Thursday, 31 January 2019

ISRO selects BEL for transfer of Li-ion technology


31/1/2019

PUNE: Bharat Electronics Limited of Pune becomes one of the companies whom got selected by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for transfer of its Lithium-ion cell technology.

ISRO has selected ten companies which includes - Amara Raja Batteries Limited, Chittoor, Carborundum Universal Limited, Kochi, Exicom Tele-Systems Limited, Gurgaon, GOCL Corporation Limited, Hyderabad.

GOCL Corporation Limited, Hyderabad, National Aluminium Co Limited, Bhubaneswar, Sukhbir Agro Energy Limited, New Delhi, Tata Chemicals Limited, Mumbai, and Thermax Limited, Pune, ISRO said on its website. ISRO will intimate further modalities to all the applicants through individual communications, it added.

In June, ISRO had issued Request for Qualification (RFQ) in connection with the technology transfer, containing a brief description of the qualification aspects, technology transfer process, timelines and other relevant details. In August, the space agency had said it has received response from 141 companies to its RFQ.

ISRO's VSSC has successfully developed and qualified lithium ion cells of capacities ranging from '1.5 Ah to 100 Ah' for use in satellites and launch vehicles. According to the space agency, lithium-ion (Li-ion) cell technology is one of the "most promising" electro chemical energy storage technologies owing to its high voltage, high energy density, long life cycle and high storage characteristics.

It finds wide applications in electronic gadgets, tele-communication and industrial applications as well as in aerospace. Recent progress in Li-ion battery technology has made it the favorite power source for electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

According to ISRO, with the successful deployment of indigenous lithium ion batteries in various missions, VSSC is planning to transfer this technology to the industries to establish production facilities for producing lithium ion cells to cover the entire spectrum of the country's power storage needs.

Floating the RFQ, ISRO had earlier said, "This initiative is expected to enable Zero Emission Policy of India and accelerate the development of indigenous electric vehicle industry.


Wednesday, 30 January 2019

BoM posts operating profit of Rs 431.85 Cr

31/1/2019

PUNE: A. S. Rajeev, MD & CEO, Bank of Maharashtra announced the financial results for quarter ended Dec 2018, along with A. C. Rout and Hemant Tamta, Executive Directors of the bank. 

Speaking on the occasion, A. S. Rajeev stated that the bank is making all efforts to improve its financial performance. It has made various structural, systemic and strategic changes this end. The bank will continue to focus on improving operational efficiency and strengthening retail, agriculture and MSME (RAM) to provide value to its customers, shareholder and other stakeholders.

Key highlights:

Business:

Ø  Total business stood at Rs. 225596 crore as on December 31, 2018.
Ø  As on December 31, 2018 total deposits stood at Rs. 136001 crore & Gross advances stood at Rs. 89594 crore.
Ø  Share of CASA deposits increased to 46.88% as on December 31, 2018 from 44.86% as on December 2017 and 46.25% as on September 30, 2018.
Ø  Share of Retail, Agriculture and MSME (RAM) is 50.01% of Gross Advances

Profitability:

Ø  Operating profit for the quarter ended December 31, 2018 has increased to Rs. 431.85 Crore in comparison to Rs. 419.36 Crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2017.
Ø  Operating profit of the Bank for Nine months ended December 31, 2018 has increased to Rs. 1696.51 Crore in comparison to Rs. 1644.67 Crore as on December 31, 2017.
o   This is due to exceptional expenses like depreciation on revalued assets as per Revised AS – 10 guidelines,
o   Provision for wage revision of Rs.82.12 Crore.
Ø  Net Loss for the quarter ended December 31, 2018 stood at Rs.3764 Crore as compared to Net profit for the quarter ended September 30, 2018 of Rs.27 Crore
Ø  Net Loss for the nine month ended December 31, 2018 stand at Rs.4856 Crore as compared to Net Loss for the nine month ended December 31, 2017 of Rs.1032 Crore.
o   This increased loss is due to higher loan loss provisions on impaired assets.
o   Increase in depreciation on revalued assets as per revised AS – 10
o   Increase in expenses due to wage revision provision of Rs.82.12 Crore
Ø  Non-Interest income for the nine months ended December 31, 2018 increased by 5.24% to Rs. 1162 Crore in comparison to Rs. 1104 Crore as on December 31, 2017.
Ø  Non-interest income for the quarter ended December 31, 2018 has increased by 52.02% & 1.50% to Rs. 411 Crore in comparison to Rs. 270 Crore &Rs. 405 Crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2018 respectively.
Ø  Net Interest Income increased by 8.23% to Rs. 2734 Crore for the nine months ended December 31, 2018 in comparison to Rs. 2509 Crore as on December 31, 2017.
Ø  Net Interest Income for the quarter ended December 31, 2018 has increased by 2.30% to Rs. 872 Crore in comparison to Rs. 853 Crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2017. Net Interest Income for the quarter ended September 30, 2018 stood at Rs. 1003 Crore.
Ø  Net Interest Margin increased by 21 basis points from 2.29 for the nine months ended on December 31, 2017 to 2.50% in nine months ended on December 31, 2018.
Ø  Cost of deposit reduced by 40 basis points from 5.41 % for the nine months ended on December 31, 2017 to 5.01% in nine months ended on December 31, 2018.
Ø  Cost of funds reduced by 47 basis points from 4.99 % for the nine months ended on December 31, 2017 to 4.52% in nine months ended on December 31, 2018. The reduction in cost of funds is due to better Liability management.
Ø  Robust increase in recovery in written off accounts by 183% i.e. to Rs. 195 crore for nine months ended December 31, 2018 in comparison to Rs.69 crore for the nine months ended on December 31, 2017.

