Friday, November 20, 2020

Hero Motocorp Brings Back ‘Hero Colabs’ In An Enhanced Avatar

Aligned with its Mission to “Create, Collaborate & Inspire”, Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, has enhanced its marquee ‘collaborative’ platform – Hero CoLabs – into a crowd-sourcing platform.

Following the roaring success of ‘Hero CoLabs – The Design Challenge’, launched in April this year, the platform will now roll out initiatives across the year, focusing on various aspects of business operations.  These will be open to participants across Hero MotoCorp’s global markets, in addition to India.

Kicking-off the new journey is ‘The App Challenge’ which provides an ideal platform to budding programmers, developers, students, fans, and professionals to showcase their technical skills, creativity and designing ability.

As part of the Challenge, participants will be required to re-design the UI/ UX of the Hero Customer App. They will also be required to recommend features to increase engagement on the App. The participants will be judged on two criteria - Interface design and the ease-of-access of existing and new features.

Interested individuals can visit the official website of Hero CoLabs ( to register. The deadline for entry is December 01, 2020.

The Grand Prize for the top three entries from India and across the globe will be the Hero Xtreme 160R*. Special mentions, one in each country, will receive cash rewards. In addition to these prizes, Hero MotoCorp may incorporate the winning ideas/ designs into its future Apps, thus making the experience even more memorable for participants by bringing their vision to reality.

*Hunk 160R in Colombia & Peru and Thriller 160R in Bangladesh.

Hero CoLabs not only inspires the youth across the world to hone their skills, but also propagates the spirit of collaboration. It also puts the winning designs/ ideas in to production for the real-world. The winning designs of ‘The Design Challenge’ – graphics for Splendor+ motorcycle – are already in production and sale across Hero dealerships.

Malo Le Masson, Head of Strategy, Hero MotoCorp, said, “Hero CoLabs is an exciting crowd-sourcing platform, which allows individuals to showcase their skills. This initiative is based on one of the pillars of our Mission - Collaborate. With this stimulating platform, we are providing a stage for creative minds to translate their vision into reality. This is a platform that brings solutions to customers from customers.”

The Winners and Special Mentions will be announced on December 25, 2020 through Hero MotoCorp’s social media platforms.

The first edition of Hero CoLabs – The Design Challenge – received over 10,000 registrations.

After submission of entries on the official website, Hero MotoCorp shortlisted and posted the top 100 designs, 50 in each category, on the website for voting. Participants also had the opportunity to post their designs on their personal Social Media pages to maximize the support for their entries.

The entries jointly received nearly 25,000 votes. Winners were decided on basis of votes received by the entries and points given by the jury consisting of the senior leadership team at Hero MotoCorp. The winners received the Indian Motorcycle of the Year 2020 – Hero XPulse 200 as the grand prize.

FC Goa Announces INDINEWS as Title Sponsor for 2020-21 Season of the Indian Super League

FC Goa is delighted to announce INDINEWS as the Club’s Title Sponsor for the 2020-21 season of the Hero Indian Super League. As part of the tie-up, INDINEWS will appear on the chest of the club shirt throughout the course of the season.

As an online sports news portal, this will be INDINEWS’ first foray of Indian football. With an aim to further popularise Indian football, INDINEWS.COM will be providing footballing news and updates as the Gaurs look to reclaim the ISL League Winners Shield and get their hands on their first ISL title. 

Aditya Datta, FC Goa’s Chief Operating Officer, said, “We are delighted to have INDINEWS come on board as our Title Sponsor. People are slowly but surely waking up to the enormous engagement potential of Indian and Goan football. Over the years, we have been able to create a niche as one of the most popular clubs in the country and this is another sign that we are headed in the right direction. The opportunities for collaboration between us are plenty and we look forward to having a successful partnership with INDINEWS.COM.”

An INDINEWS Spokesperson, said, “The INDINEWS team is absolutely thrilled to be in partnership with FC Goa. Our combined passion for football is a magnificent force and we are excited to create some interesting content together. We wish the Gaurs and all their fans the best of luck in the season ahead!

About FC Goa

FC Goa is a professional football club based out of Goa that competes in the Indian Super League (ISL) and is the current holder of the Super Cup.  Nicknamed the Gaurs, FC Goa has been one of the most consistent teams in the ISL - reaching 3 semi-finals and 2 finals in 6 seasons.

In Season 2019/20, the club won the Hero ISL League Winners Shield, by finishing top of the table in the league stages and became the first-ever club from India to qualify for the group stages of the AFC Champions League. The Gaurs are also the only ISL side to win more than 50 games and score more than 200 goals.

Co-owned by Mr Jaydev Mody, Mr Akshay Tandon and Mr Virat Kohli, FC Goa is one of Indian few Clubs to have a complete youth development ecosystem. It’s U14, U16, U18 and Developmental Teams compete at the highest levels in Goa and nationally. The system has produced recognizable talents like Saviour Gama, Princeton Rebello and many more. The Gaurs are also the Champions of the GFA U20 & GFA U18 Leagues and the winners of the Goa Professional League in 2018/19.

RB’s Harpic Extends the Mission Paani Campaign- ‘Swachhta Aur Paani’ to Celebrate Jal Pratigya Diwas and World Toilet Day


As a part of RB’s fight to make access to hygiene, wellness and nourishment a right and not a privilege, RB’s Harpic’s Mission Paani campaign is addressing the water crisis and hygiene issues in India. Today, on World Toilet Day, Mr. Laxman Narasimhan, Global CEO, Reckitt Benckiser Group and Grammy award winner A.R Rahman launched the ‘Paani Anthem’ at the ‘Jal Pratigya Diwas’ virtual event.

RB, as a part of its sustainability goals, has committed to work towards raising awareness and mobilizing action towards water conservation and improvement of hygiene and sanitation. During the ongoing pandemic, accessibility to proper hygiene and water is critical to curb the spread of disease and infection.

‘Anthem for saving water’ written by Prasoon Joshi, is looking to drive behavioural change on the water and hygiene issues plaguing the country. The anthem launched with A.R. Rahman and an all-children choir is reaching out to audiences across the country to join this mission to save water.  School children from across India will be joining the Mission Paani movement and taking a pledge, the ‘Jal Pratigya’ to save water.  

Laxman Narasimhan, Global CEO, Reckitt Benckiser Group commented, “Over a year ago we defined our purpose where we exist to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner and healthier world. We also articulated our fight- to ensure access to high quality products, information that drives behavior change and availability. Water is instrumental in enabling hygiene and sanitation. Because with the availability of water and our commitment to hygiene and sanitation we can put in place a first line of defense to address this issue. Today on World Toilet Day, we are reaching out to a wide audience on a common message on water conservation and hygiene. We can all be ambassadors of water and hygiene. I urge you all to join me to take your Jal Pratigya today.”

Contributing to this campaign, Mr. Akshay Kumar, Mission Paani Ambassador commented, “We shouldn’t reach a point in our lives where we realize the true value of water only when we no longer have it. This is all the reason why it’s important to be responsible citizens and put others before ourselves to conserve water for their use and benefit. Such things have a snow-ball effect, and we need to start thinking about the consequences of our actions when it comes to the usage of available resources. I have utmost confidence in the campaign in making society aware of what needs to be done and hope to see countless lives being saved in these testing times. Dhyan rakhien, Swatchta aur Paani akhir bachani Hai Zindgani.”

Commenting on joining hands with RB, A.R Rahman, Music Composer & Grammy Award-winner said, “The water crisis is one of the most compelling situations we need to address. The ‘Paani Anthem’, created by Prasoon (Joshi) and I, is a call to action sung by the generation with the most to lose if we don’t conserve water: today’s children. It’s important to lay a foundation of care to address the water issue, to develop conscious action around how water is used and consumed, to remind people to be careful. The all-children choir is the voice of our youth who are looking to make a difference. We are hoping to encourage the nation to take the water oath in an attempt at saving water.”

Speaking on the anthem launch, Mr. Narasimhan Eswar, Senior Vice President, RB Hygiene, South Asia said, “RB’s fight is to make access to the highest quality hygiene, wellness and nourishment a right and not a privilege. With Harpic, we have been driving mass behavioural change towards toilet sanitation over the years. Today, on World Toilet Day, given the high interdependency of water and sanitation, Harpic Mission Paani with our partners is looking to create awareness on the water crisis in India and educate people on the need for conserving water as well as robustly managing sanitation systems and good hygiene practices. We will be focusing on transformational behaviour change towards water and sanitation through a variety of memorable educational methods using popular culture, music, inspirational stories of water warriors and other means. The amazing ‘Paani anthem’ being released today is one such major step in that direction.”

