Friday, April 10, 2020

Covid-19: LAVA’s Three-Pronged Approach for its People Across India

The dramatic spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent countrywide lockdown has disrupted communities and businesses worldwide. Organizations around the world, including LAVA, are coming forward with innovative ways to minimize the impact of the pandemic on its employees.

Here is the three-pronged approach that LAVA is following for its employees during these tough times.

Empathy & Care- Lava’s top management made phone calls to each and every employee to show solidarity, to comfort them and to know if they needed any help. A comprehensive employee communication program to allay fears and anxieties of its employees also included email messages from leadership, virtual Town Hall and many other initiatives.

Earlier, 20% advance salary was paid to the factory workers to support their expenses during this lockdown period.
Work Engagement- Lava has formed small working committees to ensure that its employees are connected and normal work can be carried out from home. Lava employees find unique and creative ways to keep contributing to the Country while they work from home.

Learning & Development- Lava is running virtual Learning & Development programs for its employees to groom them for the role ahead. The company identified many internal trainers, called Dhronacharyas, with different areas of expertise who conduct online sessions for its workforce in batches. Additionally, Lava is encouraging its employees to read books as a part of its 3D contest which the company started last year for the all-round development of its employees. Under this ongoing program employees are also encouraged to stay fit and healthy.

“At the moment safety and well-being of our employees is our top most priority and we believe that an empathetic approach is the best way to deal with the current situation. From outreach programs to capability building initiatives we are ensuring that our people are not only engaged on daily basis but also fully equipped to deal with the post-lockdown challenges.” -Sunil Raina, President and Business Head, Lava International.

Earlier, the company ran extensive awareness drive for its employees by arranging interactive sessions with expert doctors, placing 1 lakh+ posters at retail shops for awareness.

Lava employees voluntarily contributed 1 day’s salary to the #PMCaresFund.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Extends its COVID-19 Relief Support in India


* Deploys 14 buses to support the health department of Government of Karnataka
* Hands over Hazmat suits to Government Health Volunteers

In the wake of growing number of coronavirus cases in India and implications brought about by the COVID-19 across the nation, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) today announced its continued support and some specific measures to aid the State Government in its fight against the pandemic. As doctors, paramedics and other hospital staff are at the frontlines during this unprecedented public health emergency, they are susceptible and require Personal Protective Equipment Kits as well as other support to carry out their duties effectively. In order to support the efforts of the Government, TKM today pledged transportation support to the health department workforce in addition to handing over of 1000 Hazmat suits to Government Health Volunteers thus ensuring care for the caregivers.

TKM deployed 10 buses to the Bangalore Medical College & Research Institute (BMCRI) while Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF) provided another 4 buses to the Health Department of Ramanagara district to enable convenient, hassle free and safe mobility for healthcare workers. These buses will be available 24*7 till 30th of April for the medical staff including doctors, nurses, security team and other public health workers for their mobility purposes such as visit to hospitals, field work and other coordination. Furthermore, 1000 number of Hazmat suits were today handed over to Dr. C R Jayanthi, Dean, Director & Principal at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Bangalore. Additionally, the company will hand over another 2000 of such Hazmat suits to the Government.

Commenting on the extension of relief measures, Mr. Vikram Gulati, Country Head & Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Public Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility & Corporate Governance, Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “In such uncertain circumstances and juncture of social distress, Toyota Kirloskar Motor as a responsible and committed corporate is steadfast in its resolve to continue its support to the Government of Karnataka in tackling this nationwide emergency. Toyota’s motto of providing utmost safety and security doesn’t just end with its cars or stakeholders but transcends the boundaries of our offices and factories. Accordingly, in these turbulent times it is important for us to help each other and the Government.

We have been closely monitoring the evolving situation and have also taken necessary countermeasures to safeguard the health and safety of our people. We will continue to explore more initiatives that can roll out at the earliest and support the Government to the required extent in its fight against the repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Representing TMF, Mr. Pras Ganesh, Program Director for Asia Region, said, “The aim of TMF is to provide the best possible mobility solution for our valued healthcare workers, allowing them to have a safe, expedient and free commute at this uncertain time. This should give these heroes, who are on the frontlines of this battle, some convenience and peace of mind. We are rolling out similar services in some South East Asian countries as well”

TKM recently distributed 1000 essential kits and food supplies to daily wage workers, benefitting over 5000 members in the community. TKM has been encouraging ICARE [an employee volunteerism platform volunteers to utilize digital platforms to spread awareness on hygiene practices and techniques to combat COVID-19, while staying at home.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Worldwide Semiconductor Revenue to Decline 0.9% in 2020 Due to Coronavirus Impact

Due to the impact of the coronavirus on semiconductor supply and demand, worldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to decline 0.9% in 2020, according to Gartner, Inc. This is down from the previous quarter’s forecast of 12.5% growth.

“The wide spread of COVID-19 across the world and the resulting strong actions by governments to contain the spread will have a far more severe impact on demand than initially predicted,” said Richard Gordon, research practice vice president at Gartner. “This year’s forecast could have been worse, but growth in memory could prevent a steep decline.”

Overall, 2020 global semiconductor revenue has been reduced from the previous quarter’s forecast by $55 billion, to $415.4 billion (see Table 1). 2020 total market growth has been reduced from 12.5% to a decline of 0.9%, with nonmemory expected to decline 6.1%, while memory is forecast to grow 13.9%.

Within memory, NAND flash revenue is forecast to grow 40% in 2020 due to severe shortages persisting from 2019, which keeps pricing firm. “NAND flash supply will remain historically low in 2020 due to fab delays and technology transitions, but the demand will diminish later in 2020,” said Mr. Gordon. “Initial price increases of 15.7% during the first half of 2020 will reverse to a 9.4% decline during the second half of the year. However, average pricing levels will still enable NAND flash revenue to achieve growth this year.”

Strong demand from cloud service providers in the first half of 2020 will push pricing and revenue higher in server DRAM. However, this growth will be more than offset by weak demand and falling prices from the smartphone market. For the DRAM market overall, Gartner analysts estimate DRAM revenue will decline 2.4% in 2020.

“Non-memory semiconductor markets will experience a significant reduction in smartphone, automobile and consumer electronics production and be heavily impacted across the board,” said Mr. Gordon. “In contrast, the hyperscale data center and communications infrastructure sectors will prove more resilient with continued strategic investment required to support increased remote working and online access.”

Gartner clients can learn more in the report “Forecast Alert: 2020 Semiconductor Revenue Downgraded by $55 Billion due to COVID-19 Impact.”

Learn more about how to lead organizations through the disruption of coronavirus in the Gartner coronavirus resource center, a collection of complimentary Gartner research and webinars to help organizations respond, manage and prepare for the rapid spread and global impact of COVID-19.

Trend Micro Research Finds Misconfiguration as Number One Risk to Cloud Environments

Trend Micro Incorporated, the global leader in cloud security, today released the findings from research into cloud security, which highlights human error and complex deployments open the door to a wide range of cyber threats.

Gartner predicts that by 2021, over 75% of midsize and large organizations will have adopted multi-cloud or hybrid IT strategy. As cloud platforms become more prevalent, IT and DevOps teams face additional concerns and uncertainties related to securing their cloud instances.

This newly released report reaffirms that misconfigurations are the primary cause of cloud security issues. In fact, Trend Micro Cloud One – Conformity identifies 230 million misconfigurations on average each day, proving this risk is prevalent and widespread.

“Cloud-based operations have become the rule rather than the exception, and cybercriminals have adapted to capitalize on misconfigured or mismanaged cloud environments,” said Greg Young, vice president of cybersecurity for Trend Micro. “We believe migrating to the cloud can be the best way to fix security problems by redefining the corporate IT perimeter and endpoints. However, that can only happen if organizations follow the shared responsibility model for cloud security. Taking ownership of cloud data is paramount to its protection, and we’re here to help businesses succeed in that process.”

