Saturday, December 5, 2020

Indian Aviation Industry Net Losses of Rs 21,000 in FY2021: Icra Reports

Credit rating agency Icra Limited in a recent report said Indian airlines will post net losses of about Rs 21,000 crore during the fiscal year (FY) 2021, a result of the travel restrictions and impact on passenger traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Icra said Indian airlines would require additional fundings to the tune of Rs 37,000 crore over FY2021 to FY2023 to recover from losses and debt, adding that the agency maintains a "negative credit outlook" on the Indian airline industry.

The report read: "The Indian aviation industry's capacity and passenger growth have been significantly impacted since the Covid-19 pandemic, due to which the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) stopped international travel operations with effect from March 23, 2020 and domestic travel operations with effect from March 25, 2020. Post the initial recommencement of operations of the scheduled domestic flights with effect from May 25, 2020 to a limited extent i.e. maximum 1/3rd of their respective approved capacity of Summer Schedule 2020, the MoCA permitted increasing the capacity to 45% with effect from June 27, 2020 and further to 60% with effect from September 02, 2020. However, the recovery in domestic passenger traffic has been rather subdued, even though there is substantial sequential improvement. With effect from November 11, 2020, the MoCA has increased the permitted capacity to 70%,andfurtherto80%witheffectfromDecember03,2020".

The profitability of the Indian airlines remains adversely impacted during FY2021 due to lower revenues and high fixed costs even though passenger traffic continues to improve sequentially.

During FY2020, Indian airlines had reported net losses of Rs 12,700 crore.

The overall airline industry debt is expected to increase to about Rs 50,000 crore, excluding lease liabilities by FY 2022, Icra said in its report.

"The two listed airlines [ndiGo and SpiceJet Limited] have together lost about Rs 31 crore per day during H1 FY2021 [April-September 2020]," the report further read, adding that daily loss for airlines has been reduced to Rs 26 crore during the September quarter due to improvement in domestic passenger traffic, and cost rationalisation initiatives by the airlines.

The report added that the recovery of domestic passenger traffic is however dependent on several factors, which include containing the spread of covid-19 infections, development and availability of vaccines, willingness to undertake leisure travel, and recovery in macroeconomic growth, among others.

Increase in the number of infections, and expectations of non-availability of a vaccine on a wide scale until the second half of calendar year 2021 are expected to impact air travel, it added.

"ICRA thus expects FY2021 to witness a higher decline of 62-64% in domestic passenger traffic, than its earlier estimates of 41-46% decline. With this, the domestic passenger traffic will reach much lower than the FY2011 levels," it said. The report added that a recovery in air travel is expected to be gradual once the Covid-19 threat diminishes.

However, with the international air travel heavily dependent on opening up of scheduled international operations by the government of India as well as easing of quarantine norms and restrictions initiated by various countries, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on international air travel is expected to linger on longer as compared to domestic flights.

"Thus, Icra expects the FY2021 international passenger traffic for Indian carriers to witness a significant YoY [year-on-year] decline of about 88-89%, higher than its earlier estimates of about 67-72% decline," the report added.

"In the near term, the balance sheets of Indian carriers will remain stressed until the carriers are able to reduce their debt burden through a combination of improvement in operating performance and/or by way of equity infusion," the report read.

Mzaalo Enters A Video Partnership with Dailyhunt in Indian Market

Mzaalo, a blockchain-based video streaming application in the gamified video and entertainment ecosystem, today announced its multi-year partnership with news and content aggregator, Dailyhunt. The association allows Dailyhunt users to access Mzaalo's content, along with providing a unique opportunity to engage with the brand. 

Under this partnership, Mzaalo will power the video entertainment section as a premium partner offering engaging short and mid-format, snackable content. Mzaalo’s content stream is featured prominently within the Dailyhunt app feed for all its users. Apart from engaging and rewarding the users, the partnership leads to a potential growth in advertisement revenue for both the platforms.

The deal enables users to watch content on Dailyhunt and earn reward points, which can be redeemed to purchase products and services of leading brands by downloading Mzaalo app. These rewards further get stored in the users' digital wallet and can be spent on premium experiences, physical merchandise, partner products and services, digital goods, games, and charitable giving, amongst others. 

Mzaalo's algorithm empowers users to earn rewards that can be spent on more than 300 established brands across varied categories including health & fitness, fashion, accessories, electronics, travel & wellness, jewelry, amongst others. Over 280 monthly active users of Dailyhunt will have access to the entertainment platform that offers content in ten languages and has a library of over 50,000+ hours of content spanning across Movie titles, Original series, Live TV and more. 

Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Vikram Tanna, COO, Mzaalo said, "We are a content plus technology platform offering customized digital content in Hindi and 9 Indian regional languages. The collaboration with Dailyhunt allows us to expand our digital footprint by providing engaging content to users across the country. Today's, users are looking for good quality content, and as a brand, we aim to offer a unified experience in which users can consume premium content, get rewarded while having fun and purchase their favorite merchandise through secure and trusted blockchain-based video streaming platform".

 “The average Dailyhunt user spends 30 minutes every day. We are always pushing the needle to offer content experiences that make every one of those minutes count and, now with Mzaalo, be even more entertaining and rewarding for our users. At Dailyhunt, we witness firsthand the content aspirations of the local language user and Mzaalo allows us to meet those expectations in a more enriched manner.” Added, Mr. Umang Bedi, Co-Founder, Dailyhunt.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Tata Motors Delivers e-Buses to BEST; Helps Environmentally-Friendly Mass Mobility Solution for Mumbai


Key highlights:

* With the complete order of 340 electric buses, Tata Motors initiates deployment of 26 Tata Ultra Urban e-buses

* Event flagged of by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray

* As part of the ‘One Tata’ initiative – Tata Motors , Tata Power and Tata Auto Components will be working together to bring sustainable solutions for electric mass mobility

Tata Motors, India’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, today strengthens its relation with Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) and delivers 26 state-of-the-art electric buses. The delivery marks the commencement of the first ever Gross Cost Contract (GCC) electric bus service to BEST. The buses are delivered as a part of the larger order of 340 electric buses from BEST under the government of India’s FAME II initiative, with the rest lined up to be delivered in a phased manner as per schedule. The 25-seater Tata Ultra Urban 9/9 electric AC buses were flagged off by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray in the presence of dignitaries from the Maharashtra state government, BEST and Tata Motors, at an event at Nariman Point, Mumbai. Tata Motors will be undertaking to build, deploy, maintain and operate the complete charging infrastructure along with the buses across four Mumbai depots of – Backbay, Worli, Malvani and Shivaji Nagar.

Under the unique ‘One Tata’ initiative, the company leverages the core competences of various group companies. Tata Power will be contributing by taking complete charge of upstream and downstream electrical facilities including supplies and shall also be responsible for the complete bus charging facility. Tata Auto Components will undertake collaborations, design, development, sourcing and supply of select components to Tata Motors under the initiative. The electric buses are indigenously developed by Tata Motors using the latest manufacturing technology to offer the best comfort for the passengers and low cost of operations for BEST.

Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Girish Wagh, President, Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors said, Tata Motors is delighted to have delivered the first 26 of the 340 electric buses for the city of Mumbai. The buses have been specially designed keeping the comfort and convenience of Mumbaikars including a “lift mechanism” for differently abled travellers. Tata Motors’ global standards of manufacturing processes and vehicle development centres have helped in innovating and leading the electric mobility solutions from the front. We will continue to play a proactive role in the government’s electrification drive.”

The 25-seater Tata Ultra Urban AC electric buses are equipped with advanced features for the comfort of the driver and the passengers like: ‘Lift Mechanism’ that extends an automated ramp for easy ingress and egress of specially abled passengers, along with ergonomic seats, roomy interiors, utility provisions like charging ports, WiFi hotspot for on-the-go connectivity and wide entry and exit passages. The full-electric buses come with Intelligent Transport System (ITS), telematics system, regenerative braking system, amongst other features for efficient and smooth operations. The buses have been tested and validated by Tata Motors across states including Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Assam and Maharashtra to establish performance in diverse terrains.

