India empire december 2017

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India-Business, Political, Diplomatic and Diaspora Connectivity


empire Volume 13 No. 7 December 2017 RNI No.: DELENG/2005/16693

GLOBAL ADVISORY BOARD Mr Inder Singh, Dr Rami Ranger, Dr Kamalanathan Sappani, Mr Mridul Pathak, Ms Priya Tandon

Editor’s Desk

Editor Sayantan Chakravarty


e had featured Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on our cover in September 2015. At the time he was Union Minister of State with Independent Charge of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) in the Indian Government. In September 2017, following a restructuring, Mr Pradhan was elevated to cabinet rank by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While he continues to be in charge of the MoPNG, he now has an additional and significant portfolio, that of Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Skilling India is one of the high-priority sectors of the NDA Government with the PM personally keen India Empire September 2015 Cover Page to see it bring about a change in the fortunes of millions of Indians. The Ministry of SDE has invested heavily in restructuring and re-energising the skill ecosystem in the country. In yet another interesting interview, Mr Pradhan speaks to INDIA EMPIRE Magazine on shaping India’s skilling landscape and a host of related issues.

As part of our diaspora coverage we bring you a story on the Trehan couple and the Trehan Foundation that has provided USD 1 million seed money to the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts to create an India Fund. The idea is to increase production and presentation of Indian programming at the Center through till 2025. The India Fund will be used exclusively to create and present performing arts, artistic exhibits and festivals showcasing the history, traditions, literature, music, dance and culture of India. Elsewhere in the magazine, we have a segment on diplomacy that covers a range of nations. Happy navigating through our pages.

Head—Art and Print Jaydev Bisht Additional Contributions From Gonchig Ganbold, Francis Kokutse, Arul Louis, Susan M. Griffith-Jones 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 New York: 260, Madison Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10016 ADVERTISEMENT AND SUBSCRIPTIONS Email: M: +91.9899117477, +91.98116.27971, +91.9953824095 Printed, published, owned by Sayantan Chakravarty. Editor is Sayantan Chakravarty. Published from N -126, II Floor, Greater Kailash I, New Delhi 110 048, INDIA. Printed at Archana Advertising Pvt. Ltd., C-78, Okhla Industrial Area, Ph-1, New Delhi 110020. All rights reserved throughout the world. Any kind of reproduction in any media is prohibited. All disputes are subject to jurisdiction of courts in Delhi.

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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.

Cover Story—union miniSter interview

IntervIew wIth Mr DharMenDra PraDhan, UnIon MInIster for PetroleUM anD natUral Gas, anD UnIon MInIster for skIll DeveloPMent anD entrePreneUrshIP

“Skill development a crucial policy priority for India” Mr Dharmendra Pradhan took charge of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in early September 2017, soon after he was elevated as Cabinet Minister by Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi. He also became Cabinet Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, a portfolio he had held since May 2014. Skilling India is one of the high-priority sectors of the NDA Government with the PM personally keen to see it bring about a change in the fortunes of millions of Indians. Mr Pradhan responds to questions from India Empire Magazine’s Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty on some key issues Please tell us about the progress made in the National Skill Development Mission… Making growth more inclusive, under the National Skill Development Mission, Skill India was launched with an aim to give all Indians an opportunity to aspire and achieve a better future for themselves. A combination of demographic, economic and social factors makes skill development a crucial policy priority for India. With more than 65% of the people being in the working age group, the best time to reap this demographic dividend is now. One of the steps that our Government took in shaping the skills landscape was the creation of a separate Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship which has invested heavily in restructuring and re-energising the skill ecosystem in the country. It has made some noteworthy efforts in ensuring coordination and convergence across all initiatives that were active in the skill ecosystem with scale, speed and standards across the country. We have been able to skill approximately 2.50 crore youth since the inception of our Ministry under our own programmes and schemes. To bridge this demand supply gap between skilled workforce and industry requirement we have done multiple international collaborations with other countries to map ourselves to transnational standards those which are globally accepted, have done partnerships with the other Central Ministries, State Governments, industries and corporate houses. The mission has also collaborated with various other Government schemes such as Namami Gange (River Rejuvenation), Project Swarna (Railway upgradation), Project Saubhagya (Electrification), Project Yuva (Youth Empowerment), etc. with an aim to provide skilled workforce to implement these initiatives effectively. Currently, 1911 Qualification Packs have been developed, vetted more than 20,000+ companies and aligned to National Skill Qualification Framework in addition to