NPA Management:

Ø  Net NPA of the Bank has reduced to 5.91% as on December 31, 2018 from 12.17% as on December 31, 2017 and 10.61% as on September 30, 2018.
Ø  The Bank has shown consistent efforts in arresting fresh slippages. Slippages reduced to Rs.3612 crores as on December 31, 2018 as compared to Rs.3857 crore as on December 31, 2017. Slippages for the quarter ended December 31, 2018 are Rs.1098 crore as compared to Rs.1536 crore for quarter ended December 31, 2017 and Rs.1365 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2018.
Ø  Gross NPAs have reduced to Rs. 15509 crore (GNPA%- 17.31%) as on December 31, 2018 from Rs. 18128 crore (GNPA%- 19.05%) as on December 31, 2017 and Rs. 16873 crore (GNPA%- 18.64%) as on September 30, 2018.
Ø  Cash recoveries in NPAs during nine months ended December 31, 2018 is Rs.1780 crore as compared to Rs. 1394 crores for the nine months ended December 31, 2017.
Ø  Provision coverage ratio of the Bank has improved to 81.07% as on December 31, 2018 in comparison to 53.40% as on December 31, 2017 and 64.37% as on September 30, 2018. 
Ø  Provision Coverage Ratio excluding Technical write of stand at 70.17% for nine month ended December 31, 2018.
Ø  Non performing investments have reduced to Rs.130.40 crore as on December 31, 2018 as compared to Rs.207 crore as on December 31, 2017.

Capital Adequacy:

Ø  Bank is maintaining the CRAR ratio above the minimum prescribed level at 11.05% as on December 31, 2018 as against 9.87 % as on September 30, 2018
Ø  RWA reduced to Rs.73304 crore as on December 31, 2018 from Rs.83679 crore as on December 31, 2017 and Rs. 76042 crore as on September 30, 2018.
Ø  Ratio of RWA to Gross advances improved from 87.93% as on December 31, 2017 to 86.36% as on March 31, 2018 and 81.82% as on December 31, 2018. Improvement is 6.11% on YoY and 4.54% over March 31, 2018
Ø  There is improvement in % of RWA for Credit Risk (STD+NPA) to Gross Advances from 61.57% as on December 31, 2017 to 59.60% as on March 31, 2018 and 53.83% as on December 31, 2018
Ø  “AAA, AA & A rated” exposure has increased from 53.27% as on March 31, 2018 to 57.62% as on December 31, 2018 amounting to Rs. 21729 crore.
Ø  Inferior rated advances (BB & below) has decreased from 20.47% as on March 31, 2018 to 17.98% as on December 31, 2018
Ø  Leverage Ratio is maintained at 4.15%
Ø  GoI has infused Rs,4498 Crore as Capital during quarter ending on 31.12.2018

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Pune to Belagavi, Bhavnagar flights under Udan-III

29/1/2019

PUNE: The Pune airport will see two new connections under the phase 3 of the Udan scheme, airport officials said after the announcement from the ministry of civil aviation on January 25.

Pune airport director Ajay Kumar said two airlines, Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, and SpiceJet, will start direct operations from Pune to Belagavi in Karnataka and Bhavnagar in Gujarat soon. The senior official said that a different airline will be re-starting the Pune-Nashik flight.

“The schedule for the two flights to Belagavi and Bhavnagar will be finalized soon. The regional connectivity scheme has been a game changer providing many unserved and under-served airports and airstrips across the country with air connectivity at reasonable and affordable fare structure,” the director said.

The second phase of Udan had seen the Pune airport getting a new flight to Nashik which was to be operated by Air Deccan, in addition to flights to Huballi and to Allahabad.