Tata Motors, under the FAME I initiative, has supplied 215 electric buses in 5 cities across India, which have been received well by the STU and the citizens alike. The electric buses cumulatively have clocked more than 4 million kilometres, thereby providing critical data and statistics to further innovate and upgrade Tata Motors’ electric buses product portfolio. In addition to the tenders under FAME I, Tata Motors has received orders from several state transport units in FAME phase II: 60 buses from AJL, 100 buses from Jaipur City Transport Services Limited and 300 buses by BEST in Mumbai. Apart from these, Tata Motors has also delivered 25 hybrid buses to MMRDA – India’s first specially-abled-friendly buses.

56% e-Commerce Order Volume Growth this Festive Season: Unicommerce Festive Trends Report

Unicommerce, India‘s largest e-commerce focused SaaS platform, has once again brought an insightful data-driven festive trends report to understand the changing dynamics of India’s e-commerce ecosystem. The report analyses shopping trends for the festive month of 2019 and 2020. The time period for the analysis is 30 days prior to Diwali with a sample size of over 44mn orders.

This festive season e-commerce industry reported ~56% growth in order volume as compared to the festive season last year*. The increasing order volume also led to the 50% growth in GMV as compared to the last year festive season. "The consumers have become more value conscious than before and now are shopping across new categories. The rise of new categories such as personal care and beauty products and higher sales of lower value products has led to a decline in average order value by 4% as compared to last year's festive season.

This was the first festive season after the world was hit by the pandemic earlier this year and the report deep-dives into sector-wise growth, rising demands from consumers from “Bharat” and trying to understand the new consumer behaviour. The report will also decode some interesting facts about the growth of brand websites and companies getting serious and focused on the D2C business model. 

What India Shopped during festive season

● One of the most promising signs for the e-commerce industry is the rising number of first-time online shoppers and the new emerging categories. Personal care category has emerged as the biggest gainer with ~176% order volume growth over last year's festive month. Beauty and wellness is another category that has reported ~52% order volume growth as compared to previous year’s festive season.

● As people plan to travel and meet families during the festive season, the number of consumers indulging in fashion shopping during the Diwali sale increases significantly. This festive season, fashion and accessories category witnessed an order volume growth of 71% as compared to previous year’s festive month, which is higher than the industry average.

● The electronics segment continues to be the highlight of festive season sales, with all marketplaces extensively promoting discounts and offers on electronic products. The segment saw a substantial growth of 65% in order volume as compared to the festive month of 2019.

● Returns continue to be a concern for e-tailers across India. The automation and increasing consumer awareness is leading to consistent decrease in returns. This festive season, the industry overall observed a 35% decrease in return orders as compared to the last year. The fashion and accessories category continues to the category with maximum return orders.

Brands Focused on going D2C

● This year we have seen brands getting serious about online selling with constant growth in brands developing their own website. Post lockdown, the brands have started adopting technology solutions to improve business efficiency.

● This festive season, not just marketplaces but brand websites have also reported huge growth in consumer demand. Big brands are now committed towards selling through their own websites. The brand websites witnessed ~77% order volume growth as compared to 60% order volume growth of the marketplace.

● It’s interesting to see that in spite of the disparity in order volume growth there is a marginal difference in GMV growth of brand websites and the marketplaces. The GMV for brand websites increased by 48% while for marketplaces the GMV increased by 50%. This signifies that brands offered more discount on their own websites than marketplaces to get more customers. This also led to a significantly low average order size on brand websites. The average order size on the brand website decreased by 16% as compared to 5% dip for the marketplaces for the period of last year's festive month.

Increasing shoppers from Tier-II and Tier III cities of India

● The Tier II and Tier III cities have been growing way-faster than metropolitan cities and its impact is also visible in the festive season sale as well.  The Tier II and beyond cities have witnessed a growth of ~99% as compared to last year's festive season. The growth in Tier I and metropolitan cities remain at around 20%. 

● The contribution of Tier II and beyond cities is increasing exponentially. In this festive season, Tier II  and beyond cities of India contributed over 59% of the online consumer demand of  India, while traditional metros and Tier I cities contributed around 41% to the overall online retail.

● States with metropolitan cities continue to be the dominating states with Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka being the biggest drivers of e-commerce. These three states combined contribute ~55% of India’s e-commerce volume in the festive month.

Speaking on the festive season report, Mr. Kapil Makhija, CEO Unicommerce said “The festive season is the most important and opportunistic time of the year for the e-commerce industry. However, this festive season was particularly more special as the world continues to deal with the effects of the pandemic. This festive month we have seen e-commerce grow beyond expectations, and it’s interesting to see the new emerging categories like personal care and beauty and wellness continuing their growth trajectory even during the festive season. With the rising consumer demand on brand websites, brands are now committed towards going D2C and offering great deals to attract more consumers. We are confident that with the rising number of shoppers from Tier II and Tier III cities, the ecommerce industry will continue to see the growth momentum in the coming years. This report is another step in our continuous effort of providing valuable insights about the e-commerce industry and helping sellers to simplify e-commerce selling.”

With e-commerce at its all-time high, Unicommerce is uniquely positioned to provide e-commerce supply chain technology cloud solutions to help industry players of all sizes to manage their business efficiently.  Established eight years ago, Unicommerce is a market leader processing over 20% of India’s e-commerce volumes in the country and works with leading online players across segments. The company processes 700k+ order items per day, amounting to US$ 2.5 Bn+ GMV for over 10,000 registered customers across India, Middle East and Southeast Asia.

About Unicommerce

Unicommerce eSolutions is India‘s leading e-commerce focused supply chain SaaS platform. Established eight years ago, Unicommerce is a market leader processing over 20% e-commerce volumes in the country. The company has disrupted the e-commerce and retail industry with clients like Myntra, Netmeds, Urban company, Jack & Jones, Vero Moda to name a few and has also started working with clients in international markets. The company has been profitable for over three years and aims to further deepen its presence in the country and expand aggressively in international markets.

Providing Employees with the Right technology, Security and Experience are Key to Successful Remote Working

* Majority of employees (58%) are confident that their employer needs to provide better tools to work remotely: Atlassian survey 

By Ross Chippendale, Head of Workplace Technology, Atlassian 

Within a few weeks, many workers around the world were forced to trade in their office - with all the benefits of a familiar IT environment, the convenience of having their own desk and personal contact with employees - for the home office.  

For companies, this transition also presented challenges on various fronts. In addition to maintaining both ongoing operations and the productivity, efficiency and motivation of employees, some employers decided to hire new employees despite the prevailing crisis. From recruiting to onboarding - alternative processes had to be created for these processes and technologies had to be used to enable them - just like the actual work itself - to be implemented remotely. 

Many companies struggled with the politically, economically and socially difficult situation during this period. Just what impact does such a change have on the onboarding of new employees, and what will this process look like in the future?  

Secure and consistent 

Two factors play a major role with regard to IT when a large number of employees work remotely, ensuring security on one hand and consistent IT usage - or the (digital) employee experience - on the other.  

Even if a company assumes that its network is basically resilient, it must be effectively secured against cybercriminal attacks despite several thousand connections. To counteract this, a zero-trust security strategy must be developed and implemented comprehensively across all business units and the entire IT landscape. 

While building a resilient infrastructure can prove relatively easy, maintaining a consistent employee experience can prove much more tricky. The modern employee insists that working from home feels and functions just as if he were in his traditional workplace. Although flexible working has proven its worth in recent months, there is a growing need for the right equipment such as monitors, (ergonomic) office chairs, mice and keyboards. Since most offices will only be used to around 50 percent capacity in the future, any equipment that may have been previously used should be handed out to all teleworkers, so that they are fully equipped and can work as usual.  

Onboarding in times of remote work  

This experience would vastly vary across organisations. However, in our case, since a portion of the workforce was already teleworking full-time before Corona, the company benefited from existing processes and continued to enhance the onboarding experience. 

IT teams as agile ‘product managers’ 

To gather more insights around remote work, a recent study by us showed that 58 percent of employees surveyed worldwide are confident that their employer needs to provide better tools, so that every employee can work remotely more effectively. 

