Saturday, September 11, 2021

Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium Successfully Commences Its VLOS And BVLOS Drone Trials For Emergency Supplies Delivery In India

* This marks a step towards advanced logistics solutions to supply vaccines to remote areas in the country

Blue Dart, India’s leading express logistics service provider and part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL)announced that it has successfully commenced Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) drone delivery trials under the Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium in Vikarabad, Hyderabad on September 9th, 2021. Blue Dart is proud to be given the first opportunity amongst various consortiums to initiate the Drone trials. Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart attended the launch as the organization furthered its technological prowess. Launched under Telangana Government’s ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project, these trials have delivered promising results, bringing the country one step closer in ensuring the last-mile delivery of vaccines. Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) trials were initiated on September 11th, 2021 and will continue on till the end of the week.  

This event was graced by Sri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation, Government of India, Shri KT Rama Rao, Hon’ble Minister for ITE&C, I&C and MAUD, Govt. of Telangana, Shri Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt. of India, Smt. Rama Devi Lanka, Director of Emerging Technologies, Govt. of Telangana, and Smt. Nikhila, Collector & District Magistrate, Vikarabad District. 

The Blue Dart Med-Express Consortiumwas formed earlier this year with the mission of revolutionizing the delivery of vaccines and emergency medical supplies to the remotest parts of India with Drones. Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium is a part of the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project in collaboration with the Government of Telangana, World Economic Forum, Niti Aayog and Healthnet Global. 

Commenting on the launch, Balfour Manuel, Managing Director, Blue Dart said, “Blue Dart is championing future-ready technology; and collaborating with the Government of Telangana in its ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project, provided us with a perfect opportunity. The initiative is aimed at creating a robust healthcare infrastructure for last-mile delivery in the interiors of India, providing every individual with the healthcare they deserve. As we witness the marvel of drone technology, we look forward to extending this service across the nation and bringing the world closer to these remote areas.”  

Ketan Kulkarni, CMO and Head – Business Development, Blue Dart shared his thoughts on this event saying, “Technology has become the backbone of not just the logistics industry, but of almost every industry across the world. At Blue Dart, technology continues to be an important pivot for our business and these drone trials are just the beginning of what we aim to explore. In line with our organization’s ‘First In Last Out’ policy, we have created these opportunities to contribute to the development of our nation while we achieve our business goals. Blue Dart will leave no stone unturned to make logistics in India remarkable and trustworthy.” 

The Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium drone delivery trials currently involve the delivery of vaccines from Vikarabad to the primary health care centre in Sidduloor using a multi-rotor drone. A total of 6-7 trials for VLOS operations (up to 1km) and 4-5 trials for BVLOS operations (up to 9kms) were conducted per day. Operated by remote pilots, the drone can travel up to 10kms in a single run, at a speed of 32 kms per hour. These Unmanned Aircraft Systems or drones can even handle Blue Dart’s specialised Temperature Controlled Shipments with a payload of up to 5kgs and are equipped to pick up and deliver the shipment from the distribution centre to the towns that need the medical supplies and vice versa. The task to bring vaccines and such emergency supplies to remote areas at perilous heights and volatile terrains is not easily achieved without technology. These trials mark the beginning of an advanced age in logistics for the nation.  

Leading the Express Logistics industry for close to three decades, Blue Dart’s Reliability, Resilience and Responsiveness enabled it to continue fulfilling its role as the Trade Facilitator to the Nation during these challenging times. Blue Dart played an active role in the nation’s fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic by partnering with the Government of India’s ‘Lifeline Udan’ initiative in the delivery of mission-critical supplies including essentials such as PPE kits, enzymes, Blood samples, medicines, respirators etc. On the international front, Blue Dart has also been operating cross border to China (Guangzhou and Shanghai), to support the carriage of medical supplies, and expanded its charters to Myanmar, Hong Kong, and Bangladesh. Blue Dart has also facilitated movement of crucial shipments for COVID-19 related clinical trials, COVID samples as well as vaccines against the virus, domestically while also aiding the first-mile movement of these shipments across borders to Bhutan and Albania, amongst other nations. Apart from this, Blue Dart is also flying its charters to carry oximeters, ventilators and oxygen concentrators.  

The Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium Drone flights will deploy an immersive delivery model to optimize the current healthcare logistics within Telangana. Leveraging an efficient system of this kind, Blue Dart intends on supporting and improving the healthcare logistics infrastructure to be faster and more efficient, especially in rural & deep rural interiors of the nation. 

About Blue Dart: 

Blue Dart Express Ltd., South Asia's premier express air and integrated transportation & distribution company, offers secure and reliable delivery of consignments to over 35,000 locations in India. As part of Deutsche Post DHL Group’s DHL eCommerce Solutions division, Blue Dart accesses the largest and most comprehensive express and logistics network worldwide, covering over 220 countries & territories, and offers an entire spectrum of distribution services including air express, freight forwarding, supply chain solutions, customs clearance etc. 

The Blue Dart team drives market leadership through its motivated people, dedicated air and ground capacity, cutting-edge technology, a wide range of innovative, vertical-specific products and value-added services to deliver unmatched standards of service quality to its customers. Blue Dart's market leadership is further validated by its position as the nation’s most innovative and awarded express logistics company for exhibiting reliability, superior brand experience and sustainability which include recognition as one of ‘India's Best Companies to Work For’ by The Great Place to Work® Institute, India, ranked amongst ‘Best Multinational Workplaces in Asia’ by The Great Place to Work® Institute, Asia, voted a ‘Superbrand’ and ‘Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brand’, listed as one of Fortune 500’s ‘India's Largest Corporations’ and Forbes ‘India's Super 50 Companies’ to name a few. 

Under the DHL Group credo of ‘Connecting People, Improving Lives,’ we focus our corporate responsibility under three pillars - GoTeach (Championing education), GoGreen (Protecting the environment) and GoHelp (Structures engagement with communities & Disaster management response). 

Bridging Gaps Through 21st Century Skills - Anurag Thakur, Minister Of Information & Broadcasting Address Youth On The Future Of Work

X Billion Skills Lab (XBLS), a leading 21st century skills development enterprise, has partnered with AT Skills Hub, a platform to bridge the gap between youth and the industry, and is set to introduce 21st century skills to lakhs of youth across Himachal Pradesh. To launch this initiative, a dialogue on “21st Century Skills: Your Key to Success” was hosted with participation from over 1 lakh youth from across the state. The keynote address was delivered by Honorable Cabinet Minister Shri Anurag Thakur in conversation with the CEO and Co-Founder of Dream Sports (Dream11) India’s first sports tech unicorn. Harsh Jain. The dialogue was hosted by Samyak Chakrabarty, Founder - X Billion Skills Lab, who is listed in Forbes Asia as one of the most influential young entrepreneurs.

In an environment where rote-tasks are gradually being automated and companies are chasing exponential growth, employers are now demanding smart generalists who can deliver outcomes outside of their technical or theoretical competence. Whether the candidate is a coder or an accountant - proficiency in skills such as creative problem solving, critical thinking, storytelling, entrepreneurship, collaboration and remote communication is becoming essential. In fact, the World Economic Forum ranks these amongst the top 10 job skills of the future and the Government of India's new national education policy lays special emphasis on them.

On this occasion, Shri Anurag Thakur said, “There is a growing youth population in the state of Himachal today and I am keen to enable them with 21st century skills for them to be better equipped for the dynamic and evolving digitised workplace. Keeping this in mind I am looking forward to seeing AT Skills Hub and X Billion Skills Lab take their unique platform to the youth of Himachal and get them ready for the 21st century workplace. Under PM Sh. Narendra Modi’s leadership we will transform India into the world’s largest skilled workforce."

In order to enable the youth in the state of Himachal Pradesh to succeed in the new world of work, XBSL & AT Skills Hub will offer access to a 21st century skills accelerator through a proprietary e-learning platform that will include animated modules, masterclasses with over 50 CEOs, psychometric assessments and even job access.

The Hon’ble Minister has been spearheading various noble initiatives aimed at the welfare of the society. Right from healthcare, skill development, sports engagement, exposure tours for the youth and many more such initiatives have been undertaken that have been very well received by the stakeholders.

Said Harsh Jain, “For today's youth in a rapidly evolving workplace, it is essential to add soft skills like adaptability, persistence and collaboration to a strong academic foundation. An entrepreneurial mindset, digital savviness and ability to constantly experiment, fail and learn, are must-haves to be a part of the flourishing start-up ecosystem in India."

"As growing digitization and automation gradually takes up rote tasks performed by humans in the workplace, 21st century workplace skills are an opportunity for us to apply our creative and critical thinking abilities to innovate for India. We are excited to partner with AT Skills Hub to take this exposure to the far corners of India", said Samyak Chakrabarty.