“The Pune-Nashik flight operated for a while but was suspended. The flight will start again soon and a different airliner will operate it. The details will be shared once matters are finalized. The flight to Huballi was to be operated by Ghodawat Group and IndiGo” the director added.

Air Deccan had won four flights from Maharashtra under Udan. These included flights between Jalgaon-Mumbai, Mumbai-Jalgaon, Pune-Nashik and Nashik-Pune.

However, citing operational reasons, all the flights were suspended by the airline last October. With two airlines including Air Deccan and Air Odisha performing badly in the first two phases of Udan, the centre had decided not to open their financial bids for the phase 3.

Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha recently said that with five proposals from Air Odisha and four from Air Deccan in Udan-I, six proposals or connections were cancelled due to poor performance. The six networks consisted of 16 Air Deccan flights and 40 of Air Odisha.

The Pune airport is struggling to provide morning slots for new flights. Sources said the slots for flights under Udan was expected to be during the day time.

French Agency's 245 m euro loan for Pune Metro

29/1/2019

PUNE: Government of India's Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and the French Development Agency (AFD) signed a Credit Facility Framework agreement for extending bilateral funding to the tune of 245m Euros to fund Maharashtra Metro's Pune Metro Project.

Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MAHA-METRO) an equal partnership joint venture of GoI and Government of Maharashtra is currently executing the Pune Metro Project. The estimated total cost of the project is Rs. 11,420 crores of which the loan component is Rs. 5831.5 crores. The loan component is to be funded by European Investment Bank EIB and AFD.

The current credit facility signed between DEA and AFD France would be to extend bilateral funding to the tune of approximately 245 million Euros to fund the Pune Metro Project. For Maharashtra Metro, Pune Metro is the second Metro project after Nagpur Metro to be financed by AFD France under the Indo French partnership for clean, socially inclusive and climate-friendly mobility for people in cities.

The funds to be received from AFD will be used primarily to fund system packages i.e. Signalling, OHE, Power supply, Telecom and some civil packages. The physical progress of the project is in excess of 27%. The agreements were signed by C.S.Mohpatra, Additional Secretary Department of Economic Affairs, and Clemence Vidal de la Blache, Deputy Director for AFD in India, in the presence of the Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr. Alexandre Ziegler.

The signing ceremony was also attended by Joint Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) Mukund Kumar Sinha, Brijesh Dixit, Managing Director, MAHA METRO, S. Sivamathan, Director Finance, MAHA-METRO and Ramnath Subramaniam, Executive Director (Strategic Planning), MAHA-METRO.

On December 18, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the third phase of the Pune Metro rail while asserting that Metro is becoming the lifeline of cities in the country.

Sanvi Kshetri won Gold, Silver in Taekwondo


29/1/2019

PUNE: Sanvi Kshetri, a seven year girl earned a Gold and Silver medal in the National Taekwondo Championship. This championship was held in Rajaram Bhiku Pathare stadium, Kharadi recently. Sanvi won the Gold and Silver medal in both Poomsae and Kyorugi (Fight) respectively.

Horangee Taekwondo Academy has organised this championship. Sanvi is practicing taekwondo from the age of 5 and currently she is studying in 1st standard in Vidya Pratishthan CBSE english medium school. She got the inspiration from her family only. There were almost 1500 competitors in the championship from different states such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Asam, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Gujrat, West Bengal, Haryana and Delhi. 

Sanvi is training under her father Sidhu Kshetri. He is Guinness World Record Holder and International Taekwondo Champion. Recently in Kolkata International Taekwondo Championship, Sidhu kshetri won Bronze medal. Sanvi is preparing for next champion ship under Sidhu Kshetri.


Monday, 28 January 2019

'La Classe' fashion show 2019 at SIFT


28/1/2019

PUNE : Suryadatta Education Foundation's Suryadatta Institute of Fashion Technology (SIFT) organizes the La Classe, 8th Annual Runway Fashion Show will be held on February 8th from 5.00 pm onwards at Bavdhan Campus, Pune, informed Renuka Ghospurkar, Head of SIFT Pune.

Renuka Ghospurkar said, “Fashion Shows have always been glamorous events which boost visibility and promotion of brands associated. Fashion shows provide platform to creative designers to display their art and equal opportunity to models to showcase their talent, boosting their confidence. The Fashion Show is also an effort to bring together best Designer from the students.”

Every year a fashion show 'La Classé' conducted in an exhilarating atmosphere full of glamour and glitter. Dozens of celebrity models from tinsel town Mumbai showcase the apparels designed and stitched by the students of SIFT. A large number of celebrities from the fashion world and film industry enhance the charm of the show with their presence. Every year there is a different theme for designing the apparels and students complete a thorough research before creating mind boggling designs, she added.