Even before the pandemic, employees preferred different tools and approaches to perform their daily work. Now, as remote work becomes more widespread, IT teams need to ensure that everyone has access to the technology they trust, including existing and new telecommuters. A 'product management approach' can be used to identify these needs. IT professionals, whose primary concerns used to be implementation effort and costs, should adopt a user-centric approach. Instead of asking whether a project is within budget, they can now find answers to questions like "What do my colleagues want? What do they need to get their work done? Where are their biggest pain points?" By doing so, they can prevent employees from getting frustrated by using their personal devices and software that have not been approved by the IT department, thus posing an increased security risk. 

The use of agile methods can help the IT team to approach a project. To do this, they need to think outside the box and look for working methods that are different from the traditional practices of many IT teams in other areas. 


Despite the prevailing crisis situation, it is possible for companies to hire new employees and offer them a simple onboarding process - and all this remotely. Employers must also provide new employees in their home offices with the right technology - both in the form of devices and accessories and software. The home office environment must be made as secure and consistent as possible. Good virtual onboarding is most successful when you take advantage of the solutions that are available to you. Introductory videos and access to ample digital resources make it easier for new employees to find their way around both the company itself and its IT landscape - even if they have never seen the team in person. For a successful implementation, end user requirements must be given high priority. This often means establishing working methods and practices that differ from traditional ways of working.

TECNO POVA - a Powerful Smartphone with Helio G80 Processor & 6000 mAh Battery @ INR 9,999


▪       ‘POVA’ smartphone offers fabulous gaming and multitasking experience with a powerful processor, hyper engine gaming technology and big battery

▪       POVA smartphones are available in two variants 4GB+ 64GB and 6GB + 128 GB starting at Rs 9,999 onwards on Flipkart (

TECNO, the global premium smartphone brand, today launched POVA, a new product line of smartphones aimed at providing speed, performance and excellence to its consumers at a competitive price point. TECNO POVA is available in two variants: 4GB + 64GB & 6GB + 128GB featuring a high-performance MediaTek Helio G80 Octa-Core Processor, an in-built Hyper Engine Gaming Technology and a 6000 mAh battery with 18W Dual IC Fast Charge lending an uninterrupted gaming and multitasking experience. 

Brand TECNO is known for its ‘ahead of the curve’ approach and a product philosophy that believes in introducing ‘segment-first’ features across smartphones in 6-15K segment. With the launch of POVA, TECNO India portfolio now consists of three distinct product propositions: Bestseller ‘SPARK’ series, designed and developed, keeping in mind the aspirations of young India, looking for valuable smartphone experience in 6-10k segment; ‘CAMON’, the popular camera-centric series with outstanding camera features targeting mid-to-premium segment; and now ‘POVA’ that offers more powerful smartphone experience that meets the needs of multi-taskers, gaming enthusiasts among others, all within the mid-budget 8-12K segment.

Commenting on the launch, Arijeet Talapatra, CEO of TRANSSION India said, “Since the brand’s entry into India, TECNO’s mantra has been to disrupt the sub-15K smartphone category by introducing the features which are not available at such price points. We are committed to our diverse consumer base and the debut of our new product line POVA adds another dimension to our expansive product portfolio. This time we are focused on providing Indian consumers with an ultimate powerhouse series that will give access to speed, performance and excellence that will distinctly deliver what our consumers care for most in their smartphones. Designed for young millennials and Gen Z consumers, TECNO POVA is currently holding the crown of bringing together the most competitive smartphone offering Helio G80 processor with 6000 mAh battery, dual IC fast charger & Dot-In display starting at just INR 9999.”

Speaking about the launch, Aditya Soni - Senior Director, Mobiles, at Flipkart says, "In today’s world, customer expectations from a smartphone are evolving rapidly and this encompasses a range of uses from work, learning to entertainment. As people spend more time on their smartphones to stay connected with each other, the gaming community is only growing and the demand for high-performance affordable gaming smartphones is therefore on the rise. We remain consumer-first and with the launch of Tecno POVA on Flipkart, are only strengthening our portfolio that caters to a wide range of evolving requirements"

POVA by TECNO is available in two variants: 4GB+ 64GB @INR 9,999 and 6GB + 128 GB @INR 11, 999 in the exciting colours of Dazzle black, Magic Blue and Speed Purple.  The first sale starts from 11th Dec 12 noon onwards at Flipkart.


·         Extraordinary performance with Helio G80 Gaming Processor

The TECNO POVA is powered by a Helio G80 an Octacore 2.0 GHz Processor paired with a Mali-G52 GPU for high-end graphic crunching, making it apt even for heavy gaming.  The in-built HyperEngine Game Technology provides superb image quality, smooth game-play and ensure uninterrupted connectivity for dedicated gamers as well as smooth daily operations with a faster response rate

·         Powerful 6000mAh battery beast with 18W Dual IC Flash Charge

TECNO POVA comes packed with a long-lasting 6000 mAh battery that provides 30-day standby time. Better yet, the device offers 18W dual IC fast charging support which charges 20% faster than single IC fast charge.  The in-box fast charger provides 20 hours’ music playback or 4 hours of calling time in just 10 minutes of charging.  Topping it off, there is a 3D multilayer graphite and thermal conductive gel heat dissipation solution that ensure game experience optimisation with reduced charging temperature.

·         Witness an immersive Visual Experience with 6.8-inch display

Streaming video is a delightful experience on TECNO POVA with its 6.8-inch dot-in screen and 20.5:9 aspect ratio. Enriched with a 1640 x 720 HD+ resolution, 480 Nits brightness and 90.4% screen to body ratio, it gives more screen space that allows users to see more. In landscape mode, watching movies, TV shows, and games becomes much more engaging.

·         Multi-focus Quad 16MP AI Rear camera

POVA is equipped with an AI Quad Rear Camera (16 MP + 2MP + 2MP + AI Lens) complemented with a ‘Super Quad Flash’ provides professional grade photography options with its user centric multi AI Photography modes like Bokeh, Macro, Slow Motion, Short video, 2K video recording, AI body shaping, Google Lens, Document scanner etc

The MediaTek Helio G80 processor provides a range of in-chip accelerators and powerful AI processing capabilities that supports hardware depth sensing, camera control unit, image stabilization and rolling shutter compensation technologies. Thus capturing spectacular and bright photos even in low light conditions, it also supports slow motion videos at 120 fps continuous recording at 720p HD Quality.

·         Ample storage with multitask efficient RAM

TECNO POVA is available in two variants: a 4GB RAM with 64GB ROM and 6GB RAM with 128 GB ROM, enabling more space to store your favorite files, video captures and plenty of games. LPDDR4X high speed memory allows more fluid multi-tasking and faster switching between apps without facing any lag issues.  The performance of this device is incredibly reliable. The 12nm technology help in making the smartphone faster and power efficient.

·         The New HiOS 7.0  

TECNO POVA sports the new HiOS 7.0 that is more efficient and delightful than ever with its unique features such as ‘Game Space’, ‘Game Mode’ and ‘Game Assistant 2.0’ that also include a ‘do not disturb’ function, performance boosting modes and quick-access toolbar among other things.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Godrej Makes the Winter Warmer with Launch of 5-Star Rated Hot Wash Enabled Washing Machines

* Introduces Germ Shield technology certified to eliminate 99.9% allergens and bacteria, in the top loading Eon Allure Washing Machines

* With the launch of 12 new SKUs in washing machine category, the brand targets to achieve 10% market share

* India’s first semi-automatic washing Godrej Edge Digi with in-built water heater and digital display

COVID-19 has impacted consumer behavior shifts in many different spaces - cooking, cleaning washing, etc. Washing needs to have clearly increased as consumers are forced to wash clothes more often – each time they step back home. Consumers are paying attention to preventive measures and rightly so. In line with the increased demand, the brand has introduced a range of 5-star energy efficient Godrej washing machines -12 new SKUs including Eon Allure, Eon Allure Classic and Eon Audra in the fully automatic top load segment and Edge Digi & Edge Ultima SteelNox in the semi-automatic segment, ensuring the new line up is for everyone. 

