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Editor’s Desk


ulgaria, one of the 28 member states of the European Union, is uniquely placed. Since January 1, 2018, and until June 30, 2018, this Balkan nation has the presidency of the Council of the European Union, the first time since the country’s accession to the EU in 2007. The Bulgarian presidency has four clear priorities—future of Europe and young people, western Balkans, security and stability, and digital Europe. Over two hundred political and expert-level meetings are scheduled during this period, other than twenty five high-level events. Bulgarian Ambassador to India H.E. Mr Petko Doykov, in an interview with India Empire magazine, outlines the abiding friendship between his country and India, several ministerial visits in recent times, the preparation for the Indian President’s visit to Bulgaria later this year, the growing bilateral trade, investment opportunities and the presence of Indian businesses in Bulgaria, and much more. According to the India International Film Tourism Council, eight of the top 300 Indian films shot abroad in 2015-2016 were in Bulgaria. This includes Dilwale. As I write, the shooting of Brahmastra has started in Bulgaria (see news in Bulgaria section). Mongolian Ambassador to India, H.E. Mr Gonchig Ganbold, who has regularly contributed wonderful features in the India Empire magazine has on this occasion written about theTsagaan sar—the white month of New Year which heralds the onset of a reinvigorating spring that follows months of extremely cold weather. Tsagaan sar is being celebrated since the early 13th century, ever since the time of Chinggis Khan. The Bangladesh High Commissioner to India, H.E. Mr Syed Muazzem Ali has stressed on further strengthening relations between New Delhi and Dhaka, saying that the destinies of the two neighbours are inescapably intertwined. Meanwhile, the Peruvian Embassy in Delhi held a week-long GRULAC (Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries) photo exhibition at its art gallery called “MyLatinAmericanTrip2017”. It was a culmination of a photography contest open to all Indian tourists who travel through Latin America and the Caribbean. Seventy entries from non-professional photographers were received, and 19 were shortlisted. Awards were given away by the Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, and representatives from Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Chile. In the diaspora section, we have an account of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Gulf, and several other items of interest. I hope the contents hold your interest, as you navigate through our pages. Happy reading.

Sayantan Chakravarty (

India-Diplomatic, Political, Business and Diaspora Connectivity


empire Volume 13 No. 9 February 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 Gonchig GANBOLD, Fakir Balaji, 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 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.

india empire books

Ambassador of India to the USA Mr Navtej Sarna receives a copy of Global Indian Diaspora—GOPIO Making an Impact authored by Sayantan Chakravarty at a function in Los Angeles in February 2018. The book project chair Mr Inder Singh is second from right. Others in the picture are Mr Dilip Butani (left from GOPIO International) and Mr Sudip Gorakshakar (President, NFIA). Mr Singh is Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation

Ambassador of India to the USA Mr Navtej Sarna receives a copy of Indian Americans in Greater Los Angeles Area at a function in Los Angeles in February 2018. The book project chair Mr Inder Singh is in the centre. Others in the picture are Mr Dilip Butani (extreme left), Mr Sudip Gorakshakar (second from left) and Mr Kewal K Kanda (extreme right of GOPIO International). Mr Singh is Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation. The Book Editor is Sayantan Chakravarty

february 2018 | india empire


cover interview—bULGarian ambassador

IntervIew wIth h.e. Mr Petko Doykov AMBAssADor of the rePuBlIC of BulgArIA to InDIA

“Tourist arrivals in Bulgaria from India have gone up sharply” Indo-Bulgarian relations seem to have evolved into bilateral trade reached approximately USD 250 million and a binding friendship since the establishment of Bulgarian exports to India reached their peak, surging to USD 114 million. In the period from January to November diplomatic relations in 1954. What are your views? I could not agree with you more. 2014 was a year of 2017 only, trade between Bulgaria and India totaled USD particular importance for Bulgaria and India as the two 247.7 million posting a 17.8 per cent increase y-o-y. These countries marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment figures do not cover one of the most important sectors in of diplomatic relations. A special post card was validated the Bulgarian export to India—defence equipment. Else, the on the occasion and distributed to representatives of official number would be different. Furthermore, part of Bulgarian exports to India goes via third countries thus not being Indian institutions and Indian friends in Bulgaria. Political interaction, commercial exchanges and contacts included in the bilateral trade statistics. Nevertheless, we seek in the areas of culture and education have always been given new opportunities for further expanding Bulgarian exports due attention by the two governments. In addition, people to India. There is a good potential in different sectors in to people contacts are nowadays an important part of our which bilateral trade can be pushed up by high value-added bilateral relations. With the main focus products—IT products (Bulgaria is the on maintaining the existing second best outsourcing destination in institutionalised framework of Europe in 2016), agricultural and food From January 1 cooperation, the efforts pursued by products (Bulgaria ranks first in the to June 30, Bulgaria the embassy are aimed at the world in the production of lavender establishment of new partnerships. and is the third largest exporter of is holding the All these activities create strong sunflower seeds worldwide in 2016), Presidency of bonds between our two countries and perfumery and cosmetics, medicines, the Council of the these bonds can only be defined as a engineering goods, high-tech binding friendship. machinery and equipment, auto European Union for components industry (eight of every the first time since Please talk us through some of ten cars in Europe are equipped with the high-level visits between both some auto parts produced in Bulgaria), the country’s countries in recent times… defence industry, etc. accession to the Recent years have been marked by several visits at the level of minister What are the major items of EU in 2007 and deputy minister. The exchange of exports from Bulgaria to India, and high-level visits has also been on the vice versa? agenda. A planning is underway for the preparation and Bulgarian export to India includes wheat, instruments conduct of a visit by the Honourable President of India to and apparatus for chemical analysis, different kind of Bulgaria in the second half of this year. Should such a visit machines, medicines, paper, pumps, scrap etc. Bulgarian become a fact of life it would certainly give a very strong import from India includes mainly chemicals and their impetus to our political dialogue but it would prompt as well derivatives, medicines and aluminium. Bulgaria would like the cooperation in all other areas of mutual interest. to expand the exports to India of goods such as foodstuffs, grain, coriander, wine, essential oils, cosmetics, chemicals, We understand there is a scope of extending the pharmaceuticals, food-processing machines, auto current bilateral trade basket. Please let us know about components, etc. the quantum of bilateral trade and the identified growth areas... What sectors in Bulgaria would you say provide The bilateral turnover has shown four times growth for ample investment opportunities for Indian business? the last decade. According to our statistics, in 2016 the We currently have lots of successful Indian investments


india empire | february 2018

H.E. Mr Petko Doykov Ambassador Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria to India