As per our philosophy we always encourage the all level strata to built their own pathways  and for the same we are  going to invite few girls from the various NGO’s those who are really deserve to explore with the new ideas and innovations by updating their knowledge through this medium and for them the entry passes will be free, she further said.

As our tagline suggests “New style Innovation”, this year we have surprises for audience as we have celebrity walking the ramp along with top models of India. In 2019, Students if SIFT will showcase 9 different themes and working on different aspects such as different manipulation techniques, Surface ornamentation techniques and embellishment techniques. The students are inspired by Insects, African tribes, Banjara tribes etc. They are developing the outfits by using denim, Can Can fabric, Khun fabric and many more.

Students would drape the models with their designed outfits, accessories and jewellery accordingly. This event will open vast opportunities for young designers. Fashion show is an apt event to promote youth & thus contributing to our goal as an organization.

Suryadatta Institute of Fashion Technology (SIFT) provides students with newer options to discover more possibilities in their career through various courses. Please contact for further details Ms. Renuka Ghospurkar, Event Coordinator, Mob. 8956943824.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

PMC-run hospital lies unused for seven years

24/1/2019

PUNE: Activists have slammed the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for grossly underutilizing Late Bindumadhav Thackeray hospital in Kothrud, a major portion of which has been lying unused for over seven years now. Inaugurated in December 2011, the hospital is spread over an area of 12,500 sq.ft. It was built to cater to the population in Kothrud and Karvenagar.

“Only three rooms at the six-storey hospital building are functional in the form of small dispensary as of now,” health activist Abhijit More said, adding that it was a massive wastage of taxpayers’ money. He said different political parties were in power during the last seven years, but none paid any attention to the hospital. “It shows gross apathy of corporators and administrators to the people’s needs,” More added.

The civic administration’s often-cited excuse of ‘lack of skilled manpower to run the facility’ has also drawn the ire of residents and activists alike. “Corporators and civic administration are only interested in proposing and building hospital buildings. For a change, why can’t they plan about arranging the manpower beforehand?” More asked.

An activist said, “The Bindumadhav Thackeray hospital is a glaring example of the rot in the PMC’s governance. We have demanded probe into this matter, after which the guilty should be punished.” The activists have also condemned the civic authorities for lack of facilities at Sutar maternity hospital in Kothrud. “The PMC-run Sutar maternity hospital has no facility for delivery through Caesarean section (C-section),” they said.

Other activist said it was a paradox that a maternity hospital equipped with an operation theatre does not have a C-section facility. According to World Health Organisation, 10 to 15% deliveries require C-section for various complications. “At Sutar maternity hospital, pregnant women are shifted to the state-run Sasson Hospital for C-section in case of emergency. The Sassoon hospital is already overcrowded,” More said.

In the absence of proper facilities, people are forced to spend Rs 20,000 to Rs 60,000 at private hospitals, which takes away their precious savings. “Sometimes, they have to take loan to pay bills of private hospitals,” Uttam Jadhav, a Kothrud resident, said.

Ramchandra Hankare, health department chief, PMC, said, “We have received a proposal from a social organisation to run a rehabilitation centre for children with special needs. The remaining portion of the hospital building will be utilised once the plan is approved.”

The civic body can’t afford to have unused hospital buildings, considering that about 40% of the city’s population lives in slums, and they are in dire need of affordable medical care. The PMC can tap into the corporate social responsibility funds to pay the salary packages of specialists required for its hospitals. Availability of more public health care facilities will also reduce the burden on Sassoon hospital and improve the quality of medical care.

Tata Motors launches Harrier SUV, price Rs 12.69 lakh

24/1/2019

PUNE (MUMBAI): Home-grown auto major Tata Motors launched its most-awaited premium mid-size sports utility vehicle (SUV) in diesel, Tata Harrier in the domestic market at starting price of Rs 12.69 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai).

Built around Tata's Impact Design 2.0 at the company's new manufacturing line at the Pune facility, the five-seater SUVhas a lot of the design features from the concept car, H5X that was showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo.

"With this product, Tata Motors has rightfully entered the premium mid-size SUV segment. The Harrier is a strong proof point of our turnaround 2.0 strategy, and it will be a game changer in the market," Tata Motors chief executive and managing director Guenter Butschek said.

The new vehicle from the Tatas will compete with the likes of Jeep Compass, Hyundai Creta, Hyundai Tucson and the Mahindra XUV500. "The all-new Harrier is our most premium offering yet and will attract aspiring buyers. Built on the Omega architecture, which is derived from Land Rover's D8 platform, the Harrier is a testament of our continued efforts to deliver global products," said Mayank Pareek, president of passenger vehicle business unit, Tata Motors.

The passenger vehicle business of Tata Motors is going through strength to strength on the back of new products and Harrier promises to further strengthen company's market presence by surpassing all current benchmarks and paving entirely new standards for SUV market in the country, he added.