About AT Skills Hub:

AT Skills Hub is an interface between candidates & industry to bridge the gap between requirement and aspiration, and thus make the youth of Himachal Pradesh industry ready.

About X Billion Skills Lab

Founded in 2017, X Billion Skills Lab aims to enhance employability for youth in the age of artificial intelligence by training school & college students in 21st century workplace skills. This is done through an interactive and gamified lifelong learning platform including animated modules, master classes, curated 3rd party content, and psychometric assessments. Till date, they have enabled over 50,000 learners from across 30 cities to become future ready smart generalists.

Fintech Start-Up GimBooks Raises Seed Funding From First Check Ventures & Y Combinator

* The funds will be used by GimBooks towards team and product(s) building, growth and rapid user acquisition

Raipur, Chattisgarh-based fintech start-up for Indian SMEs, GimBooks, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from a network (syndicate) of angel investors pooled in by First Check Ventures through the US-based AngelList platform. The seed funding round was led by Ali Jamal, Founding Partner at First Check Ventures. US-based start-up accelerator Y Combinator also invested in GimBooksby infusing an investment of US $ 1, 25000 into the start-up.

Notably, this is the first funding round raised by GimBooks since its inception in 2018; prior to this, the start-up was bootstrapped. GimBooks will be utilizing the newly-raised funds to ramp up its team, product development and to accelerate customer acquisition via increased marketing spends.

Speaking about the fundraise, Yash Raj Agarwal, Founder & CEO, GimBooks says, “We are delighted to announce the first-ever funding round of GimBooks, which enables us to fast-track our growth and customer acquisition, and strengthens our commitment to provide high-quality solutions for millions of small and medium sized businesses in India. We are grateful to our investors -- First Check Ventures and Y Combinator for the instating their faith in us. Going forward, more and more SMEs of our country will continue to show an increased inclination towards digitization and tech adoption in the years to come, and while leveraging on this trend, we at GimBooks remain committed to continuously serving the SME ecosystem.”

GimBooks, which was launched originally an invoice-maker app in 2018, hasevolved over the years into a full-fledged bookkeeping, accounting, lending and banking platform dedicated to empower India’s MSME and SME entrepreneurs.GimBooks operates on a freemium model; the start-up has already acquired 12, 500 paid users, and is looking to cross a milestone of 25,000paid users by the end of the current year. Notably, GimBooks is currently in talks with a few more international investors to raise its Pre-Series A funding round in the upcoming months.

During the last quarter, i.e. FY Quarter 1 (Q 1: April to June ‘21) of the current financial year, GimBooks has clocked a revenue of INR 75 lakhs, whereas in the ongoingFY Quarter 2 (Q 2: July to September ’21), the start-up is on track to cross more than INR 1 crore revenue. Furthermore, the start-up is, at the moment, growing at a rate of15-20% Month-on-Month (MOM), and has reached nearly 2 million installs of its flagship mobile app. GimBooks’ long term mission is to become the most trusted and go-to ‘platform of choice’ for all SMEs in India and ensure to be able to cater to their financial and business management needs in comprehensive and sustainable manner.

About GimBooks

GimBooksoffers a comprehensive bookkeeping, accounting, lending, banking and digital business management platform dedicated and customized as per the need of India’s MSME and SME entrepreneurs. Through its flagship mobile app and integrated website, GimBooks allows its users to digitally create GST-compliant invoices, waybills, purchase orders, challans, and further helps them to get access to loans, manage inventory and expenses, keep track of various business documents such as sales and purchase reports, notify payment reminders to customers, and do much more.

Notably, GimBooks also offers domain-specific ‘Do-It-Yourself’ bookkeeping solution, wherein invoices and other documents can be customized according to the specific industry where the user belongs to. The start-up is on mission to become the most preferred mobile-first business management platform of choice for Indian wholesales, traders, freelancers, retailers, distributors, stockists and so many other small business across various parts of India.

Reckitt And Pehel Sets Up Harpic World Toilet College In 5 New States

* Aims to train and provide better livelihood opportunities to 7000 sanitation workers in 2021

Reckitt, world’s leading consumer Health and Hygiene Company, along with its partner Jagran Pehel is all set to expand presence for Harpic World Toilet College by setting up colleges in 5 Indian states, including Punjab, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, apart from the existing centre in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

Through this expansion, the college aims to empower and equip 7,000 sanitation workers in 1 year to lead dignified and healthy lives. The training that they receive at the college equips them with the right knowledge and skills, giving them practical trainings on using machines, prevention strategies, understanding their rights and entitlements which enables them to secure jobs in reputed and recognised global, national, and local organizations. As a part of the initiative, the college will also be providing support to 50 Self Help Groups who will work in creating last-mile awareness. These groups will be aligned with Micro Finance Institutions and will be provided strategic support for a possible cooperative model for them. The main aim of Harpic World Toilet College is to help sanitation workers lead dignified lives by providing opportunities for alternate livelihoods through a robust and comprehensive trainings and post placement support.

There is a dire need to safeguard and uplift sanitation workers in India, given the severe financial, social, and health challenges that they face. According to a report ‘Sanitation worker safety and livelihoods in India’ by Dalberg there are 5 million (approx.) full-time equivalents of sanitation workers in India, they vary by risk to exposure and policy recognition. 1 million out of these are in urban areas, working for drain and community cleaning, and 600 thousand engage in toilet cleaning.

Current sanitation infrastructure in India regularly puts workers in hazardous conditions; equipment and gear do not fully mitigate the unsafe conditions. The dangers faced have been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, with the lack of protective gear and formalized training impacting the health and safety of the workers when carrying out additional tasks like disinfecting hot spots, transporting bodies of COVID infeted patients, and handling infected biowaste. Women sanitation workers face unsafe work environments due to constant interaction with the public at odd hours and lack any mechanism to raise the issue.

Gaurav Jain, Senior VP, Reckitt, South Asia, said, “At Reckitt, we are committed to helping and supporting people lead cleaner, healthier lives through better health, hygiene and nutrition. The state of sanitation workers in our country is an alarming concern and we realised the dire need to enable and empower them to lead dignified lives. At Harpic World Toilet College we have been training santitation workers by equipping them with the right skillset which helps them secure jobs and lead dignified lives. Having trained 7,700 workers so far, we are now expanding the initiative to 5 more states, which will help more and more sanitation works uplift their lives and live with dignity.”

Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs and partnerships, SOA, Reckitt, said, “Sanitation workers are the backbone of our country’s hygiene system. Unfortunately, many of them work under hazardous working conditions, which lead to critical diseases and health complications. As an organisation we are committed to supporting communities and helping people lead healthy and dignified lives. Through the expansion of Harpic World Toilet College to 5 new states, our endeavour is to transform the lives of 7,000 sanitation workers and bring about a positive change in their socio-economic status.”

The digital training course that is being launched in 5 additional states will be digitized in 5 vernacular languages and the existing curriculum will also be modified to audio-based learning, thus making it easy for the sanitation workers to comprehend and learn. The Harpic World Toilet College Aurangabad, Jagran Pehel in association with Reckitt and key partners aim to continue to empower the sanitation workers through this initiative, along with support from state municipal corporations.

Harpic World Toilet college was set up in August 2018, in Aurangabad, Maharashtra with a five-day classroom training module. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, all training workshops are been conducted virtually through an App-based program. Since its launch, the college is focussing on bringing in transformational change and has successfully trained over 7,700 sanitation workers in last 3 years.100% sanitation workers trained so far have been able to secure sustainable jobs, some have been placed in top corporates from the hospitality sector, cinemas, auto, and hospital sectors. The initiative also provides post placement support to the sanitation workers to help them cope, manage and adjust within new jobs.

Quote by Jagran Pehel

Harpic World Toilet College is being applauded and recognized for the work being done and the effort that they are putting in. The college has been awarded Mahatma Award for social good, FICCI for sanitation excellence, and UNDP diversity, Equity, and Inclusion award as best social mobility program and appreciation from Aurangabad Municipal Corporation.

About Reckitt:

Reckitt* is the global leading consumer health and hygiene company. Driven by a purpose to build healthier lives and happier homes, Reckitt has operations in over 60 countries. From the foundations of wellness and infant nutrition to the fundamentals of a hygienic home, its global brands help people live healthier, happier lives. Reckitt has world leading Power brands which include household names such as Dettol, Harpic, Lizol, Veet, Durex, Strepsils, Mortein, Vanish, Air Wick, Enfamil, Nutramigen, Nurofen, Strepsils, Gaviscon, Mucinex, Scholl, Clearasil, Finish, Calgon, Woolite. Reckitt’s unique culture is at the heart of its success. Its drive to achieve, passion to outperform and commitment to quality and scientific excellence are manifested in the work of over 40,000 RB employees worldwide.

