Saturday, December 19, 2020

Indian Government to Spend Rs 10,000 Crore to Vaccinate 30 Crore Indians on Priority Basis

The government will be spending about Rs 10,000 crore to inoculate the priority group of 30 crore Indians in the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive.  Phase 1 of the vast inoculation will be funded by the central government. If sources are to be believed, the government is unwilling to take loans from international banks for funding the colossal vaccination drive.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update: 30 Crore Indians to be Inoculated by August-September 2021, India's COVID-19 caseload mounted to 98,62,080 with 50,356 infections being reported in a day, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease crossed 78 lakh pushing the national recovery rate to 92.41 per cent. 

Union  Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that the Centre’s aim is to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to almost 30 crore Indians by August-September 2021. Also Read - Private Schools Entitled to Charge 70% of Tuition Fee For Online Classes 

Ahead of the roll-out of a credible vaccine against the novel coronavirus, the Narendra Modi-led government has initiated the process of the vaccine delivery, including identifying people who will be inoculated first. Also Read - India's Coronavirus Tally Surpasses 1 Crore-Mark.

As of now, four categories have been demarcated that will be administered the vaccine against the deadly virus first.  

* Healthcare professionals: One crore medicos including MBBS students, doctors, nurses and ASHA workers will get the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine.

* Frontline workers: 2 crore frontline workers including municipal corporation staffers, police officers and armed forces personnel would also get top priority for immunisation against coronavirus.

* Senior citizens: 26 crore senior citizens, above 50 who usually fall within an age group with high risk for the virus,  have also been identified as priority beneficiaries who would be given vaccine dose in the initial phase.

* Special category people: One crore people below 50 years of age with co-morbidities and requiring specialised care would also be added in the list who would be given vaccine dose in the initial phase.

Reports have claimed that this special COVID-19 immunisation programme would run in parallel with the Universal Immunisation Programme, but will use its processes, technology and network of the existing vaccine distribution framework.

“States have been asked to enlist by mid-November the priority population groups. Each person in the immunisation list will be linked with their Aadhaar cards so as to track them,” a source told news agency PTI. However, in case a person doesn’t have an Aadhaar card, he/she can use any government-issued photo identity card.

Meanwhile, India’s COVID-19 caseload mounted to 84,62,080 with 50,356 infections being reported in a day, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease crossed 78 lakh pushing the national recovery rate to 92.41 per cent.

Ikea Opens its Second Outlet in Navi Mumbai Built on an Area Spanning Over 5.3 Lakh Square Feet

Sweden-based Ikea, one of the world’s largest furniture retailer, has opened its second store in India on Friday. The new store is located in Navi Mumbai and is its first big format store in Maharashtra.

The store, built on an area spanning over 5.3 lakh square feet is situated near Turbhe local railway station. Reports suggest that the store has over 7,000 varieties of home furnishing products.

However, customers will not be able to visit the store without a pre-booking — a step that has been taken by Ikea in order to prevent crowding amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Customers will have to visit the store in pre-booked slots, which can be availed through prior registration on Ikea’s website. After the booking process, customers will be allotted a day and time slot to visit the store.

As per Ikea's website, the slots are full for the next two weeks. Since the company is currently accepting two-week advance bookings, the availability of slots is likely to change on a daily basis.

“We are currently following a two-week advance booking opportunity. So new slots open up every day. Further, due to the addition of extra slots or any cancellations, the availability of slots is likely to change on daily basis,” Ikea said on its website.

Ikea had opened its first India retail store in Hyderabad in August 2018, followed by online stores in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune. Ikea has also planned to set up two city-centre stores in Mumbai, according to a company official.

BIC’s Global Education Week Celebrates Exceptional Educators from Around the World

BIC, world leading Stationery brand and parent company of Cello writing, announced the winners of its ‘BIC Cristal Pen Awards 2020’. Recognized among 10 impactful educators around the world, DilipsinhVihol from the Mahadevapura Primary School in Bengaluru was selected as the winner from India for his exceptional contribution towards his students and for being a beacon of hope and optimism in an academically exigent year.

Globally, the education system has been witnessing a sea-change due to the altering socio-economic landscape triggered by the ongoing pandemic. Through this, teachers have been the crucial connector between students and their schools, going beyond their call of duty to ensure their students continue to find joy in the new methods of learning. In an effort to recognize and honor the valuable contributions of teachers during these unprecedented times, BICintroduced the first edition of its BIC Cristal Pen Awards.Launched in conjunction with the company’s Global Education Week initiative, the award aims to celebrate exceptional educators around the world who inspire and bring joy to children every day while equipping them towards a more empowered future. The nominations of the educators came from BIC employees from around the world and the 10 winners came fromthe US, Australia, India, Uganda, Ethiopia, Brazil, Greece and Turkey.

DilipsinhViholhas been instrumental in blending education and technology and keeping students motivated and engaged during lockdown periods. His teaching methodology is unique andgoeswell beyond the simple textbook theory, combining innovative pedagogy to ensure a more culturally responsive curriculum for his students.  Dilipsinh’s humble background did not deter him from utilizing financial resources from the state and the government forimproving teaching infrastructure for his students. The BIC Cristal Awardsprize includes a grant of €5,000 (INR 4.45 lakhs approx.)and a Cello Stationery product donation towards his school in addition toa custom-designed trophy from Tiffany’s &Co that will be presented for Dilipsinh’sachievements.

Commenting on the new award, Manos Nikolakis, General Manager, BIC Cellosaid, “To invest in our future, we must invest in our children. This is a core tenet to BIC and BIC Cello’s philosophy of improving lives through education. As a company, our vision is to improve learning conditions for 250 million children worldwide by 2025. The BIC Cristal Pen Awards was conceptualized in essence to not just help students, but to also celebrate devoted educators whose resilience, expertise, and contribution in their field often goes unnoticed. For educators, the pandemic has been both an adaptive and transformative experience which had no organized playbook. This award is a recognition of their adaptability in the face of the unforeseen education challenge and protecting their student’s learning opportunities. We would like to congratulate Mr. Vihol for his exceptional contribution towards his school and his students and hope this grant can help him along in his mission towards improving more young lives.”

Award-recipient DilipsinhVihol added, “It is indeed an honor for me to be selected as the BIC Cristal Award top educator for India. This award instils hope in my core belief that educators can play a pivotal role in shaping future leaders by helping them develop essential life skills. This year has been tough on the education system but I am happy to have been able to contribute my bit to successfully navigate challenges to ensure that learning and development of my students could continue unabated.  I express my gratitude to BIC for celebrating educators around the world and for encouraging our community to do better every day. I do hope that we all view this crisis as an opportunity to improve and accelerate and work harder to make our education system strongerand more equitable.”

BIC has long been an advocate for improving lives through education and is committed to enhancing the learning conditions for 250 million children globally by 2025. The Group aims to help children succeed in their education by providing improved learning conditions and in-school infrastructure. In support of this mission and given the constraints on in-person volunteering due to COVID-19, BIC created the BIC Cristal Pen Awards program as part of its annual Global Education Week. Whether classes are virtual, in-person or both, the awards aim to acknowledge the extraordinary work done by 10 educators globally through an open nomination programme for BIC team members.


BIC is a world leader in stationery, lighters, and shavers. For more than 75 years, the Company has honored the tradition of providing high-quality, affordable products to consumers everywhere. Through this unwavering dedication, BIC has become one of the most recognized brands and is a trademark registered worldwide. Today, BIC products are sold in more than 160 countries around the world and feature iconic brands such as Cello®, Conté®, BIC FlexTM, Lucky Stationery, Made For YOUTM, Soleil®, Tipp-Ex®, Wite-Out® and more. In 2019,BIC Net Sales were 1,949.4 million euros. The Company is listed on “Euronext Paris,” is part of the SBF120 and CAC Mid 60 indexes and is recognized for its commitment to sustainable development and education. It received an A- Leadership score from CDP.

Skill India Establishes First Centre of Excellence for Skill Development in Power Sector

* India and Government of France join forces to establish first Centre of Excellence for Power Sector 

* Shri R K Singh, Union Minister of State for Power (I/C), New & Renewable Energy (I/C) and Minister of State for Skill Development launched the Centre of Excellence (CoE) virtually today, in presence of Mr. Daniel Maitre, Minister-Counsellor for Economic and Financial Affairs, Head of the Regional Economic Department for India and South Asia

* The CoE to provide special training to trainers and assessors; annual capacity 300+

In a significant development and in line with the commitment to skill development and vocational training, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India, the Ministry of National Education and Youth, Government of the French Republic and Schneider Electric, today announced the inauguration of  first Center of Excellence (CoE) for skill development in power sector in the campus of National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) located at Gwal Pahari, Gurugram (Haryana) to create a robust cadre of certified trainers and assessors across the country.

The CoE has high-end modern labs designed keeping in mind the future technology, which will further strengthen India and France's relationship in energy sector. Union Minister of State for Power (I/C), New & Renewable Energy (I/C) and Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, Shri Raj Kumar Singh inaugurated the Centre of Excellence virtually today, in presence of guest of honour, Mr. Daniel Maitre, Minister-Counsellor for Economic and Financial Affairs, Head of the Regional Economic Department for India and South Asia.

