Saturday, May 2, 2020

Aiisma App Introduces Contact Tracing for Non-Smartphone Users


Aiisma, India’s first-ever consumer to business data marketplace backed by frontier technology has introduced the contact tracing feature. The tracking feature keeps the person’s details anonymous, thus ensuring the privacy of data and identity. The anonymous feature will release a trigger function that will alert any Aiisma user who might have come into close contact with the infected person and maybe potentially infected. The aim is to create a digital fence of sorts against COVID19 and help authorities and citizens overcome it.

It's the only app in India to utilise the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) feature for contact tracing in rural areas. It’s for non-smartphone users who have previous versions of phones which were not 3G, 4G or 5G connected.  This India based app has come up with a way of contact tracing in rural India, where almost 70% of the country’s population lives.

This can be the primary way of tracking those in rural areas where the penetration of smartphones is not that high. The infrastructure in the back-end of the app and mobile remains the same. Instead of having an app installed in their smartphone, they are selecting one option propagated to them by their service providers. Even basic handsets share the location information via cell towers with the telecom service provider. But this app would use the USSD feature when the person gives consent for this information to be shared with the Aiisma ecosystem which ensures anonymity and privacy.

App Link - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.frelancer.aiisma

NeoGrowth has Been Accelerating Digitization of Small Businesses and Creating Positive Social Impact


Suresh Gupta began selling consumer goods in 2008 with only INR 250. He started with door-to-door sales and 5 years later, he managed to start a grocery store (Sai Shrusthi) in 2013. Retail businesses need to maintain enough cashflow due to their high working capital requirements. As a result, Suresh decided to take a loan from NeoGrowth to meet his liquidity requirements. According to him, the daily repayment option is one of the best features of a loan from NeoGrowth as it is perfectly aligned with his business model. The payment flexibility eased the burden on his monthly outgo. He has further planned to expand his business and open more stores in other areas.

NeoGrowth’s Inception
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), like Sai Shrusthi, are crucial engine for growth of the Indian economy. Nearly 50% of MSMEs still lack access to formal credit, making financial inclusion a core priority. And the major reasons for this huge credit gap are lack of collateral, insufficient or lack of credit history and informal nature of business and lengthy periods of approvals or disbursals for these working capital-intensive businesses. Early into their entrepreneurial venture when they founded the digital payments processing firm, Venture Infotek in the mid-1990s, Mr. Dhruv Khaitan and Mr. Piyush Khaitan, understood the deeper pain points of retailers when it comes to accessing finance. They observed that more than 60% of retailers, even though credit-worthy, were denied finance based on traditional underwriting methods. Thus, going beyond the bipartisan business approach, the Khaitan brothers divested their stake in Venture Infotek in favour of a European MNC in 2010 and soon started a new chapter in the credit space for Indian SME and MSME retailers with NeoGrowth in 2011-12. The company unleashed a revolutionary model for SME and MSME retailers by giving them loans against card swipes using point-of-sale (POS) terminals.

Facts & Figures
 2013 First Loan Disbursed     14,000+ Customers          70% Renewal Rate 1,300 Cr+ AUM
  850+ Employee Strength 600+ Channel Partners   27 Cities        Serving

Product Design & Uniqueness
NeoGrowth’s product design is centred around the business model of the retailers as card swipes give a good sense of the business potential, seasonality changes and customer footfalls for underwriting. Another differentiating factor is that this product has a daily recovery model and is digitally driven. The company can be described as a true ‘Digital Lender’ which provides loans to consumer facing, retail oriented, under-served MSMEs through a pioneering model that enables automated, hassle-free, daily, digital repayments for the customers. As its key product, the company offers an innovative loan product, i.e. loans against future digital sales (credit/debit card, online and digital sales). The product, launched in 2012-13, has since then grown in popularity to give NeoGrowth a nation-wide footprint across 27 cities in India and customers across various industries such as restaurants, food and beverage outlets, apparel, consumer durable and footwear stores, petrol pumps, groceries, pharmacies, etc. NeoGrowth has products tailored for customer type and usage. During the last year, we have strengthened our offerings by launching new products namely Vendor Finance and Purchase Finance. These products provide supply chain finance to businesses who sell to or purchase goods or services from eligible large corporate entities.

Key Financials & Growth Strategy
With an average loan ticket size of INR 12 lakhs (and a maximum loan amount of INR 75 lakhs), the company has so far disbursed over INR 5,600 crore till Feb’20; the loan book as on 29th February 2020 stands at INR 1,373 crore. It has clocked INR 1,000 crore in AUM for FY2019 and has grown by over 60% since then. On an average, it has been growing at 50% year on year. Incredibly, since inception, NeoGrowth has touched the lives of over 70,000 customers. NeoGrowth has grown steadily over the last 7 years and has a proven profitable and sustainable business model. Naturally, the company’s financial performance and asset quality have grown consistently since inception. NeoGrowth is one of the very new NBFCS to post a profit (as early as 2016-17) of INR 5 crore in FY 2016-17. In continuation of its strategy of “Deeper, Wider and Newer”, NeoGrowth is now focusing on deepening its reach in existing cities through the core retail lending product to MSMEs.

Social Impact Mission
Creating a positive social impact through business activities has been one of the paramount objectives for which NeoGrowth was established and the impact is measured by an independent agency annually since past six years. The impact is measured in terms of job creation, lending to first generation entrepreneurs, improving credit scores, lending to growing businesses in Tier-II cities, fostering digitization and furthering financial inclusion. During FY2019, around 35% of the disbursals were towards first time borrowers, 23% towards business owners who did not hold formal education degrees and about 12% of loan advances were towards businesses that were run by women either as sole proprietors, partners or directors.

The high value that NeoGrowth has accreted for its customers can be gauged from the high repeat customer rate, asserting its role in the Indian society as a company with immense social impact and relevance.  “NeoGrowth was established with the objective of creating a positive social impact through its business activities as one of its utmost priorities. And it is really heartening to see how we have come a long way in extending support to boost the financial lives of merchants belonging to the erstwhile underserved MSME segment. I humbly state that NeoGrowth has enabled an improvement in the credit history, financial inclusion for women entrepreneurs and overall business growth, resulting in job creation for many of its customers – hitherto under-served by the traditional banking channels. Besides, we continually stay invested in philanthropic initiatives for causes close to us and in these unprecedented times of COVID-19, we are strongly committed to extend our support to several charitable organisations.” says Dhruv Khaitan, Founder and Chairman of NeoGrowth.

COVID Relief Measures
Committed to creating positive social impact since 2013, NeoGrowth has extended their heartfelt support and commitment towards COVID-19 relief, wherein each employee at NeoGrowth has voluntarily contributed from their salary and incrementally NeoGrowth has contributed to the same as well. The founders are also donating a matching amount and hence we have successfully raised an amount of over INR 50 lakhs. This amount is being donated to around 15 selective charitable organisations and NGOs across India who are doing frontline work in distributing food, medicine and equipment to persons most affected including healthcare workers.

Amongst one of the selected NGOs is SEEDS (Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society) who are reaching out to vulnerable communities in the states of Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttarakhand. The relief amount is being utilised to supply hygiene kits and food rations to marginalised families, old age homes and orphanages and providing financial and essential services support to the daily wage earners. Besides, NeoGrowth is also supporting SEEDS in their efforts to support the district administration for complementing and supplementing public health systems as well as helping the Government for establishment of temporary quarantine facilities, where needed. In these regions, besides supporting the elderly and children, SEEDS is taking some burden off frontline health workers by supplementing public health systems, supplying hygiene kits and supporting the establishment of temporary quarantine facilities. Few other notable NGOs supported by NeoGrowth include Goonj, Akshaya Patra Foundation, YUVA (Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action), Uday Foundation For Congenita Defects and Rare Blood Groups Trust, Good Neighbors India, etc.

Measures & Digital Initiatives for Customers
Despite not getting any relief on loan moratorium from lenders, NeoGrowth continues to support its customers in the times of COVID crisis. In continuity to our digital initiatives, we have enabled all modes of digital payments for our customers, so that they do not have to step out of their homes. Our customer support staff is operating at full capacity from their homes even during these times to ensure that our customers queries are well heard of. We understand that during these days of lockdown, our customers are facing challenges in managing their cashflows. In this regard, we have started a communication series for our customers on providing essential tips to them on how they can manage their cashflows more effectively and stay afloat. Besides, we are also allowing for opt-in basis repayments. Through our regular communications to customers, we are also keeping them aware of the various social engineering and phishing cyber-attacks post COVID.

