Saturday, December 17, 2016

London Bridge, Dragon, Demonetisation Shankar Nag Star Attractions at 2016 Annual Cake Show in Bengaluru

The 42nd annual cake show, organised in association with the National Consumer Fair, was inaugurated on Friday at St Joseph's Indian High School grounds. The show will be open to the public from 11 am to 9 pm daily till January 1, 2017.

The big attraction this year is the London Tower Bridge, a 24X7 feet structure made entirely of sugar and weighing over 500 kg. Making the individual towers, suspension cables, and getting the Victorian Gothic style right took over 700 man hours. Sam Ramachandran, one of the cake artists, said, "It took a lot of patience because everything has to be according to measurements. It is much like engineering."

Other major attractions include Thanjavur painting of a female dancer, with finely detailed with edible lace and jewellery. The creator, Purva Sadvilkar took special Thanjavur painting classes six months in advance to prepare for the final piece.

The issue of demonetisation in icing- new Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes blooming on a money tree atop an India-shaped mountain. Explaining the concept, Apoorva Bhargava and Khadijah Madar said, "The rising sun behind the mountain shows that though people are struggling, they are hopeful about benefits of the move. The river flowing down is cleansing the system of black money."

Another star attractions is the model of actor Shankar Nag in icing, a two-storey dollhouse made of cookies, a Rajasthan wedding themed cake, a queen in a Victorian Gown, a book coming alive with tale of 'Jack and the Beanstalk' are among the other attractions.

C Ramachandran, started the cake shows back in 1974 with a 14-foot model of the Eiffel tower. "I learned the art of cake decoration in West Germany and England. I want this art to continue growing," he said. The 76-year-old has now handed over the cake show to students from the Institute of Baking and Cake Art. 

Air Ambulance Service to be Operational in Karnataka from Jan 2017

The state will get its first air ambulance facility in the New Year.While Chief Minister Siddaramaiah formally launched the air ambulances on Friday, commercial operations will begin in January 2017.

Speaking to journalists after the launch at the HAL airport here, Arun Sharma, managing director, Aviators Air Rescue Limited, the service provider, said necessary clearances have been sought from the Director General of Civil Aviation to operate air ambulances. The services are from one airport to another as company didn't get permission to land on site.
The air ambulance would help patients reach destinations faster besides helping transport organs, blood units, drugs or medical equipment, he explained. H130 helicopters are medically configured with emergency medical services, advanced life support medical equipment and a stretcher. The air ambulance will have a doctor and a paramedic. If the patient is minor, an attendant will be allowed to fly. The ambulance can support a patient for 90 to 180 minutes, said Sharma.

The service provider has tied up with several private hospitals in Bengaluru. Patients would be picked up from their homes or hospitals by road and taken to a nearby airport. From there, they would be flown to an airport closer to their chosen destination. "It is a subscription-based model. For an individual subscription, the cost would be Rs 9,000 a year while a family subscription would cost Rs 18,000. Once the subscription is availed of, the service can be used any number of times throughout the year. Individuals without subscription would have to pay Rs 1.75 lakh per hour."

The company has plans to launch similar services in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala to begin with and later extend them to other states. To avail of the service one can call the emergency number 155350.

Vivek Vasudev Kamath Appointed New Managing Director of MSD India

MSD in India has announced leadership change. K. G. Ananthakrishnan (KG) current Managing Director of MSD in India will retire in the beginning of 2017 and Vivek Vasudev Kamath will assume role of Managing Director Designate from December 16, 2016. MSD in India operates its business in India through three legal entities, MSD Pharmaceuticals Private Limited, Organon (India) Private Limited, and Fulford (India) Limited.

Vivek joined MSD in India in July 2012 and is currently the Business Unit Director for Cardiovascular Metabolics and Market Access. KG and Vivek will work together to ensure smooth transition of business responsibilities.

Announcing the leadership change, Jan Van Acker, President Asia Pacific Region, MSD said, “I thank KG for his leadership and his contributions to MSD over the past ten years and congratulate Vivek on assuming the role of Managing Director of MSD in India. MSD has a robust succession planning process through which Vivek was identified to lead MSD in India and to deliver on our commitment to patients and communities in the Country. He has successfully led our Cardiovascular Metabolics and Market Access businesses and has fostered collaborative relationships with our customers and business partners, while delivering strong growth”

Vivek Vasudev Kamath has over twenty five years of experience across India, South Asia and ASEAN markets. He brings rich experience with leading Indian and Multinational healthcare organizations in marketing, sales and general management. He has managed portfolios in prescription, over-the counter (OTC) and Diagnostics segments, partnering with healthcare professionals, consumers, diverse trade channels and Government/ non-Government healthcare entities. 

