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India-Diaspora, Business, Diplomatic and Political Connectivity

Editor’s Desk You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today —Abraham Lincoln, American President


or a considerably long time American healthcare costs have been on an upward spiral. In 2016, they stood at USD 3.3 trillion, almost a fifth of the country’s GDP. It meant an expenditure of USD 10,348 per person. In 1960, in comparison, it was just five per cent of the nation’s GDP. The crisis, fuelled by less healthier lifestyles than decades ago, is blowing very hard with many in the U.S. finding it next-to-impossible to buy expensive private health insurance. As a result it burdens the Government to provide Medicare and Medicaid, programmes that have given leeway to health care providers to raise prices. Given the current situation, someone, somewhere, needs to do some out-of-the box thinking and come up with smart solutions without letting things degenerate further. No more can America’s health professionals escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. In this dire scenario billionaires Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase decided to find someone who could at least find a solution for employees of the companies they run—these employees number about 1.2 million. The unique search committee carried out dozens of interviews before zeroing down on Dr Atul Gawande, an Indian-origin doctor currently based in Boston. Gawande who will be the CEO of the yet-to-benamed entity is tasked to reduce the ever-growing share of the U.S. economy that’s taken up by healthcare costs by bringing conglomerates together and using salaried in-house caregivers to provide routine health services. There is no competition, no compulsion to bring in revenues or profits. The ultimate vision, in the words of Dimon, remains clear: “Our goal is to create solutions that benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans.” On our cover we have focused on Dr Atul Gawande and what made the famous troika that includes Dimon choose him.


empire Volume 14 No. 1 June 2018 RNI No.: DELENG/2005/16693

GLOBAL ADVISORY BOARD Mr Inder Singh, Dr Rami Ranger, Dr Kamalanathan Sappani, Mr Mridul Pathak, Ms Priya Tandon Editor Sayantan Chakravarty Consulting Editor Yogesh Sood (Business and Commerce) Sipra Das (Photography) Kul Bhushan Jayant Borkar (Mumbai Affairs) Sanjay Sharma (BJP Affairs) Paras Ramoutar (Caribbean Affairs) Vishnu Bisram (New York) Premchand Ramlochun (Mauritius) Liladhar J. Bharadia (Kenya) Jay Banerjei (Toronto) Head—Art and Print Jaydev Bisht Additional Contributions From Arul Louis, Radhika Bhirani, Yogi Ashwini Registered Office: N-126, II Floor, Greater Kailash I, New Delhi - 110 048. Contact: +91.11.2923.3647, +91.11.2923.1515. Our Associate Offices: Hyderabad: Abhijit Bhattacharjee, Tel: +91.9848033874. Mauritius: 28, Cnr. Jasmins and Lataniers Avenue Résidence Sunsetville, La Caverne, Vacoas 73310 Republic of Mauritius Trinidad and Tobago: 61 Main Road, Caparo, Trinidad, W.I. Canada: Suite 209 885 Progess Ave, Toronto, ON M1H G3G Canada

Staying with the Indian diaspora in the USA, we’ve covered the National Spelling Bee and how the annual competition has turned into a winning fortress for Indianorigin children, year after year. In 2018, Karthik Nemmani, a 14-year-old eighthgrader from Texas spelt the incredibly unusual word koinonia correctly to beat 12-year-old Naysa Modi—who got bewusstseinslage wrong—into second place. Indian-origin children have won the National Spelling Bee for 11 years in a row, ever since Sameer Mishra won the title in 2008. Not surprisingly, in May 2018, Indianorigin student Venkat Ranjan won the National Geographic Bee in the USA, another event that Indians have dominated for several years. What is it that makes them such masters in these bewitchingly cerebral competitions?

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Elsewhere in the magazine we’ve segments on Peru—a country on which we’ve run a series—and Cuba.

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Sayantan Chakravarty is in a select group of 12 writers chosen by Scholastic Education to promote advanced English literature for schools worldwide. Included in the group are Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats, R K Narayan (Padma Vibushan and Sahitya Award winner), journalist and poet Walt Whitman, writer Saki (Hector Hugh Munro), poet Nissim Ezekiel (Sahitya Akademi Awardee), writer Jerome K Jerome (author of Three Men in a Boat), poet Edward Lear, Roald Dahl (16th on Time Magazine’s list of greatest British writers). Sayantan Chakravarty’s stories featured in Best of Indian Express of 25 years and among select stories in Best of India Today’s 25 years.



JUNE 2018



STAR DOCTOR ................................................... 08 The rise of Atul Gawande

SPELLING BEE .................................................... 12 Indian diaspora continues dominance in the USA

AMAZON RAINFOREST ...................................... 29 A magical slice of Peru

SOUTHEAST ASIAN DIPLOMACY ..................... 20 PM Modi in Singapore and Indonesia

CUBA CALLING .................................................. 25 Delightful destination

FIJIAN CONNECTION ......................................... 16 Bollywood—the perennial cultural bridge




CONNECT: +91.9811627971 / +91.9953824095 / +91.11.29231515 / 29233647 EMAIL: / /





ndian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in June visited the Phoenix Settlement near Durban which served as Mahatma Gandhi’s home during his stay in South Africa, and planted a tree sapling. “Where Bapu developed his philosophy of non-violence!” the Indian Consulate in Durban tweeted and added that Minister Sushma Swaraj visited the settlement, a South African Heritage site, “paying respect to the place that served as Gandhiji's home.” During the course of her visit, she planted a sapling of the Cape chestnut, a tree that is cultivated widely for its prolific flower display. She also interacted with students of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Computer Education and Information Technology, a centre established by the Indian government. Established by Mahatma Gandhi in 1904, the Phoenix Settlement is situated some 20 km north of Durban. The settlement, devoted to Gandhi’s principles of Satyagraha or passive resistance, has played an important spiritual and political role throughout its long history, promoting justice, peace and equality. Gandhi established the settlement as a communal experimental farm with a view to giving each family two acres of land which they could develop. He believed that communities like Phoenix which advocated communal living would form a sound basis for the struggle against social injustice. India’s Foreign Minister arrived in Durban from Pretoria where she attended the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Foreign Ministers Meeting and chaired an informal meeting of the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) Foreign Ministers. Durban is home to a significant number of people of Indian origin. ❐


