government’s top level bureaucrats led by the state’s Finance Minister & Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Suresh Kumar Khanna are visiting the United Kingdom to woo global investors. On January 28 Jan, Dr Shashank Vikram, IFS who is the Consul General of India in Birmingham will be hosting “a high profile” gathering of investors to meet the minister and top officials. Birmingham which coincidentally is recognised as the “Engine” of UK economy inspired by James Watt will play host to strengthen ties between the UK and Uttar Pradesh. UP minister Khanna’s visit is primarily to woo investors for the UP’s Global Investors Summit to be held shortly in his state. It is learnt that Khanna and his core team along with Dr Vikram have identified a roadmap and strategies to be followed to enhance trade and economic ties between the UK and UP. Khanna is ambitious with his plans as UP’s vision is to become a $1 trillion economy. Towards this objective the state government has provided a single window clearance for 25 sectors it has opened up for the global investors. With the BJP government elected for the second time in UP, there is political stability. But, the moot point will these roadshows in the UK following the USA earlier, encourage global entrepreneurs to UP?
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GEMS Education Scouting For Partner

The Gulf-incubated GEMS Education, run by second generation entrepreneur, Sunny Varkey, is on the lookout for a long term partner, failing which it will go for an IPO. The $ 6 billion valued GEMS, is the largest non-Government operator of private kindergarten-to-grade-12 schools in the world, teaching 140,000 students from 175 countries. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have been given the mandate to find a long term partner for GEMS by mid-2023. The hunt for a partner follows private equity firm CVC’s decision to exit its over 30% stake in the world’s largest private school operator. According to informed sources, ADQ (Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Co) and real estate developer Alder have shown interest in GEMS. Sunny Varkey, who started in the healthcare business, later moved to run GEMS started by his parents. Varkey in a recent interview stated that he has no plans to relinquish majority stake in the company. In fact, he stated that he would prefer long term partners like sovereign wealth funds, infrastructure funds or even pension funds. And if the current exercise to find a long term partner fails, then the group will have no option but to go in for an IPO.
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Mumbai On Its Way To Become A Metro-Centric City

The extended western suburbs of Mumbai – the city’s most populous stretch — gets fully covered by the Metro network from January 20 onwards. Providing seamless connectivity on an entirely elevated network of 35 km of lines with 30 platforms at the cost of Rs 13,000 crore, has been presented as a solution against the congested Western Express Highway and its parallel running New Link Road. Completing the project was challenging, says SVR Srinivas, metropolitan commissioner of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the city’s planning body, as it meant carrying out major part of the works at night due to heavy traffic congestion. There were challenges in air as well — the Andheri (W) station had to be raised to 22 metres above ground to cross over the existing Metro line 1 lines beneath. This line is estimated to see a footfall of 3-4 lakhs passengers daily soon. This is the second network that is fully operational; the first Ghatkopar-Versova line is already providing much needed relief with its East-West connectivity. While the metro network huffed and chuffed in its initial stages thanks to opposition from residents and environmentalists, it has picked up much speed since then to move towards its target of achieving 337 km with 200 stations by 2030 to service 7 lakhs passengers per day.
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Tata Group Chairman Chandrasekaran Meets TN Chief Minister Stalin

Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin wants to fulfil the DMK’s election manifesto promises and prepare the ground for 2024 Lok Sabha elections. More significantly, he needs to project his intention to create and save jobs. The shutdown of Ford Maraimalai Nagar plant remains a vexing issue. It had accumulated losses of over $2 bn. Recently, Tata Group’s Chairman N Chandrasekaran along with Tata Motors Executive Director Girish Wagh visited Stalin’s camp office. Also part of the meeting were Tamil Nadu chief secretary, ministers Thangam Thennarasu and Udhayanidhi Stalin. It was a courtesy call but it is clear that the Tamil Nadu government has been feverishly looking for a new owner to take over Ford Chennai plant. It may be recalled that Tatas have already bought over Ford’s Sanand plant in Gujarat. So buying Ford’s Maraimalai Nagar plant seems a logical conclusion. Both these plants can crank up Tata’s EV capacity. Currently, with significant bookings for Nexon EV, and Tiago. Tatas are able to meet only 50 % of the demand. The Ford Chennai plant has a number of hidden assets — its erstwhile vendor team supplied 40% of their captive production, the trained workforce can be retrained and logistics support of the Port is one of the biggest advantages.  Tatas have taken a lead in EV, and if this acquisition happens then Chennai could emerge as an EV hub.
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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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Italy-Based Lamborghini Group Plans To Invest In Kerala

The Lamborghini group is looking at opportunities to invest in Kerala in the areas of luxury flats, apartment complexes and boutique hotels. Tonino Lamborghini, son of the legendary Italian businessman, Ferruccio Lamborghini, is currently in Kerala enjoying the backwaters, cuisines and ayurvedic spas. He also found time to meet the Kerala Industries Minister P Rajeev to identify areas of investment and tax holidays. The group is also interested in partnering with local businesses and also exploring manufacturing opportunities for some of its products. Despite hiving off its famous luxury car business to the Volkswagen group, the Lamborghini family still retains the brand name. The Lamborghini brand has under its belt a line of luxury products like watches, mobile phones, sunglasses, perfumes, bags, clothings and boutique hotels. The group is also looking at partnering with Indian companies to help their brands enter the worldwide market. Tonino also expressed a desire to set up an electric car manufacturing unit. To start off, he felt golf carts would be an ideal area to enter. Tonino is visiting Kerala with his partner, Angela Kriegar and Usman Rehman, MD of Times World group and brand ambassador of the Lamborghini brand in Dubai.
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UK-Based Neelabha Chatterjee