The research found threats and security weaknesses in several key areas of cloud-based computing, which can put credentials and company secrets at risk. Criminals capitalizing on misconfigurations have targeted companies with ransomware, cryptomining, e-skimming and data exfiltration.

Misleading online tutorials compounded the risk for some businesses leading to mismanaged cloud credentials and certificates. IT teams can take advantage of cloud native tools to help mitigate these risks, but they should not rely solely on these tools, the report concludes.

Trend Micro recommends several best practices to help secure cloud deployments:

Employ least privilege controls: restricting access to only those who need it.
Understand the Shared Responsibility Model: Although cloud providers have built-in security, customers are responsible for securing their own data.
Monitor for misconfigured and exposed systems: Tools like Conformity can quickly and easily identify misconfigurations in your cloud environments.
Integrate security into DevOps culture: Security should be built into the DevOps process from the start.

ITC Provides Meals, Food Products & Hygiene Essentials to the Needy Across 17 States


• 10 lakh pieces of Savlon soaps
• 6 lakh packets of Sunfeast Biscuits
• 3 lakh packets of YiPPee! noodles
• 1.5 lakh packets B Natural Juices distributed so far
• ITC’s Foods Business has curated special boxes of Aashirvaad and Sunfeast for children and elderly
• ITC Hotels and ITC Paperboards Divisions distributing meals and hygiene products
As part of the multiple initiatives undertaken by ITC in India's fight against the Coronavirus, the Company is working closely with district administrations across 17 states in the country to provide essential food items like atta, noodles, biscuits & juices and hygiene products like soaps for people in distress. 

This initiative is currently going on in full swing with more than 1 million pieces of Savlon soaps, 3 lakh packets of YiPPee! noodles, nearly 6 lakh packets of Sunfeast biscuitsand 1.5 lakh packs of B Natural fruit juices being delivered to district authorities till date. In some parts, the police administration has requested for soaps for their personnel which has also been provided. Savlon soaps have also been provided for district health centres in some states including West Bengal.

ITC Foods Distributing food items to children and elderly:

To provide support to the children and senior citizens across Indian households, ITC Foods is sending food supplies across the country through its ‘Aashirvaad Box of Hope’ and ‘Sunfeast Box of Happiness’ initiative. ITC has joined hands with 3 leading NGOs building a seamless network to deliver essential food supplies to those severely impacted by the current lockdown. With support from the State Government, ITC’s Foods Division has also provided help to the residents of Bhilwara district in Rajasthan, one of the worst affected districts by distributing 10 kilograms of Aashirvaad Atta to cover approximately a month-long staple requirement and some snacks like Bingo! for the members of some of the families from the region. 

Distribution of cooked meals:

Given the urgent requirement to provide cooked meals to migrant workers and needy people across the country, ITC Hotels as well as ITC factories are providing extensive support to Governments across different states, based on the requirements of the local administration as well as hospitals. ITC Maurya and Sheraton in New Delhi have been providing over 1500 meals daily for distribution to migrant workers.  ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru is lending its support with 1000 food packets daily for 15 days (15000 meals) to the Municipal Corporation. ITC Grand Central in Mumbai has made arrangements to deliver meals to doctors in MG Hospital. Food has also been catered to doctors at the Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai by ITC Grand Central. Fortune Hotel in Lucknow is also lending assistance through the provision of more than 1000 meals per day. This initiative will be progressively rolled out in other metros based on the need. ITC’s Paperboards Business has been distributing over 1400 meals to migrant labourers around the factory in Bhadrachalam.  In addition, ITC factories in Saharanpur, UP well as ITC teams in Patna have been providing more than 3500 cooked meals per day in proximate areas.

Distribution of Hygiene Products:

In addition to providing meals, ITC Hotel properties in Jaipur and Goa have made meaningful contributions by providing shower caps for doctors and healthcare workers as well as ensuring availability of sanitisers.

In Bhadrachalam, ITC’s Paper and Paperboards Divisiondistributed masks and hand gloves to truck drivers as well as sanitisers to public health workers in Secunderabad. The Business also disinfected around 18 villages around the Bhadrachalam factory. Awareness programmes were also conducted by the Well Being out of Waste Teams in 16 districts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

ITC’s Corona Contingency Fund of Rs 150 crore:

As an organisation committed to serving national priorities, ITC has taken several other initiatives over the last few weeks to support lives and livelihoods during the unprecedented crisis posed by the Coronavirus pandemic. ITC has set up a Contingency Fund of Rs 150 crore to provide relief to the vulnerable and most needy sections of society who have been harshly impacted by the pandemic. In support of the Government’s efforts in mitigating the crisis, ITC pledged its contribution of Rs 100 crore to the #PMCaresFunds

Ensuring Distribution of Essential Commodities to Consumers:

To ensure the availability of essential items such as ITC’s different Food products and Savlon hygiene products across the country, ITC's entire supply chain right from agri sourcing to production to distribution is working tirelessly battling all odds to ensure that consumers are not inconvenienced on account of shortages or unavailability. ITC has also been working closely with Government authorities and local administration to ensure that manufacturing and distribution of ITC’s essential commodities continue uninterrupted with minimum people. ITC has redoubled its efforts to ensure a heightened level of precaution and have implemented strict protocols for personal hygiene, sanitation and social distancing in its factories that are producing essential commodities. For those who have to work in factories or maintain supplies in markets, every safety precaution including supply of sanitizers, protective gear, masks, regular temperature checks, staggered work timings and availability of 24x7 medical support have been implemented.

Snapchat Launches the Donation Lenses to Support COVID-19 Response Efforts by WHO

In these testing times, Snap Inc. has taken a proactive approach to ensure Snapchatters have access to credible, fact-based information on their platform. In line with this, Snapchat introduces new augmented reality - donation lense in India for Snapchatters who want to support COVID-19 response efforts.

When a Snapchatter views an INR 500 currency note in the Snapchat camera and taps on it, an AR experience will trigger that shows how a potential donation could support the World Health Organization’s immediate response efforts, which include tracking the spread of COVID-19, ensuring patients get the care they need, and providing frontline workers with critical supplies.

These lenses are being launched in partnership with the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the WHO, and will direct Snapchatters to the donation page for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO. Snapchatters will be able to access these lenses in several ways, including in the lens carousel, via Snapcode, or by using Scan. You can donate any amount in supported currencies. The AR experience will show you how your potential donation could support WHO’s work to track and understand the spread of the virus; to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and to accelerate efforts to develop vaccines, tests, and treatments. The Donation lens is active on other currencies as well such as pound, euro, dollar.

These new AR lenses build on Snap’s efforts to support Snapchatters and the partners to navigate this unprecedented challenge together. Snap has believed that Snapchatters play a critical role in stopping the spread of the virus; and has seen increased engagement across the platform, including in Snaps sent between best friends, voice and video calling.

This is the latest feature launched by Snap as the team continues to focus on providing a seamless in app experience to help the Snap community communicate with loved ones while being physically distant, stay informed, share vital safety information with their friends, and more.

Additional on Snap’s COVID-19 efforts:

Snap ensures that the community has access to the latest news and information on COVID-19, from trusted and credible sources. The WHO and CDC are publishing regular updates to their users from their Official Accounts; more than 40 media publishers around the world are covering every angle of the pandemic; and Snap is onboarding new editorial partners. Snap’s own news team is also regularly producing coverage and continuously updating Discover with tips and information about COVID-19, including Q&As with medical experts. To date, over 445 Discover Stories or Shows have been produced on COVID-19, and over 68 million Snapchatters worldwide have viewed COVID-19-related content on Snapchat.

Snapchat introduces creative tools to share safety tips with their close friends and loved ones.  These tools include a new Snappable mythbusting game based on guidance from the WHO; an informational lens in partnership with the WHO that lets Snapchatters share safety tips in a visual way; Bitmoji that enforce key health and safety messages; and new features in Zenly app (by Snapchat)


The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO allows companies, organizations, and people everywhere to donate to WHO’s COVID-19 response efforts. Donations go into a fund to support: Tracking and understanding the spread of the virus; Ensuring patients get the care they need, and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; Accelerating efforts to develop vaccines, tests and treatments.

