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Editor’s Desk


hen motivational speaker Simon Sinek sheds light on leadership, he articulates that it is not about the next elections, but about the next generation. That brings me straight to the point that there is something extra-special about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that makes him an absolute superstar in the world of leadership. Like no one quite before him, Mr Modi has managed to carry the “next generation” along with him for the second time running, thereby spectacularly sweeping his party, the formidable BJP, to greater majority and success. Earlier leaders who’ve triumphed in India’s Parliamentary politics did not have to deal with an electorate that is as young, impatient and aspiring, as Mr Modi has had to. Whether from the rural swathes or from the urban classes, young Indians now are thoroughly exposed, and by and large disillusioned with dynastic politics, cantankerous and violent opposition, and above all, intellectual dishonesty. They want to break the back of those who’ve taken them for a ride in the past by using the power of their voting fingers. Delivery, not mere talk, matters more to the next generation of Indians. It cannot be easy dealing with an electorate of 900 million in a country of 1.3 billion, especially when about 600 million of the electorate is below 35 years in age. Mr Modi’s charisma and magic has young India in its grip. Even at 68, he connects smoothly with the wifi-whatsapp generation more easily than opponents far younger, but less mentally agile. Former Governor of Hawaii Linda Lingle succinctly adds to what Sinek has to say. Politicians, according to her, all too often think about the next election, whereas statesmen think about the next generation. Mr Modi may have put his political career on the line with such tough economic decisions like deMr Modi is sworn-in as Prime monetization—that even two and a half years after it Minister for his second term was implemented continues to provide ample nightmares to those who didn’t find time to whiten their black money—and implementation of the goods and services tax, but they did not backfire. His sincerity did not go unnoticed, and India’s millions of voters understood the path he was taking. It elevated him to the ranks of statesmen. Mr Modi has taken world leaders along with his robust and sharp international diplomacy. Some of them clearly are in awe of him. India is a nation whose days of getting armtwisted are long gone. The Indian diaspora around the planet gets more respect than it ever did before. Mr Modi’s greater understanding of global politics also makes him a decisive leader. He knows well how to strategize in the distant shores of the Pacific, promote India’s soft power and yoga, and hold his audiences in thrall at world summits. He’s equally quick to tell the world that the country will show zero tolerance for terrorism—and its perpetrators have felt the surgical precision of his words more than just once. He fits in with Plato’s definition of philosopher-king, spiritually inclined with a great feel and understanding of India’s ancient wisdom. No wonder he’s chosen Varanasi, one of the world’s continuously inhabited oldest cities, as the point from where he’s launched himself into national politics and has engaged, as frequently as he can, with the sages this land has produced. Mr Modi’s second innings as Prime Minister promises that bigger things are to come. India’s economy would become much larger. It will launch many more satellites into space. Millions more would move out of poverty. More households will have electricity and cooking gas and bank accounts. India may even become cleaner than ever before. The world community is hopeful. As is the common man in India.

Sayantan Chakravarty

India-Diplomatic, Political, Business and Diaspora Connectivity


empire Volume 15 No. 1 June 2019 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 Ambassador Gonchig Ganbold, Sandeep Bamzai, Sujit Chakraborty, Arul Louis, 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 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 alongside Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats, RK Narayan (Padma Vibhushan 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) and others chosen by Scholastic Education to promote advanced English literature for schools worldwide. Sayantan Chakravarty’s stories featured in Best of Indian Express of 25 years and Best of India Today’s 25 years.



june 2019


GRAND RETURN OF PM MODI .......................... 06 What global diplomats are telling India Empire

MONGOLIA ......................................................... 12 Ambassador’s article

NARENDRA MODI—THE GREAT UNIFIER .......... 16 How he outwitted a fragmented opposition

SPELLING BEE ..................................................... 37 Indian dominance in the USA continues

NEW GOVERNMENT AND CELEBRATIONS ....... 19 When pictures tell a thousand words and more