Microsoft’s Unveils Dynamics 365 and AppSource Services Across India

Microsoft has unveiled its Microsoft Dynamics 365 suite and Microsoft AppSource in India. These services will be delivered to customers as Software-as-a-Service (Saas) from its datacenters in India. Dynamics 365 is a cloud based suite of applications that integrates CRM and ERP capabilities to provide the full power of advanced data analytics, machine learning and intelligence to high growth, new age companies in India. Microsoft AppSource is the new destination for business users to find and try out line-of-business SaaS apps from Microsoft and its partners. Presently, AppSource contains more than 200 business SaaS apps, add-ins and content packs, including exclusive new industry-specific business apps. 

Organizations from across multiple industry sectors in India are using Dynamics CRM. These include Max Healthcare, Yes Bank, Reliance Life Insurance Company, SOTC, VLCC, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Annik, Mastek and many more. In the retail sector, Microsoft Dynamics is used by 55 Retail and DMS customers serving 74 retail brands, empowering 14,000 outlets, enabling 25,000 users in India.

Peter Gartenberg, General Manager, Enterprise Business, Microsoft India said, “With Dynamics 365 we now bring the combined power of CRM and ERP on a secure and flexible local cloud platform. Our retail, BFSI and manufacturing customers now don’t need to invest in expensive and time consuming deployments to start their digital transformation. Backed by decades of research and investment, we have built Dynamics 365 to deliver the most advanced analytics and machine learning intelligence capabilities to our customers in India.”

Anup Purohit, Chief Information Officer, Yes Bank said, “Yes Bank has been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM for the past one year to deliver optimum services to its retail banking customers. Since inception, we have believed in using the power of technology to offer a superior banking experience to our customers, and through Microsoft Dynamics, we have been able to improve processes, get real-time business intelligence and make it easier for people to work together through collaboration across multiple devices. We see huge potential in Microsoft’s latest innovative solution, Dynamics 365, in terms of enabling banks to enhance their end-customer experience by leveraging real time insights and intelligence.”

With the app-based subscription model customers will only pay for the app they need, licensed to a particular user. By using these new plans, customers get one holistic subscription to have all the information at their fingertips, and they could save four to five times the cost of traditional CRM providers. Customers will have the option to choose which of the apps they adopt so they can scale on demand.

Businesses that embrace digital transformation generate an average of $100 million (or 8% points) more operating income each year than those who do not. There is a new speed of business that companies must adapt to, along with the rapidly evolving customer engagement mechanisms. There is a critical need to innovate in real-time, and all of this, with finite resources at their disposal. In such a scenario, Dynamics 365 offers a cost-effective, agile and easy-to-implement solution that enables personalization and greater productivity, allows real-time innovation, delivers deeper insights, and adapts to business needs.

Purnima Menon Appointed New Chief Marketing Officer at Microland

Microland, a leading Hybrid IT Infrastructure Service Provider has announced the appointment of Purnima Menon as Chief Marketing Officer.  

Based out of Microland’s corporate headquarters in Bangalore Purnima will be responsible for all marketing functions including global business, strategic marketing, sales enablement and corporate communications to drive demand and growth for Microland.

“We are very pleased to welcome Purnima to the Microland team. Purnima brings in extraordinary business expertise and marketing leadership to Microland. She is well recognised for developing strategies that have accelerated growth and built brands of some of the words most successful technology companies. Purnima's insight and industry knowledge will help us elevate the Microland brand, stimulate increased demand for our solutions and services as well drive revenue growth. As we look ahead to the future of Microland, I am confident that Purnima will be a catalyst for change as we continue to execute our initiatives across our geographies.” said Pradeep Kar, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director, Microland Limited.

Commenting on her appointment as the Chief Marketing Officer, Purnima Menon said, “I am very excited to join the Microland team and am looking forward to closely work with the senior management, marketing and technology teams to make meaningful contributions to the company’s strategic transformation efforts. Microland is well poised for its next decade of growth in helping customers leverage the Hybrid IT infrastructure world. My aim will be to apply my expertise and leverage industry trends to further develop Microland’s revenue growth across the globe.”

