Maharashtra goes electric: beating pollution through e-mobility programme

The Indian state of Maharashtra is embracing electric mobility as the next step in sustainable transport, through leasing out electric vehicles and installing chargers in state government offices.
UN Environment today signed a funding agreement with the Government of Maharashtra and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a company facilitating energy efficiency projects under India’s Ministry of Power. The electric cars are being provided by Mahindra and Mahindra.
Electric vehicles use energy stored in its rechargeable batteries, which are recharged by common household electricity. As a burgeoning economy leads to a rapid increase in the number of personal vehicles on the road, a shift to electric mobility is instrumental in the push towards sustainable communities.
Marking the commencement of e-mobility era in the state, Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis flagged off the first set of 10 EVs at the Gateway of India in Mumbai.
“Today, Maharashtra embarks on the path of e-mobility marking an important milestone in its trajectory of growth,” Fadnavis said. “Through this MoU with EESL, we are ushering in an era of clean, green and future-oriented technologies in the state. The EV programme will enable sustainable transport and further enhance our state’s stature as a favoured economic destination.”
The Government of Maharashtra took the opportunity to announce its Electric Vehicle and Related Infrastructure Policy, aiming to establish the state as a globally competitive destination for electric vehicles and component manufacturing. The policy also entails increasing the number of registered EVs in the state to 500,000 and the creation of 100,000 jobs.
“E-mobility is the future of our cities, said Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment. “Maharashtra’s leadership in promoting electric vehicles is a big step towards cities that can breathe, and where innovation thrives!”
The launch of the e-mobility program coincides with the national countdown to World Environment Day. As the global host of World Environment Day 2018, India is inspiring communities across the country to take bold action aimed at beating pollution. The launch of the electric vehicles will reduce emissions from traffic across the state and create an increased awareness of the advantages of electric vehicles.
Earlier this year, the Government of India launched the National E-Mobility Programme to provide an impetus to the entire e-mobility ecosystem including vehicle manufacturers, charging infrastructure companies, fleet operators, and service providers,
EESL is procuring electric vehicles to replace the existing fleet of petrol and diesel vehicles of the Central and State Governments through Mahindra and Mahindra.

“It is our endeavour to contribute to the Indian Government’s e-mobility mission,” said Saurabh Kumar, Managing Director of EESL. “Maharashtra is among the top contributors to the Indian economy and its transition to e-mobility will have a positive effect on national goals related to climate and sustainable growth.”
The partners will also flag off self-drive e-car rental start-up Zoomcar India Pvt. Ltd which aims to expand e-vehicles use in the state also with Mahindra and Mahindra.

Mr. Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group said “I’m a big believer that the future lies in sustainable and shared mobility. Today, we’ve taken another step in this direction with our deployment of Mahindra electric vehicles with Zoomcar and the Govt. of Maharashtra. I’m excited about the pioneering role in electric mobility that the state of Maharashtra is poised to take.”

EESL plans to drive down costs through its innovative business model while supporting local manufacturing facilities, gaining technical competencies for the long-term growth of the EV industry and enabling Indian EV manufacturers to emerge as major global players.


ITDC continues profit making journey; posts profit of Rs. 27.16 cr in FY 2017-18

India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the public sector undertaking under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism, posted a significant performance for the financial year 2017-18.  Total income stood at Rs 370.64 cr as compared to Rs. 356.11 cr (As per Ind AS) in last financial year. Revenue from operations stood at Rs. 343.87 cr as compared to Rs. 330.77 cr (As per Ind AS) in the last fiscal. Corporation posted profit before tax (PBT) of Rs. 27.16 cr and profit after tax (PAT) of Rs. 23.62 cr in 2017-18 against Rs. 17.00 cr (As per Ind AS) and Rs. 11.43 cr (As per Ind AS) respectively in the previous year.

The Total Comprehensive income for the financial year 2017-18 is Rs. 19.14 crore as against Rs. 10.62 crore during the previous year.

The company has adopted Ind AS (Indian accounting standards) during the financial year 2017-18. The previous year’s figures have been realigned accordingly.

The results were announced in the Board Meeting of the company held on 30th May at the Group’s flagship hotel, The Ashok, New Delhi.