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he second Indian Food Festival organised in Berlin was appreciated by more than 3,000 people at the Indian Embassy in the German capital. The colourful Indian dishes were tastefully displayed at the fest on June 10, 2018 at different food stalls representing various regional foods from all parts of India. Minister Personnel of the Indian Embassy T V Ravichandran whose vision made the food fest a great success for the second successive year, joined hands with 12 Indian Berlinbased associations including Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayali, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu, in a collaborative venture to showcase the authentic cuisines of their particular regions. “Food is the most piquant expression of any culture. While India as a nation rightly boasts of its rich cultural diversity visible in its multilingualism, multi-religiosity and multi-ethnicity, it is, however, appreciated most visually on a platter,” Indian-origin poet Rajvinder Singh, who has been living in Berlin since January 1981, told the Media. “Shaped by tradition, geography, climate and cultural fusions and supported by its local ingredients, Indian food had attained a myriad of regional and sub-regional cousins,” the three-time German poet laureate added. The aroma, taste and the culinary forms of various dishes which these communities presented at different stalls allured and enchanted the German families who rushed to the red sandstone embassy complex situated right opposite the Tiergarten Park in the heart of Berlin. The venue itself helped emphasise and enhance the rich cultural heritage of India, and testify to the diversity of its characteristic places, communities and groups across the

vast fabric of a vast country. The food festival saw the touch of true festivity as various regions presented their dances and music performances in the embassy auditorium. As no festivity can be complete without a dholak, the Punjabi community made people dance to the vibrant sounds of the drum played by Praveen Kumar. ❐ june 2018 | india empire






t’s not every day that Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon find the time to get together and hunt for a suitable candidate for a job that can only be described as extraordinary. These are among the most influential business people in the world, with two of them also being among the richest. Time for all three is, undoubtedly, money… fairly significant amounts at that. Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is the world’s wealthiest person in 2018 according to Forbes magazine, the first centi-billionaire with a net worth of USD 112 billion--a figure way larger than the economies of several countries in the world. Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway, widely known as the Oracle of Omaha, is third on that global rich list with a net worth of USD 84 billion. Jamie Dimon, a billionaire by net worth, runs JPMorgan Chase, the largest US bank in terms of assets. So who exactly were they looking for? It turns out that this unique executive search committee made up of this celebrated troika of corporate chieftains was looking for a highly respected professional to come up with ways to bring down healthcare costs for employees in their own companies who overall number about 1.2 million. If solutions eventually work out, then they can be applied to the entire nation. While announcing the venture in January 2018, Dimon said, “Our goal is to create solutions that


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benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans.” It turned out that the professional the three billionaires had zeroed in on was none other than Dr Atul Gawande, 52, reputed surgeon, author and journalist. Born to Indian immigrant doctor parents in the US, Atul Gawande practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. According to his own website, he is a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Samuel O.Thier Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. He is also executive director at Ariadne Labs, a joint centre for health systems innovation, and chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally. He’s also been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1998 and has written four New York Times bestsellers: Complications, Better, The Checklist Manifesto, and most recently, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. He is the winner of two National Magazine Awards, AcademyHealth’s Impact Award for highest research impact on healthcare, a MacArthur Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Award for writing on science. In short, his bio is pretty much accomplished and he has become a household name. His selection is all the more commendable because Gawande belongs to the Asian

REASON TO SMILE: Dr Atul Gawande has got the nod over dozens of other potential candidates for a job that could make him America’s most famous doctor, by far

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WRITER WITH SURGICAL PRECISION: Dr Gawande’s article on The Cost Conundrum in the New Yorker in 2009 pointed out exactly why healthcare had become vastly expensive in some parts of the USA. Among others, it impressed Warren Buffet

The Munger connection may have eventually paved the Indian community which constitutes a mere one percent of way for his selection of the yet-to-be-named—one set of the U.S. population. Dr Gawande had once managed to say a fleeting hello to speculation says it could be the ABC firm, after the first Bezos at a TED Talk. He had no idea about Jamie Dimon, letters of the three companies that have teamed up— new healthcare company. In 2010, in an though. Interestingly, years ago, Charlie interview to CNBC, Buffet too had Munger, a businessman and entrepreneur In 2010, in an interview praised The Cost Conundrum piece, going who is Buffet’s longtime right-hand man, to CNBC, Buffet too on record to say that “…fellow who’s had interacted with Gawande, in a way had praised The Cost written on healthcare recently in the that would have been hugely flattering for Conundrum piece, New Yorker—Gawande—he had an arthe Indian-origin doctor. That was soon going on record to say ticle last summer that was absolutely after Gawande had written an acclaimed that “…fellow who’s magnificent.” But the intermediary who article for the New Yorker titled The Cost did first get in touch with Gawande is Conundrum in 2009. The piece examined written on healthcare Todd Combs, an investment manager at why healthcare had become vastly more recently in the Berkshire Hathaway, Buffet’s company. expensive in some parts of the U.S. than New Yorker— Combs who was named on the board of others, in spite of little difference in its Gawande—he had an JPMorgan Chase by Dimon put the three quality as well as the level of sickness of article last summer billionaires together. the people receiving it. He did the reportthat was absolutely Recently queried about how much ing from McAllen, Texas, at the time the magnificent” time he would devote to it when he offimost expensive healthcare market in the cially begins July 9, Gawande said, “It’ll U.S. Munger was so impressed after reading the article that he sent a USD 20,000 check to Gawande have to be 100 percent.” He is, however, not giving up his through the New Yorker, one that the doctor promptly re- positions at Harvard or Brigham and Women’s or his work turned. When Munger sent the check back and asked him to as a surgeon, and plans to continue writing. He said he will do whatever he wished with the money, Gawande put it into transition from being executive director to chairman of Ariadne Labs in Boston, which works on solving problems in a research fund at the hospital he worked.

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I was thrilled to be named CEO of this healthcare initiative. I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better healthcare delivery that are saving lives, reducing suffering and eliminating wasteful spending both in the U.S. and across the world

health systems around the world. “I still have my patients and surgery booked through the summer and have my work,” he said. When asked if most of his time will be spent in the new role, he said, “This is going to become the number one priority.” He told a PBS show audience recently that “it is amazing to me that I would get to partner with people like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Jamie Dimon—amazing people who have committed themselves to the long term.” He was forthright, and confident: “But the largest concept here is that I get to have a million patients that I as a doctor get to add to my responsibility, and my job for them is to figure out ways that we’re going to drive better outcomes, better satisfaction with care, and better cost efficiency with new models that can be incubated for all. That is a tall order. But what they’re saying to me is that resources won’t be the problem. Human behavior will be. And achieving scale will be.” Gawande spoke on the nonprofit nature of the organization and made clear that he does not see himself under the thumb of Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, or Berkshire Hathaway bureaucracies—something people who know him said was important to establish before he accepted the job. “Number 1: It is an independent entity, it is not part of those companies. Number 2: It is nonprofit, there are no dollars that go back to those companies. That’s really important.” Announcing the appointment Buffett had said, “Talent and dedication were manifest among the many professionals we interviewed. All felt that better care can be delivered and that rising costs can be checked.” CEOs Jamie Dimon of Chase and Jeff Bezos of Amazon also endorsed the choice according to Buffett. “Jamie, Jeff and I are confident that we have found in Atul the leader who will get this important job done,” he said. Gawande said he was “thrilled to be named CEO of this healthcare initiative. I have devoted my public health career to building scalable solutions for better healthcare delivery