Other Measures for Employees Well-Being
NeoGrowth has been recently recognized as ‘Great Place to Work’ demonstrating high performance and high trust culture at NeoGrowth. During these challenging times, we have taken several measures to ensure safety of our employees, including work from home option for all our workforce, providing regular sanitation and safety tips, advising on practising social distancing and introduced alternate ways of collaborating through digital modes to ensure continuity of business. We are also working with our vendors and partners to ensure compliant and robust business continuity plans are operationalised at their end as well. 

How Tinder Members are Making Connections During Lockdown with Tinder Passport?


Tinder opened up its paid feature Passport for all members; the majority of members are using the feature to Passport between Indian cities

(Note on background: Tinder Passport is typically a paid feature for Tinder Plus & Gold subscribers. Members can search by city or drop a pin on the map and you can begin Liking, matching, and chatting with Tinder members in a destination of their choice. They can navigate between their current location and new destinations. This was made free for all Tinder members.)

With social distancing becoming the norm, meeting people is a no go. That’s why Tinder made its Passport™ feature free through April — Tinder wants to facilitate making new connections and maintaining social interactions during this challenging time. By allowing members to temporarily change their location, Tinder Passport lets them connect with matches all over the world, no matter how far away they are. Because — louder for the people in the back — social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t still connect with people virtually. And based on recent data, Tinder members are most definitely doing just that.

By looking at data from March to April, we learned which cities and countries members are virtually traveling to, and which cities are frequently interacting with each other. The majority of Tinder members are using the feature to change location within the country, with Delhi-Mumbai and Mumbai-Delhi as the top 2 cities Passporting to each other. Tinder’s resident psychologist Sonali Gupta thinks it is very telling that majority location change is between members within India,  “One of the reasons could be that while there is a global pandemic world over, what's different is how countries are dealing with it. When people are reaching out to other people in Indian cities, they could possibly feel that their context and personal reality would be better understood by other Indians. This could be a reflection of realistic expectations - as people see that international travel is unlikely and they stand a greater chance of meeting someone who is based within the country.”

Excuse us while we virtually check out how Mumbai is doing during the lockdown.

Please find below a full factsheet on top cities and countries Indian Tinder Members are Passporting to.

Key:

Top 15 Passporting Pairings means cities Passporting to each other

Top 5 destinations in India means top 5 cities members in India are Passporting to

Top 5 global destinations mean top 5 countries members in India are Passporting to

3.6 Million People Joined Online Meditation Sessions at Sahaja Yoga


Millions of devotees from more than 70 countries will come together for collective online meditation  during May 1st to May 5th celebrations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sahaja Yoga, a unique discovery by H. H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi.

Subtle System Sahaja Yoga meditation 

Sahaja Yoga is a movement, a practice and a lifestyle. This is well described in ancient texts, prophesized and mentioned by incarnations although it is a lesser-known form of meditation because of its non-glamorous and non-commercial nature. Practitioners are known to experience deeper and holistic transformations from this form of Yoga meditation. The knowledge and practice of Sahaja Yoga, meaning the spontaneous experience of unification of the inner Kundalini power inside the person with the all-pervading power all over the cosmos, was gifted to mankind by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi on 5th May 1970 and called as World Sahastrar Day by the practitioners of Sahaja Yoga.

As said by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi , ‘’You cannot know the meaning of your life until you are connected to the power that created you. It is everyone's right to achieve this state of ones evolution and everything necessary is already inbuilt. But as I respect your freedom, you have to have the desire to achieve this state, it cannot be forced upon you!” -- H. H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi.

“We voluntarily visit schools, colleges, corporates, government offices and, medical colleges besides visiting villages and distant rural areas to help people for them to get their Self realisation and learn true process of Meditation absolutely free of cost. Sahaja Yoga techniques even helps the farmers in agriculture. The knowledge is priceless, and our volunteers help people of all faiths across religions, castes, creed and colour in achieving their Self- Realisation,” said Dinesh Rai, Vice Chairman, H. H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi Sahaja Yoga Trust (National Trust).

The 50th year celebrations will also be commemorated by continuous online meditation sessions and musical performances from 1st May till 5th May to celebrate the event and help people overcome anxiety and stress in these troubled times.

During lockdown, this free meditation initiative has been taken up by volunteers through various social media platforms like YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Mixlr and National television collectively twice a day. New seekers from across the country started calling for more information on the trust helpline 1800 30 700 800 after free live relay of meditation on the YouTube channel “Pratisthan Pune” and Facebook channel “India Sahaja Yoga”.

“In the last 40 days, we received over 25,000 thousand calls from new seekers that increased five times in the past one week as the word spread. The intent of all such initiative is to share en- masse self -realization free of cost so that people can start attaining complete balance in life,.” Mr Rai said.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Vidyadhan Distributes Daily Essential Kits to Underserved Families in Karnataka Amidst COVID 19



Vidyadhan, a flagship scholarship program under The Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives announced the distribution of daily essential kits as part of its COVID-19 relief program.  In the first phase, 10,000 grocery kits are being distributed in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra. This will be followed by a similar exercise in other states where Vidyadhan has a presence. The outreach is aimed at extending a helping hand to the needy and the underserved sections of society impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the nationwide lockdown continues to be in force, livelihoods of daily wage workers and those without stable jobs face a higher risk of economic uncertainty. The kits have 18 essential food items such as rice, flour, cooking oil, tea, pulses and sugar among others.

Launching the COVID-19 relief program, Mrs Kumari Shibulal, Founder and Chairperson, The Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives said, “We are passing through an unprecedented and unexpectedly difficult time. Times like these test our commitment to the well-being of humanity and call for greater unity and compassion among us. This daily essential kit is a humble attempt to express our support and solidarity.  While Vidyadhan is sponsoring the kits, we are collaborating with various local partners across different states to ensure seamless and effective distribution.”

In Karnataka, the focus groups include migrant labourers, differently-abled people, sex workers, tribal villagers and pregnant women. Vidyadhan has partnered with different NGOs to identify the beneficiaries and distribute 2000 daily essentials kits across Gulbarga, Dharwad, Davangere, Belgaum and Kolar districts. Another 1000 kits will be distributed in the tribal areas and other districts in Karnataka in the coming days.

Talking about the distribution drive, Basavaraj Patil Sedam, former Member of Rajya Sabha from Karnataka and the driving force of the NGO Vikas Academy said, “On account of the critical COVID-19 situation, about 750 bags were sent to Gulbarga district by the Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives. We are happy to share that these bags contained about 18 essential food items, which were distributed in different parts of the Gulbarga district including 15 villages in Sedam, Chinchwadi, Chitapura talukas, Gulbarga rural area, Sedam town, Chitapur and 65 educational centres.”

He added, “Non ration-card holders were identified in Taranhalli village in Sedam Taluka the grocery kits were distributed to them along with about 40 widows. I am thankful to the Shibulal Family as previously also, they had made a big contribution for educational and other purposes. For the betterment of this country and its future, I once again thank the Shibulal Family for their philanthropic initiatives.”

Vidyadhan currently operates in 10 states. The present phase of distribution of 10,000 daily essentials kits is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

About The Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives:

Born out of a sense of responsibility to society, the Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives has been actively supporting those in need through initiatives in education, healthcare and organic farming for the last 20 years, starting from 1999.

The Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives started with focus on education, based on the simple belief that the founders – Mrs. Kumari Shibulal and Mr. S.D. Shibulal achieved what they did because of it. Our initiatives such as  Vidyadhan, Ankur, The Samhita Academy, Vidyarakshak, Sikhskalokam, Edumentum, etc. are based on the premise of uplifting the underserved communities and providing them with the opportunity to build a better future.

Mrs Kumari Shibulal is the Founder & Chairperson of the Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives. Passionate about doing her bit for the underserved communities, her vision (and that of the Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives) is to spread knowledge and create an environment focussed on social change through a solution-oriented approach.

About Vidyadhan:

Vidyadhan is the flagship higher education scholarship program of The Shibulal Family Philanthropic Initiatives. We identify students in need of financial assistance after matriculation, to support them through senior school and graduation of their choice. We have given over 17000+ scholarships through this initiative. Many have gone on to become productive citizens after completing the program over the years. 4300 students across 10 states are currently in the program.