india empire | december 2017

schemes run by 13 Government of India Ministries. Further, more than 19 lakh candidates were trained through PMKVY 1 while more than 14 lakh students have been benefitted till now in its second leg. Close to 6 lakh people were brought into the organised sector through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme under PMKVY. More than 528 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKKs) have been allocated across 485 districts of the country which would be model centres for skilling in each district of the country and ensuring ease of access for learning skill courses. Out of these 270 have already been established and are operational while others are underway. To train our candidates as per the international standards, 13 India International Skill Centres (IISC) have been established till now and we plan to open at least 100 such centres by 2018. We are also focussed on re-energising the already existing ITI ecosystem and have enabled academic equivalence of vocational education to formal education of class 10th and 12th certified CBSE Boards. The graph for women’s training has witnessed an increase.

PiCtureS by: SiPra DaS

Learning from great models of skill development of countries like Germany and Switzerland, India is also focusing extensively on Apprentice Training to ensure a hands-on experience to maximum candidates. There have been comprehensive reforms to the National Apprentices Act of 1961 and a National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) was launched on August 19, 2016 to promote industry and youth engagement for Apprenticeship. The objective of the scheme is to provide apprenticeship training to 50 lakh youth by 2020. More than 4.29 lakh candidates and 35,230 establishments have registered under the Act since the launch of NAPS. India is currently witnessing advent of technology so there are multiple skills which the youth can learn and adapt to changing industry requirements. Jobs are being offered to those who are multi-skilled, for. e.g. today a guard doubles up as a receptionist as well, so his skills should be a mix of security and technological surveillance. With initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, emphasis on Yoga, Mudra Yojna and implementation of GST, there is a consistently increase in requirement of skilled workforce. The relevance of vocational

courses has been realized and is now being integrated right from the school level itself. We see today students from India representing the country at WorldSkills Competition and winning gold medals for excellence in their skill sets. If a mason from Pune can represent the country in Sao Paulo WorldSkills for his art in brick laying and win a medal for the country and then get hired in a leading construction company, I am sure there are big opportunities for many. We are on the right direction, but we have a long way to go. What is the role being played by the National Skill Development Corporation? The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a public-private partnership with 51% equity of the private sector facilitates and aims to promote skill development by catalysing the creation of large, quality focussed and for-profit vocational institutions. The mandate is to enable a support system which focuses on quality assurance, intelligent information systems and train-the-trainer programmes, either directly or through partnerships. NSDC acts as a catalyst in the skill de-

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Cover Story—union miniSter interview between Champions and WorldSkills beyond the Competition.

velopment domain wherein it provides funding to enterprises, companies and organizations that offer skill training. Currently, NSDC has been actively ensuring implementation of the Short Term Skill Development courses and also the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) for MSDE. We are however, reviewing its role and will soon further define its activities to further benefit the overall ecosystem. Please let us know about World Skills India? Skills are the foundation of modern life. Skills keep the world working. WorldSkills is showcasing the value of skills and raising the recognition of skilled professionals worldwide. WorldSkills is the global hub for skills excellence and development. Through international cooperation and development between the industry, government, organizations, and institutions, benefits of and the need for skilled professionals is promoted the through grass-roots community projects, skill competitions, and knowledge exchange. Today, WorldSkills represents more than 50 skills in over 75 member countries and regions, all working together with youth, educators and industries to help prepare the workforce and talent of today for the jobs of the future. We through our WorldSkills India initiative under the guidance of MSDE and NSDC, have been hosting the country’s chapter of WorldSkills International competitions since 2011. This year, Team India created history by winning One Silver, One Bronze and Nine Medallion of Excellence at the 44th WorldSkills competition concluded in Abu Dhabi and has brought huge pride to the nation. This is India’s best performance since it started participating at these competitions in 2007. The Indian team was competing with candidates from 59 other WorldSkills member countries. We also now have a World Skills Competitor in web design in the year 2015 from India representing Asia yet again chosen as one of nine Champions Trust representatives to promote the next WorldSkills Competition to happen in Kazan, Russia, as the major global hub for skills excellence. Champions Trust is a group of Champions working to help the bridge the gap