The establishment of CoE is a result of the MoU signed earlier between MSDE, Ministry of Education-France and Schneider Electric. Further, an operational MoU was signed between National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Schneider Electric India Foundation (SEIF), Power Sector Skill Council (PSSC) and National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) for establishment of the centre, and to undertake high level training and skill development in the field of power and solar.

Inaugurating the CoE, Shri. Raj Kumar Singh, Union Minister of State for Power (I/C), New & Renewable Energy (I/C) and Minister of State for Skill Development said,” India is taking rapid strides to move towards renewable energy to accelerate economic development, improve energy security and energy access while mitigating climate change challenges too. Our success in achieving all of this demands for a rich pool of workforce in the energy sector to propel India to become one of the top leaders in the world’s renewable energy market. Sustained efforts towards boosting the growth of renewable energy sector will play a significant role in helping us inch closer to fulfill Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. Our partnership with Government of France for instituting the Centre of Excellence is another shining example of cooperation between the countries to achieve their long-terms energy goals.”

The CoE will focus on creating a pool of highly skilled trainers and assessors for further training to increase employability of candidates in the field of Electricity, Automation and Solar Energy Sectors.  The centre will design and deliver Training for Trainers, Instructors, Training of Assessors and other high-end program in the power and solar sector.

Speaking on the occasion, Anil Chaudhry, CEO- Schneider Electric India Pvt. Ltd. & Zone President, Greater India, said, “I am delighted at the commissioning of this centre in partnership with the NSDC, NISE and PSSC and extend our gratitude to the Ambassador of France to India, for being a part of the design, conceptualization of the Center of Excellence and sharing best practices. It becomes imperative for each of us as stakeholders to come together, identify and align ourselves with the government’s vision towards reducing the skill gap and achieving an overall growth of the power sector.”

Established in an area of 4,000 sq. ft., the project received contribution of land from NISE to host the CoE at their campus. The CoE will be equipped with two labs, which have been set up by Schneider Electric as a part of its CSR initiative. The Advance Electrician Lab is equipped with specially designed instruments for training in home and building, and industry installation and automation. The Solar Lab will provide hands on practical training on latest technology in solar area. With the launch of CoE, online training of assessors will commence which will include trainers from all over the country. In addition, training of youth is also being considered in the center. Power Sector Skill Council, which will be managing the operations of the centre, has also developed necessary learning contents for various job roles in generation, transmission, distribution and downstream sub sectors to facilitate learning.  The Department of Education, France- deputed an expert to India for three years to conceptualise, design and head the proposed CoE. He has contributed by proposing the layout, guidelines, and best practices in electrical domain.  National Skill Development Corporation has been a facilitator to all the stakeholders and is providing professional guidance for the project. 

About Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE)

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

Tata Motors Leads Way for Greener India; Launches ‘Go Green’ Initiative Across Indian Market

Tata Motors, India’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, along with its channel partners, has announced the launch of its ‘Go Green’ initiative in line with its commitment to environment sustainability. Under this initiative, Tata Motors, in association with an NGO, will plant a sapling for the sale of every new commercial vehicle and for every new customer who gets their vehicle serviced at the company’s dealer workshop and Tata Authorised Service Station. The company will nurture the sapling and bestow the customer with a certificate and a link with the geotagged location of the plantation, thereby allowing the customer to monitor its status.

The initiative will ensure the best health of these newly-planted saplings, which will include a variety of diverse species of fruit-bearing, medicinal and native trees. The plantation will be spread across various locations in over 10 states of the country, thereby adding to the green cover of the country.

Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Rajesh Kaul, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors, said, “Environment sustainability is at the core of what we do at Tata Motors, its energy efficient manufacturing practices and environment friendly product offerings are a testament to this. We are pleased to announce this collaboration with SankalpTaru where we are actively engaging with the large base of consumers that the company caters to, in tree plantation drives. Tata Motors will continue to stay abreast of evolving needs in the best interest of future generations, constantly devising unique, sustainable, and future-ready solutions to tackle pressing problems.”

Tata Motors as one of the leading companies in the country is uniquely positioned to create sustainable positive environmental impact. The company is constantly advancing environmental innovation and systematically reducing environmental impact, by assessing its footprint across the whole lifecycle and value chain of its products. The recently launched state-of-art BS6 product range assures significantly reduced tail-pipe emissions and attests to the company’s commitment towards climate resilience. Tata Motors is actively working towards a low-carbon strategy and has been leading the charge of environment-friendly alternate fuel mobility in the country. As a ‘Future Ready’ responsible corporate and a signatory of RE100 initiative, Tata Motors aims to source 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

How India Searched for Homes During The Pandemic Year 2020 – A Report by Magicbricks


* Pune, Bengaluru and Mumbai India’s most searched cities for 2020

* 2X growth in searches for 4BHKs and above due to WFH

* Affordability is the buzz word for real estate in 2020

With Work From Home (WFH) emerging as the new normal due to the outbreak of the pandemic, the desire to have an extra room double resulted in doubling of searches for 4BHK and above during the Pandemic year,  reveals How India Searched for Homes During The Pandemic Year 2020 – A Report by Magicbricks.

How India Searched for Homes During The Pandemic Year 2020 also reveals that most searched cities for homebuyers were Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai and affordability was the key to all house hunts.

As per the Magicbricks report: 57% of buyers wished to invest in Multi-storey apartments and on a micro-level Gurgaon witnessed almost 73% individuals seeking for 3BHKs or more. The top 5 localities that buyers were looking for in the rental category were: Noida Extension, Whitefield- Bengaluru, Andheri West- Mumbai, Sarjapur road- Bengaluru, Saket - New Delhi.

In the South, 40% of the buyer searched for Independent houses/plots and people looked for meditation centres as key amenity in societies. From a lifestyle point of view, highest searches for veg only properties came in from Ahmedabad.

It is enlightening to see how Indians have evolved through their home buying/renting journey and what key factors have influenced the final decision.

Friday, December 18, 2020

How India Searched for Homes During The Pandemic Year 2020 – A Report by Magicbricks

* Pune, Bengaluru and Mumbai India’s most searched cities for 2020

* 2X growth in searches for 4BHKs and above due to WFH

* Affordability is the buzz word for real estate in 2020

With Work From Home (WFH) emerging as the new normal due to the outbreak of the pandemic, the desire to have an extra room double resulted in doubling of searches for 4BHK and above during the Pandemic year,  reveals How India Searched for Homes During The Pandemic Year 2020 – A Report by Magicbricks.

How India Searched for Homes During The Pandemic Year 2020 also reveals that most searched cities for homebuyers were Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai and affordability was the key to all house hunts.

As per the Magicbricks report: 57% of buyers wished to invest in Multi-storey apartments and on a micro-level Gurgaon witnessed almost 73% individuals seeking for 3BHKs or more. The top 5 localities that buyers were looking for in the rental category were: Noida Extension, Whitefield- Bengaluru, Andheri West- Mumbai, Sarjapur road- Bengaluru, Saket - New Delhi.

In the South, 40% of the buyer searched for Independent houses/plots and people looked for meditation centres as key amenity in societies. From a lifestyle point of view, highest searches for veg only properties came in from Ahmedabad.

It is enlightening to see how Indians have evolved through their home buying/renting journey and what key factors have influenced the final decision.

Surat Girl, Kruti Dharaiya Beat 70K Women Coders to Become Geek Goddess 2020

She came, she coded, and she won – not once but twice! It’s a classic tale of a small-town girl toppling the tables for all top technologists twice. Hailing from Surat, Kruti Dharaiya - who graduated from National Institute of Technology, Surat this June - clinched the champion’s trophy from 70,097 women technologists at TechGig Geek Goddess 2020 recently. Earlier this year, she won the top woman coder trophy – Code Diva - at the Guinness World Record holder event TechGig Code Gladiators 2020 in August!

Kruti - who works in Bengaluru with Amazon - is presently working from home and prepared for the contest along with her office tasks. Not just her, the rest 70,096 women technologists had pinned their hopes on the Geek Goddess code competition to see their dreams turn into reality. “I participated in Geek Goddess because I know that this platform helps participants network effortlessly with peers, and also gets you in the radar of top recruiters,” said Kruti. She loves competitive programming and is presently focussed on learning the nuances of her new job. This is the first time that she participated in Geek Goddess and Code Gladiators. 

TechGig Geek Goddess is an annual coding contest for women technologists that provides a national platform for the participants to showcase their programming skills. Conceptualised in 2016, this code competition concluded its 2020 edition with a virtual career fair and grand finale on December 4 & 5, 2020.

“Geek Goddess represents the adage that ‘alone we can do so little, and together we can do so much’. This is not just a coding contest but a collective rising of the Indian women technologists. In 2016, when the first edition of Geek Goddess was announced, about 15,000 participants registered. Today, in the sixth edition this number is more than 4 times with 70,097 registrations,” informed Sanjay Goyal, Business Head, TimesJobs and TechGig about the event.