Speaking on this occasion, Ms. Sukhleen Aneja, CMO & Marketing Director, RB Hygiene, South Asia said, “By 2030, demand for water will far outweigh supply. There is a need to conserve water. The more we save - the less we waste - the closer we will get to water sufficiency. We are aiming to create an ecosystem for mobilizing action towards saving. In this endeavor, children will be our evangelists, bearing the message for change. It is our privilege to have A.R. Rahman & Prasoon Joshi create an anthem, to inspire the nation to save water and in taking their Jal Pratigya.”

Prasoon Joshi, lyricist of the anthem and CEO of McCann Worldgroup India commented, “Badalni hai paani ki kahaani, ‘Swachhta aur Paani.’ When I started to conceptualise this theme and pen down thoughts for Harpic Mission Paani, I realized how much we have taken water for granted. We must consciously start protecting our rivers and water bodies and we need to do our bit to conserve water. The anthem is our way of making people realise that we need to bring about a change. Let us save lives by saving water”.

Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India; Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Hon’ble Minister of Jal Shakti; Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal, Hon’ble Minister of Education along with other dignitaries extended their contribution and support to the cause by taking the JalPratigya (water conservation oath).

LTTS Selected as Consulting and Professional Services Provider for Amazon to Support Alexa Integration in Devices

L&T Technology Services Limited (BSE: 540115, NSE: LTTS), a leading global pure-play engineering services company, today announced that it has been selected as a Consulting and Professional Services (CPS) provider to support Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) integration in various connected devices spanning multiple domains and industries.

Alexa, the Amazon cloud-based voice service, is available on devices from both Amazon and third-party manufacturers and powers connected devices. AVS also manages the services and infrastructure required for Alexa experiences on Alexa built-in devices, and provides a suite of device APIs, SDKs, hardware kits, and documentation to enterprises across the world.

As technology revolutionizes every aspect of human life, products too have become more complex and smart with a combination of hardware, sensors, data storage, microprocessors, software, and connectivity. To ideate new voice activated products and expand the availability of voice recognition service across consumer and industrial digital appliances, LTTS in its capacity as an AVS Consulting and Professional Services provider, will deliver scale in capabilities, skills and capacity, access to new markets and specialization in technology and vertical domains for global enterprises, end-consumers and technology principals.

With decades of expertise in Embedded HW, Mechanical Design Services, Proto Manufacturing Support, Platform Software, Multimedia (Audio & Speech) and Product Testing Services, LTTS is well-equipped to provide consulting and professional services across an organization’s product portfolio and domains.

“We are delighted to see LTTS use their expertise in the consumer and industrial market, product development, device testing and certification, and innovation to transform their clients’ customer experience,” said Eric King, General Manager, Amazon Alexa Europe. “We welcome LTTS as our newest Alexa Voice Service Consulting and Professional Services provider and look forward to see them apply their capabilities to develop innovative voice solutions for enterprises, global device makers and brands”.

Seema Ghanekar, Global Head - Industrial & Consumer Products, L&T Technology Services said, “With the growing demand for digital voice recognition-enabled devices, the technological disruptions brought about by engineering services in the embedded devices space are ever rising. In fact, the suggested approach is to engineer experiences for end-users rather than the gadgets. With expertise in industrial market, product development device testing and certification, LTTS is well-equipped to become a provider of choice for software integration for Amazon Alexa products. Our work with Amazon for AVS is a step in this direction as together we look towards driving new-age customer experience engineering benchmarks.”

About L&T Technology Services Ltd

L&T Technology Services Limited (LTTS) is a listed subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro Limited focused on

Engineering and R&D (ER&D) services. We offer consultancy, design, development and testing services across the product and process development life cycle. Our customer base includes 69 Fortune 500 companies and 53 of the world’s top ER&D companies, across industrial products, medical devices, transportation, telecom & hi-tech, and the process industries. Headquartered in India, we have over 15,900 employees spread across 17 global design centers, 28 global sales offices and 52 innovation labs as of September 30, 2020. 

Faith Proposed Budget Recommendations Linked to Tourism Made in India Theme

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) & cause partner AIRDA has submitted its pre- budget recommendations to the Union Budget FY 21 -22 for the Tourism, Travel  & Hospitality Industry of India.

Their vision is Tourism - Made in India. India should aim to become one of the most preferred Tourism destinations both for domestic and international tourists offering best in class tourism experiences, infrastructure & services and to enable Indian tourism entrepreneurs to create value for all their stakeholders. 

As per the World Economic Forum, tourism 2019 competitiveness study, India was ranked at 34th among 140 countries. This ranking is up from 2013 when Indian tourism was ranked at 68th. The  goal is to move India into the Top 20 rank in global tourism competitiveness in 5 years post COVID-19 normal. 

In line with this vision, FAITH has proposed the following Budgetary themes for Indian Tourism for Union Budget FY 21 - 22:

·         One India, One Tourism

·         Export competitiveness 

·         Domestic leadership

·         Capital Formation

·         Removing inefficiencies

National Tourism Council is required since Tourism encompasses multiple ministries and takes place in and within states.   National Tourism Council must be chaired by the PM and co-chaired by the  Tourism Minister and  composed of Chief Ministers of all states and cabinet ministers of Government of India and must be a legislative body on the lines of GST council. 

The Concurrent Industry Status is required for Hotels & tourism across all states as unlike commercial establishments tourism & hospitality doesn’t just retail but creates and produce high quality service. Power and water utility rates and levies must be at industrial rates effectively. All existing licenses, permits, permissions will be thoroughly examined for redundancies and standardized at a national level. There must be a level playing field in terms of compliances and entry requirements among all sub segments of conventional and alternate tourism organise the travel industry and protect it from fly by night operations. 

Export Status is critical to double India’s share of inbound tourism to 2.5% in 5 years. It is key to Treat at par foreign exchange earning members of tourism, travel and hospitality under export and deemed export status to promote forex earnings. It is important to make available the deduction in respect of earnings in convertible foreign exchange to all the tourism & hospitality units earning. Tourism forex earnings should be effectively zero rated for GST. 

Accordingly SEIS duty credit needs to be made available to tourism industry against their foreign exchange earnings and  the rate must be pegged at 10% for both tour operators and hotels category and is made applicable on gross foreign exchange earnings  for the policy period of the FTP 2020-25 

Global Mice Bidding Fund is required to be setup of ₹ 500 crs to double mice share to 2.5% of the global mice size of $ 800 bn. In the global international congress associations rankings, this will also enable to meet the goal will be to take India’s rank to the top 10 in the world from 28 where we are currently.  

To create structured global awareness of multiple Indian tourism verticals Corpus of least                   ₹ 2500 crores is required for global branding budget Sub Branding of three Tourism segments  Indian MICE, Indian adventure, Indian Heritage under the Incredible India main brand. This will involve comprehensive global focus on creating segment brand ambassadors, country wise customised content, mass and social media buying and significant creatives. 

In the post-COVID normal, each of the Indian missions abroad in each country should be activated with tourism resources for enhancing Indian tourism brand and sales distribution in all countries and also host India tourism evenings in each of the top 100 cities of the world. 

India’s size of domestic tourism must be doubled to almost 4 bn domestic tourism visits in 5 years post normal and as such there needs to be made an income tax exemption on travelling within India income tax credits for upto ₹ 1.5 lakhs when spending with GST registered domestic tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers and transporters anywhere within the country.  It is also needed to incentive Indian corporates to undertake domestic mice (meetings, incentives, conferences & events) by offering a 200% weighted income tax expense benefit to Indian companies which are undertaking mice events in India. 

A Natural & Cultural Heritage Restoration Fund must be set up with a corpus of at least ₹ 2000 crores which encourages sustainable and responsible development around each vertical of natural & cultural heritage tourism be it in Mountaineering, cruising, trekking, wild life & reserve forests based activities  , snorkelling, para gliding, whitewater rafting,  conservatories, para gliding, ballooning, desert safaris in natural heritage  or our palaces & forts, our monuments & museums, our food, arts & crafts & our historical sites for our cultural heritage

To increase the intensity of high-quality hotel accommodation in India which is currently low which has a direct correlation to low global tourism share. To increase classified quality hotel infrastructure, that would imply a mammoth capital expenditure which can only come from private sector and that requires a long term favourable low interest rate regime as Hotels are projects with long breakeven period. Hotels thus require to be declared as an infrastructure sector so that long term funds are accessible at suitable interest rates to attract private capital hospitality, to create all India jobs and build quality accommodation supply. 

