Tuesday 28th February 2017 18:24 EST

A short break from the frenzied whirligig of Indian politics should act as a restorative to sanity and leisured ease whilst there is time before the results of the State Assembly elections start pouring in and political horse trading takes centre stage. Hacks will have to hone their skills in, say, identifying mobsters in the legislature and government from those outside. That is for the issue whose time will surely come as night follows day and day night.

The lens thus turns to mass sporting entertainment for a change. The pre-monsoon season will be upon us in the next six weeks, hence the prologue to cricket’s Twenty/20 Indian Premier – the most glamorous spectacle, and by the richest – was the fevered bidding for players, most familiar names, stellar reputations among them, compounded by unknown faces hoping to touch the stars and sniff undreamt wealth and fortune. The nation’s top broadsheets had the IPL auction as their front-page lead stories.

Tymal Mills tweets Thank you

Sweet are uses of adversity, none sweeter than that of speedster Tylon Mills. Prevented by a congenital back condition from fulfilling his ambition to be an England Test bowler of express pace, the 22-year year-old (now 24) decided wisely to ply his trade in the shortest form of the game. And has been snapped up for a massive Rs 12 crore by the star-studded Royal Challengers, Bangalore, captained by Virat Kohli, and includes Chris Gayle and A.B. de Villiars. Mills tweeted:: ‘Seriously crazy morning! Thank you for all the messages… This is where I want to be.’

Ben Stokes in pole position

England all-rounder Ben Stokes fetched the highest price at 14.50 crore from the Rising Pune Supergiants and will play alongside Australian captain Steve Smith, the new Pune captain and former captain Mahinder Singh Dhoni. Its franchise is owned by industrialist Sanjiv. Goenka. Other England names include Chris Woakes (Kolkata Knight Riders) Eoin Morgan (Punjab) and Josh Butler (Mumbai Indians). Minnows Afghanistan will have legspinner Rashid Khan playing Sunrisers Hyderabad, current IPL champions, led by Australian superstar David Warner. (Hindu, Times of India, Telegraph (February 21)

Big day at Tata Sons

February 21 was a red letter for N.Chandrasekaran, long a Tata Consultancy (TCS) veteran as CEO and MD but now Chairman of the Tata Group, and at the meridian of a distinguished career. The curtain raiser to his arrival was a TCS buy-back of Rs 16,000 crore worth of shares in a bid to improve its returns to its shareholders. Responding to the decision, Tata shares rose 4 per cent valuing the company at Rs 4.94 lakh crore.


Angel Broking said its ‘accumulate’ rating on TCS with a stock price target of Rs 2,700 and said it believes that in the near term, the stock would exhibit significant strength around Rs 2,860.


Rajesh Gopinathan has been appointed TCS CEO in succession to N.Chandrasekaran. Gopinathan has also been appointed Managing Director on the board. N.Ganapathy Subramaniam as Board Executive Director and V. Ramakrishnan, succeeds Gopinathan as Chief Financial Officer (Hindu February 21)

Microsoft-Flipkart collaboration

US Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, on what has now become a routine visit to India, announced, a strategic partnership in Bangalore with Flipkart, the Indian e-commerce company in which it would adopt Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Microsoft Azure.

Flipkart said it planned to leverage artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and analytics capabilities in Azure to optimize its data for innovative merchandising, advertising, marketing and customer service. AI is the simulation of the human intelligence processes by computer systems and machine learning and gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.

Challenges ahead

Mr Nadella was in conversation with It entrepreneur and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani before an audience of business executives, industrialists and startup entrepreneurs. Mr Nilekani said he was excited at the prospect of advanced technologies like AI and cloud. He said the challenge is to take India forward from $ 2,000, per capita income to $20,000 and also to fix sectors like healthcare and financial services. ‘The only way to square the circle is by using AI and cloud to deliver personalized health, education and financial services.’ (Hindu February 21)

India’s tryst with History

Moving onto Delhi, Mr Nadella was asked by a reporter to explain the purpose his current visit to India and how India fitted into Microsoft plans. He replied: ‘For me the trip is all about cloud work that we are doing in India and the impact it having. In the context of India we want to make sure that it’s not just our technology but it is the technology that Indian entrepreneurs and Indian organizations create on top of what we bring.’