in Bulgaria in the fields of agriculture, pharmaceuticals, cinema industry, IT and outsourcing, tourism industry etc. We stand ready to support new business initiatives as well as the expansion of Indian investments in Bulgaria in the sectors of auto components, IT, manufacturing etc. Our special legislation includes a number of encouragement measures for the investors. Bulgaria has introduced a favourable corporate tax of only 10% and an investment regime which makes us an attractive and a competitive investment destination in Europe. What is the presence of Indian business in Bulgaria like, and vice versa? We greatly appreciate the activities of Indian companies in Bulgaria in such fields as IT and BPO, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, cinema industry, tourism industry etc. On the other hand, Bulgaria attaches great importance to its investment relations with India. Special attention is paid to the various programs launched by the Indian government like “Make in India”, “Smart Cities” and “Clean India”. We are proud to speak about success stories related to Bulgarian companies present in India among which are one of the fastest growing Internet providers in New Delhi and a plant for manufacturing of veterinary medicines in Pune. Under the initiative “Make in India” Bulgarian and Indian companies initiated in 2017 ambitious investment projects

in the fields of production of bio-toilets and construction of a solar plant in the state of Bihar. Kindly let us know the mandate of the BulgarianIndian Technological Forum Mahatma Gandhi? The Bulgarian-Indian Technological Forum Mahatma Gandhi was established in 2016 in Plovdiv to encourage, assist and support the development of tie-ups, initiatives and projects of mutual benefit between Bulgarian and Indian scientific institutes, organizations and companies in the field of high technologies. There has been an exchange of visits and consultations with IT companies in Bangalore prior to the establishment of the Forum which provides 50 scholarships in the field of information technologies at IIHT—Bulgaria and “Omega” College. There is also an initiative for the establishment of International Higher School of Informatics and Electronic Leadership (IHSIEL) Mahatma Gandhi in Plovdiv which will focus on the development of professionals in the field of informatics and digital technologies. We understand that Indian film industry has found Bulgaria as an attractive destination for shooting of movies. Please elaborate…. Yes, that is true. According to the analysis of India

february 2018 | india empire


cover interview—bULGarian ambassador

Ambassador receiving Hindi Cinema Award 2018

Ambassador Doykov with H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

International Film Tourism Council regarding the top 300 Indian films shot abroad in 2015-2016, eight of them have been in Bulgaria. The movie “Dilwale” with leading actors Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, was filmed also in Sofia in 2015. This year Dharma Productions, in collaboration with Nu Boyana Studio in Bulgaria, has started the shooting of the film “Brahmastra” with the famous Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan, Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor. According to the producers this is the first time an Indian film will actually be shooting such an extensive indoor sequence in a foreign country. I wish all success to the team and have positive expectations as for the coming of the film. Is tourism from India to Bulgaria on the rise, and if so, which are the major tourist destinations? As Bollywood’s biggest stars were in Bulgaria for shooting, there are expectations for more Indian tourists to visit our country. In 2017 there was an increase of more than 20% of Indian arrivals in Bulgaria. The country if famous for its beaches and mountains but one can take advantage as well of the opportunities provided for by the spa, village, religious and other types of tourism being developed there. What kind of cultural exchanges have taken place between the two nations in recent times? Several are the main dimensions of our cultural exchanges such as art, dance performance, music, movies, literature, etc. Bulgarian folklore dance groups have visited India to perform on the occasion of the 60 th anniversary


india empire | february 2018

of our diplomatic relations and to take part in international cultural festivals hosted by your country and in some cases even winning prizes. Annually Bulgarian movies are included in the programme of the European Union Film Festival in India with screenings taking place in a number of cities. There have been music performances and exhibitions like the “Bulgarian Folklore Motives”–a collection of paintings which was much appreciated by the Indian public. As for the literature, it is a little known fact that the play “Golemanov” by the Bulgarian author Stefan Kostov previously performed on a stage in India was translated in Bengali language and published two years back. Bulgaria is holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2018. Please elaborate… Yes, from January 1 to June 30, 2018 Bulgaria is holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time since the country’s accession to the EU in 2007. The Presidency runs under the motto “United We Stand Strong” and among our main goals are the achievement of real results by following the principles of transparency and accountability, encouragement of the partnerships at all levels through unity and mutual cooperation and seeking consensus, compromise and understanding among our partners in the decision-making process. The Bulgarian presidency is set to work strongly in the field of youth and security taking into consideration the complex nature of the challenges the EU is currently facing. Four are the priorities of the Presidency, as follows: Future of Europe and Young People; Western Balkans; Security and Stability; and Digital Europe. Many are the events included in the calendar of the Presidency and among them one can mention a summit meeting, twelve informal councils, over twenty five high level events, and over two hundred political and expert level meetings with ❐ many of them taking place in Sofia.




r Doykov was born on January 31, 1964 in Bulgaria. He arrived in India on April 29, 2014 to take up his assignment as Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Republic of India. On June 10, he presented his credentials to His Excellency the Honourable Shri Pranab Mukherjee, President of the Republic of India. Mr Doykov is accredited also as Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (September 9, 2014). He is the first Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria accredited to the Republic of the Maldives (November 9, 2014). On January 12, 2015 and May 28, 2015 he presented his credentials as Ambassador of Bulgaria to Bangladesh and Nepal respectively. Prior to his current appointment Mr Doykov served as Director General for Bilateral Relations (October 2013April 2014) and Security Policy Director (June 2012September 2013) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria. From 2008 to 2012 he was Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Tunisian Republic. In this capacity he worked also as Head of the NATO Contact Point Embassy in Tunis (January 2009-December 2010) and from 2010 till 2012 he was appointed as Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (nonresident, based in Tunis, Tunisia). He started his diplomatic career as Third Secretary at the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Arab Republic of Egypt (1993-1997) and Expert at the Arab Countries Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1992-1993). Ambassador Doykov earned his Master’s degrees in International Relations with command of a Foreign Language (Arabic) from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Russian Federation (1985-1991) and in Business Administration (MBA) from the United Business Institutes, Brussels, Belgium (2000-2002). Currently he is doing a Postgraduate diploma in International Law and Diplomacy (one-year programme). In 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively he participated in the Programme on e-Learning and Digital Education in the Administrative Staff College of India in Hyderabad, the Winter School for Diplomats at the School of International Studies of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and a two week course on International Law, organised by the Indian Society of International Law. Mr Doykov is a co-author of the book “The Benghazi Case: Bulgarian Diplomacy in Action” and author of the book “A New Beginning: Bulgarian – Arab Relations in the Period 2004-2008”. He has written two articles on Bulgarian-Indian relations and Bulgarian-Nepalese relations. He has delivered lectures on theory and practice in

