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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.
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Star India Renews Mumbai Office Lease For 9 Years At Rs 5.91 Crore Per Month

Star India Pvt Ltd, the company that runs sports and entertainment channels, has renewed its lease agreement for the next 9 years at a monthly rental of Rs 5.91 crore. Star operates from Urmi Estate, located very close to Lower Parel station, Mumbai. Lower Parel has emerged as the new Central Business District. It may be recalled that Lower Parel was once synonymous with textile mills, and the area had several mills and chawls housing mill workers and their families. Now, these mills and the chawls have made way for swanky apartments and commercial complexes. According to documents provided by CRE Matrix, a real estate data analytics firm, the renewal was signed on October 3, 2022 between Star and Keshav & Co. It has paid a security deposit of Rs 93.48 crore. The details include, office premises 27th to 36th Floor, 37th Floor, Sports floor 6,7,23,24 and 26th floor in Urmi Estate Building Tower A.  Ground Floor Lobby, Meeting room & Studio area on the ground floor, Mail Room SRM. And this includes a terrace on the 8th floor. Star will have access to 650 parking spaces of which 500 are for four wheelers and 150 for two wheelers. The rent escalation is 4.5% at the end of every 12 months. By arrangement with squarefeatindia.com.
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Flat Buyers Beware! 52 Housing Projects In Kalyan-Dombivli Deregistered

Do you stay in the jurisdiction of Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC)? Then this news is of utmost importance to you. The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has put out a list of 52 projects which are either suspended, kept in abeyance or deregistered. MahaRERA took this decision after KDMC filed a complaint against several developers for allegedly forging documents that they had permissions, whereas no such permission was issued. It is mandatory that every project registered with MahaRERA should have all the permissions required to carry out constructions from the planning authority. In this case the planning authority is KDMC for all the 52 projects which are now deregistered. As per the RERA Act, 2016, all real estate projects are to be registered with the RERA in respective states. In Maharashtra, on registration of a project with MahaRERA, the projects are provided with a certificate and a number. Every developer who wishes to sell a project in Maharashtra has to have this number, even to advertise, they need this number, any project that hasn’t been completed and not received an OC, they need to register with MahaRERA. The watchdog’s job is to save the homebuyers from frauds. Buyers before investing in any new project in Maharashtra, should visit MahaRERA’s website and check the details before investing. By arrangement with squarefeatindia.com
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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/
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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.
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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.
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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.
WhatsApp Image 2022-08-24 at 2.17

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.
Collage Maker-13-Aug-2022-03

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.
WhatsApp Image 2022-08-08 at 12

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.
Collage Maker-01-Aug-2022-04

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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Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

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