From Customers to Communities: Ford Family Extends A Helping Hand in India’s Fight Against COVID-19

With the ongoing pandemic causing public restrictions & health concern, Ford India shared a series of initiatives undertaken by the company to help the customer as well as communities impacted by the coronavirus.

 For customers presently under lockdown, Ford has announced a series of initiatives to minimize the inconvenience, including:

Price Protection: Customers who have booked or plan to book a new Ford car until April 30 will get complete price protection at the time of delivery.

Warranty Extension: On all Ford cars where warranty - factory or extended – expires between March 15 and May 30, 2020, Ford will provide a free-of-cost extension till June 30, 2020. Customers planning to purchase extended warranty products can do so until June 30.

Service Benefits: Ford is offering a three-month extension in availing all scheduled service benefits, including free service, to June 30, 2020, without impacting either factory-warranty or extended warranty

Customer Care: Ford’s Customer Care experts have been available round the clock to attend to customer queries via email, through @FordIndiaHelp on Twitter or via SMS number 56263

24x7 Roadside Assistance: With vehicle requirement being critical to attend to emergencies, Ford has been providing 24X7 Roadside Assistance, absolutely free of cost. The service is offered to all Ford owners, including those customers who haven’t subscribed to RSA services irrespective of the age of their vehicle. Ford owners can contact us via our dedicated RSA helpline: 1800-103-7400

“Health and safety of our workforce, customers & communities is our highest priority. From knowledge to resources, we are deploying everything in our means to help fight this pandemic,” said Vinay Raina, executive director Marketing, Sales & Service at Ford India.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

What Does the Future Hold for Humanity? Find Out Through ‘TechBay’ on DocuBay!

Will science succeed in fighting the rapidly emerging threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs? Can Artificial Intelligence be taught the complexities of human morals and understanding? When will the first perfect prototype of self-driving cars hit the road? These and many more intriguing topics get unraveled through a bunch of new documentaries launched on DocuBay, the global premium video-on-demand membership streaming service by IN10 Media Network.

Promo link:

Continuing to bring different stories, experiences, and perspectives for documentary fans, DocuBay launches a new ‘TechBay’ exploring the future promises and possibilities through technological advancement. From robots that can reason to overcome the global water crisis to the possibility of human existence on Mars to preparing astronauts for space travel, TechBay brings a broad range of documentaries revolving around fascinating and topical issues of artificial intelligence, space technology, and cutting-edge medical developments, among others. 

Speaking about the launch of the new bay on the streaming service, Adita Jain (Head - Content Acquisition, DocuBay) said, “We’ve been really looking forward to launching a category on Technology.  Offering fresh, relevant content through categories like the new TechBay is critical to continually engage viewers. We have more new bays in store and can’t wait to share them with DocuBay’s global community of documentary film fans.”

Germ Warfare: The Battle Against Superbugs                         Moonwalk One
Life Beyond Earth                                                  Airships
A.I. Artificial Intelligence: Creating the Code for Consciousness  Weapons of Mass Surveillance
The Next Great Extinction Event                                    The University
Ubiquity                                                           The Iceberg Project
Hak_Mtl                                                            The Wizard of H2O
From ISS to Mars                                                   Who’s Driving The Car?
Jaguar: Going Electric                                             Job: Astronaut
The Iceberg Project                                                Creating an Ocean

*Attached document with a detailed synopsis of the above titles                           

The titles under the TechBay category are now available for global streaming on DocuBay in 180+ countries, with the app available on platforms such as the App Store, Google Play, Fire TV, MiTV, and Apple TV, among others. 

Tata Motors Adopts a 3 Pronged CSR Approach to Combat Covid-19


* The provision and supply of essentials to the communities that are on ground-zero and to the lower social strata of the society that is most impacted by the lockdown
* Various interventions by the company to facilitate production of protective gear and medical kits
* Education on the preventive measures to halt the spread of the virus

Following the footsteps of parent company Tata Sons, Tata Motors, one of India’s leading automobile manufacturers has too adopted a strategy to contain the spread of Covid-19. The company’s plan of action is focused on E3 directives -

Essential Supplies provision:

Tata Motors has organized for food supplies to migrants and stranded communities, urban slums, transit camps and villagers, drivers, co-drivers, mechanics, contractual and temporary workers, security personnel, across geographies in the country. So far, the company has provided over 25,000 Food packets (cooked meals) and over 5000 Grocery kits (ration) and is continuing its efforts to ensure health of the underprivileged communities. In addition to this, the company has established two helpline numbers for temporary and contractual workmen for food related requests in Lucknow and is providing water to 19 Police chowkis and traffic police in Pune.  Tata Motors partnered with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. to distribute food packets and personal protective kits to truck drivers visiting companies “Saarthi Aaram Kendra (SAK)” located in Narsapura (near Bangalore) and Bawal (near Gurgaon) locations.

Equipping heroes on Ground-Zero:

Tata Motors is supporting and assisting Self-Help Groups to manufacture home-made certified masks and sanitizers to be distributed to hospitals, vendors, health-workers, police stations, army personnel, in communities around the company’s plants. Till date, the company has enabled the manufacturing of 17,000 home-made certified masks. The company has also facilitated N95 masks, sanitizers, Personal Protective Equipment kits that are being distributed to municipal hospitals. The company also conducted health check-ups & provided basic medication to over 500 stranded truck drivers and co-drivers in Belur, Dharwad.

Educating masses for containment and prevention:

Tata Motors is emphasizing on good health practices by putting up banners and other related information material to spread awareness in slums and amongst low-income group communities. The company is also leveraging its social media platforms to spread awareness about simple and easy precautionary measures one can adopt to stay unaffected and healthy.

Tata Motors Appoints Sudeep Bhalla as the Head of Corporate Communications

Tata Motors has announced the appointment of Sudeep Bhalla as the Head of Corporate Communications, Tata Motors.

Sudeep will oversee all the activities and operations of the Communications function for Tata Motors, effective April 7, 2020. He will be based out of Mumbai and report into Mr. Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD, Tata Motors.

Commenting on the announcement, Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD, Tata Motors, said, "We are happy to welcome Sudeep to the Tata Motors Family. Sudeep’s rich experience of over two decades across various facets of Public Relations and Corporate Communications will help further strengthen the team. We are extremely confident that his energy and expertise will help further drive the growth of brand Tata Motors.”

An alumnus of the Institute of Management Development and Research, Pune, Sudeep brings with him a vast experience in Financial & Telecom sector. Prior to this, Sudeep led Corporate Communications and sustainability function at Vodafone Idea Ltd.

Hero Motocorp Extends Duration of Warranty, Free Service and AMC Services During Nationwide COVID-19 Lockdown

With customer-centricity at the core of its operations, Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, has extended the duration of all its warranty and free services in view of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

For the benefit of all its existing customers, the Company has extended services that were getting exhausted during the lock-down period. These services have been extended to ensure that all customers maintain social distancing and are not required to visit dealerships in a rush.

The extended services include –

* All scheduled Free Service (FSC) expiring between March 21 to April 30 will be extended till June 30, 2020
* All services under Joyride (AMC) expiring between March 21 to April 30 will be extended till June 30, 2020
* All vehicles for which the warranty is expiring during lockdown period will be extended till June 30, 2020

(as per terms and conditions of warranty)

Hero MotoCorp is also offering Road Side Assistance, where permitted by local authorities.

The Company is operating a toll-free 24x7 customer helpline number (18002660018) to support all customer queries related to sales, after-sales, service, warranty, and other support.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Indian Immunologicals to Lead Research Collaboration to Develop “Vaccine for COVID-19”

Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), a leading vaccines manufacturing company, has announced that the company is going to commence research for developing a vaccine for Corona Virus (COVID-19), the pandemic which has infected more than a million and killed about 55,000 people across the world so far. The Hyderabad, India, headquartered vaccine maker joined hands with Griffith University of Australia by entering into an agreement for research collaboration to conduct exploratory research to develop a lead vaccine candidate for Coronavirus.