Tata Motors saw an 8 per cent drop indomestic sales to 50,440 units in December 2018 as compared with 54,627 units in the same month of 2017. The company's passenger vehicle sales in the domestic market rose 1 per cent to 14,260 units last month, compared with 14,180 units in December 2017.

As per SIAM, the passenger vehicles sales grew by 4.37 per cent in April-December 2018 over the same period last year. Of this, the sale of passenger cars grew by 4.34 per cent while the utility vehicle segment logged 2.63 per cent growth. The sale of vans grew by 12.89 per cent in April-December period of last year over the period year-ago.

Maha Brahmin community holds protest for quota


24/1/2019

PUNE (MUMBAI): An organisation claiming to work for Brahmin rights Tuesday held a dharna demanding four per cent reservation for the community instead of inclusion in the Centre's 10 per cent quota for economically backward sections in the general category.

The protest, in Azad Maidan in south Mumbai, by the Samasta Brahmin Samaj Maharashtra, an umbrella body of 24 groups, saw around 1500 people, including priests, from Nashik, Thane, Pune and other parts of the state. A delegation which met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis later told reporters that the CM was positive on their demands except that of quota.

Vishwajeet Deshpande, an organisation functionary said, "All other demands except reservation for Brahmins were accepted by the government. However, reservation is our key demand for which we will continue our protest." He added that the 10 per cent quota announced by the Narendra Modi government is for 250 castes and religions.”

"We want 4 per cent quota, which is half of the population percentage of Brahmins in Maharashtra. 
We will intensify our agitation if the government fails to give reservation before Lok Sabha code of conduct comes into force," he said. He added that their demands include creation of a separate financial board for the Brahmin community to help economically weaker sections, a separate 'atrocity act' to protect the community as well as student hostels in every district for the community.

The group also demanded free education from kindergarten to post graduation, completion of the Shivaji memorial and Bharat Ratna for freedom fighter Veer Savarkar. Deshpande said the statues of Dadoji Konddev and playwright Ram Ganesh Gadkari should be re-installed. These statues were removed from the Pune Municipal Corporation premises.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

No need for punitive action against VW directors: SC

22/1/2019

PUNE (New Delhi): The Supreme Court observed that there wasn’t need for punitive action to be taken against the directors of Volkswagen as the environment tribunal’s order on deposit of Rs.100 crore to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) pertaining to use of a cheat device in diesel vehicles leading to flouting of emission norms had been complied with.

A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta also found favour with expanding the judicial scope of the issue of using a cheat device in diesel vehicles to flout emission norms to other automobile companies indulging in the practice.

The top court was of the view that the environment tribunal should have refrained from passing the order on making the deposit as it was already seized of the case. Accordingly, the court refused to stay the NGT order directing the German automobile company to deposit Rs. 100 crore to the CPCB.

It was also made clear that all rights and contentions of the parties would remain open and Volkswagen could raise its objections to the expert committee before the NGT, which had recommended a fine of Rs. 171.34 crore on Volkswagen for causing air pollution in Delhi due to excess nitrogen oxide emission.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Volkswagen expressly, told the court that the company had been singled out on the issue. On 17 January, a NGT bench headed by chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel had directed Volkswagen to deposit Rs. 100 crore within 24 hours in order to comply with an earlier order of 16 November, 2018. The automobile company was asked to give an undertaking for deposit of the amount by 5pm the same day.

The court was hearing a batch of pleas against the German automobile company for violation of emission and pollution norms by use of a cheat device in its diesel vehicles. Volkswagen India had in December 2015 agreed to recall a total of 3.23 lakh vehicles in India in the wake of flouting emission norms after the Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (Arai) found variations in on-road emission levels in diesel engine models sold by Volkswagen.

Volkswagen opens new R&D facility in Pune

22/1/2019

PUNE: Volkswagen opened a new research and development facility in Pune as part of the group’s ‘India 2.0’ plan that calls for a Rs 2,000-crore investment into R&D, helping enhance the local content in the cars to be sold in the world’s fastest-expanding major economy. 

The Pune facility is the first step in the VW group’s €1 billion (Rs 7,900 crore) commitment to make cars for the Indian market and grab a larger pie for its brands that have hitherto remained only on the fringes of the local automobile market. 

Inaugurated by the prime minister of Czech Republic, Andrej Babiš, the new technology centre will employ 250 engineers who will work towards achieving 95% localisation of components on vehicles developed specially for India, up from 76% currently, the company said. The local R&D base will ensure that the products are designed for the Indian market as against customising global products for the Indian buyers, something that did not motivate customers locally. 