For the participants of Geek Goddess, the journey in the coding fraternity has just started. As Laisha Wadhwa, winner of AI/ML hackathon at Geek Goddess 2019 and participant in the 2020 edition said, “My victory at Geek Goddess encouraged me to participate in seven other hackathons, many of which I won”. Winning and prizes apart, meeting industry icons are an opportunity second to none. As Snehlata Mishra, coding champion of Geek Goddess 2018 and runners-up in 2019 put it, “I got an opportunity to meet many women leaders on the Geek Goddess floor. In fact, after the win, my social media accounts started getting immense followership, and suddenly from an engineer, I became an icon of sorts”.

These experiences aren’t just limited to the winners but all participants - both present and past. Many participants relive the rich experiences shared during the code competition while forming a team or devising a solution or making a presentation to a jury. All these aspects transitioned Geek Goddess transition from an event to a dedicated community of women technologists who believe in growing together and learning together.

Apart from growing in scale, the event also added many layers in its format as hosting Women Disruptors Conference annually where women leaders descend to talk about issues related to tech careers.  Like the past two years, this year’s keynote too was delivered by Ruchika Panesar, Vice President, Technology at American Express. India’s first special-abled IAS officer and engineer, Ira Singhal, Joint Director, Department of Women and Child Development and Joint Director Department of Social Welfare, Govt of Delhi  delivered the special industry address and reflected upon how women professionals were working relentlessly in the government set-up during the pandemic times.

Other notable speakers included tech leaders, CHROs, diversity leads and entrepreneurs who shared their thoughts on how to define new normal in the pandemic time and why everyone should own the diversity agenda to make it more relevant. Speakers included Subha Iyer, Chief Operating Officer, Goldman Sachs, Smriti Ahuja, Chief People Officer, Times Internet, Arun Batra, GDS Consulting Leader, EY Global Delivery Services, Pranali Save, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Icertis and leaders from MedPrime - Nasscom Center of Excellence, Mphasis, Goldman Sachs India, American Express and Hinduja Global Solutions.

“TechGig Geek Goddess is one of the most eagerly anticipated events for women in technology in India,” said Ruchika Panesar. “At American Express, we strive to be the best, most inclusive and diverse place to work in technology, bar none. We continually work to strengthen the diversity of our organisation, while building a culture where everyone feels included, valued and respected, and is able to bring their experiences and authentic selves to work every day. We’re proud to sponsor TechGig Geek Goddess because their focus on building opportunities for women in technology closely aligns with our own. It is wonderful to see women coders embrace their engineering muscle and demonstrate their prowess. American Express congratulates the winners and all other participants in this year’s TechGig Geek Goddess coding contest. You should be proud of your success, and the example that you set for all women in technology,” she said.

The winners list is as follows:

Coding champion - Kruti Dharaiya

1st runner up - Gayatri Marathe

2nd runner up - Nikhitha

3rd runner up - Keerthana Selvakumar

4th runner up - Riya Pannu

The complete winners’ list is available at

Agami Announces the Winners of 2nd Edition of the Agami Prize

* The award recognizes entrepreneurs and changemakers in the law and justice space whose work is transforming the field either by evolving the legal industry or by empowering citizens to access justice

With over 30 lakhs for the taking,Agami announced the result of the 2nd edition of the Agami Prize. The Prize is known to build a strong network of innovators, entrepreneurs and changemakers in the field of law and justice. It offers a thriving platform for them to be recognised for their work and get access to resources and support.

The 2nd edition of Agami Prize saw applications from 251 innovators & changemakers across the country. From among the applicants, 13 finalists were selected after exhaustive interviews with the founders and members of their teams. The 13 finalists were then brought before a grand jury made up of eminent persons across India. After several rounds of analysis and interviews, the grand jury submitted its winners for this year's Agami Prize 2020, which were announced on December 10, 2020.

Members of the Grand Jury included:

* Roland Vogl - Executive Director, CodeX, Stanford Law School

* Ajay Shah - Professor, & Author

* Justice Prabha Sridevan - former Judge of the Madras High Court

* Sonali Ojha - Founder, Dreamcatchers Foundation

* Parag Dhol - Managing Director, Inventus India

Talking about the Agami Prize, Sachin Malhan, Co-Founder, Agami said, “We thank all our partners, collaborators like Niti Aayog, ORF, Dasra, Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies, Jayasimha Foundation, Omidyar Network India and Ashoka Foundation for their support in this wonderful journey. The Agami Prize celebrates ideas that make justice more accessible, inclusive and effective by tackling well-known problems in legal and justice systems. We would like to congratulate and applaud all the participants and winners of Agami Prize 2020 for their innovative ideas which will enable the law & justice system in India. For the winners, while the prize money is certainly valuable, it's more about the access to influencers, to mentors, and to opportunities to collaborate at a high level and make sectoral and policy changes that are just not possible individually. Each application this year was unique and has inspired us in many ways. We are confident and these innovators and changemakers will radically reshape and reform the law & justice India, making justice accessible to all."

Adding to this Padma Shri awardee Anu Aga said, “Agami Prize was founded with the sole purpose of promoting justice. Everyone needs justice, absence of justice leads to an unfair society. The awardees of this year’s prize have done an incredible job. Agami explores new and innovative paths which catalyses and enables changemakers to reshape their ideas into a meaningful process of change. Without these innovators and tech solutions, we wouldn’t have been able to see a large impact. The winners of Agami prize 2020 are fundamentally change makers who are empowering the common man of India. This will help unleash a generation of leaders with the potential to make justice available to all."  TM Krishna, notable Carnatic singer, author and activist was also present at the award ceremony to felicitate the winners.

The biennial Prize, conceived and first held in 2018, serves to support and catalyse such ideas in 3 categories – Industry, Citizenship and Idea. Partners to the Prize include highly regarded individuals and institutions in social innovation, business, philanthropy and policy.

Industry Prize

The Industry Prize is awarded to a proven idea that serves justice through the evolution of the legal industry. The Industry Prize for Agami Prize 2020 was awarded to Phoenix ‘A Smart Prison ERP’ By Amit Mishra for the empathetic use of technology in prison management to make Indian prisons more humane. Phoenix draws on the founder's deep personal insight into the condition of jails to digitize critical operations of the prisons in harmony with the Jail Manual. The impact of Phoenix is currently felt by 4 lakh prisoners through a full-scale deployment in all of Haryana prisons and pilot projects in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and UP.

Special Mention for the Prize went toTrustIn by Meghana Srinivas for bringing a platform approach to holistically address workplace misconduct. Currently, the platform is directly empowering 15000 employees across seven companies by providing the essential architecture for a safe, productive and responsive work environment.

Other finalists include SpotDraftby Shashank Bijapur, Madhav Bhagat and Rohith Salim for their international standard use of technology to ease contract review and management.

And the last finalist, Credgenics by Mayank Khera, Rishabh Goel and Anand Agarwal for harnessing data, technology and alternate dispute resolution to meet the rising NPA challenge. They have addressed the need of the lenders to track, assess, and effectively act on their potential NPAs. Their recent collaboration with leading new economy player Udaan has demonstrated that the approach works and can be replicated with other lenders of all types.

Shamnad Basheer Citizenship Prize

The Shamnad Basheer Citizenship Prize is awarded to a proven idea that serves justice by empowering citizens to access justice. The prize has been awarded to Legal Education and Advocacy Unit (LEAD Cell), Aajeevika Bureau by Rajiv Khandelwal and Krishnavatar Sharma for pioneering a scalable dispute resolution mechanism to empower the migrant workforce. As of June 2020, LEAD has succeeded in resolving over 9 thousand cases through mediation and dispute resolution. Their helpline receives close to 5,000 calls a month on an average and they have also retrieved wages in favour of workers amounting to over 25 crores.

Special Mention was Internet Freedom Foundation By Apar Gupta for creating a citizen-led, bottom-up model for digital rights advocacy in India.Born out of the ‘Save the Internet’ movement on net neutrality, IFF is bridging the gap between the ‘public’ and ‘public policy’ by advancing outcome-based advocacy for digital rights.

Other finalists include Mobile Vaani, Gram Vaani Community Media by Dr Aaditeshwar Seth and Vijay Sai Pratap for leveraging the power of participatory media platforms to improve citizens' access to information. Mobile Vaani operates 25 separate networks across districts India in partnership with 150 organizations.

Also recognised was ‘Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA)’ to Legal Education by Late Prof (Dr) Shamnad Basheer, currently led by IDIA’s Managing Trustee Shishira Rudrappa for making formal legal education more inclusive and accessible to the underprivileged and differently abled. Since inception, IDIA has sensitised over 38,000 students, trained 450 students for the C.L.A.T.

Idea Prize

The Idea Prize is awarded to an early-stage idea with the potential to serve justice, either through the evolution of the legal industry or in how it empowers citizens to access justice. The Idea Prize is supported by the Jayasimha Foundation.