On World Suicide Prevention Day, Neerja Birla’s Mpower And Arijit Singh Team Up To Say #ZindagiKoHi5

* The catchy anthem was released on World Suicide Prevention Day to create awareness about celebrating life and encourage help seeking behaviour

Taking cognizance of the climbing suicide rates, mental health champion Neerja Birla, and talented singer and music composer Arijit Singh have come together to create awareness about celebrating life in all its glory. On World Suicide Prevention Day, Mpower released a foot-tapping number “Zindagi Ko High Five” rendered by Arijit Singh. The mental health anthem was released on Mpower’s social media handles.

The message behind the video #ZindagiKoHi5 is beautifully explained through thought provoking lyrics and visuals which inspire individuals to celebrate every moment in life. Through stories of fighters who chose to follow their passions, the video depicts them celebrating birthdays with loved ones, having playful moments with family members, and representing what it means to choose life. Throughout the video, the characters are shown in their respective spaces, enjoying moments of calmness and solitude, spending time with those they are close to, or indulging in passion projects, and expressing joy eventually. The song by leading singer Arijit Singh in collaboration with Mpower, a pioneer in Indian mental healthcare backed by Aditya Birla Education Trust, sends out a strong message that “The answer is a reason. A reason to fight. A reason to change the story. A reason to Hi-5 Zindagi.”

Speaking about the song launch on World Suicide Prevention Day, Mrs. Neerja Birla, Founder & Chairperson, Mpower, said, “Over the last 18 months or so, mental health crisis has become a very important topic of contention. Given the large scale uncertainty that prevails, unfortunately, there has been a rise in the number of people taking drastic decisions. What people fail to realise, is that this uncertainty too shall pass, and it is important to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Through #ZindagiKoHi5, we want to reassure people that life is all about celebrating every moment. Arijit Singh’s fantastic energy and inimitable style resonate through the song, and I am confident it will spark much needed conversations about making the right choices when it comes to life.”

Speaking about the collaboration, Arijit Singh, said, “After the stupendous Mpower Fest in 2017, I am partnering with Mpower yet again for a cause. Working on #ZindagiKoHi5 has been an amazing experience for my team along with the Mpower team. Life is beautiful and we need to find ways to appreciate its beauty. It is all about finding even the smallest of moments to celebrate with loved ones. Music has the power to communicate the messages. Through my music, I hope to encourage people to give Zindagi a big hi5!”

The music has been composed, produced & arranged by Sunny M.R., sung by Arijit Singh, written by Amitabh Bhattacharya, bass, electric & acoustic guitars played by Roland Fernandes, mixed & mastered by Shadab Rayeen and assisted by Abhishek Sortey.

Mpower’s #ZindagiKoHi5 campaign aims at encouraging people to speak up if they are experiencing any issues with regards to their mental health. In April 2020, Mpower launched the BMC-Mpower 1on1 mental health helpline where help is available 24x7 with experienced and qualified psychologists answering calls in English, Marathi & Hindi. The helpline can be availed by anyone above 18 years of age on the toll-free number 1800-120-820050.

Here’s the link to the soulful video:

About Mpower:

Backed by Aditya Birla Education Trust, Mpower is a holistic mental health care initiative, which has become the pioneer of mental health awareness in the country. Since its inception, Mpower aims to create an ecosystem where people with mental health concerns and their caregivers receive professional support, care and acceptance to facilitate their recovery, without facing discrimination or shame. With the help of holistic care, interventions and treatments that are world-class and multi-disciplinary, Mpower is dedicated to ending the stigma associated with mental health. Mpower hopes to help in bringing about change in the public perception of coping with mental health concerns. Currently, Mpower's clinical footprint is in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Goa, Pilani, Kalyan and Hyderabad.

About Aditya Birla Education Trust:

Aditya Birla Education Trust (ABET) is an organisation committed to the cause of education and mental health, with an objective to nurture young minds. Right from establishing the Aditya Birla World Academy, an International School with an Indian soul, to The Aditya Birla Integrated School, which acknowledges the need to cater to children with different learning needs, ABET has always prioritised the importance of a child’s overall development. Further under the aegis of ABET, the Aditya Birla Education Academy provides professional development opportunities for educators, and engages, empowers and equips them to contribute towards shaping the future of young minds. In an endeavour to stamp out stigma surrounding mental health concerns, ABET has established Mpower, a holistic mental health care initiative, which has become the pioneer of mental health awareness in the country. Aditya Birla Education Trust runs under the zealous leadership of its passionate and committed Founder & Chairperson, Mrs. Neerja Birla.

Mahindra Freedom Drive With The XUV700 Makes A Pitstop At Bengaluru

In continuation of the Freedom Drive with the newly unveiled Mahindra XUV700 (pronounced as XUV, 7 double ‘Oh’) the truly majestic convoy rolled into buzzing city of Bengaluru.  The Freedom Drive is conceptualized to celebrate the XUV700 and will travel across 20 cities over the next 25 days in a convoy of 80 vehicles distributed across North & West, South and East regions. Flagged off from the Mahindra Research Valley in Chennai on September 4, 2021, the XUV700 convoy will have pit stops in key cities where one can see the vehicle in its glory merged with the unique canvas that each city offers. The XUV700 was conceived to disrupt, and it made its debut to an overwhelmingly positive response.  You can catch a glimpse of the vehicle up-close and personal on the streets of Bengaluru on the following dates. Booking, price and variant information will follow.

Day / Date                             City                          Dealership Name

Saturday ,11th September      Bengaluru               Anant Cars

Saturday ,11th September      Bengaluru               Sireesh Auto Pvt ltd

Saturday ,11th September      Bengaluru               PPS Motors

Saturday ,11th September      Bengaluru               India Garrage

The sensuous and sophisticated exterior of the XUV700 presents an extremely aerodynamic design for an SUV.  The XUV700 will be available in Gasoline as well as all Aluminium Diesel engines with New Generation 6-speed Manual and Automatic Transmission options. The powerful 2 litre Turbo GDi mStallion Engine (Gasoline) spools out 380 Nm of Torque between 1750 and 3000 rpm and develops 200 PS at 5000 rpm. This engine provides refined motoring and linear power delivery. The 2.2 litre Commonrail Turbo Diesel mHawk Engine is known for its torque and is available in two tunes - a 185 PS version with 420 Nm (manual)/ 450 Nm (Automatic) and a 155 PS variant with 360 Nm (Manual Transmission). The XUV700 interior is all about achieving harmony through contrast. You can’t miss the sophistication thanks to the seamless twin 10.25-inch floating displays screen that replaces the conventional Cluster with binnacles. Light shades of upholstery and the Panoramic Skyroof makes the interior feel spacious and calm. Safety is one of the core pillars of the XUV700 experience, it incorporates many pathbreaking safety features. The XUV700, the first of a new generation of SUVs from Mahindra that will build upon the legacy laid down by iconic cars like the XUV500, comes packed with a whole lot of segment-firsts, like the AdrenoX technology platform that underpins its immersive sci-fi experience.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

CoinSwitch Kuber Onboards 10 Million Users To Become India’s Largest Crypto Platform

* Reaches the double-digit user milestone in just over a year

CoinSwitch Kuber, India’s fastest growing and foremost crypto platform, today announced that it has hit 10 million registered users this week, to become India’s largest crypto platform. CoinSwitch Kuber has reached the milestone in just 15 months since starting operations in India in June 2020, a testament to the simplicity and convenience the platform provides its users. Out of this, 7 million are active users with a monthly transaction volume of INR 15,138 crores.

The platform is witnessing high volumes from the millennial and GenZ population, with almost 75% of its user base being between the ages of 18 and 35 and the average age being 24. It reaches out to a diverse set of investors in 4000+ cities across the country. Over 55% users on the platform hail from tier 2 and 3 cities, while the remaining 45% are from tier 1 cities. CoinSwitch Kuber has been attracting investors from tier 2 cities such as Patna, Coimbatore, Karnal Dehradun, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Agra, Amritsar, Bhopal, Ernakulum, etc., and tier 3 cities like Machhagan, Imphal, Mohali, Rohtak among others. This aligns with the company’s aim of making crypto investments as easy as ordering food online.

On CoinSwitch Kuber, the average crypto investment is about INR 9,000 per month per user, with investors in tier 1 cities making larger trades over smaller towns. In tier 1 cities, the average monthly ticket size is about INR 11,600, in tier 2 about INR 6,600 and in tier 3 about ₹3,500 per user.