To enable tapping of hotel land across states, a national hotel SPV is recommended on a tripartite model which enables state governments & PSUs to pool their land assets which can enable PPP based on lease structures and not sale. This will drive immense hospitality capital into India. 

A structured mechanism is required to future secure travel agents’ payments to ensure that security for travel agents & operators’ survival. This is key as Travel agents’ payments to principals is unsecured credit and some form of mechanisms whether escrow or guarantee or underwriting based mechanisms are needed to be in place to ensure that travel agents money stays secure. The recently formed ECLGS under MOF which is administering the emergency credit guarantee fund must be used to set up a travel agent underwriting fund.  

To truly ensure a seamless tourist transportation experience it is needed to standardise all inter State road taxes and make them payable at a single point which will facilitate the ease of doing business. A national Tourism transportation policy must be laid out to that effect. 

There are certain policy issues which need to be addressed for tourism GST. The 18% GST category for hotels above room rates of ₹ 7500 must be abolished and merged with the category of 12% GST. 

Restaurants too have an 18% and also 5% slab but which is without setoffs. The 18% category needs to be abolished and there needs to be an option made available of GST at 12% with full set offs. Additionally, the needs to be no linkage to room tariffs above ₹ 7500 as it currently exists. 

Taxes on fuel, Inter- state transportation taxes, power cess, liquor excise and also property taxes, cess on parking charges, are all forms of very high cost input indirect costs on tourism, travel & hospitality. These need to be made available as input costs setoffs for GST to truly make us one country, one tax. 

The GST on Tour operators should be 1.8% with full set offs. Hotels need to be able to levy IGST   to enable them to give GST credits to Indian corporates who do Interstate events and do not take these events international. This will streamline the complete GST chain and boost interstate corporate mice demand for hospitality. 

100% tax exemption and permission to write back income / TDS/ GST etc when airlines windup or closedown must be provided for.

TCS must be abolished, as it is an additional compliance hazard. Reduction in credit card processing charges by banks/ financial institutions is key towards 100% e-payments. 

It is important to bring overseas global OTA’s operating in India into the tax net of GST and other taxes. The implementation of these measures will put Indian Tourism on the line of vision of Tourism - Made in India.

Bengaluru Covid-Warriors Receive Recognition for their Noble Efforts During the Pandemic

* Rohan Ray and Akash Raghavan started online COVID Fit Club for children to raise funds for a social cause

* National School of Law alumni association charters flight for 160 migrant workers and 5 children to reach Jharkhand

Bharat Ke Mahaveer, a three-part series launched by United Nations in India and NITI Aayog, in partnership with Discovery channel, and presented by Dia Mirza and Sonu Sood, features 12 champions from across India who have gone out of their way to help those in need during the COVID19 pandemic.

Rohan Ray and Akash Raghavan are amongst the 10 stories of kindness that have been recognized on Bharat Ke Mahaveer. The duo, being staunch sports enthusiasts, started a virtual COVID Fit Club, engaging children in core strengthening, weight training and cardio workouts, while also helping them learn some fun dance moves. Collecting funds in the form of fee from children, Akash and Rohan donated 100 percent of the money raised towards Mitti Café- an NGO that employs physically and mentally challenged people to cook, as well as maintain food joints. The café, along with its staff, is using the money to feed migrant labourers as part of its COVID hunger campaign.

Rohan Ray said, “At a time when everything is closed and the only thing to do is stay indoors, a sense of fatigue kicks into people due to lack of activity. While teaching a new skill to children and doing what we love, we got a chance to help a cafe that is run by physically and mentally challenged people. What touched us is that the act of kindness has been carried forward by the restaurant, where they provided meals to migrants.” Akash Raghavan added, “We are indeed very happy that our efforts resulted in passing the good vibes forward.”

UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate Dia Mirza said, ““Isn’t it amazing how one person stands up and ends up sparking off a movement? All our Mahaveers have such inspiring stories. They found the courage to begin alone and soon, many others joined in; they tackled all limitations – resources, personal ability, they are the warriors who created a chain of goodwill, inspiring the entire country.”

Another such act of kindness showcased in the series is by the Bengaluru based National Law School (NLS) alumni association, which chartered flight for 160 migrant workers and 5 children to reach Jharkhand. This initiative was a joint effort by the NLS and IIT Bombay.

A member of the Aahan Vaahan team among Alumni from National Law School, Bengaluru said, “A lot of migrant workers were stuck during the lockdown and didn’t even have the means to survive in the cities they otherwise worked in.  As soon as domestic flight operations resumed in India, we took the initiative to charter an Air Asia plane from Mumbai and help these migrant workers to reach their homes in Jharkhand. We ended up operating 10 flights in total to over 6 cities. It was a small thing given the scale of the problem but we were glad to have been able to help those we could.”

Other notable stories featured in Bharat Ke Mahaveer are of 12 year old Ridhi who raised over 11 lakh and supplied over 2,000 ration-kits during the pandemic through her Project Care-ona, 85 year old Saroja Sundararajan, a Math teacher who sold creative mathematics worksheets to donate INR 2 lakh to the PM Care's Fund, Srini Swaminathan, who provided over 1 lakh 45 thousand care packages to migrant workers returning to their hometowns in Shramik trains, Inder Singh Yadav , a railway police officer who sprinted behind a moving train to provide milk for an infant. It also features Langar on Wheels, an initiative by  Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, which continues to feed 1 lakh people living on streets, daily, Pune’s Akshay Kothawale, an auto driver, spent Rs. 2 lakhs from his wedding funds to feed migrant workers. The show features transgender rights activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi who has been distributing 200 meals every day since May 2020 for the community; Raji Radhakrishnan, a 31 year old girl with disability, who stitched more than 2000 masks for frontline workers and Baba Karnail Singh Khaira, who fed over 2 million people, free of cost, through his roadside eatery on NH-7, Maharashtra. Bharat Ke Mahaveer also features a heartwarming story from one of India’s aspirational districts Mewat, Haryana, where a community radio station – managed entirely by locals - is raising awareness about COVID-19 while ensuring children continue to learn.

Bharat Ke Mahaveer airs on Discovery and Discovery HD Channels, every Friday. Viewers can also stream the show on Discovery Plus app.

Bharat Ke Mahaveer is a television programme and not a contest, and the 12 stories are representative of the spirit of solidarity and unity in the country. 

Yamaha Introduces “Customize Your Warrior” Campaign for MT 15

* A unique excitement for the new customers of MT-15

* Customers can customize their MT Colors & make 11 combinations from 3 existing standard colors & 

* 4-wheel colors, now available in 14 Colors

India Yamaha Motor (IYM) Pvt. Ltd. today announced the introduction of the “color customization option” for its exciting range of MT 15 motorcycles in India. The company’s new campaign is launched at the backdrop of various customers giving the thumbs up to the recent launch of the ICE FLUO-VERMILLION color in MT 15, a popular variant which is currently available for booking. The unique experience of color customization will entice the young customers into the world of MT that is all set to redefine torque and agility in style. The campaign named as “Customize your Warrior” which is in line with the company’s brand strategy will be launched from November 20 across the country.

MT-15 (155 cc) mounts a liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, 4-valve, 6-speed transmission, 155 cc fuel-injected engine along with Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) system on a Delta box frame. MT-15 triggers agile and strong-feeling acceleration and flaunts standout traits of the styling with enhanced control postures along with A&S clutch and single-channel ABS.

Available only for the new purchases from the date of launch, the new MT aspirants can avail the option of building colors for their MT-15 by choosing from 11 unique combinations. The campaign will be launched from 20th Nov on The vehicles will be made by Yamaha based on the order received from the customers. Delivery will start from Jan 2021. Yellow color wheel model will start delivery from Mar 2021. With this campaign MT15 will be available in 14 unique colors, out which 3 existing standard colors will be readily available at the dealerships & for 11 new color combinations customer can place order with India Yamaha motor through its authorized dealers.

The Ex-Showroom Price (Delhi) has been fixed at INR. 1,43,900/-.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Motofumi Shitara, Chairman, Yamaha Motor India group of companies said: “Today's customers look for variety and diverse range of color combinations which suit their style statement. We at Yamaha will always try to introduce new biking experiences to our customers & offer excitements to them with products & services that exceed customer expectations. This step has been taken considering the feedback from the customers & in future, we will come up with such options which are in line with our brand direction “The Call of The Blue”.