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What is the proposed scheme on Entrepreneurship Development? Thanks to the Government as it had undertaken multiple initiatives in order to promote entrepreneurship and have also taken steps to improve India’s global ranking in the ease of doing business index. Despite facing a broad set of impending challenges currently, entrepreneurs in India are highly positive about the prospects ahead in one of the world’s key rapidly growing economies. Relative to its vast population, the rate of new business registrations in the country may be comparatively low, but India still produces some of the world’s most innovative and successful entrepreneurial ventures. This has been proven time and again. The National policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has been created with the vision to create an ecosystem of empowerment by Skilling on a large scale. This has to be done fast while maintaining high Standards. The idea is to promote a culture of innovative ideas based entrepreneurship, which can in turn generate wealth and employment so as to ensure Sustainable livelihoods for all citizens in the country. To achieve this vision, the policy has four thrust areas. It addresses key obstacles to skilling, including low aspirational value, lack of integration with formal education, lack of focus on outcomes, low quality of training infrastructure and trainers, etc. Further, the Policy seeks to align supply and demand for skills by bridging existing skill gaps, promoting industry engagement, operationalising a quality assurance framework, leveraging technology and promoting greater opportunities for apprenticeship training. Equity and inclusivity are also focus areas of the Policy, which target skilling opportunities for socially/geographically marginalised and disadvantaged groups. Skill development and entrepreneurship programmes for women are special focus areas as far as this policy is concerned. In the entrepreneurship domain, the Policy seeks to educate and equip potential entrepreneurs, both within and outside the formal education system. It also seeks to connect entrepreneurs to mentors, incubators and credit markets, foster innovation and entrepreneurial culture, improve ease of doing business and promote social entrepreneurial ventures. In order to promote entrepreneurship, Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana was launched for a duration of five years (201617 to 2020-21). The project, with a cost of Rs. 499.94 Crore, aims to create a favourable ecosystem for entrepreneurship development through entrepreneurship education and training and enabling easy access to various components of entrepreneurship ecosystem including mentor network, credit, incubator and accelerator, information platform, research and advocacy, etc. It also includes a component to promote development of social enterprises for inclusive growth. This project will provide entrepreneurship education and training to over 10 lakh students over a 5 year period, through 2200 Institutes of Higher Learning (colleges, universities, and premier institutes), 300 schools, 500 ITIs and 50 Entrepreneurship Development Centers. The training will be carried out through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) facilities, provided by faculties of ❐ these academies.

PiCtureS by: SiPra DaS

UnIon MInIsters IntervIeweD BY

(June 2014 – December 2017)

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

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 Ananth Kumar Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers

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

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

Mr VIjay Goel When Minister of State (IC) for Youth Affairs and Sports

Mr Thawar Chand Gehlot Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment

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

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photo feature PiCtureS Š SiPra DaS


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is felicitated by BJP leaders at the party headquarters in New Delhi in December following wins in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections

BJP President Amit Shah gives the victory sign amidst showering of petals and triumphant cries

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20ºS 57ºE

beSt plaCeS on earth—mauritiuS

Mauritius Mauritius, about 2,000 km southeast off the coast of the African continent, is part of the Mascarene Islands. The capital is in Port Louis, the island’s largest city

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52ยบN 4ยบE Amsterdam The capital of the Netherlands is named after a dam in the river Amstel. It is located in the province of North Holland. It is a top European financial centre, and the cultural capital of the Netherlands

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59ยบN 18ยบE Stockholm The capital city of Sweden stretches across 14 islands. Outside it, along the coast, lies the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago. It is the cultural, media, political and economic centre of Sweden

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photo feature PiCtureS Š SiPra DaS


BJP National General Secretary Mr Bhupender Yadav, MP, receives felicitations on behalf of the party for the poll wins in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia have begun to seriously look into ways in which Delhi’s air pollution can be tackled