To make this program more scalable and self-sustainable, a new model has been introduced called ‘Each One, Teach One’. The primary mission is to enable academically brilliant but financially weak students to achieve their dreams. Launched in May 2015, this initiative provides need-based financial assistance to those pursuing degree courses such as medicine, engineering, nursing, etc.  The Shibulal family has pledged their support to Each One, Teach One’s vision to increase its impact from 17,000 scholarships in 10 States to 100,000 scholarships in all States in the next 5-7 years. Vidyadhan was launched in Karnataka in the year 2014 and currently has around 675 students in the state. 

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pledges Support for Superior Healthcare Services to Counter COVID



In an unwavering endeavor to support the authorities in their battle against COVID 19, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has undertaken a several measures in the areas of health, safety and food in support of Karnataka Government and local administration to safeguard the health and well-being of the care givers.

TKM has pledged to support the authorities with 45 thermal scanners (20 to the Bangalore police and 25 to quarantine hospitals) to enable quicker detection and proactive support to affected individuals. In addition, the company has provided 45,000 hand sanitizers bottles, 100 bedding, consumables for 100 patients, 20 sets of equipment’s such as IV stands and BP monitors and safety gears including 12,000 examination gloves, 70,000 3 ply face masks, 7500 N95 masks to  Health Department, Government of Karnataka, Bangalore police personnel and community.

In order to safeguard the citizens and to stop the virus from spreading further, TKM has also offered fumigation equipment, 10 numbers to Victoria Hospital through BMCRI and 10 numbers to the Town Municipal Corporation, Bidadi, Ramanagara District, Karnataka as per their requirements.

Commenting on these initiatives, Mr. Vikram Gulati, Country Head & Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Public Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility & Corporate Governance, Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “In such perilous times, when the whole country is battling the repercussions of the COVID 19 pandemic, Toyota, in line with its safety and security philosophy has taken numerous measures to aid the Government and the citizens. We have been continuously monitoring the evolving situation to identify major problem areas wherein we can provide our aid and support to those individuals who are risking their lives to protect us. Our endeavor has always been to be with the people in these uncertain times and to provide relief whenever and wherever we can.

Toyota salutes and supports the police force, healthcare workers and the Government in its initiatives and pledges to be instrumental in this war against the virus. We believe that together we can and together we will be able to overcome this adversity.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, TKM has been monitoring the fast-evolving situation and proactively responding appropriately in accordance with needs of the community & the Government. TKM, along with its multiple stakeholders have responded in multiple ways to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Recently, TKM contributed to 2 crores to Karnataka Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. 3000 Hazmat suits were handed over to the Government Health Volunteers in Karnataka, 3500 essential kits to daily wage workers while benefitting over 15000+ members, sanitizers & masks to police dept. This was followed by deployment of 14 buses to support the health department in the state. TKM also supported its supplier partner, Stump Schuele & Somappa Springs Pvt Ltd., to ramp up the production of “Face Shields" for healthcare workers from 275 to over 17000 units per day.

In its commitment to support the authorities, TKM has been and will continue to study and observe the evolving situation, determined to devise effective and efficient solutions to arising problems in hopes to aid the nation into a speedy recovery from the inflictions of the COVID 19 pandemic. The company has also aggregated the efforts of its partners and other stakeholders to ensure maximum support to the Government. TKM along with Dealer partners from across all-India network has undertaken several initiatives in the terms of safety and wellbeing of the society by distributing food rations to the needy families benefitting thousands of people. The dealer partners also supported the government by donating  their share of contribution in terms funding, followed by distribution of safety gears such as masks and hand sanitizers. This ensures that the brand unifies its strength and efforts towards the common mission of alleviating the ramifications of the pandemic.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Pune-Based FITTR is Motivating People to Stay Fit Amidst Lockdown with Prize Money of Rs 1 Lakh Each for 5 Winners

Notes

* This year, Fittr expects 15,000 people to participate in Transformation Challenge 10, India’s Biggest Online Transformation Challenge
* Melwyn Pawar, the winner of Transformation Challenge 9, goes home with a brand-new Harley Davidson Street 750

Due to the lockdown, gyms and fitness centers across the country are shut. With the Covid-19 situation being far from resolved, it is feared that this closure will continue for some more time. As people are staying indoors and physical movement is restricted, it becomes all the more important for them to stay fit. To help people in these times and to motivate them to embrace a fitter lifestyle, Pune-based online fitness platform Fittr is back with the 10th edition of its much-awaited Transformation Challenge (TC).

TC 10 launches on May 1st and is a 12-week online challenge that will be hosted on the company’s fitness app (also called FITTR). Registration for the challenge is free and anyone above the age of 18 can participate in it, no matter where they are located.

Speaking about TC 10, Founder Jitendra Chouksey said, “The entire world is facing a major challenge right now in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic. At such a time, it’s important to stay positive and motivated. That’s what Transformation Challenge 10 wants to do: motivate people to rise up to the challenge and make the most of it. We’re all in this together and the best thing we could do is to invest in our own health and fitness.

Transformation Challenge represents the ethos of Fittr. We firmly believe that anyone can get fit, provided you have the proper mindset. Fittr App provides all the free tools that one needs to get healthy and stay fit. In addition, Fittr Coaches are conducting free live online sessions every day and helping people stay fit in these times.”

Apart from the chance to get fit, Fittr has further sweetened the deal for TC 10 participants. Instead of just 1 winner, this time, there will be 5 winners and each winner will take home INR 1 Lac in cash.

Melwyn Pawar, the winner of Transformation Challenge 9, took home a brand-new Harley Davidson Street 750 as the top prize. “It has always been my dream to get shredded and look aesthetic. When TC 9 was announced, I knew this was a golden opportunity to achieve my dream. Those 12 weeks of the challenge were incredible. I received a lot of support from the community and that really pushed me to give my best.”

Fittr was founded in January 2016 by Jitendra Chouksey, a software engineer who transformed himself while working a 12-hour/day IT job. Today, Fittr is the largest online fitness community in the world with over 850,000 members. Fittr has been profitable since inception & has achieved a cumulative revenue of $13 million USD.

Recently, the company was in the news when it announced that it was part of Surge, Sequoia’s rapid scale-up program for startups in India & Southeast Asia. Under the arrangement, Fittr has raised $ 2 million as part of the pre-Series A investment.

Staying at Home is Now More ‘Rewarding’ Across Indian Cities


Staying at home is the best thing you can do right now and InterMiles is rewarding members for it. Members can earn as much as 1800 InterMiles by making the responsible choice to #StayHome.

Here’s how it works: With the InterMiles app running in the background, members shall be credited with 100 Bonus InterMiles for each day that the member doesn’t venture beyond their Home location.

Free medical consultation on MFine

InterMiles members faced with medical queries, can avail access to India’s leading AI-Powered online doctor consultation platform, MFine that connects them to leading doctors across the country. InterMiles members will be able to benefit from free-consultation for their health-related queries starting April 24, 2020.

Free subscription to Magzter GOLD

To keep members engaged through meaningful breaks during the lockdown, while keeping updated with the news InterMiles has leveraged its collaboration with Magzter to offer free and unlimited access to 5,000+ magazines and newspapers until the end of April 2020. Members will be able to gain these benefits through a free subscription to Magzter GOLD.

Pledging support to the PM CARES Fund

InterMiles is empowering members to make a difference in the lives of others. Members can contribute to the PM CARES Fund, for relief efforts against the outbreak via InterMiles. All contributors through InterMiles will receive an 80G certificate for their contribution.

Earn Miles when shopping on Kindle & attending TEDxGateway Webinars

In an ongoing effort to grant members access to some of the best content platforms, InterMiles’ has tied- up with Amazon Kindle. Members will be able to earn 5 Miles for every INR 100 spent to purchase Kindle E-books on Amazon via shop.intermiles.com. On their first purchase, members will be directly given a flat 50 InterMiles.

To keep engaged, informed and entertained, InterMiles is collaborating with TEDx for a 6-part ‘The World has Changed’ webinar series. Under this, InterMiles members can register for the webinar and get rewarded with 500 InterMiles.

Non-Expiry of Miles

To ensure that members gain the utmost value from this programme under these extraordinary circumstances, InterMiles has decided to temporarily suspend expiry of Miles. In accordance with this, members who had Miles expiring in March, April, May or June 2020 will get an extension till 31, July 2020 with a follow-up expiry rule being announced on 31, July 2020.

ServiceNow Reports First Quarter 2020 Financial Results

ServiceNow, the leading digital workflow company making work, work better for people, today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2020, with subscription revenues of $995 million in Q1 2020, representing 34% year‑over‑year growth, 36% adjusted for constant currency.