BUSINESS AND GOVERNANCE .......................... 21 Time for India Inc to take off




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


Mr Nitin Gadkari Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, and Shipping

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

Mr Ananth Kumar Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers

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

Mr Chaudhary Birender Singh Minister for Steel

Ms Smriti Irani When Minister for Human Resource Development

Mr Radha Mohan Singh Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare

Mr Narendra Singh Tomar When Minister for Steel and Mines

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

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

Mr Thawar Chand Gehlot Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment

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

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

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

Mr Babul Supriyo Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises

Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy (Ex) Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (IC)

Pictures by: siPra Das

(May 2014 — May 2019)

Cover Story

A NEW WORLD OPENING UP By Sayantan Chakravarty

As the new Government at the centre in India takes position, we asked diplomats for their views on how best, going forward, they’d plan to engage and strategize with the world’s largest democracy. Some of the responses we received from those featured on our cover page are listed below. The responses that cut across continents show there is fresh enthusiasm in the world order as Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned with a greater majority for his party—the Bharatiya Janata Party (see separate political story). In the triumph on the electoral battlefield one thing is clear—the BJP will provide a stable Government for another five years, which in turn will allow several of the ongoing economic and developmental projects to reach a logical culmination and success. With India’s political stability comes greater hope for the world, and every nation now seeks an opportunity to vigorously engage with the new order for mutual cooperation and benefit

“A new tenure for Narendra Modi as Prime Minister represents an opportunity for Argentina to continue engaging with India with the same strength and strategic vision that we enjoy, particularly since the State Visit of our President Mauricio Macri last February. We are sure that his renewed leadership will give both of our countries a deeper involvement and understanding between each other, and that the bilateral ties will continue to develop in a consistent manner, with a focus in areas such as food security, energy security and technology exchanges. We hope that with this premise, and as countries that share the same core values (democracy being one of them) Argentina and India can tackle together the challenges that lay ahead” —H.E. Mr Daniel Chuburu Ambassador of the Argentine Republic to India

“India and Austria established bilateral diplomatic relations back in 1949. During the Cold War period both countries positioned themselves voluntarily between East and West Austria by declaring its neutrality and India by founding the Non-Aligned Movement – which made them natural allies on the world scene. This led to a first strengthening of bilateral ties that culminated in the close personal friendship between the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the Austrian Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky. Today bilateral relations have become multi-facetted, including advocacy for a strong and efficient multilateral system, in particular the United Nations, economic and trade relations, tourism as well as culture. More than 150 Austrian companies have established subsidiaries or joint ventures in India, the trade volume between the two countries has increased to almost € 2 billion per year and over 200,000 Indian tourists visited Austria in 2018. These developments are accompanied by high-level visits in India, such as Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl in February 2019” —H.E. Ms Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer Ambassador of Austria to India 6

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“The landslide victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the earlier landslide victory of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is a clear endorsement of the people of our two countries to deepen and broaden Bangladesh–India friendship and cooperation. I hope, during their renewed mandates, they would take our current state of cooperation to newer heights, which in turn, would eradicate poverty, disease and underdevelopment and bring in peace, progress and prosperity in our region” —H.E. Mr Syed Muazzem Ali High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India

“On behalf of Canada, I am delighted to extend warm congratulations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his re-election in the world’s largest-ever exercise in democracy. I was appointed Canada’s High Commissioner to India in October 2014, just months after Prime Minister Modi’s first national election victory. During that period, the Canada-India relationship has become deeper and broader than ever before. Our commercial relationship is expanding at an unprecedented rate. Trade is up over 60%, including 10% growth to more than 11 billion in 2018. The number of Canadian companies in India has increased by over 50% to 1000 or more, and bilateral investment has grown to an estimated $30 billion. Canada is proud of our 1.4 million Canadians of Indian origin, and our people-to-people ties grow stronger by the day. As of 2018, India is Canada’s largest source country for students and permanent residents, and we have seen double-digit growth in tourism flows. In an unpredictable world, Canada and India are natural partners in so many other areas. We are proud democracies committed to upholding a rules-based international order. We share a fundamental concern over the impacts of climate change, and we are diverse societies that recognize women’s rights as human rights. The future of the Canada-India partnership is bright. I am confident that the unprecedented momentum we have achieved over the past five years in close partnership with Prime Minister Modi and his government will grow even stronger in the months and years ahead” —H.E. Mr Nadir Patel High Commissioner of Canada to India

