Saturday, June 10, 2017

IRCTC’s Maharaja Express Set for a Luxury Coast to Coast Train Ride on July 1, 2017

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has chalked out an aggressive package on the luxury Maharajas' Express - Southern Jewels and priced at a whopping Rs 5 lakh to over Rs 17 lakh.

IRCTC's initiative comes amid a lukewarm response to the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation's 'Golden Chariot' where ticket fares range between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 7 lakh.

Ironically, IRCTC officials claimed that Southern Jewels is targeted at domestic travellers looking at cheaper options. The luxury train for five consecutive years, Southern Jewels will take travellers to destinations like Chettinad, Mahabalipuram, Mysuru, Hampi, Goa on the Konkan coast and Mumbai during its 8-day itinerary, said S.S. Jagannathan, general manager, IRCTC, South Zone.

"Though the fares are high, our focus this time is domestic travellers who want to take a royal journey. For the first time, we've introduced special break journey offers during this special monsoon itinerary. Willing domestic travellers can avail of the offer for two nights and three days on the train," said Jagannathan.

Asked about the costly fares, given that Golden Chariot, the other luxury train in the state, is struggling to survive, Jagannathan said, "Everything on this train will give you a royal feel. From the interiors to cutlery, each and every thing is designed to give a feel of how royals live in Indian palaces. There is a special focus to bring in the best brands for travellers. Infact, state government has been aggressively pushing for such packages and Palace on Wheels is one such example from the government of Rajasthan. "

Kishore Satya, manager, IRCTC Bengaluru said, "I can't comment on trains run by the state government tourism department. But we have been successfully running Maharajas' Express since 2010 and have a pan-India demand for southern tourist destinations. Our focus is both Indian as well as foreign travellers."

IDBI Bank to Focus on Raising Capital, Retail Lending and Recovery of Loans During FY 2017-18

IDBI Bank has crafted a comprehensive turnaround strategy, with a focus on augmenting the capital base and recovery from NPAs.  Its prime focus includes restricting corporate loan book growth, raising additional capital and non-core asset sales to reduce operational costs.

Aggressive recovery and prevention of further slippages is a priority area for IDBI Bank. Given the stress in the corporate sector, the bank will restrict growth in the corporate loan book and focus on increasing retail and priority sector asset base. This will help the bank to reduce risk weighted assets and improve CAR in the short term.

The bank is also planning to raise additional capital in the medium term. It has received a capital infusion of Rs 1900 crore through the Government of India’s subscription to its preferential share allotment earlier this year, which enhanced its Common Equity Tier 1 Capital. Furthermore, Life Insurance Corporation of India has also subscribed to the bank’s preferential equity issue. Additionally, CAR would be improved through sale of non-core assets, continued GoI support and churning of corporate loan book to reduce risk weight of the portfolio.

The bank will look at reducing its operational cost and sell non-core assets over a period of time. The exact schedule and quantum of such a sale will depend on market conditions and the Bank has already initiated the process.

“We are looking at all avenues to improve our capital position and bring the bank on the recovery track. We will look at aggressive recovery and cost cutting measures and plan on churning our corporate book and risk weighted assets which should also ease the pressure on capital. The Government of India, our Principal shareholder, continues to support the Bank,” said V. Narayanamurthy, Field Chief General Manager, IDBI Bank (Bengaluru Zone). 

Besides, the bank will reduce its exposure to corporate sector and instead focus aggressively on retail lending, adds Narayanamurthy.

Cisco VNI Forecasts Internet Users in India to Double to 829 Million Users in 2021, Up from 373 Million in 2016

Digital transformation will continue to drive IP traffic in India with the projected increase in Internet users from 373 million in 2016 to 829 million or 59 percent of the Indian population in 2021. In addition, there will be 2.0 billion networked devices in 2021, up from 1.4 billion in 2016 and the overall IP traffic is expected to grow 4-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 30% and reach 6.5 Exabytes of data per month in 2021, up from 1.7 Exabytes per month in 2016, according to today’s release of the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast.

According to the report, M2M connections will represent 22 percent of the total 2 billion devices and connections and will account for five percent of IP traffic by 2021.  Advancements in IoT applications such as smart meters, package tracking, digital health monitors and a host of other next-generation M2M services is driving this incremental growth—nearly 21 percent increase in the next five years.