Times Network Launches ‘Tales of Valour’ Season 2; Docu-Series Featuring Gripping Stories of Bravery


Following a resounding success of the first season of ‘Tales of Valour’, an authoritative factual documentary series which presented the valiant stories of bravery by the Indian soldiers, Times Network, India’s premium broadcast Network, announces the second season of the docu-series. Featuring 13 exemplary heroic tales from the crucial battles India has fought since independence, Tales of Valour Season 2 chronicles the heroic stories of resilience and sacrifice of Indian soldiers.  Curated and narrated by Maroof Raza, Consulting Editor, Times Network and one of India’s foremost military historian and strategic affairs expert, the 13-part series will telecast from November 28, 2020, Saturday at 7.00 pm & Sunday at 10.30 pm on TIMES NOW & TIMES NOW WORLD and Saturday at 8.30 pm & Sunday at 11:30 am on Mirror NOW.

Presenting a well-researched account of the crucial battles, the docu-series will bring a clear picture on the military history of independent India. Visually recreating the historic scenarios and circumstances using animation, Tales of Valour Season 2 captures actual locations of the battles, war memorials, reels of unseen archival footages and pictures of the wars. This includes footage of 7CAV tanks on the Zozila pass and images of the terrain and Jaswantgarh Memorial dedicated to the Battle of Nuranang, 17th Infantry Division Unit War log book from the Nathu La and Cho La clashes, audio of Air Vice Marshal Chandan Singh, who was instrumental in helicopter operations of 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh, narrating the events and much more. 

Featuring the brave tales of valour of Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force officers, the documentary offers a glimpse into the mindsets and emotions of the times with anecdotes from senior officers, military historians and first person accounts including Brig Brar from 4 Dogra, who fought in Battle at Trijunction, Maj Gen PL Kher, who fought with the Chinese at the Gurung Hill, Brig Ravi Malhotra & Brig Jasbir Singh of Hodson's Horse,  Lt Gen Ajai Singh of 17 Poona Horse, eye witness account by Col Attar Singh on Nathu La clash and the interviews of the veterans who participated in Navy Operation Trident (1971) as young officers.

A historically important and an essential viewing for every Indian citizen to understand and learn the supreme sacrifices made by the soldiers for our country, the documentary will shine light on battles such as Defence of Poonch and Zozilla (1948), Battle of Tithwal & Richhmar Gali (1948), Battle of Nuranang (1962) and Battle of Phillora & Chawinda (1965) amongst others.

Watch the epic series that features true tales of our brave heart soldiers, starting from November 28, 2020, Saturday at 7.00 pm & Sunday at 10.30 pm on TIMES NOW & TIMES NOW WORLD and Saturday at 8.30 pm & Sunday at 11:30 am on Mirror NOW.


TIMES NETWORK, a premium broadcast network is part of India’s largest media conglomerate, The Times Group. Times Network with its credo Now or Nothing takes the centre stage of influencing the influencer, by delivering the most compelling and irreplaceable content to over 100 million urban affluent viewers in India and is available in over 100 countries across the globe. It houses best in class News, Hollywood and Bollywood brands including; TIMES NOW – India’s No. 1 English News channel, ET NOW - India’s leading English Business News channel, MIRROR NOW  -  the channel that Fights for ‘You’ and channelizes its focus on issues that impact people’s lives; MOVIES NOW and MOVIES NOW HD – Home to Superheroes and India’s destination for Hollywood Blockbusters; MN+ – The Gold class of Hollywood; Romedy NOW and Romedy NOW HD – a unique destination for Love. Laugh and Live; MNX and MNX HD – Hollywood’s wild child, Zoom - India’s leading entertainment destination for music, Bollywood news, trends, lifestyle and fashion  and The Zoom Studios – original content creator that brings stories to life with relatable and compelling, the digital entity of the Network, has seamlessly adapted itself to serve the diverse nature and interests of the content-savvy internet audience.

Japanese Power and Energy Major Fuji Electric Awarded “Prestigious India Design Mark”

Fuji Electric, the Japan based Power and Energy major, "bagged the prestigious India Design Mark by the India Design Council" for the design of its Falcon range of UPS. The award is given in recognition for excellence in product innovation and design. India Design Mark symbolizes product excellence in form, function, safety and innovation which communicates that the product is usable, durable and aesthetically appealing. 

The India Design Council is affiliated with India’s Ministry of Commerce & Industry and is made up of eminent people in academia, design and industry organizations. India Design Mark is initiated in cooperation with Good Design Award, Japan. Through India Design Mark, the India Design Council seeks to inspire Indian manufactures to design remarkable products that enrich the lives of people in India. 

For a product to qualify for the awards it has to be made in India, designed in India and sold in India. 

Speaking on the occasion, Sriram Ramakrishnan, MD, Fuji Electric India & Fuji Electric Consul Neowatt said, “We are very pleased that the India Design jury has recognized the quality of our design and development work. The awards encourage us to continuously develop our solutions to improve the user experience The Falcon design has taken our most popular family of models in a bold new direction. The India Mark is recognition of the hard work of our designer, and our engineering team and I’m proud to see their efforts rewarded in this way.” 

Fuji Electric is now permitted to use the coveted India Mark seal on its Falcon UPS, IORA Harmonic Filter and Sunbird Solar Inverter.   

About Fuji Electric in India:  

Fuji Electric started direct operations in India in 2009. In 2019 Fuji Electric acquired India’s fastest growing UPS company and one of the largest three phase UPS company Consul Neowatt Power Solutions. Fuji Electric in India today has three modern manufacturing facilities located in Chennai, Pune and Bhiwandi that are IS0 9001: 2015, ISO 14001:2015 & ISO 45001: 2018 certified facilities. Fuji Electric has an installed base of over 400,000 units in India and supports customers through 25+ sales locations and with one of the largest pan India service networks covering over 100 locations with more than 400 factory trained service engineers.  

The company today offers customers a wide range of products including Three Phase UPS, Single Phase UPS, AC Low Voltage Drives, AC Medium Voltage Drives, Active Harmonic Filters, Solar Inverters, Servo Stabilizers, Servo Systems, HMI, Motion Control, Factory and Process Automation, Instrumentation and Power Semiconductors to customers in India, Middle East and Africa. 

About India Design Mark Award: India Design Mark symbolizes product excellence in form, function, quality, safety, sustainability and innovation and communicates that the product is usable, durable, aesthetically appealing & socially responsible. 

To industry India Design Mark is a business tool, as it recognizes a well-designed product, which is trustworthy, valuable and preferred for its customers and is manufactured in a responsible manner. To the consumer, India Design Mark is a yardstick to ensure good value for money. For designers, India Design Mark is a reward of good work. India Design Mark symbol is a trustworthy indicator of excellence. The symbol can be used in a wide range of ways, such as advertisements, catalogues, product packaging, and other promotional mediums. 

India Design Mark is granted by India Design Council - an autonomous body, established by the Government of India, functioning under the aegis of Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.  

The India Design Council has initiated India Design Mark in cooperation with Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP). The cooperation is in the form of learning from the well-established Good Design Award system in Japan functioning since 1957, to establish judging criteria for India Design Mark and inviting experts to be a part of jury for India Design Mark determination. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Axis Bank Offers e-Governance Solutions to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board

Axis Bank, India’s third-largest private sector bank, has partnered with Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to effectively manage various e-payment collections through digital and offline modes. The integrated payment solutions will help BWSSB authorities to collect payments from its 10 lakhs plus customers in a more seamless and effective way. All BWSSB customers can now pay digitally through Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), BHIM UPI/QR Code or deposit cash/cheque/DD at BWSSB kiosks.  

Speaking on the partnership, DK Das, Executive VP and Head of Government Business Group, Axis Bank said, “We are proud to partner with Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and offer our e-governance solutions to them. Axis Bank is strongly aligned and committed to the Government’s vision of Digital India and with this new relationship with BWSSB, we have taken one more step towards building a smarter nation.’’

About Axis Bank

Axis Bank is the third largest private sector bank in India. Axis Bank offers the entire spectrum of services to customer segments covering Large and Mid-Corporates, SME, Agriculture and Retail Businesses. With its 4,568 domestic branches (including extension counters) and 11,821 ATMs across the country as on 30th September2020, the network of Axis Bank spreads across 2,453 centers, enabling the Bank to reach out to a large cross-section of customers with an array of products and services. The Axis Group includes Axis Mutual Fund, Axis Securities Ltd., Axis Finance, Axis Trustee, Axis Capital, A.TReDS Ltd., Freecharge and Axis Bank Foundation.