In this significant cross-continental collaboration, scientists from Indian Immunologicals Limited and Griffith University (Australia) will develop a ‘Live Attenuated SARS – CoV-2 vaccine’ or Covid-19 vaccine using the latest codon de-optimization technology.  The technology looks promising for developing a vaccine for prophylactic, active, single dose immunization against coronavirus in humans, with an enhanced safety profile. The vaccine is expected to provide long-lasting protection with a single dose administration with an anticipated safety profile similar to other licensed vaccines for active immunization.

Upon completion of the research, the vaccine strain will be transferred to Indian Immunologicals Limited and the vaccine maker will work accordingly with the country’s regulator – CDSCO (The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation) - to further conduct clinical trials which will be taken up in a phased manner. IIL intends to use its existing Vero cell platform technology for mass production of the virus.

Speaking on the development, Dr K Anand Kumar, Managing Director, Indian Immunologicals Limited said, “IIL is committed to addressing critical public health needs by engaging in this research collaboration. The mission at IIL is to develop and supply vaccines that support the One Health initiative. IIL has taken up this initiative to develop a vaccine candidate for the pandemic – COVID-19. IIL’s leadership in producing safe and affordable human and veterinary vaccines will enable us to progress well in this endeavor”.

Commenting on the research collaboration, Dr Prasanna Deshpande, Dy. Managing Director, Indian Immunologicals Limited said, “After evaluating various options being followed across the world, we decided to develop a Live Attenuated Covid-19 vaccine based on codon de-optimization technology.  With our dedicated research and development capabilities supported with excellent team of scientists and engineers, IIL is committed to developing high-quality vaccines that are affordable. We are confident that this new cross-continental collaboration will yield the desired results”.

“We are very excited to be able to work closely with Indian Immunological Limited for development of this important vaccine to solve this urgent public health crisis. Our live-attenuated vaccine will be developed using codon de-optimization technology and is expected to provide long lasting immunity against SARS – CoV-2 following a single immunisation and cross-protection against other coronaviruses (e.g. MERS, SARS-CoV-1). As this vaccine will be a live attenuated vaccine it is expected to be highly effective by providing very strong cellular and antibody immune responses against the virus. The other benefit of a live-attenuated vaccine is a proven track record for economical large-scale manufacturing and well-known regulatory approval pathway.” said Professor Suresh Mahalingam, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Australia on the research collaboration.

Indian Immunologicals Limited is already working with Griffith University, Australia for conducting research and development of Zika virus vaccine which is currently at pre-clinical toxicology testing stage. The joint project has been progressing well and Indian Immunologicals Limited is expected to submit the application for conducting clinical trials in due course.

The codon de-optimization technology has been successfully employed to reduce the virulence of several RNA viruses including Enterovirus C (Poliovirus), Human Immunodeficiency virus type 1, Zika virus etc.

Bhilwara Model Sets Example at Global Level to Break the Chain of Coronavirus Outbreak

Bhilwara, once labeled as the epicenter of COVID-19, is coming back on track after the dedicated efforts of Ashok Gehlot led Rajasthan Government & local administration. Healthcare workers, home guards, police personnel, government officials and every other individual related to the screening of COVID-19 patients and are working without any leaves, almost all hours a day. It’s just not the duty they are serving, it’s a city, a state and a country they are saving.

The first case in Rajasthan was reported on March 2, 2020 and strict actions were taken in the state on the very first day. “Nearly 5 crore people are screened and 1 crore 17 lakh household have been tested till now. Things were also controlled with imposition of curfew and today, 34 places are under curfew in Rajasthan,” said Chief Minister Shri Ashok Gehlot.

Adding further, “2 km area of a person found COVID-19 positive is sealed and checks are done. Today, out of total number of positives in Rajasthan, nearly 30-32 are the evacuees from Iran at Jaisalmer & Jodhpur. People with travel history or any contact with positive patients are being isolated and checked. The only worry is of people who are coming out positive and have no history of either travel or contact.” “Officials of the Central government are in touch with the Chief Secretary and they mention Bhilwara whenever they have video conferencing. We sealed the borders the day we got to know about the case of the doctor being positive with the virus in Bhilwara and it is becoming a learning ground after the commendable efforts.” ''22 lakhs families from villages, nearly 10 lakh households in the city were tested and that's how Bhilwara is today an example in the fight against corona in India,” said Chief Minister AShok Gehlot.

In India, few hotspots of COVID-19 were listed, which were also known as the epicenters of coronavirus. Bhilwara emerged as one from Rajasthan in the list of 10 major spots. At one time, 12 out of 18 cases of the state were from here and Bhilwara was leading the tally. With 27 cases, the district was considered the worst hit in Rajasthan and for a few days, at the national level too.

But following the hard work & efforts, the city is now standing tall with 17 recoveries with 11 discharged. “We are now on a war-footing level and working in a 6-part process beginning with the imposition of curfew, coordination work of police surveying colonies where the visitor’s of Bangar Hospital, where it all began, might be staying,” said Harendra Mahawar, SP, Bhilwara. He further added, more than 5,000 people were listed who were consulted by the COVID-19 positive doctor of Bangar Hospital. Patients of IPD and OPD were also screened.

To break the chain of contamination, nearly 6,000 people were identified and put under isolation in only 2 days. The struggle just began as patients of almost 19 districts and 4 states were in the hospital when a sudden rise of positive patients was reported. Every single individual was put in strict isolation and a curfew was imposed within 15 minutes on strict orders without harming the supply of food & other essentials. CLG members, community leaders, and religious gurus were approached and appealed to motivate the public to stay home. Initiatives were launched, appealing videos were made and few unwanted social elements faced legal action too. Nearly 600 vehicles have also been seized.

“Team of healthcare officials led by Chief Medical & Health Officer Dr. Mushtaq Khan did a commendable job followed by tremendous efforts from the local administration and other staff,” said Mahawar. Speaking on the same, Dr. Mushtaq Khan, CMHO stated that, “We worked parallely on precaution and treatment, both were done together to control the outbreak.The main task was to identify the relatives of the first patient and isolate them. I would say that it was done on a war-footing level and everything got under control at the right time.” Adding further, “We are regularly tracking the patients even after we release them. As of now, 11 patients have been discharged after 3 negative reports of each one of them. People trusted us, they supported us and with efforts from both the sides, today Bhilwara is standing strong and lockdown has played a major role in breaking the chain.”

Speaking on the developments, Rajendra Bhatt, District Magistrate, Bhilwara said, “We have deployed corona fighters in villages who are led by the corona captain, the SDM. They submit daily reports on the screenings in rural areas and if there is any sign of community spread. I can proudly say that as of now, the numbers have gone down and each & every department is working together to fight this pandemic. Whether it is food & supplies, police, home guards, medical workers, and the public, we are fighting the battle together & have almost come out of it.” “We have extended a total shutdown for a few more days and people will get everything they need at their doorstep. No shop, dairy, the medical store will be open. If people want something, they will directly call us, whether it is medicine, food or anything else. For this, at least 4-5 control rooms of several departments are being operated and we are fulfilling demands. It is a necessary step to control the outbreak and bring out a total COVID-19 free Bhilwara in the coming few days. With the pace we are getting desired results, we will stop this soon.” As Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has promised ‘koi bhuka nahi soyega’ (nobody will sleep hungry), we are making every essential reach household as per their demand.

The administration has acquired 42 hospitals with dedicated beds for positive patients, 1551 bed quarantine facilities prepared at hotels and other such establishments. Other than that, places have been identified where if needed, an infrastructure of 10-15,000 beds can be developed. The senior officials are using every given chance to motivate their subordinates and have also deployed 3-tier security for the healthcare officials. A barricading outside the premises, a check at the entrance gate and a deployment of cops at the isolation ward has played a major role in making Bhilwara a role-model to hold the outbreak with discipline. Deputy SP has been deployed who looks after sanitizing medical staff before they enter the premises or take the duty charge. 25-30 lakh screenings have been done in the past few days and daily reports are being sent to either the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police.