Video will continue to dominate IP traffic and overall Internet traffic growth—representing 76 percent of all Internet traffic in 2021, up from 57 percent in 2016. India will reach 84 billion Internet video minutes per month by 2021, which is one hundred and sixty thousand years of video per month, or about thirty two thousand video minutes every second.

Mobile networks, devices and connections in India are not only getting smarter in their computing capabilities but are also evolving from lower-generation network connectivity (2G) to higher-generation network connectivity (3G, 3.5G, and 4G or LTE). Combining device capabilities with faster, higher bandwidth and more intelligent networks is leading to wide adoption of high bandwidth data, video and advanced multimedia applications that contribute to increased mobile and Wi-Fi traffic” said Sanjay Kaul, Managing Director, Service Provider Business, Cisco India and SAARC. 

He added “We are witnessing a burgeoning rise in usage of mobile applications and connectivity by end users.  The need for optimized bandwidth management, network automation, e2e security and ultimately network monetization through cost efficient data production is fuelling the growth of network automation, mass market 4G deployments and adoption, soon to be followed with 4.5G and 5G. Service providers around the world are busy architecting their networks to be more autonomous and capable of handling high bandwidth to help them meet the growing end-users demand for more bandwidth, higher security, and faster connectivity on the move. Many providers have also started field trials for 5G and are gearing towards rolling out 5G deployments towards the end of the VNI forecast period.”

India Internet Growth and Trends:
1.     Increase in  Internet Users, devices and connection
·         In India, there will be 829 million total Internet users (59% of population) in 2021, up from 373 million (28% of population) in 2016
·         In India, there will be 2.0 billion networked devices in 2021, up from 1.4 billion in 2016
2.     Increase in IP Traffic and Internet Traffic
·         In India, Consumer Internet video traffic will reach 3.0 Exabytes per month in 2021, the equivalent of 756 million DVDs per month, or 1 million DVDs per hour
·         In India, Consumer Internet video traffic was 535 Petabytes per month in 2016, the equivalent of 134 million DVDs per month, or 183,261 DVDs per hour
·         In India, Internet video traffic will be 77% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2021, up from 58% in 2016
·         In India, Internet traffic will grow 4.0-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 32%
·         In 2021, the gigabyte equivalent of all movies ever made will cross the Internet every 54 minutes
·         Indian Internet traffic in 2021 will be equivalent to 291x the volume of the entire Indian Internet in 2005
3.     Increase in Per capita Usage
·         In India, IP traffic will reach 5 Gigabytes per capita in 2021, up from 1 Gigabytes in 2016
4.     Internet users & Faster Broadband Speed
·         In India, there will be 829 million total Internet users (59% of population) in 2021, up from 373 million (28% of population) in 2016
·         In India, the average fixed broadband speed will grow 2.8-fold from 2016 to 2021, from 6.6 Mbps to 18.2 Mbps
5.     Increase in Mobile, Internet Video
·         In India, mobile data traffic will grow 7-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 49%
·         In India, mobile data traffic in 2021 will be equivalent to 88x the volume of the entire Indian Internet in 2005
·         In India, IP video will be 83% of all IP traffic in 2021, up from 69% in 2016
·         In India, Internet video traffic will grow 5-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 40%
·          In India, total Internet video traffic (business and consumer, combined) will be 76% of all Internet traffic in 2021, up from 57% in 2016
·          In India, HD will be 51.4% of Internet video traffic in 2021, up from 12.0% in 2016 (87.9% CAGR)
·          In India, 84 billion minutes (159,201 years) of video content will cross the Internet each month in 2021. That's 31,840 minutes of video streamed or downloaded every second
·         In India, Internet video traffic will grow 5-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 40%
6.     Increase in Networked Devices
·         In India, there will be 2.0 billion networked devices in 2021, from 1.4 billion networked devices in 2016, and 1.3 billion in 2015
·         In India, 67% of all networked devices will be mobile-connected in 2021
7.     Growth in Internet video & gaming traffic
·         In India, Internet video traffic will be 77% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2021, up from 58% in 2016
·         In India, gaming traffic will grow 7-fold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 49%