Purnima joins Microland with over 19 years of experience, providing marketing and strategic thought leadership to large organizations. Prior to joining Microland, Purnima was the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of a global IT Services Company. Her earlier stints included Head of Marketing at Infosys BPO and Head of Marcom & PR at Avaya GlobalConnect. Purnima is the recipient of numerous recognitions, including the Gold Winner in Online & Social Marketing, Awards for Excellence in Brand Management as well been chosen  to the prestigious 100 most talented Global Marketing Leaders,

Airtel Payments Bank Pilot in K'taka; Rolls Out Services Across 12,000 Retail Outlets

Airtel Payments Bank after having rolled out its pilot services in Rajasthan last month, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, on Thursday has now launched its services in Karnataka as well.

“This service will be rolled out across 12,000 Airtel retail outlets. These outlets will act as banking points, and going forward, we will increase it to 20,000. Apart from 7.5% interest on savings, customers can get one-minute talk-time free on every rupee deposited, and also get personal accident insurance worth Rs 1 lakh,” said Airtel Payments Bank MD and CEO Shashi Arora.

He adds that one can open an account in few minutes with the Aadhaar number, and the Airtel mobile number will be the account number. “In the case of other service providers, they will get a separate account number. Everything is paperless and customers can access services over their mobile phones.

In Rajasthan, over one lakh customers have opened savings accounts in less than two weeks of commencement of the services.

Airtel Payments Bank plans to develop a nationwide merchant ecosystem of over 30 lakh partners which will include small kirana stores, small shops and restaurants.

“We have close to one lakh merchants in Karnataka, and we will take this to two lakh merchants by the end of March, next year,” said Airtel CEO (Karnataka) C Surendran. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Jet Airways Now Connects Singapore, Colombo from Bengaluru with Return Fare of Rs 23,000 Only!

By Manu Sharma

As Bengaluru witnesses 25% to 30% growth in air traffic during 2015-16, Jet Airways has planned two major initiatives for this city. Firstly it has commenced direct daily flights from Bengaluru to Singapore and Colombo respectively from December 14, 2016, priced at Rs 23,000 for a return economy ticket and Rs 99,000 for the premiere class. The leading airlines will also make Bengaluru its third major hub in India after Mumbai and New Delhi.

Due to growing demand on this sector, particularly from business and corporate travelers, effective December 14, 2016, the airline will start its new service to Singapore, further expanding its connectivity across the ASEAN region.

Jet Airways flight 9W 024 will depart Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport at 11.10 am and arrive in Singapore at 6.10 pm (local time). Flight 9W 023 will leave Singapore at 7.15 pm to arrive in Bengaluru at 9.15 pm (all local time).

Praveen Iyer, VP, Commercial (India Sales), Jet Airways says, "Over the past two years, there has been an encouraging 15% year-on-year growth from Singapore to south Indian cities. Apart from business travellers, there are people who visit friends and relatives in Bengaluru. The ratio between the traffic  to population in this city is 1:6. Customers from Bengaluru can connect to several Asian destinations including Haneda, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Penang and Shanghai, as well as leading Australian ones such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth over Singapore."

Bengaluru, long established as a key IT destination, is increasingly gaining prominence as a global investment destination, resulting in a significant growth in aviation traffic – both domestic and international – into and out of the garden city.  

Jet Airways Connects Srilanka
Starting January 05, 2016, the airline will also launch its third international direct daily flight from Bengaluru to Colombo, providing travelers a convenient link between the Indian IT hub and Sri Lankan capital.

“Bengaluru will be the second Indian city, after Mumbai, to be linked to Colombo and Jet Airways’ third daily service to the Sri Lankan capital, expanding capacity by one-third on the route, adds Iyer.

Jet Airways Makes Bengaluru 3Rd Hub in India
After Mumbai and New Delhi, the airline will make this city its third hub looking at the huge growth from south India. Infact, Jet Airways records 25% to 30% growth during last fiscal 2015-16. “We now have 8 parking bays at the airport and the total fleet size is 114 aircrafts,” remarks Iyer.

Jet Airways will deploy a state-of-the-art Boeing 737-800 Next Generation (NG) aircraft on both these routes, offering Premiere and Economy guests the best in-flight product and services along with award-winning in-flight Entertainment (IFE). Customers will also be able to select meals from a carefully-curated menu of international and regional delicacies. 