State elections

Elections in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu used cameras to monitor the polling stations where all the data went to a public cloud. After the election they brought down the stakes , in other words to use the tax payers’ money to very efficiently without putting a great deal of expensive capital since elections come after lengthy periods. Similarly in Anhra Pradesh the authorities used data to analyze the cause of student dropouts and could introduce rcorrective measures. ((Mint February 23)

India, UK companies in aerospace tieup

Maini Precision Products (MPP) and Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, Cambridge, have entered a multi-million dollar deal for structural machined parts and subsub-assemblies for a major aircraft programme. With this contract MPP is positioned as the sole Indian source to support Marshall for the duration of this programme. Gautam Mani, MD at MPP said ‘Marshall has been our strategic customer since 2010. With this agreement, we are poised for further growth in this relationship.’ At the signing ceremony, Marshall stated that MPP had been a key supplier during this peiod (Business Line February 18)

Aequs facility in Goa

During the Aero India a number other deals, including the one above, were signed, among one that caught the eye was precision and manufacturing company Aequs stated that would be setting up a skills facility at Tuem, Goa for Indian defence production. Aequs entered set up its aerospace manufacturing base in 2013 and has been partnering Research & Development organizations and also Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). Platforms include Tejas and Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft and the Advanced Light Helicopter.

‘This is the first venture in the private sector which will manufacture high-end components and systems for aerospace and advanced technologies in aerospace manufacturing in the defence sector, and support the ‘Make in India’ initiative,’ said Arvind Melligieri Chairman and CEO Aequs

Israeli footprint in agriculture

On a visit to Hyderabad, Daniel Carmon, Israel’s Ambassador to India, said Israeli companies were keen to expand their footprint in India by sharing their country’s expertise with India in irrigation, water technology and agriculture. Indo-Israeli trade had grown exponentially from an initial turnover of $600 million in 1992, when diplomatic relations were formally established, to over $6 billion in 2014-15,excluding the defence sector, but this could surge further with the long pending Free Trade Agreement, still stuck on tariff issues, which only the leadership of the two countries could resolve. Referring to the defence sector, the ambassador said these could not be quantified as they go beyond numbers and are much deeper than buying and selling ((Business Line February 24)

India, Israel missile for Indian Army

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel later this year – the first by an Indian prime minister – the government has approved a Rs 17,000 crore deal to develop a medium range surface-to-air missile. This is the latest variant of this range of missile, with the Indian Navy and Air Force equipped with a similar missile designed for their needs.

India’s Defence Research & Development (DRDO) will play a crucial role in the venture, partnering the Israel’s Aircraft Industries (IAI). India has also ordered two further Israeli airborne early warning systems (AWACS), which, like three previous purchases, are to be placed in Russian Ilyushin-76 aircraft, for which orders were placed at the recent Aero India in Bangalore. This involves a three-way partnership between India and Israel at the very highest level of security and trust.(Hindu February 24)

BJP, Shiv Sena, sweep the board

Maharashtra municipal polls have resulted in a clean sweep for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his BJP government, as well as for Uddhav Thackeray, the head of the Shiv Sena which triumphed in Mumbai. Their respective victories carry a political message of the utmost significance, as Maharashtra is India’s leading industrial state, with Mumbai, India’s financial capital.

Congress demolished

Once a Congress bastion, the party has been booted into touch (to use a Rugby metaphor) and is now irrelevant. The party faithful must surely realize that the Gandhi cabal has little standing with the bulk of the electorate. The more on sees of ranting Rahul Gandhi, the less credible he appears. Dynastic politics is unfit for purpose in 21st century India. ‘All the world is a stage/ And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances…’ Take William Shakespeare and leave the stage, Mr Gandhi, in service to the nation.

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