“We expect to roll out the first products, for both the Skoda and the Volkswagen brands, by 2020-21, starting with a mid-sized SUV based on the MQB A0 IN platform,” said Gurpratap Boparai, who took charge as the head of the Volkswagen group in India. The MQB A0 IN is the Indian version of the global MQB A0 vehicle architecture. 

Until then, it is expected to be challenging for the VW Group in India, said Boparai, as the company would continue to rely on upgrades of the existing models to stay relevant in the highly competitive market. The India 2.0 project will be led by Skoda India to revive the group’s footprint in the country, which has remained sub-optimal so far with a share of less than 2% in the growing market. While the brand Volkswagen hit its lowest-ever volume in a decade in India in 2018, Skoda has become a niche player. Bringing the MQB A0 platform to India is aimed at changing the group’s fortunes with four mainstream models that include one sedan and one SUV each from both the brands. 

The first model, which will be a Skoda SUV, will be exhibited at the Auto Expo in Greater Noida in 2020 and is likely to hit the market in the last quarter of FY20-21. The subsequent models will follow, with a new launch every 3-6 months. According to several people in the know, the Volkswagen Group is planning for an annual volume of 1.8-1.9 lakh units on MQB A0 in 3-4 years of the launch, with an eventual goal of capturing 5% of the growing Indian market that is set to become the third largest in the world. The group is also considering exporting vehicles from India to other markets with similar needs. 

Last week, VW India was pulled up by the NGT for not submitting an interim deposit of Rs 100 crore with the CPCB until clarity emerges on the allegations against the company for selling polluting diesel cars in India.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Kashmir hoteliers confident of spurt in bookings

21/1/2019

PUNE: Kashmir hoteliers are gearing up for a bumper summer with spurt in tourist activity this Summer. Kashmir Hoteliers and Restaurant Owners Federation ( KHAROF) which has more than 450 members and about 26000 rooms expects a tourist inflow of more than 1 crore tourists in Jammu and  Kashmir this year in summer.

Adressing a press conference on the sidelines of a road show held at Grand Sheraton hotel in Pune, Wahid Malik President KHAROF said that J&K Tourism in collaboration with various Tourism Trade Organisations are conducting road shows in 9 cities including Pune and three abroad in Malaysia , Thailand and Bangladesh. Maharashtra accounts for largest number of tourists to J&K which is estimated to be around 20 lakhs per year.

He added that pick up in  adventure activities like trekking, bicycle trails, river rafting , paragliding , skiing , snow scooters, ice skating rings and best golfing destinations including Srinagar , Pahalgam , Gulmarg,  Sonamarg, LEH, Kargil and Jammu is also helping tourist arrivals in other seasons making Jammu and Kashmir an all weather destination. The new destinations we are promoting including bungas valley, Tosamaidan, Simthan top, gurez valley, lolab valley, doodpathri. Etc

This summer we  are expecting atleast 1 crore tourist arrivals  in Jammu and Kashmir said Javed Burza Past President KHAROF and Chairman Tourism Promotion Sub Committee . Riyaz Shah, Dy. Director Tourism said that the varied landscape of J&K is a major attraction for not only Indian Tourists but also International tourists. We are expecting to double the number of arrivals from foreign countries from 75 thousand to 1.5 lac this year. Foreign tourists  includes those from  Italy, Germany, France particularly to Ladakh and  from Malaysia Thailand and Bangladesh to Kashmir . 

Dr Vishwas Kelkar President Travel Agents Association of Pune   said that although in the past couple of years people have been postponing their plans to some extent , this year we have seen increased activity for J&K. Punekars are exploring new ways to enjoy Kashmir . Apart from the traditional popular center's like Srinagar , Gulmarg , Pahalgam people are now ready visit off beat destinations of Kashmir  including Jhelum River and lesser crowded places to enjoy the real beauty of nature. The nature of activities is also expanding from only leisure tourism to adventure tourism with entire family like river rafting.

Sanjay Nahar , Founder Sarhad said that we have a dedicated helpline for tourist who need help in Kashmir . What is important is that people in Maharashtra have an emotional connect with J&K and this is resulting in increased people to people connect when tourists visit Kashmir. Around 25 members from Kashmir Travel Trade are in Pune for promotion to Kashmir Including Manzoor Pakhtoon, Chairman JKTA. & Nasir Shah, Chairman J&K PILTOF.

PMRDA invites suggestion, objections on Hyperloop

21/1/2019

PUNE: The Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) has invited suggestions and objections to its mega hyperloop project and has appealed to residents to give inputs within the next 30 days.

Kiran Gitte, PMRDA metropolitan commissioner said, “As hyperloop is a new concept and will be introduced in India for the first time, the government is inviting suggestions and objections from the residents.” Gitte said that residents can file the objections regarding intellectual property or those who are getting affected can also sends in their suggestions.