FY 2017-18 has been a crucial and important year for ITDC, especially in view of the ongoing disinvestment process of some hotels. The profit is result of realignment of activities and several proactive initiatives taken by the organization to improve its productivity and efficiency at the beginning of the year.

Besides posting continuous profit year after year, ITDC has maintained its status of Mini Ratna and its commitment towards the shareholders by announcing consistent dividend for last five consecutive years.

ITDC sustained its profit even after implementation of 3rd Pay Revision as well as increase in minimum wages. Hotel The Ashok & Hotel Samrat, Ashok Travel & Tours and Ashok Events division of ITDC were major contributors to the performance of the organization in FY 2017-18.

Envy introduced its new perfume, Envy Eau De Parfum – BEWITCH

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Envy has introduced its new perfume, Envy Eau De Parfum – BEWITCH. The perfume is congruous for those who want to arouse their glorious charisma.

It is an Ultra-Pure Aroma for Women and unveils a romantic fragrance with a hint of marine accord. It opens with apple, marine, rose and plum balanced by aromatic and sandal base and reinstate freshness like the morning dew drops.

Envy Bewitch is a long lasting perfume that refurbishes your senses. It recharges and uplifts your mood with its aura. It tempts and allures your surroundings. This is an ideal perfume for women longing a charming and fascinating aroma.

Envy Bewitch is integrated and arrives in a pink bottle which is very appealing and contenting. The fragrance of Bewitch totally enhances and invigoratesthe inner you. Its ambienceenriches the exoticism with in you.

In a market filled with gas perfumes, Envy is premium French perfume that is very subtle and desirable yet long lasting at just Rs.470for 100ml and is available all across retail, modern outlets and also on e-commerce portals.

Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar set to release on March 1, 2019

Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra starrer Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar is set to release on March 1, 2019. The Dibakar Banerjee thriller will see Arjun play the role of a Haryanvi cop, while Parineeti essays the role of an ambitious girl from the corporate world whose lives suddenly intertwine.

Dibakar says, “I feel this is my first film all over again, at least in terms of the excitement with the material. Sandeep and Pinky bring to screen the two Indias that are forever clashing. I want the audience not to lose a second of that. We finished the shoot one month late because of the intense weather conditions on the Indo-Nepal border. I don’t want Sandeep and Pinky to be shortchanged on edit time. YRF agreed with my request and so we are pressing on together to the new date. 2019 is when India chooses its future. I’m looking forward to release in that year and choose mine.”

Rohan Malhotra, VP – Distribution at YRF adds, “Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar will now release on March 1, 2019. Arjun and Parineeti have Namaste England releasing on Dussehra this year and the makers had announced this date a while back. It would have been unfair for us to request them to shift their film. Also, we wanted to have a gap between these two films as it features the same star cast and given the extremely busy release calendar of this year, we feel March 1 is the best date for our movie to open.”

One in Five Indian Business Travelers Value Hotel Rewards Over Safety

Globally, three in ten business travelers are happy to sacrifice safety for hotel loyalty and rewards incentives, according to research commissioned by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the global travel management company. Travelers in the Americas are likeliest to do so (39%), followed by Europeans (34%) and travelers from Asia Pacific (28%).

Only around one in five (21%) Indian business travelers said they would choose points over personal safety, making them the least likely globally to do so, of the 17 countries surveyed.

“Clearly, travelers are very focused on their hotel loyalty points – they will go to great lengths to get their hands on those benefits,” said David Falter, President, RoomIt by CWT. “One way of meeting that challenge – short of tougher enforcement – is to let travelers collect points for booking within policy.”

What makes business travelers feel unsafe at hotels?

Almost one in three (30%) Asia Pacific business travelers expressed concerns about safety at hotels, in contrast to 27% travelers from the Americas and 23% of European travelers. Indians (39%) are the most worried globally about their personal safety at hotels, according to the survey.

When asked what makes them feel unsafe, exactly half the travelers surveyed globally said they worry about an intruder breaking into their hotel room.

What makes Indian travelers most anxious, however, is hotel staff inadvertently giving out their room key or information to a stranger – more than two-thirds (67%) of Indians surveyed labeled this a concern, compared with 41% of travelers globally.