Chatterjees Of Luxmi Group Eye Global Markets, LUK In UK To Launch BrrrGrr

The Rs 1000-crore Kolkata based Luxmi Group owned by the Chatterjees has been producing some of the world’s most coveted teas for over 100 years now. The group which owns Darjeeling’s prestigious and elite Makaibari tea estates are intensely focusing on the global markets for tea, and other lines of businesses. Neelabha Chatterjee, younger son of Dipankar and grandson of PC Chatterjee has decided to settle in the UK.  He went as a student at Cranfield and chose not to return family’s tea estates. He has set up LUK Hospitalities which owns two branded hotels in Birmingham. Besides, he is all set to launch American style burgers, wings and shakes in the West Midlands region called ‘Brrgrrr’. The Kolkata-based Chatterjees have diversified into carpets, furniture in India and now hospitality in the UK. The third generation is strengthening the group’s presence in different sectors. In India, Neelabha’s brother Rudra who is handling the family’s traditional tea business is eyeing the global tea retail markets. To start with, it will be the USA. Besides, he plans to expand hand-woven carpets brand Obeetee and furniture brand Manor and Mews with its atelier in London and manufacturing units in Europe and Jaipur. The Chatterjees came into limelight when Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented a packet of Silver Imperial brand from Makaibari to the late Queen Elizabeth when he visited the UK in 2015.
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Is The City Of Joy Trying To Revive Tram Travels In A Big Way?

An effort is being made to revive trams in Kolkata city in this era of climate change. Known for its heritage value, trams made their maiden journey way back in 1873, as horse drawn carriages. Today, Kolkata is the only city in the continent operating trams. The revival of trams is part of the action plan under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) for Kolkata. Several urban transportation experts and activists, along with NGOs, attended the discussion and made it clear that mindset and lack of political will have hindered sustaining trams in Kolkata and not the availability of funds. They pointed out how eco-friendly trams play a key role in transportation in most global cities. “If the government wants, it can explore the option of using NCAP funds and funds for electric vehicles, as the tram is the mother of electric vehicles,” explains Anumita Roy Choudhary, air pollution expert from the Centre for Science & Environment (CSE), Delhi. At present, only 10 trams ply on two routes in the city, as against 185 trams on 37 routes a decade back. Is the state government listening?
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Uttarakhand Govt To Build An International Airport?

Uttarakhand may soon have an international airport. The state government is set to submit a proposal to the Union civil aviation ministry for setting up an international airport for which it has already identified two locations measuring 1,200 hectares and 1,100 hectares. A pre-feasibility for upgrading the Pantnagar airport, located near the Jim Corbett Park, to an international airport is also said to be ready. The BJP government is making a pitch that an international airport is needed in the state, considering its spiritual, historical and strategic importance. Better connectivity will boost tourism and bring in the revenue that the hill state needs.
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Nationalism To Regionalism: FiTEN To Host Global Tamil Start-up Investors’ Summit

What is the common consequence of Covid-19 and the Ukraine war? To be sure, they have redefined the international trade dynamics. The much celebrated policy of globalisation has started yielding ground to the protectionist policies of former times. Is it good? Is it setting the clock back? Well, a clear answer is difficult to fathom at the moment. One thing, however, is sure. Things are seemingly heading this way. How else could one view this? Well, the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) is launching the FeTNA International Tamil Entrepreneurs Network (FiTEN)! FeTNA is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1988. In association with Tamil Nadu Start-up and Innovation Mission (StartupTN), FiTEN is organising the first Global Tamil Start-up Investors’ Summit in Chennai. It is ostensibly intended to benefit and promote start-ups and global Tamil investors. The one-day summit will be held on January 9 at The Leela Palace in Chennai. The objective of holding this summit by FiTEN is to share knowledge, debate the latest trends and bring together the global Tamil entrepreneur ecosystem. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M K Stalin, will be the chief guest. While the proposed summit is hailed by some, still others feel uncomfortable about it. Reason: regional chauvinism/parochialism is not healthy. It may be recalled that Saraswat Brahmin entrepreneurs from across the globe had organised a conclave in Goa in September 2022.
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Employees Become Owners Of The Shriram Group Via Trust

Shriram Finance Ltd (SFL) is born out of a composite scheme of merger and amalgamation of Shriram Capital (erstwhile holding company), Shriram Transport, Shriram City Union Finance and others. Today, they are all consigned to the pages of history. The newly-born SFL, as a consequence, has become the largest retail NBFC in the country.  Shriram Financial Ventures (Chennai) Private Ltd., Shriram Ownership Trust, Shriram Value Services Ltd. and Sanlam Life Insurance Ltd are the promoters of SFL holding 25.24% of its equity. Shriram Financial Ventures (Chennai) Private Ltd. is controlled by Shriram Ownership Trust (60%) and Sanlam (40%). Grapevine has it that Shriram Financial Ventures (Chennai) Private Ltd will undergo a name change soon. In all likelihood, it will be re-named as Shriram Capital!  With the advent of SFL, there appears to be a lot more clarity on the ownership front. Interestingly enough, Shriram Ownership Trust has emerged as the identifiable owner of the Shriram group. This is a perpetual trust. The members – comprising eligible employees – exit the trust upon reaching the age of 60, and are cashed out over a period of eight years thereafter. In a way, this perpetual trust will have a dynamic composition of members (with new additions and subtractions). A four-member board of management will run the trust. A unique thing about this trust – which is the ultimate holding company of the group – is that it is filled with eligible employees! Is there a parallel in the Indian corporate world where the employees are the owners of the group!
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Trivandrum Airport May Lose International Airport Status