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Juxtaposing the naturalness of silk with the artificiality of plastic, British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith in December drew attention to the health of rivers and plastic pollution in the oceans. “It is incredibly appropriate that we are celebrating rivers at this particular point in time. They reflect not only the health of the country but also, as we have been increasingly reading in the last few days, health of the oceans, particularly relevant here in Asia,” Asquith said at the closing ceremony of Silk River India Walk at the Victoria Memorial Hall. Britain joined nearly 200 countries in signing a United Nations resolution in Nairobi earlier this month to cut plastic in the sea. “So much of plastic runs down the river into oceans... What I love is we are surrounded by something very It is soft, beautiful, natural and valuable in sharp contrast to plastic, which is cheap, hard, artificial and

ugly,” he said referring to the 20 hand-woven and handpainted Murshidabad (Bengali) silk flags crafted as part of the Indo-British Silk River partnership. The Silk River project explores the unique relationship between London and Kolkata. Working at 20 locations alongside the Hooghly and the Thames to reinterpret a shared heritage, Silk River aims to raise cultural awareness about the Indo-British relationship by engaging diaspora communities. The 20 scrolls, exhibited at the Central Hall of Victoria Memorial Hall from December 19 to December 31, is part of a collaborative effort—between Kinetika, UK, and its various Indian partners, including ThinkArts, Murshidabad Heritage Development Society, Crafts Council of India West Bengal and West Bengal Tourism. It is supported by the Arts Council England and the British Council. ❐

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N by Francis Kokutse

ot much is known about him, but it has now emerged that trade relations between Ghana and India were started by Bhai Boolchand, the first Indian to arrive in the Gold Coast—Ghana’s colonial name—in 1890. That’s some 67 years before the British colonial government granted the country independence, research by the Indian Association of Ghana has found. “As far as our records show, Bhai Boolchand (of the Bhaiband Sindhworki trading community), landed on the shores of the Gold Coast in western Africa in 1890. Nearly twenty years later, in 1919, the first Sindhi company was established by two brothers—Tarachand Jasoomal Daswani and Metharam Jasoomal Daswani,” the Indian Association said. The duo opened a store—Metharam Jassomal Brothers—in the then capital city of Cape Coast in 1919. “Their business flourished and branches were opened in Accra and Kumasi. A few years later, the two brothers separated and whilst Bhai Metharam Jasoomal continued the business as Metharam Brothers, Tarachand Jasoomal operated his business as Bombay Bazaar. These were the first two Indian companies that were established in the Gold Coast,” the Association said. Boolchand’s arrival, therefore, pre-dates the historical links between the two countries that

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were always thought to have started between Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkruman, and India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Boolchand can thus be described as the one who paved the way for the arrival of other members of the Sindhi community, initially as traders and shopkeepers. The Indian Association said more of this group arrived in the 1950s and 1960s, with a few venturing into manufacturing industries such as garments, plastics, textiles, insecticides, electronics, pharmaceuticals and optical goods. The Association said two more Indian firms were established under the names of Lilaram Thanwardas and Mahtani Brothers in the 1920s. This trend continued in the 1930s and 1940s with the creation of several more Indian companies like T. Chandirams, Punjabi Brothers, Wassiamal Brothers, Hariram Brothers, K. Chellaram & Sons, G. Motiram, D.P. Motwani, G. Dayaram, V. Lokumal, and Glamour Stores. Glamour Stores which was started by Ramchand Khubchandani who arrived in Ghana in 1929, has grown—after changing its name to Melcom Group—to become the largest retailing business in the country. The Melcom Group, headed by Ramchand’s son Bhagwan Khubchandani, is now in its 60th year and has about 40 stores all over the country. Ramchand and his brother later went into garment manufacturing in 1955 and once employed over 1,200 Ghanaians. They later opened the first Indian restaurant, Maharaja, in Ghana. Bhagwan followed in his father’s footsteps and in 1989

established the Melcom Group with his sons-in-law, Mahesh Melwani and Ramesh Sadhwani. Another Indian-owned company that has survived through the years is the Mohanani Group, which is currently in its 51st year. At the first-ever Ghana Expatriate Business Awards, the Ministry of Trade and Industries recognised the work of one of the thriving Indian-owned B5 Plus Steel Company and awarded it the Best Expatriate Company in the metal and steel category. As these companies brought in new expatriate staff, some left their employers to venture out on their own—resulting in more companies opening up. “After 1947, the Gold Coast attracted the attention of some Indian multinational companies, and big names like Chanrai, Bhojsons, K.A.J. Chotirmal, Dalamals and A.D. Gulabopened branches in Ghana,” the Association said. “The employment of Ghanaians by these founding companies also helped to lessen the burden of unemployment in the country. This amply demonstrates the level of commitment India has in the developmental agenda of Ghana,” it said. Indians are not only investing in the manufacturing and commercial sectors of the country; they are also investing in the financial sector. Bank of Baroda, one of India’s biggest and most reputable banks, recently established a branch in Ghana and hopefully it will expand its operations in other parts of the country very soon. ❐