During the quarter, ServiceNow closed 37 transactions with more than $1 million in net new annual contract value (ACV), representing 48% year‑over‑year growth. Deals included the company’s second‑largest new customer transaction ever, as well as the Asia Pacific region’s largest customer service management deal ever. The company now has 933 total customers with more than $1 million in ACV, representing 30% year‑over‑year growth in customers.

"This pandemic has allowed us to engage our customers in new ways, enabling them to focus on their most critical workflows,” said ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott. “Businesses are splitting apart old value chains and reassembling them in end‑to‑end, mobile‑first experiences on the Now Platform. Our Q1 results are a direct reflection of ServiceNow’s unique position as the workflow platform to create great employee and customer experiences ‑ even in these challenging conditions. With our outstanding team and culture, I am extremely confident in the long‑term growth trajectory of this company.”

“We are working closely with our customers to support them in this challenging environment,” said Gina Mastantuono, ServiceNow CFO. “In Q1, we exceeded the high end of our guidance for subscription revenues and billings and delivered another strong quarter of operating profit and free cash flow. With our recurring revenue model, we are in a strong financial position to manage through near‑term uncertainties and for long‑term growth. We continue to focus on customer‑driven innovation and remain confident in our path to $10 billion in revenue and beyond.”

Financial Outlook

While we believe we are in a strong financial position to weather impacts caused to our business by COVID‑19, many of our customers are now operating under very challenging circumstances, especially those in industries highly affected by COVID‑19, and may re‑evaluate their spend. As such, the second quarter 2020 guidance and updated full‑year 2020 guidance we are providing today factor in the expected impacts of COVID‑19 based on information available to us today. Our guidance is also based on the assumption that generally the most significant headwinds will occur in the second and third quarters of 2020 and there will be increased uncertainty around new business, renewal timing or billings terms, particularly with customers in these highly affected industries. We are further assuming that economic conditions will begin to open up more broadly by the end of the year. Significant variation from these assumptions could cause us to modify our guidance higher or lower.

Our guidance includes GAAP and non‑GAAP financial measures.

Hyatt Announces Global Care and Cleanleanliness Commitment in India


Focusing on the safety and wellbeing of colleagues and guests during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, Hyatt’s commitment includes Global Biorisk Advisory Council accreditation, hotel-level sanitization specialists, and a working group of trusted medical and industry advisors

Guided by its purpose of care and experience delivering world-class hospitality for more than 60 years, Hyatt today announced a Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment to further enhance its operational guidance and resources around colleague and guest safety and peace of mind. The multi-layered commitment builds on Hyatt’s existing rigorous protocols and will include an accreditation process by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) at all hotels around the world, colleague training and support resources, and a cross-functional working group of medical experts and industry professionals that will contribute to various aspects of the hotel experience.

“The world as we knew it has been fundamentally changed by COVID-19 and when we are all ready to travel again, we want to make sure that every Hyatt colleague and guest feels confident that each aspect of our commitment is designed with their safety in mind, and that we’re putting their wellbeing first,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO, Hyatt. “To do this, we must critically examine the hotel experience from every vantage point – from our rooms and our lobbies to our spas and dining – bringing in the latest research, technology and innovation to make that happen. Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment is an important expression of our purpose to care for people so they can be their best – now and in the future.”

Global Cleanliness Accreditation

Hyatt remains committed to providing safe and clean environments and upholding the highest standards of cleanliness for colleagues and guests at all hotels globally. In May 2020, Hyatt plans to introduce a GBAC STARTM accreditation through a performance-based cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention program that will focus on establishing hotel environments that are sanitary, safe and healthy. GBAC is a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, and is composed of leaders in the area of microbial-pathogenic threat analysis and mitigation, designed specifically to deal with biological threats and real-time crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Hyatt is the first hospitality brand to announce plans to commit to GBAC STARTM accreditation which will include detailed training at more than 900 Hyatt hotels worldwide. Hyatt intends to complement this with regular internal and third-party auditing.

Hotel-Level Sanitization Specialists

The wellbeing of colleagues is at the heart of Hyatt’s business and core to advancing care for guests and

customers. In response to COVID-19, Hyatt is continuing to develop new work procedures and mandatory trainings in an effort to ensure safety for colleagues and guests. Daily colleague surveys will be introduced to measure colleague comfort, a hotel’s cleanliness, working order and customer service, enabling hotel leaders to address opportunities, make adjustments as necessary and meet colleagues’ needs in real time.

Further, as part of Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment, by September 2020, every Hyatt hotel will have at least one person on property trained as Hygiene Manager who will be responsible for their hotel adhering to new operational guidance and protocols, some of which may include:

* Colleague certification, trainings and recertification process for hygiene and cleanliness
* Increased frequency of cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants on all high-touch surfaces, guestrooms and shared spaces
* Implementation of enhanced food safety and hygiene protocols for restaurants, room service and group meetings and events
* Prominently placed hand sanitizer stations throughout hotel public and employee areas and entrances
* Exploring purification and sanitization device installation in an effort to ensure enhanced air quality
* Protective masks and other equipment for hotel colleagues
* Social distancing guidance in public areas across hotel properties

Cross-Functional Panel of Industry Experts and Professionals

At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Hyatt assembled a global cross-functional response team and engaged infectious diseases and occupational health experts to support efforts with COVID-19 research findings and information, which enabled Hyatt to promptly update detailed guidance to hotels and address specific needs and situations.

Hyatt continues to engage additional medical experts and leading industry professionals as part of its commitment. The goal of the working group will be to provide counsel on key areas of Hyatt’s business, challenging Hyatt to act even more holistically in this new environment. Topic areas and advisors in discussion include:

* Health & Hygiene: Dr. Daniel Lucey, M.D., M.P.H., Infectious Diseases Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center; Fellow, Infectious Disease Society of America
* Colleague Safety: Dr. Charles Yarborough, M.D., M.P.H., Preventive/Occupational Medicine Expert; affiliated with Johns Hopkins Department of Medicine and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
* Food & Beverage Safety: Dr. Elaine Black, Ph.D., Food Science and Microbiology, Ecolab
* Travel Journey:
* Julie Rath, Vice President, Customer Experience, Innovation and Delivery, American Airlines;
* David Peckinpaugh, President, Maritz Global Events
* Space Design: Tom Ito, FAIA, LEED® AP, Global Hospitality Leader, Principal, Gensler
* Technology: Ahmad Ouri, Chief Executive Officer, Sonifi
* Wellbeing: senior leadership from the Global Wellness Institute

“As a key part of our loyalty collaboration with Hyatt, we are committed to looking at the holistic experience of our customers with a special focus on their wellbeing,” said Julie Rath, vice president, customer experience, innovation and delivery American Airlines. “The benefit of this collaboration is that we can share insights from our enhancements to cleaning and protective procedures while applying best practices from Hyatt to elements of our operation.”

Additional COVID-19 relief efforts underway by Hyatt include The Hyatt Care Fund, a program designed to support colleagues with the most pressing financial needs due to COVID-19, through a series of coordinated efforts around the world. Impacted Hyatt colleagues in owned, managed and franchised hotels and in Hyatt’s corporate offices around the world are eligible to apply.

For more information about Hyatt's Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment, please visit www.hyatt.com/info/global-care-and-cleanliness-commitment.

The term “Hyatt” is used in this release for convenience to refer to Hyatt Hotels Corporation and/or one or more of its affiliates.

About Hyatt Hotels Corporation 

Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 20 premier brands. As of December 31, 2019, the Company's portfolio included more than 900 hotel, all-inclusive, and wellness resort properties in 65 countries across six continents. The Company's purpose to care for people so they can be their best informs its business decisions and growth strategy and is intended to attract and retain top employees, build relationships with guests and create value for shareholders. The Company's subsidiaries develop, own, operate, manage, franchise, license or provide services to hotels, resorts, branded residences, vacation ownership properties, and fitness and spa locations, including under the Park Hyatt, Miraval, Grand Hyatt, Alila, Andaz, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, Destination, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt, Hyatt Ziva, Hyatt Zilara, Thompson Hotels, Hyatt Centric, Caption by Hyatt, Joie de Vivre, Hyatt House, Hyatt Place, tommie, Hyatt Residence Club and Exhale brand names, and operates the World of Hyatt loyalty program that provides distinct benefits and exclusive experiences to its valued members. 

SHAREit, Akshaya Patra Foundation Join to Provide Cooked Meals, Grocery Kits to People Affected by the Ongoing Pandemic


SHAREit, in an attempt to help fight the adverse effects of COVID-19 in India and with the intention to provide aid to vulnerable families impacted by the pandemic, has partnered with The Akshaya Patra Foundation. The global content discovery, consumption and sharing application has committed to donate INR 1 crore as a part of the initiative which would help feed 500,000 people in need.