It’s rare that the Chief Minister of a State goes out of his way to torpedo an expansion plan. That’s what’s happening in the case of Trivandrum Airport which needs to expand and extend its 3.1 km runway to meet the International Civil Aviation Organisations (ICAO) specifications. For expansion, an additional 18.5 acres of land adjoining the present airport has already been earmarked. Out of this, 16 acres are government land and the balance in private hands. The Adanis, who operate the airport, have been after Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan for the release of land. Pinarayi seems to be sitting on the proposal. ICAO has given Trivandrum airport time till December 2023 or lose its International airport status. This will mean stoppage of all international flights to and from Kerala’s first international airport built on land given by the Travancore Maharaja. The airport operates 120 international flights per week. Pinarayi’s ire follows the State government’s failure in its bid to take over Trivandrum airport from AAI. Two of Kerala’s greenfield airports — Kochi and Kannur — are run by the private sector with the State Government being the principal shareholder. Despite being world class, Pinarayi’s home town airport at Kannur is struggling for want of traffic and passengers. If the CM hopes that by blocking Trivandrum airport’s expansion Kannur could benefit, then he is totally off the mark going by the distance between the two places.
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India Gears Up To Champion Cause Of Global South At G-20 Meetings

The first G20 Finance and Central Bank Deputies (FCBD) meeting held in Bengaluru (Dec 13-15) was to prepare an effective forum for global economic discourse. This meeting marks the start of discussions on the Finance Track agenda under the Indian G20 Presidency and is hosted by the Ministry of Finance and the RBI. Co-chaired by Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Ajay Seth and RBI Deputy Governor Dr Michael D Patra, their counterparts from G20 member countries, and representatives from international organisations participated in the meeting. Through a series of nearly 40 meetings  that will be held in several locations across the country, the Finance Track India will champion the cause of the “Global South”, promoting “oneness”, and lead in pushing for a collaborative action. The G20 Finance Track, led by Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of G20 countries, will focus on economic and financial issues to “provide an effective forum for global economic discourse and policy coordination”. The First Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting will be held during February 23-25, 2023 in Bengaluru. In the Bengaluru meeting, discussions will focus on the agenda for the Finance Track under the Indian G20 Presidency. This includes reorienting international financial institutions to meet the shared global challenges of the 21st century, financing cities of tomorrow, managing global debt vulnerabilities, advancing financial inclusion, financing for climate action and a globally coordinated approach to advancing the international taxation agenda.
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Mallika Srinivasan Ushers In Refreshing Change At Govt-Run PSEB

Lethargy and indecision often define any appointment in a government-run organisation. Ipso facto, none expects any quick action from an enterprise that is vested with the power to pick right people to fill up board slots in government-controlled organisations. This perception is changing now.  Coming events often cast their shadows before them. Perhaps the change was set in motion when the government for the first time chose to anoint a woman as the head the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB). With the induction of Mallika Srinivasan, head of tractor-maker TAFE, as the Chairman in April last year, PESB is moving with a sense of purpose and clarity of thought. It isn’t just recommending names to fill slots in public sector organisations. It has gone beyond to provide incisive inputs. The idea, it appears, is to help build a robust board that is adequately populated to take quick decisions based on the evolving dynamics. The recent appointments at ONGC are a classic case. Though a new Chairman has been announced, it has been decided to dispense with the position of MD. The creation of a new position of Director (Strategy and Corporate Affairs) is seen in the context of providing flexibility to decide on emerging opportunities in the fast-changing dynamic business environment. PESB is now looking at selection in a holistic way. Well, that’s the way to go.
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This Mattress Company Reposes Faith In Sleep Solution

This one puts faith in innovation. Out-of-the-box thinking is the need of the day for business enterprises to not just grow but to also to stand out from the crowd. This Coimbatore-based mattress company is out on a mission: to promote the power of fresh thinking in the sleep solution space. The Rs 103-crore 10-year-old Repose Mattress Pvt Ltd is concerned that people take sleep for granted. That causes a lot of mental and physical health issues. Right mattress is not just a matter of luxury and comfort. Repose is convinced that the right mattress is vital for healthy living. Early this year, it introduced a smart grid mattress with patented technology from Japan. It has in its portfolio Song-Bird pillow — a memory foam pillow with in-built speakers into which music devices can be plugged into for a novel experience. It also has a Locker mattress – claimed to be the country’s first mattress with an in-built secret locker that can safely store items of value. This 400-plus employee company pines to become a pan-India player. Repose has roped in dance sensation and film star Prabhu Deva as its brand ambassador. Riding on his fan following across the country, Repose aims to aggressively get into the mind space of consumers across the country. Putting faith in a new sleep order, it appears.
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Chennai-Based Companies Gift BMWs, Swiss Holidays Plus Bonuses To Retain Talent

Talent retention is a tough art. It is tougher still in the modern business world. Ipso facto, business enterprises have to think out of box to retain the talent. Ideas2IT and Kissflow are software companies in Chennai. They were trend setters in a way for employee recognition and retention. Sometime ago, Ideas2IT and Kissflow rewarded talent at the workplace in a unique way, giving ‘moving property’ to recognise these contributions.  While Ideas2IT gifted 100 cars to 100 employees “for their constant support and unparalleled contributions to the company’s success and growth,” Kissflow gifted luxury BMW cars to its senior leadership team. Five senior executives of Kissflow were given the new 5 series BMW cars. Real estate developer Casagrand has hit upon a different route to keep its folks happy. It has chosen to take 700 of its employees for a 7-day long trip to Switzerland. The entire trip cost which includes air tickets, accommodation, sight-seeing, meals et al will be borne by Casagrand. It calls it the ‘Big Bonanza’. Each employee who has contributed her/his best effort to the company is rewarded with a trip abroad along with two months’ salary as bonus! Casagrand claims that it had arranged similar outings to its deserving employees earlier, too. Is this a sustainable formula for an enterprise to ensure that talent won’t move out?
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Indian Doctors In UK Gear Up To Save National Health Service; Forge Ties With Indian Hospitals