Gitte said US-based Virgin Hyperloop One company has shown interest to execute the project between Pune and Mumbai. This project would be executed in two stages. Firstly, a 14 km demonstration track will be developed on the Pune-Mumbai in which 100 per cent investment will be done by the company and secondly, the work will start on the remaining track.

Hyperloop is high-speed travelling mode, where a pod-like vehicle travels through a tube at a speed which is more than the usual airline speed. The Maharashtra government is exploring the transportation technology (hyperloop) for the Pune-Mumbai route with an aim to reduce the travel time to just 25 minutes each way. According to a statement from the CMO, so far, Virgin Hyperloop One has completed the pre-feasibility study for the Pune-Mumbai route.

The hyperloop, with a speed of 350 kmph, will be able to move 10,000 passengers an hour and 150 million passengers a year once fully operational, said the Virgin Group Founder and Virgin Hyperloop One chairman. It is capable of a speed of up to 1,000 kmph and will connect the Mumbai and Navi Mumbai airports.

Suryadatta Group sets up rehab centre

21/1/2019

PUNE: To de-addict the youth it is necessary that parents to spend quality time with the children, teachers should guide the students in selecting appropriate role models and to help build up the confidence,” said Mukta Puntambekar, Deputy Director of Muktangan Mitra, Project Director of Muktangan Rehabilitation Center, Pune. 

She also brought forth the point how the addiction to alcohol is increasing among women too in recent times. She was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Suryadatta Global Rehabilitation Centre for De-addiction (SGRCD) which is formed by Suryadatta Group of Institutes to build addiction less and moral, holistic society.

Dr. Sanjay Chordia, Founder of Suryadatta Group of Institutes, Dr. Sushma Chordia, Vice-President of Suryadatta Group of Institute, Yashraj Parakhi, Chairman & MD, Parakhi Promoters and Developers, Dr Sushil K Sharma, Associate Dean, Miller college of Business, Ball State Universituy; Dr Mary Theresa Seig, Assisstant Provost, Rinker Centre for International Progress, Ball State university; and Mr Rahul Jain, Co Founder Innoserve were present on this occasion.

In this session, Mukta Puntambekar gave a presentation, listing out the various kind of addictions like Alcohol, Tobacco & Social Media; reasons for addiction, the chief being stressful lifestyle & peer pressure; identifying the signs of addiction; and how to deal with it. She stressed upon the need for parents to spend quality time with the children, for teachers to guide the students in selecting appropriate role models and to help build up the confidence. 

Dr Sanjay Chordia said, “Suryadatta Education Foundation is committed to achieve quality education in a holistic manner. It is rightly said that a healthy mind lives in a healthy body. And to ensure that our students and faculty imbibe a healthy lifestyle, we keep inviting achievers from the field of fitness and health to keep them motivated and inspired. Now, we are committed to shape up the addiction less society. To achieve this, we are setup the Global Rehabilitation Center at our campus.”

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Symbiosis launches Centre for European Studies

20/1/2019

PUNE: Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic praised “Make in India” the policy initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he further said that Czech Republic has started their investment in India in multiple sectors and would like to increase the bilateral trade between India and Czech Republic.

Educational Institutions should play a vital role in educating the next generation about the historical richness of the country along with the new technological developments he added further in his speech at the launch of Symbiosis Centre for European Studies” at SIU’s Viman Nagar Campus.

Symbiosis Centre for European Studies (SCES) is based upon a three-fold mandate of teaching, training and outreach to foster progressive insights on EU integration, locally, nationally, and internationally. It promotes the interdisciplinary understanding of European languages, history, politics, economy and societies. SCES will: * Foster the study of and innovative research on Europe among SIU faculty as well as graduate and undergraduate students.  

* Facilitate the training of new generations of scholars and experts in European studies. * Work as a host unit for researchers and multi-disciplinary research projects. * Serve as a forum for vibrant discussions on contemporary affairs in Europe and its impact on the global economy which will nurture the exchange of ideas across disciplines, sectors and generations.

Its purview includes all European countries and the European Union. Symbiosis has been actively working with European partners for exchanges, Study in India Programs and Erasmus+ projects. In addition, our Symbiosis Law School offers a specialized certificate program in European Union Legal Studies.

During the ceremony Symbiosis International (Deemed University) has given a proposal for setting up “Symbiosis Takshashila Chamber for Education and Culture (STCEC) in Czech Republic. Symbiosis will contribute as a knowledge partner with its focus on activities that promote India’s traditions, educational opportunities that includes exchanges of faculty, scholars and students, scientific advancement, research and innovation in Czech Republic.

This initiative will further the recent discussions and agreement with the Presidents of both the countries in September 2018 on the Work Plan for Support of Czech-Indian Projects for the Years 2019-2022 between the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic and Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of India.