Health & hygiene is foremost in consumer minds – and the same has been the guiding principle in the design and development of these new launches. Powered by Germ Shield Technology the new range of Godrej Eon Allure washing machines ensure a superior sanitized wash performance through its smart wash algorithm and in-built heater technology for 99.99% elimination of disease causing allergens and bacteria. With integrated superior Germ Shield Technology, the new range of Godrej Eon Allure is certified by NCL empaneled lab for eliminating  5 common types of disease-causing bacteria (E.coli,  Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, Salmonella typhimurium,  Klebsiella aerogenes) and 12 major allergen groups (Mite group 2, Der f1, Der p1, S.tropomyosin, Fel d1, Can f1, Mus m1, Rat n1, Bla g2, Alt a1, Asp f1, Phl p5). These common bacteria can cause various ailments starting with food poisoning, a variety of infections in the body, including boils, cellulitis, abscesses, wound infections, toxic shock syndrome, pneumonia and many more while allergens can lead to dust allergies, rhinitis and bronchial asthma. It is important to safeguard yourself and your loved ones against such ailments, especially in this disease-prone environment.

The premium end of Godrej EON Allure models feature 3 temperature modes that allow the users to customize temperature setting.

• Germ Shield Mode - Removes 99.99% allergens and bacteria, heats the water up to 60°C and works with a smart wash algorithm.

• Hot Mode - Suitable for heavily soiled clothes as it heats water up to 55°C

• Warm Mode - Suitable for moderately soiled clothes and heats water up to 40°C

In line with Godrej Appliances’ commitment to environment, this washing machine comes with Eco Mode which reduces water consumption by approximately 44 Liters as compared to a normal wash cycle. As water becomes an increasingly priced commodity with groundwater levels reducing, water conservation has to be at the heart of superior washing performance.

Godrej has also introduced many more variants beyond the premium Allure washing machines: the Eon Allure Classic and the Eon Audra, all with Hot Wash option and different feature combinations like 100% wash-resistant digital panel, in-built soak, tough stain removal, customizable wash programs, etc. to give consumers enough variety and choice this festive season.

With about 55% Semi-Automatic users, Godrej has also extended the 60 degrees Hot Wash Technology to Semi-Automatics with its Edge Digi Washing Machine - India’s first Semi-Automatic Washing machine with 60 degrees Hot Wash, Digital Controls and LED display. 

Godrej was the first to introduce steel drum in the semi-automatic segment and with Edge Ultima SteelNox series, it extends this segment further and promises hygienic thorough wash and faster drying with its superior wash motor and spin motor.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Kamal Nandi – Business Head and Executive Vice President, Godrej Appliance said, “A sizeable chunk of Indian population continues to ‘work from home’ and with the reluctance in hiring domestic help still prevalent in larger cities, convenience and comfort aiding appliances like Washing Machines is expected to see increased demand in these cities. With more awareness of hygiene and preventive practices, people across India including the smaller towns are facing increased washing needs for their clothes. As Indian households continue to fight the pandemic, home appliances can go a long way in reducing their burden. Our newly introduced range of 5-star rated washing machines with Germ Shield Technology and in-built heaters across both top load and semi-automatic segments, place health and hygiene at the heart of its human-centric design. Guided by ‘Soch Ke Banaya Hai’ philosophy, these are being manufactured at our state-of-the-art factories in India, yet another step towards supporting ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.”

Mr. Rajinder Koul, Product Group Head – Washing Machines, Godrej Appliances, further added, “At Godrej, we endeavour to bring meaningful technology and innovations that help improve the lives of our consumers, based on consumer insights gathered carefully. Our newly launched range of Godrej washing machines powered by Germ Shield technology and 60°C Hot Wash technology, among others, allow consumers to experience superior and hygienic wash. Stylish and sleek, these are uniquely designed to cater to the increasing need for protection against germs and allergens. We are confident these new machines which also comes with 5-star energy rating, will generate revenues excess of INR 135 Cr this year and help strengthen our position in the category. With this, we aim to gain 10% market share as well.”

Available in different capacities, these 5 Star Rated washing machines optimize electricity consumption and provide higher savings. Competitively priced, the new Godrej washing machine range keeps consumers worry-free with up to 10-year warranty on wash motor. The washing machines market size in India is estimated at 7.2 million units with penetration levels still hovering at a low 14 %. 

Luxor Diversifies Into Home and Hygiene Products with “Luxor Nano”

* Introduces All-In-One disinfectant spray, pocket disinfectant spray, Gadget Disinfectant spray and Hand Sanitizer to protect hard and soft surfaces, gadgets and skin 

Luxor Group, India’s biggest writing instrument brand announced its entry into home and hygiene segment by launching “Luxor Nano”, a range of nanotechnology-based products to protect home, skin and gadgets against bacteria and viruses. Targeted at modern, caring and digitally savvy consumers, the products shall be available across the country. The company plans to increase its presence in this specific segment given rising demand fuelled by the Covid pandemic. 

Luxor Nano brand provides superior and lasting protection by killing 99.9% bacteria, viruses and repels dust and dirt from the surface. Luxor Nano is based upon Active Nano Technology which creates a protective layer that keeps objects and surfaces safe for a long time. Further, it is completely safe for the skin and also adds lasting fragrance. The nanotechnology based products are much superior to the competition as they provides long lasting protection and are safe for skin.  

At the launch Mrs. Pooja Jain Gupta, Executive Director, Luxor Group said, “We are happy to introduce nanotechnology in India, which offers enormous benefits in terms of safety and stability. It is a revolutionary solution to contemporary health and hygiene issues. Luxor has been a pioneer and we are confident to write a similar success story in the home hygiene segment. We see this technology as a gamechanger in the health and hygiene sector. Globally, nanotechnology is gaining prominence owing to its efficacy in solving everyday challenges. We aim to bring it to Indian consumers who will equally benefit from such inventions/world-class technology.  The products are dermatologically tested and highly effective against any kind of bacteria or virus. The initial response has been highly encouraging.”   

Luxor is committed to quality, which explains its easy transition from one polarised extreme to the other. The brand has always been innovating, researching and analysing through its highly automated, world-class manufacturing facilities. The new range of Luxor Nano products is available across the online portals viz,  and also through Luxor’s e-commerce portal – and through various retail  stores PAN India.  

About Luxor Group: 

Founded in 1963, Luxor is India’s one of the biggest and oldest writing instrument company.  The company turns out 5 million pens each day and accounts for about 15% of India’s writing instrument market.  Luxor has forayed into the home and hygiene segment this year, with the launch of the brand Luxor NANO.  It has Active Nanotechnology based products which Kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses from hard and soft surfaces and provides a long-lasting protection by creative a nano protective layer over the surface. By launching Luxor NANO, the company is poised to make its mark in the highly promising home and hygiene market in India with that same pioneering spirit. 

Vi Business Partners with Fortinet to Launch Managed Security Services for Enterprise

Vi Business, the enterprise arm of Vodafone Idea Ltd. (VIL), today announced the launch of Managed Security Service and has collaborated with Fortinet, a global leader in broad, integrated and automated cybersecurity solutions, as the technology cornerstone for the offering.

Vodafone Idea’s Managed Security Service (MSS) delivers Next Generation Firewalls with advanced security features offering the first line of defense for any cyber-attack, thus ensuring that enterprise network is protected. MSS will provide the power that today’s networks require, built on Fortinet’s innovative security processing units (SPUs) and FortiOS operating system.  The MSS includes both network-based firewalling with intrusion protection detection features and secure remote user access to enable remote workers to connect to their corporate network safely and securely through a VPN.

This security-driven networking approach powered by Fortinet enables organisations to scale their network infrastructures without compromising security, which provides effective protection for today’s environments. By delivering the industry’s highest performance, best of breed security, the service will enable the most demanding digital innovation as well as meet the vast capacity and performance demands of critical business operations, both now as well as a future-proof investment.

In addition, the deployment is simplified as customers can leverage the security features of the Fortinet FortiGate next-generation firewalls and is offered on an “as-a service” model. This is vital to enterprises since they can focus on their business while trusting Vi Business to deliver and manage their network security.