Electric Vehicles See Massive Demand for Pay Later Solution on ZestMoney

* Tier II and III towns contribute 70-80% of the total demand

* 500% month-on-month growth in EV segment

* Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Maharashtra among top states witnessing growth in the category

ZestMoney, India’s leading AI-driven EMI financing and “Buy Now Pay Later” (“Pay Later”) platform has observed a 500% month-on-month growth in customers opting for the Pay Later solution for Electric Vehicles (EV). The number of EV dealers on ZestMoney’s platform have increased from 300 in July to 4,500 in November.

The demand for electric scooters has increased over the last few months as people want to own a personal vehicle. With COVID-19 and need for social distancing, people are opting for low-cost electric vehicles to meet their transportation needs.

ZestMoney has observed that Uttar Pradesh contributes 30% to the total business from EV, followed by the states of Bihar, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The purchases are largely within the age group of 25-35, with 10% of women opting for EV scooters.

Interestingly, EVs are gaining increasing traction in Tier II, III and IV towns where many new-to-credit customers are opting for the convenience of Pay Later solutions. These markets are driving 70-80% of the total demand.

Low Speed scooters that pick-up speed of 25 km/hr and do not need registration with the transport authorities constituted 90% of all the electric two-wheelers sold in FY19-20. While many traditional financiers are averse to financing the electric scooters which do not have the registration number, ZestMoney has gone and the Pay Later financing available for this segment of EV - the first of its kind financing in this space.

Commenting on the development, Lizzie Chapman, CEO & Co-founder at ZestMoney said, “The pandemic has augmented the demand for electric vehicles with people wanting to skip public transportation. At ZestMoney, we see a massive opportunity in financing for this segment, particularly in smaller towns where customers may not have a past credit record or a traditional credit score. Our Buy Now, Pay Later solution offers them the perfect flexibility to spread the cost which is great financial planning too. Since many are availing credit for the first time, we are helping them build their credit score for large ticket loans they may need later. The EV industry is taking shape and we at Zest strongly believe that despite COVID-19, FY 20-21 will be a defining year for the EV segment.”

Customers can avail a credit limit from ZestMoney by completing digital KYC (online or in-store) and choose a repayment plan of their convenience at the time of purchase. The process to avail the service is completely paperless, end-to-end digital and can be done with no manual intervention required. ZestMoney eliminates the need for a guarantor and any pre-closure fees.

ZestMoney partners with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) of EVs to finance their vehicles through their dealership network. Any customer that visits these approved dealerships to purchase an EV, can avail the financing option offered by ZestMoney. The company is associated with over 20 marquee brands in the EV space, including Hero Electric, Revolt, Okinawa, YObykes, Tunwal, BattRE, EeVe India among others.

According to Avendus Capital, EVs in India could represent INR 500 Bn opportunity by 2025.  The central government’s push in the form of subsidies and tax benefits is playing a crucial role to drive adoption for the segment.

About ZestMoney:

Founded by Lizzie Chapman, Priya Sharma and Ashish Anantharaman in 2015, ZestMoney is the largest and fastest-growing EMI financing and Pay Later company in India. The fintech company is built as a platform that can meaningfully improve the lives of more than 300 million households in the country, who currently have no access to credit cards or any other formal financing options because of insufficient credit history. ZestMoney’s unique platform uses mobile technology, digital banking and Artificial Intelligence to make life more affordable to millions of Indian consumers. ZestMoney’s innovative technology and work to make affordable digital finance accessible led to their selection as a 2020 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.

India’s NBFC Fintech Eduvanz Acquires Edtech Startup Klarity

* India’s top fintech NBFC Eduvanz expects the acquisition to help in empowering its student base by helping them choose the right career path

Eduvanz, India’s top fintech Non-banking Finance Company (NBFC) enables students to Study Now, Pay Later at 0% interest rates. Backed by Sequoia and Unitus Ventures with close to $6Mn cumulative investment, Eduvanz has acquired edtech startup, Klarity, an online one-on-one platform that connects students with professionals in their area of interest to provide video-based mentoring. 

Varun Chopra, CEO, and Co-Founder, Eduvanz, said “The acquisition of Klarity has helped Eduvanz reach out to a network of passionate industry mentors and more than 300 education institutes powered by mentoring that enabled them to choose the most suitable path in their education and career. Through its fantastic platform, Klarity has impacted more than 5000 careers via one-on-one mentoring and the team can help Eduvanz users not only finance their courses but also get help in choosing the right course.”

The online one-on-one mentorship of Klarity runs across a span of two years, and primarily works with post-graduate students. While most of the post graduate programs ask the students to decide on their specializations in the second year, the students get confused about their prospects and job-roles that will be on offer. The mentoring program involves analytics-driven assessment, specialization-wise market realities workshops that cover job-roles followed by one-on-one mentorship meetings with industry professionals.

Manmeet Singh Akali, CEO and Founder Klarity, said “Joining forces with Eduvanz will help us amplify our reach, and intensify the impact of our work in the careers of students with whom we are working. We are equipped with a mentor network of more than 200 industry experts from some of the best companies of the world such as the Big Four consulting firms, Amazon, JP Morgan, Uber who graduated from institutes such as the IIMs, Carnegie Melon, Georgia Tech and so on. Our biggest strength is the motivation of these mentors to spare a few hours on weekends just to see the impact that their knowledge and experience can have on somebody else’s career.”  

Eduvanz is a technology-enabled NBFC that aims at changing the way the nation pays for education by enabling learners to apply for low-cost loans via its digital platform. The users are facilitated to pay back the loans at no interest in small pocket-friendly monthly instalments instead of upfront annual fees.

Eduvanz assesses applicants using a proprietary AI-based algorithm at the back-end. They're currently present in more than 250 cities in India and have disbursed over INR 200 crore.

About Eduvanz

Eduvanz is an NBFC Fintech that enables learners to Study Now and Pay Later in small easy on the pocket instalments. The core objective of the company is to make education accessible to all learners across K-12, Test-Prep, Upskilling & UG/PG segments.

Eduvanz offers a point of sales payment solution for institutes that helps them provide instant finance thereby helping them boost enrollments. They use proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) based algorithms and predictive analytics to provide loans based on the future employability of learners. Using the mobile app, end-to-end processing from Loan Application to Credit Assessment to Disbursal happens completely online in a matter of a few hours.

Backed by Sequoia Capital and Unitus Ventures, the company was co-founded in 2016 by Varun Chopra, an IIT Madras alumni, and Raheel Shah, an IIM Ahmedabad alumni, Eduvanz has financially empowered over 15,000 learners and partnered with 350+ Institutes. They have a presence across 20 states, 240+ cities, and cover over 25+ skill industries.

Achievements include winning Wharton 2018 Economic Start-up India Competition, selection by Oracle as part of their Accelerator Cohort, selection as Champions of Change organized by Niti Aayog and PMO, and among top 13 startups of Maharashtra Fintech.

77% Indians Optimistic of Economic Recovery in Next Few Months: IndiaLends Report

* Survey indicates uptick in loans across segments; 31% will take a loan to start own business ~

* 70% Indians bought electronic gadgets for online education and work from home needs ~

A new survey by IndiaLends, a major digital lending platform, has revealed that 77% of Indians are optimistic of an economic recovery and business revival, and 27% believe the turnaround could happen in the next three months. These were two of several findings that captured the current mood of the nation during the festive season.

The nationwide survey of nearly 1,700 respondents comprising both the salaried and self-employed, conducted in November, threw up other surprises: 22% of those surveyed said they expect a revival in the next three to six months, while 28% felt it could take anywhere between six months to a year, an indication that people were still weighing in on the pandemic.

Significantly, 71% of the respondents said they planned to take a personal loan in the next three to six months. They cited two- and four-wheelers, business startups, household durables, electronic gadgets and home renovation as the mains reasons for personal loans. At least 7% of the respondents said they would opt for a loan to pay for upskilling courses, which points to the impact of Covid-19 on jobs and the need to utilise free time to acquire new skills; while 31% of those surveyed said they would use the loan to start their own business.

IndiaLends Founder and CEO Gaurav Chopra said, “The economy is slowly but steadily recovering from the coronavirus pandemic and is getting back on the growth trajectory. There are clear signs of a business revival and consumer confidence. This is evident in the uptick in loan applications from enterprises such as MSMEs as well as individuals, including millennials, and the many reasons they are taking those loans. Our latest survey reveals that businesses and individuals are keen to return to a ‘new normal’ life and start 2021 on a positive note.”

Among other findings, nearly 46% of the respondents said they expected an increase in household expenses towards consumer durables such as washing machine and dishwasher, and 11% said they would opt for a personal loan to buy these appliances. With people spending more time at home, almost 38% of the respondents also said that would consider getting their home renovated in the coming months, and 15% said they would take a loan for the same.