“The Government of Chile congratulates Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his assumption for a second consecutive period in power. Chile is looking forward to strengthen its bilateral cooperation, which has translated in enhanced political, economic and sectoral dialogue, whose highest point was shown in the recent visit to Chile of His Excellency the President of India Ram Nath Kovind. The Government of Chile will continue engaging with India in the ongoing efforts in areas of mutual understanding and interest, such as deepening our trade relations, clean energy, mining, health and medicine, agriculture, cooperation on disability, culture, innovation, science and technology, aero-space, astronomy. We hope to contribute to develop, equally, to a shared vision of fruitful bilateral relationship, taking into account that this year celebrates 70 years of bilateral relations between both countries” —H.E. Mr Juan Angulo Ambassador of Chile to India

“There has been a significant transformation in the business environment in India and the Czech Republic stands ready to foster technology transfers, large scale investment as well as contacts facilitation for small and medium size enterprises. More at the forefront of our bilateral relations comes however research, science and innovations and year 2019 revolves about promoting added value cooperation on both sides. India and Czech Republic launched a call for submission of projects under Scientific and Technological Cooperation Program and more projects are yet to come. I am very pleased, that innovations are also increasingly developed together across many sectors - defense, automotive or railway manufacturing” —H.E. Mr Milan Hovorka Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India

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Cover Story

“The Indian Government following the recent general elections took office on May 30, 2019. Among the top foreign policy priorities for Prime Minister Modi, in second term, is to further strengthen Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership with Russia. Hence, there will be a meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Bishkek (June 13-14, 2019). It is also expected that the two leaders will meet for the G20 summit in Osaka. Prime Minister Modi is expected to visit Vladivostok for the Eastern Economic Forum in early September, 2019. This will be an active period in historically friendly India-Russia relationship” —H.E. Mr D. B. Venkatesh Varma Ambassador of India to The Russian Federation

“I extend the warm felicitations to the big family of The India Empire (TIE) readers for the recent successful and smooth the elections for the Lok Sabha, Parliament of India and remarkable accomplishment of National Democratic Alliance led by Bhartiya Janata Party, which is true indication of aspiration for the continued progress and prosperity. Mongolia enjoys age-long traditional friendly relations with India that relied on shared civilization and common values are full of optimism for the broadening of them with new forms and contents in the coming years. I am glad that TIE has been doing great things in introducing us in a comprehensive way with various initiatives and endeavor of the government and people of India as well as with their multifaceted diversities on regular pace” —H.E. Mr Gonchig Ganbold Ambassador of Mongolia to India

“Congratulations to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a resounding election result. As you begin your second term in Government, we look forward to working with you to continue to broaden and deepen New Zealand-India relations. Both countries share a close and enduring relationship reinforced by our people-to-people links. We share democratic values and a Commonwealth heritage, and our connections are only growing stronger through trade, tourism, education and of course, cricket! New Zealand has a vibrant Indian diaspora that has been making productive contributions to our economy and society. The Indian-origin community accounts for nearly 4 per cent of our population, and in Auckland, that figure is as high as 8 per cent. It’s no wonder that Hindi is our fourth-most spoken language, after English, Māori and Samoan. Three of our MPs are of Indian origin and so is one of our former Governors-General. I also take this opportunity to congratulate the Indian authorities on delivering the world’s biggest election. It is no ordinary feat to ensure that 900 million eligible voters can exercise their foremost democratic right—the right to vote—freely. We admire the strong commitment to democratic principles that this reflects” —H.E. Ms Joanna Kempkers High Commissioner of New Zealand to India