This was followed by disruptions caused by the actions of other guests – something that worries 56% of Indian travelers, versus 40% of travelers globally.

And a third of respondents globally identified fires (36%) and terrorist attacks (33%) as causes for concern.

What precautions do travelers take to stay safe at hotels?

As expected, the vast majority of travelers (75%) said one of the measures they take to stay safe is keeping their room door locked at all times.

“While most hotel rooms lock automatically, a number of solutions available on the market can provide an added layer of security,” said Falter. “Items such as door wedges, portable door locks and travel door alarms can help a traveler secure their room more effectively.”

More than a third of travelers surveyed globally (37%), and 46% of Indian travelers, said they take the room key out of key folder so people can’t link the key to the room. Travelers from the Americas (42%) are more likely to do this than those from other regions.

Another tactic is to put the ”do not disturb” sign on the door when they leave the room – one adopted by 30% of travelers globally and 35% in Asia Pacific.

Travelers also believe that the floor they stay on can impact their safety and security. Almost a quarter of those surveyed (23%) said they opt for a higher floor when possible, while 15% choose a lower flower. Around two in ten travelers (21%) said they avoid staying on the ground floor. Indian travelers expressed a strong preference for staying on a higher floor, with 30% of those surveyed saying they make this request.

“Security experts typically advise staying between the third and sixth floors, where it becomes difficult for an intruder to break in, but you’re still within the reach of most fire departments’ ladders,” added Falter.

Centre to incorporate electronics manufacturing specifics in segments ruled by imports in new National Electronics Policy: MeitY secy

The Centre will hold discussions with the industry on electronics manufacturing related specifics in segments like automotive, defence, medical and power that are currently ruled by imports and the same will be incorporated in the new National Electronics Policy to be out in a couple of months’ time, a top official said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.
“It is very important for us to also grow seriously in many other segments where imports are ruling the market, we have huge scope in India for – medical electronics, automotive electronics, power electronics, defence electronics and we are hoping to sit with industry to understand as to what will it take specifically to make it happen in India and that is going to be part of the new national policy on electronics, which we are coming out with,” said Mr Ajay Prakash Sawhney, secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) at an ASSOCHAM conference on Electricals & Electronics Manufacturing.
Mr Sawhney added, “We have had fairly extensive rounds of discussion with the industry, we have taken note of your concerns, opportunities that you have pointed out to us and hopefully in a couple of months we should be coming out with the new national policy on electronics.”
He further said that time is ripe for India to position and prepare itself to become more competitive and start building exports and not just for mobile segments. “There are a number of segments where we have grown significantly over the past 3-5 years, in the area of LED lights and products we are fairly competitive today, we have seen scorching pace of growth in that as well.”
He also stressed upon the need to position India as not only a manufacturing hub but as a hub for design, innovation and manufacturing. “Our policy will make tremendous effort to help this along.”
The secretary added, “As we complete our electronic ecosystem, as we fill that gap, it will be possible to combine our existing strength in design and software with the emerging strength that we are acquiring in the entire ecosystem of electronics.”
Mr Sawhney also said “We have significant growth in LCD and LED tvs being assembled and manufactured within the country, we have seen more and more work in the solar panel segment as well, though still the import content is very high but we are making progress in that area.”
Noting that India continues to be a huge market for electronics, the MeitY secretary said that demand is mushrooming and growing roughly at around 20 per cent year on year and it is expected to continue this kind of huge growth.
Talking about the increasing number of SMT (surface mount technology) lines for PCB (printed circuit board) assembly, Mr Sawhney said that his ministry expects that this year India would be able to attract about 400 SMT lines, marking a very significant increase in number of SMT lines that exist.
“Hopefully in a couple of years’ time and we are working hard towards this goal, we would be able to get most of the important sub-assemblies and the basic components also increasingly being manufactured in India, this helps us in value addition,” he said.
Mr Sawhney further said that when India had started assembly of mobile phones in 2014-15, there were about 60 million units being assembled with a value of around Rs 19,800 crore. “This moved year-on-year to 115 million in 2015-16, 175 million in 2016-17, 225 million in 2017-18 and now with an overall value of Rs 1.32 lakh crore in a matter of three years.”
Urging the industry to start looking at new segments, he said that once the SMT lines, electronics subsystems, camera modules, displays, audio and others come in and become part of Indian ecosystem, they are the same things that go into anything electronic, India would be able to make not just the mobile phones but almost everything confidently.
In his address at the ASSOCHAM conference, Union Minister of State Electronics and IT, Mr S.S. Ahluwalia said, “To ensure its survival in today’s competitive world, India needs to compete with other technologically advanced countries like China, Japan, the US and others.”
He said that while there is no dearth of talent in India, the government is constantly creating requisite policies and atmosphere to promote electronics manufacturing in the country. “Youth needs to be trained and skilled, certificates merely will not make them employable.”
“A conducive business environment, political stability and pro-industry initiatives helps in the overall process of nation building. And, amongst these initiatives one of the key building blocks is manufacturing. Under the aegis of Make in India, the GoI aims to increase the share of the manufacturing sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) to 25 per cent by 2022, from 16 per cent, and to create 100 million new jobs by 2022. We at Appliance and Consumer Electronics (ACE) industry currently are contributing significantly towards this. For instance, for every appliance sold there is three jobs created – installation, service and repair, indicating a widespread scope for skilling and job creation. However, to further build upon the program’s success we need to build an ecosystem of skilled workforce, to ensure zero defect manufacturing across segments to enhance product efficiency”, said Manish Sharma, President and CEO Panasonic India and South Asia and President CEAMA.
Amid others who addressed the event included, ASSOCHAM president, Mr Sandeep Jajodia and Ms Swati Rangachari, chief of corporate affairs, Sterlite Technologies.

