Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Global Bus And Coach Industry Icon - Doug Jack - Passed Away on September 2 in UK

Doug Jack, the widely respected bus and coach industry consultant, has died aged 78. He passed away peacefully in the early hours of Wednesday, September 2 after a short illness.

Doug’s passion for the bus and coach industry began at an early age and remained with him throughout his life. He was a familiar face at bus and coach exhibitions all around the world and his knowledge was considered unrivalled by many. As news of his passing spread, one word kept recurring in the online tributes - ‘icon’.

Having graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in Scots Law, he joined Leyland Motors in 1966. After practical training on the shop floor in various departments, he became Legal Advisor of British Leyland Truck & Bus Division on its formation in 1968 and Company Secretary in 1971. An enthusiastic traveller, he became Export Sales Manager in 1975.

Doug subsequently became Sales Marketing Director for Duple Coach Builders where he introduced a more modern range of products. As Managing Director for Salvador Caetano (UK), he later established a UK subsidiary for the Portuguese bodybuilder.

Having gained a wide and almost unique experience in the bus and coach industry, Doug recognised the need for a specialist consultancy to advise and assist the manufacturing industry. Transport Resources International (TRI) was established in 1986.

Doug is survived by his two sons, Robert (a transport journalist and publisher) and James (international business).

The funeral will take place in Northampton on Wednesday, 23rd September. If you wish to attend, in person or online, please contact Robert Jack at

The family have requested no flowers and instead asked for donations to be made in Doug’s memory to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), a charity which reflects his very international focus.

Doug’s career - the long version

Born in 1941 and raised in Dunfermline, Fife, Doug’s teenage interest in buses was fostered by Jack Rennie (senior), who owned bus and coach operator Rennies of Dunfermline Ltd (now part of Stagecoach). Within days of his twenty-first birthday he had gained a PSV licence.

Doug graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in Scots Law, following in the footsteps of his father, but he quickly realised he was much happier in the bus and truck business. So in 1966 he made a bold move and joined Leyland Motors, which was in its heyday as a major international force.

As a graduate trainee, Doug’s first year with Leyland Motors was spent in the various departments, one month at a time, learning how to build trucks and buses, and all about their main component parts. This gave him very valuable engineering experience.

Following the merger of the Leyland Motor Corporation and British Motor Holdings in 1968, Doug became Legal Advisor of British Leyland Truck & Bus Division. He became the division’s Company Secretary in 1971 before he was thirty years old, an unusual event in those days.

He became increasingly involved in major export licensing and sales agreements, especially in Spain, Morocco and Turkey, and was, in his own words, easily persuaded to become Export Sales Manager of the Truck and Bus Division in 1975; then Export Sales Director of the Passenger Vehicle Division in 1978 (ie. buses and coaches), and finally Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa in 1979 (with responsibility for trucks and buses).

These roles required Doug to travel globally to meet first hand with customers, governments, banks and corporations. Even with this heavy responsibility he still found time to keep close to his first interest - the product. He would regularly take test drives in deckers, coaches and HGVs, learning everything he could.

He also found time to write the comprehensive history of Leyland Motors. Published in 1977, ‘The Leyland Bus’ is a magnificent illustrated work, as comprehensive and international as Leyland itself.

Doug subsequently became Sales Marketing Director for Duple Coach Builders from 1981 to 1983, introducing a new and more modern range of products to the market before he was appointed as Managing Director for Salvador Caetano (UK) whereupon he established a British subsidiary for the Portuguese bodybuilder.

Having gained a wide and almost unique experience in the bus, coach and truck industry, Doug recognised the need for a specialist consultancy to advise and assist the manufacturing industry. As a consequence he established Transport Resources International (TRI) in 1986 to apply his accumulated specialist knowledge towards services for commercial vehicle manufacturers. From the mid-1990s the business concentrated exclusively on the worldwide bus and coach industry, for manufacturers and major component suppliers.

TRI became a limited company in June 2006 and has worked with many regular clients in the manufacturing and component industries from more than twenty countries worldwide.

He was also a regular contributor to industry journals, including Bus & Coach Buyer in the UK and BUSRide in the USA.

Sandy Glennie remembers ‘true and trusted friend’

Alexander (Sandy) Glennie, the former Managing Director of Volvo Bus Ltd, was a close friend. He first met Doug in 1980 at the Brighton Rally when he was with Duple and was struck by his knowledge and enthusiasm for the total industry.

Reflecting on Doug, Sandy commented: “Doug was a true and trusted friend and a dedicated man. He will be remembered as a genuine people person.

“He had a wicked sense of humour and used to recount many tales of his experiences in such places as New York, Turkey, Shanghai, Falkirk and even Iran.”

“He knew everyone in the greater industry from the biggest manufacturers, to EU and government agencies to component suppliers and research institutes.

“He was a regular visitor at the international exhibitions and was welcomed on all stands. He was confident and relaxed with all industry members from international chairmen to family coach operators.”

“Doug was a grafter and retirement was not in his vocabulary working to the end.”

Luc Glorieux - He was a great specialist and a great friend

Luc Glorieux, founder of Busworld, also paid tribute to Doug. 

“Doug was one of the finest spirits I ever met and he certainly was one of the greatest specialists about coaches and buses worldwide,” said Luc.

“Each time I was in need of advice, He was there for me, ready and offering the good and right counsel. I will always remember him as a great friend.”

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Employees Volunteer to Spread Happiness Amongst Differently Abled


In line with its constant efforts to motivate and inspire employees to partake in noble social causes, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), today, conducted its 17th ICARE program by associating with an NGO – “Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled” that works for the empowerment of persons who are differently abled  and  underserved. This time, more than 235 employees along with their family members came together to lend their voices in the creation of an audio library for visually challenged students.

As a part of this activity, TKM employees along with their families came together virtually through an e-enabled platform to render vivid narrations that triggers the imagination by making an audio recording of 200 different types of books that will now become accessible to visually challenged beneficiaries across India. In the process, employees are getting a chance to explore their skills for social upliftment while meaningfully utilizing their time for a cause.

Expressing his thoughts on this activity, Mr. Vikram Gulati, Country Head & Senior Vice President, Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, “At Toyota Kirloskar Motor, we along with our employees, have always believed in putting our combined efforts to bring about a positive change to the community we live in. Through ICARE, we intend to encourage our employees to contribute to social causes and empower them to be the change agents in society. As a responsible corporate, we will always strive to initiate activities that results in progressive impact and achieve long-term sustainability.

We are happy to see such energetic participation of our employees and their family members in each of the ICARE activities. This platform helps us in bonding amongst ourselves as a Toyota family and enables the employees to understand the company’s commitment towards improving the lives of communities. We will continue focusing our efforts on concerns that need our intervention and work towards building a better society. Employees have enjoyed this innovative virtual contribution experience to support the cause.”

‘ICARE’– an employee voluntary initiative, is an effort aligned with the company’s commitment to sustained community development.  TKM believes that it is important for the employees to align with its morals and principles to make key contributions to the nation and society at large. This drive actively involves the employees and strives to enhance their understanding of various societal issues and encourages their contribution to addressing vital needs within TKM’s CSR framework. Since its launch in 2017, ICARE has grown manifold and managed to create a large impact in the society, which benefited more than 40,000 lives. Currently, more than 700 employees are registered under TKM’s ICARE initiative. So far, TKM has implemented 16 ICARE activities in the area of Education, Environment, Road Safety, Skill Development, Disaster Management and supporting special children by creating massive transformation in the society and providing an enriching experience to employees every time.

TKM will continue its various CSR activities to alleviate the socio-economic structure of the society while providing support to underprivileged and underserved people to make a difference in their lives.

Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant Launches a Certified Process Simulation Facility

The Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant of the Russian Helicopters holding (part of the Rostec State Corporation) has launched a certified process simulation facility in its premises. The facility works as a platform for interactive training by the principles of lean production, and was created at the enterprise as part of the Russian governmental project for improving labor productivity and employment.

"Factory specialists were the first in the region to receive certificates and the right to train employees of enterprises participating in the Labor Productivity and Employment program." Opening of the process simulation facility at U-UAP was an result of effective interaction between the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Buryatia and the Russian Federal Center of Competences in Labor Efficiency, which provided methodological assistance in its creation", - pointed out the Managing Director of JSC U-UAP Leonid Belykh

The training platform allows to conduct interactive workshop training for employees. The facility reproduces a real mechanical engineering production chain and simulates real production processes.

The training format consists of eight-hour business game, in which a team of 15 people gets acquainted with methods for identifying losses and determining reserves in workflow optimisation. Its unique format allows the process simulation facility to quickly teach crucial skills associated with the lean production approach.

The simulator provides an opportunity to consciously apply lean production tools to increase labor productivity, gain practical experience and knowledge about improvements in the production process that can affect the operational and economic performance of an enterprise.