that are saving lives, reducing suffering and eliminating wasteful spending both in the U.S. and across the world. Now I have the backing of these remarkable organizations to pursue this mission with even greater impact for more than a million people, and in doing so incubate better models of care for all. This work will take time but must be done. The system is broken, and better is possible.” Dimon called Gawande “an extraordinary leader and innovator” and added that the three companies “have the talent and resources to make things better, and it is our responsibility to do so.” Bezos added: “ We said at the outset that the degree of difficulty is high and success is going to require an expert’s knowledge, a beginner’s mind and a long-term orientation. Atul embodies all three, and we’re starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor.” The overall goal remains to reduce the ever-growing share of the U.S. economy that’s taken up by healthcare costs by bringing conglomerates together and using salaried in-house caregivers to provide routine health services. There is no competition, no compulsion to bring in revenues or profits because there are none. Since this is not a typical start-up it means Bezos, Buffett and Dimon were not looking for a typical CEO. According to Slate, it demands a leader with a deep understanding of the healthcare industry, and it wanted someone who has the respect of the entire profession. Besides, Gawande will also have an opportunity to use the existing 1.2 million employees between the three companies, to treat and pre-empt common medical conditions, with the potential to generate enormous savings. The global health-care mess can only be fixed by an insider, who knows what works. With the explicit goodwill and backing from three of the richest venture capitalists in America, a lot is resting on Gawande’s shoulders as he embarks on this journey. Whether it can disrupt US healthcare, ❐ of course, remains to be seen. —INDIA EMPIRE BuREAu

june 2018 | india empire




INDIAN DOMINATION Indian-origin children monopolise Spelling Bee championship for the 11th straight year By Arul Louis


or the 11th consecutive year, Indian-origin children have monopolised the National Spelling Bee crown with Karthik Nemmani winning the 2018 championship, beating out five others in the last rounds. Nemmani, a 14-year-old eighth-grader from Texas, spelt koinonia correctly for his victory on May 31, 2018 after second place winner, 12-year-old Naysa Modi, gotbewusstseinslage wrong. “It’s what I’ve been dreaming of for years now,” Nemmani said. He took home USD 40,000 and a trophy from Scripps Bee which is sponsored by the EW Scripps media group, in addition to a USD 2,500 cash prize from Merriam-Webster, the dictionary publisher. Earlier in May 2018, Indian-origin Venkat Ranjan, won the National Geographic Bee, which carries a USD 50,000 scholarship, beating out two others. The second and third places in the contest, which tests knowledge of geography,

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were won by Anoushka Buddhikot and Vishal Sareddy. This year 515 contestants participated in the National Spelling Bee championship, the biggest number so far because of rule changes that widened the pool beyond the local champions and also included those without sponsors, who are usually newspapers. The contest held in Oxon Hill near Washington was televised nationally on the sports channel ESPN. Indian-origin children have won the Spelling Bee championship for 11 continuous years since Sameer Mishra won in 2008. In 1985, Balu Natarajan became the first Indian-origin child to win the Spelling Bee and 17 others have followed him. The Spelling Bee is not merely a memory test of exotic words as it also requires learning about the origins of words and the languages they are derived from. Almost a cult among Indian-Americans, Spelling Bees are organised by community organisations and by businesses wanting to reach them. Nemmani’s cousin, Srivatsav who was a contestant, but

Karthik Nemmani

Venkat Ranjan

didn’t get to the finals, said: “I knew he was going to win. He studied for hours and hours and hours, countless hours.” Koinonia is “an intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community,” according to National Spelling Bee website. The site defined bewusstseinslage as a state of con-

Sameer Mishra

sciousness or a feeling devoid of sensory components. Given the difficulty of the word that tripped Modi, Nemmani said modestly: “She deserves the trophy just as much if not more than I did.” The third through sixth places went to Abhijay Kodali, Jashun Paluru, Navneeth Murali and Sravanth Malla. ❐

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Shaping science, technology debates: U-M’s Shobita Parthasarathy Shobita Parthasarathy was recently promoted to full professor at the Ford School of Public Policy at University of Michigan. In doing so, she joined a small handful of Indian-American women professors and researchers of public policy at U.S. universities. Parthasarathy is a leading scholar of science and technology policy studies. Her last book, "Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe," analyzes the growing concern that modern patents are not adequately serving public interests— public health, economic equity, morality and democracy. Michael Barr, dean of Ford School of Public Policy, called Parthasarathy an "outstanding, highly engaged scholar and an exemplary teacher." Parthasarathy spoke about her journey and her motivations to follow her passions

How did you become interested in a career in public policy? I became interested in politics and law as a high school student. The biggest influence probably was the Junior Statesmen program where I spent one month at Georgetown University. The students met with policymakers and engaged in policy debates and multidisciplinary discussions and it gave me a great overview. As an undergraduate, I chose biology as my major, but I wasn’t satisfied with the usual career paths available. I was really interested in the broader implications of science and wanted to make a difference in society. I also realized the emerging fields of genetics and biotechnology raised a number of policy questions and we needed more social scientific research about their social, ethical, economic and health implications. I spent some time working in science and technology policy in Washington, D.C., which motivated me to pursue a research that would be helpful to policymakers. It took me down a new and exciting path. In my research, I have asked how science and technology and related policies, both shape and are shaped by politics and society. I also get to explore 14 india empire | june 2018

whose voices are heard in policy discussions and how we should balance expert and public voices in policymaking. There are probably less than 10 Indian-American women scholars in public policy. Why do you think there are so few? I think that Indians, even children of Indian immigrants, tend to encourage paths that seem to lead clearly to a stable or lucrative career, like engineering, medicine, business or law. As a result, we see few public policy scholars. I didn’t have too many role models when I was a student, but it’s wonderful that there are more and more Indian women and women of color in public policy and in academia who are relatable to students. It has been truly fulfilling for me, allowing me to feel like I am making a difference in the world through my research, teaching and policy engagement. What motivates your research and teaching? My work is dedicated towards understanding and analyzing innovation to better serve society. I ask the question,