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Receiving the Outstanding Ambassador Award from the Unity International Foundation

conducting international negotiations at the European College of Economy and Management (ECEM), Plovdiv. Ambassador Doykov is recipient of a number of awards and distinctions, such as: Gold decoration of honour of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for long impeccable service at the Ministry of Foreign Affaires and his birth anniversary (2014), Order of the Tunisian Republic (2012), Silver decoration of honour of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for systematic high achievements in the field of the diplomatic service (2011), Silver decoration of honour of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the successful organisation of the evacuation of the Bulgarian citizens from Lebanon during war activities (2006), Award of honour of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for contribution to the successful completion of the 12th Council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of OSCE in Sofia (2005), Medal on the occasion of 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Bulgaria and the USA (2003). In February 2017 Ambassador Doykov was awarded a Gold Medal by Amity University for fostering international diplomatic relations with India. Upon the unanimous nomination of the Board of Advisors of the Global Film Festival Noida 2017 in November 2017 he was awarded a Hindi Cinema Samman (Indian Cinema Award) for continuous support to Indian art, culture and media and entertainment industry. On February 9, 2018 he received the “Outstanding Ambassador of the Year” Award from the Unity International Foundation. He speaks English, French, Arabic and Russian. ❐


BulgArIA tourIsM Plovdiv City Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria and an administrative center of Plovdiv County. It is situated in the Upper Thracian Plain on the both banks of the Maritsa river. The population of the city is about 350,000 people. The town in its present appearance was built around seven hills—the hills of Plovdiv (Plovdiv Tepes) which are an inseparable part of the city’s history. Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in Europe—the beginning of its history dates back to 4,000 years BC.

Town of Sopot

Town of Sopot Sopot is situated at a distance of only 5 km from Karlovo, about 130 km from Sofia, and 64 from Plovdiv. The small town is situated in the north part of the Karlovo valley, at the foot of the central part of the Balkan Mountain Range. Sopot is an old Bulgarian settlement, established in the 14th century. Sopot is one of the centers of Bulgarian revival. The first bottle making and glass factory on the Balkan Peninsula was established here.

Plovdiv City

february 2018 | india empire




Brahmastra under the banner of Dharma Productions started filming in February in Bulgaria under the direction of Ayan Mukherji. The film starring Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan and Mouni Roy is slated to release on August 15, 2019. The Twitter handle of Dharma Productions read: “Today is the day when we embark on our new journey & we can't wait to unfold every step with you! There's no holding back the excitement for this one, so keep sending in your love for #AyanMukerji & team! #Brahmastra @karanjohar @apoorvamehta18 @SrBachchan #RanbirKapoor @aliaa08.”

Sofia Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital and its largest city. Founded thousands of years ago, today the city continues to develop as the country’s cultural and economic centre. At present, the city has a population of 1,250,000. Sofia is located in the western part of the country, on The Sofia Plain and on the lower slopes of Mount Vitosha. The city’s average altitude is 550 meters above sea level, the climate is moderate and continental, characterized by cold winters and relatively cool summers. Town of Pleven The town of Pleven is situated in the middle part of the Danube hilly lowland, 160 km from the capital Sofia, 320 km from the Black Sea and 30 km south from the Danube river. The town population is about 135,000 people. The history of the town and the region dates back to thousands of years ago. The earliest evidences about human presence in the region are related to the end of the 5th millennium BC. In the beginning of the new era these lands became part of the Roman Empire. Kavarna The town of Kavarna is located on a rocky shore in the northern part of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, 63 km northeast of Varna. The beautiful coast of Kavarna stretches over 42 km and the total beach area of the Municipality amounts to 74 000 sq m. The town’s population is approximately 11 000 people. The evidence of human activity in the region dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. Greek settlers from Mesembria (modern-day Nesebar) set up the Bizone Colony in the region in the 5th century BC. The town was occupied by Romania in 1913 and was restored to ❐ Bulgaria in 1940.

12 india empire | february 2018

Town of Pleven


Pictures by: siPra Das

unIon MInIsters IntervIeweD By

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

(June 2014 – December 2017)

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

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

Mr Babul Supriyo Mr VIjay Goel Minister of State for Heavy When Minister of State (IC) for Industries and Public Enterprises Youth Affairs and Sports february 2018 | india empire 13

photo GaLLery Pictures Š siPra Das

Iranian President Mr Hassan Rouhani (centre) with Indian President Mr Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has moved its headquarters from 11 Ashoka Road to its new, imposing building on 6, Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg

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pm in GULf

DIASPORA DIPLOMACY In February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said IndiaUAE ties go beyond trade and both countries will work together to fulfill the dreams of the Indian diaspora in the Gulf country. “I assure you that we will work together to bring to reality the dreams you see, here and in India,” PM said. He was addressing hundreds of Indians working in the UAE who had gathered at the iconic Dubai Opera House to listen to him. “Our relation with the UAE is not just that of a buyer and a seller. It has become much more,” Mr Modi said in his speech in Hindi. He thanked the Gulf countries—a home to nearly 3.3 million strong Indian diaspora—for providing them “a home away from home.” Mr Modi also witnessed through video-conferencing the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Temple on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway. The ground-breaking ceremony of the first Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi was livestreamed to the Dubai Opera House. Mr Modi thanked Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on behalf of 1.25 billion Indians for the construction of the Temple. “I believe this Temple will not only be unique in terms of architecture and splendor, but will also give a message of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family) to people across the world,” he said. Wooing UAE businessmen to invest in India, Prime Minister Modi said India’s leap in World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings from 142 to 100 was “unprecedented, but we are not satisfied. We want to do better. We will do whatever it takes to make that happen.” This was Mr Modi’s second visit to the UAE after his trip in 2015. PM in Oman Thousands of Indian expats in Oman travelled from different parts of the Gulf kingdom to listen to visiting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also in February. Indian Social Club (ISC) Sohar Executive Committee Member and General Secretary M Rajesh said the excitement among the diaspora in Salalah, Sohar and Sur was palpable. Over 1,000 people were coming down from Sohar alone, he said, adding that ISC Sohar has arranged for two buses to ferry people to and from Muscat for the event at a nominal sum. “It’s really exciting to be able to see the Prime Minister. Citizens want to see him in person. It’s a great atmosphere.” Indian Social Club (ISC) Salalah Chairman Manpreet Singh said that he along with 75 or so Indian expats had boarded a flight to Muscat to listen to Prime Minister Modi’s speech. MoUs with UAE India and the UAE in February signed five MoUs, including in the areas of energy and railways, following