Modern enterprises are not only interested in maintaining the already achieved level of production, but also strive for increasing its efficiency. The certified trainers of the simulator are tasked to teach the employees to speed up their workflow processes and, in doing so, augment the potential of their department, workshop or factory.

Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant JSC is one of the production enterprises of the Russian Helicopters holding. The modern production and technological capacity of the plant makes it possible to manufacture new types of aircraft quickly and combine the creation of prototypes with the line production of equipment. In over 75 years of existence, more than 8,000 aircraft have been built at the plant. Today, the plant specializes in the production of Mi-8AMT (Mi-171E), Mi-171 and Mi- 8AMTSh (Mi-171Sh) helicopters.

JSC “Russian Helicopters”, a part of Rostec State Corporation, is a leading player in the global helicopter industry, the sole Russian designer and manufacturer of helicopters. The Holding Company was established in 2007 and is headquartered in Moscow. We operate five helicopter assembly plants, two design bureaus, component production and maintenance enterprises, aircraft repair plants and one helicopter service company providing after-sales support in Russia and abroad. The customers of the Holding Company are the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Home Affairs, EMERCOM of Russia, and other state customers, Gazpromavia, UTair Aviation company, large Russian and foreign companies.

State Corporation Rostec is one of the largest industrial companies in Russia. It unites more than 800 scientific and industrial organizations in 60 regions of the country. Its key areas of activity are transport engineering, electronics, medical technology, chemistry and innovative materials. Rostec holdings form three clusters: electronics, weapons and aviation. The corporation’s portfolio includes such well-known brands as AvtoVAZ, KAMAZ, Kalashnikov, Russian Helicopters, Uralvagonzavod and others. Rostec is active in the implementation of all 12 national projects. The company is a key provider of Smart City technology, it is engaged in the digitalization of public administration, industry and social sectors, and it is developing plans for the development of 5G wireless technologies, an Industrial Internet of Things, big data and blockchain systems. Rostec partners with leading world manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Daimler, Pirelli and Renault. The corporation’s products are delivered to more than 100 countries worldwide. Almost a third of the company's revenue comes from the export of high-tech products.

Friday, September 11, 2020

IDRBT Outlines Strategy For AI Adoption in Indian Banking System

* Releases a white paper, AI in Banking: A Primer, in association with Microsoft India

* Calls upon sector to increase focus on AI strategy, data management, internal digitisation, talent creation and developing safe systems  

Underlining the role and potential of AI in transforming India’s BFSI sector, the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) released a whitepaper titled ‘AI in Banking: A Primer’ in association with Microsoft India today. The Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) is the premier Institute of Banking Technology in India. Established by Reserve Bank of India in 1996, the Institute spearheads efforts in providing state-of-the-art technologies for the Indian Banking and Financial Sector.

Aimed at supporting banks in their AI journey, IDRBT in association with Microsoft has worked out a framework and strategy for the successful adoption of AI for accelerated innovation and growth. IDRBT urges the BFSI organisations to increase focus on AI strategy, data management, internal digitization, talent creation and developing safe systems to improve their AI readiness.  The white paper also introduces an AI maturity assessment model developed by Microsoft.

As India progresses in its economic journey, financial infrastructure will play a vital role in achieving India’s vision of an inclusive financial system. The Indian banking sector, which is already at the forefront of the fintech revolution, will be an integral part of this journey. The government has stated that for banks to transform and fulfil India’s growing needs, they must harness technologies such as AI and Big Data. 

Shri Saurabh Mishra, Joint Secretary, Dept. of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India released the White Paper, at an event organised by the IDRBT for the Board members of banks, in the presence of Microsoft India executives, on September 11, 2020 (Friday).

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. A. S. Ramasastri, Director, IDRBT said, In the coming years, Artificial Intelligence in Banking is expected to be as normal as using any office productivity tools. AI in combination with Cloud Computing, IoT, Blockchain, 5G and emerging technologies will increase customer experience and agility in product release. We are confident these technology collaborations will draw synergies across stakeholders. 

Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India said, “The adoption of Data & AI has accelerated exponentially in the new normal, enabling organizations, individuals and governments to not only rebound stronger from the crisis but to reimagine a new future. The banking and financial services industry, a critical determinant of India’s economic success, has been at the heart of this change. Building a scalable, trusted model to leverage the full potential of data and AI will be central to driving meaningful innovation and digital transformation in the sector. This also has deep implications for financial inclusion and access. It is an honour for us to collaborate with IDRBT in the development of this paper and support its efforts to empower the BFSI industry in India to leapfrog into the future.”

Strategy for AI adoption in banking

While the sector is now increasingly adopting AI, according to AI in Banking, addressing the key challenges facing it today is critical. This includes the need for a trained workforce; lack of uniform data digitisation standards; varying enforcement approaches across countries; differing levels of digital literacy and capacity among users; and concerns around data protection & privacy. Multiplicity of vernacular languages is another factor that inhibits the effectiveness of AI in the Indian banking ecosystem.

The white paper recommends banks embrace IDRBT’s Data, Process, People and Technology framework, developed with techno-bankers and analytical industry experts. It also stresses the urgent need for banks to assess their AI readiness using an AI maturity model and increase focus on: 

* AI strategy: banks need to have a clear vision on what AI is to achieve; how they want to integrate it within their organization; feasibility and impact of investments and possible consequences on their internal dynamics.

* Data management: invest in the creation and storage of a large amounts of data to train the AI algorithms. Dividends yielded by AI are related to the quality and the quantity of the data recorded or stored.

* Internal digitization: digitize processes and operations, promote a pro-technology culture, and familiarize their employees with emerging technologies. It is important to educate them AI will complement and enhance their work and not replace them.

* Talent creation: develop and reskill their own talent pools in addition to hiring experts.

* Developing safe systems:  banks need to increasingly invest in cybersecurity collaborations with technology firms to identify and plug potential threats.

A two-phase approach: The white paper suggests a two-phase approach viz., pre-adoption and during adoption for the effective development and implementation of AI tools. The pre-adoption stage would require familiarising the workforce with the required skills and a careful ROI assessment. During the adoption stage, banks and financial institutions must focus on making data secure, provide proper training to employees, and close the talent gap. It is also important to ensure that AI algorithms are ethically designed to avoid bias and are compliant with regulations to ensure fairness, accountability and transparency, and prevent incorrect decision-making.  

AI in Banking also showcases successful use cases of public and private banks in the country that are already deploying the technology effectively. These include State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB), Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Citi Bank. According to the whitepaper, AI is demonstrating a huge impact for the early adopters at three fundamental levels: (i) the processes they adopt, (ii) their products and services and (iii) user experience. Predictive and ML-based analytics models are also helping banks increase revenue, reduce cost and improve risk profile by facilitating informed decisions on credit underwriting, detecting frauds and defaults early, improving collections, increasing employee efficiency and transparency.

The whitepaper can be accessed from the following link:

About IDRBT:

The Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) is a unique institution focused exclusively on Banking Technology. Established by the Reserve Bank of India in 1996, the Institute works at the intersection of Banking and Technology. Right from carrying out cutting-edge Development and Research, enabling creation of technology infrastructure to moulding the technology talent required for the Banking and Financial Sector, IDRBT enables the technology transformation of the Indian Banking and Financial Sector. While addressing the immediate technology concerns of the Banking and Financial Sector, the Institute focuses on anticipating the future needs and requirements of the Banking and Financial Sector and developing technologies to address them.

About Microsoft India:

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT” @ Microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 11,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research, development and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune. Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centres to accelerate digital transformation across Indian start-ups, businesses, and government organizations.

JK Tyre Launches Smart Range of Tyres Across India on

In line with its customer first philosophy, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd - Indian tyre industry major and pioneer of radial tyre technology, has associated with the leading online marketplace – The association aims to serve the buyers in the era of contactless purchase. Customers can avail doorstep delivery of JK Tyre’s entire range of premium tyres leveraging the seamless connectivity offered by Amazon India’s widespread network.

This association commenced from August 1, 2020, and has allowed the customers of JK Tyre to get access to entire range of premium tyres from the comfort of their homes. Selection on includes marquee products from JK Tyres for both passenger vehicles and two wheelers.  The company also participated in Amazon Prime Day from 6-7th August and registered significant sales.

Commenting on the association, Mr. Srinivasu Allaphan, Director - Sales & Marketing, JK Tyre & Industries said, “At JK Tyre, we are always mindful of the preference of our customers. In the altered normal, customers have become more inclined towards e-commerce due to its contact-free nature, from payment to procurement. Our association with Amazon India is a concerted effort to deliver the buyer community a seamless purchasing experience while simultaneously ensuring their safety. We are optimistic that this association would further strengthen JK Tyre’s brand connect and enhance our market presence. We look forward to a long & fruitful association with Amazon India.”