"How can we do a better job of developing innovation and innovation policy to benefit the public interest, achieve social justice goals and ensure public legitimacy?" I am lucky that my parents instilled in me a great passion for social justice and the desire to give back to society, which allowed me to pursue public policy research. I am also thankful that they let me pursue my interests instead of being told to follow the well-tested paths that many in the Indian-American community do. What is your advice to students interested in fol-

lowing career in public policy? My advice to the students is that the career horizons have expanded. There are many more opportunities in social science and qualitative research related to policy and in academia. I hope they will view them as viable places and, hopefully, I can inspire some of them to do it. Being a child of immigrants, I am aware of the history of immigration and Indians in the U.S., and this had a big impact on me. I tell everyone to follow their passions and try to make a difference in the world. And, yes, you can be gainfully employed doing it. â?? june 2018 | india empire 15




aakhon hain yahan dilwale.... That evergreen Mahendra Kapoor number from the 1960s played out in the boutique island resort here— bringing smiles to a group of Indian tourists. But more than that, it testified to how Bollywood connects the over 40 per cent Indians in this archipelagic state to their roots, underlining their lives in what is deemed to be one of the world’s happiest nations. Rajnesh Prasad, 40, is clueless about which part of India his family came from. He hasn’t visited his ancestral country yet, but knows in his heart that he will, one day. A driver, he speaks Hindi, is a fan of megastar Amitabh Bachchan, and loves watching Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s movies. “It is very expensive to travel to India, but films are like a bridge... They reduce the gap for us. I saw Tiger Zinda Hai. Mast thhi (It was fun). Salman is a good actor,” Prasad, preferring to be called Raj a la Shah Rukh Khan’s character in Dil-

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wale Dulhania Le Jayenge, told IANS here. “I have also seen Raid,” he added as he wished upon getting himself photographed with the film’s lead actress Ileana D’Cruz, who was here to shoot a campaign as ambassador of Tourism Fiji last week. For Ileana, who has visited the Pacific nation earlier too, it was heartening to come faceto-face with the fandom for Bollywood. “It’s fascinating. The first time I came here, it was a very private visit and each evening, I would be surprised when during a kahwa ceremony, everyone would get together and sing songs. One day people started singing a Bollywood number, one of Rishi Kapoor’s old songs, and I found it unbelievable... They were singing Bollywood songs, and bonding over Sholay,” she told IANS. “So, they told me, considering there’s a massive Indian population here as well, they do love Bollywood and its songs. I met a Fijian lady at a restaurant, and she said her grandson tells her ‘Please watch Bollywood films, please put Bollywood songs’... So, it is a great mix of culture here,” Ileana said. “You get the authentic Fijian

CULTURAL BRIDGE By Radhika Bhirani

culture, but at the same time, Indians will also feel a lot at home because there’s that little element of Indianness in it,” she added. The Indian-origin population here is mostly descendants of indentured labourers brought to the islands by Fiji’s British colonial rulers between 1879 and 1916 to work on the sugarcane plantations. Kamal Dev, 56, lives here with his wife and three children. He is a huge fan of Mithun Chakraborty and Amitabh Bachchan. There’s also 22-year-old Krishna Prasad, who says South Indian films are a binding factor in his house. He loved the Baahubali franchise. In all, there are 10 theatres across Fiji, including those in the capital city Suva and the country’s transportation hub, Nadi. All the theatres play the latest Bollywood movies. One theatre in Nadi flaunts a poster of Salman’s forthcoming Eid release Race 3, and vibrant CD covers of Hindi films are seen adding colour to the glass window of VCD shops. Anasyu Chand, Assistant Head Teacher at Rampur Primary School, Navua District here, says Indians here are hooked to Hindi television shows as well. Kumkum Bhagya, Mere Sai, Vighnaharta Ganesha, Kundali Bhagya...we watch it all,” said Chand, who said teaching spoken Hindi to all students—Indian-origin or Fijian—was compulsory at their school till fourth grade.

She said Ramayan was recited at the school every Tuesday. “We celebrate all festivals—whether Eid, Easter, Diwali, Ram Navmi or Janmashtami in a big way like they do in films. It is very important for us that our new generation knows about India and all things Indian,” said Chand, who draped a sari especially to meet Ileana, adding: “I feel the emotional touch... Jab hamaare desh ka koi aata hai (when someone from our homeland comes).” ❐

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The second Indian Awards was organized by the India Business Group (IBG), a leading business advisory, in May 2018 at the Place of Westminster. The awards attended by U.K. Home Secretary Rt Hon Sajid Javid, MP, recognized UK-based businesses, individuals and organizations that have contributed to furthering cultural, social and economic relations between India and the U.K. The awards were founded by Mr Amarjit Singh, CEO, IBG, and an established thought leader on UK-India business affairs who is also special advisor for India to the University of Southampton

Special Recognition Award—Dr Rami Ranger CBE, Chairman of Sun Mark Limited

Entrepreneur Award—Mr. Alpesh Patel, Founder of Praefinium Partners 18 india empire | june 2018

Larger Business Award—Rolls Royce PLC

Professional Adviser Award—Mr. Deepak Lalwani OBE, Founder and Chairman of Lalcap Limited

Arts & Culture Award—Ms. Gurinder Chadha OBE

SME Award—EnergyPro Limited




PM visits Singapore and Indonesia


tating that political relations between India and Singapore are among the warmest and closest, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 31, 2018 said that the two sides are building a relationship of our age. Addressing a business and community event, Mr Modi described the relationship between India and Singapore as “our heritage.” Stating that this south-east Asian city state never fails to inspire, he said that it has shown that size can be no barrier to the scale of achievements. “But, Singapore’s success also lies in the harmony of its multi-cultural society, in the celebration of its diversity, which under-lies a distinct and unique Singaporean identity,” he said. Praising the role of the 800,000 people of In-

dian origin here, he said: “Here in Singapore, you represent the diversity of India.” Mr Modi also referred to the fact that Tamil is an official language in Singapore and said that children here can learn five different Indian languages in schools. “On the foundations of this extraordinary heritage, the wealth of our human links and the strength of our shared values, India and Singapore are building a partnership of our age,” he said. “It is a relationship that truly meets the test of strategic partnership.” India and Singapore elevated their bilateral ties to that of a Strategic Partnership in 2015. Mr Modi said that when India opened up to the world and turned to the east, Sin-