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“Nigeria is currently India’s largest trading partner in Africa. In tandem, Indian companies are the second largest foreign investors in the Nigerian economy, they constitute the second largest employers of labour in Nigeria’s private sector after the indigenous DANGOTATE GROUP, and Indian workers comprise the highest number of expatriate workers in Nigeria. The return of PM Narendra Modi is anticipated to reinforce the policy of Africa as India’s foreign policy priority and this will invariably translate to deepening relations with African countries at all fronts, and Nigeria in particular being the gateway to Africa. I therefore look forward to more robust engagements between the India and Nigeria Governments, on the one hand and their respective private sectors on the other hand in the next five years of the PM’s leadership in India, all geared towards the expansion of relations between the two friendly countries for the mutual benefits of their peoples” —H.E. Maj. Gen. (Red.) Chris Sunday Eze High Commissioner of Nigeria to India

“Panama sees with optimism the new rise of India as a major player, not just in Asia but around the world, and particularly with a renewed interest in a strategic region like Latin America. The values of our countries based on respect for the rule of law and principles of democracy have paved the way for strengthening bilateral relations. An example of which are the recent peacefully elections held in both, Panama and India. We look forward to deepening our ties in areas like bilateral trade, tourism, IT, research, culture and many other common grounds while Panama keeps being the most growing economy in the region, another element we share with India. We have recently expanded the Panama Canal for the benefit of the world trade, a clear sign of our will to keep being a reliable partner in the worldwide economy, and we invite India to become an active user of one of our most beloved assets. We salute the new government and the authorities of Bharat and wish a mandate full of prosperity for the Indian people” —H.E. Mr Muhamad Talha Hajee Ambassador of Panama to India

“The return of His Excellency Mr. Narendra MODI as Prime Minister of the Republic of India heralds a new and promising era in bilateral relations between India and Senegal. Our brotherly countries have enjoyed time tested historic excellent relations for decades and these relations have only intensified under the wise and able leadership of His Excellency Mr. Narendra MODI. During his first term in office, the Honourable Prime Minister had outlined a vision that would direct India’s engagement with Africa. The ten guiding principles, unveiled during his last visit to Africa demonstrate the commitment and importance attached to relations with countries on the continent. As another chapter opens in the political history of India, Senegal looks forward to working closely with its partner, India, towards a fruitful, mutually beneficial association” —H.E. Mr El Hadji Ibou BOYE Ambassador of the Republic of Senegal to India

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Cover Story

“The Slovak Republic congratulates the Honourable Narendra Modi on winning the elections to Lok Sabha and his second term as Prime Minister of Republic of India. We are convinced that friendly relations between our two countries will continue to strengthen and deepen in all areas of mutual interest with a special focus on economic cooperation and trade. In this regard we hope that jointly we will achieve significant progress in BTIT negotiations that will open door to Indian market especially to car producers based in Slovakia as well as to other Slovak products with higher added value. In this regard we are proud to remind that last year started operating 4th automotive company on the Slovak soil – Jaguar Land Rover, that as we all know is the major investment of TATA Group in Continental Europe. We are convinced that many other Indian companies will follow the example of JLR/TATA and explore possibilities to invest in Slovakia” —H.E. Mr Ivan Lančarič, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to India

“South Africa and India enjoy a strategic partnership as established by the Red Fort Declaration of 1997. It is underpinned by a shared history of friendship and solidarity. Both countries held elections this year and President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Modi both returned to Office after clear victories in May 2019. Over the term of both new administrations, we will be working to further bolster our relations. In doing so, the outcomes of the successful State Visit by President Ramaphosa in January 2019 will provide a good basis for our efforts. Through the implementation of the Three-Year Strategic Programme of Cooperation (2019-2021), which was signed during the aforementioned State Visit, South Africa will work towards enhancing all facets of our strategic relationship. Our primary focus will be to heighten our economic relationship, which has tremendous potential for expansion - with a special focus on attracting FDI from India. This is in line with South Africa’s goal to attract $100 billion in investments over the next five years. We will also focus on cooperation in agro-processed goods, defence procurement, mining equipment and technology as well as cooperation in the financial services sector. With our shared history and mutual icons, South Africa will be redoubling her efforts to enhance people-to-people relations, including by increasing tourism flows between our respective countries. This solid bilateral foundation enables us to extend our cooperation into various multilateral fora, such as BRICS, IBSA, IORA, and the G20. Expect the growth curve to head steeply upwards in the next five years…” —H.E. Mr BJ Joubert Acting High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa to India

