Thursday, March 22, 2018

O. P. Jindal Global University Granted Autonomy by the UGC

O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has been granted autonomous status by the University Grants Commission (UGC) under graded autonomy Regulations 2018. This announcement was made by the Union Human Resource Development Minister Mr. Prakash Javadekar on 20 March. JGU has become the first and only private university in Haryana and also one among the two private universities in India to be granted autonomy. 

In an endeavour to introduce a liberalised regime in the higher education sector and emphasizing the linking autonomy with quality, UGC and MHRD granted autonomy to 52 universities, out of which 5 are central universities, 21 state universities, 24 deemed and 2 private universities. There are more than 300 private universities in India but only two have been granted this special status, one of them being O.P. Jindal Global University. Significantly, none of the other reputed private universities or other such institutions in India have been granted the “autonomy” status in this historic recognition by the Government of India. 

 Naveen Jindal, Founding Chancellor, O. P. Jindal Global University said, “This feat reiterates JGU’s commitment to shaping India's aspirations of building world-class universities through comparative and international dimensions. We are grateful to MHRD and UGC who have appreciated our endeavour. It is imperative for India to take stock of the state of its universities and redefine their roles in the fast-changing global scenario. It is time for India to join ranks with world-class universities and improve the academic environment for our students.

“This recognition initiates a major paradigm shift that will mark the future of Indian universities and encourage our pursuit of institutional excellence in higher education. This is a big milestone in JGU’s journey and I wish to congratulate all JGU stakeholders, including faculty members, students, staff, alumni, parents and the State Government of Haryana, as well as the regulatory bodies, for their support. Our Sincere thanks to Mr. Naveen Jindal, Founding Chancellor of JGU, for reposing trust and confidence in our ability to contribute towards institution building. It is his vision, philanthropy and drive that has culminated in this success,” said Prof C Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, JGU. 

This status will allow the University the freedom to introduce new courses and departments, and enter into collaborations with foreign educational institutions, without seeking the UGC’s permission. There will also be exemption from regular UGC inspections, with appraisals being obtained on the basis of self-reporting. Besides, JGU will be allowed to hire global talent for up to 20% of their total faculty strength while filling up 20% of seats with international students.

OYO Embarks on New Phase of Corporate Growth with Acquisition of Novascotia Boutique Homes

OYO, India’s largest hospitality company, today, inked its first business acquisition, entering into an agreement with Chennai based service apartment company – Novascotia Boutique Homes. The acquisition will add to the company’s existing portfolio and strengthen its deep operational expertise in delighting corporate customers and reiterating its focus on creating India's largest corporate service brand. It is the first in a series of acquisitions, collaborations, innovations and launches for OYO, all of which are aimed at creating a strong and sustainable ecosystem for entrepreneurs, hotel partners, asset-owners and travellers. 