Along with Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Dr. S. B. Mujumdar, Chancellor, Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar, Pro Chancellor, Symbiosis International (Deemed University) and Principal Director, Symbiosis; Dr. Rajani Gupte, Vice Chancellor, Symbiosis International (Deemed University); Minister of Industry and Trade, Marta Nováková, Ambassador of the Czech Republic, His Excellency Milan Hovorka, Vice-Chairman of the Research, Development and Innovation Council, Karel Havlíček were the other distinguished dignitaries present for this function.

SALE WAR: Flipkart vs Amazon

20/1/2019

PUNE: The two biggest e-commerce players in India, Flipkart and Amazon, kicked off their Republic Day sales on Sunday. The Flipkart Republic Day Sale will continue till January 22, whereas the Amazon Great India Sale will end on January 23. Discounts on sections including smartphones, electronics, fashion, kitchen appliances and more have been offered under these two sales.

Notably, this will be the last sale before the new policies for e-commerce sector come into play. The new FDI rules are scheduled to be put into effect from February 1. This might be the last chance for e-tailers to offer big discounts on their inventories.

On that note, here are the top five smart phones deals that are being offered under the Flipkart Republic Day Sale and Amazon Great Indian sale:

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Two variants of Samsung Galaxy Note 9, 6GB/128GB and 8GB/512GB, are available with discounts on both Flipkart and Amazon during their Republic Day sales. While the 6GB variant of the phablet is available at Rs 67,900 after a discount of Rs 5,700, the 8GB option is being sold at Rs 84,900 after a discount of Rs 8,100.

Google Pixel 3 & 3 XL

Flipkart is offering discounts on Google's Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL flagship smartphones during its Republic Day sale. During the sale, all variants of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL come with a discount of Rs 6,001. Under the offer, the 64GB and 128GB variants of Pixel 3 are available at Rs 64,999 and Rs 73,999 respectively.

The Google Pixel 3 XL is available at Rs 76,999 for the 64GB variant, whereas the 128GB variant is available at Rs 85,999. Flipkart is also offering Rs 18,800 exchange discount on all variants of the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

Apple iPhone X

Under the Amazon Great Indian Sale, the 64GB Apple iPhone X is available at Rs 74,999 with a discount of Rs 16,901. The 256GB variant of the iPhone X is available at Rs 89,999 after a discount of Rs 18,931.

Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2

The recently launched Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 is available with discount under the Flipkart Republic Day Sale. Both variants of the device, with 3GB and 4GB RAM, come with a Rs 3,000 discount. Under the sale, the 3GB variant of Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 is being retailed at Rs 12,999, and the 4GB variant is available at Rs 14,999.

POCO F1

The different variants of POCO F1 by Xiaomi are available with discounts between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000. The base 6GB/64GB variant is available at Rs 19,999, the 6GB/128GB variant at Rs 22,999, and the 6GB Armoured Edition at Rs 23,999. The normal 8GB/ 256GB variant is available at Rs 27,999 and the 8GB Armoured Edition is available at Rs 28,999. All variants also come with additional Rs 13,800 discount on exchange.

Parag Milk launches premium Milk at Rs. 120/ lit


Devendra Shah, Chairman, Parag Milk Foods
20/1/2019

PUNE: Pune-based dairy company Parag Milk Foods has launched its premium milk brand 'Pride of Cows' in South Delhi and National Capital Region. Gradually, they will expand to the entire state in the next couple of months.

To provide farm fresh experience, the company will airlift the milk from their dairy farm, in Manchar, near Pune and bring it to consumers in Delhi. Devendra Shah, Chairman, Parag Milk Foods said the company will majorly focus on logistics and distribution and it will take between six to seven hours for milk to get delivered. The rationale of the move, he said, is to strengthen company's presence in North. "Delhi NCR is the largest milk market of the country valued at around Rs 11,000 crore."

Currently, they serve 25,000 households in Mumbai, Pune and Surat. The USP of Pride of Cows is its direct farm-to-home milk concept, especially for consumers who want a healthy lifestyle, consuming natural and unadulterated products. The milk will be sourced from the company's dairy farm Bhagyalaxmi Dairy, which has 3,000 Holstein Freisan cows. The company claims to be using technology for cow comfort and to ensure milk is packaged with zero human intervention.

"The Company's revenues from Pride of Cows has grown at a CAGR of 28 per cent over FY13-18 and it will continue to grow at this pace," said Shah at the launch. The Rs 120 per litre milk brand is currently available only by a 'by-invitation' based model and consumers can subscribe to the premium milk on the Pride of Cows website and mobile app.

The company recently acquired Danone facility in Sonipat and commenced the operations with pouch milk supply under their Gowardhan brand.