Commenting on the launch, Anil Philip, EVP- Products, Solutions and Partnerships, Vodafone Idea said, “Vi Business is a trusted connectivity partner for the enterprise. Acknowledging this confidence, we are proud to extend support with infrastructure security services that are closely associated with connectivity requirements. Our partnership with Fortinet will enable us to provide secure connectivity to our enterprise customers to address their need of managed and safe security solutions.”

Rajesh Maurya, Regional Vice President, India & SAARC, Fortinet added “The sophistication of today’s threat landscape, coupled with the speed at which user traffic is increasing, requires organizations adopt advanced protection. With our integrated security platform, MSSPs and telecom service providers, such as Vodafone Idea, benefit from high-performance technology and an easy to manage security solution that provides comprehensive protection for the extended enterprise.”

MSS is offered ‘as a service’ and provides OPEX based pricing, thereby eliminating the need for upfront investment by the customer. It provides the flexibility to choose products and services as per the needs. Enterprise customers also get access to an online experience portal showcasing an analytical and detailed view on the security posture and threat analytics in their network.

About Vodafone Idea Limited

Vodafone Idea Limited is an Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Group partnership. It is India’s leading telecom service provider. The Company provides pan India Voice and Data services across 2G, 3G and 4G platform. With the large spectrum portfolio to support the growing demand for data and voice, the company is committed to deliver delightful customer experiences and contribute towards creating a truly ‘Digital India’ by enabling millions of citizens to connect and build a better tomorrow. The Company is developing infrastructure to introduce newer and smarter technologies, making both retail and enterprise customers future ready with innovative offerings, conveniently accessible through an ecosystem of digital channels as well as extensive on-ground presence. The Company is listed on National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in India.

The company offers products and services to its customers in India under the TM Brand name “Vi”.

Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund Launches Aditya Birla Sun Life ESG Fund in Indian MF Market

 NFO opens on December 04, 2020 and closes on December 18, 2020

1.      Fund house has partnered with leading global ESG research provider Sustainalytics for ESG scores and ratings

2.      Each company will be scored on 3 pillars of ESG. Non-conforming sectors like Cluster Munitions, Anti-Personnel Mines, Chemical and Biological Weapons, Coal & Tobacco etc. to be excluded

3.      Can invest in international securities adhering to ESG practices up to 35% of the fund’s net assets

Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC Limited, a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Capital Limited (a significant non-bank financial services’ conglomerate), and investment manager to Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund (ABSLMF) announced today the launch of Aditya Birla Sun Life ESG Fund, an open-ended equity scheme investing in companies following Environment, Social & Governance (ESG) theme. The Fund endeavours to participate in ESG aligned existing and emerging opportunities, eliminate risky companies and invest in high quality & sustainable growth compounders to generate better risk adjusted returns.

Aditya Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund has partnered with leading global ESG research provider ‘Sustainalytics’ for ESG scores and ratings which will be the filter for defining the investment universe. Each company will be scored on 3 pillars of ESG and non-conforming sectors will be excluded. This will further be screened basis fundamental analysis and financial parameters with a combination of top-down and bottom-up approach. The fund will be market cap agnostic.

Commenting on the new fund, A. Balasubramanian, MD & CEO, Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC Limited said: “Environment, Social and Governance factors, or ESG have become increasingly important parameters of investment decisions worldwide, beyond the traditional financial factors. This has gained further importance after Covid-19, an insight that also our survey across 1600 plus respondents shows. The majority of respondents felt their attitude towards ESG in investment decision making had changed after the pandemic. This is an important shift in mindset. ESG concept is at a very nascent stage in India and is widely unexplored, though it’s an established theme globally. With the Indian Government too emphasising its ESG focus recently and global flows into ESG focused sectors and companies seeing consistent increase, there is potential for this theme to play out secularly”.

Historically ESG compliant companies have been found to be less risky, have better operational performance and generated better returns too. The portfolio looks to benefit from rising flows into ESG compliant companies which increases the possibility of re-rating and augurs well for longer term market performance. From large institutional to individual investors, there is a growing consideration of non-financial risks in investment decisions. ESG lens enables to look beyond the traditional investment parameters to identify high quality socially responsible companies for investing. 

The minimum application amount for this fund is Rs.500/- and in multiples of Re. 1/- thereafter, during the New Fund Offer period. Investors can come into this fund both in the SIP or Lumpsum route.

Companies in India Ancounter Third Highest Number of Malware Attacks After US and Japan: Acronis Cyberthreats Report 2020

* 1168 malware detections encountered per 1000 clients in a month in India

* Ransomware detections reported at 7.8% in Q3 2020 in India

* Remote workers and managed service providers were targeted by cyber attackers, and data exfiltration outpaces data encryption, both in India and across the globe

Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection, today released its 2020 Acronis Cyberthreats Report, its in-depth review of the current threat landscape and projections for the coming year. In an interesting outcome, the report states that India encountered third highest number of malware attacks after US and Japan. It further states that 1168 malware detections were encountered per 1000 clients in a month. Maze ransomware detections were reported at 7.8% in Q3 2020 and remote workers and manager service providers were cyberattackers, and data exfiltration outpaces data encryption, both in India and across the globe.

Based on the protection and security challenges that were amplified by the shift to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Acronis warns 2021 will bring aggressive cybercrime activity as criminals pivot their attacks from data encryption to data exfiltration. Ransomware continues to be the leading threat in India with Maze ransomware accounting for nearly half of all known cases in 2020. Yet the Acronis Cyberthreats Report points to a growing trend of cybercriminals trying to maximize their financial gain. Not content to collect ransoms to decrypt infected data, they steal proprietary – and sometimes embarrassing – data before encrypting it. They then threaten to publicly release the stolen files if the victim doesn’t pay up.

Acronis’ analysts found evidence that more than 1,000 companies globally had their data leaked following a ransomware attack in 2020 – a trend that is expected to accelerate in the coming year, overtaking encryption as the criminals’ primary tactic.

“More than any year in recent memory, 2020 posed a tremendous number of challenges to IT professionals, organizations, and the service providers who support them,” noted Stas Protassov, Acronis co-founder and Technology President. “What we’ve seen is how quickly bad actors are adjusting their attacks to the new IT landscape. By analyzing the activity, attacks, and trends we’ve detected and clearly presenting our findings, we hope to empower our partners and help the IT community at large prepare for the threats on the horizon.”

“When it comes to existing solutions and strategies, the current trends in cyberattacks all show that traditional cybersecurity is failing – globally and in India, it’s usually because of weak technologies and human error, which are both avoidable,” added Rajesh Chhabra, Global Business Development Leader of Inside Sales at Acronis. “Just as cybercriminals are evolving their attacks, organizations in India need to advance their protection and security. Comprehensive cyber protection solutions offer the integration and automation that eliminate complexity, optimize performance, and streamline recovery when a successful attack inevitably occurs.”

Takeaways of the Acronis Cyberthreats Report

Among the other notable findings in the Acronis Cyberthreats Report include:

* Attacks against remote workers will increase. While 31% of global and Indian companies reported daily cyberattacks in 2020, the frequency of attacks targeting their remote workers is projected to increase in 2021, since the defenses for systems outside of the corporate network are more easily compromised, giving bad actors access to that organization’s data

* Ransomware will look for new victims, become more automated. Rather than continuing to cast a wide net, ransomware attackers will focus on targets that provide a bigger return on their efforts. Breaking into one network to steal data from several companies is more profitable than attacking individual organizations. So, while small businesses will still be targeted, cloud environments and organizations like managed service providers will become more valued targets because their systems can provide access to the data of multiple clients.

Legacy solutions struggle to keep up. Blocking the new malware has rendered traditional antimalware solutions obsolete, as they cannot keep pace with the increased sophistication and frequency of new threats. The average lifespan of a malware sample in 2020 was just 3.4 days. As attackers continue to utilize automation, the number of malware samples will continue to climb. Organizations will need to find new approaches to protection that are agile and designed to stay ahead of new threats. Simple standalone security and backup solutions will no longer be enough.

The recent Cyber Readiness Report 2020 released by Acronis unveiled 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. Moreover, India demonstrated the highest rates of video conferencing attacks with 66% of local companies reporting having encountered videoconferencing attacks. India also reported twice as many attacks as any other country, followed by the US and the UAE and 62% of companies in India reported struggling with phishing attempts.