“I wish to congratulate the Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of India Mr. Narendra Modi Ji, on behalf of the staff at the Zambia High Commission in New Delhi, India, and indeed on my own behalf, for a successful victory in the May 2019 democratic election and subsequent swearing in at a memorable ceremony. I wish to assure the Honourable Prime Minister of our unflinching support towards realizing President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s vision of developing Zambia through economic diplomacy. We look forward to working with Right Honourable Modi Ji and his Cabinet, to complete all bilateral issues especially the decongestion of Lusaka Roads Project inaugurated by His Excellency, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, President of India. Once again, heartfelt congratulations and best of wishes and God’s favour as he takes up this honorous task. Assurance of our highest consideration” —H.E. Mrs Judith K.K. Kan’goma Kapijimpanga High Commissioner of Zambia to India

We would welcome views and comments from Missions at 10 india empire | june 2019

“Spain maintains a solid and close friendship with India. Please remain fully assured that the Government of Spain considers it a priortiy to continue to work together in both deepening and expanding its bilateral relations with India and promoting our cooperation in the multilateral context, with the aim of fostering friendship among our countries and people. I wish to discuss these issues in a meeting with you no sooner than our respective agenda allows us to do so” —H.E. Mr Pedro Sánchez President of Sánchez, Kingdom of Spain

NEW APPOINTMENTS–AMBASSADORS AND HIGH COMMISSIONER H.E. Mr Alvaro Sandoval Bernal Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia

H.E. Mr Walter Johannes Lindner Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany

H.E. Mr Muhamad Talha Hajee Ambassador of the Republic of Panama

H.E. Mr Paulias Korni High Commissioner of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea

H.E. Mr Carlos Rafael Polo Castaneda, Ambassador of the Republic of Peru

H.E. Ms Coromoto Godoy Calderon Ambassador of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Picture by: siPra Das


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Buddhist Impacts on Culture and Civilization of Mongolia by G. Ganbold* Continuation from May 2019 issue: The truth the Siddhartha Gautama, taught cannot be adequately described in short remarks. Perhaps it requires a lifelong effort to comprehend it. The Lord Buddha described it in a parable. Man should seek the middle path between selfindulgence and self-mortification. This middle way, known as the Noble Eightfold path, consisted of right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right mode of living, right endeavor, right mindfulness and right consciousness. Thus, teachings of Buddha helped to form our thoughts and turned into a philosophy that has huge impact on our state policy. Thus, we attach highest value to Ghyan (knowledge), Dharma (realization) and Karma (destiny). We in Mongolia know what Swami Vivekanand had taught such as “ What we think is who we are. So mind what you think. Words are secondary but thoughts are live longer and travel far”. “You have to mature from the inside out. There is no teacher but your own soul”. “Neither money, nor name or fame but character cleaves through adamantine walls of indifference”. We pass them on to our youth generation to generation . Our dharmic and cultural ties greatly contribute to the spiritual advancement of the Mongolian people. I take this moment to acknowledge with sincere sympathy to India, for her vital role in enriching the spiritual horizon in my country and forming up the people’s way of living through the teachings of Lord Buddha. Since Buddhism adopted in my country from India and many of our learned scholars had studied at the ancient centers of Buddhist studies such as Nalanda. Coming back to Mongolia after the attainment of high religious order they significantly contributed to the promotion of human values in their native land. Thus, I pay my heartfelt tributes to those Buddhist leaders and Masters who cultivated Dharma and Damma and brought our two nations closer as spiritual neighbors. It is not exaggeration to say that Mongolia and India have been trusted spiritual “Sati” through long standing cultural and historical relations which are a pivotal for the moral well-being and for sustainable development. Undoubtedly, the present day world need more spiritual and moral empowerment for peace and progress. It is worth to be underlined here that the Teachings of the Gau12 india empire | june 2019