Following the closure of schools, colleges and many offices since March 2020 and the consequent increase in home-based online education and work from home, some 70% of the respondents said they were now spending more on electronic gadgets for their children, namely smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Not surprisingly wedding as well as travel expenses saw a dip in percentage, providing further impetus to the idea of millennials considering low-key weddings and budget-friendly travel options in the near future.

The IndiaLends survey covered both salaried and self-employed Indians in the 18-55+ age group, residing across top Tier I and II cities. The respondents comprised 41% of millennials in the 25-35 age group, thus making it highly youth-centric.

About IndiaLends

IndiaLends is an online marketplace for credit products, insurance and offer free credit reports. IndiaLends recently launched Digital Lending 2.0 — a range of touchless and contactless products that include loans, insurance and a line of credit. Available on both the web and mobile, IndiaLends offers instant loans to its customers with most products being fully digital. IndiaLends also provides technology, data and credit analytics solutions along with a loan management platform to financial institutions. IndiaLends is run by a team of credit risk professionals and data scientists with multiple years of experience in consumer credit. IndiaLends has a customer base of 8M.

Mamaearth Appoints Mr Jayant Chauhan As Chief Technology & Product Officer

Mamaearth, one of the fastest growing FMCG brands, appointed Mr Jayant Chauhan as Chief Technology & Product Officer. In his new capacity, Mr. Chauhan will oversee the overall product strategy and engineering and will lead the product development and infrastructure teams.

Mamaearth has exhibited disruptive growth in the last 4 years, and to further accelerate the scaleup, they’ve decided to add Jayant to the team who brings with him over 15 years of systems and product development expertise. Most recently, Jayant served as the Chief Product Officer at PolicyBazaar wherein he spearheaded the Consumer Product and MarTech groundwork and enabled a more tech-oriented approach. With a masters in Mathematics and Computing, Jayant has played a pivotal role in structuring and strengthening the product and technology verticals of organizations like Samsung, Airtel, Reliance Jio and Zomato. He has been brought into the system to lead the technology vertical and augment the product interface and make it more efficient. 

In accepting the position, Mr Jayant Chauhan stated, ‘I am extremely enthused to lead Mamaearth’s vision - of creating tech-enabled products, that is set out to redefine the personal care industry. Mamaearth has established itself as an innovator and has assembled a leadership team that is second to none. I hope to sustain this distinction. I look forward with confidence to working with their creativity to realize unique results for the consumers.’

Commenting on this crucial onboarding, Mr. Varun Ghazal, Co-Founder and CEO, Mamaearth said, “Mamaearth has emerged as the fastest growing D2C brand and being a digital first brand, it is critical to constantly innovate and keep pace with the technological advancement to make the consumer experience enjoyable and seamless. The brand is at a tipping point wherein it is crucial to build a strong foundation to sustain the disruptive growth the brand envisions, and hence we brought in Jayant. We welcome him to our family and are confident that under his leadership, the technological disruption will continue to grow from strength to strength.  

Jayant will be based out of the Gurgaon office and this appointment comes on the heels of other critical and strategic additions to the leadership team of Mamaearth.  


Founded by husband-wife duo Ghazal Alagh and Varun Alagh, Mamaearth is Asia’s first brand with Madesafe certified products that offer 100% toxin-free & natural baby care, skincare, and hair care products. Driven by innovation and using the best of science and ayurveda, the brand caters to all personal care needs of young, aspirational and increasingly conscious Indian consumers.  

In a short span of 4 years, Mamaearth has created a product portfolio of 120+ products packed with goodness inside, has reached over 2.5 million customers in 500 Indian cities, and is the fastest-growing FMCG start-up to hit 300 Cr run rate in India. Mamaearth products are available on, major eCommerce platforms like Amazon, Nykaa, Flipkart and over 4000 stores across the country.


Honasa Consumer Pvt Limited (HCPL), is a digital-first consumer brands company creating the FMCG conglomerate of the future.  A company built on the values of Honesty, Natural ingredients and Safe care, HCPL caters to the needs of millennial consumers through innovative products, evolved propositions, direct to consumer marketing, and e-commerce fulfillment. Currently catering to over 500 cities in India with brands like Mamaearth & The Derma Co., HCPL is building an ecosystem that helps benefit the consumers and community at large. Backed by Sequoia Capital India, Fireside Ventures, Stellaris Venture Partners, and Sharrp Ventures, HCPL is set to become a billion-dollar FMCG conglomerate in the next 5 years — spread across the globe but connected through a digital center of excellence. 

Microsoft Collaborates with Social Alpha to Accelerate Growth of Healthtech Startups in India

In its continued efforts to support the startup ecosystem in the country, Microsoft has launched a dedicated program for healthtech startups. The program is designed to help startups scale with advanced technology and joint go-to-market support. Microsoft is also collaborating with startup incubator Social Alpha to accelerate the growth of participating startups.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of the healthcare system, disrupting continuity of healthcare delivery practices and patient access to high-quality medical care. Committed to address the most prevalent and persistent health and business challenges, Microsoft for HealthTech Startups aims to help entrepreneurs with technical support as well as resources for co-selling and co-building tech tools to achieve better outcomes across healthcare. The Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare unlocks the power of Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Power Platform, and enables startups to access a portfolio of released and new healthcare capabilities tailored to the unique requirements of health data in the cloud.

Sangeeta Bavi, Director – Startup Ecosystem, Microsoft India, said, “Being forced by the global pandemic to rethink how healthcare services across the world operate, startups in this industry are reimagining solutions for some of the most pressing healthcare challenges. Technology innovation with advanced data and analytics capabilities is a critical enabler as we build trusted and reliable solutions at scale. The Microsoft for Healthtech Startups program deepens our focus on specific industries and is aimed to accelerate the growth journeys of startups with the best tech enablement and business resources.”

Spread across three tiers, the program offers a range of benefits:

* All startups: Qualified Seed to Series C startups can boost their business with Azure benefits (including free credits), unlimited technical support and go-to-market resources with support for Azure Marketplace onboarding 

* Co-sell startups: Startups with enterprise-ready solutions can scale quickly with joint go-to-market strategies, technical support and new sales opportunities with Microsoft’s partner ecosystem 

* Co-build startups: Startups that are looking to create healthcare solutions have access to Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, the first industry-specific cloud that brings together trusted and integrated capabilities to enrich patient engagement and connects teams for improved collaboration, decision-making, and operational efficiencies

Social Alpha has supported over 20 healthtech startups working across devices, diagnostics, treatment, access and quality/UX. The collaboration with Social Alpha will provide healthtech startups programmatic support through product innovation labs, sandbox pilots and structured incubation initiatives that offer knowledge services, bootcamps and masterclass sessions with mentors as well as tech and industry experts. As the startups accelerate, they receive access to go-to-market resources, ecosystem networking, angel networks and investor forums. Social Alpha supports entrepreneurs and innovators that enable social, economic and environmental change through their ‘lab to market’ journey by building access to technology and business incubation initiatives. 

Manoj Kumar, Founder and Chairperson of Social Alpha, said, “As we continue to grow the lab to market ecosystem for high impact start-ups in India, our portfolio companies need access to world-class technologies including in the areas of advanced cloud computing, data science and analytics. Our partnership with Microsoft for HealthTech startups will focus on enabling these companies fastrack their progress with some of the best technology resources and accelerate their innovation pathways.”

Building on its commitment to promote startup innovation, Microsoft is uniquely positioned to support healthtech startups with its advanced technology resources and a growing global partner network to scale across global markets. To find out more about the program, please visit

About Microsoft India:

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. 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, Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centers to accelerate digital transformation across Indian startups, businesses, and government organizations.

About Social Alpha:

Social Alpha’s mission is to drive economic growth, social justice and climate action through the power of entrepreneurship and market-creating innovations. Social Alpha is focused on catalysing entrepreneurship for impact and provides critical technology and business incubation support to the mission driven founders through its product innovation labs and venture acceleration framework. Since its inception in 2016, Social Alpha has nurtured 150+ start-ups, making 40+ seed investments and 3 exits. 

NTT Ltd. Announces Appointment of Sharad Sanghi As the Leader of NTT Ltd. India

NTT Ltd., a world-leading global technology services provider, today announces that it is bringing together three key business entities as a single organization, effective on 1 January 2021. The new operating company will be built on the foundations of NTT India Pvt. Ltd., NTT Com India and Netmagic.