Evolving responses to evolving threats

Acronis has been a pioneer in cyber protection, which is the integration of data protection, cybersecurity, and endpoint management. To protect all data, applications and systems, Acronis solutions are designed to address the Five Vectors of Cyber Protection – safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security (SAPAS).

The Acronis Cyberthreats Report 2020 is based on examining attack and threat data collected by the company’s global network of Acronis Cyber Protection Operations Centers (CPOCs), which monitor and research cyberthreats 24/7. Malware data was collected by more than 100,000 unique endpoints around the world running Acronis Cyber Protect, which launched in May 2020, and covers attacks targeting endpoints detected between June and October. The full report provides in-depth insights into the top security/threat trends the CPOCs observed in 2020, a review of malware families and related statistics, a deep dive into ransomware’s most dangerous groups, the vulnerabilities that contribute to successful attacks, and Acronis’ complete security forecast and recommendations for 2021.

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.

McDonald’s India Announces Launch of a New Packaging – ‘EatQual’ for its Specially-Abled Customers

* EatQual will be available across all McDonald’s restaurants in West and South India starting mid-December

On the occasion of International Day of Person with Disabilities, McDonald’s India West and South, announced that it is launching a new packaging - EatQual, designed for its specially abled customers. With this progressive and inclusive initiative, the company has once again reinforced its brand promise of making delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone. The EatQual pack has been developed over months of collaboration an NGO that has been working towards the betterment of the specially-abled community for over 50 years.

McDonald’s restaurants in West and South India are owned and operated by Westlife Development Ltd under its wholly owned subsidiary – Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd.

Why Eatqual?

The new packaging innovation stems from the insight that the current packaging typically requires customers to use both their hands to truly enjoy the delicious McDonald’s burgers. This makes it difficult for those with upper-limb disabilities. EatQual will address this challenge and ensure that everyone can bite into their favourite burgers just as easily.

Speaking about the upcoming launch of this packaging, Arvind RP, Director – Marketing & Communications, McDonald’s India (West and South) said “It has always been our endeavor to make delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone. The launch of this EatQual packaging is a step to further our commitment towards inclusiveness and social responsibility. We hope that this packaging will make the McDonald’s experience easy and delightful for our specially-abled customers.”

Rahul Matthew, National Creative Director, DDB Mudra Group, India said “Equality and inclusivity isn’t always about the big things. It’s also about being able to do the little everyday things like everyone else can; eating your favourite McDonald’s burger, for instance. And that has been the guiding force behind the EatQual initiative. How can we make the McDonald’s experience just as enjoyable for all.”

Commenting on this upcoming packaging launch by McDonald’s India West & South, Dr Vaishali Kolhe, Associate Professor at Centre for Disability Studies and Action & Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai,  said “It is heartening to see an iconic brand like McDonald’s take initiatives to maintain inclusion at their restaurants. Food accessibility is the bare minimum necessity for every individual including the ones with upper arm movement disability. Innovations like these can make eating so much easier for them. Through initiatives like these, we are not doing these individuals a favor but making their experience of eating independent and enjoyable. I look forward to enjoying my favourite McDonald’s burger in the new EatQual pack.” 

Westlife Development has been taking definitive steps to promote inclusion across their restaurants. The company has made many of its restaurants accessible for specially-abled by installing ramps wherever possible and has made the restrooms wheelchair friendly. The launch of EatQual marks yet another step by the brand to foster inclusiveness.

EatQual will be available across all McDonald’s restaurants in West and South India starting mid-December.

About Westlife Development:

Westlife Development Limited (BSE: 505533) (WDL) focuses on putting up and operating Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) in India through its subsidiary Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. The Company operates a chain of McDonald’s restaurants in west and south India, having a master franchisee relationship with McDonald’s Corporation USA, through the latter’s Indian subsidiary.

About Hardcastle Restaurants:

Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd (HRPL) is a McDonald’s franchisee with rights to own and operate McDonald’s restaurants in India’s west and south markets. HRPL has been a franchisee in this part of India since its inception in 1996.

HRPL serves approximately 200 million customers, annually, at its 310   (as of September 30th , 2020) McDonald’s restaurants across 42 cities in the states of Telangana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and parts of Madhya Pradesh, and provides direct employment to over 10,000 employees. McDonald’s operates through various formats and brand extensions including standalone restaurants, drive- thru’s, 24/7, McDelivery and dessert Kiosks. The menu features Burgers, Finger Foods, Wraps and Hot and Cold Beverages besides a wide range of desserts. Several of the McDonald’s Restaurants feature an in-house McCafé.

The pillars of the McDonald's system – Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value – are evident at each of the restaurants where HRPL operates.

LEAD School Announces India’s First Hybrid School System for 2021 Academic Year

Mumbai-based edtech company LEAD School, today announced the introduction of ‘hybrid school system’ for 2021 academic year which will empower schools, teachers, students as well as parents adopt to the ‘new normal’ of learning. 

With the introduction of this system, LEAD School becomes India’s first and only company to provide this unique solution which will enable schools to deliver uninterrupted quality learning both online or offline and at home or in school, while using world-class teaching pedagogies. 

The ongoing pandemic has adversely impacted the education sector across the globe. While Government and educators have been yearning for pre-covid classrooms and restoration of normalcy, they have not been able to successfully come back with suitable solutions to ensure continuity of learning. 

The Hybrid School System makes it easier for schools to monitor student’s performance, gives an option to switch between school modes (offline/online/both), lets the schools decide the days on which students will attend online class or physical school, add new subjects, and allocate teachers per classroom. Schools can also make use of the pre-set hybrid time-tables and operate schools either on alternate days, half week basis or customise schedule for weekdays.  

At the same time, it equips teachers with a teacher tablet which is a one-stop solution for lesson plans, audio-visual resources, and training resources. It empowers parents with a Parent App that gives them information on homework, attendance, marks and unit progress. It will also allow students to have a single view of their Hybrid time-table, making it possible for them to attend live classes daily, attempt quizzes, and also ask doubts in real-time.

LEAD School Co-founder and CEO Sumeet Mehta said, “Our mission has been to provide uninterrupted, quality education to our students through the pandemic. With schools opening in a staggered and partial manner, teachers, principals, parents and students - all need a system of schooling that runs across online-offline, that is seamless between at home and in school. We are confident that LEAD School’s Hybrid System will not only deliver high-quality learning in all circumstances, but also prevent any learning loss caused due to frequent interruptions.” 

In the post-lockdown world, schools need to work together with parents, communities, education departments, and local governments to create safe and healthy environments of learning for students, teachers, and staff. A post-lockdown world is going to look completely different from what we are used to seeing.

About LEAD School

LEAD School is promoted by Leadership Boulevard, one of the fastest growing EdTech companies in India. It combines technology, curriculum and pedagogy into an integrated system of teaching and learning, thus improving student learning and teacher performance in schools across the country. LEAD School partners with 1000+ schools with an estimated 4 lakh+ students in more than 370 cities, including tier 2 to tier 4 cities, in 20 States.

Team Yibe Network from MIT ADT University, Pune will Represent India at the Global Workshop of Red Bull Basement 2020

NTT Ltd., the world-leading global technology services provider, and Red Bull Basement, a global platform for student innovators from around the world, announced that Team Yibe Network from MIT ADT University, Pune, consisting of Suraj Suryavanshi and Shweta Morale, were selected as India winners at the global workshop for Red Bull Basement 2020. Team Yibe Network will now represent the country at the Global Workshop where worldwide, more than 3800 student teams from all areas of study applied for the 2020 program by submitting a video explaining their idea.

Realizing the potential of scale and inclusion, NTT facilitated live virtual workshops to empower teams of university students from host countries to innovate for good. This year has seen a more diverse set of entrants given that location-specific barriers were mitigated through the virtualization of the event. As a result, the contest received 403 entries across India, 60% higher than 2019, where the final winner was chosen based on the judging between NTT and other partners of Red Bull.