Ms. Shalini Puchalapalli, Director – Category Management, Amazon India said, “JK Tyre is a trusted brand, providing customers with great quality tyres since decades. We’re excited to offer their premium range of tyres for customers on With this launch, we continue to build a strong portfolio in the automotive category, providing customers with a vast selection and a safe shopping experience.”

Amidst the ongoing disruption in the retail industry, virtual is the new way for brands to stay connected with their customers. Thus, this strategic association between JK Tyre and Amazon India has enabled the buyers to choose the products from JK Tyre without putting their safety and wellbeing at risk. The customers just need to visit and search for JK Tyre.

JK Tyre and Industries Limited

The flagship company of JK Organisation, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd is one of India’s foremost tyre manufacturers and is also amongst the top 25 manufacturers in the world.

Pioneers of radial technology, the Company produced the first radial tyre in 1977 and is currently the market leader in Truck Bus Radial segment. In 2019, the Company achieved a remarkable feat by entering the coveted Limca Book of Records with the country’s largest off-the-road tyre - VEM 045.The Company provides end-to-end solutions across segments of passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, farming, Off-the-Road and two & three-wheelers.

JK Tyre’s unwavering commitment towards innovation is reflected through the concerted efforts at its state-of-the-art global research and technology centre – the Raghupati Singhania Centre of Excellence - in Mysore. The Centre houses some of the world’s finest technologies and techniques, thereby, adding to the larger efforts of the Company to put India on the global innovation map.  The Hari Shankar Singhania Elastomer and Tyre Research Institute (HASETRI) - which fulfils need for globally competitive technologies for tyres and polymers and the JK Tyre Tech Centre, a hub for new product development catering to current and emerging needs of customers.

JK Tyre launched India’s first ever ‘Smart Tyre’ technology-and introduced Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) by offering TREEL Sensors, which monitors the tyre’s vital statistics, including pressure and temperature. Keeping its commitment to grow the radial market, through technological innovation and new product introduction, it has rolled out its 20 millionth Truck/Bus Radial tyre in May becoming the First and the only Indian company to achieve this milestone.

A global force, JK Tyre is present in 105 countries with over 180 Global distributors.  The Company has 12 globally-benchmarked ‘sustainable’ manufacturing facilities - 9 in India and 3 in Mexico – that collectively produce around 35 million tyres annually. The Company also has a strong network of over 4000 dealers and 500+ dedicated Brand shops called as Steel Wheels and Xpress Wheels. JK Tyre is also synonymous with motorsport in the country. For over three decades, the Company has relentlessly worked towards shaping India’s positioning as the motorsport hub of Asia, developing the right infrastructure for the sport and promoting young talent in the arena.

It is the only Indian tyre manufacturer to be included in the list of Superbrands India in 2019 for the seventh consecutive year. Additionally, JK Tyre was featured among India’s Best Companies to Work For in 2019 by Great Place to Work®. JK Tyre recently was awarded the most coveted Safety award in the world -the Sword of Honour for Safety across its plants by the British Safety Council, UK.

Garware Technical Fibres Consolidated Net Profit Falls by 40.3% in Q1 FY21

Garware Technical Fibres Ltd. (Formerly Garware-Wall Ropes Ltd.), a leading manufacturer of technical textiles for the Indian and global markets, today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended June 30, 2020.

Consolidated: Q1 FY21 Highlights:

Net Sales decreased by 34.4% to Rs. 152.4 Cr in Q1 FY21 as compared to Rs. 232.3 Cr in Q1 FY20

Profit before tax reduced by 46.6% to Rs. 22.6 Cr in Q1 FY21 as compared to Rs. 42.3 Cr in the same quarter last year

Net profit after tax has dropped by 40.3% to Rs. 17.7 Cr in the quarter as against Rs. 29.6 Cr in the corresponding period of FY20.

EPS for Q1 FY21 is at Rs. 8.08; this is a de-growth of 40.3 % over Q1 FY20

Management Comments:

In a statement, Mr. Vayu Garware, CMD, Garware Technical Fibres Ltd. said, Business in Q1 was deeply impacted due to the COVID 19 induced lockdown. Manufacturing and sales activities came to a  standstill  across the country.  During the lockdown period,  we prioritized  the health and  well- being of our team and their families with strict SOPs and regular communications. We further focused on  collection  of  receivables,  reduction  of  costs  and  Cash  flow.  Towards  the  later  part  of  Q1, manufacturing started in a phased manner.  Domestic Market activity remained on a very low scale. We could gradually pick up supplies to the international market and were thereby able to deliver a reasonable result despite the challenges.

About Garware Technical Fibres Ltd. (Formerly Garware-Wall Ropes Ltd.): (BSE: 509557 / NSE: GARFIBRES)

Garware  Technical  Fibres  Ltd.  (formerly  Garware-Wall  Ropes  Ltd.),  an  ISO  14001:2015  and  ISO 9001:2015  certified  company  is  a  leading  player  in  Technical  Textiles  specializing  in  providing customized  solutions  to  its  customers  worldwide.  Globally,  the  company  is  known  for  its  applied innovation in the field of sports, fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, agriculture, coated fabrics and geo- synthetics. The company`s products are manufactured in state-of-art facilities at Wai and Pune and marketed in more than 75 countries.

Toyota Announces Unique ‘Respect Package’ Celebrating the Overwhelming Response Received for the Urban Cruiser

* Expresses its gratitude towards customers who pre book the Urban Cruiser

Following the overwhelming response from customers to the ‘opening of bookings’ for the soon-to-be-launched Toyota Urban Cruiser, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) today announced a ‘Respect Package’ as an early-movers advantage for customers who pre-book the Urban Cruiser. Aligned with the overall theme for the upcoming Urban Cruiser, the Respect Package is crafted in-line with Toyota’s ‘Customer-First’ philosophy and is initiated keeping in mind the trust & faith our loyal customers have placed on the brand.

As a special gesture towards customers who have shown their faith in Toyota products and have booked the Urban Cruiser before the official launch of the product (before seeing the vehicle or the price), will enjoy “a no-cost periodic maintenance” for up to 2 years*. Over the years, customers have bestowed their trust in Brand Toyota and this gratitude program aims to respect their faith in the brand.

Commenting on the announcement of the Customer Appreciation Package, Mr. Naveen Soni, Senior Vice President, Sales and Service, TKM, said, “We are truly touched by the response the ‘Opening of Bookings’ for the Urban Cruiser has received, across the country. The Respect Package is our way to express our gratitude to our customers and welcome them to the Toyota family. Customer trust and brand loyalty spur us to push ourselves harder to deliver the Urban Cruiser to them on time. The all-new Toyota Urban Cruiser introduces the customers to Toyota’s SUV design and world-class after-sales experience. The Urban Cruiser will be fully revealed in a launch event this festive season, with announcements on the pricing, variants and delivery schedule.”

The Urban Cruiser is powered by a new K-Series 1.5 litre, four-cylinder Petrol Engine available in a choice of Manual Transmission (MT) and Automatic Transmission (AT) with superior fuel efficiency. All AT variants will be equipped with advanced Lithium-Ion battery and an Integrated Starter Generator. The exteriors boast of a Distinct and Dynamic Bold Grille along with Bold Trapezoidal Fog Lamp design and Dual Chamber LED Projector Headlamps with dual function LED DRL-cum–indicators. Customers will have the option of 16-inch Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels and an exciting choice of vibrant colours in dual-tone, including a unique brown colour.

To enable customers to plan their festive season car purchase, TKM opened bookings for the Urban Cruiser for a nominal amount of INR 11,000 through online orders or dealerships. For more details, customers can simply log on to

*Subject to terms and conditions: Free maintenance up to 2 years or 20,000 KMs, whichever comes earlier.

Banking of Tomorrow with Human and Artificial Intelligence

By Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India

The new normal has accelerated Data and AI adoption manifold, and this has clearly shown the benefits of investing in a tech enabled future. This is enabling organizations, individuals and governments across the country and the world to not only rebound stronger from the crisis, but to reimagine a new future. The banking and financial services industry has been at the heart of this change. A critical determinant of India’s economic success, we’ve seen the sector embrace large scale digital transformation in the last few months, paving the way for the future of banking in India.

Harnessing the power of AI will continue to be a vital enabler in that journey. It is becoming existential for every business and will play a key role in India’s economic and social value creation. AI has supported the government and businesses with containment efforts, workforce planning and protection, as well as in restarting the economic engine in a systematic and secure manner. Driving utilization of Data and AI will also be a catalyst in realizing India’s 2025 vision of inclusive development, and a recent NASSCOM report shows that it has the potential to deliver $450-500B for the economy by 2025.