PM Modi meets with Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana Presidential Palace in Singapore in June 2018 20 india empire | june 2018

LEFT: PM Modi unveiled the plaque marking the immersion site of Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashes at Clifford Pier, Singapore in June 2018. Mr Goh Chok tong, Emeritus Senior Minister of Singapore is also seen. RIGHT: PM Modi at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum in Singapore in June 2018

LEFT: Mr Modi addresses a business community event at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre in Singapore. RIGHT: Being welcomed by the Indian community on his arrival in Singapore

gapore became a partner and a bridge between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regional bloc. “Political relations between India and Singapore are among the warmest and closest,” he said. “There are no contests or claims, no irritants or doubts.” Stating that it is a natural partnership from a shared vision, he said defence relations between India and Singapore are also among the strongest. “In international forums, we speak in one voice in the cause of a rules-based order, sovereign equality of all nations, and free and open pathways of commerce and engagement,” the Indian Prime Minister said. “Economics is the heart-beat of the relationship.” Stating that this partnership is at the front-line of India’s global engagement, Modi said Singapore is both a leading investment source and destination for India. “Singapore was the first country with which we signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (in 2005),” he said. Nearly 250 flights in each direction every week connect Singapore to 16 Indian cities and added that it is set to grow. “India is the third largest source of tourists in Singapore and its fastest growing. Our IT companies are helping Singapore stay smart and competitive.”

Mr Modi said that in many areas of India’s development priorities like smart cities, urban solutions, financial sector, skills development, ports, logistics, aviation and industrial parks, Singapore is a key partner. “As Singapore shapes a new future for itself, India emerges as the new global frontier of opportunities,” he said. “Even in a year of deep structural reforms like the introduction of Goods and Services Tax, we remain the fastest growing major economy of the world.” Stating that economic reforms are taking place in India at a speed and a scale not known so far, he said this has helped the country move up 42 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings. He also gave a review of the various development and financial initiatives of his Government. Stating that India will work for an open, stable and fair international trade regime, Mr Modi said: “And, our engagement to our east will be among the strongest, and economics will remain an integral part of our Act East Policy.” He reaffirmed that India will work Asean to reach an early conclusion to Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). It is a proposed free trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) june 2018 | india empire 21


PM Modi being welcomed at Istana Merdeka in Jakarta, Indonesia in May by Indonesian President Mr Joko Widodo

regional bloc and the six states with which Asean has ex- historic relations between the two countries. Hailing how isting free trade agreements--Australia, China, India, Japan, the Indian diaspora, while being proud citizens of InSouth Korea and New Zealand. donesia, remained connected to their Indian roots, Mr Mr Modi arrived in Singapore on the third and final leg Modi said they should take pride in the way India had proof his five-day tour of south-east Asia after making a brief gressed in the recent past. stopover in Malaysia on his way from He said that India in the last Indonesia. Prior to attending the four years had positively conFree 30-day Indian visa business and community event, he, tributed to the global economy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi accompanied by Singapore Prime had emerged as one of the most Minister Lee Hsien Loong, took a open economies in the world. “In announced a 30-day free tour of the India-Singapore EnterFDI Confidence Index, India is visa for Indonesian citizens prise and Innovation Exhibition at now one of the top two emerging and invited the Indian the Marina Bay Sands Convention markets... Today, a record number diaspora to visit India during Centre. The exhibition was organof foreign investments are coming the Kumbh in 2019. “Many of ised by the Indian High Commission to India,” Mr Modi said. you may never have been to in Singapore in partnership with En“From around USD 300 billion, India. I invite you all to come terprise Singapore, the Singapore India’s foreign reserves have now to India for the Kumbh in Business Federation and the Singacrossed USD 400 billion. In World Prayag next year,” Mr Modi pore Manufacturing Federation. The Economic Forum’s Global Competsaid as he addressed the business and community event saw itive Index, India’s ranking has imthe international launch of the proved from 71 to 40. India’s Ease Indian diaspora here. “We RuPay, Bhim and UPI mobile apps. of Doing Business ranking has also have decided to give a 30-day The signing of several memoranseen improvement from 142 to visa free of cost to Indonesian dums of understanding between In100,” he added. citizens,” he added dian and Singapore entities in areas The Prime Minister said that of education and skill development, India had jumped 19 places in the space, and food processing was also announced. Logistics Performance Index and 21 places in the Global Innovation Index. “In the last 14 years, it is for the first time PM ADDRESSES INDIAN DIASPORA IN INDONESIA that Moody’s have increased India’s credit rating,” he said. Showcasing India’s achievements over the last few years, Mr Modi added that his Government was working at a Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 30, 2018 addressed much faster pace compared to the previous governments the Indian diaspora in Jakarta in Indonesia and hailed the and it was its topmost priority to provide a “corruption22 india empire | june 2018

Delegation level talks in Jakarta

LEFT: PM addresses the Indian diaspora. RIGHT: With President Widodo during the inauguration of the India-Indonesia Kite Exhibition in Jakarta in May

free, citizen-centric and development-friendly ecosystem” to the country. The Prime Minister said that India and Indonesia shared a historic relationship and just like India, Indonesia had strong foundations of democracy. “India and Indonesia are symbols of social and cultural diversity and harmony. There is a special link between their cultures. Both countries are proud of their democratic ethos and their diversity. In 2014, people of India voted for a Government headed by a person belonging to a poor background. Similarly, the people of Indonesia elected President Joko Widodo whose background is also humble,” he said. Mr Modi urged the diaspora to become ambassadors of India and also keep mentioning in their conversations that India is the nearest neighbour to Indonesia and vice versa. “In the whole world, Indian medicine and ayurveda are gaining popularity and there is a huge increase in attraction towards holistic healthcare. For you also, there is an opportunity to become ambassadors of Indian traditional medical care,” he told the gathering.