Kaustubh Chandra, Director – Marketing & Digital Sales Group, NTT Ltd. in India commented: “I congratulate team Yibe Network for their resounding success and wish them the best in representing India at a global stage for such a prestigious and conscientious project. Sustainable innovation is central to creating a future that is good for business and the environment. Each year NTT invests USD 3.6 billion in projects related to innovation and this collaboration supports our commitment to achieving the targets of the Global Goals by 2030 and being a ‘Business Avenger’ for Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities. Our commitment towards creating sustainable business environments is evident through these partnerships and we also aim to inspire young entrepreneurs who are passionate about leveraging tech to make the world a better place”.

The team’s idea, called Yibe Network, is a productive networking application that can help students connect with like-minded individuals or groups across campus. The app will have features like Events, where students can find latest information on college festivals, workshops and other events they can be part of; Growth+, where students can learn skills from others and sign up for internship and other work opportunities; Money Matters, where they can keep track of their borrowing and lending with regular reminders; social networking, and much more. Currently in its final development stage, the team plans to roll out beta testing for the app soon.

“Yibe is a centralised college ecosystem where students can network with like-minded individuals, even from different colleges. Upon verification, students can use multiple features of Yibe Network. Students can find events within their interests, use Growth+ to improve their skills, find students who share similar interests to participate in an activity, or learn a new skill. They can also find activities around them to enjoy their time with friends or find new people to enjoy with,” says the team.

Until December 9, the finalist teams will refine their ideas in a Development phase, with access to resources including a workspace, mentorship programs and a global network of innovators. Besides the young innovators and student entrepreneurs from 36 countries, two wildcard teams are also participating from HONOR and NTT, the Global Partners of Red Bull Basement.

For more information on all the finalist teams and their next generation ideas, visit:  

The culmination of the students’ participation will come in December, when team Yibe Network will join the other finalist teams in the Red Bull Basement Global Workshop. In this virtual experience, they’ll forge business relationships and networking connections with access to some of the world’s most visionary thought leaders. And they’ll pitch their ideas for social change and disruptive technology to the experts.

An Engineering BMRE Marvel Coming Up In Bangalore With Minimal Traffic Disruption

The aerial picture shows an engineering marvel wherein Bangalore Metro Rail Engineers (BMRE) and NICE Toll Road Engineers worked in tandem to ensure seamless and safe launch of 4 x 50 Meters Girders over NICE Peripheral Toll road at Kanakapura Road Junction and Mysore Road Junction with minimal traffic disruption or stoppage. The launch of these girders signal the completion and operationalization of Bangalore Metro Rail Extension lines on these Routes.

Tata Nexon EV Crosses 2000 Sales Milestone in Last Three Months

India’s most preferred electric car, the Tata Nexon EV, has surpassed the 2000 sales milestone. In over 10 months, since launch, the sales of the Nexon EV reached 2200 units as of November 2020, indicating the rapid demand for the EVs in the personal car segment. After rolling out its 1000th Nexon EV in August this year, the car clocked in another 1000 sales units in a record time of 3 months (Sept-Nov 2020). With its compelling value-proposition, Nexon EV has emerged as the best-selling electric car in India. Currently, Tata Motors is leading the EV segment with a 74% market share. This accomplishment is a testament to the strong response from customers for India’s own electric SUV, the Tata Nexon EV.

Appreciating the strong response from customers, Mr. Shailesh Chandra, President – Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors, said, “This is a moment of great pride for us and those working with us in our journey to accelerate the adoption of EVs in India. The Tata Nexon EV, since launch, has captured the imagination of the entire nation and has consistently led the way for the electric vehicle segment. Offering thrilling performance, connected drive experience with zero emissions and at an attractive pricing, the Nexon EV has found widespread acceptance among its customers. This growing demand is on the back of increased awareness, growing charging infrastructure, encouraging government incentives, breaking myths that surrounds EVs, and most importantly the undisputed benefits that it offers i.e. lower operating cost. Further, with the continued support from the government in terms of incentives such as benefits on registration and road tax, we hope that EVs will soon become the most desirable and a mainstream choice for the customers in India.”

Further, to accelerate the adoption of EVs in India, Tata Motors also introduced a holistic e-mobility ecosystem “Tata uniEVerse” to closely leverage the strengths and experience of other Tata Group companies to create a viable EV environment. Powered by Tata uniEVerse, consumers will have access to a suite of e-mobility offerings including charging solutions, innovative retail experiences and easy financing options.

The future of mobility in India is electric and Tata Motors’ products are well positioned to cater to the consumer of the future. To know more about offers and car buying options, call your nearest dealership or visit 

Microsoft and NSDC Join Hands for the Imagine Cup 2021 in India

* Innovation challenge for youth to solve critical social and sustainability issues with technologies like AI

* World champions of Imagine Cup 2021 will win USD 75,000 along with a mentorship opportunity with Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft India and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) are joining hands for the India edition of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2021, an annual innovation challenge for students and technology enthusiasts. Imagine Cup is a global competition designed to empower students to apply artificial intelligence and other technologies to solve some of the world’s most critical social and sustainability issues.

This year’s Imagine Cup will be held virtually with students competing to solve global challenges across four categories: Earth, Education, Health, and Lifestyle.

As knowledge partner, NSDC will enable nation-wide reach of the competition across states, districts, and skill development centers. Together, Microsoft and NSDC will conduct virtual Imagine Camps across the country to drive awareness and educate students about the use of advanced technologies in their projects. Students will get a chance to hear from past winners of the Imagine Cup about their experience and advice on tips and tricks.

Speaking about this, Dr. Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft, said, “As economies focus on building resilience, we are witnessing the power of technology and innovation to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges at scale. The Imagine Cup serves as a platform for the youth of India to couple technology with innovative ideas and build something that matters to them, makes a difference in their communities and creates societal impact. Our partnership with NSDC is aimed at empowering young people across the country to collaborate, innovate and build for a sustainable future.”

Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Manish Kumar, MD & CEO, NSDC, said, “The country’s economic development depends on innovations, high-tech jobs and new-age skills. Imagine Cup underscores the importance of skills and learning in achieving inclusive and sustainable development of the youth. It is our endeavour to provide opportunities and platforms to harness their talent and prepare them for a globally competitive world.  NSDC is pleased to join hands with Microsoft and exchange knowledge related to digital skills demand and future requirements.”

About the Imagine Cup:

Imagine Cup is Microsoft’s flagship technology and innovation challenge for students, designed to inspire students to create innovative solutions that tackle some of the world’s biggest social, environmental, and health challenges. Held annually since 2003, the Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition, affectionately known by participants as the “Olympics of student technology competitions.”

Imagine Cup 2021:

The 2021 edition of Imagine Cup will be the first virtual edition of the challenge. At Imagine Cup 2021, students and technology enthusiasts aged 16+ are invited to build unique technology solutions leveraging Microsoft’s technology to build purpose-driven solutions. The competition will be held in four rounds for participants:

·         Registration and Microsoft Learn Challenge

·         Regional Knockout Series: Project submission

·         National semifinals

·         India finals online

Registrations are now open and will close on December 31, 2020.

Awards: The top two teams from India will get a guaranteed spot in the world finals and will be mentored by Microsoft experts. Four teams (1 per category-Earth, Education, Health and Lifestyle) will get a chance to win a Surface Go 2, with various other prizes for runners up and round winners. At the world finals, the top four teams will be awarded USD 10,000 each for the best solution in each category. The world champion will take home, the Imagine Cup and win an additional USD 75,000 along with a mentorship opportunity with Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella.

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 13,000 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 centers to accelerate digital transformation across Indian start-ups, businesses, and government organizations.

About National Skill Development Corporation

National Skill Development Corporation, working under the aegis of Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, is a unique public-private-partnership which aims to catalyze creation of quality vocational training ecosystem in India. Since inception in 2010, NSDC has trained more than 2.5 crore people through its partnership with 600+ training partners, 11,000+ training centers spread over 600+ districts across the country. NSDC has established 37 Sector Skill Councils and is implementing Government’s flagship skill development schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK), National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS), among others.