The prize was awarded to Zenith, Society for Socio-Legal Empowerment by Abhay Jain and Swapnil Shukla for their idea to reimagine law school legal clinics and enable grassroots empowerment.  And to the Criminal Justice and Police Accountability Project by Nikita Sonavane and Ameya Bokil for their idea to develop community changemakers to hold everyday policing processes accountable. An early-stage initiative, CPAP is enabling marginalized communities to anchor and drive the process of holding everyday policing processes accountable.

Among the finalists were Transerve Online Stack by Amarsh Chaturvedi and Ashwini Kumar Rawat for their idea to use geospatial technology to secure property rights for the urban poor. Transerve is working to ensure allocation of property titles to those living in slum settlements across Orissa.

Also recognised was Landryt by Girish Chenicherry Kandambeth and Srihari Katta for their idea to integrate disparate data sources for fast and transparent verification of land titles.

And the last finalist was Article 14 by Samar Harlarnkar for their idea of data-driven research journalism to tell the important stories in law and justice. Breaking down dense research into easily digestible nuggets of information helps them effectively and simply communicate perspectives. Their series of investigative stories on ASHA workers’ wage disputes and lack of transparency in the national COVID-19 task force had more than 800 shares on Facebook and Twitter and was picked up by reputed journalist Ravish Kumar for his prime time show on NDTV. They were also called on by the Commission by Delhi Government investigating the Delhi riots, on account of their story on Facebook's role in the riots.

Five Tips To Protect Your Smart Appliances From Cyber Intruders


By Kishan Jain, Director, Goldmedal Electricals

Smart home devices have become an integral part of our digitally connected world. While these highly innovative devices have transformed our way of life in many ways, they sometimes come with their fair share of risks. One of the major challenges faced by manufacturers is to provide steps to defend these devices from cyberattacks. Here are a few steps that I feel most people can take to protect and safeguard their smart devices from malicious cyber intruders.      

1. Choose your devices smartly

The first step in buying smart appliances should be to carry out necessary market research on various manufacturing brands regarding their safety aspect. It is critical to the safety of your devices and home that you evaluate the security protection and privacy features offered by various brands. It’s safer if they provide regular firmware updates for better performance and continuous protection. The product should always be bought from authorized resellers of the brand for genuine and authentic products.

2. Secure your Wi-Fi Network

Since a Wi-Fi range can go beyond the four walls of the home and offices, it makes your home network vulnerable to cyber intrusion. But this can be prevented by installing a good Wi-Fi router and securing the network with a unique network name and password. Some routers have the option to create a secondary network, which can be used specifically for all smart home devices. This will restrict the hacker’s movement and access. The “hide network” option also prevents outsiders from connecting to the network. Lastly, install VPN on your smart devices to protect your privacy in case it is connected to a public network.

3. Power of passwords

The key to every device is the password that is set for it. During the setup process, the default password must be changed immediately. Ideally, passwords should be at least 8 characters long and include numbers as well as special characters. Use of generic or easy-to-guess passwords with personal information like name, date of birth etc. should be avoided. It is advisable to change the password occasionally, once every six months. Two-factor authentication is another way to keep your devices and data protected from cyber intrusion.

4. Disconnect to protect

Most routers have the universal plug and play (UPnP) option that lets you find and connect to other devices on the same network easily, but it also a security hazard. It gives outsiders a chance to find and access your devices. Turn off UPnP on the router to prevent a potential intrusion. Similarly, not all smart home devices need to be active and connected at all times. Disconnect devices or turn them off when you plan to be away for a long period of time.

5. Keep your operating system and apps in check

The operating system as well as the apps installed on the smart devices should be regularly updated. Most of these updates include security and bug fixes that prevent hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities that the smart devices might have. It is also important to monitor apps and double check permissions requested by them. It’s crucial to watch out for warning signs like if an app is requesting access data that is not pertinent to its function.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

EPL’s Platina Is World’s First Fully Recyclable Packaging Tube

EPL Limited (formerly known as Essel Propack Limited), the world’s largest specialty packaging company, has received global recognition from the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), USA for its Platina Tube with an HDPE closure.

EPL’s Platina is the first fully sustainable and completely recyclable tube in the world, including shoulder and cap, to get this recognition. It is the only tube to have an integrated shoulder INNER BARRIER LINER (IBL) that is also recyclable in HDPE recycle stream. This is a big step forward as it allows the total tube to be recycled in a single recycle stream

APR maintains exacting standards for certification. Platina went through a rigorous test and qualification process for more than 3 months before the results were announced. Platina is an eco-friendly laminated tube produced with less than 5% barrier resin, and has earlier received recognition from the APR, USA, for consistently meeting or exceeding the most stringent APR HDPE Critical Guidance criteria.

After use, the Platina tubes and caps can be recycled in the dominant #2 plastic stream used across the globe for recycling Milk Cans, Juice bottles etc. Use of HDPE in Platina and GML tubes increases the stiffness of the tubes, enabling EPL to reduce polymer content and in turn help users to deliver on their sustainability commitments. 

The Platina range of HDPE tubes are designed to deliver source reduction and recyclability without the loss of any barrier properties. This allows for sustained product stability and durable shelf life of the packed content. Platina tube is especially suited for oral, toiletries, and food brands. Platina tubes and caps were also certified as 100% recyclable by RecyClass European certification for ‘Code 2’ (recycling) earlier, making them the only speciality packaging tubes and caps to be recognised as 100% recyclable, globally.

Mr. Sudhanshu Vats, MD & CEO EPL said, “Sustainability is a key area of focus for us and we constantly endeavour towards achieving it. We are extremely delighted to receive this recognition from APR, and this will motivate us to develop more innovative and sustainable solutions and consciously reduce our carbon footprint. This showcases our strong R&D capabilities, underlining EPL’s global position as one of the world’s leading innovative packaging manufacturers with the highest standards of sustainability, resource efficiency and recycling/reuse (PCR)”.

“We will encourage and enable our customers to convert to this packaging format; helping them to meet their sustainability commitments faster.” he added. 

Mr. Hariharan K. Nair, Vice President, Creativity and Innovation, said “This is a big achievement for us at EPL. Sustainable solutions is a key focus area for us and we are striving towards achieving this objective across product lines. A first-in-the-world tag makes us proud and is a testament to our disciplined and creative work ethic. Recycling helps the environment and even as it creates new economic opportunities, as recycled products can be made into new goods. Recycling helps still-useful materials prevent clogging up landfills and helps reduce fossil fuel consumption.”

About APR

The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) is The Voice of Plastics Recycling®. As the international trade association representing the plastics recycling industry, membership includes independent recycling companies of all sizes, processing numerous resins, as well as consumer product companies, equipment manufacturers, testing laboratories, organizations, and others committed to the success of plastics recycling. APR works to enhance quality and increase supply through technical resources, testing programs, design solutions, corporate training, regulatory leadership, and education programs. 

About EPL

EPL Limited (formerly known as Essel Propack Ltd.) is the world’s largest specialty packaging company, manufacturing laminated plastic tubes catering to the FMCG and pharma spaces. Employing 3158 people from 25 nationalities, EPL operates through twenty state-of-the-art facilities in eleven countries, selling about 8 billion tubes per annum. 

With a market leading Oral Care volume share of 36% globally, EPL has units operating across the USA, Mexico, Colombia, Poland, Germany, Egypt, Russia, China, Philippines and India. These facilities cater to 5 core categories of Oral Care, Beauty & Cosmetics, Pharma & Health, Food & Nutrition and Home Care; offering customized solutions through constant innovations in materials, technology, design and processes. 

VMware Named a Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Hyperconverged Infrastructure Software


VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW) today announced that the company is positioned furthest on the completeness of vision axis in the Gartner Inc. December 2020 Magic Quadrant for Hyperconverged Infrastructure Software. In addition, VMware is also in the Leaders quadrant of the report based on the ability to execute axis for the fourth consecutive report.

“HCI has fast become a default infrastructure of choice that spans the datacenter, edge locations, and the public cloud. That’s because organizations across every industry need to accelerate delivery of new applications and scale as businesses respond to changing demands,” said John Gilmartin, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Platform Business Unit, VMware. “We are thrilled to be recognized by Gartner which we believe demonstrates our commitment to provide customers with trusted, enterprise-grade HCI solutions.”

As the foundational platform for traditional applications, cloud native applications, and hybrid cloud, HCI eliminates IT silos and makes infrastructure future-ready. Most recently VMware made available VMware vSAN 7 Update 1 which includes more new features than any previous release over the past three years. This latest offering streamlines customer adoption of Kubernetes and supports stateful applications with new developer-ready capabilities and enhance scalability and operations with new features. Additionally, VMware introduced new capabilities across its HCI and hybrid cloud platforms to further support customers’ modern applications needs. 

VMware has the broadest HCI ecosystem that includes 15 jointly certified OEM server vendors, or vSAN ReadyNodes, with more than 500 validated configurations, Global Partner Appliances that simplify HCI adoption and maintenance, a jointly engineered solution, Dell EMC VxRail, and 70-plus cloud verified partners that offer VMware Cloud Foundation, including all global hyperscalers.