In this environment, building a scalable model for leveraging the full potential of Data and AI will be central to driving unbridled innovation and digital transformation across industries, and particularly in the banking and financial sector. We’re already seeing more innovation than ever in fintech as people are depending less on physical wallets and using more of digital payment mechanisms. Financial services organizations have been leveraging AI to enhance customer experience, improve operational efficiency, manage risks, detect frauds, gather data-driven insights, and even streamline regulatory compliance. We’re seeing innovative lending products with data driven insights enabling the ability to predict and minimize credit risk as well as analytics-based collection models.

This also has deep implications for financial inclusion and access. Technology platforms built with strong data and AI foundations are enabling contactless banking and remote operability for millions across India. AI is helping build the critical digital infrastructure that will allow every community, urban and rural; every business, small and large; every worker, first-line and knowledge workers; and every person, including people with disabilities to benefit from tech intensity.

AI should be defined not just by what technology can do on its own, but by how it can augment and amplify human effort for people to do more. Banking of tomorrow will combine artificial and human intelligence (AI+HI) to be more collaborative, personalized, inclusive, deliver better products and consumer experience, and built on trust. It is a privilege to collaborate with IDRBT to introduce this paper, and we stay committed to working together with everyone to innovate and reimagine the next phase of growth. Creating an-AI ready ecosystem that enables everyone to leverage the technology for productivity and growth is an imperative for India to leapfrog into the future. This will accelerate the progress towards the mission to empower every person and every organization in India to achieve more.

This post was originally published as a foreword in ‘AI in Banking: A Primer’, a whitepaper published by the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) in association with Microsoft.

Vice President of India - Venkaiah Naidu - Launches “Heartfulness Essay Competition”

‘Heartfulness Essay Event 2020’ jointly organised by the Heartfulness Education Trust, Shri Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM) and United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan(UNIC), was launched by the Vice President of India Mr. Venkaiah Naidu, in the presence of Daaji, guide of Heartfulness. The event was attended by leading educationists, academicians and students from across the country.  

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India said, “I am extremely delighted to launch ‘Heartfulness All India Essay Writing Event’ organized by Shri Ram Chandra Mission in partnership with the United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan. We need to recognise the importance of value-based learning for our youth. The Government of India is undertaking several reforms in the education sector to ensure education in the country meets the requirement of tomorrow and at the same time it is very cognizant that the foundation of system is based on imparting the right values. We are glad that organisations such as Heartfulness Institute are investing their time, energy and efforts over several decades to guide the youth in the right direction.”     

Initiated 28 years ago with a vision of inculcating value-based thinking through reflection, discussion and contemplation, the ‘Heartfulness Essay Event’, held annually is unique as a competition. It gives ample time for the participants to delve on the topic of the essay, discuss with peers, teachers, parents and friends, contemplate and reflect and give shape to the essay from the individual’s personal experience. It is held across the country in national and regional formats in English, Hindi and nine other regional languages and has helped shaping the minds and hearts of millions of youth across the last 28 years.   


This unique annual Essay competition tries to inculcate value-based thinking, shaping the minds and hearts of millions of youth for the last 28 years. Participating students get an opportunity to contemplate and reflect on the topic chosen to write from personal experience. Students can submit their essays at in English, Hindi and nine regional languages. 

Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Kamlesh Patel (Daaji), Guide of Heartfulness said, “The youth forms the fabric of the nation and they need to be delicately treated. It is very critical that they are inspired from within to find the answers, to know what is right and pursue that path. In this fast-paced world, the importance of reflection, discussion and contemplation is lost, this has an impact on the development of the intellect and value system amongst the youth. Through the essay event we are trying to preserve and encourage the wisdom of the traditional learning methods so that fabric remains strong and intact.”  

The ‘Heartfulness Essay Event 2020’ – Details of Participation: 

Participants can log on to for guidelines  of participation and for submission of entries. The last date to submit entries is October 10, 2020. There is no charge associated for the event. Entries are invited in English and Hindi at National Level and 9 regional languages including Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu, at state level - under the following categories: 

Category I - Classes 9 to 12. Topic: Thought pollution - root cause of all ills. with a word limit – [500 words] 

Category II – UG&PG (Age Limit Less than 28 years and unemployed): Topic: Poverty is not just a lack of money with a word limit – [750 words] 

The much-anticipated event has seen an incremental increase over the years with 18,000 - 20,000 institutions participating, and a million plus essay entries being received for evaluation. The evaluation process is at several levels including at the institutional level, state level and national level panels. The final evaluation committee consists of an eminent panel of 8 members who are educationists, PhDs, IITs or professionals- all are well qualified to evaluate the entries.  

Prizes : Top 10 essays at national level (English & Hindi) and state level (English, Hindi and regional languages) will be given prizes which include mementoes for top three winners at National and State levels and Certificates jointly signed by the Director, UNIC and President, SRCM.  Certificates of merit for top 5 entries at institutional level and participation certificates for all will be given. 

About SRCM:  

Shri Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM) is a non-profit organisation which provides spiritual training to interested seekers from around the world, through Heartfulness meditation, which has its roots in the Sahaj Marg system. It offers a way for balanced living in a heart-based way. SRCM was founded in 1945 by Shri Ram Chandra of Shahajanpur, in honor of his spiritual teacher and guide, Shri Ram Chandra of Fatehgarh. With a presence in over 100 countries worldwide [SRCM Centers] and on every continent of the globe, it has its world headquarters in Chennai, India.  

About Heartfulness: 

Heartfulness is a lifestyle based on simple meditative practices and skills. It has been around for over 100 years. Heartfulness helps people find inner calm, peace and stillness. The simple practices are offered to people of all walks of life, cultures, religious beliefs and economic situations, over the age of 15, free of charge. With over 4 million practitioners, Heartfulness has been adopted in thousands of schools and colleges, and over 250,000 professionals have been introduced to Heartfulness in corporations, non-governmental and government bodies worldwide. More than 5,000 Heartfulness Centers are supported by over 13,000 certified volunteer trainers in 160 countries.  

Huawei Expands All-Scenario Product Portfolio with Six New Products for Indian Market

Huawei Consumer Business Group (BG) hosted the Huawei Seamless AI Life New Products Global Launch event, where the company announced six new products[1] that further enrich the 1+8+N all-scenario ecosystem.

The new products revealed during the keynote include: HUAWEI MateBook X and HUAWEI MateBook 14, two new lightweight notebooks that revolutionise mobile productivity with compact form factors and smart experiences enabled by the innovative Huawei Share feature; HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro and HUAWEI FreeLace Pro, new pro-variants of the highly acclaimed audio products featuring improved Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), new designs and user-centric features; HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 Pro and HUAWEI WATCH FIT, the latest entries to Huawei’s wearable product line-up with striking aesthetics, new fitness data tracking features and workout modes.

During the keynote, Huawei also reaffirmed its commitment to the All-scenario Seamless AI Life Strategy and working with partners to nurture the 1+8+N ecosystem. The launched products are all designed to bring a more cohesive connected experience to consumers in their everyday lives, in scenarios ranging from work, health and fitness to audio entertainment, echoing Huawei’s mission to build a better connected world.

Richard Yu, Executive Director and CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, said: “Great user experiences are always founded on innovation, but our journey of innovation always begins and ends with consumers. In future, we will continue working with our valued partners to offer more smart and high-quality experiences to consumers worldwide.”

HUAWEI MateBook X & HUAWEI MateBook 14: mobile productivity redefined

The latest entry to Huawei’s flagship PC product line, HUAWEI MateBook X combines the flagship series’ iconic design and innovative technology with improved lightweight design and smart features. Weighing just 1kg[2], the lightweight notebook measures just 13.6mm[3] at its thickest part and is smaller than a piece of A4 paper, so users can easily slide it into a backpack and carry it with them wherever they go.

The new HUAWEI MateBook X is the first notebook to feature the 3K Infinite FullView Display[4], realised with a borderless design that offers an immersive viewing experience and stunning image quality. The display is also multitouch-enabled with gesture support such as Fingers Gesture Screenshot, which lets users quickly take a screenshot by swiping downwards on the screen with three fingers, as easy as it is on a smartphone.

Based on Huawei’s distributed technology, the improved Multi-screen Collaboration[5] adds even more versatility to the HUAWEI MateBook X, allowing users to more seamlessly tap into the capabilities of multiple devices at once. Accessing the feature is easier than ever with the Huawei Share tag now embedded into the improved touchpad. Users can control both the PC and a paired smartphone on a single screen, make video or audio calls on the notebook, transfer files between the devices or even edit files saved on the smartphone directly using the PC. Huawei smartphone users can also take advantage of Instant Hotspot to connect their notebook to Internet via tethering[6].

Powered by a 10th Generation Intel® Core™ processor, the new flagship notebook delivers the performances needed for daily tasks. The touchpad is 26 percent larger compared to the previous generation for better ease-of-use, and now features HUAWEI Free Touch to offer full haptic feedback. The new full-size keyboard features scissors switches that offer 1.3mm of key travel to make typing a joy, and comes with two tweeters and woofers forming a quad-speaker sound system that provides immersive surround sound right in front of the user.