Ashish Singhal, Co-founder & CEO, CoinSwitch Kuber, said, “In 2020, the crypto industry witnessed a whopping 200-300% month-on-month growth inspite of the raging pandemic. We launched CoinSwitch Kuber in India during the lockdown in June, and onboarded over 1 million users in just six months. The journey from 1 million to 10 million has taken us just 9 months. We aim to accelerate this growth by offering continued simplicity, security, the best rates and experience to our users.” 

“CoinSwitch Kuber is on a mission to bring financial freedom to all Indians by democratising crypto investments and eliminating all complexities from the process of crypto buying and selling. CoinSwitch Kuber has educational crypto content on the platform itself, ensuring that both novice and experienced investors make informed decisions. Reaching 10 million users to become the largest and the most preferred crypto platform in India indicates that we are on the right path towards building trust among Indians to achieve our inclusive goals. We want to bring the revolutionary technology of crypto and blockchain to billions in our nation,” he added.

CoinSwitch Kuber began global operations in 2017 and shifted focus to India in June 2020. It is backed by Tiger Global, Ribbit Capital, Sequoia Capital and Paradigm Capital. 

About CoinSwitch Kuber

CoinSwitch Kuber is India’s fastest-growing and foremost crypto platform with more than 10 million users. Started in 2017 by Ashish Singhal (CEO), Govind Soni (CTO), and Vimal Sagar (COO) as a global aggregator of cryptocurrency exchanges, the startup offers buying of over 100+ coins at Zero Fee. CoinSwitch Kuber began operations in India in June 2020, to make crypto investing as easy as ordering food online. It aims to create an investment ecosystem that simplifies investing in crypto for retail users. The leaders at the firm believe in financial inclusion - that wealth, investment, and financial knowledge are for everyone. The company’s mission is to democratise cryptocurrency investment so the everyday man can make his money work for him. The exchange combines transparent pricing with an extensive knowledge hub so users can make informed decisions and thrive in a dynamic digital investment world.

Launching TDU’s Apprenticeship/Internship-Based B.Voc. Programme

The University of Trans-disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU) is pleased to announce the launch of vocational education programmes leading to Bachelor of Vocation (B.Voc.) and Post-Graduate Diploma degrees. These programmes, inspired by Gandhiji’s Nai-Talim, are based on work-integrated training and are fully apprenticeship/ internship enabled. They empower students with the ‘Earn-while-you-learn’ feature that makes the programme affordable to them. The launch event of the programme will be held on Gandhi Jayanti, 2nd October 2021.

Students will work full-time as apprentices/ interns at the premises of industries and businesses for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and take theory courses during the evenings and weekends. The apprenticeships/ internships are provided to students in the towns and cities where they live, through local industries and businesses. TDU also arranges to deliver the theory courses to them locally. This programme will give students an edge over their contemporaries in other conventional courses such as B.A., B.Sc., and B.Com., since they will have three years of work experience by the end of their course which makes them highly employable. Students will also learn in real-life situations, on functional, state-of-the-art, infrastructure available with their employers. 

Fees for these courses will range from Rs. 2000 to approximately Rs. 4000 per month. Many students will receive stipends from the places where they apprentice, as per the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme, so they will be able to cover the cost of their education from their own earnings. The programme is designed so that it is extremely affordable to students given that many families have also been impacted by Covid-19. They will also have the option to exit the B.Voc. programme at the end of first or second year with a Diploma/ Advanced Diploma certification respectively, which is in line with the National Education Policy 2020.  

An initial set of courses in the electronics and healthcare sectors will be launched in line with the UGC deadline of 1 October 2021. Admissions have just begun, in the first week of September. The list of course offerings in September 2021 are as follows: 

B.Voc. in Hardware & Networking and Security Systems (HNSS),

B.Voc. in Refrigeration and Cooling Systems (RACS), both in the electronics sector, to be offered in Bengaluru

B.Voc. in Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT),

B.Voc. in Medical Imaging Technology (MIT), 

Post-Graduate Diploma in Medical Lab Technology, all in the healthcare sector, to be offered in Nipani, North Karnataka

The basic eligibility for these courses is 12th standard completion but vary slightly for different courses (need for science stream for some courses etc.) so students are urged to verify details for the course of their interest at the website Applicants who wish to develop job-specific skill sets and obtain commensurate certification from a reputed academic institution such as the TDU and those who possesses skills but are unable to progress in their career on account of the lack of formal training and certification are also encouraged to apply.

TDU plans to conduct admissions twice a year, in January and July, and to offer courses at many more locations in Karnataka, and in many more sectors of the economy, tracking the availability of apprenticeship/ internship opportunities in the State. More details are available at 

India’s Leading Singing Talent Hunt ‘Radio City Super Singer’ Returns With The 13th Season

* Judged by Music composer Kadri Manikanth, Season 13 of Radio City’s Super Singer is set to uphold its legacy with the tagline ‘It’s time to give singing your best shot’

India’s leading radio network, Radio City announces the 13th season of its flagship property, Radio City Super Singer, a singing talent hunt that has entertained millions of Indians. The show will provide one of the biggest podiums to aspiring singers across 39 cities, with auditions kick starting from 25th August to 12th September. Returning with a bang, with the tagline ‘It’s time to give singing your best shot’, the legacy of the superhit property continues, with an audition process through IVRS, social media platforms and the Radio City microsite. The finale of Radio City Super Singer 13 is slated to happen on air on 25th September. 

Sensational music composer Kadri Manikanth is all set to be a judge and mentor yet another set of budding singing talent, preparing them for stardom through the show. The audition process is set to shortlist 5 talented candidates from the Kannada  Telugu, Hindi, Tamil, speaking regions respectively this year, to make way for a super grand finale where the final winner will be selected by Kadri Manikanth and through public voting.

Commenting on the launch of the 13th edition of Radio City Super Singer, Radio City's Chief Executive Officer, Ashit Kukian, said, At Radio City, we have always managed to captivate the pulse of our audiences with innovative content that’s capture the nation’s imagination through radio’s creativity. With Radio City Super Singer, we have committed ourselves to presenting the best singing talent in India who we believe will create a mark in the music industry, as demonstrated by our past winners. With a reach of millions through the years, Radio City Super Singer remains one of our most successful properties, and a national benchmark for talent shows and we are elated to uphold its glorious legacy with yet another stellar season.

Speaking about his excitement to judge Radio City Super Singer 13, Composer Kadri Manikanth said, “It is an absolute pleasure to judge on Radio City Super Singer, a show that truly celebrates the love of good music. The talent that we have nurtured and encouraged through this podium is as diverse as India itself! I look forward to interacting with the immensely gifted singers of young India once more, as I unite with Radio City to ring in Season 13 of the superhit show, for our countless loving fans.”

Auditions are now open for all and aspiring contestants. 

To audition participants can call on 09035911911 OR

Login on to to register and participate. 

McDonald’s India Adds Two Immunity Boosting Beverages On The McCafé Menu

Keeping in tandem with the customers’ increasing preference for healthy, immunity-boosting food and beverages, McDonald’s India (West and South) has announced two new additions – Turmeric Latte & Masala Kadak Chai to its McCafé menu. Immunity building has been on top of our minds and tip of our tongues since last year and this has become very crucial, especially in today’s times. 

These new beverages not only taste delicious but are also filled with immunity building ingredients such as turmeric, black pepper and ginger that detoxify your body, improve gut health, fight infections, in addition to offering many more health benefits. The Turmeric Latte is a unique twist on ‘’Haldi Doodh’ - the age old ayurvedic remedy used to combat cold, cough, congestion, and many more ailments. This beverage is filled with the goodness of turmeric and infused with other immunity improving ingredients like cardamom and saffron which are rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The Masala Kadak Chai is comfort in a cup, inspired by the love and emotion of Indian consumers for this traditional beverage. It is latte textured and is packed with herbs and spices to energize you instantly!

Speaking about the new additions to the menu, Arvind RP, Director-Marketing and Communications, McDonald’s India (West and South), said “Menu Innovation is a continuous journey for us and we are excited to introduce these new offerings on the McCafé menu that are crafted to please the Indian palate. Several studies and researches have highlighted that consumers are actively scouting for immunity improving recipes and products. As a brand that has always stayed ahead of customer expectations, these additions give our customers relevant choices.”

These new immunity boosting beverages are available across all McCafé stores. Customers can also order for these beverages through contactless delivery, contactless takeout, on the go or can get them at the nearest McCafé outlet. McCafé boasts of over 20 non-aerated dairy and fruit based beverages in addition to an array of delectable hot and cold coffee options.

McDonald’s has put stringent safety and hygiene protocols in place as part of their Golden Guarantee promise to ensure complete safety of their customers and employees.

McDonald’s restaurants in West and South India are operated by Westlife Development Ltd. (WDL), through its wholly owned subsidiary Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. (HRPL).