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sikh nominAted For nJ A-g by arul Louis


n a historic first, a distinguished Sikh public prosecutor “who has experienced hate and intolerance first-hand” has been nominated to be the next attorney general of the US state of New Jersey. If Gurbir S. Grewal’s nomination by Democrat Governor-elect Phil Murphy is approved by the State Senate early in 2018, he will be the first Sikh to assume the top state law enforcement position in the United States and the second Indian-American, after Kamala Harris, who held the position in California before her election to the US Senate. Announcing the nomination in the state capital, Trenton, in December, Murphy said: “In light of all that is being thrown at us by the president, we need an attorney general unafraid to join our fellow states in using the law to protect all New Jersey residents.” Grewal, 44, is the prosecutor of Bergen County, an important district across the river from New York city. He was appointed to by the current Republican Governor Chris Christie and that is likely to mute any opposition the senate. Symbolic of the public acceptance of minorities despite scattered incidents of bigotry, two Sikhs were elected mayors last month, Ravi Bhalla in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Preet Didbal in Yuba City, California. Vin Gopal, who became the first Indian-American to be elected to the New Jersey State Senate last month, said that Grewal is someone “not only eminently qualified, but who will bring a perspective to the office that is diverse and long-overdue.” After Murphy made the announcement, Grewal said: “I wanted to give back to a country that has given us and other immigrant families like us so much.” Turning to his three daughters, Kyrpa, Mayher and Mahek, who were with him, he said: “As someone who has experienced hate and intolerance first-hand throughout my life, I wanted to work to ensure we all live in and that the three of you grow up in a fair and just society.” Grewal added: “I wanted to perhaps also show people that while I and others like me may look different or worship differently, that we, too, are committed to this country.”

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Hailing Grewal’s nomination, Rajwant Singh, the cofounder of the National Sikh Campaign, said: “These are exactly the kind of role models our youngsters need to feel proud of being a Sikh and an American. While America could be seen having a very polarized situation politically and yet there are some very shining moments to show that people of all backgrounds can aspire for top positions,” he added. South Asian Bar Association President Rishi Bagga, said: “The decision to appoint a visible minority as the chief law enforcement officer for New Jersey reflects the diversity of the state and of the US, and is especially important in a time where minorities and immigrants have often felt targeted by law enforcement.” Attorney General is a very powerful position New Jersey heading the Department of Law and Public Safety, which includes the state police. Grewal has earlier served as an assistant federal prosecutor in New York and in New Jersey, where he was also the chief of the Economic Crimes Unit. In the administration of former President Barack Obama, Indian Americans have held senior law positions. Neal Kumar Katyal was an Acting Solicitor General. Sri Srinivasan, now a federal appeals court judge in Washington, did a stint as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General. Vanita Gupta was the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and headed the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. US President Donald Trump has appointed Uttam ❐ Dhillon to be his special assistant and associate counsel.


Couple’s million-dollar gift to Kennedy Centre

n Indian-American couple has gifted USD 1 million to the Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts to create an India Fund for producing and presenting Indian programming through 2025. The gift from entrepreneur Ranvir Trehan, a leading Indian-American patron of the arts, his wife Adarsh, and their Trehan Foundation would provide seed money for the fund. “Our idea,” said Trehan, a member of the Kennedy Centre’s Board of Trustees, “is that there is reinforced programming—that there is more of it, both well-known artists as well as experimental forms, fusion forms. Now I see in India, there is also comedy in the English language that is coming up and so, maybe there is something to tap up.” The seed money, he hoped, would inspire others’ gifts, particularly from his IndianAmerican colleagues on the board. “The India Fund will exclusively be used to create and present performing arts, artistic exhibits and / or festivals showcasing the history, traditions, literature, music, dance and/or culture of India,” said the Kennedy Centre president Deborah F. Rutter. “The intent of the India Fund is to be ‘country focused’ on India the current nation state of India and the programming is