Through this integrated entity, NTT Ltd. will bring innovative technology services and solutions to the extended client base in India. The integration will enhance the organization’s end-to-end ability to better serve and delight its clients with both transformational services elements including managed hybrid infrastructure, and cloud services, as well as with its foundational technology solutions and services. Its employees will also have more opportunities to thrive and grow on an even bigger stage and can serve and engage more meaningfully with the communities.

Sharad Sanghi will be appointed Leader of NTT Ltd. India business on 1 January 2021. Sanghi is the CEO – Global Data Centers and Cloud Infrastructure (India) of NTT Ltd. (also known as NTT-Netmagic) and brings over 20 years of experience in developing internet backbone infrastructure and providing internet services. Sanghi is a dynamic and respected business leader and builder. Amongst other achievements, Sanghi successfully established and grew Netmagic as an India market leader in data center and cloud services. His strong leadership, coupled with his understanding of the India market and the NTT businesses, will be invaluable as the three companies come together as one organization.

As previously announced, Kiran Bhagwanani has assumed the role of Senior Vice President, GTM, Asia Pacific for NTT Ltd. since April 2020. In the last 10 years, under Bhagwanani’s capable leadership, the India business has grown exponentially, to emerge as one of the largest country operations in NTT Ltd. globally.

NTT Ltd.’s Asia Pacific Chief Executive Officer, John Lombard said, “I want to express my sincere thanks to both Kiran and Sharad for their impactful contributions they’ve made during their tenures in their respective India leadership roles. Over the next two months, Kiran and Sharad will work together to ensure a smooth leadership transition and continue to deliver on our client commitments. I am confident that Sharad has the leadership track record and breadth of experience that are critical to lead and transform the business with a strong focus on clients, partners and people.  I wish Sharad and the India team great success as we launch the next phase of growth in one of the most important markets worldwide for NTT Ltd”.

Commenting on the announcement, Kiran Bhagwanani, CEO, GTM, APAC, NTT Ltd. and current India CEO said, “Over the years, we have had the privilege of building multi-year technology partnerships with marquee clients in India. With the formation of NTT Ltd. last year, we became the go-to partner for our clients with the ability to offer the entire ICT stack for their digital transformation journey. The positive feedback received from our clients who turned to us during the unprecedented turbulent times has made my journey particularly enriching and satisfying. I am confident that Sharad Sanghi, with his remarkable business acumen and leadership qualities will help the business scale new heights. With the deeper integration of our companies, reinforced with the capabilities of the largest data center and cloud infrastructure player in India, we will truly see the power of OneNTT”.

Sharad Sanghi, Leader of NTT Ltd. India said, “The coming together of three NTT businesses in the Indian subcontinent is a strategic move in the right direction. I’m extremely pleased to take on this larger responsibility for the integrated NTT India business. This reinforces our commitment to helping our clients derive greater value while delivering business outcomes – with an integrated approach to hosted infrastructure, connectivity, security and managed support. The integration will also help us strengthen our growth plans in India”.

About NTT Ltd.

NTT Ltd. is a leading global technology services company. We partner with organizations around the world to shape and achieve outcomes through intelligent technology solutions. For us, intelligent means data driven, connected, digital and secure. As a global ICT provider, we employ more than 40,000 people in a diverse and dynamic workplace that spans 57 countries, trading in 73 countries and delivering services in over 200 countries and regions. Together we enable the connected future.

Zebra Global Shopper Study: Pandemic Accelerates Technology Spending Plans for Six-in-10 Surveyed Retailers

Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), an innovator at the front line of business with solutions and partners that deliver a performance edge, today revealed the results of its 13th annual Global Shopper Study. This is the industry’s only market tracker that analyzes the attitudinal behavior of shoppers, retail associates and retail executives and examines the retail and technology trends impacting shoppers’ purchasing behavior both in-store and online.

Zebra’s annual study found shoppers expect a seamless experience between stores and online and are increasingly placing orders online because of desired product availability, resulting in a surge of ecommerce orders with nearly 60% placing an order in the last three months. With more than one-fifth of shoppers returning an item purchased online, 57% of store associates are feeling significantly challenged by these returns. Out-of-stocks also remain a challenge and 41% of shoppers say this is the top reason for leaving stores without a purchase. This is followed by long checkout lines (32%) and an inability to find items (31%) both representing a marked increase from last year.

Growth in mobile ordering

Retail decision-makers and store associates have seen a dramatic increase in the need for convenience and efficiency as the pandemic has catapulted shoppers’ usage and affinity for mobile ordering and smart-checkout solutions. Mobile ordering - from smartphones and tablets - has experienced tremendous growth and been instrumental in helping maintain social distancing and adherence to local guidelines. Seventy-two percent of shoppers used mobile ordering and 82% of those shoppers are highly likely to continue using it. Millennials (88%) and Gen X (79%) shoppers were the primary users of mobile ordering but nearly half of Boomers (47%) used it too, and 74% of them are likely to continue using it in the future. Sixty-four percent of shoppers believe more retailers need to offer mobile ordering while the vast majority of decision-makers (90%) and store associates (83%) agree mobile ordering would help meet customer expectations.

Smart-checkout leads to better experience

Approximately half (47%) of surveyed shoppers have interacted with self-checkouts in the last six months and more than six-in-10 (63%) shoppers agree self-checkout solutions provide an improved customer experience. While agreement is highest among Millennials at 73%, 66% of Gen X shoppers and 50% of Boomers have also realized an improved customer experience from self-checkout solutions in the last year. Meanwhile, 86% of retail decision-makers and 71% of store associates agree self-checkouts improve the customer experience. Almost nine-in-10 decision-makers and more than seven-in-10 associates believe self-checkouts freed employees up to do higher priority tasks and better serve customers while helping meet health and safety mandates and protocols.

Safety now part of in-store experience

Consumer and associate confidence can be increased when precautions or safety measures are put into place. Currently, there is a sizable trust gap between retail decision-makers, shoppers and associates when it comes to health and safety. While approximately 90% of decision-makers think shoppers and associates trust them to make health and safety a priority, only 65% of shoppers and 77% of associates agree. Nearly two-thirds (67%) of shoppers are concerned with surface sanitation or social exposure in stores, and 59% of shoppers prefer stores with contactless payment options. Seven-in-10 associates say social distancing/contact tracing apps would allow them to provide a better customer experience.

“Our study found that shoppers’ in-store and online satisfaction significantly declined this year due to out-of-stocks, product variety, online delivery cost and timing and returns,” said Deep Agarwal

Regional Sales Director – Indian Sub-Continent, Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific. “Retailers are aware that success hinges on elevating the shopper experience and investments in analytics, mobile ordering and smart checkout will provide a more seamless and satisfying omnichannel experience.”



Seven-in-10 (70%) shoppers prefer direct delivery of items rather than picking them up at a store.

Sixty-five percent of shoppers prefer shopping at stores with contactless payment options.

Europe and the Middle East

More than eight-in-10 (83%) decision-makers say the pandemic accelerated their implementation plans for mobile devices and solutions, the highest score of any region.

Approximately three-quarters (76%) of shoppers prefer to shop at online retailers that also have brick-and-mortar locations.

Latin America

Eighty-seven percent of shoppers agree the use of technology helps retailers provide a safe, comfortable, and convenient experience, the highest score of any region.

Almost 90% of shoppers have used mobile ordering and intend to continue using it.

North America

Seventy-two percent of store associates prefer to have prescribed tasks rather than reading reports to help them manage their day.

More than three-in-four (77%) decision-makers reported feeling pressure to improve fulfillment operations and efficiency so they could offer a variety of delivery options and speeds.


Zebra’s 13th annual Global Shopper Study included approximately 4,175 shoppers, 577 retail associates and 412 retail executives from North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East who were interviewed in August - September 2020 by Azure Knowledge Corporation.

Palo Alto Networks Launches Industry’s First 5G-Native Security Offering, Enabling Service Providers to Create New Revenue Streams


Palo Alto Networks today introduced the industry’s first 5G-native security offering, bringing its expertise in securing networks, clouds and devices to the 5G world. This new offering enables service providers and enterprises to turn 5G networks into highly secure networks.

The promise of 5G is much more than faster browsing on mobile phones. Done right, 5G can bring massive business transformation. The design of 5G networks — with its ability to allow millions of devices in high-density settings — can enable smart supply chains, autonomous transportation, smart manufacturing, mass adoption of the internet of things (IoT) and much more. 

“For 5G to live up to its promise of transforming industries, companies need the confidence that 5G networks and services have enterprise-grade security,” said Anand Oswal, senior vice president and general manager, Firewall as a Platform, Palo Alto Networks. “We created 5G-native security in order to give enterprises the confidence they need to harness 5G for business transformation and to help service providers secure the new enterprise services they are creating.” 