There is an estimated shortfall of 12,000 doctors and 50,000 nurses in the UK. To meet this shortfall the country is exploring various avenues.  Thus, between September and November 2022 two MoUs were signed between the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and BAPIO Training Academy (BTA) UK and Bengaluru-based hospitals – Gleneagles and Vydehi Superspeciality (formerly Mallya hospital). This tie-up demonstrates the fact that the vast Indian medical community that serves the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK has been an active and conscientious supporter of the NHS system. The tie-ups are with the aim of developing and providing world-class training and exchange programs for doctors and nurses in India to meet the growing demands of effective and safe delivery of emergencies. BAPIO with its Education Academy in the UK has actively geared up its resources to mitigate the current crisis faced by the NHS system. Chandru Iyer, Deputy High Commissioner UK in Bengaluru says, “Such tie ups will enhance collaborative training avenues for Indian medical students and professionals in the UK.” According to Prof Parag Singhal, Executive Director- BTA and National Secretary, BAPIO this training initiative is designed specially to help International doctors gain experience at core and higher levels in UK hospitals. The BTA Indo-UK Training Programme has been developed in partnership with University of South Wales and Kingsway Hospitals.
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Tamil Nadu Electricity Consumers Resent Govt Mandate To Link Bill To Aadhaar

Aadhaar linkage has always been a hot subject of political debate in the country. The DMK government led by M K Stalin has chosen to make it mandatory for the power consumers – of common kind – to link their Aadhaar numbers. The move must help it weed out bogus connections. What has surprised many, however, is that not much time has been given to the power users to do this. Power consumers who tried to pay their bi-monthly bills are directed to a separate site for Aadhaar linkage. Unless linked to Aadhaar, the system does not allow them to pay their bills. What has irked the power users is that they are unable to execute the action as the system trips more often than not. Also, there is a lot of confusion. What if a person has more than one house and hence more than one power connection? What about power used for common facilities in a residential apartment? The government says that for commercial use, no Aadhaar linkage is required. How will the power used for common facilities in a residential apartment be considered?  How will the poor – who don’t have a computer facility in their home – get this linkage done? The Tamil Nadu government will do well to create an e-seva facility to sort out the very many glitches coming in the way of Aadhaar linkage?
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Arvind Singh, Tourism Secretary

Indian Tourist Sector Moves In The Fast Lane; Gears Up For G20 Meetings

India is emerging as a popular tourist and business destination against the backdrop of the Free Trade Agreement between India and UK to be signed soon. The MICE industry is flourishing with several business delegations travelling to India not just to Tier 1 but to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. West Midlands Mayor Andy Street who led the West Midlands, UK delegation to India, did not confine his visit to New Delhi but travelled to Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru. He played Kabbadi and has promised to host the World Kabbadi tournament in Birmingham in 2024. Global Tech Advocates hosted their global meet with the Tech India Advocates led by British citizens Ani Kaprekar, Af Malhotra and Nilesh Gopali. The 40-plus delegates visited Bengaluru, Hubballi (Hubli), and Deshpande’s Tech Foundation. The global organisation TiE will host their annual summit in Telangana. About 3000 entrepreneurs are expected to attend. Bill Gates, N R Narayana Murthy, Gautam Adani, Telangana Minister K T Rama Rao are expected to take part in the summit. At the recently held World Travel Market in London, Arvind Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India and Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism stated that “India is  gearing up for the G20 Presidency to start from December 1, 2022. India is expected to host over 200 meetings across 55 cities in the country.”
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Odisha’s Gopalpur Locals Oppose Smartchem's Ammonium Nitrate Plant On Environment Concerns

The familiar battle ground again haunts Odisha just like successful opposition to the National Test Range at Baliapal in 1980’s. The villagers at Gopalpur and its neighbouring six panchayats fearing impact of pollution have collectively decided not to allow Smartchem Technologies Ltd to set up a 377 KTPA ammonium nitrate plant at Tata Steel Industrial Park. Smartchem Technologies is a 100% subsidiary of Deepak Fertilisers & Petrochemicals. The villagers are asking what guarantee the company can give to assure that there will be no accidents at SEZ Gopalpur. There are examples galore worldwide of explosions because of poor storage and handling of ammonium nitrate. According to locals, the company has done very little to educate the local people about the robustness of their hazard handling process and thereby allay their fears. Though the government promoting chemicals is part of industrial development strategy, villagers are determined not to allow hazardous chemicals in their area and are asking to replace it with environmentally-friendly industries instead. With assembly elections due in 2024 the Odisha government headed by Naveen Patnaik may not want to take a chance and is trying to find the middle path in the best interest of all stakeholders. Surely, for Petrochem major Deepak Fertiliser which was ready to invest Rs 2200 crore via its subsidiary this is a temporary setback.
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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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Saraswat Bank Signs MoU With GCSE To Offer Concessional Loans To Saraswat Entrepreneurs

To a cheering audience at the recently held 3rd Annual Conclave of Global Chamber of Saraswats Entrepreneurs and Professionals(GCSE) in Goa, Chairman of Saraswat Bank Gautam Thakur announced a lucrative and special loan scheme to support young Saraswat entrepreneurs. Honouring his commitment, Saraswat Bank’s top brass signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GCSE on November 17.  Saraswat Bank has initiated an exclusive scheme Loan For Entrepreneurs And Professionals (LEAP) that would provide loans/ OD facility for first generation entrepreneurs from the Saraswat Community at a concessional rate of interest. Founder Director of GCSE Siddharth Sinkar, said, “Not only will LEAP boost the morale of the existing young first generation entrepreneurs for scaling up their businesses. This will also promote the entrepreneurial drive amongst the Saraswat minds.” This facility will be offered only to members of Saraswat Chamber. While GCSE would do the basic due diligence of applications routed through them, the final decision to grant loan will rest with the bank.
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Gautam Adani Has Seen It All: Kidnapping, 26/11 Terrorist Attack, Business Crises