HUAWEI MateBook X is also the first Huawei notebook to support Wi-Fi 6, which features three times the data transfer speed[7] of Wi-Fi 5 for faster connectivity and better productivity.

During the virtual launch, Huawei also unveiled HUAWEI MateBook 14. Featuring a highly portable design and powerful performance, HUAWEI MateBook 14 integrates the AMD Ryzen 4000 H Series processor, with HUAWEI Shark Fin Fans delivering superior thermal performance even under intense workloads. Besides performance, it has a 2K HUAWEI FullView Display[8] and supports smart features including Multi-screen Collaboration to help consumers stay productive on the road.

HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro: ANC and immersive audio on demand

HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro is the world’s first true wireless stereo (TWS) earphones to support intelligent dynamic noise cancellation. Featuring a hardware and software integrated solution, the new TWS earphones intelligently identify the type of ambient noise based on the user’s immediate surroundings and switch between three profiles – General, Cosy and Ultimate – to offer the optimal noise cancelling performance. Further, HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro delivers the best noise cancelling performance yet on a Huawei audio product with an industry-leading noise cancellation rating of 40dB[9]. Dual Connection with Android, iOS and Windows smart systems means users can seamlessly switch between devices without being tied to one brand, and the new gesture control enables users to easily take control of the earphones by performing a swipe or a pinch on the cubic earphone stem.

HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 Pro & HUAWEI WATCH FIT: practical pro-grade features for everyday use

Huawei continues to expand the HUAWEI WATCH family with new products that are steeped in innovations that add scientific flair to make keeping fit and healthy easy.

The new HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 Pro not only come with features that consumers have come to love on the HUAWEI WATCH GT Series, the elegantly modern smartwatch also offers up to two weeks of battery life, more than 100 workout modes, plus pro-grade fitness data tracking features.

Health tracking features are at their most advanced yet with the upgraded HUAWEI TruSeen™ 4.0+ providing more accurate heart rate readings. Huawei has introduced new workout modes including Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Snowboarding and Golf Driving Range. These join the existing range to provide users with real-time performance tracking and analyses for professional sports.

The new flagship smartwatch launches with a rugged design featuring premium materials, including a sapphire watch crystal, titanium case and skin-friendly ceramic case back that combines with another sapphire glass black to enhance monitoring accuracy and wearing comfort. Additionally, HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 Pro supports apps to provide a convenient means for users to get even more features. Huawei also plans to further augment the smart experience on offer in the future.

Launched alongside the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 Pro, the HUAWEI WATCH FIT is the first Huawei sports smartwatch to feature a rounded rectangular watch face design. The smartwatch combines a dazzling 1.64-inch AMOLED HD display, which lends itself to displaying more content and a better interaction experience. At 34g, the HUAWEI WATCH FIT feels as light as a sports wristband. While compact, the smartphone supports up to 10-day battery in typical scenarios[10]. HUAWEI WATCH FIT also supports Huawei’s fast charging technology. Five minutes of charging can provide enough charge to sustain the smartwatch for an entire day of typical use.

The watch features newly upgraded HUAWEI TruSeen™ 4.0 heart rate technology provides more accurate, 24-hour heart monitoring to track changes in blood oxygen, sleep and stress conditions. All the data is also analysed to generate fitness advice that helps users lead better, healthier lives.

HUAWEI WATCH FIT is the first Huawei smartwatch to support Quick-workout Animations[12]. By combining 44 standard fitness routines (including fat burn, shoulder muscle relief, body sculpting and other routines) into 12 animations, this feature provides a quick and easy way for users to work out at a moment’s notice. HUAWEI WATCH FIT offers 13 running classes that are specifically tailored for jogging enthusiasts. Running pace is analysed scientifically with results provided in real time to help users optimise their workout. Further, as the ideal outdoor companion, the smartwatch comes with 96 workout modes, built-in GPS and 5ATM water resistance.

HUAWEI FreeLace Pro

Also announced during the event, the new HUAWEI FreeLace Pro offers great audio and a stylish design. Supporting noise cancellation up to 40dB, the neckband earphones take advantage of industry-leading algorithms to provide stable noise cancelling performance in any situation. HUAWEI FreeLace Pro features a pair of 14mm aluminium-magnesium alloy dynamic drivers with bass tubes to offer the high fidelity audio for the ideal listening experience. Pairing and charging are as seamless as ever with HUAWEI HiPair[13], a Huawei-developed solution that lets users easily do both at the same time by plugging the earphones to smartphone with a USB-C port. A five-minute charge gives enough battery to sustain five hours of music playback, and a full charge offers a full day’s use.

Change of Guard at FADA as Ashish Harshara Kale Hands Over Baton to Vinkesh Gulati, FADA’s 35th President

The Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), the apex national body of Automobile Retail in India announced the appointment of Mr. Vinkesh Gulati as FADA’s 35th President for the year 2020-22. He is also the first President from Uttar Pradesh. This decision was made at the 298th Governing Council Meeting which was held immediately after the 56th Annual General Meeting of the Federation.

Mr. Gulati is the Director of United Automobiles, based out of Allahabad and Faridabad. United Automobiles has been involved in the Auto Dealership business since 1985 and are dealers for Mahindra & Mahindra and Bajaj Auto. United Automobiles is part of the United Group, which started as Transport Business in 1951. The Group expanded its activities in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi by opening Educational Institutes, Auto Dealerships, Diagnostic Centres, Newspaper Publication and Medical Science as it established United Medicity, a 1,000-bed hospital in Allahabad.

The Council also elevated the following for the year 2020-22:

Mr. Manish Raj Singhania, Managing Partner – Ralas Motors, Raipur (Dealer for Mahindra & Mahindra) as the Vice President;

Mr. Chittur Selvakumar Vigneshwar, Deputy Managing Director – Anaamalais Toyota, Coimbatore (Dealer for Toyota, VECV and Benelli) as the Secretary;

The Council unanimously elected Mr. Sai Giridhar - Director, Saisha Motors Pvt. Ltd. - Jaipur (Dealer for Skoda Auto) as the Treasurer for the year 2020-22.

FADA India places on record its appreciation for the immense contribution made by Mr. Kale over the last two years as the President of the Federation. Under his leadership, FADA took many pathbreaking steps with the likes of releasing Auto Retail Registration figures to releasing Vehicle registration-based OEM wise market share and taking up the cause of unsold BS-4 vehicles in Supreme Court and getting an almost favourable judgement. Under his aegis, the Federation was made discernible as the most relevant body vis-à-vis the auto retail sector, in the eyes of the policy makers, OEMs, Auto Dealers and other industries allied to us. FADA has also played a key role in bringing together the Auto Dealers under its umbrella as Federation membership touched record highs.

On giving the baton to Mr Gulati, Mr Kale said, “I congratulate my friend and colleague Mr. Vinkesh Gulati on taking over as the President of this Prestigious Association. Having worked with him, I am extremely confident that his methodical working style and Bold Approach towards solving Dealer Issues is what will take FADA to the next Level and further unite and strengthen the dealership community.

I express my gratitude to all my colleagues at FADA and the Auto Eco System, as well as from the Media for all the encouragement and support they gave to FADA during my Tenure.”

Commenting on his appointment as the new FADA President, Mr. Gulati said, “I am extremely humbled and honoured that the Federation has placed its trust in me in taking up the position of next FADA President, an organisation with has a momentous past and an exciting future.

We are a resilient lot and Covid has once again taught us to make tough decisions to ensure that our dealerships survive. During my tenure, I will rigorously take up dealer Issues of Improving Dealership Profitability may it be Dealer Margins, Franchise Act or coming under the ambit of MSME.

Despite these current challenges, India has the potential to soon become the third-largest automobile market in the world. We can truly fulfil our government’s vision of making India a global leader in Automobiles if our ecosystem works in unison – Government, SIAM, ACMA & FADA.”

About FADA India

Founded in 1964, Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), is the apex national body of automobile retail industry in India engaged in the sale, service and spares of 2/3 Wheelers, Passenger Cars, UVs, Commercial Vehicles (including buses and trucks) and Tractors. FADA India represents over 15,000 automobile dealers having 26,500 dealerships including multiple Associations of Automobile Dealers at the Regional, State and City levels representing the entire Auto Retail Industry. Together we employ ~4 million people at dealerships and service centres.

FADA India, at the same time also actively networks with the industries and the authorities, both at the Central & State levels to provide its inputs and suggestions on the Auto Policy, Taxation, Vehicle Registration Procedure, Road Safety and Clean Environment, etc. to sustain the growth of the Automobile Retail Trade in India.