Additional Resources

Read more on “The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Hyperconverged Infrastructure Software” at VMware Virtual Blocks blog

Learn more about VMware HCI

Learn more about VMware vSAN

Learn more about VMware Cloud Foundation

Connect with VMware on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Hyperconverged Infrastructure Software, Jeffrey Hewitt, Philip Dawson, Julia Palmer, Tony Harvey, 7 December 2020

VMware, VMware vSAN, and vSAN ReadyNodes are registered trademarks or trademarks of VMware, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other jurisdictions. This article may contain hyperlinks to non-VMware websites that are created and maintained by third parties who are solely responsible for the content on such websites.

Gartner Disclaimer

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

About VMware

VMware software powers the world’s complex digital infrastructure. The company’s cloud, app modernization, networking, security, and digital workspace offerings help customers deliver any application on any cloud across any device. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, VMware is committed to being a force for good, from its breakthrough technology innovations to its global impact. 

Save on TECNO Smartphones During ‘Flipkart Big Saving Days’ Sale

* New TECNO POVA (6+128 GB) variant debuts on Flipkart sale ( ) starting 18th December at 12am

* TECNO’s SPARK Power 2 Air & CAMON 15 available at a special price of INR 7999 & INR 9999 respectively

* Consumers can also avail an instant 10% discount on SBI credit cards

With Christmas and New Year around the corner, TECNO has come up with exciting offers and discounts on popular smartphones to add to the festive cheer during Flipkart’s upcoming ‘Big Saving Days’ Sale from 18th to 22nd December, 2020 in a quest to make the celebrations bigger and memorable. 

Earlier, TECNO POVA 4GB +64GB saw a stellar response from consumers that made TECNO the ‘Highest rated Smartphone brand’ on Flipkart with its consistent rating of 4.5 and above. Rolling on the back of this success the debut sale of the TECNO POVA 6GB+128GB will commence tomorrow available at INR 11,999 only. Consumers can also avail a special offer of an instant 10% discount on SBI cards.

The TECNO POVA is currently holding the crown of bringing together the most competitive smartphone 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 for a seamless, un-interrupted gaming and multitasking experience. It also houses a massive 6.8-inch dot-in display that provides an immersive viewing experience.

This Flipkart Big Saving Day’s sale will witness TECNO being the best smartphone brand in budget category. With SPARK POWER 2 Air flaunting many category defining features such as 6000 mAh battery with AI power charging & safe charging, Big 6.95- inch Dot-notch display and 13MP AI powered Quad camera with category defining dual speakers with stereo sound at just INR 7999. And CAMON 15 a feature rich smartphone offering combination of 48MP rear camera smartphone with 16MP dot-in selfie camera in the sub 10K at a special price of INR 9999. Additionally, SBI Bank credit card users can avail a 10% instant discount on their cart value while buying these TECNO phones during the sale.

GE Healthcare's Edison Accelerator Launches 2nd Cohort with Six Technology Startups



* The six startups onboarded are AarogyaAI, BrainSightAI, Fluid AI, InMed Prognostics, Wellthy Care and Onward Assist

* The start-ups of 2nd Cohort will focus on point-of-care diagnostics, remote patient monitoring, virtual hospitals, data management and insights and asset health monitoring

‘India EdisonTM Accelerator – Startups powered by GE Healthcare’ announces the launch of its second Cohort, with the enrollment of six remarkable health-tech startups - AarogyaAI, BrainSightAI, Fluid AI, InMed Prognostics, Wellthy Therapeutics and Onward Assist. In its second year now, India EdisonTM Accelerator, the company’s first startup collaboration program based out of India is committed to mentoring and creating strategic partners to co-develop healthcare solutions alongside GE’s engineers and scientists. Riding on the success of the first Cohort of the program, this time the focus is on technology solutions aimed at streamlining healthcare delivery across verticals- Advanced Imaging and Visualization, Precision Diagnosis and Treatment, Computer-aided Detection and Diagnosis, Point-of-Care Diagnostics, Remote Patient Monitoring,  Virtual Hospitals, Data Management and Insights, and Asset Health Monitoring.

Girish Raghavan, VP, Software Engineering, GE Healthcare South Asia said, “The aim of this program is to harness the brainpower of the start-up ecosystem for developing solutions on the Edison platform for some of the toughest healthcare challenges existing today. We are excited about the second Cohort of ‘India EdisonTM Accelerator – Startups powered by GE Healthcare’ and the collaboration that we are already seeing between the startup community, our colleagues and the Edison platform itself.”

The applications received were screened through a three-stage process and the shortlisted entries were evaluated based on the strength of the business idea/plan, maturity and the closeness to productize their solution, team capabilities and relevance to defined focus areas among others. ‘India EdisonTM Accelerator – Startups powered by GE Healthcare’ is providing a zero-equity cash-in-grant of USD 10000 to each of the selected startups. In addition, they will have access to mentorship, skill development programs, commercial and regulatory guidance, and data provision as additional benefits.

About the five startups:

AarogyaAI: enables quick and accurate diagnosis of DR-TB so that the patient can be rightly prescribed effective drug combinations for treatment, instantly.

BrainSightAI: is building an MRI-bases SAAS platform, which can transform how neuro-psychiatric disorders are addressed.

Fluid AI: offers data driven solutions backed with AI analytics and insights that can help businesses take smarter decisions with respect to operations, sales, credit etc.

InMed Prognostics: is an artificial intelligence and machine learning based MRI tool, helping neuro-radiologists, neuro physicians and psychiatrists understand the brain better and effects of different conditions.

Wellthy Therapeutics maps the patient journey and plays a 24*7, continual real-time role to patients as a companion solution to help them manage their chronic conditions better.

Onward Assist: is an advanced cancer prognostics platform for histopathologists and radiologists, building machine learning models to support decision making and improve outcomes.

The first cohort which graduated in June this year included five impressive tech startups -- 5C Network, DeepTek, Orbo, Predible and Synapsica. They successfully integrating their solution with the Edison platform, and the program continues to engage with them on taking their solutions to market through the alumini program.

About ‘India EdisonTM Accelerator – Startups powered by GE Healthcare’

GE Healthcare unveiled the ‘India EdisonTM Accelerator – Startups powered by GE Healthcare’ in August 2019 with a focus on nurturing the startup ecosystem and working with them to create healthcare solutions leveraging the Edison platform and decades of GE Healthcare’s expertise. Startups will collaborate with GE Healthcare to arrive at solutions that improve patient outcomes and experience, efficiency of clinical practice and that of the healthcare facilities, reduce waste and inefficiencies, and eliminate costly and harmful errors.  For more information on the program, visit: You can follow the program on Twitter @GEHCI_Xlerator

About Edison

Edison is an advanced intelligence offering used by GE Healthcare’s internal developers and strategic partners to develop new healthcare applications, services and AI algorithms. It comprises applications, smart devices and the Edison platform. Over the next few years, we expect Edison to become central to the healthcare ecosystem and an important hub for healthcare innovation with thousands of applications and services available. There are around 100+ applications currently available on the Edison platform, and we expect that number to grow.

About GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare is the $16.7 billion healthcare business of GE (NYSE: GE). As a leading global medical technology and digital solutions innovator, GE Healthcare enables clinicians to make faster, more informed decisions through intelligent devices, data analytics, applications and services, supported by its Edison intelligence platform. With over 100 years of healthcare industry experience and around 50,000 employees globally, the company operates at the center of an ecosystem working toward precision health, digitizing healthcare, helping drive productivity and improve outcomes for patients, providers, health systems and researchers around the world. In India, GE Healthcare operates in a JV (Wipro GE Healthcare WGE)) with Wipro Limited. WGE is focussed on some of the country’s toughest healthcare challenges– lowering maternal and infant deaths, enabling early detection of cancer and addressing heart diseases early. WGE pioneered innovation of healthcare imaging technologies ‘In India for India and the world’ to enhance access to quality healthcare at affordable costs to more people. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Insights , or visit our website for more information.

Garware Polyester Becomes First PPF Manufacturer in India; Eyes 300 Cr Incremental Revenue by FY23

Garware Polyester Ltd. (GPL), the flagship company of the Garware Group and a leading player in specialty Polyester and Sun Control Films in India commenced the production of Paint Protection Films (PPF) for automobile paint protection. Currently, Paint Protection Film has an estimated global market size of $500m and is dominated by global giants like 3M, Llumar (from Eastman), XPEL etc.

Paint Protection Film is designed to give automobile paint coatings the highest level of protection and impact resistance, and these films are clear, self-healing Paint Protection Films. This type of special extends the life of the paint coating on vehicles and has self-healing properties. The PPF is manufactured using a specially formulated Thermoplastic Polyurethane film (TPU), which offers high reliability and consistent performance. The highly specialized film protects the vehicle’s paint from scratches, dents and damage caused by road debris and rocks, as well as from environmental elements, through its force-dissipation properties. 