About Westlife Development:

Westlife Development Limited (BSE: 505533) (WDL) focuses on setting up and operating Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) in India through its subsidiary Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. (HRPL). 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:

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 the region since its inception in 1996.

HRPL serves over 200 million customers, annually, at its 305 (as of June 30th, 2021) 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 Union Territory of Puducherry and provides direct employment to close to 10,000 employees. McDonald’s operates through various formats and brand extensions including standalone restaurants, drive- thrus, 24/7, McDelivery, McBreakfast and dessert kiosks. The menu features Burgers, Finger Foods, Wraps, Rice, Salads 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 that HRPL operates.

India Health Fund Announces Its Support For OmiX iAMP, A LAMP-Based Platform For Combined Testing Of Covid-19, TB & Influenza

* OmiX iAMP is a multiplex platform-based test that can accurately detect Covid-19, TB, Influenza and, thereby, address detection dilemmas faced by physicians in diagnosing diseases with similar symptoms

* OmiX iAMP is able to report 10x more tests in the same time at 1/10th the combined cost of existing tests, and is 4x lower in capex making vast scale adoption more feasible 

India Health Fund (IHF), seeded by Tata Trusts, with strategic assistance from The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, today announced its support for OmiX Laboratories for its OmiX iAMP platform. IHF will support OmiX Laboratories towards manufacturing of devices, clinical validation and enable linkages, and support for regulatory approval, certifications, and CE submission. 

The OmiX iAMP platform is a Multiplex Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) innovation-based solution, that does combined testing of Covid-19, TB, and Influenza. OmiX iAMP has automated sample handling using Robotics and an AI algorithm that accurately detects and interprets the sample by identifying it through colour, as either negative or positive, thereby reducing the need for skilled workforce to interpret test results, while making the test error-free. Additionally, the innovation reports 10x more tests in the same time, and costs a tenth (1/10th) of the existing combined tests.

The World TB Report has stated that TB affects 2.7 million lives in India, annually. Influenza burden is estimated at 0.6 -1 million, and Covid-19 has affected a lot of lives, already. Accordingly, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has recommended combined testing for Covid-19, TB, and Influenza as it will help physicians in accurately diagnosing infectious diseases with similar symptoms, thereby reducing turn-around time in detection, increasing accessibility of tests, and addressing limited skilled workforce.

Mr. Madhav Joshi, CEO - India Health Fund, believes, “The application of the latest developments in science & technology to develop solutions which can help improve outcomes in the diagnosis, treatment & prevention of communicable diseases has lagged behind developments in non-communicable diseases. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted this gap, and the health system had to make do with tools which were inadequate to meet the need for accurate and low-cost solutions which could be used at scale without putting an additional burden on healthcare workers. Since inception 4 years ago, India Health Fund has focused on helping bridge this gap by de-risking the development of promising technology-led solutions and enabling their growth. We believe OMIX iAMP can be a game changer by enabling low cost, accurate, differentiated diagnosis of Covid19, TB and Influenza at scale which will significantly improve patient outcomes and public health with early & accurate diagnosis, initiation of the right treatment and reducing the risk of undetected infection spreading.”

Dr. Sudeshna Adak, Co-founder OmiX Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., said, “Poor healthcare outcomes are directly correlated with socio-economic status, and it begins with lack of access to accurate and early diagnosis. Imagine being sick and the nearest laboratory is 50 kms away or the cost of a test is equal to a week’s wages. The COVID-19 pandemic was yet another reminder where access to RT-PCR diagnostic laboratories in smaller towns and cities in India lagged well behind the metros. OmiX’s journey is to revolutionize diagnostics to enable access to accurate and affordable molecular diagnostics not just for COVID-19, but also other debilitating infections such as Tuberculosis and Influenza.  

Founded by Dr. Sudeshna Adak & Dr. Abhinanda Sarkar, OmiX Labs is Bangalore based and primarily involved in developing rapid, cost-effective, molecular diagnostics for detection of infections at the last mile. Dr. Sudeshna, who has a PhD from Stanford, has worked in Harvard as an Assistant Professor before returning to India, noticed that there was a stark difference in the availability of advanced health care in the metros vis a vis smaller towns and rural areas. This led her to set-up OmiX Laboratories along with Dr. Abhinanda Sarkar who is a well-known professional in the field of statistics, AI and Machine Learning. He has a PhD from Stanford, and has worked at MIT, IBM, and GE. Their vision through OmiX is to transform healthcare with solutions for molecular diagnostics to the last mile.

About India Health Fund:

India Health Fund (IHF) was conceived to accelerate India’s progress towards the elimination of infectious diseases. IHF does this by addressing the gaps in funding for product development, in mentorship and in market access that are often faced by small and mid-size entities with powerful ideas that have the potential to significantly improve outcomes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases.

IHF also works to develop effective business models, implementation partnerships and financing mechanisms which help to significantly scale up these solutions - enabling impact at scale.

LinkedIn: India Health Fund Twitter: @IndiaHealthFund. Facebook: @IndiaHealthFund. Instagram: @india_health_fund

About Tata Trusts:

Since inception in 1892, Tata Trusts, India’s oldest philanthropic organisation, has played a pioneering role in bringing about an enduring difference in the lives of the communities it serves. Guided by the principles and the vision of proactive philanthropy of the Founder, Jamsetji Tata, the Trusts’ purpose is to catalyse development in the areas of health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihood, digital transformation, migration and urban habitat, social justice and inclusion, environment and energy, skill development, sports, and arts and culture. The Trusts’ programmes, achieved through direct implementation, partnerships and grant making, are marked by innovations, relevant to the country. For more information, please visit

LinkedIn: Tata Trusts Twitter: @tatatrusts Facebook: Tata Trusts Instagram: tata_trusts

OYO And Microsoft Announce Strategic Alliance To Digitally Transform The Travel Industry

* OYO’s tech offerings using Microsoft’s cloud and AI capabilities will be available for patrons who operate small and medium hotel and home storefronts globally

OYO to develop Smart Room experiences for travellers such as premium and customized in-room experiences, including self-check-in, self-KYC, IoT-managed smart locks and virtual assistance using Microsoft Azure IoT

Enhanced AI-based models will offer personalized insights and pricing predictions to drive higher business efficiencies and revenues for hotel and homestays

Microsoft and global travel technology company OYO have entered a multi-year strategic alliance to co-develop next-gen travel and hospitality products and technologies. OYO will adopt Microsoft Azure as a key enabler to drive cloud-based innovations and reimagine the hospitality and travel tech industry. The solutions will be geared to benefit patrons who operate small and medium hotel and home storefronts. Microsoft has also made a strategic equity investment in OYO.

Small and independent hotels and homeowners across the world will have access to OYO’s latest technology to manage their guests’ experience, increase revenue, and run operations seamlessly with the security and scalability of Microsoft Azure. The pandemic has brought about massive shifts in consumer behaviors while booking travel, including preferences for platforms that enable social distancing, local travel, flexibility, faster booking and improved customer experiences. Such changes have accelerated the way small and medium hotel businesses operate, leading to a slew of pioneering technologies and higher tech adoption, which will further shape the future of hospitality.

Abhinav Sinha, Global COO & Chief Product Officer - OYO Hotels & Homes said, “We are excited to join hands with Microsoft in our constant endeavor to improve business opportunities for the small and independent hotel and home owners, and to redefine experiences for travellers. Our patron app ecosystem provides a ~1.4-2.4X lift in revenues for new hotels and homes that join the OYO network. We do this through our products, and application of (Machine Learning) ML and (Artificial Intelligence) AI, be it running millions of pricing optimizations per day to increase revenues or enabling users to book an OYO within seconds.  Our technology and products have helped our patrons drive operational efficiencies and continuously improve the experience for our guests. This alliance with Microsoft will accelerate the deployment of our products in the hands of small businesses we work with, allowing us to create even more impact through an integrated technology ecosystem available on the cloud for businesses in the remotest corners of the world. For our guests, this alliance will mean more personalization, better choices, differentiated experiences and an improved guest experience in the future. Microsoft’s commitment is further strengthened by the equity investment in the company.”

As part of this alliance, OYO will develop Smart Room experiences for travellers on the OYO platform, such as premium and customized in-room experiences for its guests. Using Microsoft’s Azure IoT, the experience will include self-check-in supported by a digital register of arrivals and departures and self-Know Your Customer (KYC) along with IoT-managed smart locks and virtual assistance.

“Combining the power of Azure with the tech and product stack developed by OYO, we are looking forward to accelerating innovation in travel and hospitality,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India. “It is inspiring to see how the Microsoft cloud is empowering digital natives like OYO to accelerate industry transformation and innovations, turning the challenges of a post-pandemic era into opportunities for the future.”

