Chief Minister Kejriwal set in motion the appropriate disciplinary procedures to expel Messrs Bhusan and Yadav. The duo were duly thrown out of the Aam Admi party, which can now concentrate on providing Delhi with an effective, clean and responsive administration, for which its citizenry have long yearned, hence voted Aam Admi into power with an overwhelming of 67 Assembly seats of the 70 contested in the recent poll. Stand up and deliver was their message to Arvind Kejriwal and his colleagues. Better sooner than later. Rancid pieties and moralizing clichés will no longer suffice.
Service to Society
If one wishes to see a doer rather than the commonplace talker, which is the stuff of Indian politics, Rajendra Singh will be your man. The winner of the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize has been an unsung hero with his quiet dedication over two decades to establish effective water management in the scrub lands of Rajasthan, where water has traditionally been a scarce commodity. Creating check dams for effective water conservation and management in over 1,000 villages through the cooperation of local communities is the true measure of Rajendra Singh’s achievement. This common endeavour has empowered significant numbers of women and the disadvantaged sections of society. Known as “India’s Water Man,” Rajendra Singh should inspire others across the world to follow his inspiring lead. (Deccan Herald March 31)
NRIs’ home run in economic surge
Increasing numbers of the Indian diaspora are returning to India as the country’s economic prospects are on the rise in the wake of the improving GDP figures. The trend seems to have bucked the recent drop in salaries of top executives. Returnees cover a broad spectrum of professions, from IT and banking to pharmaceuticals and finance. “ With the recovery of the Indian economy and increase in the number of companies looking to expand globally there is a definite rise in the number of returning Indian expatriates,” said Moorthy Uppaluri, CEO Randstad India, a leading recruitment and staffing firm (Times of India march 27)
India building key Adobe products
Some of US-owned, Bangalore-based Adobe company’s key products are being developed and manufactured in India. “We have 3,500 people in India now. The new capacity can take that to 6,000,” said Shantanu Narayen, who has been the company CEO since 2007. India accounts for a quarter of Adobe’s global workforce. The country has performed wonderfully well. “It’s innovation, not just doing grunt stuff,” he says. He himself has done as well, with Adobe moving aggressively into cloud computing.
“Adobe is now hailed as a company that completely reinvented the creative process. And anybody who talks about transforming their business has to work with us,” said Naryen, a Hyderabad-trained electronics engineer (Times of India March 27)
Techies turn entrepreneurs
Having worked as a software engineer with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for two years, 25 year-old Hemant Lingala left largest company to start his own venture, Green Mobiles, which sells mobile accessories online. His brother, Sumanth, a software engineer at Cisco, joined him. Others, such as Krishna Sumanth, a UK returned software professional, have taken the online route to entrepreneurship. The trend is gathering traction. “In the last few years, we have been seeing young people want to start their own companies….we are seeing a lot of migration of people from the IT sector to the online space turning sellers/entrepreneurs,” said Flipkart Senior Vice President Ankit Nagori. Ratan Tata detected a tremendous appetite for digital ventures, even as he lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ushering in a “new spirit” to the country (Hindu March 19)
Indias Ford’s export hub
US Automobile maker Ford’s new President and CEO Mark Fields, interviewed by an Indian newspaper reporter, said: “Along with China, India is one of the most important markets for us globally. In India we are investing for growth. We are doubling our production capacity and this will will be used to meet domestic demand and to make India a global export hub.”
He went on: “The Indian customer is probably the most demanding and discerning on the planet. Indians are very informed, they want great value for money and good technology. That’s why it’s so important for us to be here because we learn how to compete in one of the world’s most competitive small car markets.” (Times of India March 27)
Internet startups to surge
Top internet dealmaker Avendus Capital has projected Indian internet startups to be worth $300 billion by 2020. Company CEO Ranu Vohra said: “We are witnessing further acceleration in India’s internet story aided by unprecedented global investor interest in the most buoyant part of the domestic economy,” adding that global risk capital had fewer high growth destinations with only India and China as key figures in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) (Times of India March 20)
India, East Africa partnerships
Indian and East African businesses are gearing up to forge partnerships in cotton, textile, IT, leather, oil meal and spices, medical equipment and coffee sectors under a programme designed by the International Trade Centre (ITC). “ We are mapping the business opportunities with entrepreneurs in both countries following which other details, including financing of projects will be worked out,” said ITC Executive Director Arancha Gonzales.