26 india empire | february 2018

Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi meeting the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of U.A.E. Armed Forces, General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, at the Presidential Palace, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in February 2018

Prime Minister Modi at the delegation level talks with Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said at Bait Al Baraka, Muscat in February 2018

delegation-level talks headed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. A MoU was signed between an Indian consortium comprising ONGC Videsh, Bharat PetroResources, Indian Oil and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) for acquisition of 10 per

PM Modi greets the Indian community at the Dubai Opera in UAE in February 2018

cent participating interest in the offshore Lower Zakum Concession, according to the Ministry of External Affairs. The concession will be for 40 years (2018-2057). While 60 per cent of the participating interest will be retained by ADNOC, the remaining 30 per cent will be awarded to other international oil companies. This is the first Indian investment in upstream oil sector of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), transforming the traditional buyer-seller relationship to a long-term investor relationship. To cooperate in the field of manpower, the two sides signed a MoU that aims to institutionalize the collaborative administration of contractual employment of Indian workers in UAE. Under this MoU, both sides will work to integrate their labor-related e-platforms for ending the existing malpractices, combat trafficking and organize collaborative programmes for education and awareness of contractual workers. A MoU for technical cooperation in the rail sector was also signed between the Ministry of Railways of India and the Federal Transport Authority—Land and Maritime—of the UAE. This aims at cooperation in infrastructure sector, especially railways and will facilitate development of joint projects, knowledge sharing, joint research and technology transfer. It envisages the formation of a joint working group for institutionalizing the cooperation mechanism. To deepen bilateral cooperation in the field of finance, a MoU between the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) was signed. It aims at enhancing cooperation between both the countries in financial services industry. The MoU envisages information exchange, exchange of experts and training for mutual benefit of both the countries. It will facilitate investment in financial markets

Mr Modi meets President of the State of Palestine, Mr Mahmoud Abbas, at Ramallah, Palestine in February 2018

by investors from both the countries. A separate MoU was also signed between the Jammu and Kashmir Government and DP World to establish multi-modal logistics park and hub in Jammu comprising warehouses and specialized storage solutions. During the delegation-level talks, the issues of security, investment and people-to-people ties figured, it is learnt. While the UAE is one of the largest suppliers of crude oil to India, it is also the 10 th largest investor in India in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), having invested an estimated USD 8 billion. As of 2016-17, India-UAE trade stood at around USD 52 billion, making India the largest trading partner of the UAE, while the Gulf nation is the fourth largest trading partner of India. Earlier Mr Modi visited Palestine in what was the first ever prime ministerial visit from India there. ❐

february 2018 | india empire 27



T by Fakir balaji

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he US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has inducted Indian-born Stanford University Emeritus Professor Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj into its National Inventors Hall of Fame for developing wireless technology to transmit and receive data at high speeds, the agency of the US Department of Commerce said on Monday. Paulraj joins the ranks of 561 others including the likes of Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell and Apple founder Steve Jobs. “Paulraj, 73, has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his pioneering work on developing wireless technology to transmit and receive data at high speeds,” the agency said in an e-mail to IANS from Washington, DC. The agency awarded Paulraj a patent in 1992 for inventing Multiple In-Multiple Out (MIMO), which enables transfer of data, including videos through broadband and mobile technologies like 4G and the upcoming 5G. “We honor people responsible for the greatest technological advances that make human, social and economic progress possible,” noted the agency. The Patent Office will formally induct Paulraj at a special ceremony on May 3, 2018, in Washington. Though the agency honored five other Indianorigin scientists in the past, Paulraj joins eight other world-famed inventors in the wireless technology field, who were inducted into the Hall of Fame. “I feel humbled to be counted among the inventors who have made the modern world possible. When I joined Stanford in 1992, I had not worked in wireless technology, as my prior years in India were spent on sonar systems,” said Paulraj in an e-mail to IANS from Stanford in California. The other Indian wireless pioneer holding a patent for breakthrough work in radio and microwave optics was Jagdish Chandra Bose (1858-1937) in the 1890s. “It was perhaps being an outsider helped me come up with this transformative idea. Like other breakthroughs, though MIMO faced skepticism, it took off and is the foundation of all wireless systems,” recalled Paulraj. The other eight wireless inventors inducted into the Hall of Fame are Guglielmo Marconi and Oliver Lodge (wireless telegraph), Reginald Fessenden (AM radio), Edwin Armstrong (FM radio), Amos Joel (Cellular technology), Andrew Viterbi and Irwin Jacobs (CDMA-3G) and Jan Haartsen (Bluetooth).

Professor Arogyaswami Paulraj

The other five Indian scientists honored in the past in other fields are C K N Patel (CO2 laser), Jayant Baliga (insulated gate bipolar transistor), Haren Gandhi (automotive exhaust catalyst), Ashok Gadgil (ultraviolet water sanitation) and Rangaswami Srinivasan (Lasik eye surgery). “MIMO technology uses multiple antennas as a transmitter and receiver in a wireless link to boost wireless data rates. The 4G broadband wireless internet access and the next-generation 5G will not be possible without MIMO Technology,” Paulraj said. Set up in 1791, the USPTO has issued 8.8 million patents since the mid-20th century but inducted so far only 561 inventors, including Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell and Apple founder Steve Jobs. Born at Pollachi in Tamil Nadu, Paulraj joined the Indian Navy when he was just 15 years. Impressed with his academic record, the Navy sent him to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, where he earned a doctorate (PhD) for advances to signal filtering theory.

After a 25-year service in the Navy, Paulraj went to the US in 1992 to work at Stanford and built a MIMO-based cellular wireless technology that became the basis for WiMax and LTE (Long-Term Evolution) mobile networks. Paulraj holds 79 patents and has won many distinctions, including the 2011 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal and 2014 Marconi Prize and Fellowship. The Indian Government also honored Paulraj with Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in 2010. The NDA Government appointed the septuagenarian in December 2017 as Chairman of the Telecommunication Department’s Steering Committee to prepare a vision, mission, goal and roadmap for 5G India 2020. “The Department has asked me to support its efforts to advance the applications and internal value addition in 5G wireless. I always felt that India needs to join the club of countries like the US, China, Europe, South Korea and Japan that dominate communications and computing technology,” added Paulraj. ❐ february 2018 | india empire 29