Key Findings & Milestones from Global Traffic Projections and Service Adoption Trends
1.     Strong Growth in IP & Internet Traffic
·         Global IP traffic is expected to reach 278 exabytes per month by 2021, up from 96 exabytes per month in 2016. Global IP traffic is expected to reach an annual run rate of 3.3 zettabytes by 2021.
·         Busy hour Internet traffic is increasing faster than average Internet traffic. Busy hour Internet traffic will grow 4.6-fold (35% CAGR) from 2016 to 2021, reaching 4.3 Pbps by 2021, compared to average Internet traffic that will grow 3.2-fold (26% CAGR) over the same period reaching 717 Tbps by 2021.
·         Content delivery networks (CDNs), will carry 71 percent of all Internet video traffic by 2021 (up from 52 percent in 2016).
2.     Average DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks size increasing steadily and approaching 1.2 Gpbs— enough to take most organizations completely offline
·         DDoS incidents can paralyze networks by flooding servers and network devices with traffic from multiple IP sources.
·         The peak attack size increased 60% Y/Y and represents up to 18 percent of a country’s total Internet traffic while they are occurring.
·         Average DDoS attack size increased to 22 percent which is relatively the same rate as Internet traffic at 29 percent Y/Y.
·         The DDoS attacks grew 172% in 2016 and will increase 2.5-fold to 3.1 million by 2021 globally.
3.     Globally, total public W-Fi hotspots (including homespots) will grow 6-fold from 2016 to 2021 from 94 million in 2016 to 541.6 million by 2021.
·         Globally, total Wi-Fi homespots will grow from 85 million in 2016 to 526.2 million by 2021.
·         Globally there were 91 percent of public Wi-Fi hotspots in 2016 and by 2021 it is projected to reach 97 percent.
·         Leading hotspot countries: China (170M by 2021), US (86M by 2021), Japan (33M by 2021), and France (30M by 2021).
4.     By 2021, more than half (56 percent) of connected flat panel TV sets will be 4K up from 15% in 2016
·         Installed/In-service 4K TV sets will increase from 85M in 2016 to 663M by 2021.
5.     Cord-Cutting household traffic is 86 percent higher
·         A global cord-cutting household generates 117 GB per month in 2017, compared to 63 GB per month for an average household.
6.     Global Enterprise SD-WAN Traffic
·         SD-WAN traffic will grow at a CAGR of 44% compared to 5% for traditional WAN SD-WAN will increase 6x and will be 25% of WAN traffic by 2021
·         End-User Internet traffic is moving closer to the Edge. Nearly half of traffic will bypass core completely by 2021.

Regional IP Traffic Growth Details
·         APAC: 107.7 exabytes/month by 2021, 26% CAGR, 3.2-fold growth
·         North America: 85 exabytes/month by 2021, 20% CAGR, 2.5-fold growth
·         Western Europe: 37.4 exabytes/month 2021, 22% CAGR, 2.7-fold growth
·         Central Europe: 17.1 exabytes/month by 2021, 22% CAGR, 2.75-fold growth
·         Latin America: 12.9 exabytes/month by 2021, 21% CAGR, 2.6-fold growth
·         Middle East and Africa: 15.5 exabytes/month by 2021, 42% CAGR, 5.8-fold growth

Thursday, June 8, 2017

GST to Help India Achieve 9 Percent Growth Rate: Amitabh Kant

The Goods and Services Tax, to be rolled out next month as the biggest tax reform since independence, will help India achieve 9% growth rate, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said on Tuesday. He said GST will simplify India's taxation system and help deal with tax evasion.

“GST is India's biggest tax reform since 1947...GST will help India in achieving 9% growth rate,” Kant said at an event here. Noting that the implementation of GST is a dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the NITI Aayog CEO said it will bring a big revolution in India's taxation structure.

Several experts have also said that GST is estimated to boost GDP by 1% to 2% and bring down inflation by over 2% in the long term.

Kant’s comments come against the backdrop of India losing the fastest growing economy tag to China for the March quarter with the GDP growth slipping to 6.1%. China recorded a growth rate of 6.9% during the January-March quarter.

However, on an annual basis, India grew by 7.1% in 2016-17.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reviewed the preparedness for the new indirect tax regime, slated to be rolled out from July 1. The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and senior officers from the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).

This was the first review by the PM after the GST Council finalised the rates, and the second since May 2.