The Export Import Bank of India and the Confederation of Indian Industry have engaged with ITC as a joint agency of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations to enhance the trading capabilities of developing nations. Gonzales was in New Delhi recently with a delegation of 200 business heads from Rwanda. Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia to launch a programme funded by the UK’s Department for International Development. “It is not only about African countries exporting to India. It is also about Indian companies investing in Africa,” she explained (Business Line March 21).
Forex reserves at new high
India’s foreign exchange reserves hit a new all-time high at $341.4 billion, ending 27 March 2015. In 2014-15, foreign institutional investors pumped $44.85 billion in equity and debt, according to data released by Securities and Exchange Board of India. The International Monetary Fund noted that India’s forex reserves stood at 148 per cent of IMF’s reserves adequacy metric (Mint April 4)
PepsiCo plant in Andhra Pradesh
PepsiCo, the global food and beverage company opened a new Rs 1,200 crore plant in Sri City multi-product economic zone in Andhra Pradesh last week. Once completed, the plant, located across 86 acres, will have nine manufacturing lines servicing the country’s southern region. “For more than 25 years, PepsiCo has been investing in in the Indian economy and its people. As we move forward into our next 25 years, that commitment is stronger than ever. This plant is investment in India’s bright future, said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi (Business Line April 4)
Mega food parks coming up
Government has allocated 17 mega food parks across the country that will entail an investment of Rs6,000 crore and create 80,000 jobs. The Adani Group will be in the lead in this ambitious project, with 10 parks reserved for the private sector. Which also include Jain Agro Trading Company and Ruchi Industries.“The basic infrastructure in these parks needs to be set up in 30 months,” said Minister Harsimrat Kaur. The scheme was first formulated in 2008 (Hindustan Times March 26)
Ranaghat rape case suspects arrested
West Bengal CID team has tracked down and arrested three suspects in the robbery of a Christian school in the border town of Ranaghat, during which a 74 year-old nun was raped. The suspects, Mohammed Salim Sheikh, and Gopal Sarkar, both illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, have been arrested, their absconding accomplices were traced to the Ludhiana district of Punjab, where local police snared the fugitives. “We believe that Muhammed Habibullah and Sulag Alam alias Aslam arrested by us” were in contact with Salim Sheikh and Gopal Sarkar prior to the crime and its aftermath, said M.S. Bhullar of the Ludhiana crime branch.
Kolkata detectives are on their way to Ludhiana to interrogate the suspects for further leads. The Kolkata CID provided critical information to the Mumbai police in the arrest of Salim Sheik, All the fugitives were initially located in Delhi, a common ploy among Bangladeshi criminals who assemble in the capital before dispersing to different parts of India in pursuit of criminal activity, said Additional Commissioner Police (Ludhiana)Bhullar (Times of India April 4)
Jihadi terror bombings
Three months after the Bangalore police busted the ‘exploisives module’ of the Indian Mujahideen, the country’s intelligence agencies have discovered telling evidence of the involvement of the Islamist Popular Front of India (PFI)in the 2011 Mumbai bombings, the 2012 bomb blasts in Pune and Hyderabad in 2013. While Riyaz Bhatkal, Yasin Bhatkal and Tehsin Akhtar, Assadulal Akhtar and Waqas planned the bombings, for which they were brought to justice and sentenced to terms of imprisonment, the responsibility for procuring the explosives rested with the PFI, according to the evidence supplied by Syed Ismail Afaque Lanka of the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), who was arrested in January 2015 (Times of India March 27)
Fourth navigation satellite in orbit
India’s space programmed achieved another milestone with the launch of the fourth navigation satellite a fortnight ago from the island spaceport in the Bay of Bengal. The successful launch in a planned series of seven is a tribute to the sustained work of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). It places India’s own navigation system on par with the US Global Positioning System. ISR$O Chairman A S Kiran Kumar congratulated the entire team of scientists and engineers for the PSLV mission.
IRNSS-ID carries two types of payload – navigation and ranging. The satellite will augment the satellite-based navigation system which is currently under development. Once complete, the system will target South Asia, tracking and mapping services across the region. With a mission life of ten years, the IRNSS-ID configuration, weighing 1,425 kilogrammes, would be similar to thast of its three predecessors. Meanwhile a third high-tech launch pad is coming up at Sriharikota, which will be ideal for the GSLV –MK launch vehicle designed to carry the heaviest payload undertaken so far by ISRO (Deccan Herald, Hindu March 29)
Indians excel in Scotland
According to a Scottish census, Scotland’s Indian community has excelled in education and the professions. About 48 per cent of the community belonged to high occupation groups and 36 per cent to the highest social grade. (Times of India April 5).