Sunayana attends Union address


unayana Dumala, the widow of Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was killed in a hate crime in 2017 in Kansas, was a Congressional guest at the State of the Union address delivered by President Donald Trump in January 2018. Dumala called the speech “welcoming and positive” on reforming immigration. “In the very beginning he (Trump) said that we all have our differences but we have to work in unity and harmony,” she told the Kansas City TV station, KHSB. “That is welcome.” “And he did address immigration and that there is a need to fix a broken system,” she added. “That is very positive too.” Republican Representative Kevin Yoder tweeted that he invited her to the President’s ceremonial speech “in recognition for her tireless efforts to promote peace and as a message to the Indian community that the US is a nation of immigrants and they are welcome here.” Dumala is at risk of being sent out of the US because she came in as a dependent on her husband’s H1-B temporary professional visa but the deportation has been stayed. Before attending Trump’s address, Dumala met House Speaker Paul Ryan and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chair 30 india empire | february 2018

of the House Republican Conference, and other lawmakers, according to KHSB’s Twitter feed from Washington. Kuchibhotla was killed and his friend Alok Madasani was injured when a former Navyman Adam Purinton allegedly fired on them in February 2017 outside a restaurant in Kansas while shouting, “Get out of my country.” Purinton is awaiting trial on charges of murder and committing a hate crime. Yoder is the sponsor of a bill aimed at cutting the delays for professional Indian applicants for green cards which gives them permanent immigration status. The wait time now is over 11 years and is likely to grow longer. The bill, “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017”, seeks to do away with national quotas for issuing green cards which leads to long waits for Indians because of the large numbers of professionals from the country--many already in the US on H1-B visas--who qualify for immigration. The Indian Association of Kansas City thanked Yoder for inviting Dumala to the presidential address and said: “This further strengthens our belief and confidence in the American system and its constitution that everyone is respected, loved and is welcome.” ■

PUnjAB CM wELCOMES CAnADIAn POSITIOn Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in February welcomed a statement by two Canadian federal Ministers of Indian-origin that they did not sympathize with the Khalistan demand. Captain Amarinder Singh had refused to meet Indianorigin Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Captain Amarinder Singh Sajjan during his visit to Punjab in April 2017. Captain Singh welcomed the “categorical denial by Sajjan, the first Sikh to be Defence Minister of a western country, of taking a pro-Khalistani stance, and congratulated Trudeau for creating the necessary environment against secessionist forces (demanding separate Sikh homeland) believed to be operating from his country.” “Sajjan’s statement, carried by the Canadian Press in February that he and fellow Sikh Minister Amarjit Sohi, 'neither sympathise with nor espouse the Sikh nationalist movement, which is bent on creating a separate country called Khalistan in India’s Punjab region’ indicated that the Cana-

dian Prime Minister had clearly sent out a strong signal within his party and Government that he would not allow his country’s soil to be used for any anti-India activities,” the Chief Minister said. “The latest statements by Sajjan and Sohi, who has also Mr Harjit Sajjan made it clear that he does not sympathise with the (Khalistani) cause, have paved the way for better relations with Canada, which shares strong roots with India in view of the large Sikh population settled there,” Mr Singh said. The Chief Minister was upset with Canadian authorities earlier as the Indian-origin Ministers and some MPs in Canada had openly supported the secessionists’ agenda for Khalistan. The Canadian Government, under Mr Trudeau, had objected to Amarinder Singh’s Canada visit in April 2016 to meet Non-Resident Indians ahead of Punjab’s assembly elections in February 2017.

IndIan teacher haIled Ms Shanthi Viswanathan

A quick-acting Indian-American math teacher is being hailed for saving the lives of her students during the shooting rampage at a Florida high school that left 17 dead. When an alarm sounded for the second time on the afternoon of February 14, 2018, Shanthi Viswanathan shut the doors to her algebra classroom, made the students crouch on the floor and covered the windows, keeping them out of the reach and sight of the gunman, the Sun-Sentinel reported. “She was quick on her feet. She used her knowledge. She saved a lot of kids,” Dawn Jarboe, mother of one of

Viswanathan’s students, told the newspaper. When an elite police contingent known as a SWAT team came and knocked on the door asking her to open it, Viswanathan took no chance that it wasn't a trick by the gunman to get in, the newspaper said. “She said, ‘knock it down or open it with a key. I’m not opening the door’,” Jarboe quoted her as telling the police. “Some SWAT guy took out the window and cleared our room,” Jarboe's son, Brian, texted his mother, the newspaper said. A former student of the school, Nikolas Cruz, barged into Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine’s Day and killed 15 students and two staff members with an AR-15 automatic rifle. No motive has been established for the killings. However, he was reported to have had a troubled childhood and had threatened in a YouTube post to shoot up schools. Although it was reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency closed the investigation without locating him, according to media reports. The shooter abandoned his gun and during the ensuing chaos mixed in with the students to escape. He was captured about 40 minutes later in a neighboring town, authorities said. In the entire Broward County, where Parkland is located, the Indian population is 22,600, according to But none of those killed are of Indian descent. february 2018 | india empire 31


RIjIjU HAILS KASHMIR SUPPORTERS Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju in January hailed those who countered a protest outside the Indian High Commission in London in support of Kashmir freedom on the country’s 69th Republic Day. The Minister also said that fringe elements can’t damage the Indian spirit. “Salute to the Indian patriots in London. The minuscule fringe elements can’t dent the spirit of India. We are all one from Arunachal Pradesh to Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland to Rann of Kutch, and Kanyakumari to Punjab,” Rijiju said in a tweet. “I was very impressed with our zealously patriotic Indian diaspora and enjoyed a warm interaction with them, which was organised by the High Commission of India in London,” the Minister said. Clashes erupted outside the Indian High Commission

Mr Kiren Rijiju

in Central London in January evening as British Lord Nazir Ahmed, a pro-Pakistan peer in the House of Lords, organised a black-day protest to demand freedom for Kashmir and Khalistan. The protest turned violent after Ahmed’s supporters were countered by many Indian and British groups.