Commenting on the development, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO – OYO said: “We are thrilled that our very first business acquisition involves an established brand like Novascotia. Though in the niche segment of boutique homes, Novascotia brings with it the expertise in catering to the corporate travel segment, an area we have seen great potential and established ourselves as the market leader with varied offerings across 230+ cities including all major corporate hubs. The acquisition forms an integral part of our inorganic growth plan, in line with our ambition to create beautiful and quality living spaces and adding value to every form of real estate. OYO is poised to deliver 180,000 keys by the end of 2018 and with Novascotia’s Strength, we will be adding service apartments to our existing portfolio - which includes budget rooms, OYO Townhouse, OYO Home, enabling us to offer a wide range of choices to our customers.”
With this acquisition, OYO will bring its distribution, operational, transformational and technological capabilities on board for offering corporate travellers quality accommodation options with complete focus on privacy, safety and home-like care. The acquisition will boost OYO’s portfolio by 350 exclusive rooms across locations where Novascotia has its footprints further strengthening OYO's position as the largest full stack hospitality tech company in India. With 100% of its demand coming from corporates and a healthy EBITDA of 14%, Novascotia has built a strong portfolio for itself while providing executive furnished accommodation to corporates for their personnel stay in locations, including Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kochi and Trivandrum and OYO plans to expand these offerings to 12 cities by the end of 2018. These serviced apartments are located in the heart of business hubs equipped with spacious rooms, upscale interiors, meals, gym and dining area to cater all the requirements of business travellers.
G. Madhu Manohar and Girja Madhu, Co-founders, Novascotia, said, “Novascotia is a brand built over years with a lot of commitment and hard work. With OYO, we saw similar passion towards solving a problem and we are thrilled to become a part of the entity which is driven by perseverance and innovation. We are convinced that OYO with its wide experience in the hospitality business and hunger for delivering quality customer experience has every potential to take the Novascotia brand promise of ‘home away from home; forward. We are delighted with the support and professionalism received from OYO, its teams and our advisers at ANOVA Corporate Services for taking this to closure. We are excited to be onboard.”
Ritesh further added, “OYO was built from the ground up in 2013 with the mission to create beautiful living spaces. The value proposition both Girja and Madhu bring to the table through their skills in hospitality and interior designing is something exceptional and visible in the way the Novascotia has grown as a brand. We are upbeat about our India story and plan to go deeper into the market by exploring new opportunities and changing the way people stay away from home and this takes us a step ahead in that direction. We look forward to scaling up this business and offering corporates what they look for the most while travelling - a homely and enriching experience. This acquisition is in line with our quest to support India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and create infrastructure for new companies to grow. We want potential partners and fellow entrepreneurs to know that their ideas and energy will always find a home at OYO.
With technology as a driver, OYO has successfully established itself as India’s largest hospitality company. It works in close proximity with hotel partners through multiple operating formats and currently, over 95% of their business is being driven by exclusive full inventory partnerships. The company has developed capabilities to add up to 10,000 rooms per month and will end the year with 180,000 keys - cementing the brand's leadership over traditional hotel players and start-up emulators by more than 20X. OYO aims to serve customers through their existing brands - OYO Rooms, OYO Townhouse and OYO Home.

Vivo India Announces Aamir Khan as its New Brand Ambassador

Vivo, the global premium smartphone brand, today announced Aamir Khan, one of the world’s highly acclaimed actors, as its brand ambassador for India. The eminent actor has been signed for Vivo’s future brand and product communication initiatives of Vivo India.

Capturing the essence of brand Vivo, superstar Aamir Khan will soon be seen in a full-fledged marketing campaign around the upcoming products and will feature in a new television commercial. 

Speaking on the announcement, Kenny Zeng, CMO, Vivo India said, “We are thrilled about the possibilities that our partnership with one of the world’s biggest superstars, Aamir Khan, will open up for Vivo in India. He mirrors the values of versatility, perfection and innovation that we steadfastly follow at Vivo. This new association will enable us to explore newer avenues to reach our customers as we script our future growth strategy in India.”

Commenting on his association, Aamir Khan said, “Vivo as a brand embodies the spirit of innovation and meaningful disruption. Over the years, the brand has been constantly pushing the boundaries of smartphone technology as we know it today to provide consumers with an enhanced mobility experience. I am enthused to be a part of Vivo’s transformative journey in India.”

Over the last few years, Vivo has established an extensive retail presence to provide varied choices to consumers across the length and breadth of the country. Additionally, it has also launched an e-store and Experience Centre to provide phenomenal experience to its valued customers. With sports as a key focus for brand building, Vivo has invested heavily to associate with popular platforms such as IPL and Pro Kabaddi League.

NSE Challenges Young Minds with a Machine Learning Hackathon at The Garage

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) partnered with The Garage, a San Francisco style start-up accelerator and co-working space in Mumbai, a business division of JetSynthesys, to host an exciting Machine Learning (M.L.) competition in India - NSE FutureTech 2018 Machine Learning Hackathon. This 30-hour live event held on March 17-18 challenged designers, coders and data scientists from across the country to tackle capital market challenges with machine learning.