intended to utilise established and/or emerging artists, singers, musicians or other performers or performance creators who are either citizens of India or whose ancestry is from India,” Trehan said. “Contemporary and experimental art that may appeal to wider audiences is to be included. “While we will be offering consultation to the Kennedy Centre as requested, the programming decision will be theirs,” he added. Noting that Indian arts are at a “very interesting phase”, India’s Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna called the Trehans” initiative, “the encouragement that we need.” “We have multiple streams, and particularly for a country like the United States, there is no dearth of groups either travelling here or being sent here,” he said about the expected collaborations with the centre. I believe that in a diverse country as ours, it’s important for people to be exposed to these cultures because aside from goodwill it helps to break the walls of prejudice,” added Adarsh Trehan. Alicia Adams, vice president for international programming, who had coordinated and choreographed The Maximum India festival, said the gift will help bring back some of the artists featured in that festival. Drawing some 400,000 people, the three-week festival was a Kennedy Centre record for a country-specific cultural festival. ❐

(From left) Ranvir Trehan, Member of Kennedy Center’s Board of Trustees, his wife Adarsh Trehan, Deborah F Rutter, President, Kennedy Center and Indian Ambassador to the USA Navtej Sarna. The Trehan couple have donated USD 1 million seed money to the Center in November to start an India Fund

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buSineSS and governanCe

shaw, kapoor, most respected entrepreneurs

Biotechnology major Biocon’s chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Yes Bank’s Chief Executive Rana Kapoor were in December named the most respected entrepreneurs of the year 2017 by the London-based Hurun Report. “Shaw and Kapoor are the most respected entrepreneurs of the year for their role in the growth of their individual business, job creation, philanthropy and contribution to the development of the nation,” said

the luxury publishing and events group Hurun. Realty major Embassy Group Chairman Jitendra Virwani is the Impact Entrepreneur of the year, while Thyrocare Technologies Managing Director Arokiaswamy Velumani is the Self-Made Entrepreneur of the year. Shaw, 64, the only self-made woman billionaire entrepreneur from India in the Hurun India Rich List 2017, grew her business by 200 per cent in the last one year alone. “Kapoor has been recognised for the innovation in the financial sector in India. Virwani, who has grown his business of co-working spaces, has adopted 36 schools in Bengaluru," Hurun group said the statement. Four billionaires declared winners of the Industry Achievement awards for their contribution in their sectors are tyre maker Ceat Managing Director Anant Goenka; software services Quess Corporation Chairman Ajit Issac; amusement parks Wonderland Holidays Managing Director Arun Chittilappilly, and Trivitron Healthcare Group Chair-

man G.S.K. Velu. The Hurun annual awards are bestowed after careful data gathering and qualitative research of India's richest individuals. "The most respected entrepreneur award focusses on two growing economies—China and India. The award was set up in 1999 to recognise the success of entrepreneurs and talk about their stories on a global platform," said the statement.

toyota BeVs in 2020s

Global automobile major Toyota aims to introduce its new range of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in India and other key markets through the 2020s. According to an official statement released in December, the global automobile giant plans to popularise electrified vehicles for the decade 2020-2030. “Toyota's electrified vehicle strategy centers on a significant acceleration in the development and launch plans of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs),” the statement said.

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Toyota will accelerate the popularisation of BEVs with more than 10 BEV models to be available worldwide by the early 2020s, starting in China, before entering other markets, the gradual introduction to Japan, India, United States and Europe is expected. As per the company's plans, by around 2030, Toyota aims to have sales of more than 5.5 million electrified vehicles, including more than 1 million zero-emission vehicles (BEVs, FCEVs). Additionally, by around 2025, every model in the Toyota and Lexus line-up around the world will be available either as a dedicated electrified model or have an electrified option.