Now a Mobile Application to Assist Users Adopt GST with Ease!

Tally Solutions Private Limited (TSPL) , a premier Indian software product company, today, announced the launch of its GST mobile application to ensure easy adoption of the Technology led law. The app will be a rich source of information on Goods and Services Tax (GST) for businesses and will help them with understanding GST and its nuances. Its user friendly interface has been designed to cater to both sets of users - those who are adept with technology and those who are easing into the use of technology, for better understanding and automation of their accounting practices. This free enterprise application can be downloaded by Android and iOS users from their respective App stores. 

This initiative is yet another progressive step taken by the Company to simplify the process of adoption and compliance by businesses in the country. Tally has constantly been making efforts to equip small businesses and traders with the right information to train and prepare themselves for the Tax reform. Recently, Tally qualified as a GST Suvidha Provider (GSP) by the GSTN Network. They also collaborated with the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in a bid to train and educate the Trading community on GST. Additionally, Tally has also launched a blog to help with the provision of the most updated information on GST and its allied impact on verticals.

Commenting on the launch, the Executive Director of Tally Solutions, Tejas Goenka said “Tally has been proud of building the simplest and most advanced technology solutions for businesses over the past 30 years. After a number of events that we have conducted with our Partners in the eco-system, across the Nation, we realised the need to develop an easy to use yet comprehensive tool that would ensure businesses transition smoothly to GST in the coming year. It is to deliver this solution to the businesses that we have invested in the Tally for GST App.”

Tally has conducted over 170 events across the Nation with various partners for GST awareness and training of small businesses. Tally powers more than a million businesses and is constantly mobilising its manpower and systems to help ease of transition of their existing as well as additional users to GST regime. Tally is proactively taking initiatives to impart the right knowledge and training for GST compliance and enablement right from the grassroots level in the country.

Make Newborn Screening for Congenital Hypothyroidism Mandatory in Karnataka

By Manu Sharma

Unlike the developed nations, in India every 1 in 1172 babies is effected with congenital hypothyroidism. Endocrinologists insist on compulsory newborn screening suggesting that the Government of Karnataka to make Amendment in the Healthcare Act so its mandatory for screening both in the government and private hospitals.
Infact, 2008 Goa become the first state to have made this act mandatory and the panel of endocrinologists in Bengaluru want Karnataka to become the second state to amend this act.
Our country is slowly emerging as a world leader in medical advancements. India is now a major provider of health services and we have some of the most highly skilled and qualified medical providers in the world. However, quality healthcare and lack of national care has produced severe health issues throughout the nation. One such major health concern is that of ‘Congenital Hypothyroidism’ (CH) which affects numerous newborns in India.
To get discussions rolling, Dr Mala Dharmalingam (Professor and Head of Department, MS Ramaiah Medical College), Dr Anjana Hulse, (Consultant Pediatric Endocrinologist, Apollo Hospitals), Dr Praveen Ramachandra, (Director – Endocrinologist, Diaplus Clinic, Yelahanka Newtown) and Dr Nishita Rao, (Specialist in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Lakshmi Maternity & Surgical Centre) came together to evaluate associated risks and minimize possible threats for Congenital Hypothyroidism by early intervention.
Highlighting the current situation in Bangalore, Dr Mala Dharmalingam, (Professor and Head of Department, MS Ramaiah Medical College) said, “Thyroid hormone plays an important role in development of the brain and other functions of the body like metabolism, growth and development and deficiency of this causes Congenital Hypothyroidism. All newborns should definitely be screened for CH at birth. If not screened, diagnosed and treated in appropriate time; it can lead to mental retardation. Once a baby is diagnosed with CH, the baby is started on thyroid hormone replacement. Today, though the levels of awareness remain low in general, we have seen a considerable increase in number of babies being screened since most gynecologists are now recommending screening at birth.”
Most newborns with Congenital Hypothyroidism appear normal at birth, even if there is complete lack of development of the thyroid gland. This is because a small amount of thyroid hormone (T4) from the mother is transferred to the baby during pregnancy. Around 10 per cent of infants with Congenital Hypothyroidism have other associated abnormalities; most commonly witnessed are cardiac abnormalities followed by abnormalities of the nervous system and eyes.
Stressing on the importance of timely identification and treatment, Dr Anjana Hulse(Consultant Pediatric Endocrinologist, Apollo Hospitals), stated, “In most cases of Congenital Hypothyroidism, children do not have evident symptoms and they appear to be physically normal and therefore difficult to detect. There is a need to have a legislation which mandates universal screening programmes. The treatment is simple and cost effective. Levothyroxine given orally everyday is the treatment of choice. No baby should be left to suffer the circumstances because he/she was undiagnosed.”
Highlighting the precautionary measures expecting mothers should take, Dr Nishita Rao, (Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Lakshmi Maternity and Surgical Centre), said, “The birth of their baby is probably one of the most memorable moments in a parent’s life. In order to keep the newborn safe from any complications, screening is extremely important.What is most important is for expecting mothers to be more aware and keep thyroid levels under a constant check. Early detection and supplementation of thyroid hormone is easy, inexpensive and effective. Small and simple preventive measures can reduce large number of complications.”
On a concluding note, Dr Praveen Ramachandra, (Director – Endocrinologist, Diaplus Clinic, Yelahanka Newtown),“Of all endocrine disorders that a child can be born with, CH, is not only one of the most common, but also the most detrimental if not detected in time. If every new born is screened; no child will suffer from disastrous effects of Congenital Hypothyroidism.”