tam Buddha and Swami Vivekananda are more relevant not only inspire the people for cultivation of wisdom but also for happy and peaceful co-existence mutual respect and togetherness. When people get associated through faith and conviction their bonds become more sustainable since spiritual mind never aggravates but cultivates truthful consciousness and guarantees the path of compassion and enlightenment. With enormous suffering and great sacrifices Mongolians have preserved their Buddhist cultural heritages. I wish to share with you with great pleasure that a majority of Mongolians are practice the Buddhism, not only as religion but is a philosophy of empowerment and contentment. Mongolians regard Bharat as a sacred land of Dharma and a source of wisdom and knowledge. This spiritual ties are constitute another pillar of our close cooperation. I am pleased that the Government of India has expressed its readiness to accept the mongolian monk students to its universities. Our collaborations are exponentially growing in multiple areas including agriculture, animal husbandary, mining and light industry. They will play a substantive role in our economies while Mongolia and India colloboration have an ample rooms for growth. When Honourable Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India announced to offer one billion USD Line of Credit (LoC) during his state visit to Mongolia in May, 2015 our two governments have encountered with daunting task to identify where and how to use it most effective way. After series of surveys and numerous talks underwent to select areas to implement sustainable and economically viable project the Mongolian government made its choice to apply it in key areas such as railways, agriculture and processing industry, in particular oil sector. This decision, I assume, took into a consideration of specific nature of Mongolia like as land-locked, sparsely populated enormous land, which is richly endowed with natural resources, abundant animal husbandry and land cultivation as well as booming sector of mining, proximate to almost insatiable markets. We accord a particular importance to our relations and Mongolia considers India as her “Third neighbor”. We both are peace loving nations, free from any military alliances are constructively collaborating within the framework of United Nations, Non-aligned Movement, World Trade Organization,

Shanghai Cooperation Organization and UNFCCC in order to avoid of conflicts and facilitate understanding and cooperation tin the interest of our two nations and to the good of universal well-being. I believe that Mongolia could be such a place for Indi’s business community who are exploring new markets their products and services. Mongolia ranks as one of the richest countries in Asia as well as in the world in terms of variety and value of its mineral resources. More than 8000 deposits of 440 different minerals including copper, gold, silver, uranium, flourspar, zinc, phosphate, iron ore, thermal and coking coal are discovered, of which around 600 deposits are being exploited. Mongolia currently offers a range of tax concessions for export-oriented industries and priority sectors of the economy. Foreign investment is encouraged in the following priority sectors: ● ● ● ● ●

Mining and oil exploration Agriculture and agro-industries Infrastructure Tourism Information and communication technology India’s companies used to work in the area of studying

market and legal environment are opening up its representative and implementing projects in Mongolia. Now, it is a time to allocate its investment in specific sector, to implement projects together and to undertake actual business activities. Soon on May 12 to 14 Exposure of India’s Oil and Natural Gas industry” exhibition-cum-Conference will be in held and EIL will open its representative’s office in Ulaanbaatar I am look to forward the collaboration between India and Mongolia for the mutual benefit and enhancement of the economies of both nations will be enhanced. ❐

—Gonchig GANBOLD, Ambassador of Mongolia Joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Mongolia in 1980 Served as Desk officer, Counsellor, Deputy head and Head of Departments, worked in Mongolian embassies in New Delhi, Washington D.C, London as well as Ministry of Finance, National Security Council, Speaks Hindi, English and Russian, Contributed articles to print and electronic media including TEI, translated two dozen books