The company estimates Paint Protection Films to contribute 20% of FY23 revenue estimated at an incremental Rs. 300 Cr.  The GPL PPF will also be more competitively priced than those available in the Indian market today, as it is manufactured in GPL’s highly efficient, integrated manufacturing set-up. 

Commenting on the PPF line production commencement, Mr. S.B. Garware, Chairman and Managing Director, Garware Polyester said, "Garware has been the pioneer in polyester film manufacturing since 1974, and after our strong second quarter performance we expect the commencement of the PPF line to contribute significantly to the company’s performance. The product will be available to both our domestic customers as well as export markets. We plan our product lines very carefully with an aim to acquire global leadership in any specialty product that we manufacture. I am confident that we will achieve the same with our PPF line as well.”

About Garware Polyester Limited 

Garware Polyester Ltd. (BOM: 500655) is the flagship company of the Garware Group co-promoted by the Chairman and Managing Director Mr. S.B. Garware in the year 1957 along with the Founder-Chairman Late Padmabhushan Dr. Bhalchandra Garware. The company makes Specialty Performance Polyester Films in India and has its State-of-the-Art manufacturing facilities at Aurangabad in Maharashtra, India. GPL is the pioneer and one of the largest exporter of Polyester Films in India and the winner of top exporters’ awards for continuous 33 years from PLEXCOUNCIL. 

Garware Polyester Ltd.’s (GPL) manufacturing facility in Aurangabad is vertically integrated, from manufacture of polyester chips to the finished product of polyester films with four independent manufacturing lines and a business that spans the globe.  Polyester Films are used for variety of end-applications such as PET Shrink films for Label application, Low Oligomer PET films for insulation of hermetically sealed compressors motors, Electric motor insulation and cable insulation, sequin application films, TV and LCD screen application, Packaging applications etc. Garware Polyester Ltd is also the market Leader and India’s only manufacturer of Sun Control window films for Building, safety and auto applications. The company has facilities for manufacturing various coated products and co-extruded products for specialty application, apart from its capacity to design the recipe for raw material of PET films to suit the end application of the product.  The company has also developed surface-protection films designed to deliver the highest level of protection and impact resistance which has applications in many sectors. 

Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films Decodes the Growth and Evolution of the Short Film Format with the finest in Cinema

Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films, one of the biggest and most celebrated short films platform in India, recently hosted some of the greatest minds from the world of films who came together for an engaging conversation on the ever evolving world of cinema.

The platform, that has released some of the most prodigious award winning short films, announced the launch of the new power-packed series that will be aired on Zee Cafe starting from 19th December 2020 at 8:30 PM and on &Pics at 11:00 PM.

The brand has collaborated with the finest personalities in Indian cinema who truly stand for originality and creativity. Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Manoj Bajpayee, Samantha Akkineni, Divya Dutta, Sayani Gupta, Shweta Basu Prasad, Tisca Chopra, Niranjan Iyengar, and Shivani Raghuvanshi shared the stage in a captivating discussion moderated by Mandira Bedi. Having successfully straddled the worlds of both feature film and the short format series these artists shared insights and their experience with new age cinema storytelling. The conversations revolved around the power of the new formats that bring forth diverse stories and characters which enables artists to elevate their craft.

Commenting on the occasion, Kartik Mohindra, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard India, said, “Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films has revolutionized the short film format in India and has redefined the movie-watching experience. The testament to its wide popularity and success is the overwhelming response to each of our releases as well as industry recognition awarded to our groundbreaking and category-defining films We are delighted to leverage the power of this platform and associate with incredible story tellers, who, like the brand, personify the spirit of pursuit of excellence. As the short film genre grows, our endeavor is to bring these powerful stories and their creators to the forefront for the most diverse entertainment experience for our consumers.”

The discussions covered various interesting trends prominent not only in the short film industry today, but also in the world of cinema at large. From convergence, where regional cinema with mainstream content was streamed globally to collapsing of the commercial and indie barriers along with resurgence of diversified and authentic representation of characters, the conversations delved into everything that the artists have experienced in new age storytelling. 

Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films is one of the most influential and celebrated platforms for short films in India. It has become ‘the’ destination for Indian short films where viewers can experience the taste of great films. The platform has collaborated with successful storytellers from the world of cinema who truly stand for originality and excellence. It has created an ecosystem and with a slew of powerful films and is the perfect stage that provides a canvas for directors and actors to tell compelling stories within 15-20 minutes.

About Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films:

Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films has released some of the most prodigious award winning short films with renowned artists and directors from the industry which truly reflects originality, creativity and perfection.  Ahalya, Interior Café - Night, Ouch, Chutney, Anukul, Mumbai Varanasi Express, Khool Aali Chithi, The School Bag, Bruno and Juliet, ‘Shunyata’, Juice, Maa, Chhuri, Her First Time and Iktarfa are some of the phenomenal films that have been released on this platform. Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films as a platform for original short films has been the pioneer in popularizing this genre of filmmaking.

Tandav will Premiere on Amazon Prime Video Starting January 15, 2021 in Over 200 Countries

Amazon Prime offers incredible value with unlimited streaming of the latest and exclusive movies, TV shows, stand-up comedy, Amazon Originals, ad-free music listening through Amazon Prime Music, free fast delivery on India’s largest selection of products, early access to top deals, unlimited reading with Prime Reading and mobile gaming content with Prime Gaming, all available only for Rs 129 a month.

Following a fabulous content line up for 2020, Amazon Prime Video is all set to step into 2021 with a riveting political drama, Amazon Original Series Tandav. Tandav is created and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar who also makes his digital debut with this series. Produced by Himanshu Kishan Mehra and Ali Abbas Zafar, the 9-episode political drama features a strong  ensemble cast including Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Dino Morea Kumud Mishra, Gauahar Khan, Amyra Dastur, Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub , Kritika Kamra, Sarah Jane Dias, Sandhya Mridul, Annup Sonii, Hitten Ttejwani, Paresh Pahuja and Shonali Nagrani among others. Set in the capital city of the world’s largest democracy, Tandav, the series will take viewers inside the closed, chaotic corridors of power and uncover the manipulations, charades as well as the dark secrets of people who will go to any lengths in pursuit of power. Along side Ali Abbas Zafar, Tandav is also the digital debut of Dimple Kapadia and presents actors Saif Ali Khan, Zeeshan Ayyub and Sunil Grover in never before seen avatars. Tandav will premiere on January 15, 2021 and will be available for Prime members in India and in more than 200 countries and territories.

Aparna Purohit, Head of India Originals, Amazon Prime Video said, “As we usher in 2021, we are delighted to present our first political drama, Tandav, a lush exploration of power that highlights how far people are willing go in pursuit of power. With Ali Abbas Zafar steering the ship and an outstanding cast led by Saif, Dimple, Sunil and Zeeshan, who will be seen in truly unique avatars, we are confident that this series will resonate with everyone seeking content that is both entertaining and intriguing.”

Talking about the theme of the show, Creator, Director and Producer Ali Abbas Zafar said, “Through Tandav, we take audiences into the power-hungry world of politics. As you watch the show, you’ll realize that there is no right or wrong, there is no black or white; world of power is about the world of greys.  I believe that content must be backed by credible performances and I am fortunate to have such heavy weights in the show. I’m excited that my debut as a creator-director in the digital domain is with Amazon Prime Video which will take this intriguing and gripping story of Tandav to millions andav will join thousands of TV shows and movies from Hollywood and Bollywood in the Prime Video catalog. These include Indian films such as Coolie No. 1, Gulabo Sitabo, Shakuntala Devi, Ponmagal Vandhal, French Biriyani, Law, Sufiyum Sujatayum, V, CU Soon, Soorarai Pottru, Bheema Sena Nala Maharaja among others, Indian-produced Amazon Original series like Breathe: Into The Shadows, Bandish Bandits, Paatal Lok, The Forgotten Army – Azaadi Ke Liye, Four More Shots Please, The Family Man, Made In Heaven Mirzapur and Inside Edge and the award-winning and critically acclaimed global Amazon Originals like Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, The Boys, Hunters, Fleabag, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. All this is available at no extra cost for Amazon Prime members. The service includes titles in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, and Bengali.

Prime members can watch Tandav anywhere and anytime on the Prime Video app for smart TVs, mobile devices, Fire TV, Fire TV stick, Fire tablets, Apple TV, etc. In the Prime Video app, Prime members can download episodes on their mobile devices and tablets and watch anywhere offline at no additional cost.

Prime Video is available in India to Prime members for just ₹999 annually or ₹129 monthly, new customers can find out more at and subscribe to a free 30-day trial.

Heart-Warming Christmas Celebrations at the Orion Mall in the City

As the cold spells of December sets in, Orion Malls are gearing up to deliver the heart-warming Christmas vibes that it is known for. Right from the lavish decor to eye-catching arrangements, the auspiciousness of the festive season will be on full display at the mall. Coupled with the sound of carols in the air, the sight of Santa and other characters from Christmas lore, the mall aims to bring people together in a way that’s most meaningful this time of the year.  Along with this awe-inspiring ambience, live musical performances will be adding to the festivity in a grand fashion. So in essence, a bountiful and joyous celebration awaits all-comers at Orion Mall at Brigade Gateway, Orion Avenue Mall and Orion Uptown Mall.