The alliance includes deep technological engagement between the two companies. Besides co-innovating, OYO will also begin to share existing workloads to Microsoft Azure, adopt the Microsoft 365 suite for better collaboration and productivity and switch to Github Enterprise for accelerating tech development in a secure manner. In a bid to make OYO’s technologies easily accessible across the world, the company is also working on several products to ease patron onboarding.

About OYO

OYO is a global platform that empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses with hotels and homes by providing full-stack technology that increases earnings and eases operations; bringing easy to book, affordable, and trusted accommodation to customers around the world. OYO offers 40+ integrated products and solutions to patrons who operate hotel and home storefronts across India, Europe and Southeast Asia and 35+ countries.

About Microsoft India

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 16,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research, development and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Noida and Pune. Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centers to accelerate digital transformation across Indian startups, businesses, and government organizations.

Trend Micro Detected Nearly 13 Million Malware Events Targeting Linux-Based Cloud Environments

* Coinminers, web shells and ransomware made up 56% of malwares targeting Linux systems in the first half of 2021 

Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global cybersecurity leader, released a new research on the state of Linux security in the first half of 2021. The report gives valuable insight into how Linux operating systems are being targeted as organizations increase their digital footprint in the cloud and the pervasive threats that make up the Linux threat landscape.  

As of 2017, 90% of public clouds workloads ran on Linux. According to GartnerÒ, “Rising interest in cloud-native architectures is prompting questions about the future need for server virtualization in the data center. The most common driver is Linux-OS-based virtualization, which is the basis for containers.[1]” 

Linux allows organizations to make the most of their cloud-based environments and power their digital transformation strategies. Many of today’s most cutting-edge IoT devices and cloud-based applications and technology run on some flavor of Linux, making it a critical area of modern technology to secure. 

“In the industry, we see some very creative attacks and we have to stay ahead. Protecting the company, our employees, and our intellectual property is a priority,” says John Breen, Global Head of Cybersecurity at Flowserve. “We’ll continue to work closely and collaborate with Trend Micro to ensure our people and our company remain protected.” 

The report investigates the top malware families affecting Linux servers during the first half of 2021, with the top types of malwares being: 

25% Coinminers – The high prevalence of cryptocurrency miners is of little surprise given the clear motive of the seemingly endless amount of computing power the cloud holds, making it the perfect environment. 

20% Web shells – The recent Microsoft Exchange Attack, which leveraged web shells, showed the importance of patching against this type of malware 

12% Ransomware – The most prevalent detected was the modern ransomware family, DoppelPaymer, however some other notable ransomware families seen targeting Linux systems as well are RansomExx, DarkRadiation, and the DarkSide. 

“It’s safe to say that Linux is here to stay, and as organizations continue to move to Linux-based cloud workloads, malicious actors will follow,” said Aaron Ansari, vice president of cloud security for Trend Micro. “We have seen this as a main priority to ensure our customers receive the best security across their workloads, no matter the operating system they choose to run it on.” 

The report revealed that most detections arose from systems running end-of-life versions of Linux distributions, including 44% from CentOS versions 7.4 to 7.9. In addition, 200 different vulnerabilities were targeted in Linux environments in just six months. This means attacks on Linux are likely taking advantage of outdated software with unpatched vulnerabilities. 

About Trend Micro 

Trend Micro, a global cybersecurity leader, helps make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Fueled by decades of security expertise, global threat research, and continuous innovation, Trend Micro's cybersecurity platform protects hundreds of thousands of organizations and millions of individuals across clouds, networks, devices, and endpoints. As a leader in cloud and enterprise cybersecurity, the platform delivers a powerful range of advanced threat defense techniques optimized for environments like AWS, Microsoft, and Google, and central visibility for better, faster detection and response. With 7,000 employees across 65 countries, Trend Micro enables organizations to simplify and secure their connected world. 

Mercedes-Benz Expands Its EV Footprint In India; Commences Phase-II Expansion And Reopens Booking

Phase 2 expansion entails retailing of EQC from 50 cities and 94 outlets, from the initial 6 metros

·         Mercedes-Benz dealerships and workshops across markets will now be ready with trained manpower and equipment for the sales and service of the EQC   

·         Based on strong customer demand for the EQC, Mercedes-Benz now reopens booking for the next batch of the EQC

·         The next batch of the EQC starts arriving from October 2021 onwards

·         Booking commences across Mercedes-Benz India dealerships and also online at the company’s official website

·         The new batch of EQCs features an upgraded 11 kwh on-board charger which reduces charging time by 3.5 hours 

India’s largest luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz today further deepened its commitment towards sustainable luxury mobility by announcing an expansion of its EQC retail footprint in India. The EQC which pioneered luxury EV segment in India will now be retailed across Mercedes-Benz dealerships across the country, under the Phase II expansion strategy. The EQC launched in 2020 was until now available in 6 select cities across 14 locations, as part of the Phase 1 launch plan. Mercedes-Benz dealers across the 50 cities and 94 locations, will be equipped with EQC trained manpower and equipment to offer a hassle free ownership experience for the EQC owners. 

Mercedes-Benz India also announced the re-opening of booking for the next batch of EQCs which will be available for customer ordering starting today. Customers can book their EQC online from the comfort of their home or by visiting the nearest Mercedes-Benz dealership.

Commenting on the expansion of the EQC network Martin Schwenk, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said, “Pioneering the luxury EV market in India with the EQC was an important decision for us and a step taken in the right direction. With the growing customer demand for the EQC, we are now expanding our EV penetration to 50 Indian cities, covering our entire retail network spread. This decision will enable more customers across Indian cities to own the EQC and join the transition to luxury e-mobility. Commencement of Phase II expansion for the EQC is in line with our broader vision of creating a long-term, worry-free, sustainable e-mobility ecosystem for our customers in India. Mercedes-Benz globally is pursuing an agressive EV strategy of ‘EV first to EV only’, and in India the high acceptance level of the EQC makes us confident that, electric is the future.”

Changes in the EQC:

The EQC now features an upgraded 11 kW on-board charger. The new on-board charger will charge the 80 kWh battery in 7 hours 30 minutes from 10 % to 100% state of charge, instead of the 11 hours taken earlier. The Spare Wheel now comes under the load floor of the EQC.

New cities under EQC network part of Phase –II expansion:

Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot, Surat, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Dehradun, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Karnal, Kanpur, Raipur, Nagpur, Nashik, Hyderabad, Kolhapur, Mysore, Calicut, Coimbatore, Vizag, Kolkata, Jamshedpur, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Goa, Mangalore, Salem, Kochi, Thrissur, Madurai, Hubbali, Bhopal, Indore, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Vadodara, Mohali, Vijaywada, Aurangabad, Lucknow and other cities.

Twitter – @MercedesBenzInd

Instagram – @mercedesbenzind

120 Climate-Tech Start-Ups Raise USD 1.2 Billion Over The Past 5 Years: Impact Investors Council

* The report “Early-stage Climate-tech Start-ups in India: Investment Landscape Report 2021” is the outcome of a ground-up study that puts a spotlight on the investment activity in the Indian climate-tech sector over the past five years

Given the gravity of the climate crisis in India, innovative low-carbon technology start-ups are needed to achieve the transition to net-zero. Climate-tech start-ups are for-profit enterprises that work on innovative technology-based solutions that help cut carbon footprint or improve people’s adaptation and resilience to climate change. For such enterprises to prosper, they need all-round support that includes abundant capital and conducive policies. So far, the discourse on climate finance has centred around large utility-scale renewable project financing with little focus on early-stage innovation driven start-ups, precisely the intention of our current research.

The four key takeaways from the report are as follows -

A new wave of climate-tech is blooming in India. 120 climate-tech start-ups raised over 200 funding rounds from 272 unique investors over the past five years. There was a sustained growth in both volume and value of equity deals in the sector between 2016 (18 deals; USD 102 million) and 2019 (58 deals; USD 506 million), before a dip in 2020, owing to the pandemic. 

Sustainable Mobility leads the action, followed by Energy. Climate-tech is a broad term comprising several sub-segments, of which Sustainable Mobility (including EV manufacturing, clean logistics and novel components) has seen the highest investment activity (84 deals; USD 705 Mn). This is followed by Energy (including clean energy generation from new feedstocks, energy access, energy storage and energy optimisation products) that saw 44 deals amounting to USD 301 million[1]. Both these sub-segments, i.e, Mobility and Energy are ahead on the maturity curve, and benefit from favourable regulatory environment and easy-to-capture impact metrics. Climate-smart Agriculture, Waste Management and Circular Economy, and Environment and Natural Resources – are the other sub-segments gradually beginning to gain traction in terms of new innovative business models as well as investments.