The GST Council, chaired by Jaitley and comprising his state counterparts, has already finalised tax rates on almost all goods and services. It will meet again on June 11 to review some of the rates and discuss other pending issues.

All goods and services have been put in slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28%, with the exception of gold and precious metals, which will attract 3% GST, and rough diamond at 0.25% GST. 

Wipro Chief Azim Premji Denies Media Report on Sale of Stake

Wipro Chairman Azim Premji has denied a media report that promoters of the IT company were evaluating sale of their holdings and said he “remains committed to Wipro.”

In his letter to Wiproites, he had termed the news article reportedly published in this regard as "baseless and malicious."

A news website had quoted banking sources reported that the promoters of the India's third-largest IT services company are in the early stages of evaluating the sale of the company or some of its units, and have even approached investment banks.

In the letter sent out on Monday late night to its employees, Premji said he continued to be “incredibly excited” about the potential of the IT industry and Wipro.

“Over the past 50 years, I have seen Wipro grow from a small regional player in vegetable oils to a global leader in technology. I continue to be incredibly excited about the potential of the IT industry and Wipro. I see enormous energy within the company to power the success of our clients and therefore the success of Wipro,” he said.

“I remain as committed to Wipro as I have ever been.. The news article about promoters of Wipro evaluating sale of their holding in the company is baseless and malicious.. There is no truth to these unsubstantiated rumours,” he added.

Premji along with his family own about 73.25 per cent shares in the company. 


KONE Corporation CEO Sees Huge Potential for the India Market

As the global population continues to grow, particularly in India, people continue to move to cities. A large proportion of the world’s urban population growth will take place in developing countries, with India taking a significant share. This creates the need for innovative and eco efficient people flow solutions and in many cases, the need to create taller buildings, which is gaining significant grounds across the country.

The Indian Elevator and Escalator market is presently the second largest new equipment market in the world, representing approximately 5% of the world’s new elevator and escalators. Despite recent market uncertainty, the increasing rate of urbanization is expected to support the growth of the elevator and escalator market in the coming years.

“While the market declined slightly last year and the beginning of this year, mainly due to demonetization, we are confident in the long-term outlook for the industry. Several steps taken by the Government in recent times—from the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, to the changes in the Goods and Services Tax system, and the introduction of Real Estate Investment Trusts—will further improve transparency and increase confidence in the Real Estate market. Looking at the increasing need for infrastructure and tall building developments, we see good growth prospects over the next few years” says Amit Gossain, Managing Director, KONE India.

With the affordable housing segment being given infrastructure status, which will provide more flexibility for developers, there is potential for growth in the residential sector. Trends in the building industry and the elevator & escalator industries continues to be driven by urbanization and other needs, such as providing reliable, efficient infrastructure and improving living standards and convenience. Above all, technology will enable new products and services which benefit customers, and it is this is one of the areas where KONE is leading the industry.

KONE’s NEW Plant at Sriperumbudur will be a state-of-the-art facility that is expected to be fully operational by 2019. The company’s India Technology & Engineering Centre (ITEC), based in Chennai, will continue to provide a boost to innovation, bringing further value to customers in line with the market trends. With stronger R&D and engineering collaboration in India, KONE will be able to serve the growing Indian market with even more innovative People Flow® solutions.

New types of innovations include bringing connectivity and Internet of Things technologies to elevators and escalators, which provide totally new types of services to KONE’s customers.

“There is a lot of potential in the Indian market and Amit’s team in India has the ability to identify and develop opportunities in a fast changing environment. There is a wealth of talent across the country and I was greatly impressed with the wide range of capabilities and skills on show at KONE India Hackathon, held earlier this year”, says Henrik Ehrnrooth, President and CEO, KONE Corporation.

As buildings get taller and taller with the capacity to serve tens of thousands of users simultaneously, there is increased pressure on elevators and escalators to keep people moving smoothly. KONE is leading the way in bringing together technology and innovation to meet the requirements of some of the world’s most ambitious and iconic buildings.

Tata Elxsi’s ‘Autonomai’ Driverless Car Platform Selected by Leading OEM

Tata Elxsi, a global design and technology services company and a leader for automotive electronics and software development, announced the licensing of its advanced autonomous vehicle middleware platform “AUTONOMAI” to one of the world’s top 5 automotive OEMs for their driverless car R&D.