Palo Alto Networks has taken its expertise in securing enterprises and mobile networks and added understanding of the 5G protocols and 5G network interfaces to introduce a number of industry firsts:

Containerized 5G security: Much of the 5G infrastructure is being built with cloud native architectures. Palo Alto Networks containerized 5G security is designed to secure the 5G core and edge clouds even across multi-cloud and multi-vendor environments.

Real-time visibility, prevention and correlation of 5G user/device threats: The ability to look into the signaling channel lets service providers and enterprises apply security policies based on the user and device. Real-time correlation of threats can help identify which subscriber, device or machine might be the target of an attack, or where the root cause of threats might be. This can help in forensics and accelerated security event investigation.

5G network slice security: 5G networks allow service providers to offer a dedicated end-to-end piece of the network that gives enterprises the reliability and confidence to use 5G for their core business activities. Palo Alto Networks 5G-native security lets service providers offer secure versions of these slices to their customers as a new product.

"We have an immense opportunity with 5G, and security is more important than ever. We want a cybersecurity partner that can holistically protect our 5G network and shares our vision of 5G. Security should be simple to deploy and operate. For obvious reasons, I cannot discuss any security partner agreements. I can, however, say that Palo Alto Networks has already made significant strides in 5G innovation such as containerized 5G next-generation firewalls, which enables deploying firewalls automatically through a central cloud-native orchestrator. From my personal experience over the years, I can also say that Palo Alto Networks has the deep expertise and skills to support their security products and ensure success," said Jeremy Capell, director of Information Security,  DISH Network.

“StarHub is excited to be the first to offer customers in Singapore the 5G experience. To help us bring greater security protections to the new 5G infrastructure and the services that will be delivered, we are happy to work with Palo Alto Networks to integrate their industry-leading 5G security capabilities into our network. Not only does this help us build a secure 5G network, it also enables us to launch new and innovative services,” said Chong Siew Loong, chief technology officer of StarHub.

"5G networks bring new capabilities and transform the network architecture adopting containers and multi-clouds, enabling dramatic service innovation. Enterprises in verticals such as automotive, manufacturing, oil and gas, mining, etc. are embracing 5G networks to transform their industries,” says Tanner Johnson, Omdia. “This presents a requirement for service providers and enterprises to integrate security across the entire 5G network, and establish secure connectivity services. The innovation with Palo Alto Networks 5G-native security speaks to this approach."


5G security capabilities are available on the following Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewalls: PA-5200 Series and PA-7000 Series hardware models as well as all VM-Series software models running PAN-OS 10.0+. Security Services can be added based on use case requirements. 5G security capabilities will be available on CN-Series containerized firewalls soon.

About Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks, the global cybersecurity leader, is shaping the cloud-centric future with technology that is transforming the way people and organizations operate. Our mission is to be the cybersecurity partner of choice, protecting our digital way of life. We help address the world’s greatest security challenges with continuous innovation that seizes the latest breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, analytics, automation, and orchestration. By delivering an integrated platform and empowering a growing ecosystem of partners, we are at the forefront of protecting tens of thousands of organizations across clouds, networks, and mobile devices. Our vision is a world where each day is safer and more secure than the one before. 

Braille Works and OpenText Team Upto Improve Accessibility for Individuals with Visual Impairments

OpenText™ (NASDAQ: OTEX), (TSX: OTEX), today announced that the leading U.S. provider of reading materials for people who are blind, visually impaired, or reading impaired is leveraging OpenText Output Transformation solutions in their automation processes to help organizations provide an inclusive experience for their customers with visual impairments. 

Braille Works specializes in producing traditional alternative formats such as braille, large print, or audio, and needed a solution that provides high-volume automated remediation of documents. OpenText enables Braille Works to automate the processing of high-volume print streams, helping to ensure high-quality, compliant, and accessible content is produced more quickly and efficiently. 

“We use OpenText software in our automation process to help us extract data and be more efficient in the production of braille, large print, and audio,” said Glen Schubert, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Client Relations Braille Works. “This helps us deliver for clients that remediate tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of documents on a monthly basis.”

OpenText Output Transformation captures, transforms, and repurposes high-volume documents, enabling on-demand access for online and mobile presentment and secure delivery in real-time. OpenText’s document transformation technology includes manual and automated remediation solutions to bring readable documents to visually impaired customers at scale: 

OpenText Automated Output Accessibilityconverts high-volume print streams into accessible PDF and large print format documents

OpenText Document Accessibility simplifies remediation of ad-hoc PDF documents, creating accessible content that drives customer satisfaction and loyalty

Schubert summarized Braille Works’ relationship with OpenText in making the world a more readable place. “Partnering with OpenText helps us provide accessibility to more people, providing them independence and freedom to manage their own information—it’s amazing what that brings to life.”

“OpenText helps Braille Works produce a greater number of high-quality, accessible documents efficiently and cost-effectively,” said Lou Blatt, SVP and CMO at OpenText. “Combining Braille Works’ experience in the production of alternative format content with OpenText’s high-volume accessibility solutions delivers end-to-end document accessibility, providing more people with the information they need.”

About OpenText

OpenText, The Information Company™, enables organizations to gain insight through market leading information management solutions, on-premises or in the cloud.

World Celebrates Geographic Information System - GIS Day 2020


* Achievements of GIS technology lauded; Professionals reiterate role of GIS technology for economic growth

Around the world, geospatial community today celebrated GIS Day, highlighting the accomplishments of the modern-day technology and deliberating on its future role through a series of virtual sessions. Recognizing the crucial role of GIS (Geographic Information System) that enables efficient and effective decision-making, this day is observed to inspire the community for creating a better world by harnessing the technology for its myriad benefits. GIS technology has been applied across sectors, from agriculture, water, disaster management, environment, healthcare, to town planning, which are many of the key priority areas identified by the Government. Programs like Direct Benefit Transfer, Swachh Bharat, Smart cities, Water & Electricity for all, Clean Ganga Mission and government initiatives in Infrastructure Development have realized the benefits of GIS technology. The critical support from GIS during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in real-time assessment of the spread and its consequent mitigation came in under special focus. GIS has contributed significantly in supporting decision-making for disaster management across the world and its role in addressing the challenges of mapping, detection, analysis, mitigation and relief and rescue operations - whether its floods, earthquakes or pandemic - has been greatly acknowledged globally.

GIS Day celebrations brought together companies from industries across segments, educational institutions and government agencies with engaging discussions on importance and usability of GIS-driven real-world applications and solutions.

Commenting on the importance of GIS day, Mr. Agendra Kumar, President, Esri India said, GIS Day is a great opportunity for professionals from all sectors/industries and across the country to get together to share the amazing things they are doing with GIS. This year, more than ever before, the work of GIS has helped the world better understand and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. Organizations across the country are taking part in various activities and events that help celebrate geospatial science and how it impacts the real world for good.

Esri India is part of California headquartered Esri, which is the global pioneer of GIS and has been at the forefront of spreading awareness about the vast range of technology's applications.

GIS is a scientific framework for gathering, analyzing, and visualizing geographic data to help make better decisions. With technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Cloud Computing integrating with GIS, it makes the technology's role even more instrumental and overarching.

Speaking on the importance of GIS technology, Peeyush Gupta, Asst. Real-Time Information Specialist, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Ministry of Jal Shakti says, Namami Gange programme, implemented by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is an integrated mission for the conservation of Ganga and its tributaries. NMCG is a comprehensive organization with high priority for research and evidence-based decision-making and has a special place for use of hi-end technology including Geospatial technology to get authentic data and information backed by scientific research. Geospatial Technology is widely used in Ganga river basin management. Every year, GIS cell, Ganga Knowledge Centre, NMCG celebrate GIS Day in November. The objective of the GIS Day celebration to identify the power of the emerging technologies towards achieving the sustainable development goal to achieve the river rejuvenation at its pristine condition.

We are living in a society where information flows without social, economic, and political barriers. GIS enables people to know where and how things are in the real world. Specifically, in the current pandemic situation, the tracing, tracking, and mapping of the people have demonstrated the relevance of GIS in today's world, opines faculty of Technology at CEPT University, Ahmedabad.

GIS day gives an opportunity to learn more about geography and the real-world applications of GIS that are making a difference in the society. GIS provides location intelligence and analytics, allows users to gain deeper insights into data, solve problems, and make smarter decisions about land use, energy, water, natural hazards, biodiversity, climate, and other key issues of the twenty-first century.

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