Gautam Adani’s story would make for a good Netflix series like Succession. India’s business tycoon Adani is numero uno on all parameters. What makes Adani different and what are his success mantras is well captured by the veteran journalist RN Bhaskar in his book Gautam Adani: Reimagining Business In India And The World. Bhaskar who has been tracking Adanis since 2007 has brought to light information that not many know. Bhaskar writes, “In many ways Gautambhai is destiny’s child. He has escaped accidents, major trading crises and even terrorist attacks (26/11). For instance, in January 1998, much before he became a big industrialist, Gautambhai and Shantilal Patel, an associate, were kidnapped. Adani and Shantilal Patel were abducted at gunpoint after they left Karnavati Club in a car and headed for Mohammadpura Road in Ahmedabad. A scooter reportedly forced the car to stop, and then a group of men came in a van and abducted both men. They were taken to an unknown place in a car before being released, the police chargesheet said.”  The case was finally closed after 20 years when an Ahmedabad court in November 2018 acquitted the two main accused – Fazl-ur-Rehman alias Fazlu and Bhogilal Darji alia Mama. Reason for their acquittal was because Adani refused to press charges. “One reason for not pressing charges could be that a large ransom was paid, estimated at $1.5 mn,” says the author.
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Repatriated SBI UK Head Sharad Chandak Tipped To Be Dy MD

State Bank of India’s Sharad Chandak, Head of UK Region and also the Head of its subsidiary SBI UK has been transferred back to India. Chandak, an old guard at the bank, is currently Chief General Manager in SBI India hierarchy and is likely to be promoted to the Deputy Managing Director’s post of the bank and stationed in Delhi. Talking to shortpost.in Chandak says despite Covid and other odds faced by various banks and businesses at large in the UK, the SBI subsidiary succeeded in giving the parent SBI a dividend of 2.5%. With an Open Banking platform for non-customers of the bank the YoNo App that was launched during his tenure expanded remittance operations to Nepal and soon Sri Lanka operations will commence. To have a wider outreach to areas where bank’s branches do not exist, Chandak with his team has drawn up plans to start “Kiosk banking.” These kiosks are likely to be opened where the footfall is high like the malls. In 2023 Chandak said SBI UK will launch a development finance product that will offer financial support to those in the real estate sector. Sudhir Sharma, CEO (designate) will move into Chandak’s seat. Sanjay Pandey, currently Executive Director and Deputy CEO in the UK also returns to India and his colleague Varsha Bhat who is in the UK will take charge.
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India Cements Platinum Jubilee Celebrations Connect Business, Politics And Cricket

In a land where cricket has a mass appeal, it is little wonder that the game has become a connector par excellence. Well, the platinum jubilee celebrations of The India Cements Ltd (ICL) held on November 12 in Chennai saw the Union Home Minister Amit Shah grace the occasion as chief guest. N Srinivasan, vice-chairman & MD of ICL, and Amit Shah have something in common between them. Shah was heading the Gujarat Cricket Association once upon a time. Srinivasan has been a cricket administrator for a very long time – both at the state as well national level. Shah recalled their sports connection and indicated that their relationship required no thanks between them.  Shah’s rare presence at a corporate function threw a surprise of a different sort also. Former Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, O Panneerselvam was seated on the front row! Is this a signal BJP will go along with AIADMK to fight 2024 general elections? Interestingly, Tamil Chief Minister MK Stalin who is very close to Srini stayed out and instead deputed his Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu to attend the function. And of course CSK Captain MS Dhoni was also seen hobnobbing with Amit Shah. If optics matter, there is enough to ponder over for everybody.
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UAE: American Style Casino Coming Up As Oil Goes Down

With oil on the decline, UAE is rolling out the red carpet to attract all kinds of tourists from all round the world. The latest introduction would be an American style Casino at UAE’s sixth largest city, Ras Al Khaimah by 2026. The Wynn Marjan casino cum resort will be located on Dream Island, an unused area of Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island. The integrated resort will come up in a 18,500 sq m area and would be double the size of Wynn’s Las Vegas property. The emirate’s tourism development authority is believed to be writing gaming laws for the casino using Singaporean and US regulations as the base. For this purpose, a new Department of Entertainment and Gaming Regulator has been set up to consider the social, cultural and environmental impact of the emirates. It will also cover issues of licensing, taxation, operational procedures and consumer safeguards, according to Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. The proposed casino is expected to be one of the 10th biggest casinos in the world. The biggest casino in Asia is The Venetian at Macau. It is also the second biggest casino in the world with a Venice theme in an area of 51,000 sq m. Wynn Resorts will initially operate the casino on its own for some period of time.
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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.
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What Makes City Union Bank Tick?