Brief Profiles of FADA Office Bearers

Mr. Vinkesh Gulati – President, FADA and Director – United Automobiles

A person wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera

Description automatically generatedAn astute business leader and passionate motorhead, Mr. Vinkesh Gulati has been actively associated with FADA for over 10 years. As Vice President and a key member in the FADA Executive Committee, Mr. Gulati has helped FADA reach newer heights.

A Law graduate with a Master’s in Commerce and Business Administration, Mr. Gulati heads United Automobiles, which has state-of-the-art dealerships of Mahindra and Bajaj Auto. Under his leadership, United Automobiles has emerged as a pioneer, winning a multitude of awards for dealer satisfaction and sales as well as gaining recognition for its excellent service and quality. Mr. Gulati is also the Senior Vice President of United Group of Institutions and manages educational institutions in Allahabad and Greater Noida, which impart degrees in Engineering and Management. Mr. Vinkesh Gulati holds a key position in the Mahindra Dealer Council and serves as a board member for the Automotive Skills Development Council.

A passionate and hands-on leader, Mr. Gulati believes strongly in nurturing and developing manpower as a vital aspect of his businesses. His dedication to teamwork always keeps his team motivated and in high spirits.

Mr. Gulati’s extensive experience in business planning, analytical approach to problems, and dedication towards the automobile community will ensure that FADA breaks newer grounds and flourishes under his term as President.

Mr. Manish Raj Singhania – Vice President, Federation of Automobile Dealers AssociationsMr. Manish Raj Singhania – Vice President, FADA and Managing Partner – Ralas Motors

Mr. Manish Raj Singhania is the owner of Ralas Group, which has dealerships of Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. He is also the President of Raipur Automobile Dealers Associations (RADA) for the last 6 years and the State Secretary of Eastern India Chamber of Commerce and Industries. He has interest in Automobile, Real Estate & Agriculture.

He has been invited by various organisations to speak on different topics like Budget, Excise Duty, etc., and under his leadership, RADA has organised four very successful Auto Expos in Raipur. Mr. Singhania has also been awarded the “Automobile Person of the Year” by Think Media Inc. in the Chhattisgarh Leadership Awards 2014 and his dealership, Ralas Motors has received the Emerging Chhattisgarh Awards 2013 – THE GREEN BUSINESS AWARD by Think Media Inc. for the lavish Greenery of the dealership & his contribution to Environment.

Mr. Chittur Selvakumar Vigneshwar – Honorary Secretary, FADA and Deputy Managing Director – Anaamalais Toyota

A person smiling for the camera

Description automatically generatedBorn into a business family in Coimbatore, Mr. C S Vigneshwar spent his childhood in Chennai. Schooled in Don Bosco Chennai, he later graduated in Commerce out of Loyola College Chennai. He later pursued his MBA from GRD College Coimbatore before adding an MSc in International Business from Manchester Metropolitan University.

He joined family business in the year 2004, being the first in the third generation to do so from the family. Today the business group known as the ARC group has interests in goods transportation, automobile dealerships, drinking water, packaged foods, renewal energy, green energy alternatives, farming and education. The group has gained a strong environmental focus to add to its existing pioneering HR and CSR way of thinking.

Mr. Vigneshwar has been a member of the Apex Consultative Committee of Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles for the last 9 years and has been the President of the Toyota India Service Dealer Council for the last 5 years. He has been a council member of the Federation of Automobile Dealers Federation for the last Six years. Having visited more than 60 countries, he loves travel. His personal interests include camping, nature photography and fishing and off-roading. Having a day of learning at work and spending time with his family, friends and dogs is his definition of a fulfilled day.

Mr. Sai Giridhar – Treasurer, FADA and Director, Saisha Motors Pvt Limited

A person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera

Description automatically generatedMr. Sai Giridhar is the Dealer Principal of Saisha Motors Pvt. Ltd., Authorised Dealer for Skoda India in Jaipur with branch outlets in Alwar, Sikar and Kota. He started this venture in October 2017 and within a span of less than three years, Saisha Motors is amongst the Top 10 performing dealers for Skoda India.

He started his automobile career in 1995 as an associate for Daewoo Motors Dealership in Jaipur. In 2003, post the unfortunate closure of Daewoo Motors, he started General Motors Dealership in Jaipur and expanded it to 7 districts of Rajasthan covering Jaipur, Kota, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Alwar, Chomu, Dausa and Bharatpur. In 2011, he partnered with Renault India and became their exclusive dealer for the State of Rajasthan. They were amongst the first 13 dealerships to be activated for Renault in India.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Role of Trainers are Essential & Crucial in Skilling, Reskilling and Upskilling: PM Narendra Modi


* Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi addressed the nation’s trainers for their remarkable efforts in building the skilling ecosystem during the second edition of Kaushalacharya Samadar 2020

* 92 skill trainers awarded under the five categories- Long term training, short term training, Jan Shiksha Sansthan, apprenticeship and entrepreneurship training

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) today organized a digital conclave for the second edition of Kaushalacharya Samadar 2020. The trainers across different sectors were felicitated for their exceptional contribution in building country’s skilling ecosystem and preparing a future-ready workforce. The occasion was addressed by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi’s addressing note for the country’s trainers appreciating their persistent hard work and the tenacity in ensuring that the aspirations of today’s youth are kept alive with apt skill training for their bright tomorrow.

In his written address, Honorable Prime Minister congratulated all the awardees. He stated that it is the government’s skill agenda to create a workforce that matches the global demands and with this vision, several efforts have been undertaken to enable a strong skill development ecosystem. The whole nation has come together under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ mission and it is also the need of the hour to be self- reliant for every Indian, as we live in the changing times. There are many sectors witnessing the growing demand for skilled youth. This is an opportunity for our young workforce to convert the present challenges into opportunities and become the strong pillars of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. It is integral that we lay enough emphasis on skilling, reskilling and upskilling. In this endeavor, the role of trainers and experts is most essential and crucial. Hon’ble Prime Minister said that it is my belief that the trainers who are awarded today will inspire many others and will continue to contribute immensely in the lives of our youth and the country’s development.

A total of 92 trainers from diverse backgrounds across geographies from different categories such as Entrepreneurship training, National Apprenticeship Promotional Scheme (NAPS), Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), Short Term Training under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Long Term Training under Directorate General of Training (DGT) and Industrial Training Centres (ITI) were felicitated at the digital conclave held today.

Under Entrepreneurship Training Category, 3 candidates were awarded for their job role of Entrepreneurship Trainer, 15 candidates under JSS for their job roles in Apparel Training, Beauty Wellness & Healthcare Training, Handicraft Training and more. Further, 14 trainers were awarded under the Short Term Training for their contribution in Electronics & Hardware Training, Apparel Training, Logistics Training, and others. 44 candidates were awarded under Long Term Training and 15 corporates were recognized and awarded for their contribution towards National Apprenticeship Promotional Scheme (NAPS).

Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said “We thank our honorable Prime Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi for sharing a note of appreciation for our excellent trainers and building their morale. The importance given to a ‘guru’ or a teacher in our culture showcases the integral role they play in shaping the lives of the students. Similarly, the skill trainers are playing an important part in accelerating the skilling ecosystem and in molding the future of our youth in the right direction. As the times are transforming, the role of trainers and assessors is becoming more crucial as they pave the roadmap for our young generating in meeting the industry demands of near future. I would like to congratulate all the awardees and we are extremely proud of our trainers for their devotion towards creating a globally competitive skilled workforce, helped us accomplish several milestones in the last five years. I am confident that we will continue our pursuit of excellence and with skilling, upskilling, and reskilling get closer to fulling the vision of Aatmnirbhar Bharat.”

The Skill Ministry’s ‘Kaushalacharya Samadar’, an annual event embraces and recognizes the contribution made by skill trainers in the vocational training ecosystem. By 2022 it is estimated India will need about 2.5 lakh trainers across the skilling ecosystem. Under its flagship program Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), MSDE has been working relentlessly to ensure high standards of skilling for trainers and on their capacity building, so they are able to meet the demands of near future.

During the current pandemic, it is with the help of these trainers that ITIs and JSS institutions played a vital role in our fight against COVID-19 through their research and innovation. ITI, Berhampur developed UVC Sanitizer and ITI Cuttack an Automatic Sanitizer Dispensing Machine. Also, JSS and other institutions have developed a special type of robot, automatic sanitizer machine PPE kits, etc, to make significant contribution towards the society.