Hyundai Commences Road Safety Mass Movement Campaign #BeTheBetterGuy

* Road safety narrative #BeTheBetterGuy aims to connect young India

* Propagates mandatory health & hygiene norms in the New Normal 

Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL), country’s First Smart Mobility Solutions provider and the largest exporter since inception, today announced the commencement of the Road Safety Mass Movement#BeTheBetterGuy phase 4. The #BeTheBetterGuy - Road Safety initiative is a continuous effort from Hyundai Motor India to spread awareness and sensitise masses about the importance of road safety. The initiative highlights the road safety practices through innovative and engaging content to bring behavioural change among all the stakeholders.  

#BeTheBetterGuy road safety initiative is a flagship campaign of Hyundai Motor India since 2016 highlighting the need to observe safe driving habits such as following speed limits and traffic rules, avoiding the use of mobile phone while driving, usage of seatbelt,avoiding drunken driving, discouraging underage driving and pedestrian safety.

In addition to these, Respecting the New Normal, the campaign strongly advocates safe driving practices, maintaining hygiene & social distance, cultivating the habit of wearing masks when driving or riding in the car and periodic car sanitization for safety.

Commenting on the commencement of the #BeTheBetterGuy initiative in 2020, Mr. SS Kim, MD & CEO, Hyundai Motor India Limited said,“Realising our vision of ‘Progress for Humanity’ we are committed towards curating unique social messages that instilRoad Safety habits amongst individuals. Since 2016, the #BeTheBetterGuy campaign has become instrumental in generating the much-needed impetus towards Road Safety. In the New Normal where preference for personal mobility has gained more importance, it becomes even more important to sensitize the millennial generation about road safety”.

‘Safe Move’ is one of the key pillars of Hyundai Motor Group’s long-term road-safety CSR initiative across the globe. ‘Safe Move’ – Road Safety Campaign in India focuses on spreading awareness about the importance of road safety to bring about a significant behavioural change amongst masses.

Past 3 phases of Road Safety Campaign #BeTheBetterGuy was a huge success and has won several accolades from eminent Indian media. Under the ‘Safe Move’– Road safety initiative, Hyundai is also conducting programs with RWAs to enhance awareness and understanding of Road Safety Rules, thereby helping create a safe and happy society, where both drivers and pedestrians can enjoy a safe environment.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Akamai Foundation Announces 2020 Global STEM Education Grants

Akamai Foundation, a charitable fund endowed by Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), today announces recipients of the Akamai Foundation 2020 global STEM education grants. The Akamai Foundation is dedicated to encouraging the next generation of technology innovators by supporting STEM education in underserved communities, with a focus on the pursuit of excellence in mathematics in grades K-12. The 2020 STEM grant recipients support communities in Atlanta; greater Boston; Costa Rica; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; India; New York; Poland; Reston, Virginia and the San Francisco Bay area.

“During these difficult times, our commitment to STEM education is unwavering, and we will continue to focus on addressing the digital divide and digital inclusion within education so our global youth can remain inspired, hopeful and connected,” commented Anthony Williams, president, Akamai Foundation and executive vice president and chief human resources officer, Akamai Technologies.

In addition to STEM grants, the Akamai Foundation provides disaster relief and humanitarian aid globally and supports volunteerism by connecting employees to the communities in which Akamai operates. Two new programs were undertaken by the Foundation in 2020. In May, the Foundation launched a $1.1 million multi-tiered, multi-phased global community response to COVID-19. In August, the Akamai board of directors approved an additional $20 million contribution to the Akamai Foundation. This amount was granted with a specific aim of supporting initiatives that increase diversity in the technology industry.

“Our nonprofit grantees have shown extraordinary resilience and compassion as they are forced to adjust to a new way of learning and teaching,” said Kara DiGiacomo, executive director, Akamai Foundation. “They have reimagined educational outreach and stepped up in unprecedented ways to deliver resources in a time of uncertainty. We are proud to be able to support these efforts.” 

The Akamai Foundation looks forward to partnering with the following programs in 2020-2021.

India: Akshara Foundation, Bangalore.

Trident Group Expands its Towel Portfolio with 3 Innovative Offerings

India’s leading player in the home textile category, Trident Group today announced the expansion of its towel portfolio with the launch of three uniquely designed offerings. Placing enhanced focus on wellness, hygiene and performance, the three new product ranges aim to meet evolving consumer preferences. The three variants - FaBo, Tri-Safe and Play have been innovatively designed to meet specific requirements of customers looking for advanced hygiene solutions as well as high-performance, fitness solutions respectively.

Sharing his thoughts on the launch of the new ranges, Rajneesh Bhatia, CEO, Trident Group said, "We are delighted to introduce our three new solution-oriented offerings – FaBo, Tri-Safe and Play to fulfill guest’s preferences with enhanced focus on safety and hygiene in the future. Being the first to introduce mandatory antibacterial treatment for all towels, we ensure utmost hygiene solutions with our new ranges. Innovative offerings that cater to unique needs of discerning customers have been the hallmark of Trident Group. We are steadfast in our vision to provide innovative and exclusive hygiene solutions to our customers and today’s launch is a crucial step towards our journey.”

Using the same towel for both body and face could allow pathogens present on the body to transfer onto one’s face. Keeping the same in mind, Trident’s FaBo range is specially engineered to treat the body skin and the facial skin differently. FaBo has specific demarcations (F for Face and B for Body) so that you know which part of the towel is to be used on your face and which on your body. The towel is specially treated with an aloe vera finish to nourish and rejuvenate your face and gives you a refreshing experience. To ensure your body hygiene is in place, FaBo is treated with an advanced antibacterial finish that inhibits growth of odour causing bacteria thus ensuring uninterrupted freshness with every use.

Trident’s antibacterial solution – Tri-Safe, is a revolutionary offering that has been engineered with a special antibacterial topical treatment. The product is an OEKO-TEX certified skin friendly product, an independent certification system which ensures that textiles meet high safety and environmental standards. Tri-Safe Essentials quickly draws water from the skin/other surfaces and moves it into a larger surface area. This affordable quick dry towel is crafted from super-soft cotton mix that is highly absorbent.

Trident’s Play range could be a perfect gym and sports partner for the fitness enthusiasts. The vibrant and trendy towels from this range are made from 100% organically sourced cotton that is grown using minimal water and chemicals. Designed to be compact yet functional, its superior absorbency keeps you dry. The sustainable and super absorbent towels in the Play range are affordable and also come with a reusable gym bag.

About Trident Group

Trident Limited (NSE: TRIDENT; BSE: 521064) is the flagship Company of Trident Group, a USD 1 billion Indian business conglomerate and a global player. Headquartered in Ludhiana, Punjab, Trident Limited is a vertically integrated textile (Yarn, Bath & Bed Linen) and Paper (Wheat Straw-based) manufacturer with captive power generation facility. It is also one of the largest players in home textiles globally. Trident’s towels, yarns, bedsheets and paper business have earned global recognition and are delighting millions of happy customers across the globe. Supplying national, captive, and retailer owned brands; the organization is accorded with multiple national and international awards from its customers, vendors, and various government entities in recognition of advancing the highest standards in product quality, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship.

UTI Mutual Fund Launches ‘UTI Small Cap Fund’ Across Indian Market

UTI Mutual Fund launches an open-ended equity scheme which will predominantly invest in small cap stocks – ‘UTI Small Cap Fund’. The New Fund Offer opens on December 02, 2020 and closes on December 16, 2020.  The scheme will re-open for subscription and redemption for an ongoing basis from December 23,2020.

The investment objective of the scheme is to generate long term capital appreciation by investing predominantly in equity and equity related securities of small cap companies. However, there can be no assurance or guarantee that the investment objective of the scheme would be achieved.

Mr. Ankit Agarwal is the Fund Manager of the scheme.

Mr Ankit said, ”Small businesses are often referred as backbone of Indian economy, their presence is across the sectors engaged primarily in manufacturing, retailing, services, construction etc. In the recent years, a wide spectrum of initiatives and opportunities have been set forth by the government to nurture the small businesses. Therefore, in the long run the share of small companies to economic growth is likely to expand.”

“UTI Small Cap Fund will endeavour to invest in companies that have scalable business models, are run by seasoned management and aims to generate high return on invested capital. We have a 360 degree risk assessment framework to mitigate the underlying risks and is aligned to gain from small cap and select midcap companies having growth opportunities.” he added.

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