The Autonomai platform provides carmakers and Tier 1 automotive suppliers with a comprehensive and modular solution covering Perception, GNC and Drive-by-wire systems, to quickly build, test and deploy autonomous vehicles.
This solution supports sensor fusion with a variety of sensors from cameras to Radar and Lidar, and leverages sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning based algorithms to deliver the complex use-case scenarios expected of driverless cars. 
Autonomai also allows rapid region specific adaptation through its pre-integrated validation datasets and AI & deep learning capabilities.  

“We are delighted with this latest win for AUTONOMAI by one of the world’s top 5 car OEMs”, said Nitin Pai, Senior Vice President Marketing for Tata Elxsi. “Car makers will need to ensure that self-driving cars are able to communicate with each other through technologies such as V2X, adapt to different driving conditions, receive real-time maps and over-the-air software updates. As importantly, OEMs need to transform the current HMI to one that leverages AI, multi-modal interfaces and sensors to ensure passengers are not only safe, but feel safe too. The value of AUTONOMAI is further enhanced by Tata Elxsi’s world-class automotive software integration and validation capabilities, its portfolio of complementary next-gen solutions including V2X, e-cockpit and automated validation, and an award-winning HMI design team. This makes Tata Elxsi a truly compelling partner for OEMs and suppliers in driverless car development.”

ExxonMobil Completes New Grease and Synthetic Lubricants Facilities in Singapore

ExxonMobil announced has that it has completed its expansion project in Jurong to increase production of grease and synthetic lubricants, including Mobil 1, the company’s flagship synthetic engine oil. The milestone was recognized at an opening ceremony attended by Singapore Economic Development Board managing director Yeoh Keat Chuan.

The expansion of the Jurong lubricant plant further strengthens the company’s manufacturing capabilities and its ability to meet the growing demand for grease and synthetic lubricants products in the Asia Pacific region.

“These new grease and synthetic lubricants production facilities are strategically located close to key Asia Pacific markets, ensuring the reliable supply of these premium products to our customers,” said Teoh Song Ping, Asia Pacific lubricant sales director at ExxonMobil. “Our advanced lubricating oils and greases contribute to society’s broader sustainability objectives by helping to increase equipment operating efficiency and engine fuel economy, which contribute to reduced energy and resource use, as well as lower emissions.”

The grease plant started production in January 2017, and the synthetics plant, which was completed in March, started production in April following a successful commissioning.

“The expansion of ExxonMobil’s Jurong lubricant plant is a good example of companies taking advantage of Singapore as a strategic base to capture growth opportunities in Asia,” Yeoh said. “The synthetic lubricants and grease plants underscore Singapore’s emphasis on higher value-added manufacturing activities as we continue growing the chemicals sector in a competitive and sustainable manner.”

“These new production facilities demonstrate the company’s commitment to long-term investments here in Singapore,” said ExxonMobil Asia Pacific chairman and managing director Gan Seow Kee. “The expansion of our Jurong lubricant plant both strengthens ExxonMobil’s integrated manufacturing base and helps improve the competitiveness of our business and the industry in Singapore.”

“India’s economy continues to grow with significant opportunities across industries. One of the biggest market opportunities is within the automotive sector fueled by the growing middle class consumer segment who look for high quality lubricant solutions for their vehicles. Other industries such as general manufacturing also stand to benefit from increased product demand. The proximity of the new synthetic lubricants and grease plants in Singapore offer our customers in India an enhanced value chain with reliable supply and more efficient delivery.” – Deepankar Banerjee, Chief Executive Officer, ExxonMobil Lubricants Pvt Ltd,

IAOP Recognizes ITC Infotech for its Sustained Excellence in Outsourcing Services

ITC Infotech, a global scale, full service provider of technology solutions and a fully-owned subsidiary of ITC Ltd., has been ranked a ‘Leader’ in the Global Outsourcing 100 report, for the 11th consecutive year by IAOP. ITC Infotech has also been identified as a ‘Super Star of the Global Outsourcing 100’ for its ‘Sustained Excellence’.