Besides Training of Craft Instructors, DGT has collaborated with various industry partners in the ecosystem for training programs. IBM India is conducting Train-The-Trainer Program on Basic Artificial Intelligence Skills program in 7 NSTI locations to train 4167 ITI instructors from over 900 ITIs from Sep 2019 until March, 2020. One master Trainer from 26 NSTIs have been trained for the same and the target is to train 10,000 instructors from ITIs and NSTIs till 2024. For training on Data Sciences, collaboration with SAP will train the trainers of NSTI/ ITI on Data Sciences and trainers will downstream train youths. Master Trainers have been trained in 5 NSTIs and 1500 trainees have been trained so far. Further, Cisco, Accenture and Quest Alliance conducted instructors training in IT essentials for NSTI instructors. With support from NASSCOM, Capacity Building through Instructor Training (ToT) is being finalized with customized training in Domain area by Certified Master Trainer. 7000 instructors have been trained under Adobe spark. Under the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) -13462 ITI Instructors were trained across the country in Short Term Training on NSQF Compliance in Level I, II and III. The National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD) is actively engaged in providing Entrepreneurship Skills for the Trainers.

Nowadays entrepreneurship is vital and integral part of vocational training, accordingly DGT  has managed to train  the instructors NSTI’s, Government and Private ITIs  to equip them with proper entrepreneurship skills with their training in the premier institute in the NIESBUD at Noida and Dehradun centres. Total of 648 instructors have been trained with entrepreneurship skills . These train structures would impart entrepreneurship chapter to the trainees of ITI s and NSTIs.

Corporates and universities along with international organizations like Temasek Foundation and Singapore Polytechnic have helped in bolstering capacity-building programs for trainers and assessors. There is a well-established network of National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs) which utilizes its own capacity and infrastructure to achieve greater convergence between the long-term and short-term skill training ecosystem. Under the new framework of National Education Policy 2020 also, the teacher is at the center of the fundamental reforms in the education system. In order to successfully engage training providers in the skilling agenda, Skill India has further collaborated with various corporates to strengthen the trainers and assessors in skill development to continue the momentum.

About Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE)

MSDE was formed on November 9, 2014 by the Government of India to focus on enhancing employability of skills. Since its inception, MSDE has undertaken significant initiatives and reforms in terms of formalizing the policy, framework and standards; launching of new programs and schemes; creating new infrastructure and upgrading the existing institutions; partnering with States; engaging with industries and building societal acceptance and aspirations for skills. The Ministry aims to bridge the gap between demand and supply of skilled manpower to build new skills and innovation not only for existing jobs but also for jobs that are to be created. Till date, more than three crore people have been trained under Skill India. Under its flagship programme, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 2016-2020, the Ministry has trained more than 92 lakh candidates so far.

Next Generation 5G Technology Changing Key Businesses Globally

By Mr. Preetham Uthaiah, EVP - Marketing and Strategy, Saankhya Labs

The ongoing situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased focus on automation to drive business continuity and revive the Indian economy. Furthermore, fueled by the ban on Chinese products and apps, this has acted as a catalyst for India to look towards developing a high-tech ecosystem indigenously. Keeping technology at the center of all operations, 5G, which is poised as the next-big thing in enabling digital communications, will be central to this transformation, and provide sectors the zest to augment their business operations.

Here’s a list of top 5 sectors that will witness a huge benefit owing to the advent of 5G technology solutions 

1. Real Estate

The real estate sector, which has for long been known for its offline operations, is set to transform itself with the advent of 5G technology. In its new avatar, virtual property tours using AR/VR technologies, as well as 3D printed models of homes will be a reality in aiding digital marketing and sale of properties. Powered by stable and fast networks with lower latency, 5G will also ensure the smooth functioning of various stages of the design process to include 3D architectural visualization and collaborative meetings with various stakeholders.

How private real estate is connecting with a 5G future | PERE


In this emerging technological world, scientific farming techniques are being used to boost productivity in farms. These include use of Agri-IoT sensors for soil monitoring, water management, smart irrigation, crop health monitoring, drone-based farm management etc. Deployment of 5G networks will provide added benefit to manage these drones and get real time data from the sensors by effectively using the 5G networks

5g Network Control Smart Farm Smart Stock Photo (Edit Now) 1457026001

3. Healthcare

The healthcare industry will immensely benefit from 5G networks. With increasing use of online consultations and tele-medicine, a reliable and faster connection is critical to effectively deliver remote healthcare services. The low latency and faster speeds which are a main feature of 5G will help in time critical telemedicine applications such as remote surgery and remote patient monitoring etc. Hospitals also transmit large amounts of patient data including large files like CT Scans and MRIs. Some hospitals like King’s College Hospital, UK; Sinchuan University Hospital, China and Samsung Medical Centre, South Korea are installing private Enterprise 5G solutions to support their IT networks.

5G healthcare

4. Automotive

5G brings with it unprecedented speed and connectivity to make autonomous, or self-driving cars a reality. An autonomous car is expected to produce up to 25 GB data per hour. Current networks will not be able to handle such large volumes of real-time data. 5G networks will allow faster-than-ever communication and real-time data processing between vehicles, networks, infrastructure and even pedestrians.

Ficosa is first Spanish company to join 5G Automotive Association, aiming  to boost connected mobility - IoT Now - How to run an IoT enabled business


The manufacturing or industrial sector is becoming more and more autonomous. High speed connectivity is needed to monitor and direct robots working on the factory floor. Additionally, many factories are becoming more “smart” with IoT sensors being installed across the factory, sharing real-time updates to a central server. 5G technologies can provide network characteristics that are vital for the manufacturing industry. This technology will allow for increased flexibility, lower costs, and smaller lead times for layout changes and alterations at the manufacturing units, factory floor production reconfiguration etc. Large organizations like Worchester Bosch, Siemens, Ford Motors etc. are deploying enterprise 5G networks to streamline their operations. 5G is poised to aid manufacturing/production operations, helping them become more efficient, while also refining security and reducing maintenance and operating costs.

5G in Manufacturing: What's Here and What's to Come - Tech Briefs

5G technology is an upcoming  revolution, which promises to bring advantages in every aspect of human lives, right from manufacturing to real estate and from products and services to experiences!

Indian Firms Reported More Cyberattacks than Any Other Country in World: Acronis Cyber Readiness Report 2020

The survey states that 56% of the companies in India reported that their IT costs having increased significantly to counter attacks in the past months – exactly two times the global average.

In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, companies in India are reporting more cyberattacks than any other country in the world and 56% of them report their IT costs having increased significantly in the past months – exactly two times the global average, reveals the Acronis Cyber Readiness Report 2020. The report further highlights that 92% of the companies globally have adopted new technologies to enable remote work, including workplace collaboration tools, privacy solutions, and endpoint cybersecurity. The survey was conducted by Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection across seventeen countries with India being one of them and 3,400 global companies and remote workers.

The challenge for organizations is that managing the protection of data across the company network and all of those new devices using a stack of different solutions is expensive, time-consuming, and complicated. The lack of integration also creates gaps in the organization’s defenses that cybercriminals are exploiting. The Acronis Cyber Readiness Report reveals that as hackers target remote workers, phishing, distributed denial of service (DDoS), and videoconferencing attacks are the most common tactics used. Below are some of the key findings:

* 39% of global companies experienced a videoconferencing attack in the past three months as workers rely on apps like Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Microsoft Teams – India demonstrates the highest rates, with 66% of local companies reporting having encountered videoconferencing attacks

* Malware attacks such as ransomware also have increased during the pandemic, with 31% of companies reporting daily cyberattacks and half (50%) being targeted at least once a week – India reported twice as many attacks as any other country, followed by the US and the UAE.

* Phishing attacks are occurring at historic levels, which is not surprising since the report found only 2% of companies consider URL filtering when evaluating a cybersecurity solution. That oversight leaves remote workers vulnerable to phishing sites – while 62% of companies in India report struggling with phishing attempts.

These Acronis findings and external research illustrate why organizations need a cyber-protection solution that reduces complexity and improves security to support remote work environments, and the solution must be cost-effective to address the scale of remote workers. Acronis addresses these challenges with the release of Acronis Cyber Protect 15, which integrates backup, disaster recovery, next-generation antimalware, cybersecurity, and endpoint management tools into a single solution. The new product comes at a time when businesses are struggling to safeguard their data and infrastructure against the risks of the new remote work landscape.

The modern cyber landscape demands modern protection

“The cyberthreat landscape has changed dramatically during the past few years, and in the last six months in particular. Traditional stand-alone antivirus and backup solutions are unable to protect against modern cyberthreats,” said Serguei “SB” Beloussov, founder and CEO of Acronis. “Organizations that modernize their stack with integrated data protection and cybersecurity not only gain greater security, they lower their costs and improve efficiencies. The automation and streamlined management of Acronis Cyber Protect 15 means any business can decrease their risk, avoid downtime, and increase their IT team’s productivity.”

With Acronis Cyber Protect 15’s unique integration of data protection and next-generation cybersecurity capabilities – including AI-based behavioral detection that stops zero-day attacks, URL filtering, vulnerability assessments, videoconference protection, and automated patch management – organizations protect against modern cyberthreats while ensuring they can recover their data and systems faster than any other solution.