For 3 days now, the city which was named COVID-19 patients very frequently has reported only 1 positive who had a history of visiting the corona affected hospital. Adding another feather in the cap, the hard work and dedication of district administration has also recovered patients. Once standing high with 27 patients, the district now has only 7 COVID-19 patients as reports of 17 have now come negative and two lost their lives due to other illnesses.

“We sealed the city and later the whole district boundaries were strictly sealed. The population of the city has been screened at least 3 times now and people having normal cough & cold due to weather change (influenza-like illness), who were in thousands, were also checked and surveyed. Those having symptoms were put under isolation or quarantine. People also cooperated and it was under control. There was a time when Rajasthan had 18 patients and 12 were from Bhilwara,” said Rajendra Bhatt, DM, Bhilwara.

JK Tyre Extends Community Support Through Awareness Drives, Health Camps, Food Supplies Across All Manufacturing Plant Locations

Continuing its bid to support the country’s fight against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), India’s leading tyre manufacturer JK Tyre & Industries Ltd has implemented a series of public relief measures to ensure safety and health of citizens across plant locations in Mysore, Banmore, Kankroli, Chennai and Haridwar.

In its ongoing commitment to extend support for immediate on-ground response, the company is reaching out to over 10,000 daily wage earners and migrants with food supplies in every region.

JK Tyre has also organised medical health camps across 25 villages and conducted surveys in residential localities situated in the vicinity of its manufacturing facilities across India.

JK Tyre realises the need for creating mass awareness at the community level and has been organising drives to educate the commercial drivers, suppliers and other vendors about the precautionary measures against spread of COVID-19. To ensure safety of citizens in public places, masks and sanitizers are being distributed across all key locations.

The company has also set up a Corona Task-Force; that undertakes measures for supporting the needs, health and well-being of colleagues, partners, and their families. Initiatives like virtual training sessions and interactive webinars with medical experts are being organised to help them cope with the impact of COVID-19.

Dr. Raghupati Singhania, Chairman & Managing Director, JK Tyre & Industries, said, “We all are faced with an unprecedented challenge and the world has become as one community in its efforts towards arresting the spread of COVID-19. While we are ensuring the safety of our family and employees, there is a large section of society that remains deprived of basic facilities. We are humbled to play our part in the relief efforts aimed towards the marginalised communities.”

Additionally, the conglomerate, JK Organisation has made a contribution towards the Prime Minister’s Fund and is dedicatedly working towards addressing the immediate needs of communities and migrant labour, at several locations across the country.

Hygiene & Sanitation efforts: More than 20,000 hand sanitizers and masks were distributed covering even the residential colonies across all the locations.

Community-led initiatives: Communities in 150+ villages around the plant locations, across several states have been educated about precautions against COVID-19, by Public address systems, door-to-door visits, banners and posters at prominent locations. Fumigation has been done in nearby villages covering more than 25000 people.

Access to medical aid: 50+ Medical camps were set up in several villages to conduct first-level screening for COVID-19 symptoms among citizens and awareness drives were conducted for 5,000 truck drivers, suppliers/ vendors. Additionally, district health departments have been provided with ambulance, safety materials, masks, soaps and hand gloves. Isolation wards have been created near the plants and infrastructure support is being provided at primary health centers.

Support to Migrant workers: Distribution of food, medicines, sanitizers, drinking water and dry ration to 20000+ people at several locations across the country.

Food Supplies: Extending support to government officials, Police department and government hospital employees with packed food and drinking water with the help of NGO’s.

Care for employees, dealers & channel partners: Awareness sessions are being organised by Doctors from Pushpawati Singhania Hospital & Research Institute (PSRI Hospital), to educate them regarding their safety as well as of their families. Additionally, skill building webinars and online courses are being organised for the employees.

Trend Micro Secures BRAC Bank Ltd Against Advanced Threats Across Networks and Endpoints

Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, is now providing a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity solutions to BRAC Bank Ltd, Bangladesh’s leading bank for small and medium-sized businesses. Consisting of Trend Micro Apex One, Trend Micro Deep Discovery Inspector and Trend Micro Deep Discovery Analyzer, the deployment provides BRAC Bank with automatic shielding from vulnerabilities, malware, and ransomware attacks. It also helps the bank with real-time threat monitoring and protection, elevated security posture for endpoints and networks.

With banking sector being a top target for cyberattacks, BRAC Bank Ltd primarily needed an all-inclusive solution which would protect them against advanced persistent threats such as malware infections, targeted attacks, zero-day, vulnerability exploits, and low-level phishing via email, SMS, and website. As a result of the deployment of Trend Micro’s solutions, BRAC Bank Ltd has been able to get 360-degree visibility into the threat landscape. Advanced capabilities such as high-fidelity machine learning, behavioral analysis, exploit protection, file reputation, ransomware variant protection, intrusion prevention, command and control (C&C) blocking, browser exploit protection, application whitelisting, web reputation, and sandbox integration provided complete protection against threats.

“Cybersecurity is a top priority at BRAC Bank Ltd. Trend Micro’s security solutions has protected us against advanced malware and ransomware, as well as against new unknown variants as they emerge. The product’s investigative capabilities are extremely advanced and give us a holistic view of endpoints and networks across the organization,” said B. M. Zahid ul Haque, Head of Information Security, BRAC Bank Ltd.

“As the threat landscape continues to evolve and cybercriminals employ increasingly sophisticated techniques, we need a solution that can also grow and improve our defense against advanced threats and targeted attacks. Trend Micro’s track record of continuous innovation, its laser focus on next-gen endpoint security, and its unmatched standards convinced us that Trend Micro was the right solution for us,” he further added.

Vijendra Katiyar, Director - Enterprise Business, India & SAARC, Trend Micro said, “Given the rapid digital transformation that the banking sector has faced in the last few years, BRAC Bank Ltd realized the importance of implementing Trend Micro’s robust security solution for its networks and endpoints. Trend Micro Deep Discovery addresses advanced persistent threats and provides a comprehensive solution to detect, analyze, adapt, and respond to targeted attacks. The shared threat intelligence feature ingests advanced threat intelligence or indicators of compromise (IoCs) from threat feeds and custom inputs. It also identified malicious communications, and attacker activities that escape standard security defences, enabling BRAC Bank Ltd to block unknown threats.”

BRAC Bank Ltd also chose Trend Micro for the advantageous position of Trend Micro as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms since 2002, its established credibility as a market leader in The Forrester Wave: Endpoint Security Suites (Q2 2018), as well as having earned the rank of “most effective recommended breach detection system” for two years running by NSS Labs. BRAC Bank Ltd looks forward to doing more PoCs with Trend Micro. 

Introducing Aiisma: A Data Marketplace App with COVID-19 Tracking Feature in India


* India’s first consumer to business data marketplace that rewards users for sharing data
* The App comes with ‘AiiHealth’ – A Coronavirus tracking feature
* The Aiisma App is in beta and will soon be available on mobile app stores

Aiisma, an India born data marketplace, rewards users for consensually and anonymously trading their data via the Aiisma App. The marketplaces’ location sharing and health mapping features can be used for effective contact tracing, which has been the strongest aid in fighting COVID-19 so far. The insights gathered by the Aiisma ecosystem naturally create a digital fence against the COVID-19 spread, supporting citizens and authorities in the fight against the virus.

Via the Aiisma mobile app users can consensually and anonymously trade their behavioural data for rewards and receive extra compensation for viewing ads on the marketplace. Businesses access this data through the Aiisma dashboard in a legal and economical format, to create relevant products and services offerings. Furthermore, the same channel can deliver highly targeted text, banner and video ads to increase marketing efficiency for businesses.