IAOP has further recognized ITC Infotech with sub-list honors in several categories including Customer References, Awards and Certifications, Programs for Innovation and Programs for Corporate Social Responsibility. The Global Outsourcing 100, serves as a reference for companies seeking new and expanded relationships with the best companies in the industry. These lists are created based on the applications received, and judging is based on a rigorous scoring methodology that includes an independent review by a panel of IAOP customer members, with extensive experience in selecting outsourcing service providers and advisors for their organizations.

Sushma Rajagopalan, CEO and MD, ITC Infotech, said “We are happy to be consistently acknowledged for our excellence in sustainable outsourcing services over the years. Our offerings always aim to reduce the time and costs associated with products through Digitelligence@work. We are committed to creating and delivering a compelling value proposition for our clients and I am indeed delighted that we are being recognized for our robust outsourcing model and an array of differentiated solutions and services. This report strengthens our clients’ belief in ITC Infotech’s excellence and paves the path for higher standards and expectations.”

“Choosing the right partners is more important than ever. Companies that outsource, not only in the traditional sense but also through the wide array of the ever-changing collaborative business models are scrutinizing their providers very closely,” said Debi Hamill, IAOP CEO. “The GO100 is the definitive guide to help companies research and compare service providers with whom they are considering relationships."

“Buyers understand that there are hundreds of qualified service providers and advisors out there, but what they really need to understand now is what makes each one exceptional,” said IAOP CEO, Debi Hamill. “The Global Outsourcing 100 and World’s Best Advisors lists have done just that. We are proud to recognize ITC Infotech for being among the highest rated companies in customer references, company awards and certifications, programs for innovation, corporate social responsibility.”

Companies were judged on five critical characteristics for the rankings: size and growth, customer references, awards and certifications, programs for innovation, and corporate social responsibility. Being included in the list demonstrates ITC Infotech’s global excellence in outsourcing services. The 2017 Global Outsourcing 100 and its sub-lists are essential references for companies seeking new and expanded relationships with the best companies in the industry. The lists include companies from around the world that provide the full spectrum of outsourcing services.

Flipkart’s Gridlock Hackathon For Innovative Solutions To Bengaluru’s Traffic Woes

Flipkart has announced a one-of-a-kind hackathon to crowdsource innovative, implementable solutions from the tech community and concerned citizens, that could help ease Bengaluru’s perennial traffic problem. Termed Gridlock Hackathon, the initiative marks the start of the ‘Month of Innovation’ at Flipkart, a part of its 10 year anniversary celebrations.
The contest will run from June 7, 2017 until June 21, 2017 and is open for technology centric solutions, as well as those that partially leverage technology through out-of-the-box thinking.
“Flipkart was born in Bengaluru as an innovative tech company that has over the years changed the way India shops. We believe in open innovation which means that society at large should benefit from whatever we do as a company,” said Ravi Garikipati, CTO and Head of Engineering, Flipkart.
“Gridlock Hackathon is an important part of our 10th anniversary celebrations and we want to engage with tech folks as well as citizens to try to collectively find some innovative solutions to Bengaluru’s traffic woes. The idea is to give back in some way to the city we all love, and ensure it retains the vibrant ecosystem that has been a major catalyst in the growth story of Flipkart and so many other companies.”
The hackathon will initially run online and participants can submit tech or partially-tech solutions for macro problems like Bengaluru’s overall traffic, or traffic snares in specific areas like Silk Board, KR Puram etc. All entries will be judged on parameters like impact, feasibility, scalability and sustainability, and completeness. The teams or individuals with the best entries will get a chance to present their solutions to a panel of esteemed jury, who will pick the best 3 ideas.

Akshaya Patra, 9 Corporates and GoI Aims to Serve 5 Billion Mid-Day Meals by 2020

Following its corporate launch in Delhi on World Hunger Day, the Akshaya Patra Foundation, in illuminated presence of Shri Shankar Mahadevan (composer and playback singer), Vivek Oberoi (Indian actor) and Shri Sanjeev Kapoor (Celebrity Chef and Entrepreneur) launched Feed the Future Now in Mumbai on Wednesday at PVR, Juhu Dynamix Mall. Feed the Future Now is a national movement to raise awareness about importance of nourishment amongst children and its impetus to education. This movement aims to serve 5 billion meals to children across India by 2020 with a view to create a ‘Poshit Bharat, Shikshit Bharat.’