Partnering with NSE for the first time, The Garage provided a 170-seater venue and also made available WiFi and beverages for the Hackathon. With pre-registrations of more than 400 developers, the event saw participation from more than 165 creative minds from technological and non-technological backgrounds who worked on real-life problems and attempted to develop a Machine Learning solution within a timeframe of 24-hours.

A panel of distinguished judges including industry experts like Mr. Sankarson Banerjee, CTO, National Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Sumeet Vijaywargiya, Associate Director, IBM Watson and Mr. Karan Chaturvedi, Developer Advocate, IBM decided the winners’ basis their skill set and problem-solving ability. The criteria on which individuals and teams were judged was the solution, its technical simplicity, completeness and presentation.

The top three winners of Hackathon received INR 1,00,000, INR. 50,000 and INR. 25,000 in cash, an opportunity to intern at ICICI, complimentary seating at The Garage, along with a bagful of goodies. The winners of NSE FutureTech 2018 Machine Learning Hackathon were The Matrix (Nikhil Lobo, Manish K., Subhnesh Kumar & Prashant), 1st Runner Ups Silicon Alpha (Sanket Shah & Priyank Shah) and 2nd Runner Ups Drupple (Swastik Shrivastava, Anirudh Murali, Rajat Rawat, Shivam Singh & Rohan Chougule).

Speaking about the event, Sankarson Banerjee, CTO, National Stock Exchange (NSE) said, “Machine Learning is making a profound impact in the technology space. It’s diverse ability to learn and adapt to its surroundings allows M.L. to perform at levels similar to or even beyond human capabilities. With Hackathon, our goal was to challenge young minds to solve present day problems in a fun and pragmatic way and provide simple yet meaningful solutions using the latest machine learning tools. We were absolutely thrilled to see the turnout as well as the intelligent minds that are our future!”

Commenting on the same, Rajan Navani, Managing Director and CEO, JetSynthesys, said, “NSE’s FutureTech Machine Learning Hackathon is a great platform for developers to put their abilities to test and showcase their technical knowledge in an exciting M.L. challenge. A one of its kind event, it gave bright young minds the opportunity to learn and compete with the best talent in India. We, at The Garage, are extremely glad to partner with a body like the NSE and foster new talent in the technological space.”

3i Infotech ensures effective work management for Gandhar Oil Refinery with successful implementation of ORION ERP

3i Infotech Limited, a global Information Technology company, committed to empowering business transformation, ensured auto reconciliation of more than  10, 000 bank receipts and payments per month for Gandhar Oil Refinery India Limited with implementation of its ORION ERP software. With this, now the organization can control all operations from the head office, thus helping in smooth delegation of tasks across various branches. This will help Gandhar Oil achieve automation, centralized data access and effective time management across the organization.
Gandhar Oil Refinery India Limited, manufacturers of mineral oils, liquid paraffin, petroleum jelly, rubber process oils, industrial and automotive lubricants, and transformer oils, was using a distributed file-based system where the management lacked access to online information or automated reports for quick decision-making. As the system was obsolete, the team struggled to collate data during half-yearly and yearly financial closure. Furthermore, operational data was maintained in excel sheets which resulted in frequent human error.
“The client was looking for a cutting-edge enterprise management system that would fit their unique business requirements, and the ORION ERP solution seemed like a natural fit. The solution was mapped to meet the unique requirements of export processes of Gandhar Oil such as pre-shipment processes, post-shipping tracking, etc. and a fully integrated system was deployed,” said Suryanarayan Kasichainula, EVP & Business Head for ERP, 3i Infotech.
“The ORION ERP solution has been implemented so well at Gandhar Oil Refinery India Limited, that even after close to a decade of it being implemented, we continue to benefit from accurate and in-depth reports through each module. With recent upgrades to the ERP solution over two years back, we continue to benefit from its’ robust performance, and are considering another upgrade shortly to meet our growing business requirements.  The user experience that ORION provides is truly fantastic. By punching all our data into a centralized system, we can manage operations across 15 branch offices, 2 plants and depots,” said Mr. Suhag Shukla (IT Head) of Gandhar Oil Refinery India Limited.