This is one of the oldest private sector banks in the country. It was incorporated on October 31, 1904. Twenty prominent citizens of Kumbakonam joined together to sign the Memorandum of Association. Initially, it preferred the role of a regional bank and built for itself a place in the delta district Thanjavur. The first branch was opened at Mannargudi in January 1930.  It was included in the Second Schedule of Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, on March 22, 1945. It was originally known as ‘The Kumbakonam Bank Limited’. In April, 1965, two other local banks – The City Forward Bank Limited and Union Bank Limited – were amalgamated with it. Consequently, it was renamed as Kumbakonam City Union Bank Limited. In November 1965, the bank’s first branch in Madras was opened at Thyagaraya Nagar. Its first branch outside Tamil Nadu was opened at Sultanpet in Karnataka in September, 1980. That set the stage for its foray into other states. Its name was changed to City Union Bank in December 1987. Today, it has a deposit base of over Rs. 48,770 core (in the 1st quarter). With a net profit of Rs.225 crore in Q1 FY23, the bank is on a solid ground. Unlike Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, which just went public, the journey of this one has been fairly smooth. Well, longevity lends substance to the brand.
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Enron Project Likely To Revive, Centre Keen

Serious efforts are underway to revise the controversial power generation gas-based project at Dabhol in Ratnagiri district. The Shinde-Fadnavis government in Maharashtra has received positive signals to rejuvenate the project, popularly known as Enron. Presently, there is complete closure of the project since 31 March this year. Union power minister RK Singh recently held a meeting at which the power generation from the project was reportedly discussed.  The project was launched by the government of then chief minister Sharad Pawar in 1993-95 with a counter-guarantee by the Government of India. After the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance assumed power in the state in 1995, it scrapped the project then revived it under revised conditionalities. The public sector NTPC is the principal shareholder in Enron. However, the project never fully recovered despite Centre’s efforts since gas supply to it was not adequate. It is now argued that if gas is made available at reasonable rates, power generation can become feasible at cheaper cost. The last per unit cost from the project was Rs.6.50 and the sole consumer was the railways. The railways started purchasing 500 MW of power from this plant on the basis of a subsidy from the Centre from 1 April 2007. The quota dwindled down to about 250 MW due to various reasons. The five-year agreement expired on 31 March this year, finally shutting down the operations.
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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”.
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Reliance Retail Eyes Kerala-based Hypermarket Chain, Bismi

Reliance Retail is eyeing the Kerala-based hypermarket and electronic store Bismi, owned by the first generation entrepreneur VA Ajmal. Bismi operates 30 electronics and grocery retail chains across Kerala. Each Bismi Hypermarkets which are a combination of food, groceries and electronics operate in premises of 30,000 to 40,000 sq ft. The standalone single format grocery stores occupy 10,000 sq ft. Started in 2003, Bismi generates a business of Rs 750 cr per annum. The company hopes to achieve a turnover of Rs 4000 cr in the next couple of years. On the anvil are 40 plus Bismi Hypermakets and electronic stores in tier-2 cities across the country. Informed sources said that the talks with Reliance Retail are at an advanced stage and should have been concluded by Diwali. The Bismi valuation is the vicinity of Rs 600 crore. However, Ajmal has refused to confirm nor deny the deal. Reliance Retail today operates 2000 brick and mortar grocery stores across India. It also operates JioMart, an e-commerce platform. The Indian retail market is estimated at $ 900 billion.
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India Cements Ka Mahotsav, Amit Shah To Grace The Occasion?

It is a pioneering enterprise of the independent era. It was born on February 21, 1946 when the World War was over and political freedom was around the country. It made a humble start with a cement factory at Thalaiyuthu, Tamil Nadu, an almost unmapped tiny village in Tirunelveli, which, over the years, grew to become a self-contained township at Sankarnagar. From a modest beginning in 1949 when Sankar Cement made its first appearance in the market, India Cements has grown in stature — from two plants with a capacity of 1.3 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in 1989 to 10 cement plants with a capacity of 15.55 MTPA in five States. The company stood the test of time to become a strong player in the field. Well, N Srinivasan-led The India Cements has decided to celebrate 75 years of its birth. Why not? After all, the cement industry is by definition cyclical in nature. The celebrations are a testimony to its capacity – nay ability – to manage the cyclicality.  The celebrations have been delayed by a year because of Covid-19 pandemic. If grapevine has to go by, Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to be the chief guest at the event, which will be held in Chennai in the first half of next month. Since 1989, Srinivasan has been in command. Looking at its remarkable journey, a big celebration is in order.
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West Midlands Mayor To Visit India, Woo Indian Business Investments

With a huge success hosting Commonwealth Games in the City of Birmingham, Mayor Andy Street is set to travel to India between November 6-12 leading a big delegation of business leaders and politicians. Andy’s India trip includes visits to Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai. Andy’s visit in early November comes at a time when the UK is undergoing a huge political, social and economic turmoil and the Free Trade Agreement that was scheduled during Diwali has been postponed. Thus this mission is expected to build on the on-going negotiations for a new UK-India FTA and will promote opportunities for bilateral trade and investment between India, the West Midlands and the wider UK. During his visit it’s learnt that his delegation will sign various MoUs. Meeting with the Chairman of the ICCR Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe has been scheduled in New Delhi and the Birmingham Repertory Theatre will sign a MoU with the ICCR. Andy and Senior representatives from The West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) and partners including the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) will explore business partnerships with CII members, meet Telangana leaders in Hyderabad and visit WE Hub to encourage women entrepreneurship. They have lined-up meetings with the Tata Group, TVS, Mahindra & Mahindra, Switch Mobility, Firstsource, Air India and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).    
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Shriram Group’s Diwali Gift To Put Smiles On Hundreds Of Deeptis!