Talking to the media about the movement, The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Shridhar Venkat said, “We are very thankful to all our partners especially the Government of India (GoI) who have come together today to raise awareness about the growing need to ensure children are well nourished at the age of 0 – 12 years and join us in our mission to serve 5 billion meals by 2020. Food is not charity. Food is life. Setting a child on a proper course with good daily nutrition and the ability to attend and succeed in school is our collective social responsibility and one which reaps unlimited rewards as new generations grow and thrive.”

Lending his voice to the campaign,  Shankar Mahadevan, Composer and Playback Singer, also a goodwill ambassador for the foundation, said, “The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of a kind institution in the world and is doing great service for the nation. Malnutrition is one of those issues that requires urgent attention. The emphasis should not be on feeding just food, but providing a nutritious meal. I implore more friends from the fraternity to join hands with movement and help us make our country a Poshit Bharat, Shikshit Bharat.”

Vivek Oberoi, renowned Indian actor, shared his thoughts about the cause with the audience. He said, “I am very excited to be here today. The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s work towards eradicating malnutrition is not only relevant for our country but extremely inspiring. We, as a country have had so many achievements at the global platform but hidden hunger still remains an obstacle to sustaining education and achieving one’s full potential.  Feed the Future Now aims to combat this issue and I am glad to pledge support to its mission of nourishing the future of India so that kids get a holistic upbringing, just like we all did. Congratulations to all the partners for a job well done. I urge each one of you – to come together in making 5 billion meals by 2020 possible.”

Reputed Indian actress and model,  Sonali Bendre talking about the issue of malnutrition said, ““I am honored to be part of the ‘Feed the Future Now’ movement, which would give all of us a chance to make a difference to the lives of those in need. I'd also like to congratulate the Akshaya Patra Foundation for taking on an initiative like this and I'm very happy to lend my support to the amazing work that they are doing.”

Sanjeev Kapoor, celebrity Chef and entrepreneur said, “I am happy to associate with The Akshaya Patra Foundation yet again on the launch of their seminal movement ‘Feed The Future Now’ after a successful Boston Benefit Gala fundraiser held in California in May this year. Akshaya Patra is all about giving nutritious food to children. My own journey of cooking food for my family and friends and presenting it to millions of viewers on television is in absolute sync with the Foundation’s - the joy of giving is much more than the joy of receiving. We, especially our strong chef community across the globe, must all strive to make nutrition our agenda to make Feed the Future Now a mass movement and commit to the cause wholeheartedly.

Nine top corporates have joined the movement - GSK Consumer Healthcare, Nestlé, PepsiCo India, PVR Nest, Reliance Fresh, Facebook, The LaLiT, Reliance Broadcast Networks Ltd. & Viacom 18 along with the support of Government of India. 

Facilitating screening of the movement video across 100 outlets nationally,Deepa Menon, Senior Vice President (Corporate Communications  & CSR), PVR Ltd, said, “Nutrition and development are interlinked. Therefore, being a socially sensitive organisation, PVR is supporting ‘Feed the Future Now’ initiative through the use of its physical infrastructure. The initiative is also in sync with the ethos of PVR Nest, which concentrates its efforts towards mainstreaming underprivileged children and restoring confidence among them by investing on education, health & nutrition, skill development and employability through our ‘Childscapes’ program.”

Also present at the launch,  Damodar Mall, Chief Executive Officer, Reliance Fresh said, “We are pleased to be ground partners for the ‘Feed the Future Now’ initiative with The Akshaya Patra Foundation. In our stores and on our communication platforms, we will take the message of this movement, to millions of our customers. Jointly with our customers, we are happy to help ensure hunger does not come in the way of good education!”

Speaking about the need for addressing classroom hunger through media and mass communication,  Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18 said: “According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics 2016 report, every year 47 million Indian children drop out of schools by the time they reach 10th standard. There has been direct correlation between dropping out of schools and classroom hunger. At Viacom18 we believe that education is the key to unlock India’s true potential and it is the future generation that needs to be equipped and nurtured today. We are delighted to partner with the Akshaya Patra Foundation for the ‘Feed the Future’ movement.”

Based on three pillars – Awareness, Nutrition and Education, the campaign will create a rallying call-to-action and promote policy advocacy as well as behavioral change on the twin issues of nutrition and education.

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