In light of the current COVID-19 situation, Aiisma has also expedited the release of its health mapping feature for individuals, to manually share and monitor health insights. Increased use of the app will enable authorities with pro-active responses, due to sudden variations in the data pool.  It also intends to release a trigger function for authorities to send anonymous alerts to any Aiisma users who might have come in contact with any positive tested carrier.

Commenting on the launch of services, Mr. Ankit Chaudhari, Founder and CEO of Aiisma said, “India’s large and young population, which is digitally savvy, will make for one of the largest contributors in the approaching data economy. We at Aiisma believe that the users should reap financial rewards for this contribution and intend to do exactly this. A few days before the launch, I discussed with my father, who is a specialist microbiology consultant with the state government and he emphasized the importance of real-time data to fight COVID-19, whilst respecting citizen privacy. This motivated us at Aiisma to expedite the health data feature, which in combination with location sharing will probably become the most used feature of our application over the coming weeks.”

“The economic impact of the pandemic will wreak havoc for small and medium business, where again information from consumer-generated data will act as an enabler for SMB’s to make smart decisions with respect to their path forward. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unfortunate situation for the world, but we are glad that we can make a positive contribution through the technology we have been building,” he further added.

Adding to this, Mr. Nicholas Böhnlein, Co-Founder and COO of Aiisma said, “As a millennial, I understand the power and value of my data, which is regularly monetized under the pretext of freemium by BigTech companies. We at Aiisma want to give the power of data and the huge economic value back to data creators. With the help of Aiisma’s technology ecosystem, consumers can choose the kind of data they wish to share with businesses for a fair value. In our eyes, every individual is a #datapreneur. We look forward to our launch and hope to bring value to Indian consumers. Also, I would like to mention that we are open to sharing anonymous information with the respective authorities to assist them in fighting the pandemic.”

With its #mydatamyasset philosophy, Aiisma intends to create a nationwide trend of returning the power of data back to users. Founded by Ankit Chaudhari and Nicholas Böhnlein in 2018, Aiisma’s goal is to be at the forefront of the approaching data-driven economy. Data has been identified as the new gold and the Founders' vision is to include consumers in a revenue-sharing business model, solidifying the consumers’ value in the digital world.

Blue Dart Deploys its 757 Boeing Freighters to Move Medical and Pharmaceutical Supplies with Additional New Routes

Against the backdrop of the global Covid-19 outbreak, our nation is grappling with a situation never experienced earlier & this has a widespread impact on the economy. Businesses across sectors and geographies are disrupted due to mobility suspension.

In this challenging environment, Blue Dart has mobilized its Business Contingency and Continuity Plan (BCCP), including pandemic operating plans, and is implementing preventive actions as appropriate to ensure least disruption in our services to Indian businesses. Our QRT – Quick Response Team, is working 24x7 towards mitigating potential impacts while ensuring continuity of the supply chain across the nation. Our six 757 Boeing freighters operating day and night across Indian skies have been prioritised to deliver medical equipment & pharmaceuticals amongst other shipments enabling the nation in its fight against the COVID 19 pandemic.

We are continuously monitoring and responding to the various situational challenges caused by COVID-19 keeping the interest of customers, employees and community paramount. We are providing vital updates and necessary information to our customers and employees on precautionary measures and permissible guidelines to operate across geographies during the 21-days nationwide lockdown.

Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart Express Limited said, “In this critical health crisis, our Express logistics services play a critical role, in saving lives – whether it is by sending emergency medical equipment and supplies to healthcare workers; delivering necessity goods to customers; or by finding solutions for companies to continue their operations. To this end, we are working closely with Government bodies and Institutions. Our QRT is responding exceptionally to the situation & industries we are working with have appreciated the response that Blue Dart has been able to put together at short notice. We are working round the clock to deliver in a time-bound manner so that the fight against the pandemic is supplemented & multiplied. Ensuring the air life-line of the nation our aircrafts are deployed”

To ensure essential deliveries are not disrupted, Blue Dart also operated two new air - routes Guwahati and Pune which are not a part of our normal schedule. We are also flying flights as exigencies demand. Additionally, we are exploring international charter to support critical Government requirement.

Blue Dart has listed itself on the dedicated Medical Air Cargo website

Shipments moved:

Across the country we have been delivering testing kits, reagents, enzymes, medical equipment (ventilators), N95 respirators and surgical masks, gloves, & other items requisitioned by State Governments. Customers such as Siemens, Boston scientific, Sun pharmaceuticals and several others have used our aviation service to move essential medical supplies.  

COVID 19 Relief - Toyota Kirloskar Motor Announces ‘Customer Connect’ Program

In-line with its ‘Customer First’ philosophy, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has announced several measures to support customers navigate the uncertainties of COVID 19. As a sign of strengthening its bond with customers, TKM today announced a host of service packages to help them through this unique situation. The new set of services being offered by TKM include extension of Vehicle Warranty (New & Toyota Vehicle Purchased from TOYOTA U-TRUST), Free Maintenance Service, Roadside Assistance, Extended Warranty & SMILES Pre-Paid maintenance package for up to two months.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Naveen Soni, Senior Vice President, Sales & Service, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said, “We would like to sincerely thank all our customers for their continued support and understanding over the years. To avoid any inconvenience to customers, we are trying our best to ensure seamless communication and hassle-free processes. Our ‘Customer Connect’ program is a step to build confidence, and show our commitment to our valued customers and our dealer partners, in these times of distress. Taking this opportunity, we would also like to sincerely request all our customers to stay at home and follow the guidelines announced by the Government.”

TKM realizes how important it is to support their customers during a time of crisis and to stay connected with them and extend support wherever required. Keeping these challenges in mind, TKM has announced Free Emergency Support to customers who do not have the coverage till 15 days post the lockdown. TKM along with its Dealerships are actively addressing customer queries (over phone), ensuring they are helped and guided in an effective manner. In case of emergencies where Toyota vehicles are involved, the dealerships are fulfilling customer needs by providing doorstep facilities as Essential Services, with full cooperation from local authorities.

Additionally, TKM is offering an extension until 31st May, 2020 for the customers whose respective Programs or Products may have expired during this lockdown period. To ensure the vehicles remains in the best of the conditions, Vehicle Inspection, Car Cabin Care, Tyre, & Battery will be provided at special prices once the Dealerships are operational.

Considering the situation and the prolonged parking of the vehicle, TKM along with its Dealerships have also provided various maintenance tips to be considered during this lockdown period.

Toyota Dealerships are the face of the company and play a crucial role in engaging with the customers on a day-to-day basis. Thus, it is important to ensure they are ready to handle customer requests once the situation normalizes. Considering the timeline of lockdown, the dealerships are instructed with certain Do’s & Don’ts to be followed once the operations are back to normal.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Airtel Payments Bank, Bharti AXA General Insurance Partners to Offer Insurance Products Covering COVID-19

Airtel Payments Bank, India’s first Payments Bank, has partnered with Bharti AXA General Insurance, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises, one of India’s leading business groups, and AXA, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, to offer simple and focused health insurance plans for providing financial protection against COVID-19 in these challenging times.

Under the partnership, the companies have rolled out two health insurance plans - Bharti AXA Group Health Assure which offers lump sum benefit of Rs 25,000 and Group Hospital Cash which provides daily benefit starting Rs 500 per day - to provide protection against COVID-19.

Bharti AXA Group Health Assure Policy covering COVID-19comes with a fixed cover offering 100 per cent sum insured as a lump sum, if the policy holder is diagnosed positive or gets quarantined in a government hospital or military facility/establishment. In case, the policy holder is diagnosed negative after being quarantined for at least 14 days in a government hospital or military facility/establishment, he or she will be entitled to 50 per cent of the sum insured. The policy offers protection for COVID-19 from day one of the purchase and can be purchased at a price of Rs. 499 (including GST) for fixed sum insured of Rs. 25,000. It can be availed from the Banking Section of the Airtel Thanks App or by visiting the nearest active Banking Point of Airtel Payments Bank.