Corporates usually queue up to greet clients with gift hampers during Diwali. But this one has decided to do a different thing.  Shriram AMC (Asset Management Company), a unit of the Shriram group, has launched “Deepti” this Diwali. It’s a financial initiative intended to have a lasting positive impact on the lives of girl children. Through Deepti, AMC will extend its assistance to select girl students who have great visions but struggle for funds to finance them.  Shriram AMC had roped in Mumbai-based Katalyst – a non-governmental organization — to implement Deepti. Shriram AMC has identified two sets of beneficiaries under Deepti initiative. The Deepti will benefit college-goers from economically-challenged backgrounds. Katalyst will help Shriram AMC to identify and reach the target group who are good at academics but lack the relevant training and mentorship to face the corporate world. Typically, Shriam is seeking to invest in their training that will eventually help them in the future. The beneficiaries of Deepti in this category would be engineering college students with good academic profiles and a vision for their career paths. Deepti will also benefit school students who come from poor backgrounds. Deepti is a part of the Shriram group’s vision to work for the cause of women empowerment.
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Kerala’s Left Front Govt’s App Hailing Cab Service Hits A Speed Breaker

The adage that governments should not be in business is turning out to be true as far as the App hailing cab service launched by Kerala’s Left Front government goes. Launched on August 17, Kerala Savari seems to have come a cropper. Over 5000 trips were cancelled. A closer look reveals that 5,141 trips were cancelled by the drivers registered with the app while the user cancellation was only 76. According to officials, drivers tend to go for more attractive deals on other private apps and cancel the rides. The private auto services are charging Rs 55 for a minimum distance with Rs 23.50 being added for every one-half km, which is much higher than the standard rate fixed by the government. The slew of cancellations have eroded the trust of the users at a time when the app is available only in Trivandrum city limits on a pilot basis. However, it failed to take-off due to technical glitches for two weeks. The hiccups raised concern among drivers who enrolled for the taxi app. They also complained of no effective marketing strategies. The CPM has been at the forefront of such foolhardy decisions designed to give its historically militant labour unions a leg up on the employment front. A recent example was the government’s failed attempt to take over the Trivandrum Airport which went to Adani.
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G Sivankutty with BYJUS employees

BYJU’S Shutting Down Trivandrum Unit

BYJU’S, which recently announced the retrenchment of 5% of its 50,000 strong staff in a phased manner, has now gone ahead and shut down its Trivandrum office. The Kerala government’s General Education and Labour Minister, V Sivankutty in a Facebook post has stated “It is alleged that BYJU’S has closed down its Trivandrum office at Technopark, forcing its employees to resign.” More than 170 employees with the Trivandrum unit have told the Minister that they are seeking compensation and pending salaries. Technopark Today, the community media platform, reported that BYJU’S employees were demanding “payment of salary for the month of October 2022 and one-time settlement of salary for the upcoming three months, from November 2022 to January 2023.”Also, “they have demanded encashment of earned leave and full settlement of variable pay as applicable to each employee.” BYJU’S which commands a valuation of $ 22-billion announced a slew of belt tightening measures after posting a loss of Rs 4,588 crore for the fiscal of 2021. Apart from retrenchment of its staff, the company announced that it is optimising its marketing budget, prioritising spends, reducing operational cost and integrating multiple businesses. The company put the blame of its losses in 2020-21 due to the operations at WhiteHat Jr.
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Indian Downloads Slower Than In Nepal, Pakistan & Sri Lanka

With 5G being the flavour of the times, the emphasis on the present day mobile and broadband speed is turning out to be low priority.  According to Ookla Speedtest Global Index, the Indian ranking in media mobile network speeds as well as fixed broadband speeds globally has slipped marginally from 117 and 78 respectively to 118 and 79 respectively. However, the median download speed marginally increased from 13.52 Mbps in August to 13.87 mbps in September. In the case of fixed broadband median the average speed also increased from 48.29 Mbps to 48.59 Mbps. For the record, China tops the Speedtest Global Index with Shanghai as the fastest city with a median download speed of 158.63 Mbps for mobile networks. During its trail phase, the Indian 5G networks have generated a download speed of 500 Mbps. The Ookla report also goes on to state that close to 90% of existing Indian mobile owners will shift to 5G as and when it comes about. Reports indicate that it will take from two to three years for 5G to cover the entire country. Till then Indians will have to live with the present download speeds which puts India’s ranking lower than Nepal (115), Pakistan (116) and Sri Lanka (117).
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Is The NBFC Sector Over Regulated?

They are a supplemental channel of credit intermediation alongside banks. Over the years, the NBFC (non-banking finance companies) sector has undergone a major metamorphosis in terms of size, complexity and interconnectedness within the financial sector. The RBI has a scale-based regulatory framework to address the risk profiles of NBFCs. This covers a host of issues such as capital requirements, governance standards, prudential norms et al. The dynamics of the NBFC sector changes faster these days.  This forces the banking regulator to be on the guard, and tweak the regulation when required. The RBI has now made it difficult for NBFC groups to escape tighter oversight. NBFCs that are part of a common group or are floated by a common set of promoters shall not be viewed on a standalone basis. Henceforth, the total assets of all the NBFCs in a group will be consolidated to determine the threshold for their classification in the Middle Layer. The group may have multiple NBFCs.  If the consolidated asset size of the group is ₹1000 crore and above, then each of these companies will be classified as an NBFC in the Middle Layer, and, consequently, regulations as applicable to the Middle Layer shall be applicable to them. These guidelines have come into force from October 1. Is it a regulatory overload or a right move?
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Social Media Influencers Setting The Agenda For Brands?

Lobbyists play an important role in the political space across the globe. Their services are widely used to influence key decisions. In the world of commerce, they take a different nomenclature. Influencers are setting the game for many big brands.  Increasingly brands see influencer-marketing as one of the mainstream forms of digital marketing. The reason is simple. There are over 20 lakh content creators in India. Chennai-based Social Beat launched www.influencer.in, a marketing platform, to help brands create quality content and amplify the reach among the target audience by leveraging verified digital influencers across Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Linkedin and the like. The platform has just released “The influencer marketing report 2022”. The report expects the influencer marketing industry to grow to Rs 2,500 crore by 2025 from Rs 900 crore in 2021. According to the survey, 61.2% of all brands recognize the power of influencer-marketing to tap into a newer audience pool to boost brand awareness.  The survey finds 36.9% of brands rely on Instagram and 20.6% on YouTube for their dedicated influencer-marketing efforts. Facebook continues to be popular, with 18.7% of brands using it. About 50% of marketers indicate that they spend up to 10% of their digital marketing budget on influencers annually. Well, they are the change-driver of a new kind!
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Revamp Moto's New Electric Two-Wheeler Can Be Modified On The Go