Mr Modi said ever since both the countries became independent, they had been supporting each other in global and regional issues and that their relationship had reached new heights in the last four years in economic, cultural, strategic and political spheres. In January, the premiers of 10 Asean nations, including Indonesia, attended the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, Mr Modi said, adding it was no coincidence that the Indonesian President at that time was the chief guest in India’s very first Republic Day in 1950. He said that vibrant people-to-people relations boost bilateral ties between India and Indonesia. “We are all proud of the manner in which the Indian diaspora has distinguished itself in Indonesia and contributing towards development of Indonesia. You are proud citizens of Indonesia and at the same time you want to remain connected to your Indian roots,” Mr Modi said. “Not only do the names of our nations rhyme but also there is a distinct rhythm in the India-Indonesia friendship.” ❐ june 2018 | india empire 23

PictuRes By: siPRa Das


Mr Dharmendra Pradhan When Minister of State (IC), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

Mr Ananth Kumar Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers

Mr Anant Gangaram Geete Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises

Mr Chaudhary Birender Singh Minister for Steel

Ms Smriti Irani When Minister for Human Resource Development

Mr Radha Mohan Singh Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare

Mr Narendra Singh Tomar When Minister for Steel and Mines

Mr Ram Vilas Paswan Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution

Ms Uma Bharti When Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation

Mr Thawar Chand Gehlot Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment

Mrs Sushma Swaraj Minister for External Affairs and Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs

(May 2014 onwards)

Mr Shripad Y Naik Minister of State (IC), AYUSH

Mr Babul Supriyo Mr VIjay Goel Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy Minister of State for Heavy (Ex) Union Minister of State for When Minister of State (IC) for Industries and Public Enterprises Skill Development and Youth Affairs and Sports Entrepreneurship (IC)

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PLACES TO SEE Old Havana (Habana Vieja) A UNESCO World Heritage site, Habana Vieja or Old Havana is a well-preserved slice of Cuban history. Strolling around the cobbled streets and gazing up at the grand Baroque and Neoclassical buildings, it’s easy to imagine what life in Cuba was like 200 years ago. Varadero Varadero is one of Cuba’s most famous beach destinations, and home to one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. It stretches along the Peninsula de Hicacos, which juts into the sea off the north coast where a drawbridge connects it to the mainland. Trinidad Exploring the town of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is like stepping back in time. The beautifully restored buildings and cobblestone streets in the city center exude a quaint colonial feel.

Old Havana Varadero

Guardalavaca Rimmed by glittering beaches, Guardalavaca, in the Holguin province, is quieter and more remote than Varadero. Playa Paraíso, Cayo Largo del Sur In a country known for its beautiful beaches, Playa Paraíso (Paradise Beach), on the island of Cayo Largo del Sur, is one of Cuba’s best. Cayo Coco Another of Cuba's idyllic beach destinations and one of its most isolated, Cayo Coco starred in Hemingway's novels, Islands in the Stream and The Old Man and the Sea, along with nearby Cayo Guillermo. Parque Nacional Viñales (Valle de Viñales) A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Parque Nacional

Parque Nacional Viñales 26 india empire | june 2018


Cayo Coco


The Malecon, Havana

ViĂąales is a beautiful, verdant valley in the Sierra de los Organos, north of Pinar del Rio. Baracoa One of the highlights of eastern Cuba is beautiful Baracoa, the oldest city in the country. It was founded in 1511 in the province of Guantanamo, and construction began on the first church here around that time. The Malecon, Havana Conceived in 1901 and partly built in 1902 and beyond, the Malecon is Havana's famous seafront promenade. Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara When beach towns and resorts all start to seem the same, Santa Clara, the famous site of the last guerrilla battle led by Che Guevara in 1958, will add some depth to a Cuban itinerary.

Che Guevara Mausoleum, Santa Clara

FAST FACTS—CUBA Official Name: Republic of Cuba. Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, 150 km south of Key West, Florida Geographic coordinates: 21 30 N, 80 00 W Population: 11,147,407 (July 2017 est.) Languages: Spanish (official) Major urban areas - population: HAVANA (capital) 2.136 million (2018) GDP - per capita (PPP): $11,900 (2016 est.) GDP (official exchange rate): $81.56 billion (2017 est.) GDP (purchasing power parity): $132.9 billion (2016 est.)

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THE PERUVIAN RAINFOREST The Peruvian Amazon is a fascinating location which offers opportunities to spot incredible wildlife, listen to the fascinating sounds of the jungle by night, sleep in a jungle lodge, and have unique and wonderful experiences. To experience the true exuberance of the Amazon Rainforest in Peru, there are three main regions where it is possible to go on tours: Manu, Tambopata, and the Iquitos Region Iquitos Iquitos is a city in the north-eastern jungle region of Peru which has colourful mansions dotted around the city centre built during the rubber-boom of the early 20th century. It is a transit point for cruises that go through the Amazon river, and for lodge tours to visit the Amazon Jungle. Iquitos is considered as the birthplace of the Amazon River. The river also encompasses wildlife that is not found in some of the smaller tributaries, hence it is possible to spot rare pink dolphins. In addition to the fantastic lodges, there are also some excellent excursions, including piranha fishing and the possibility to visit indigenous villages and observe their traditional ways of life.

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Manu Manu Biosphere Reserve is a sprawling national park in south-eastern Peru located in the regions of Madre de Dios and Cusco. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains incredible levels of biodiversity with more than 15,000 species of plants, over 1000 species of birds, and above 400 species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The Manu region is split into three main zones: the Manu National Park, the Manu Reserved Zone, and the Manu Cultural Zone. Tambopata Tambopata is a province within the region of Madre de

Dios in south-eastern Peru, close to the border with Bolivia. Tambopata is close to Manu, and therefore it has almost the same levels of biodiversity in flora and fauna as Manu itself, so it is a good option for those looking to observe wildlife. Tambopata region is home to the highest concentration of clay licks in the Amazon Rainforest. This is where

large and colourful macaw parrots come to feed on the medicinal and salt rich clays, along with different monkeys, tapir, and capybara. Tambopata also accommodates some excellent lodges offering a good blend of comfort and services, with great location and ease of access to wildlife, including locally employed guides having thorough wildlife knowledge. â?? june 2018 | india empire 31



PERFECTION OF VEDIC SCIENCES By Yogi Ashwini yogi ashwini


he Vedic sciences are perfect because they deal in all aspects of creation, not just the physically manifested creation (vyakt) that you see around you but also the unmanifested creation (avyakt). Human being becomes a part of vyakt as well as of avyakt. From avyakt, vyakt manifests and both are two parts of the same composite whole. The Vedic sciences are real and so is the gyan which they give, tried and time-tested over thousands of years vis-à-vis the modern sciences which do not stand the test of time and always come with the law of ceteris paribus, that is, all other things being constant. Let us pick up a basic aspect of the Vedic sciences which is healing and health of the human body. Diets which pertain to red meat, especially of cows which eat plastic wastes, garbage and hospital waste and also the milk from such cows are highly toxic and acidic in content. They say that you become what you eat, by eating these foods your body tends to get a highly acidic form. In 1912, a Frenchman Alexis Carell conducted an experiment where he kept chicken cells, which normally live for 6-7 years, alive for nearly 20 years in an alkaline solution. The cells died only when one day his assistant forgot to change the water and the content became acidic. It was concluded that human cells, just like chicken cells, can also go on forever provided the environment they are living in is non-toxic. Toxicity is not just in the food we eat; it is also a function of negative emotions and wrong lifestyle, or, in other words, an anti-yogic lifestyle. These factors contribute to acidic nature and ultimate destruction of the physical body through pain and disease. Disease happens because of the environment, not because of the nature of cell, which is balance. The solution lies in consuming alkaline