Breaking Point: Indian Air Force Academy starting 4th June on Discovery Channel

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Discovery Channel launching a special series on the Air Force Academy as a part of its extremely popular Breaking Point franchise. The new series gives a never seen before look into the training imparted at India’s premier Air Force training institution – Air Force Academy located at Dundigul, Hyderabad which is instrumental in shaping the future Air Warriors.

Breaking Point: Indian Air Force Academy was launched at a press conference in New Delhi in the presence of senior officials from Indian Air Force and Discovery Communications India. Air Marshal Amit Tiwari VMCommandant Air Force Academy, presided over the function.

Breaking Point: Indian Air Force Academy, packed with emotions including grit, pride, fear and utmost patriotism, captures the life of 4 cadets – Mudit Tewari, Priya Sharma, Amogh Bhandralia and Kartik Thakur – who are in various stages of their training at the Academy.

The 4-episode series of Breaking Point: Indian Air Force Academy will premiere on Discovery Channel every Monday starting June 04 at 9:00 pm and on Veer by Discovery, India’s first dedicated military channel, available on JIO TV and YouTube.

The telecast of Breaking Point series on Air Force Academy follows the successful premier of the series on Indian Submariners earlier this year which has delivered impressive results – notching unduplicated reach of 1.7 crore* over the past two months (March 19-May 22) on Discovery channel and more than 59 lakh cumulative views on Veer by Discovery.

Breaking Point: Indian Air Force Academy has attracted marquee advertisers including Mahindra XUV 500 as a Co-presenting Sponsor; Co-powered by Airtel 4G andVIVO Mobiles while Blue Star Air Conditioning and Fortune VIVO are onboard as Associate Sponsors.

Speaking on the occasion, Air Vice Marshal SP Dharkar AVSM, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Training), said, “The Breaking Point series on Discovery channel has emerged as the go-to series for all defence enthusiasts across the country. We are delighted to work with Discovery as we aim to a) inspire the youth of India to look at the Air Force as a career opportunity and b) inspire our countrymen, offering a never-seen-before insight into the life of an Air Force officer; their journey from a cadet to a Flying officer; the efforts they put in to flying the fighter jets and defend the nation when needed.”

“The Breaking Point series has clearly emerged as break through programming here in India. We are aiming to break the 2 crore unduplicated reach benchmark with Breaking Point: Indian Air Force Academy,” said, Zulfia Waris, Vice-President & Head, Premium & Digital Networks, Discovery Communications India. “The journey from civilian to earning your wings is tough and nerve wracking. Each stage of this course has its own story, its own trials and tribulations and Discovery gives you an all-access pass to witness these transformations.”