“Continuing the tradition we’ve been following for years, we want to make this Christmas celebration as memorable as possible. We want every single customer to take away something from the experience that will make this Christmas a special memory for years to come. We took extra care to ensure that the overall presentation at the mall represented the nostalgic and uniquely poignant character of the festival, down to even the minutest details. Also, we want to make the proceedings as inclusive as possible, even for those who aren’t exactly privy to the traditions surrounding Christmas. At the end of the day, everyone should walk away feeling that the spirit of Christmas added a profound sense of joy and togetherness in their lives. And I think we’ve done our job in setting the scene for that to happen “says Mr. Sunil Munshi, Associate Vice President, Orion Malls.

About Orion Mall

A world-class mall in every facet, the iconic Orion Mall at Brigade Gateway is Brigade Group's flagship mall venture and has won every accolade and prestigious award bestowed by the most recognized industry associations in India. This premium mall set high standards across construction, architecture, consumer experience, and marketing; and quickly established itself as the benchmark among its peers. Spread across 8.2 lakh square feet, with every detail of a rich modern retail environment woven in, Orion Mall at Brigade Gateway is a true game changer in the mall industry.

Capillary Technologies Included in Now Tech: Loyalty Marketing Report, Q4 2020 by Independent Research Firm

Capillary Technologies, a pioneering AI-powered SaaS platform, has been recognised amongst Loyalty Marketing vendors in Forrester's Now Tech: Loyalty Marketing Q4 2020 report. As part of Forrester’s Customer Loyalty Playbook, the report examines the loyalty marketing vendor landscape as services and technology providers that help marketers build and execute strategies – including tactics such as loyalty programs – that foster, retain, and deepen relationships with existing customers. The report also helps B2C marketers better understand the value they can expect from a loyalty marketing provider and select them based on size and functionality.

Capillary has been included in the Hybrid Loyalty Solution functionality segment.Forrester defines a Hybrid Loyalty Solution vendor specifically. “Vendors in this category combine technology and services capabilities to address the broadest spectrum of loyalty requirements, from strategy to program management to loyalty measurement and analytics. Many clients that work with hybrid loyalty solutions leverage their provider for operational services to help them manage the program on a day-to-day basis.”

“We have established market dominance with AI-powered Loyalty Marketing that creates incremental value for our brands. In our opinion, the recognition by Forrester reinforces our strong focus on data-driven strategies to help our brands build long term emotional loyalty with their consumers”, says Aneesh Reddy, CoFounder and CEO at Capillary Technologies.

Capillary offers 100+ loyalty programs with membership ranging from a few hundred thousand to over 60M. These loyalty services are directed globally for leading brands like Bata, PUMA, RedTag, Al Futtaim Group, Kanmo Retail Group, Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail among others. Even in the current turbulent times, Capillary has been adding notable brands to its basket every month with recent ones being AND, Fissler, and many more. Capillary Technologies is also instrumental in delivering tremendous results for its existing customers: Erajaya increased loyalty conversion rates by 20%, repeat customers by 38% and acquired 1.5 million loyal customers, while Robinsons & Co increased its repeat customer revenue by 30%.

About Capillary Technologies:

Capillary Technologies help businesses get ahead of the digital evolution and stay ‘Always Consumer Ready’. Over 400 marquee brands across 30+ countries, including Pizza Hut, VF Brands, Madura Garments, Valiram, KFC, CP All, and Samsung, trust Capillary to enable easy and seamless consumer experiences. With over 450 million consumers and 120K stores on the platform, Capillary is Asia’s leading SaaS product company. Over 400 Capillary associates across 10 global offices are continually innovating to find new ways for brands to make their consumers’ lives easier, and experiences memorable.

Tata Motors Will Continues its Global Joint Venture with Marcopolo S.A.

Tata Marcopolo Motors Limited (TMML or JV), is a 51:49 JV formed in 2006 between the company and Marcopolo S.A., one of the largest bus and coach manufacturers globally. Since its incorporation, the JV has introduced several innovative design and concepts helping redefine the premium bus body segment in India. The JV has manufacturing facilities in Dharwad and Lucknow where it builds bus bodies on chassis supplied by the company and marketed by the company under the “Starbus” and “Starbus Ultra” bus brands. After a successful venture in India, and as a consequence of its refreshed business strategy, Marcopolo S.A has decided to exit from the JV and offered to sell its 49% shareholding in the JV to the company.

The company and Marcopolo S.A. have entered into a share purchase agreement where the company will purchase the balance 49% shareholding in TMML for a cash consideration of INR 99.96 crore. Post the purchase, TMML will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the company. All technologies pertaining to existing bus body products manufactured will continue to vest with TMML. In addition as part of the transition, Marcopolo S.A. will continue to license the “Marcopolo” trademarks to TMML for a minimum of 3 years with a non-compete provision in India for a corresponding period. The transaction will not result in any impact on TMML’s operations or the continued sales and service of the Company’s customers. The company, Marcopolo S.A. and TMML intend to maintain an open channel for future collaboration opportunities around bus body designs and technical consulting services.

IndiGrid Collaborates with IBM for Digital Transformation of Critical Power Infrastructure

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and India Grid Trust (“IndiGrid”) (NSE: INDIGRID), India’s leading infrastructure investment trust, today announced a multi-year collaboration agreement to build an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled asset management platform. IndiGrid will deploy a hybrid cloud solution with IBM Maximo Application Suite running on the secure and open IBM Cloud to optimize the quality & utilization of its assets throughout their lifecycle, increase productive uptime through preventative & predictive maintenance, drive efficiency & reduce operating costs — ultimately delivering better value to its investors.

Enterprise asset management (EAM) is crucial for obtaining the insights and visibility needed to maintain and control intelligent assets and equipment. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), monitoring performance and scheduling repairs with predictive maintenance alone can reduce costs by 15%-20%, improve asset availability by 20% and extend the lives of machines by years.[1]

IndiGrid currently has 11 operating projects consisting of 28 transmission lines with more than 6,280 circuit KMs length and 9 substations with 11,460 MVA transformation capacity and plans to grow its asset base in transmission and solar sector. Through this digital transformation with IBM Services, IndiGrid will be able to monitor, manage & maintain these multi-component assets efficiently and leverage AI for detecting anomalies at scale – thus proactively preventing their breakdown and boosting availability. The IBM Maximo Application Suite will allow IndiGrid to become future-ready by improving the overall health of its assets and maximise the full potential of their operating life, while adhering to safety & regulatory guidelines.

The IBM Maximo Application Suite deployed by IndiGrid integrates IBM Maximo Enterprise Asset Management, IBM Maximo Asset Monitor and IBM Maximo Asset Performance Management on a single hybrid cloud platform running on IBM Cloud and Red Hat. It will be further bolstered by capabilities purpose-built for transmission and distribution businesses with specific asset hierarchies, industry asset models and usability features.

Commenting on the collaboration, Mr. Satish Talmale, COO, IndiGrid said, “IndiGrid has adopted a long-term Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) approach to manage its assets with utmost safety, reliability and efficiency. This collaboration with IBM will enable IndiGrid to lead the sector transformation from the conventional-corrective practices to preventive and resilient-RCM approach. This approach is laid on the back of industry-leading process standardization, predictive and risk-based maintenance practices and also upskilling of its workforce for digital asset management.”

Kamal Singhani, Country Managing Partner – IBM Services, India/South Asia added, “For India’s energy companies, constant upkeep of critical infrastructure is paramount to ensure reliable, safe, and uninterrupted services. The operational and financial impact of these assets are multifold. By capitalizing on new AI and cloud capabilities to bring Industry 4.0 live in action and gain from it, IndiGrid is paving the way for the industry. With IBM’s Maximo Application Suite running on IBM Cloud, IndiGrid will be able to take the preventive, predictive and prescriptive actions required to reduce risk, lower costs and improve efficiencies – helping them to realize their vision to be the most admired yield vehicle in Asia.”

About India Grid Trust:

IndiGrid [BSE: 540565 | NSE: INDIGRID] is the first Infrastructure Investment Trust (“InvIT”) in the Indian power sector. It owns 11 operating projects consisting of 28 transmission lines with more than 6,280 ckms length and 9 substations with 11,460 MVA transformation capacity. IndiGrid has assets under management (AUM) worth ~INR 139 billion (USD 1.88 billion). The investment manager of IndiGrid is majority owned by KKR.

Indian Professionals Cautiously Optimistic Heading into 2021; 40% Expect Jobs to Increase: LinkedIn

* 9 in 10 will spend equal or more time working during the year-end holiday season, compared to last year

* LinkedIn unveils Top 10 Predictions for 2021 that show how India will reimagine the future of work with a focus on skills-first hiring

As 2020 comes to a close, LinkedIn, the world's largest online professional network, releases key survey and platform data to discuss the year that was, the sentiment of the Indian workforce, and 10 key predictions that will define the future of work in 2021.