In February, Raj Shah, the Deputy Press Secretary of President Donald Trump, addressed a media briefing at the White House, becoming the first Indian-American to do so. Shah, 32, made his debut address following the resignation of staff secretary Rob Porter over domestic abuse allegations. He was bombarded by questions on the White House advisor’s sudden exit, the US media reported. He was filling in the shoes of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who is away on a vacation. Ahead of his brief32 india empire | february 2018

ing, Sanders took to Twitter and described Shah as “one of the best and the brightest in the Trump administration.” Shah was asked questions about Trump’s thoughts concerning legal immigration as it affects Indian immigrants, and those applying for Green Cards through the normal route, as well as on lifting the country quotas for legal immigration, News India Times reported. “The PresMr Raj Shah ident wants to see legal immigration reforms. He wants to see us move from a process currently existing in law, of extended family chain migration, towards meritbased legal immigration reform,” Shah said. “We want to ensure that people coming in the country are the best and the brightest regardless of nationality, creed, religion or anything else in-between,” he added. The press briefing came on the heels of stories revealing Shah's scathing remarks about Trump's candidacy in 2016 emails with his colleagues.

coLUmn: yoGi ashwini

mind and body

CreATIOn eXISTS In LAyerS yogi ashwini

Cut across the earth—you will find layers soil, rocks, minerals, magnetic substances, the molten lava etc. Cut across the bark of a tree, you will see concentric circles each for the various layers that make up a tree. Cut across any fruit, again you will find layers. Cut open a human body, once again you will find layers—three layers of skin, muscle, tissue, blood, bones, etc. Creation exists in layers—each and every aspect of it. Mentioned above are layers that are directly perceived by our five senses—them being composed of the five elements. These layers and elements are controlled by layers that exist beyond, which too can be perceived by us…through activation of other senses, a human being having a total of sixteen senses. In this particular article, I will discuss various techniques to touch the layer immediately next to the physical body (or five elements), often called the aura or the pranic layer, which controls the physical body by way of prana. Sanatan Kriya details the ancient and time-tested techniques to increase the efficiency of this layer and in turn of the physical body by way of prana of breath, colour, sound, touch, taste, etc. Activation of this sense through which you perceive this layer is real and is accessible to any normal person. Dr Prasan Prabhakar (Chennai), Dr Pravina Gandhi (Mumbai) and Dr Deepika Arora (Delhi) through practice have experienced this layer proving efficacy of the layer and its reality. Some of the by-products are a healthy, disease-free body, radiant complexion, glowing skin, youth, vigor, vitality etc. Our physical body is a permutation and combination of the five elements. Sanatan Kriya says that they are controlled by the dimension of colour. Everything in creation has a colour to it. Even the colourless is a colour and every colour has a specific frequency. Everything looks the way it does because it is in a state of balance as it is vibrating at a specific frequency. Sanatan Kriya further details that if there is an imbalance in any of these colours or energy, the manifestation happens in colours, which further affect the object which may be the physical body that we are talking

By Yogi Ashwini

about in this case. That distortion is called a disease, also called imbalance in Ayurveda. To correct that imbalance, there are various powerful techniques given in Sanatan Kriya under the topic of self-healing. For example, if you have an upset stomach, the primary constituting colors of stomach are—green and light saffron. By introducing the right shade of these colors into the stomach in the prescribed quantities, the stomach will automatically resume its normal functioning. I have detailed such kriyas in my book ‘Sanatan Kriya, The Ageless Dimension’ which has been acclaimed as thesis on anti-ageing. The science of colours is very closely linked with the science of sound. When creation began, first sound manifested and from it emerged various hues and colours, which finally took the form of the elements and physical body that normal eyes can see. Therefore to affect a change in the physical body, one utilizes the dimension of colours which in turn is governed by specific sounds and mantras. There is a specific mantra detailed in the sanatan kriya, ‘ram’. When it is chanted keeping awareness of the form of your Guru in front of you, you can see and access the colour and energy of saffron which then can be utilized for healing the stomach. For this, sit in any comfortable position and keep your fingertips pointing towards the navel with palms and fingers on both sides of the stomach. Close your eyes and becoming aware of your guru figure in front of you, start with the slow, soft and deep chant of the mantra, ram. After sometime your body will start heating up, continue with the chant, now internally, and redistribute the prana so generated into the affected areas of stomach. Sanatan Kriya Self Healing Workshop addresses the various layers of the body in totality and touches and brings about changes in the various organs and chakras of body through the ancient sciences of colour, sound and specialized breathing techniques in a practical and ❐ experiential session. —Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and can be reached at

february 2018 | india empire 33

photo GaLLery Pictures Š siPra Das

PM Modi inaugurates the BJP’s new headquarters on 6, Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg (above and left below), Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Mr Dharmendra Pradhan at the venue (below)

34 india empire | february 2018


bUsiness and Governance

6 lakh attend auto expo


ver six lakh people visited the 14th edition of the Auto Expo—The Motor Show which concluded on February 14, 2018. “We had 6,05,175 footfalls during this edition of the Auto Expo, as was expected. The extension of the Auto Expo by one day has been welcomed by visitors and manufacturers alike,” Sugato Sen, Deputy Director General, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), said in a statement. The Auto Expo—The Motor Show 2018 was jointly organized by the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and SIAM. According to the organizers, The Motor Show 2018 witnessed over 500 product displays from

Kia Stinger

36 india empire | february 2018

119 exhibitors including 53 “Original Vehicle Manufacturers” showcasing over 100 products, including 22 launches, 81 product unveilings and 18 concept showcases. “There were 14 new brand launches that included Kia Motors India, India Kawasaki Motors and Cleveland CycleWerks. There were 25 Electric Vehicles showcased in this edition of the Auto Expo,” a statement said. “A total of 11 start-ups marked their presence in India through this edition of Auto Expo 2018. The crowds converged in large numbers, not just on the weekends but also on regular weekdays. The additional day saw large congregations, especially at the Special Zones created this time.” The expo was held between February 9 and 14, 2018, at the India Expo Mart, Greater Noida.

Facebook to daIlyhunt


ormer Facebook India Managing Director Umang Bedi has joined local language news and entertainment aggregator Dailyhunt as President. Bedi will report to Dailyhunt founder Virendra Gupta. “This is a tremendous opportunity to drive scale via Dailyhunt’s Made in India platform. The intention is to serve the unmet, under-served needs of Indians who live in tier 2, 3, 4 cities and rural areas and provide them with personalized, relevant, meaningful experiences,” Bedi said in a statement in February. Dailyhunt has 80 million users that spend over six billion minutes on the platform each month. The platform offers over 250,000 news articles in 14 languages licensed from

sa tourIsM roadshow

thousands of content partners and contributors every day. “Umang’s background in social media content and experience leading scaled teams generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues is a great fit with our plans,” said Gupta. Facebook appointed Bedi in 2016 as Managing Director for India to build and maintain strategic relationships with top clients and regional agencies in the country. An engineering graduate from the University of Pune and an alumni of the Harvard Business School, Bedi officially started Mr Umang Bedi at Facebook in July 2016. Prior to joining Facebook, Bedi was Managing Director of South Asia region at Adobe.