* 10% of users might click on malicious links that lead to phishing attacks, but the URL filtering in Acronis Cyber Protect blocked all of those sites – protecting the users, their devices, and their company’s data.

* Videoconferencing protection prevents the exploitation of popular video conferencing solutions

* Testing by independent cybersecurity labs such as AV-Test and Virus Bulletin shows that Acronis Cyber Protect’s antimalware detects 100% of malware attacks with zero false positives.

Based on the current cyberattack rate, the unique integration of backup and cybersecurity enables Acronis Cyber Protect to prevent an estimated $150 million in direct losses for its customers each year.

The comprehensive cyber protection delivered by Acronis Cyber Protect will continue to be vital in the post-pandemic landscape. With 88% of the remote workers surveyed by Acronis expecting to work from home to some extent even after the pandemic ends, ensuring their protection and cybersecurity will require the kind of integration and automation found only in Acronis Cyber Protect 15.

About Acronis

Acronis unifies data protection and cybersecurity to deliver integrated, automated cyber protection that solves the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security (SAPAS) challenges of the modern digital world. With flexible deployment models that fit the demands of service providers and IT professionals, Acronis provides superior cyber protection for data, applications, and systems with innovative next-generation antivirus, backup, disaster recovery, and endpoint protection management solutions. With award-winning AI-based antimalware and blockchain-based data authentication technologies, Acronis protects any environment – from cloud to hybrid to on-premises – at a low and predictable cost.

Founded in Singapore in 2003 and incorporated in Switzerland in 2008, Acronis now has more than 1,500 employees in 33 locations in 18 countries. Its solutions are trusted by more than 5.5 million home users and 500,000 companies, including 100% of the Fortune 1000, and top-tier professional sports teams. Acronis products are available through 50,000 partners and service providers in over 150 countries in more than 40 languages.

Turbostart Opens Applications Till Sep 30, 2020 for Second Edition of Fellowship Programme for Start Ups

Turbostart is a sector agnostic, pan-India programme which felicitates the top 25 most promising startups in the country, twice a year. Earlier this year, the company announced the winners of its first Cohort, where selected startups secured one or more of the following - funding, customised mentorship from industry stalwarts and customer/industry connects. These startups hailing from diverse sectors, under the continued guidance of Turbostart, have scaled significantly into viable business ventures; and their valuations have grown manifold in a short few months. 

Two deep tech startups in the cohort- Argoid and Sciative Solutions bring differentiated solutions and are poised to disrupt the respective markets they are going after. Sciative Solutions is leading the Dynamic Pricing revolution across Retail, Ecommerce, Travel, Entertainment and Cinema industries globally. It offers automated dynamic price optimization products powered by AI and Big Data to maximise the revenues and profitability of their (B2B) customers. Using Sciative’s Saas products, customers can monitor, calculate and apply optimal prices at ultimate speeds based on real-time market trends. Sciative Solutions is benefiting from the continued guidance of Turbostart’s pool of advisors- each an industry leader, as well as optimal assistance in several areas including Business Strategy, Digital Marketing, Legal services, and Go to Market strategy including global expansion. 

Argoid, an AI/ML startup formed by Ex-Flipkart entrepreneurs, is taking Consumer Personalization to the next level through its differentiated 3R (Real-time Relevant Recommendation) Personalization technology. Argoid boosts customer retention, sales, and recommendation resulting in significant increase in revenue for B2C enterprises and is trusted by Fortune 500 Enterprises globally. Their SaaS recommendation engine is a game changer for mid-market companies that allows Small & Medium B2C Enterprises to provide Netflix-like or personalization powered by cutting-edge AI technology. One of the key milestones of the startup - raising a substantial round of funding from a premier Deep Tech Fund, has been possible through Turbostart within just  6 months.

Touching on some of these enterprises, Ganesh Raju, Founder & CEO, Turbostart said, “The larger vision of the programme is to provide critical business support for these innovators and help them scale up fast, efficiently and cost-effectively. We are encouraged to see the rapid progress of our Cohort I startups and celebrate their success thus far. We aim to provide continued guidance and support in their long journey ahead as well. Talking about the current startup landscape, we are aware that several budding enterprises are struggling to keep their head above the water during tumultuous times like these.  Hence, we decided to launch our upcoming Cohort 2 amid the pandemic, and under the counsel of the robust Turbostart team to provide them with specialised guidance and operational support to dwell and thrive amid the ongoing pandemic. We hope the success stories of previous winners encourage more aspiring entrepreneurs to take the leap and sign up for Turbostart’s upcoming Cohort 2.”

Turbostart has provided much required assistance at a large scale in different operational areas for a business to thrive effectively. Some of these include 500+ hours of business strategy and deep dive sessions with each startup; deep-dive assessment of technology architectures;  introduction and networking opportunities with over 200 CXO’s at major corporates, PSU’s and industry bodies and strategic branding workshops to refine the brand positioning for each of the startups. With Turbostart’s strategic digital marketing guidance, startups have been able to lower customer acquisition costs and perform cost-effective targeting leading to a savings of more than 30% on their digital marketing budgets. 

Cohort I portfolio startups span multiple sectors - EdTech, Fintech, Regtech, Health/BioTech, MediaTech and host of other sectors including Social Impact.   

Sign up at to be a part of one of the largest business acceleration programmes and work with some of the sharpest minds guiding start-ups today.

About Turbostart: 

Turbostart is a sector agnostic, pan-India business acceleration platform that will unearth the 25 most promising start-ups, twice a year. Run in a competition format, it enables pre-Series A start-up founders to rapidly validate, scale and amplify their businesses. The vision of the programme is to build a strong start-up ecosystem by creating a clear path of success for entrepreneurs and eliminating the tedious task of dealing with market hurdles and non-core activities. 

Applications to the second edition of the Founders’ Fellowship close on September 30, 2020.  

Spinny Offers 12 Days of Menstrual Leave, the First-Ever in India’s Automobile Industry

* Besides Menstrual Leave for women, the new policies 

* Work from Home, Family Adoption and a culture that inspires everyone to do the best work of their lives 

Spinny – a full stack online platform for buying and selling used cars – today announced the introduction of more employee-friendly HR policies, including Menstrual Leave for female employees. Besides, other new HR policies cover Work from Home and Family Adoption. A few policies are the first-ever in India’s auto industry.

At Spinny, every staffer has an equal say in processes and decisions, driving the belief Everyone is one. The Company believes in incorporating forward-looking policies to stay in tune with evolving times and provide an environment that inspires the Squad to do the best work of their lives. Consequently, some of these HR initiatives are the first-ever in India’s auto industry.

Highlighting the Menstrual Leave Policy, Mr. Niraj Singh, CEO & Founder, Spinny, said: “Since Squad Spinny is constantly growing and ladies represent 20% of our family, a major constraint for many women’s professional lives remains Dysmenorrhoea. These painful periods afflict at least 20% of ladies, with severe pain interfering with their professional activities. Accordingly, the Menstrual Leave Policy provides 12 leaves annually to our female employees – apart from the existing leave policy. Moreover, there are no conditions in availing Menstrual Leave.”

Regarding the WFH policy, since the pandemic’s threat, Spinny was one of the first companies to issue complete work from home policies since March. Thereon, Spinny had declared WFH until 31 December 2020 except for staff members that are involved in field operations, as they don’t need to be in a closed space for long periods of time. WFH has made Spinny’s staff more productive while delivering well beyond customers’ expectations. For field operations teams, all sanitization and social distancing norms are undertaken to ensure safety during home test drives and home deliveries – the latter equally important in offering safe experiences for customers.

The Family Adoption policy is aimed at helping staff provide a nurturing environment for orphaned children. Introduced in partnership with an NGO, the comprehensive Adoption Policy offers financial assistance up to Rs35,000 for staff adopting a child. Additionally, such mothers are entitled to 200 days’ maternity leave if the child is less than one year or 100 days if older. Adopting fathers are entitled to 7 days’ paternity leave.

About Spinny

Spinny is a full-stack car-buying platform for the young Indian, enabling a car buying experience that is simple and delightful. Though in the early stages, Spinny has been appreciated by its customers with an above 4.5 out of 5 ratings from Spinny car owners – and a 78% NPS and 35% referral purchases. Headquartered in Gurgaon, Spinny employs over 500 people across 6 cities India.

An IIT-Delhi alumnus, Niraj Singh (Founder & CEO) is a serial entrepreneur and investor. Spinny was born out of his desire to deal with a core area that directly addresses the customer’s challenge; in this case a car. He noticed the absence of a platform that offers a completely trustworthy and premium experience to people purchasing second-hand cars, even though they are spending a significant amount and the purchase being a very aspirational one for them. He was determined to solve this problem by eradicating the distrust and making the process simple and straightforward for the customer.

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