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diets and gradually converting your body from acidic to alkaline. Then the lifespan of cell would increase and the diseases, which body is going through, will be reversed. Another tool given by the vedic seers is that of yagyas. In a yagya it is important to ensure that the samidha (wood) and samagri are pure and ghrit or cow’s ghee is procured from cows whose calf is not weaned, else they will have toxicity and the gods will not accept it. Mantra which the Guru gives you, depending on the kind of yagya you want to perform and the siddhis that you are looking for, has to be siddha by the guru otherwise the mantra becomes fruitless and the manifestation of thought will not happen. A clear cut sign of success of yagya is the appearance of the devpurush. It can be in the form of Om, a divine syllable or god or goddess or even form of your Guru. When these manifestations happen and the yagya is smokeless, you will know that the yagya is successful. At Dhyan Ashram, we click pictures of yagyas and you will notice that they are not edited or morphed. Also there is no smoke emitting from the fire. These indicate purity of the sadhak where the bhav (thought), which is most important, is also there. These five composites make the yagya complete where divine manifestations happen which can be used for good health, purification of environment or for your upliftment. So a pure composition of yagyas and keeping the body alkaline results in good health and ensures you do not die in pain but leave the body in happiness, with satisfaction in what you’ve done, at will, into higher dimensions. The vedic sciences should be taken very seriously because they are the basis of the entire manifested and unmani❐ fested creation. —Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and can be reached at

Business and



SMART CITIES EXPO Experts and government delegates call for a collaborative approach to building future-ready sustainable and smart cities at the 4th Smart Cities India 2018 expo. Discussions among speakers in various conferences emphasised the challenges and opportunities ahead for adoption of smart technologies, battling climate and pollution issues, and holistic improvement of citizen’s quality of life By Yogesh Sood

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s per the 2011 Census, 31 percent of the population lives in urban areas, and by 2030, 50 percent of India's population would reside in urban areas. This will create a massive need for intelligent urban transport networks, smart energy, safe and secured public spaces, upgraded water supply, waste disposal facilities, and environmentally compatible buildings. The 4th Smart Cities India 2018 expo, which was held in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, from May 23 to 25, 2018, featured some of the most prominent leaders and experts discussing ways to harness technology to make the next generation of urban spaces resilient, sustainable, and inclusive. Organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the NASSCOM Centre of Excellence – IoT and Exhibitions India Group, the 4th Smart Cities India 2018 expo co-locates five major verticals that make up our smart city framework – buildings, solar, smart cities, transport and water. The state-of-the-art exhibition floor enabled participants to explore the latest smart city projects and technologies, products, services, design, and solutions that fit urban lifestyles and needs perfectly. Commenting on the vision behind the event, Mr. Prem Behl, Chairman, Exhibitions India Group, said, “The 4th Smart Cities India 2018 expo aims to empower cities and collectivise urban innovation. The expo shared insights and priorities that support investment, innovation and growth in order to establish India as a global hub for smart city skills and knowledge and technology. We are extremely proud of organising an event of such importance for the future, and look forward to facilitating the kind of synergy and collaboration we need to begin planning for a sustainable future for our citizens in earnest.” Mr Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, reiterated that with more people migrating to cities in coming decades, urbanisation presents many challenges. He said, “Given the huge opportunities present within the challenges, the PM launched three schemes, namely Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India and ‘Housing for All’ to address them.” Under the Housing for

All scheme, 46 lakh houses have already been sanctioned; 7 lakh houses have been completed; and 2-3 lakh houses are being sanctioned every month. He further added that every household in India will get a proper toilet and the entire country will be open-defecation free (ODF) by October 2018. Dr. Namrita Kalsi, Joint GM, DMRC, India, believes that urban planning strategies must focus on the future. Emphasising on the need to upgrade traditional urban planning with technology, she says, “Across the world, one of the most accepted models in urban development is Smart Cities. India too is following this route. But the paradox is that conventional city planners should be actively engaged in collaboration and aggregation. But that is not the case. It is the technologists who have leapfrogged and are at the forefront of most aspects of a smart city”. Dr. Kalsi further added that urban planning needs a new methodology. “A methodology involving people, process, technology and citizen participation, and facilitating enterprises,” she said. Mr. Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO – YES BANK, and Chairman – YES Global Institute, “Infrastructure is a vital component of economic development and growth. As Indian cities currently contribute 63% to the national GDP, focused efforts by the Government towards shaping urban India will go a long way in fostering economic growth and ultimately achieve the anticipated figure of 75% contribution to GDP by 2030.” Mr. Georg Jahnsen, Urban Planner, GIZ, India, “A clear vision is critical for sustainable development. Moreover, data collection and visualisation is indispensable as data is undoubtedly among the many pillars of planning and developing smart cities. Cities need to look in the mirror and identify their history, challenges, contradictions, and complexities. There can’t be one silver bullet or a one-size-fitsall model. A multiscale, specially-tailored approach is the key and cross-sectoral planning is the need of the hour.” Mr. Peter Vangsbo, Business Developer Director, EIT Climate, Denmark, said, “Smart city development, meeting sustainable development and climate change mitigation goals should go hand-in-hand. Combatting pollution strains june 2018 | india empire 35


our cities we simply cannot risk neglecting this important aspect. Focusing more on education and knowledge sharing, innovation and inspiring start-ups to export ideas and engage in dialogues with global experts can help countries tackle pollution. Encouraging the germination of new ideas, fast-tracking processes, throwing new light on challenges is the way forward.” Ms. Shonali Rastogi, Founder Partner, Morphogenesis, said, “Should smart city only be synonymous be groundbreaking technology and smart be the buzzword of technological capability? Well, I believe that smart should not merely be about digital enablement, but equally about policy mechanisms, governance, and a systematic approach.” The City Leaders’ Conclave, a dynamic and exciting business programme for industry and government, was held during where multiple stakeholders addressed the needs of urban sustainability. Panelists at the discussion emphasised that smart city development need to be truly holistic, encompassing everything from technology to policy to enablement to government action and citizen participation. Shri V. Umashankar, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation Gurugram & Additional CEO, GDMA, stated during a panel discussion that urban policies are needed for urban challenges. He reinforced the idea that smart city solutions begins with keeping citizens at the heart of design. GDMA raises funds locally and has received no external funding. The idea of making Gurugram smart is planned at city, sub-city and sector level. This process ensures that city wide development takes place rather than that of only specific areas or localities. Many government representatives from both city and state levels at the conclave mentioned that approximately INR 20,000 crore worth of investments are being allocated to develop the Integrated Command and Control Centres across 100 smart cities in India and how the centre will monitor the entire city through cameras and function as one-stop urban assistance solution for its citizens. The last day of the three-day expo also saw the Smart Cities India Awards, an annual event designed to felicitate, recognise and encourage individuals, policy makers, companies, government bodies and associations working to36 india empire | june 2018