They don’t call themselves producers of vehicles any longer. They have now acquired a new term and status. Well, the country is witnessing the arrival of solution providers of mobility kind even as it is headed towards an increasingly greener automobile eco-system. They are coming in assorted formats – start-up, small, medium and big. Well, Nashik-based Revamp Moto is a start-up, and it came on scene in January 2021. Founded by Pritesh Mahajan, Jayesh Tope and Pushkaraj Salunke, Revamp Moto is on a unique journey.  All three co-founders had worked on prior entrepreneurial ventures before synergising to form the vision of Revamp Moto. It is on a mission to design and produce an electric two-wheeler to enable enterprising micro-entrepreneurs to conduct business “on the go”. Revamp is working on adaptable and sustainable mobility solutions that are safe and affordable for the micro-entrepreneurs. The objective is to come out with a two-wheeler that is simpler for street hawkers, delivery agents, milkmen, vegetable sellers and others. Essentially, it calls for providing them flexibility to quickly modify their vehicles to their needs. This should allow users to switch between use cases of the vehicle in a matter of minutes. Revamp Moto is looking to build an adaptable electric two-wheeler that is modular, reliable, and connected. Whole new options are emerging in EV space, it appears.
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Bandicoot Company Launches Gait Training Solution For Paraplegics

Kerala-based GenRobotics, which introduced Bandicoot, the robotic scavenger, is now getting into robot-assisted gait training solutions. Called G-Gaiter derived from the word Gait (manner of walking), it helps to speed up rehabilitation of paraplegic patients. The product is assembled with the world’s first Pneumatic Leg Orthosis Technology-G Plot. It is designed to maximise muscle strength, range of joint motion and gait function of paraplegic patients. G-Gaiter aims to make a difference in the lives of millions of people by assisting them in the recovery of paraplegic conditions caused by spinal cord injuries, stroke, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, accidents, war injuries sustained by soldiers etc. Unlike the conventional method, G-Gaiter provides an AI-powered natural gait pattern which helps to reduce therapy load and enables efficient and effective recovery. The tagline says it all “Run back to walking”. Genrobotics, which came to limelight for introducing Bandicoot, a robotic machine which cleans any type of manholes, is backed by marquee investors like Anand Mahindra, Zoho Corporation, Rajan Anandan, Unicorn India Ventures and SEA Funds.
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Is Autonomous Traffic Management Platform A Must To Build Smart Cities?

The smart city concept is gaining increasing ground across the globe. Is it that easy to develop a smart city? Of course, it isn’t. Yet, the focus on creating smart cities is now acknowledged by policy-makers and city planners alike. What does it take to make a city smart? Well, it involves assorted actions. Ask Delhi-born Vaibhav Ghadiok, a pioneer in the field of robotics and AI (artificial intelligence) with multiple inventions and patents to his name. His latest invention has applications in building smarter cities, modernizing and optimizing traffic management that will have an impact on millions of people. He has architected perhaps the world’s first autonomous traffic management platform at Hayden AI (Silicon Valley, CA, US), which he co-founded and is an Executive VP of Engineering. The main objective of this platform is to clear bus lanes from illegally parked vehicles so that riders can reach their destinations more quickly, smoothly and safely. Significantly enough Hayden AI has landed a contract with New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to install 500 interior-mounted automated bus lane enforcement (ABLE) AI-powered camera systems. Can such automated traffic management be adopted in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to improve bus speed and make vehicle traffic safer? Ghadiok should ponder, perhaps.
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How Greenikk Is Reimagining Banana Value Chain

Kerala start-up Greenikk, has set up the country’s first full-stack supply chain connecting banana cultivators, traders and exporters on a single platform. Greenikk has built Enabled Centres (ECs) in major producing agri-belts in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. These ECs provide farmers with finance, seeds, crop advisory, insurance coverage, agri inputs including weather tips and market connect. It is covering the entire gamut of production and marketing both within the country and outside. Following its initial success, Greenikk plans to set up similar ECs in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and the rest of the country. On the selection of bananas, the promoters Fariq Noushad and Pervin Jacob said that “After working with banana farmers, dealers and buyers, we realised that it has the maximum potential among all fruits grown in India, if linked to a strong and reliable value chain that would scale up exports.” India accounts for 25% of the world’s banana production at 32.6 million tonnes in a land area of 9.6 hectares with 10 million stakeholders. Greenikk also helps to convert stems of the post-harvest banana plants into natural fibre and re-purpose the other left overs as manure and poultry feed to ensure supplementary income for the farmers and curb pollution.
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Krsnaa Diagnostics On Expansion Spree, Plans To Open 600 Centres Across India

Krsnaa Diagnostics Ltd, one of the fastest growing players in the diagnostics space, plans to launch 600 diagnostics centres across India. With this, the Pune headquartered diagnostics player, with a pan-India presence, will strengthen its footprint across Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, and Rajasthan, spreading across metros, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. The centres will be equipped to offer specialised services in precision medicine, genetics, genomics, and molecular diagnostics, along with the routine investigations of biochemistry and serology. The Rs 500-crore company (listed on BSE and NSE) started its journey in 2011 with two radiology centres and is present today in 16 states with 2000-plus centres across India. It has differentiated itself not only by offering quality services in radiology and pathology, but has also focused on the public-private partnership (PPP) segment, where it serves underpenetrated and underserved areas by collaborating with private healthcare providers, including corporate hospitals and trust hospitals.

TRENDS & VIEWS

Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you!