“The world is going through extremely harsh times at the moment and we at SHAREit believe that it is times like these that demand everybody to join hands to help each other. While the world is trying to find a way out of this pandemic, it is crucial to ensure that the people affected by the crisis are taken care of. Providing meals and groceries to these people is our way of showing that we are all in this together”, said SHAREit spokesperson Hitesh Dhingra.

Expressing his gratitude, Mr. Shridhar Venkat, CEO - Akshaya Patra, said, “We are immensely grateful to SHAREit for their support in these crucial times. Their generous contribution will enable us to serve freshly cooked meals and distribute essential groceries kits to thousands of people from vulnerable communities, affected by the nation-wide lockdown. In these testing times, only collective efforts in the service of those in need will carry us through as a nation.”

SHAREit has also taken steps to increase awareness about the virus by setting up a live updates section on the application. The application updates the consumers about the number of cases discovered both in India and globally as well as the state wise bifurcation of the spread of the virus. The application also offers a helpline number to ensure safety.

SHAREit is available both on Google Play Store and iOS App Store. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Securing Farmers with Technology: How Agritech Can Be a Solution to Farmers’ Produce-Related Woes


By Amith Agarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, AgriBazaar

Contributing about 15% to India’s GDP, the agricultural sector sustains almost half the population of the country. Interestingly, more than 265 million people in India are engaged in farming, which also makes it one of the largest employers in the country. More than 70% of rural India is employed in this space, running their daily expenses with income generated through agriculture. However, there are some significant challenges that the small farm-owner community faces in their day-to-day operations. These hinder the growth of farmers’ income and keeps the sector from flourishing to its full potential. 

To begin with, farmers in our country do not get the deserving returns on their produce. The reason? The presence of intermediaries and the high price of carrying out physical transactions in the local mandi. It leaves farmers with fewer returns. While this remains a major concern for this sector, many more challenges go unacknowledged. 

In a bid to address these challenges, the government has, fortunately, taken several laudable initiatives over the past few years. Pradhan Mantri FasalBima Yojana (PMFBY), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), E-NAM, and Soil Health Management (SHM), among others, are some of the top schemes that came as a significant relief to the farming sector. However, the sector yet calls for more attention. It is where agri-tech startups come to the picture.

How can startups address the farming challenges using technology?

The small size of farmlands – Unlike the west, size remains a crucial challenge for this sector. Still, the sector houses a vast population of farmers who own highly fragmented agricultural lands. They produce in small quantities and eventually earn less income. With the help of agri-tech, these farmers can take their produce to an online marketplace and sell it across India. Through these online platforms, they can reach international buyers and sell their produce at attractive prices at a global level.

The presence of intermediaries – Most Indian farmers fail to get excellent prices for their produce due to the presence of intermediaries which increases the cost per transaction – mostly 2-3% of the value - for conducting offline transactions in local mandis. However, through online agri-tech platforms, this can be brought down to almost 0.5% of the produce while eliminating intermediaries. In an online platform, the money is directly transferred to the respective accounts of farmers, allowing them to benefit from a healthy payment cycle.

Crop Traceability – From a buyer's point of view, crop traceability is a challenge that they majorly face in an offline mandi. For instance, today, when you visit a local mandi for buying vegetables, you have no idea about the actual producer. In case you face any challenge with the quality of the produce, you have no option to identify the farmer. Agri-tech can bridge this gap by creating transparency between the consumer and the original farmer. It means that any future requirement based on factors like quality, produce or consumer needs, can be efficiently ascertained through online platforms. These technology-driven platforms also give large Indian or global institutional buyers access to small farmers through an aggregation model. 

Crop Wastage – Farmers usually have no access to scientific data that they can leverage for better decision making associated with crops and fields. However, agri-tech companies have crop advisory teams that provide in-depth insights on soil health based on the past analysis. These experts are also adept at predicting weather conditions using tech advances such as artificial intelligence (AI) and drones. It helps farmers minimize crop wastage due to natural factors such as heavy rainfall, drought, etc. Moreover, with such technological assistance, farmers can have a better idea of when to plant and harvest a particular crop for the highest-quality yield.

Low Crop Yield – Agri-tech can also address and improve the crop yielding capacities of farmers by studying the history of farmers, crops and their lands. By leveraging this data, experts can develop tailor-made seeds, agri-nutrients and other pre & post-harvest inputs for farmers and help them deliver higher yields from their farms.

Financial Inclusion – By registering with agri-tech platforms, farmers can digitally upload their records in a convenient and hassle-free manner and apply for credit. It will free him from the clutches of the local money-lender who charges exorbitant interest rates. Based on the credit history and quality of the produce, farmers can secure loans, also termed as warehouse collateral agri-financing. Hence, these platforms can help the farmer community attain their growth objectives through easily-accessible financial instruments.

At a time when the entire world is disrupted by COVID 19, electronic mandis can be a great way of conducting buying and selling transactions between farmers and customers while also ensuring compliance to social distancing norms in the post-COVID world. Moreover, it can be an efficient solution to farmers’ several woes and add transparency and efficiency to the entire marketplace. Given these advancements in the farming space, agri-tech can be a newfound opportunity to bring back glory to Indian farmers and help them ramp up their contribution to India’s GDP.

Amith Agarwal is the Co-founder & CEO of www.agribazaar.com, one of India’s pioneering and largest agri-tech platform; views expressed above are his own. 

28 Indian States Set to Lose Tourism as an Industry During 2020-21

Key Pointer

* 1.8 billion+ domestic tourism footfalls, 10.5 million + foreign tourists and 6 million + NRI tourist footfalls hit
* Each foreign tourist has a multiplier effect of 2.8 times across Indian states, hence 10.5 million foreign tourists lead to 28 million +foreign tourists footfalls across states
* COVID-19 Pandemic has jeopardized all top performing foreign source markets for tourism impacted (USA, Canada, UK, Germany, China, Japan, Singapore, Russia, Italy, Spain), interstate domestic season which is almost 60%+ in the April - July period has collapsed for the FY 2020-21

Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), the policy federation of all the national associations representing the complete tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India (ADTOI, ATOAI, FHRAI, HAI, IATO, ICPB, IHHA, ITTA, TAAI, TAFI) has appealed to the Chief Ministers of each state for coming up with a state specific package.

FAITH has shared with each state their share of domestic and foreign tourists and how most of those total tourist footfalls will now not be available for 2020-21.

This tourism business has almost completely come to a standstill in FY 2020-21. Almost all of India’s top performing foreign source markets for tourism (USA, Canada, UK, Germany, China, Japan, Singapore, Russia, Italy, Spain), are severely impacted and are not likely to travel before FY 2021 - 22.

The interstate domestic season which happens almost 60%+ in the April - July period has collapsed for the year FY 2020 - 21 and will be negligent for the rest of year with stringent travel restrictions and reduced connectivity across Indian states. FAITH has been repeatedly saying to all key Government bodies that the Tourism industry of India first needs to SURVIVE, then needs to REVIVE and then only can it THRIVE.

FAITH has appealed to the Chief Ministers of each state for coming up with a state specific package.

* A complete waiver of all fixed electricity and other utility charges for FY 2020-21 without any penalties.

* A complete waiver of all excise duties for FY 2020-21 without any penalties.

* A renewal of all licenses, permits, permissions which were expiring in FY 2020-21 without any financial charges or penalties.

* A refund of the FY 2019-20 of SGST collected from all travel agents, tourist transporters, hotels, tour operators, restaurants and any other tourism, travel & hospitality enterprises in the state which will help manage their working capital crisis. This can be paid back in subsequent years interest free and without any penalties.

* A complete waiver of any other taxes, fees, cesses or levies such as the property taxes or interstate tourist transport taxes levied at the level of the state, municipal, district or panchayat on the tourism, travel & hospitality industry.

Additionally, FAITH has also requested the Chief Ministers for their support with the following:

Request to the Finance Minister, of Govt of India for a complete waiver of income taxes, GST, PF & ESI and any other statutory taxes, fees, cesses or levies on the tourism, travel & hospitality industry for FY 2020-21
Request to Governor RBI for increasing the moratorium period on loans from three months to full financial year of 2020-21 without any penal or accumulated interest.
Request to Finance Minister, Govt of India & Governor RBI for setting up a Tourism COVID 19 fund for 10-year interest free loan for enabling tourism, travel & hospitality industry to meet salary costs. This could be for a minimum fund size of Rs. 50,000 crores which is almost equal to the gross banking credit to Indian tourism, travel & hospitality industry. This will help retain jobs, ensure that tourism business don’t go bankrupt and also will protect the principal amount of loan and overall banking exposure.