A host of enablers lend climate-tech in India the potential for disruptive growth. The four key factors aiding the growth in climate-tech are (i) increasing realization on the need for climate action (ii) a large asset base in clean energy (developed in the last decade) encouraging new start-up innovations to service these assets (iii) growing interest from global capital allocators and (iv) emergence of innovative deal pipeline.  Even as the number of start-ups working on novel technologies (be it green hydrogen generation, alternative proteins, or carbon capture to name a few) grows, the enabling ecosystem in India including incubators and accelerators, policy advocacy groups, and think tanks is also expanding.

The sector is presently at a nascent stage, needs mainstreaming: The sector accounted for only 9% of the investment flows to total impact investing flows (which also include financial inclusion, healthcare, agriculture, education etc.). Most deals were ‘early-stage’ and of smaller ticket sizes – 68% received seed stage funding, and 83% of the transactions were USD 5 million or lower in size. An overwhelming proportion of investors and entrepreneurs called out the ‘the lack of patient capital’ as one of the biggest weak links in the present ecosystem.

Multiple structural interventions could help transition this sector from a niche narrow asset class to a more mainstream element of the VC and impact investing ecosystem in the country.

Sector-focused ecosystem support: Start-ups working on deep science/tech innovations need customized support in the early-stages for prototyping, testing, technical validation, and product commercialization. This can be done by setting up dedicated Centres of Excellence (COEs), Specialized Entrepreneur Support Organizations (including incubators and accelerators) and greater academia-industry interface. Greater technical and business capacity in climate-tech sectors needs to be built domestically, while also tapping into global network of domain experts. 

Availability of patient capital: Asset owners could incorporate the climate lens more centrally into their investment strategy and consider dedicated allocations and longer fund tenures which will be better aligned to the needs of the sector. Capital allocators such as Government-backed Funds, Corporate VCs, Foundations & Philanthropies can assume a larger role in moving the needle on early-stage climate-tech investing. Further, well-designed blended finance and/or affordable debt structures can help in de-risking private investments and crowding in other relevant actors into the climate-tech sector.

Proactive government policy: The government can play a vital role in creating demand for climate-tech start-ups by introducing policies that nudge consumers to adopt green products, subsidising the ‘green premium’ on such products and acting as the first large buyer itself. They can also help in improving the supply-side as well, through funding for the infrastructure (such as COEs, scientific labs etc.), and directed fiscal incentives.

Greater capacity-building: Given the multi-disciplinary and complex nature of climate-tech businesses, the investing community needs to build deeper domain understanding in the space. Investors as well as other professional service providers such as investment banks can benefit from capacity building interventions that can help cultivate relevant technical expertise for due-diligence/portfolio management of climate-tech start-ups.

About Impact Investors Council

The Impact Investors Council (IIC) is the leading national body to strengthen Impact Investing in India. IIC’s mission is to encourage private capital to bridge the social investment gap in India in sectors such as financial inclusion, clean energy, education, climate-tech and healthcare. IIC’s key areas of focus include evangelizing the India impact story to investors, government advocacy and research-based thought leadership to support the growth of the sector.

About Climate Collective

Climate Collective is a non-profit focused on empowering entrepreneurs throughout the Global South by building and strengthening local climate start-up ecosystems in bridging the gap between the development and private sectors.

About Arete Advisors

Established in 2013, Areté Advisors LLP (pr. Ah-ree-Tay) is a boutique consulting firm, founded out of a passion to contribute to India’s economic landscape by delivering high quality advice and implementation support to Clients.

Path Breaking Industry-Academic Collaborations At Manipal College Of Health Professions, MAHE Manipal

Manipal College of Health Professions (MCHP) is the first and largest full-fledged institute for quality education, research, and clinical training for allied health professionals. The college is offering over 65 demand-driven health professional programs at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level. The multidisciplinary collaborations of MCHP are making the college unique in creating an intellectually stimulating environment for its students.

Manipal College of Health Professions (MCHP), is actively involved in developing collaboration with industry and academic institutions. These collaborations cater to the needs of the students by offering quality education, enhanced skill training and research outlook and thereby enhancing employment opportunities.

Manipal College of Health Professions (MCHP) have active collaborations with various reputed International colleges and universities including Deakin University, McGill University, University of Melbourne, Flinders University, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Georgia State University, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Lamar University, Oslo & Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Perdana University, University of South-Eastern Norway and others. Some of the industry collaborative partners of MCHP include the Composite Regional Centre for Person with Disability, Kerala, Healthcare Technology innovation Centre, IIT Madras, Robert Bosch Engineering Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Bangalore, VISINT Healthcare Pvt Ltd. and the Wipro GE Healthcare Pvt.Ltd, Yostra Labs PVT Ltd. These collaborations provides opportunities for the MCHP students in academic, research and industry training. The student exchange and semester abroad opportunities offers international experience and develop a global perspective on their course specific health care delivery system. The industry partnerships offers externship opportunities for the undergraduate students and advanced training options for the postgraduate students.

During the past six months, the college have edged promising partnerships with numerous International & National institutions and health care industry set ups. Some of the prominent memorandum of understanding (MoU) for academic and industry collaboration recently signed includes the cooperation with College of Health Sciences, Gulf Medical University, United Arab Emirates and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Piedmont University, USA. Nationally, MCHP have initiated collaborations with Balco Medical Centre (Vedanta Medical Research Foundation), Jajal Medical Services, and Genworks Health Pvt Limited.

On 8th September 2021, The MoU is singed by Lt. Gen Dr. M. D. Venkatesh, Vice Chancellor, MAHE, Dr. Narayan Sabhahit Registrar, MAHE and  Dr. G Arun Maiya, Dean, Manipal College of health Professions, and Mr. Sridhar, CEO, Genworks Health Pvt Ltd, Mr. Mohammad Mansoor Ahmad, HR Head, and Mr. RasiKiran. Dr. Sunila, Dr. Venkatraj Aithal and Dr. Krishnananda, were present during the MoU Signing. This collaboration provides externship and placement opportunities to under graduate students of MCHP and advanced training opportunities to post graduates of MCHP. From Dr. G Arun Maiya, Dean, MCHP.

Aspire Systems Wins The Asia Responsible Enterprise Award 2021

Aspire Systems has received the Asia Responsible Enterprise Award 2021 under the Social Empowerment category. Aspire Systems’ CSR wing Pearltri Foundation conducted a sewing machine operator training program for underprivileged women from the rural areas of Tamil Nadu. The goal of the program is to empower women through vocational training, enhance their skills sets and enable them to secure employment thereby leading to economic empowerment. A total of 280 candidates were enrolled for the program in the financial year 2019-20, with a 95% employment rate.

Commenting on this accomplishment, Sathappan S, General Manager CSR, Aspire Systems said, “In keeping with our core philosophy of serving our society with attention, we strive to support the community in achieving economic stability. This program is delivered through a simple framework - engage, educate, evaluate, and excel, where the objective is to improve the quality of life of women through skill development. Local trainers are developed through this project and expertise is made available within the local community to ensure the sustainability of the project. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our partners RM Educational Trust and ACE Skill Development Pvt Ltd. We appreciate the support they have extended towards our initiatives.”

Enterprise Asia's Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards program (AREA) acknowledges and honors deserving Asian businesses for championing sustainable and responsible business practices in several categories like Green Leadership, Investment in People, Health Promotion, Social Empowerment, Corporate Governance, Circular Economy Leadership, and Responsible Business Leadership.

About Aspire Systems

Aspire Systems is a global technology services firm serving as a trusted technology partner for more than 250 customers across the globe. Aspire works with the world's most innovative enterprises in Banking, Insurance, Retail, and software product companies, helping them leverage technology to transform their business in the current digital landscape. Its proven approach to Software Engineering & Digital Technologies helps companies run smart business models. Aspire’s core philosophy of ‘Attention. Always.’ communicates its belief in lavishing care and attention to its customers and employees. The company currently has 4200 employees globally and is CMMI Level 3 certified. It operates across North America, LATAM, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific.

Aspire Systems has been recognized for the 12th time in a row as one of the Top 100 ‘Best Companies to Work For’ by the Great Place to Work® Institute. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Bank Of Baroda Launches Full-Service Digital Banking Ecosystem ‘Bob World’

* Mobile application on four key pillars – Save, Invest, Borrow, Shop to provide a seamless banking, and beyond, experience

Bank of Baroda, the winner of the ‘Best Technology Bank’ award amongst the large banks at the IBA Banking Technology 2021 and the Top bank as per MEITY digital payments ranking index FY21, announces the launch of its digital banking platform ‘bob World’ – aimed at providing an all-inclusive and seamless virtual banking experience encompassing all its digital banking services under one roof for convenience of its customers. 