MaMata’s request to Ford Ms Mamata Banerjee


he 15th edition of South Africa (SA) Tourism’s Roadshow will capitalize on the growing demand and align efforts to meet the evolving demands of the Indian traveller, a statement in February has said. “This unique interactive platform has been developed with an aim to offer trade partners in the Indian market an opportunity to interact and educate on diverse product offerings and experiences from South Africa,” said an SA Tourism statement. Between February 12 and February 19, the Roadshow travels to five cities of Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Delhi and Ahmedabad.


est Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in February mentioned that she’d requested Ford Motor Company’s Alfred Ford to set up a manufacturing unit of in her state. She also said that Alfred Ford, the greatgrandson of Henry Ford, founder of US auto giant would look into the proposal. “I have requested Ford (Alfred Ford) to plan for a new manufacturing unit here in West Bengal. They have one in Chennai. He said he will look into it,” Banerjee said while visiting Mayapur ISKCON temple in Nadia district. Ford India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, has an integrated manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu. february 2018 | india empire 37

bUsiness and Governance

Pe-Vc InVestMents double


rivate equity and venture capital (PE/VC) investments doubled in January to USD 3.5 billion across 51 deals--an increase of 98 per cent over last year--on the back of some large deals, a report said in February. According to EY’s PE monthly deal tracker, large value deals of over USD 100 million continued to dominate the activity with the financial services sector leading the way. “January 2018 recorded almost double the value of investments witnessed last year (USD 3.5 billion in January 2018 vs USD 1.2 billion in January 2017). Compared to December 2017, investments grew by 32 per cent in value terms," said the PE monthly deal tracker report. The report pointed out that this increase was primarily on account of a large investment worth USD 1.7 billion by a group of investors including GIC, KKR, CPPIB, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, Carmignac Group and Premji Invest in India’s premier mortgage lender HDFC. The report showed that the first month of 2018 also recorded 26 exits worth USD 970 million. “January 2018 recorded USD 970 million in exits, 10 per cent higher than January 2017 and 42 per cent higher compared to the previous month,” said the EY deal tracker. In terms of volume, there were 26 exits in January 2018 compared to 15 in January last year and 22 in December 2017, it said.

38 india empire | february 2018

Sectorwise, industrial products (six deals) and food and agriculture (four deals) recorded the highest number of exits. The report said in terms of value, technology was the top sector with exits worth USD 332 million. “After a relatively quiet December 2017, PE activity has picked up again this month, with both investments and exits growing by more than a third compared to the previous month,” said Vivek Soni, Partner and Leader for Private Equity Advisory, EY. “The trend of larger and more complex deals continues with five investments greater than USD 100 million being announced in the first month of 2018 itself compared to 56 such deals across all of 2017,” he added. Soni pointed out that in terms of sectors, financial services, real estate and healthcare continued to attract most of the investments dollars. “This month PIPE (private investment in public equity) deals recorded a growth of over 100 per cent compared to the previous month. In 2018, we expect to see the value of PIPE deals growing significantly, as large pension funds and sovereign wealth funds increase their India focus and as deal sizes continue to become larger,” said Soni. In terms of fund raising activity, the report noted that 2018 had a rather tepid start with only USD 91 million raised in January. “Nonetheless, fund raising plans announced stood at USD 7 billion, a sign of strong fund raising activity to follow as the year progresses,” it added. ❐

Passenger traFFIc uP India's domestic air passenger traffic surged by 19.69 per cent to 1.14 crore in January from 95.79 lakh reported during the corresponding month of last fiscal, official data has shown. “Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January 2018 were 114.65 lakh as against 95.79 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of 19.69 per cent,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in its monthly domestic traffic report. According to the data, low-cost carrier SpiceJet had the highest passenger load factor (PLF)—a measure of capacity utilization of the airline—at 95 per cent during during the month under review. “SpiceJet has yet again recorded the highest PLF in the industry and this is the 34th month in a row that we have flown with load factors in excess of 90 per cent,” said SpiceJet's Chief Sales and Revenue Officer Shilpa Bhatia. It was followed by budget passenger carriers GoAir with PLF at 90 per cent, and IndiGo and JetLite at 89.7 per cent each. “The passenger load factor in the month of January 2018 has shown increasing trend compared to previous month primarily due to the ongoing tourist season,” the monthly statistical analysis said. The data showed that IndiGo led the industry with 75.4 per cent punctuality rate (on-time performance) at the four major airports of Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. It was followed by SpiceJet (74.4), Go Air (67.4) and Air India's domestic operations (66.9). “The overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for the month of January 2018 has been 1.26 per cent,” said the data. In addition, it disclosed that a total of 694 pas-

senger-related complaints were received last month. The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month of January 2018 has been around 0.61,” the monthly analysis said. The data revealed that IndiGo led the industry with the highest market share of 39.7 per cent, followed by Jet Airways (14.3), Air India (13.3), SpiceJet (12.6 ), and GoAir (9.6). AirAsia India had a market share of 4.3 per cent, followed by Vistara (3.6), JetLite (2.3) and Trujet (0.3). “The domestic passenger traffic continues to show strong growth momentum, growing by 19.69 per cent on a year on year basis. The lower airfares have been a result of induction of more seat capacity as well as crude oil prices staying stable,” said Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), “Major carriers further fuelled the growth by announcing sales during the month, despite it being a peak travel month. We do expect this growth trend to continue in the coming months,” he added.

carlson’s Presence In IndIa

bhel bags ntPc order

The world's leading hospitality major Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which currently has 89 operating hotels in India, is hoping to open another 11 hotels by the end of 2018, an official said in February. “We have 140 hotels in operation and under development across India,” its Chief Executive Officer (South Asia) Raj Rana said. Of its 89 operating hotels in India, 34 are under the “Radisson Blu” brand, 18 in “Radisson”, eight under “Park Plaza”, 22 in “Country Inns & Suites by Radisson” and seven in “Park Inn by Radisson”. “Our model is we manage and franchise hotels. On an average, we open a hotel in every six weeks and sign a hotel (with property developer or owner) in every four weeks,” he said on the sidelines of an event where Park Plaza Kolkata (Ballygunge) was re-branded as Radisson Kolkata. The group is betting on the success of “Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik” plan, a regional airport development and regional connectivity scheme, to open more hotels in secondary cities.

Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) in February said it has bagged an order worth Rs 560 crore from NTPC for setting up a system for emission control. BHEL has secured the order for “supply and installation of the flue gas de-sulphurisation (FGD) system from NTPC for 2 x 490 MW National Capital Power Station at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh,” the company said in a regulatory filing to the BSE. Previously, BHEL installed the FGD system at Tata Power’s Trombay Unit 8 in 2008, and is currently installing FGD systems at NTPC’s 3 x 250 MW Bongaigaon project, it said. february 2018 | india empire 39

bUsiness and Governance

toP ethIcal FIrMs IT services and outsourcing provider Wipro Limited and Tata Steel Ltd are the two Indian firms that have been selected among 135 of the world’s most ethical companies for 2018 by the USbased think tank Ethisphere Institute. The 135 companies dedicated to “defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices” were selected from 23 countries across 57 industries, Ethisphere said in a statement in February. Microsoft, Dell, Salesforce and Adobe are some of the global tech giants who figured in the 2018 list. “Over the last 12 years, we have repeatedly seen that those companies who focus on transparency and authenticity are rewarded with the trust of their employees, their customers and their investors,” said Ethisphere CEO Timothy Erblich. “While negative headlines might grab attention, the companies who support the rule of law and operate with decency and fair play around the globe will always succeed in the long term,” Erblich added. The listed ethical companies outperformed the large cap sector over five years by 10.72 per cent and over three years by 4.88 per cent. “We are honored to be


Q3 Rs 264 crore profit for Britannia Food major Britannia Industries Ltd in February reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 264 crore for the third quarter of 2017-18, registering a 20 per cent annual growth from Rs 220 crore in the same period year ago. In a regulatory filing on the BSE, the city-based company said consolidated total income for the quarter under review grew annually 9 per cent to Rs 2,603 crore from Rs 2,393 crore in the corresponding period a year ago. Sequentially, however, net profit and revenue growth were flat (1.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent) from Rs 261 crore and Rs 2,596 crore last quarter. “We had 15 per cent growth in the domestic market for the quarter owing to double-digit volume growth on the back of investment in brands and widening distribution network,” said Britannia Managing Director Varun Berry.

40 india empire | february 2018

listed among the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the fifth consecutive year,” said Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies. “Ethics and integrity matter at Dell. We work hard to earn our customers’ trust, improve our communities and inspire our team members through sound, ethical decision-making,” he added. The institute will organise an event in New York on March 13 to felicitate the companies where PepsiCo Chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi is expected to deliver the keynote address. “At Microsoft, trust and integrity are core to our values and critical to our success. We’re passionate about applying the power of technology to improve our world, and that starts with doing business in a way that builds and maintains trust with our customers,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.

global nrI centre The State Bank of India, which has a strong NRI customer base of over 33 lakh, in February launched its Global NRI Centre (GNC) in Kochi. The GNC will be a one-stop customer service centre for all Non-Resident Indian (NRI) banking related services. To enhance the service experience of NRIs, the bank also launched other services such as Wealth Management, SBI Intelligent Assist, Free Post Box Service, SBI Mingle for NRIs and Remittance facility for US-based customers. With its NRI customer base of over 33 lakh as on January 31, the bank, through its GNC, aims to centralize operations which are currently spread across 16 circles, 92 NRI branches in 66 different locations and several NRI intensive branches. The bank’s NRI customers can now avail banking services from any part of the world, through a wide range of online facilities like account opening, in-principle sanctions of loans and instant remittances, state-of-the-art technology, professional and specialized dedicated teams, a 24x7 contact centre to offer customer support and resolution. At the launch, SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar said the bank has witnessed a consistent growth of its NRI banking portfolio. “Our endeavor is to offer all our products and services on digital platform so that our NRI customers experience the ease of banking with us from wherever they are in the world and that's why we have centralized all our services and offering them under the Global NRI Centre besides specialized services," said Kumar.

BEnGALURU ExpoRTs 5.2 m RosEs


s many as 5.2 million roses were exported to 25 countries from Bengaluru Airport ahead of Valentine’s Day. “About 325 tonnes (325,000 kg) of roses in the form of 5.2 million stems were exported to 36 destinations in 25 countries between February 1 and 14,” the Bengaluru International Airport Ltd (BIAL) said in February. The roses from Karnataka were exported to Malaysia, Kuwait, Singapore, Japan, the US, the UK, South Korea, the Netherlands and New Zealand among others. The export of roses had risen by at least by 10 per cent with 293 tonnes (4.7 million roses) exported last year to 15 countries during the first two weeks in February ahead of Valentine’s Day on February 14. “This year, we have witnessed an increase in the number of destinations the roses have been exported to,” said the Managing Director of BIAL Hari Marar. Malaysia, Kuwait and Singapore were among the top three importers. Karnataka is a major state in flower production in the country. India exported USD 82 million (about Rs 525 crore) worth of flowers globally in 2016-17. The state is popular for its varieties of roses like Dutch roses (bright red roses), noblesse (reddish pink roses) and gold strike (yellow roses). During February and March, millions of roses from the state are exported to various countries to be sold for Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year (on February 16) and International Women’s Day (March 8).



Q3 Rs 61.99 crore profit for Godfrey Phillips Cigarette maker Godfrey Phillips India reported a 61.26 per cent rise in its standalone net profit to Rs 61.99 crore in the quarter ended December 31, 2017 as compared to Rs 38.44 crore in the year-ago period. On a comparable basis, gross sales during the quarter under review were at Rs 1,528.48 crore as against Rs 1,352.05 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal.

Q3 profit of Rs 4,111.95 cr for DLF Real estate major DLF in February reported an exponential rise in its consolidated net profit for the third quarter of 2017-18 to Rs 4,111.95 crore. According to the company, its consolidated net profit increased on the back of “one-time, exceptional pre-tax gain of Rs 8,569 crore due to restatement of DLF’s investment in DCCDL.” Consequently, the Q3 consolidated net profit rose to Rs 4,111.95 crore from Rs 98.88 crore reported during the corresponding period of FY17.


assenger carrier SpiceJet in February said its Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh has been named the “Indian entrepreneur of the year 2017 for business transformation” by global consultancy firm EY. “From staring at an imminent closure to achieving 12 quarters of profit and a load factor of over 90 per cent every month for 33 months in a row, SpiceJet’s Mr Ajay Singh turnaround story under the leadership of Ajay Singh, has no parallel in the aviation world today,” a SpiceJet statement said. The airline currently flies more than 400 daily flights, it said. This is Singh’s second stint at SpiceJet after he bought back majority stake in the airline in 2015 from the Sun Group when the airline was plagued by financial losses.

Q3 Rs 1.02 crore profit for Max India Business conglomerate Max India Ltd in February said it closed the third quarter of the current fiscal with a net profit of Rs 1.02 crore, up from Rs 55 lakh posted for the quarter ended December 31, 2016. In a regulatory filing with BSE, the company said that for the period under review, it had earned a total income of Rs 14.87 crore up from Rs 11.19 crore logged during the quarter ended December 31, 2016.

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India empire february 2018  
India empire february 2018