Group Hospital Cash Policy provides per day fixed allowance on hospitalization with Enhanced ICU Cash. Under this policy, depending on the plan, a customer is entitled to a fixed per day benefit of Rs 500 or Rs 1000 paid for each day of hospitalization, up to maximum for 10 days. This benefit doubles, if the policy holder is treated in Intensive Care Unit (ICU). A customer can claim the benefit, if hospitalised for minimum 24 hours. After the initial waiting period of 30 days from the first policy inception date, Group Hospital Cash covers pre-existing diseases and specified conditions. The product also provides coverage for a policy holder who is hospitalised for treatment of COVID-19. It can be purchased from any active Banking Point of Airtel Payments Bank. The product will be soon available under the banking section of Airtel Thanks mobile app.

With no pre-medical check-up required, both the products are currently available for Savings bank account customers of Airtel Payments Bank who are not suffering from COVID-19 or its symptoms.

Mr. Anubrata Biswas, MD and CEO, Airtel Payments Bank, said, “We are delighted to offer insurance products designed to provide financial protection during the current outbreak of COVID-19. With our technology platform and deep distribution reach, we will be immediately able to offer this product to millions of customers at this hour of need. We wanted to ensure health protection for our customers in the challenging times and, therefore, partnered with Bharti AXA General Insurance to offer health products which are easily available. These products affirm our commitment to empower every Indian with digital, contextual and timely solutions.”

Mr. Sanjeev Srinivasan, MD and CEO, Bharti AXA General Insurance, said, “We are happy to join hands with Airtel Payments Bank with our two need-based health insurance plans and leverage the power of digital to maximize the penetration of health insurance in India. We believe that ensuring a safety net against the financial repercussions of COVID-19 or any disease is just as important as exercising precautions against it. As an organization, we have always been responsive to every need of the hour and it is among our foremost endeavors to support our customers in such times of distress. This alliance further strengthens our commitment as a responsible protection partner.”

The validity period of these policies is restricted to one year and will be issued on individual name basis only.

ABB, NASSCOM Partners to Develop Competency Standards for New-Age Technology Jobs in India

In a major push for skill development in the technology industry, ABB, in association with the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has developed a standardized qualification criterion for two IoT-related job roles – IoT Network Communications and IoT Cyber Security. This first of its kind industry collaboration will facilitate the much-needed uniformity and formalization by aiding the hiring and evaluation of these high-skilled jobs across the sector. The Qualification Packs (QPs) define the competency standards that will provide a framework for academic institutions to design their course curriculum to better conform to industry hiring standards. The qualification packs for the two job roles have been approved by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), and National Skills Qualifications Committee (NSQC).

These standardized assessments will lead to the creation of skilled and certified talent for IoT from which the industry can hire the right talent for new-age jobs, thereby reducing the cost of hiring and increasing the time for productivity.

The QPs will be promoted across the industry for the purpose of hiring, promotions and curating learning & development (L&D) programs, thereby laying the foundation for standardized employment practices for skilled jobs in the IT-ITeS industry.

NASSCOM estimates that nearly 40% of the country’s workforce needs to be reskilled if they are to work in the artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), machine learning and blockchain spaces. To this effect, the government will popularize the initiative in academic institutions across the country, to help bridge the prominent skill gap that currently exists in the industry. The initiative will allow the Indian Government to streamline the entry of skilled personnel into the industry and ensure minimal retraining and attrition costs across companies.

Commenting on this, Rajarshi Banerjee, Head of ABB Ability Customer Experience and Innovation - AMEA, ABB, said, “At ABB we take pride in being part of this industry-wide endeavour to navigate through the next era of digitalisation and industry 4.0. The rapid pace of technology disruption continues to render significant shifts in human resource requirements. The need of the hour for the industry is a specialized set of skills beyond the traditional course curriculum, as also demonstrated by the current Covid-19 situation where virtual/digital has become integral to operations in most companies. Our joint effort with NASSCOM has led to the creation of these qualification packs that will serve as a guiding light across the industry – recruiters, educational institutes and prospective recruits, as guide-rails both for the curriculum and recruitment. We have created a standardized format for the industry, which we believe will result in developing a quality pool to help companies across sectors, to hire from.”

“An increase in implementation of cybersecurity and other disruptive technologies like IoT, AI etc, has led to an incumbent need for standardizing specialized skill sets, to ensure that the future workforce is equipped with the knowledge and awareness of the applicability that the industry demands and needs,” said Apala Ray, Global Cybersecurity Manager, Industrial Automation Process Industries at ABB. “These Qualification Packs will serve as a compass for the future workforce as well as corporates to navigate new technologies in this space and thereby, capitalize on them. We are proud to have been a key enabler in this first-of-its-kind initiative in India,” she added.

Sharing his thoughts on the partnership, Amit Aggarwal, CEO, IT-ITES Sector Skills Council, NASSCOM, said that, “As the world gets increasingly connected, IoT emerges as an even more prominent technology for our future. With the number of businesses adopting IoT technologies constantly growing, the industry is in need of a qualified workforce that can deliver intelligent solutions for changing consumer and business behaviour. We are certain that this initiative will benefit the sector as a whole and help us in our journey to further consolidate India as a talent hub for new-age technologies.”

NASSCOM has been at the forefront of an industry-driven effort in India to develop ‘Future Skills Competency Standards’ that define the skills required to do jobs in technologies like IoT, AI, Big Data Analytics (BDA), Cloud Computing and several others. NASSCOM has developed these job competency standards together with the industry representatives that have helped create a common language across industry, academia and government on hiring, training and skilling. For an employer, it means the individual is ready to work from day 1, thus creating a win-win for the employee, the employer and the country.

The qualification packs were designed by NASSCOM and ABB in association with other industry partners after detailed functional analysis of the level of knowledge, skills and aptitude required for each of the job roles. This initiative will also form the basis for the government and other tech companies to define job roles and qualification packs for other emerging, new age technologies.

Xiaomi Rolls Out PatchWall 3.0 for Mi TV Users in Indian Market

Xiaomi, India’s number one smartphone and smart TV brand, today, announced the release of PatchWall 3.0, the latest version of Mi TV’s intelligent content-first software. Sticking to Mi TV’s content first philosophy, the new update features a deeper integration with Disney+ Hotstar and addition of new content partners, Mi List along with other UI enhancements. Cleaner animations, a new Mi Lanting Pro font, horizontal scrolling are some of the key features and improvements in PatchWall 3.0

Introduced in 2018 for Xiaomi’s Mi TVs, PatchWall amplifies the content and user experience of viewers with its AI powered capabilities. One of the most comprehensive content platforms, PatchWall helps users discover content in over 13 languages categorised over 9 categories.

Raghu Reddy, Chief Business Officer, Xiaomi India said, “At Xiaomi, we are always exploring and innovating to improve the technology experience of our customers. PatchWall has not only been a key differentiator for us but has also fueled an overwhelming response and popularity for Mi TVs in India. Since the launch of PatchWall in India in 2018, 4.5 billion minutes of content has been streamed on the platform.  With the latest Patchwall 3.0 we are strengthening on our "Content first" philosophy with improved curation & discoverability while also making it more convenient with 1 click play experience. We sincerely hope that these innovations elevate our Mi TV user’s overall entertainment experience.”

Content First Philosophy

Keeping in view the rising popularity of OTT based content in India, Xiaomi has partnered with Disney+ Hotstar , to introduce a first-of-its-kind dedicated sports channel in PatchWall 3.0. The channel not only helps discover content with ease but also gives a one-click play option for various sports content. Content related to ongoing tournaments spanning across different sports such as Kabaddi, Tennis, Cricket and more can be streamed seamlessly on the channel.

With the new addition of Docubay and Lattu Kids, Xiaomi's PatchWall 3.0 now has 20+ content partners, which will provide an eclectic mix of high quality content to the Mi TV users in India. Docubay will stream international documentaries across various topics, and Lattu Kids will provide over 1,500 hours of content suitable for children.