This crisis emanating from COVID 19 is the worst ever to hit the tourism industry, bigger than the combined financial impact of 9/11 and economic downturn of 2009 and said to be even bigger than the impact of world war 2 and the Great Depression.

FAITH has thus appealed for urgent support to prevent mass bankruptcies and unemployment in tourism, travel & hospitality industry in each state.

care.fit and Columbia Asia Collaborate To Enhance Teleconsultation Services Across India


care.fit, cure.fit’s primary healthcare vertical, announced that it has partnered with Columbia Asia India, one of the largest and fastest-growing healthcare companies in Asia, to enhance its teleconsultation services in the country. As part of the collaboration, doctors from more than 20 specialties and super specialties from Columbia Asia will be available on the care.fit platform for a tele-consult.  Customers can also book an appointment on demand for Columbia Asia doctors via the cure.fit app or website.

Speaking about the partnership, Madan Somasundaram, Head care.fit said, “We are delighted to collaborate with one of the most trusted and high quality hospital chains, Columbia Asia India to provide quick and easy medical consultation to those in need, during these testing times. We are trying to pool every resource we can, to help serve people. Our association with Columbia Asia India will help in making health easy and touching more lives.”

This announcement comes weeks after care.fit launched telemedicine services across the country. The organization offers primary care services, including both online and offline consultation services along with full-body check-up in its state of the art clinics and customized health plans for various specialties.

Dr. Nandakumar Jairam, Chairman and CEO from Columbia Asia India said, “As a leading healthcare provider in the region, we are always looking to find new ways of connecting with patients in the country. care.fit’s teleconsultation service is the apt platform to bridge the gap between patients and doctors. This will surely enable us to provide optimized services to our patients. “

Columbia Asia India is one of the leading hospital chains in the country with hospitals in Bengaluru, Pune, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Kolkata, Mysore and Patiala.

Twitter Brings Fans Closer to their Favourite Hockey Players with #AskTeamIndia and Behind-the-Scenes Action


Sports and socialising go hand in hand so how is it faring during this time of social distancing? Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) takes you behind-the-scenes on Twitter with live Q&A and a rare peep into the day of players amid COVID-19.

As the world combats the COVID-19 pandemic, all the major sporting events in India and across the globe have either been postponed or cancelled including 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which the Indian hockey fans had been eagerly awaiting. While there is no live on-field action, Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) took to Twitter to engage with fans of the game and bring the players from both the men’s and women’s national teams to answer questions from passionate followers of the sport. This unique, open and real-time action harnessed the positive power of Twitter in the form of real-time engagement.

During the lockdown, @TheHockeyIndia conducted a special Twitter Q&A, #AskTeamIndia, and went live on the service with four players - India women's hockey captain Rani Rampal (@imranirampal), India men's hockey captain Manpreet Singh (@manpreetpawar07), India men's hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh (@16Sreejesh) and defender Harmanpreet Singh (@13harmanpreet) - all of whom interacted keenly with their fans.

PR Sreejesh (@16Sreejesh) shares, “Twitter has always been a great service to engage with our fans, we are happy to have their support in #AskTeamIndia initiative which is fun, meaningful and also in some way I hope we are motivating fans to stay positive and active during these difficult times.”

TATA Cha Walks the Talk with TATA Tea JaagoRe to Serve 5000+ Kits of Chai & Breakfast to Senior Citizens in Bangalore During COVID-19


Battling the fight against Covid-19, TATA Cha, the Out of Home initiative of TATA Consumer Products is walking the talk with social campaign- Iss Baar #BadonKeLiye #JaagoRe. This initiative is to support the elderly in the city and spread warmth to lighten the anxious hours.

TATA CHA has pledged to sponsor Chai and Breakfast to elders as a part of their campaign Tata Tea - Iss Baar #BadonKeLiye #JaagoRe. In the last two days ~ 1200 breakfast kits have already been distributed. Tata Cha has also reached out to concerned individuals around Bangalore to share details of elders who need support and has also invited individuals to join them to serve the breakfast.

Youth can join the initiative to serve or help register an elderly person for breakfast, by sending their name & location as a WhatsApp message to +919964050246 or logon to jaagore.com.

Commenting on the initiative by TATA Cha, Sushant Dash, President, Beverages– India & Middle East, TATA Consumer Products, said, “In the wake of the extended lockdown, it is time we stand up for those who need our care and support the most. TATA Cha has always been a space that spreads warmth to everyone. We are hopeful that our initiative to help the elderly in the city along with Iss Baar badon ke Liye JaagoRe will inspire the larger society. We urge one and all to join us in this cause and let the senior citizens know they are not alone in this. We are ensuring this initiative is run in compliance with the Covid-19 guidelines, as provided by the local administration.”

The Indiranagar, Jayanagar & Cunningham Road caf├ęs will be delivering morning Chai & breakfast to the elderly homes in their respective vicinity.

SHAREit Contributes in COVID-19 Relief Efforts to Help Feed 500,000 People in India


SHAREit Joins Hands with The Akshaya Patra Foundation to Provide Cooked Meals and Grocery Kits to People Affected by the Ongoing Pandemic in India

SHAREit, in an attempt to help fight the adverse effects of COVID-19 in India and with the intention to provide aid to vulnerable families impacted by the pandemic, has partnered with The Akshaya Patra Foundation. The global content discovery, consumption and sharing application has committed to donate INR 1 crore as a part of the initiative which would help feed 500,000 people in need.

“The world is going through extremely harsh times at the moment and we at SHAREit believe that it is times like these that demand everybody to join hands to help each other. While the world is trying to find a way out of this pandemic, it is crucial to ensure that the people affected by the crisis are taken care of. Providing meals and groceries to these people is our way of showing that we are all in this together”, said SHAREit spokesperson Hitesh Dhingra.

Expressing his gratitude, Mr. Shridhar Venkat, CEO - Akshaya Patra, said, “We are immensely grateful to SHAREit for their support in these crucial times. Their generous contribution will enable us to serve freshly cooked meals and distribute essential groceries kits to thousands of people from vulnerable communities, affected by the nation-wide lockdown. In these testing times, only collective efforts in the service of those in need will carry us through as a nation.”

SHAREit has also taken steps to increase awareness about the virus by setting up a live updates section on the application. The application updates the consumers about the number of cases discovered both in India and globally as well as the state wise bifurcation of the spread of the virus. The application also offers a helpline number to ensure safety.

SHAREit is available both on Google Play Store and iOS App Store. 

Britannia Launches a WhatsApp Based ‘Store Locator’, Enables Consumers to Shop for its Products Nearby

Britannia Industries Ltd has launched a ‘Store Locator’ service to enable consumers to find their favorite Britannia products in stores nearby. Given the context of the ongoing lockdown, the GPS-based Chatbot publishes a list of stores near the consumer’s current location, which have been recently serviced by the Company.

The technology solution has been built to swiftly respond to the surge in consumer demand and the consumers’ increasing need to find the range of Britannia products at close proximity to where they reside.

Commenting on the quick turnaround of the WhatsApp based Store Locator, Mr. Varun Berry, Managing Director, Britannia Industries, said, “Given the ongoing lockdown, our teams are constantly innovating to ensure high accessibility to our products, across geographies and town classes. The WhatsApp Chatbot is one such timely solution built to help consumers discover our products in their neighborhood.”

Mr. Berry added, “The high degree of familiarity that the Indian consumers have with WhatsApp makes it an ideal platform to reach a wide demographic of consumers.”

The Store Locator has been launched pan India. A consumer can interact with the ‘Store locator’ by sending ‘BRIT’ on Whatsapp to mobile number 4071012222 and following the instructions.

TRA’s Covid Mental Wellbeing Index Shows Mumbai at Lowest; Delhi Citizens Cope Second Best


TRA Research, a consumer insights and brand analytics company, today released a new finding from its recent white-paper, a research survey conducted across 16 cities with 902 urban citizens to delve deeper into the Mental Wellbeing of citizens across urban India.  Guwahati citizens showed the highest mental Wellbeing (84%) in their ability to cope with their current worries of family health and work stability as well as their fears on the country’s health and economic impact. This was followed by Delhi-NCR (78%) which had the second best Mental Wellbeing score. Other cities which displayed a ‘Good’ ability Mental Wellbeing of their citizens include Indore (75%), Coimbatore (73%) and Pune (72%). Mumbai showed the lowest Mental Wellbeing Index at just 28%, showing severe stresses and anxieties among the citizenry, followed by Lucknow at 36%.

N. Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research, explained the concept of Mental Wellbeing and said, “The Mental Wellbeing of citizens in the context of this research is seen as their ability to cope with current worries regarding the pandemic. The ability to cope with worries depends on the individual’s mind-set of course, but also depends on the city’s general acceleration rate in patients, as also the a city’s complex demographics that may impede coping with the pandemic. The rapid spread in Mumbai with the highest number of Covid-19 patients is also reflected in the low Mental Wellbeing of its citizens with regard to coping with the disease.” The Mental Wellbeing Index has been calculated with Coping Index as the numerator and the Worry Index as the denominator, measured as a percentage and the Coping Index was measured on four parameters and the Worry Index on six.

Dr. Jalpa Butta, MD, Consultant Psychiatrist, practicing at Global Hospital and Hinduja Khar, said, “Coping skills are determined by one’s resilience, attitude, belief system and support system. It is reassuring that most of the people in smaller cities are coping better with good Mental Wellbeing. In the larger cities there could be many factors responsible like worry on account of stability of work. When our identity is determined by our career and earning capacities, people can feel at a total loss when that may get impacted. Relationships are also getting fragile in bigger cities, giving poor interpersonal support, which is much needed for a sense of mental wellbeing.”

Chandramouli elaborated further on the difference in cities, “The smaller cities have a relatively higher Mental Wellbeing Index as compared to the larger cities and Guwahati, Jaipur, Indore, Pune, Coimbatore are coping better with the situation, than their counterparts in cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.”

Dr. Bhuta suggested attitudinal alterations to cope. She said, “It is important for all of us to find peace within ourselves, develop a more spiritual and accepting attitude, learn to deal with change and embrace the higher power during difficult times.”

About TRA Research
TRA Research, a Comniscient Group company, is a consumer insights and brand intelligence Company dedicated to understanding and analyzing stakeholder behavior through two globally acclaimed proprietary matrices of Brand Trust and Brand Desire. TRA Research conducts primary research with consumers and stakeholders to assist brands with their business decisions based on Consumer Behavior insights.

TRA Research is consulting brands on transitioning during and after the Covid-19 crisis, to help them be more aligned to consumer and client expectations. TRA Research is the also the publisher of TRA’s Brand Trust Report and of TRA’s Most Desired Brands.

Cloudera Selects Red Hat OpenShift as the Preferred Container Solution for Cloudera Data Platform Private Cloud


Cloudera, (NYSE: CLDR), the enterprise data cloud company, today announced that it has chosen Red Hat OpenShift as the preferred container solution for Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) Private Cloud. With Red Hat OpenShift, CDP Private Cloud will deliver powerful, self-service analytics and enterprise-grade performance with the granular security and governance policies that IT leaders demand.

To keep pace in the digital era, businesses must modernize their data strategy for increased agility, ease of use and efficiency. Together, Red Hat OpenShift and CDP Private Cloud help create an essential hybrid, multi-cloud data architecture, enabling teams to rapidly onboard mission-critical applications and run them anywhere, without disrupting existing ones.

"Red Hat OpenShift's position as the market-leading Kubernetes container platform, combined with its 100% open source nature, make it ideal for CDP Private Cloud," said Arun Murthy, Chief Product Officer, Cloudera. "CDP Private Cloud, supported by Red Hat OpenShift, creates an enterprise data cloud with a powerful hybrid architecture that separates compute and storage for greater agility, ease of use, and more efficient use of private and public cloud infrastructure."

"We're pleased to expand access to the open hybrid cloud by becoming the preferred container solution for the Cloudera Data Platform Private Cloud," said Ashesh Badani, Senior Vice President, Red Hat. "The combination of Red Hat OpenShift and CDP Private Cloud aims to deliver a next-generation data analytics platform for on-premise deployments that can help to transform complex data into clearer and more actionable enterprise insights."

To learn more about CDP Private Cloud and the partnership between Cloudera and IBM, tune in to Red Hat Summit on April 29 at 7pm ET, where Cloudera will join Red Hat CTO Chris Wright as part of the ecosystem keynote presentation.

87% of Business Leaders Prefer Reskilling Over Hiring New in India

upGrad, India’s leading online education company has released a whitepaper in partnership with FICCI (The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce) on the “High-Impact Online Learning at Scale”.

The research-backed White paper has brought to light that, reskilling existing employees is always more economical than hiring new ones. This is something respondents of upGrad’s 2020 industry-leading survey of Learning & Development (L&D) and business leaders are very aware of: 87% respondents opine that reskilling is preferred over hiring anew.

Post COVID19 outbreak, the numbers show that the budgets for online learning for many of the respondents have increased to more than 80% of the total L&D budgets, as per data collected during COVID-19* However, online learning comes with a set of challenges that include low completion rates and indifferent learner engagement.

Online learning at scale can also help organisations navigate Black Swan events such as the current unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, ensuring learning continuity.

The White paper also highlights the sharp and articulated perspective of industry stalwarts like Ms. Shobha Mishra Ghosh, Asst Secretary General, FICCI, who believes that users of online education in India are expected to reach 9.5 million by 2021 from 1.9 million in 2017-18. She also adds, “With a rapid increase of mobile internet users in India, which is expected to reach 85% households by 2024, this can change the education system and enhance the effectiveness of learning & teaching practices.”

The rapid adoption of new and emerging technologies is imperative for business success today. Across verticals, enterprises face barriers to this adoption due to a skills gap in their workforces. Such barriers can be crippling, hampering business growth in present-day hyper-dynamic marketplaces.

“We aim to partner with businesses and governments worldwide to transform their talent in the face of accelerating change,” add Ronnie Screwvala, Co-founder & Executive Chairman, upGrad.

The White paper was launched during a webinar held today, and brought senior leadership from AICTE, CBSE, FICCI, and Welspun under one virtual window. Speakers and panelists include Ms Shobha Mishra Ghosh, Assistant Secretary General, FICCI, Mr Atul Kulshrestha, Chair, FICCI EdTech Task Force & Founder, Chairman & MD, Extramarks, Ms Poonam Jamwal, Director, Extramarks, Mr Gerald Jaideep, Co-Chair, FICCI EdTech Task Force & CEO, Medvarsity, Ms Shweta Rajpal Kohli, Co-Chair, FICCI EdTech Task Force & Country Director – Gov. Affairs and Public Policy, Salesforce, Ms Nandita Abraham, President, Pearl Academy, Mr Ronnie Screwvala, Co-founder & Chairman, upGrad, Mr Mayank Kumar, Co-founder & MD, upGrad, Dr. Biswajit Saha, Director -Training & Skill Education, CBSE, and Dr Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE. The moderation for the webinar done by Mr Nilanjan Kar, President-Enterprise Business, upGrad.

Blue Dart Express to Deliver Medicines to NRIs Residing Overseas



Blue Dart Express Ltd. South Asia's premier express air and integrated transportation, distribution and logistics company as part of Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) has announced delivery of medicines to NRIs residing overseas. To avail this service, customers need to visit any Blue Dart/DHL counter across India and provide valid medical prescription for sending medicines overseas to their family/ friends through Blue Dart-DHL’s door-to-door express service.

Basis the orders of the Ministry of Home Affairs and subsequent orders from State Governments. Blue Dart has been operational through the lockdown, teams are working round-the-clock to ensure priority clearance and delivery of essential commodities. The company is working closely with the Government of India, to ensure door-to-door delivery carrying inter-state and international supplies of essential goods through its strong air and ground express network.

Ketan Kulkarni CMO & Head – Business Development, Blue Dart Express Ltd, said, “At Blue Dart we have transported over thousands of tons of cargo carrying essential supplies since the nation-wide lockdown began and have been extending all possible support to various state government, pharma companies to fight this war against the global COVID-19 pandemic. We are working round the clock to deliver essentials in a time-bound manner and are firmly committed and honoured to be a part of the Government’s ‘Lifeline Udan’ initiative. Our pilots flew our Boeing 757 – 200 across Indian and International cities (Guangzhou, Shanghai and Dhaka) transporting mission critical supply.”

He further added, “Earlier this month, we reduced our Domestic Retail Tariff Prices by 25% for all domestic shipments within India to provide speedy and hassle-free experience. Our focus on safety remains uncompromising, adhering to this we are following social distancing guidelines, practicing all hygiene protocols and also introduced Contact Less Deliveries to ensure the safety of our employees and customers.”