Political realities to weigh on economic decisions: AssochAm While the new GST regime has not gone down well with traders and with major states going to the polls in 2018, India Inc needs to factor in the political realities weighing on economic decisions of the government, industry chamber Assocham has said. A day ahead of the results of the Gujarat elections, an Assocham release said that corporate India's expectations on tough reforms, like on labour laws, “should be muted” since these may not go well with the public at a time when elections are due in many states. “Any tough reforms, like flexibilities in labour laws, may not go well with popular sentiment and thus India Inc's expectations on this front should be muted”, the industry chamber said in a note based on its internal assessment. “In the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Karnataka are due for polls in 2018. Inevitably, it would be the popular voters’ sentiment that would be factored by the Centre and state governments in their policies,” it said. ASSOCHAM, however, also said that an important fallout of the current politico-economic environment is that GST is expected to be further streamlined and rates further rationalised on the lower side. “The GST had not gone well with the traders, the major political force for the political parties and the issue remained in focus during Gujarat elections. Besides, the SMEs (small and medium enterprises) would also get a boost, starting from the Budget proposals. Their role in creating employment in a shorter span of time is being recognised and job creation would remain a big concern for the government (ahead of) the 2019 general elections,” it added. The industry body said among the factors to be particularly watched is inflation, which would now be the top priority for the Government. “In the trade off, growth may not get as important a place as inflation and, thus, the interest rate scenario looks to be on the upside, rather than downward. Monsoons in 2018 would also be a crucial variable for the rural demand while the credit growth is still some time away, as banks and companies keep repairing their balance sheets,” the statement said.

kingfisher Villa in goa renamed

The Kingfisher Villa, formerly owned by absconding tycoon Vijay Mallya, has been renamed King’s Mansion by its new owner, Sachiin Joshi, who also operates a liquor manufacturing business, whose products include King’s Beer. “For months now, I have been asked about my plans for the villa. Today is the day I open the gates to the world. The property has been coronated as the King’s Mansion and the future plans have been drawn,” Joshi told reporters in Goa in December, soon after unveiling the plaque outside the massive villa, located in Candolim beach village, which is around 20 km from Panaji. “We had multiple names to dabble with, but then the brand connection from Kings Beer and the inherent grandeur of the property made the choice,” he added. Joshi, who also operates hospitality businesses, including some in Goa, also said that there are more glamorous plans for the villa, which has hosted A-list celebrities at dos hosted by its former owner, Mallya. “We have some interesting plans for the place. But the innate point of anything we do here would be to create an experience like no other. The place would denote class and something that’s never been done in India before,” he said. The villa, when owned by Mallya, hosted some of the most extravagant parties, before the liquor baron, who owes banks thousands of crores left the country. Joshi bought the Kingfisher Villa for Rs 73 crore in an auction conducted by the consortium of banks led by State Bank of India, to whom Mallya owed money.

december 2017 | india empire 45


Book review: the Pyramid spiral, Dance of the five elements


by Susan M. Griffith-Jones

he Pyramid Spiral’ describes a piece of artwork entitled, ‘The Circle of Immortality’ that the author herself made, a simple structure using 5 different shapes that describe the entire nature of reality through both their individual symbolism and the way they are placed together. According to the Vajrayana path of Tibetan Buddhism, each element has a corresponding shape. Here, a spiral of wind rests on 2 equilateral triangles of fire that form a square of earth at their base, that sit on a circle of water, inside which is the mirror of space. These 5 shapes correspond to 5 different aspects of our mental process through symbolizing each one; ‘wind’ being the movement of consciousness, ‘fire’ - the light of knowing, ‘water’ - the flow of thinking, ‘earth’- stability of mind and space, as the place in which we reflect our conscious state. There are two fundamental parts to ‘The Circle of Immortality’, namely that which sits on top of the mirror and that which appears within the mirror. Contrary to expectation, it is our conscious thought process that is symbolized by the spiral that physically appears on top of the mirror, whilst its reflection appearing within the mirror, represents the world around us. Although everything appears as a very real 3D sensual experience around the physical bodies we house, it is but the collective result of both the conscious and unconscious thought processes projected into the mirror of mind, that construct this reality of such magnitude. Indeed, it is so effectively real that we get confused and believe it to have its own independent origination! Buddhism teaches us that this is not so and that we can go beyond this Samsara appearance through consciousness resting back into its natural state. ‘The Pyramid Spiral’ describes this process in step-by-step detail. ❐

The Pyramid Spiral is available at online stores, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and others 46 india empire | december 2017