LinkedIn year-end data shows that despite experiencing radical changes in the ‘way we work’, India has remained cautiously optimistic and resilient in the face of uncertainty, and overall confidence scores remained steady between +50 and +57 from April to November. Findings show that 2 in 5 (40%) Indian professionals expect an increase in the number of new jobs (up from 19% in April), and 1 in 2 (53%) expect their companies to do better in the next 6 months, going into 2021. This optimism also comes at a time when India’s economy is slowly opening up, and the hiring rate continues to recover steadily back to Pre-COVID levels with a 46% y-o-y growth as of October 2020.

In 2020, online learning and digital skills took centre stage and Indian professionals pivoted to upskill themselves and stay productive. LinkedIn data states that the average number of monthly learning hours on LinkedIn Learning increased 3X from April to December 2020, compared to pre-Covid months of January and February. 3 in 5 (57%) professionals say they will increase their time spent in online learning going forward, as per LinkedIn’s year-end findings.

However, working in isolation and navigating a tough job market over the past few months has adversely affected India’s emotional well-being and financial outlook. As of November 2020, 4 in 5 (78%) unemployed professionals feel stressed, and only 1 in 3 (32%) Indians expect their incomes to increase, heading into the new year. This holiday season, 3 in 5 (61%) Indian professionals say they will take less time off, while about 9 in 10 (87%) say they will spend equal or more time working at their primary jobs this year-end.

Talking about the year gone by and the future of work in 2021, Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager, Linkedin said, “The year 2020 was a disruptive year, and 2021 will help us tackle unforeseen challenges and prepare for new realities. Going forward, India will reimagine the future of work across 5 areas, specifically the workplace, careers, recruiting, business, and leadership styles. In 2021, skills-first hiring will be a pivotal trend, the CHRO will play a critical role, virtual collaboration will become stronger, and learning will be part of everyone’s job. At LinkedIn, we will continue to help professionals navigate these changes and we will stay committed to helping members get closer to opportunities.”

Top 10 ‘Future of Work’ Predictions for 2021 as per LinkedIn

India will reimagine the future of work across 5 key segments: the workplace, careers, recruiting, business, and leadership. Here are the Top 10 ‘future of work’ predictions:


Only 1 in 4 Indian professionals were offered flexible work hours and well-being support during the early stages of the lockdown this year. This will change in 2021, as companies recognise new employee needs - many of which would depend on sectors and geographies - in an increasingly remote reality where commutes may soon become a thing of the past. Be it location, work hours or ways of working, flexible work policies will play a dominant role in defining a positive work culture in the future. Those going back to work can expect their offices to transform into spaces where professionals will gather for leadership and personal development, or simply to collaborate and congregate.


In an increasingly remote reality, employees want to collaborate and work more efficiently and facilitating this will require technology that offers transparency, and is easy to use. This shift reflects strongly across the Indian workforce as Virtual Events on LinkedIn in India have grown 4x since March, and India has become one of the top 5 countries creating Virtual Events on the platform. Globally, 7 million members attended virtual events on LinkedIn following the launch of Virtual Events in March 2020. Given this swift emergence of virtual collaboration, professionals will welcome the new world of work by expanding their tech skills and remote work acumen.


Job seekers will continue pivoting their careers to work in different industries or geographies, as 3 in 5 (62%) unemployed job seekers in India report being open to the idea of exploring new career paths to navigate these challenging times. Professionals from impacted industries such as Recreation & Travel are found 2.7x more likely to look for jobs in a different sector. Further, remote jobs are an emerging trend in APAC, and India is found leading the region in terms of remote job application growth, which grew by 4.65x between March and May 2020. The new normal will also see the rise of ‘solo entrepreneurs’ as people are expected to use the internet to maximize their skills and talent, in a bid to reimagine their lives and careers.


Online learning will continue to be a critical tool in helping Indian professionals future-proof their careers. LinkedIn data states that the average number of monthly learning hours on LinkedIn Learning increased 3X from April to December 2020, compared to pre-Covid months of January and February. As per LinkedIn’s year-end findings, 3 in 5 (57%) professionals say they will increase their time spent in online learning going forward. With this renewed focus on skilling, people are turning to online learning to build the right mix of digital and soft skills, to upskill and to land new opportunities within the same company.


As demand for online learning picks up, curating high-quality content and personalized recommendations for individual learners will be a key focus going into 2021. This will help learners efficiently sift through the myriad options to find the right content, given the vast amounts and high frequency of content creation triggered by the increasing demand for online learning. LinkedIn Learning has seen over 60 new courses being released weekly, and the platform now hosts 16,700 courses across business, technical, and creative categories.


As per LinkedIn’s ‘Future of Recruiting’ report July 2020, 4 in 5 talent professionals in India agree that virtual recruiting will continue post-COVID (81%), and that virtual interviews will become the new standard (79%). Companies have dabbled with video interviewing and remote assessments in the past, but the lockdown realities of COVID-19 have sparked them to create an end-to-end virtual recruiting process for the first time. Therefore, just as hybrid workforce models are set to become the standard, a hybrid hiring process that combines virtual and in-person elements will become the norm.


Many CHROs will lead the way towards diversity, skill-first hiring, internal mobility, and remote work offerings. LinkedIn data suggests that more than 4 in 5 (85%) HR and recruiting professionals in India believe that reskilling of the workforce is very impactful in reshaping the future of recruiting. Internal mobility also continues to gain prominence across the APAC region. Compared to their 5 year average, most Asia-Pacific nations recorded an increase in internal mobility rates in 2020, with India seeing the highest growth of 5% to reach 13% through 2020. Fueling these trends, the CHRO will play a key role in the future of recruiting.


After a strong emergence in 2020, virtual selling is now gaining prominence and face-to-face engagements will take a backseat. Pointing towards this growing importance of virtual selling, LinkedIn data show that between Jan to Mar and Apr to Jun 2020, the time spent learning about ‘Social Selling’ on LinkedIn Learning increased q-o-q by 61%. Data also shows that globally, more than 80% of the Forbes Cloud 100 uses Sales Navigator. This online shift is expected to sustain in 2021, and in the years ahead, virtual selling will lead sales with more scrutiny on the why, how, and ROI of face-to-face meetings.


Leaders who welcome everyone to bring their authentic selves and support them to work will reap benefits like richer culture, higher engagement, more creativity, and better business results. As 2021 approaches, top leaders own an enormous opportunity of bringing diversity, inclusion, and belonging to the table. With flexible job options and remote working models becoming the norm, India’s female workforce participation increased from 30% in April to 37% by the end of July. This improved gender parity was most prevalent across the Corporate Services, Education, Health Care, and Media & Communications industries.


Leaders with compassion understand that successful strategies start with human beings at the center. Enabling a culture of solidarity, transparency, and shared mission will help leaders motivate their employees and unlock higher productivity and stronger employee relations. As per LinkedIn’s year-end data, 3 in 5 employed professionals, and 4 in 5 unemployed Indian professionals are feeling stressed, and about 9 in 10 (87%) Indian professionals are choosing to spend equal or more time working at their primary job instead of taking time off this year-end. Companies must practice healthy doses of compassion to keep their employees at the centre of all strategies, and to do that, HR disciplines like talent acquisition, employee engagement, and learning & development will collaborate on delivering a holistic employee experience.

Also, with regards to 2021 predictions, LinkedIn’s global team has published a few blogs that might be of interest to you. Check out below.

Reimagining the Workplace: Predictions for 2021 and Beyond from Tomer Cohen

Reimagining the Labor Market from Karin Kimbrough

Reimagining Talent Acquisition from Mark Lobosco

Reimagining People Success from Justin Black

Reimagining Sales from Jonathan Lister

Reimagining Employee Productivity from Sabry Tozin

Reimagining Learning from Erica Lockheimer

Reimagining Cybersecurity from Geoff Belknap

Single Biggest Workplace Challenge from Brett Hautop

Reflections on 2020 and the Year Ahead from Penry Price

About Labour Market Update and Hiring Rate Analysis

The hiring rate analysis looks at the y-o-y changes in hiring rate, which is a measure of hires divided by LinkedIn membership. All hiring rate data and analysis mentioned is based on the fifth edition of LinkedIn’s ‘Labour Market Update’, a monthly update on hiring trends and insights based on LinkedIn's Economic Graph, which is a digital representation of the Indian economy built by conducting a close analysis of the actions of 71+ million members in India.

About LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index

All workforce sentiment data and confidence scores are based on the online survey responses of 21,066 professionals from April to November 2020 as part of the LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index, which is a fortnightly pulse on the confidence of the Indian workforce. The index uses a scale from -100 to +100 to reflect professionals’ current sentiments about the jobs market, their financial status, career progression, and their expectations going forward.

About LinkedIn

LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful and transforms the way companies hire, market and sell. Our vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce through the ongoing development of the world’s first Economic Graph. LinkedIn has more than 722 million members and has offices around the globe.

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