In addition to this, Blue Dart is providing support with daily shipments across India for requisitioned items by State Governments, Municipalities, Hospitals and Research Centres during the lockdown period. Some of these include special food for paralytic children; medicines for senior citizens residing in another town sent by their families; masks for cancer affected children as well as healthcare staff; temperature controlled medicines that need to be maintained at a specific temperature in order to maintain their efficacy among others. 

Blue Dart will continue to offer unwavering support during such critical times to ensure an uninterrupted supply chain across domestic and international markets. We are motivated and eager to contribute to serve the country while keeping health and safety as a paramount.

Blue Dart has listed itself on the dedicated Medical Air Cargo website www.civilaviation.gov.in 

1,50,000 Practitioners from 100 Countries to Virtually Attend the “121st Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Second Guide of Heartfulness”


Over a Century ago, a silent process was put into motion, that has helped and continues to transform humanity today. In the form of Heartfulness Meditation, this ancient yogic form of meditation has reached out to millions across 160 countries and helped them live a more evolved life. Shri Ram Chandra Shahjahanpur, the Founder President of Shri Ram Chandra Mission, the first Heartfulness organisation formalised the meditation practise to be spread by the organisation he founded. Fondly referred to as Babuji he was born on 30th April 1899, in the North Indian town of Shahjahanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and attained mahasamadhi on 19 April 1983.

To mark Babuji’ s 121st birth anniversary more than 1,50,000 practitioners of Heartfulness across 100 countries will come together virtually to join the celebrations on 29th-30th April & 1st May 2020.  This grand virtual celebration will include a series of 6 group meditation sessions across the 3 days, filling all hearts with love and spiritual charge. Proceedings can be viewed Live at http://youtube.com/c/heartfulness/live from 7am to 6 pm on all 3 days

Year 2020 is the 75th platinum anniversary year of the legal founding of Shriram Chandra Mission (Heartfulness Institute) by Babuji, so this event is of special significance. International Headquarters of Heartfulness was inaugurated recently at Kanha Shantivanam in Hyderabad on Feb 2, 2020 and houses the world’s largest meditation centre with 100,000 capacity.

Commenting on the occasion Mr. Kamlesh Patel (Daaji) the Guide of Heartfulness said, “Babuji spurred the spiritual movement in India with his ability to draw the attention of people across the globe, culture, background and religions to the transformative powers of meditation. He distilled the essence of meditation practices into a simple method suitable for everyone – in other words, he demystified yogic practices for modern humanity. Babuji redefined our understanding of yogic science in the same way that Einstein redefined our understanding of physics. He recorded his discoveries in these ground-breaking books that were written in the 1940s.”

“Babuji’s spiritual legacy is of such a stature that he will be remembered for thousands of years into the future, and his ability to help seekers to evolve spiritually is legendary. We are truly blessed to be able to celebrate his birth by coming together virtually”, Daaji added 

At the time, back in 1945, this method of Raja Yoga was known in just a handful of areas in North India, and Babuji was hardly known outside his circle of associates and followers, but that was to all to change as people came searching for him from all over the world.

From an early age, he displayed a craving for spiritual realization that overshadowed all other interests. He held the position of clerk in the district court of Shahjahanpur for more than thirty years. In June 1922, at the age of twenty-two, he met Lalaji, whom he accepted as his guru. Lalaji also bore the same name of Shri Ram Chandra of Fatehgarh, UP. Lalaji recognized Babuji as the person who had appeared in his dream years before as his successor. In 1972, he took the Heartfulness method of meditation across the length and breadth of India, Europe and America and popularised it in those countries.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

More Take Workouts Indoors as Garmin Tracks a 40% Increase in Overall Indoor Activity Count in India Since Jan 2020


With the current pandemic situation resulting in activity restrictions, staying healthy and fit has become a challenge. These sudden changes have brought about drastic lifestyle transformations, making it difficult to get into a routine. More than ever, it is critical for us to exercise regularly to boost our immunity.

With gyms, fitness centers and clubs closed, meditation and exercising at home have become the newfound routine for fitness enthusiasts across the nation. According to Garmin Connect data, from January to March 2020, the activity count for outdoor activities had an overall drop of 15.5 percent, with activity count for golf, hiking trail running and running decreasing by 87.6 percent, 34.9 percent, 29.2 percent and 18.8 percent respectively. In comparison, indoor activities such as floor climbing, yoga, Pilates and indoor cardio workouts showed an overall increase of 38.5 percent in the same period.

With travel and activity restrictions implemented from March 2020, overall outdoor activity count from January’20 till 21 April’ 2020 dropped by 71.2 percent while indoor activity count increased by 40.2 percent in the same period.

In light of the lifestyle changes, it is crucial to keep a consistent check on one’s physiological data to actively monitor physical health and wellbeing.

World Health Organization’s “Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) when COVID-19 disease is suspected” Interim Guidance[i] spotlights the importance of health monitoring data; one of the clinical syndromes is severe pneumonia where the patient may experience fever or suspected respiratory infection, plus respiratory rate of more than 30 breaths/min; severe respiratory distress; or SpO2 of less than 93 percent on room air.

Garmin smartwatches enable users to track their physiological data[ii], providing daily insights to their health status. Garmin India has identified five key health indicators to enable Garmin users to track and manage their health profile. Users should refer to data from their Garmin smartwatch with the five health indicators to identify any changes rather than depending solely on own assumptions to determine their own health status.

Garmin’s Five Health Indicators

* Heart Rate: The heart is the pilot of all body activities. The health status can be effectively monitored by analyzing your heart rates. It is generally believed that when the body temperature rises abnormally, the heart rate will increase; likewise, when the body temperature drops, the heart rate and strength of heart contractions will decrease accordingly. Those with a higher resting heart rate can indicate a higher risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. By doing regular exercises, the body’s sympathetic nervous activity decreases, which will lower the resting heart rate, improving the heart function and resulting in a more flexible neuromodulation.

* Respiratory Rate: Respiratory rate plays a critical role. The normal respiratory rate of a healthy adult is 12 – 20 breaths per minute (brpm). A low respiratory rate is a general indication of good health. Even while exercising, the respiratory rate of those with better physical fitness levels tend to be lower. There are many breathing techniques that can help you to manage your stress levels, relax and improve your concentration and sleep quality. Indulging in breathing exercises daily will help reduce the anxiety and stress and keep the health on track.

* Blood Oxygen Saturation: Blood oxygen saturation is closely related to lung health. Blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) refers to the concentration of oxygen in human blood, which is the key index to measure health. The ideal Spo2 level should be between 95 – 100 percent. A figure lower than 90 percent is considered too low, however, the figure may vary with individual physical differences. For instance, some people may feel discomfort at high altitudes because of the decrease in Spo2 levels. Monitoring how your body responds and changes with different blood oxygen saturation levels in different states can help you understand your own body better.

* Sleep Monitoring: Your immunity is the first line of defense against viruses. Quality sleep is the key to maintaining healthy body functions. When people go to sleep, they experience several cycles of rapid eye movement and non-rapid eye movement. The non-rapid eye movement stage can be further divided into deep and light sleep. During the deep-sleep stage, the body will begin to repair, build bones, grow muscles and enhance the immune system. In normal circumstances, a healthy adult will get approximately 15-25 percent of deep sleep each night. However, this figure varies amongst individuals. Garmin’s sleep monitoring function records the level of blood oxygen saturation and the number of times you toss and turn throughout the night so you can closely monitor your sleep quality.

* Stress Monitoring: The tenser a situation is, the more we will need to stabilize our physical and mental states. When we are caught up in highly stressful situations over long periods of time, our physical and mental health can get affected from coping with the stress and these responses could be destructive to our health over time. Garmin’s stress detection function uses Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to estimate the body’s stress levels. Training, physical activities, sleeping conditions, mental state and other daily activities will affect your stress levels. Garmin’s stress monitoring function measures stress levels from 0 to 100; 0-25 suggests a low stress level, 26-50 suggests a moderate stress level and 51-75 and 76-100 indicates high and extremely high stress levels respectively. This function will enable you to monitor your daily stress levels.

About Garmin’s physiological data monitoring

Garmin’s physiological data monitoring, along with exercise analysis and suggestions help users check their health status and training results. The Garmin Connect APP offers users access to multiple training plans and various training exercises that can be done at home. Key physiological data are then recorded during workouts to allow efficient health monitoring.

For more information on the five health indicators, please visit garmin.co.in/event/2020/immunity/.

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