This platform of ‘bob World’ is designed to offer a wide gamut of banking products and services, to be rolled out in phases, under its four key pillars of Save, Invest, Borrow, Shop. 

The app will offer a wide repertoire of over 220 services converged into one single app, covering nearly 95% of all retail banking service offerings, which can be accessed by customers, both, domestically and globally. With a 24x7 accessibility for customers, the app will allow them to Save, Invest, Borrow and Shop at ease and convenience. With an ultra-modern look and feel, the app aims to provide an intuitive experience to the customers and is carefully crafted to balance the needs of the millennial users with that of the more experienced customers.  

‘bob World’ offers digital account opening in 10 minutes with instant virtual debit card issuance, online loan application with instantaneous disbursal for selected loan products,   best-in-class shopping experience with exciting rewards across digital interactions and host of other benefits including curated investment products.  

‘bob World’ has integrated e-Commerce as a major pillar of its proposition to provide the customers a wholesome and rewarding experience of banking and beyond, under one roof. 

Since the pilot launch of ‘bob World’ on 23.08.2021, the app is already being used by more than 50 lakhs users, of which 70% users have given the ‘bob World’ app a 5 star rating on Play Store/ App store. 

On the launch of ‘bob World’, Mr. Sanjiv Chadha, Managing Director & CEO, Bank of Baroda said, “The new corporate sub-brand for digital is testimony to our commitment to serve the customers across the world, digitally and 24*7 in a seamless manner. With ‘bob World’, we offer all our digital offerings under one umbrella so that the customer is provided with all digital services under one roof with a consistent experience. Embedded finance is a big theme across the ‘bob World’ application as is the enriching loyalty program, which underlies all digital interactions with the bank”. 

More details around the key features of the ‘bob World’ can be found at   

About Bank of Baroda:  

Bank of Baroda (“The Bank”) established on 20th July 1908 is a State-owned banking and financial services organisation, headquartered in Vadodara (earlier known as Baroda) in Gujarat, India. 

Bank of Baroda is India’s leading public sector bank with a strong domestic presence supported by self- service channels. The Bank’s distribution network includes 8,300+ branches, 11,600+ ATMs, Cash Recyclers supported by self-service channels and over 23,000 Business Correspondents. The Bank has a significant international presence with a network of 96 branches/offices of subsidiaries, spanning 19 countries. The Bank has wholly owned subsidiaries including BOB Financial Solutions Limited (erstwhile BOB Cards Ltd.), BOB Capital Markets and Baroda Asset Management India Ltd. Bank of Baroda also has joint ventures for life insurance viz. IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Limited and India Infradebt Ltd., engaged in infrastructure financing. The Bank owns 98.57% in The Nainital Bank. The Bank has also sponsored three Regional Rural Banks namely Baroda Uttar Pradesh Gramin Bank, Baroda Rajasthan Gramin Bank and Baroda Gujarat Gramin Bank. 

The Vice President Of India Inaugurates Moturi Satyanarayana Centre For Advanced Study In Humanities, Social Sciences At Krea University

The Honourable Vice President of India Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu, inaugurated the Moturi Satyanarayana Centre for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Krea University on Wednesday, 08 September 2021. The official inauguration event was hosted at Raj Bhavan in Chennai. 

Moturi Satyanarayana Centre for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences aims to promote scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. The centre commemorates the life and legacy of veteran freedom fighter, Member of the Constituent Assembly, the Provisional Parliament two-time Rajya Sabha MP, Shri. Moturi Satyanarayana.

Dr Mahesh Rangarajan, Vice Chancellor of Krea University explained that, “While aligned with and integral to Krea’s larger vision and mission, Moturi Satyanarayana Centre for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences aims to create a centre of academic excellence.  The scholarship, exchange and dialogue within and by the centre will help promote a vibrant intellectual milieu both within and beyond Krea. Research is vital to our future and the work done here will help think about the past and present in preparation for a better future."

Speaking at the inauguration, The Honourable Vice President said, “Today I commend the management, staff and all those associated with this momentous milestone in Krea’s journey synonymous with quality education in Humanities and Social Studies. Named after the eminent son of India, Shri. Moturi Satyanarayana, I am certain this centre with its academic rigor and quality will be a transformative and engaging hub of teaching and learning.”

About Krea University:

Krea University, with a pioneering approach of Interwoven learning is located in Sri City, 55 kms north of Chennai. Instituted by a team of global academicians, business leaders and scholars with a vision for the 21st Century and beyond, Krea is an effort to re-imagine the education system, aiming to enable students to become agile, ethical and purposeful leaders in this fast-changing world.  Krea University currently houses two Schools. The School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences currently offers a 3-year B.A. (Honours) & B.Sc. (Honours) degrees, with an option to do an additional year i.e. fourth year of Advanced Studies. IFMR- Graduate School of Business offers PhD, MBA and customised Management Development Programmes.

Adversaries Are Accelerating Targeted Access To Critical Networks 3x Times Faster Than Before, CrowdStrike Reveals Report

* OverWatch also exposes an uptick in targeting from China-Nexus adversaries; attacks targeting telecommunications and retail more than doubled in the past year

CrowdStrike Inc., a leader in cloud-delivered endpoint and workload protection, today announced the release of the CrowdStrike Falcon OverWatchTM annual report: Nowhere To Hide, 2021 Threat Hunting Report: Insights from the CrowdStrike Falcon OverWatch Team. The report highlights an explosion in adversary activity, both in volume and velocity. CrowdStrike’s threat hunters tracked a 60% increase in attempted  intrusions spanning all industry verticals and geographic regions.

The report also showcases a significant drop in average breakout time – the time it takes for an intruder to begin moving laterally outside of the initial beachhead to other systems in the network – of just one hour 32 minutes, a threefold decrease from 2020. These sobering statistics show how threat actors are constantly adapting tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to accelerate their march toward their objectives.

Additional significant OverWatch observations include:

●        Adversaries have moved beyond malware. They are using increasingly sophisticated and stealthy techniques tailor-made to evade detections — of all of the detections indexed by CrowdStrike Threat Graph® in the past three months, 68% were malware-free.

●        China, North Korea and Iran were the most active state-sponsored groups. The report reveals the majority of targeted intrusion activity from adversary groups were based out of China, North Korea, and Iran.

●        A massive surge in interactive intrusion activity targeting the telecommunications industry. This activity spans all major geographic regions and has been tied to a diverse range of adversaries.

●        WIZARD SPIDER was the most prolific cyber criminal. In fact, this group was seen in nearly double the number of attempted intrusions than any other eCrime group. WIZARD SPIDER is behind targeted operations using Ryuk and, more recently, Conti ransomware.

●        A 100% increase in instances of cryptojacking in interactive intrusions year-over-year, correlating with increases in cryptocurrency prices.

●        Access Brokers had a banner year. eCrime actors who specialize in breaching networks to sell that access to others played a growing and important role for other eCrime actors to stage their attempted intrusions.

“Over the past year, businesses faced an unprecedented onslaught of sophisticated attacks on a daily basis. Falcon OverWatch has the unparalleled ability to see and stop the most complex threats — leaving adversaries with nowhere to hide,” said Param Singh, vice president of Falcon OverWatch, CrowdStrike. “In order to thwart modern adversaries’ stealthy and unabashed tactics and techniques, it’s imperative that organizations incorporate both expert threat hunting and threat intelligence into their security stacks, layer machine-learning enabled endpoint detection and response (EDR) into their networks and have comprehensive visibility into endpoints to ultimately stop adversaries in their tracks.”

The report is comprised of threat data from Falcon OverWatch, CrowdStrike’s industry-leading managed threat hunting team, with contributions from CrowdStrike Intelligence and Services teams, and provides an inside look at the current threat landscape, notable adversary behavior and tactics, and recommendations to increase cyber resiliency. In the 2021 report, CrowdStrike’s threat hunters directly identified and helped to disrupt more than 65,000 potential intrusions – approximately one potential intrusion every eight minutes.

The mission of Falcon OverWatch is to augment the powerful, autonomous protection of the Falcon platform with smart, mission-focused expertise to deliver the outcomes necessary to stay safe. Falcon OverWatch harnesses the massive power of the CrowdStrike Threat Graph®, enriched with CrowdStrike threat intelligence, to track, investigate and advise on sophisticated threat activity. The cloud-scale telemetry of approximately 1 trillion endpoint-related events collected per day, coupled with the detailed tradecraft on over 160 adversary groups, and enriched by automation of the CrowdStrike Falcon® platform provides the OverWatch team with the unrivaled ability to quickly identify and stop the most advanced threat actors. OverWatch’s insights into new and novel adversary behaviors help to continuously advance the protection provided by Falcon, resulting in the proactive prevention of malicious activity on approximately 248,000 unique endpoints.

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