Monday, December 12, 2016

Non Internet Users Can Now Also Use Paytm Digital Online Payment

Digital payments platform Paytm has announced a toll-free number to enable consumers and merchants without an internet connection to pay and receive money instantly and also recharge their mobile phones.
Customers and merchants will need to register with Paytm their mobile number and set a four digit paytm PIN, the company said in a statement here. “They (users) can then enter the recipient’s mobile number, amount and their Paytm PIN to successfully transfer the money from their Paytm wallet to another Paytm wallet,” it said.
“We are committed to enabling more and more Indians to transact digitally. The launch of our new toll free payment number (180018001234), is another significant step in that direction. This will allow even non-smartphone users across India to go cashless,” Nitin Misra, senior vice president, Paytm said.
Currently, over a million offline merchants across India accept Paytm as their preferred payment mode, the company claimed.
Paytm has a current user base of over 160 million. The company’s investors include Ant Financials (Alipay), Alibaba Group, SAIF Partners, Sapphire Venture, Mediatek and Silicon Valley Bank.

AP, Telangana & Karnataka to Extend Pilot for Airtel Payments Bank

Having opened over one lakh savings accounts within a fortnight of launch of its pilot services in Rajasthan, Airtel Payments Bank is gearing up to extend the services to southern states starting this week.
“We are getting into South India within a week... a couple of states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka,” Airtel Payments Bank CEO Shashi Arora told this agencies.
Airtel Payments Bank is the first payments bank in India to go live.
Arora said these states have a deep rural market where the opportunity to offer banking benefit to financially excluded and the unbanked population is large. “We would be rolling out with about 20,000 retail outlets in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana combined, and another 15,000 or so, in Karanataka,” he said.
These retail outlets will act as banking access points and offer banking services, including eKYC-led onborading, cash deposits, cash withdrawals, he added.
Arora added that it is a “matter of just a few weeks” before Airtel Payments Bank launches services across India. “The fact that we have presence in telecom circles across India, gives the payment bank the ability to scale up significantly in a short span of time,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Airtel Payments Bank said it has opened over 100,000 savings accounts within a fortnight of rollout of its pilot services in Rajasthan.
Close to 70 per cent of these accounts opened are in rural areas, highlighting the massive scope for serving customers in unbanked and underbanked pockets, the statement added.
In Rajasthan, Airtel Payments Bank is rolling out pilot services across 10,000 Airtel retail outlets, which also act as banking points.
Airtel Payments Bank plans to have a network of 100,000 merchants (shops) across Rajasthan by the end of the year. All these merchants will accept digital payments via Airtel Payments Bank using a mobile phone.
With the objective of deepening financial inclusion, RBI kicked off an era of differentiated banking with SFB (small finance bank) and PB (payments bank), and 21 entities, including 11 for payments bank, were given in-principle nod last year.
Later, three entities — Tech Mahindra, Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company and a consortium of Dilip Shanghvi, IDFC Bank and Telenor Financial Services — backed out of the payments bank licensing.
Payments banks can accept deposits and savings bank deposits from individuals and small businesses, up to a maximum of Rs. 1 lakh per account.

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