wards developing over 100 smart cities and rejuvenating 500 cities in India. The Smart Village Conclave served as a platform to bring together village heads (pradhans, sarpanches), MPs, innovators, influencers, NGOs, etc., working towards developing smart villages in India. Mr Ram Kripal Yadav, Hon’ble Minister of State for Rural Development, Government of India, said during the Smart Village Conclave, “India is a huge nation and has shown accelerated growth in the past years. Unfortunately, the growth has not happened at all levels. Where cities have shown immense leaps of growth, the villages have not been the same story. 70% of India’s population resides in villages. However, rural dwellers in the country have not witnessed a significant increase in earning opportunities and quality of life. We witnessed unsurpassed migration to urban areas. This is leading to cities being overcrowded and burdened. To combat this issue, we need to focus on making villages smarter along with our cities. To this end, the central government has increased the spends from INR 54,000 crores to INR 1,12,000 crores. In the Housing for All scheme, 44.54 lacs houses have been built to date and by end of 2019, one crore houses are expected to be built. Mr Yadav added, “To enhance connectivity between cities and villages, road building projects have been given sincere focus and today, around 134 kms of roads are being built every day. We aim to accelerate it to 166 kms of road construction per day. It is also worth noting that we are using green technology keeping conservation of the environment.” The 4th Smart Cities India 2018 expo offered a platform for key decision makers, industry experts, and thought leaders from around the world to connect and engage in constructive dialogue to lead sustainable development. The expo also helped attendees access funding, business, and partnership opportunities, with participants from over 40 countries and the biggest brands in the space attending the event, spread over 20,000 square metres in the heart of New Delhi. The expo initiate conversations around new-age technologies such as Internet-of-Things (IoT), renewable energy, artificial intelligence, Big Data, and VR/AR, which are expected to be ❐ instrumental in creating the Smart Cities of the future.




utomobile major Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) in June said that it has reached the fastest eight millionth car production mark in India. According to the company, since commencement of commercial production in 1998 it has sold 5,300,967 units in the Indian market and exported 2,703,581 units. “Hyundai rolled out its first millionth car, Santro, in 2006, just 8 years after commencement of commercial production in 1998,” the company said in a statement. “Thereafter, production picked up momentum, with the next million milestone being achieved within an average of 18-19 months.” Currently, HMIL is the second largest car manufacturer and the largest car exporter in India. At present, it has nine car models across segments - Eon, Grand i10, Elite i20, Active i20, Xcent, Verna, Elantra, Creta and Tucson.

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HugE nH coMPLETion dRiVE Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari in June announced that he had expedited 280 national highway projects which would now be completed before the Lok Sabha elections next year. These include 127 National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) projects and 153 ministry projects, which were scheduled for Mr Nitin Gadkari completion by June 2019. “All these projects are now targeted for expedited completion by March 2019 before the Model Code of Conduct is imposed in the country for the (Lok Sabha) elections,” Mr Gadkari told reporters. In addition, there are about 100 projects that are going to be completed by December 2018, he added. The Minister said the construction target of NHAI for 2018-19 has also been revised upwards from 5,058 km to 6,000 km. He expressed confidence that the organisation would surpass this target. However, he added, the projects of Maharashtra and the Northeastern states remain to be reviewed, and the meeting for this will be held soon. Mr Gadkari's remarks came after an extensive, state-wise review of over 700 ongoing national highway projects in the country across 20 states. “During the marathon twoday review held in Goa earlier this week, it was realised that delay in land acquisition, utility shifting, environment clearance and permission for cutting of trees are some of the main reasons for delay of highways projects,” he said. The Minister lauded the performance of Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh in sorting out these issues and helping expedite the highways projects. States like Bihar and Odisha on the other hand, need to greatly improve their performance in this regard, he said. Following the Goa review meeting, Chief Secretaries of all states have been asked to hold monthly review meetings to sort out problems at their ends. Mr Gadkari added that faulty Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) have been found to be another reason for delay. “Very often DPRs are made without taking actual ground realities into consideration. It has been decided to compile a list of projects that have been delayed for this reason. The consultants making faulty DPRs will be penalized and black listed,” he said.

MoTo HuBs in PunJAB

Lenovo-owned Motorola in June opened 51 new “Moto Hubs” across Punjab in cities including Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala and Ludhiana. Along with Moto x4 and Moto z2 Force smartphones, “Moto Hubs” provide access and availability to Motorola’s online exclusive devices like Moto e4 plus and Moto g5 plus. “Customers in Punjab have always valued the differentiated and premium experience offered by Motorola smartphones and Moto Hubs is a way to address their needs by giving them a platform to interact with both the brand and product,” Rohit Khatter, Regional General Manager, Motorola Mobility India, said in a statement. “Moto Hubs” also provide access and availability to Motorola’s online exclusive devices like “Moto E4 Plus” and “Moto G5 Plus.” The company plans to open more than 1000 "Moto Hubs" by the end of 2018.

Rs 1,900 cR funding foR HP Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in June said the Central Government has approved a tourism infrastructure development project of Rs 1,900 crore to be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). With the help of the funding, the state would be able to develop tourism in rural and unexplored areas and improve the infrastructure of towns, which will also generate employment opportunities, he said. The eight-year-long project will cover beautification of towns, development of unexplored areas, conservation and

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Mr Jai Ram Thakur

restoration of heritage buildings and infrastructure development in adventure, rural tourism with emphasis on community participation and employment generation. It will train rural youth to turn as entrepreneurs in tourism and allied sectors. Himachal Pradesh, known for its apples and picture-perfect tourist spots, attracted 19.6 million tourists last year, 2.9 times its population, as per the state's Economic Survey 2017-18. Kullu and Manali are tourist hotspots, followed by Shimla and Dharamsala, the seat of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

India Empire June 2018  
India Empire June 2018