The new Mi List features curated lists of movies and TV shows from different genres. It is a contextually-aware list, which means it recommends specific content that users may want to see during specific occasions like festivals, days of national importance and more.

Next Gen User Experience

The zero-screen in PatchWall 3.0 places content higher than the input tab and also enables horizontal scrolling through different lists. The horizontal design language is also deeply integrated into the show details page. The animations for browsing through carousels have been redesigned to give more focus on the current selection. The Mi Lanting Pro font which was introduced in MIUI 11, has been added to PatchWall 3.0. The update will also feature a set of under the hood animations that further enable content discoverability and a cleaner TV experience.


PatchWall 3.0 will be rolled out on Mi TVs with the latest software update from April 06, 2020 to Mi TV 4A, Mi TV 4C Pro, Mi TV 4A Pro, Mi TV 4 Pro, Mi TV 4X, and Mi TV 4X Pro.

CODE19 Online Hackathon Against Coronavirus in India to Begin on April 10, 2020


The event is being organized by Motwani Jadeja Foundation (MJF) and its think tank, The Motwani Institute for Thought Leadership in Innovation (MITLI)
More than 3,000 participants are expected to take part in the online hackathon that will run for 72 hours.
The outcome would be qualitative, open-source prototypes to help tackle various challenges facing India during or after the COVID19 crisis
Mentors and guides would help participants sharpen their product ideas and convert them to successful real-world products that will aid the fight against Coronavirus
Prize money worth US$ 10,000 on offer
Registration open to all at till 6 pm IST on April 10th

The Silicon-Valley-based Motwani Jadeja Foundation is bringing together the best minds in a 72-hour online hackathon called “CODE19” to find solutions to India’s challenges against the Coronavirus outbreak.

The contest, which begins on April 10th, 2020 (Good Friday), is expected to see over 3,000 participants across nationalities, ethnicities and gender. Working online from the comfort of their homes while India is on a 21-day lockdown, they will collaborate with mentors, subject-matter specialists, data sources and a network of collaborators in the quest for solutions against COVID-19. The online hackathon is open to everyone as individuals and teams, without any criteria or age limit. Those wishing to participate can sign up on till 6 pm IST on April 10.

Said MsAsha Jadeja Motwani, the well-known entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist who is the Founder of Motwani Jadeja Foundation: “Coronavirus is a huge health challenge facing India. Any new crisis requires a new set of ideas and mitigation strategies. Hence, it is our collective responsibility to put our heads together to come up with new ideas and solutions to fight the virus. CODE19 is a platform to bring such bright minds together. By harnessing the power of collaborative computer programming, it aims to create qualitative, open-source projects that would help solve the most pressing problems of the Coronavirus crisis in the country.”

She further added: “The focus of CODE19 is on developing solutions quickly and applying them in everyday life. The participants would be tasked with decoding the Coronavirus outbreak and its impact on India, encoding smart solutions to mitigate the impending Corona-inflicted challenges, and winning prizes worth US$10,000 to realize their solutions. The ideas and innovations they create would readily be available for scaling and implementation across the country.”

Projects are divided into eight specific themes:Medical treatment and testing; Travel and Tourism; Mitigation - Isolation, protection/masks, and social distancing in India; Social life, welfare, and awareness; Research and development; Open innovation for COVID-19; Education and awareness; and Industry.

The participants would work on solutions through ideations, wireframes, designs, developments and testing the prototype they are creating. Mentors and guides will help them sharpen their product ideas and convert them to sure-shot successful products that will aid India’s fight against Coronavirus. Under the Open Innovation category, participants would be free to propose their own ideas, technologies and innovative solutions, bioinformatics, datasets, apps for diagnosis, and the likes, which can be leveraged for strengthening the fight against Coronavirus.

CODE19 will also have a few online sessions including talks with business leaders as well as Yoga and Meditation, to keep the participants inspired. Prize money worth US$ 10,000 is on offer for the winners. There will be public voting at the end of the event to assess the most exciting projects. The winners would be announced at 9 pm on April 14.

Code19India is being held in collaboration with Bengaluru-based HackerEarth. The Association of Designers in India (ADI) is also on board and shall assist in providing mentors through its network.

Amazon Prime Video Marks the Digital Premiere of Prakash Raj Starrer Kannada Blockbuster Maya Bazaar 2016


* Prime members across 200 countries and territories can stream the comedy feature film shortly after its theatrical release.
* Directed by Radhakrishna Reddy, the film comprises a stellar cast including Prakash Raj, Raj B. Shetty, Vasishta N. Simha, among others.
* Prime offers incredible value with unlimited streaming of the latest and exclusive movies, TV shows, stand-up comedy, Amazon Originals, ad free music listening through Amazon Prime Music, free fast delivery on India’s largest selection of products, early access to top deals, unlimited reading with Prime Reading, all available only for Rs 129 a month

Amazon Prime Video today announced the digital premiere of the recently-released Kannada crime-comedy Maya Bazaar 2016. Directed by Radhakrishna Reddy, the film features Prakash Raj, Raj B. Shetty, Vasishta N. Simha playing an honest cop, a conman and a hopeless romantic who form an unusual team to pull off a huge scam in the times of demonetization. Starting April 3, Prime members across 200 countries and territories can stream this hilarious comedy feature, shortly after its theatrical release.

Maya Bazaar 2016 will join the thousands of TV shows and movies from Hollywood and Bollywood in the Prime Video catalogue. These include Indian-produced Amazon Original series like The Family Man, Mirzapur, Inside Edge and Made In Heaven, and award-winning and critically acclaimed global Amazon Original series, including Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Boys, Hunters, Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, all on Prime Video, which is available at no extra cost for Amazon Prime members. The service includes titles available in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi and Bengali.

Prime members will be able to watch Maya Bazaar 2016 anywhere and anytime on the Prime Video app for smart TVs, mobile devices, Fire TV, Fire TV stick, Fire tablets, Apple TV, etc. In the Prime Video app, Prime members can download episodes on their mobile devices and tablets and watch anywhere offline at no additional cost. Prime Video is available in India to Prime members for just ₹999 annually or ₹129 monthly, new customers can find out more at and subscribe to a free 30-day trial.


Maya Bazaar 2016 touches upon the subject of demonetization, and revolves around an honest police officer and a small-time conman who end up crossing paths at a time when the two are in dire need of money. Directed by Radhakrishna Reddy, the film comprises a stellar cast including Prakash Raj, Raj B. Shetty, Vasishta N. Simha, among others.


Prime Video is a premium streaming service that offers Prime members a collection of award winning Amazon Original series, thousands of movies and TV shows—all with the ease of finding what they love to watch in one place.  Find out more at

●        Included with Prime Video: Maya Bazaar 2016 joins thousands of TV shows and movies from Hollywood and Bollywood, including Indian produced Amazon Original series such as The Family Man, Mirzapur, Inside Edge and Made In Heaven, and award-winning and critically acclaimed global Amazon Original series including Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Boys, Hunters, Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel available for unlimited streaming as part of a Prime membership. Prime Video includes titles available in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi and Bengali.

●        Instant Access: Members can watch anywhere, anytime on the Prime Video app for smart TVs, mobile devices, Fire TV, Fire TV stick, Fire tablets, Apple TV and multiple gaming devices. Prime Video is also available to consumers through Airtel and Vodafone pre-paid and post-paid subscription plans. In the Prime Video app, Prime members can download episodes on their mobile devices and tablets and watch anywhere offline at no additional cost.

●        Enhanced experiences: Make the most of every viewing with 4K Ultra HD- and High Dynamic Range (HDR)-compatible content. Go behind the scenes of your favorite movies and TV shows with exclusive X-Ray access, powered by IMDb. Save it for later with select mobile downloads for offline viewing.

●        Included with Prime: Prime Video is available in India at no extra cost to a Prime members for just ₹999 annually or ₹129 monthly, new customers can find out more at and subscribe to a free 30-day trial.

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