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t least Thirty Indian business women have declared interest in Zambia as a destination of choice for trade and tourism. Speaking when a delegation of thirty women where hosted at Zambia High Commission in new Delhi, India, womenovator Founder Tripti Shinghal said the delegation is interested in discussions that will result in visible progress. She said Womenovato has a robust network of women entrepreneurs desirous of expanding their businesses globally to countries of vast opportunities such as Zambia. Ms Shinghal said Womenovator is keen to take a delegation of women to Zambia and also host delegation from Zambia to encourage the empowerment of women entrepreneurs. She explained that WOMENOVATOR was started in the year 2014 with the motive in mind to make a virtual incubator for women entrepreneurs who have exceptional ideas and want to get a platform to grow. Ms Shingal said

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this is achieved through business education and training, mentoring and networking, among others. And addressing the delegation, Zambia’s High Commissioner to India Judith Kapinjimpanga said Zambia remains the best destination for trade and tourism because of peace spanning from 1964 when the country became independent. She has urged the women to take part in the Southern Province Investment Expo, Zambia Agriculture and Commercial Show, Zambia International Trade Fair, North Western Province Investment Expo, Copperbelt Investment Expo, and Zambia Economic Summit in Livingstone. Ms Kapijimpanga said the Mission will endeavor to link the Indian business women to relevant stakeholders such as Zambia Development Agency—ZDA and Zambia Chambers of Commerce and Industry—ZACCI for further collaboration. This is contained in a statement released by First Secretary Press and Tourism at the Zambian Mission in India, Bangwe Naviley. ❐

terrorISM—Zero toLerANCe

Azhar’s sanction showed good cooperation at global level: German Ambassador


isting of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN reflected a “good collaboration” among many international actors, said Germany’s new Ambassador to India Walter J. Lindner, whose country played a major role in the effort. Lindner, who was speaking to the media in May soon after presenting his credentials to President Ram Nath Kovind, said India and Germany can play an important role in fight against global terrorism as both have been victims of the scourge. He said the two nations share a very close relationship when it comes to trade, education and cultural exchange and hoped the bilateral ties will grow even more. Talking about terrorism, he emphasized that terrorists should have no place anywhere in the world. On Azhar’s listing as a global terrorist on May 1 by the UN Security Council’s 1267 Sanctions Committee, the German envoy said: “One of the roles in international diplomacy was behind the scene. It was a good collaboration with many international actors. So at the end we had an outcome and that is what counts.” Germany had played an important role in the effort to get Azhar sanctioned, particularly in the wake of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack carried out by JeM in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. When asked about terrorists again getting active after the Indian air strike at JeM terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26, Lindner said, “I have just taken over as Ambassador. I think it would be premature to comment on such a sensitive issue.

The Ambassador-designate of Germany H.E. Mr Walter Johannes Lindner presenting his credentials to President Mr Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi in May We follow this with close cooperation with international friends. We are worried when there is a rise of tension”. On Germany’s stance on Afghanistan, the Ambassador said his country has been very vocal and it had convened two peace conferences with Kabul. Germany has been involved for many years and is still very active in Afghanistan, he added. He reached the Rashtrapati Bhavan in a red Ambassador car for the ceremony. “Presenting my credentials in Hindi was a nice experience. It was out of respect towards the country and the language. I also wanted to come in an ❐ Indian car,” the envoy added.

Azhar’s listing victory for American diplomacy: uS he designation of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) on Wednesday, a move that was blocked by China for chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by nearly 10 years. China finally dropped its objections after India shared fresh evidence to the UN Security Council is a brand Masood an international terrorist. “victory for American “The US welcomes the addition of diplomacy”, US Secretary of Masood Azhar to the UN 1267 ISIL and Al State Mike Pompeo said in early May. Qaeda Sanctions list,” a statement by a “Congrats to our team @USUN for spokesperson for the US Mission in the their work in negotiating JEM’s Masood UN said in May. “This listing requires all Azhar’s #UN designation as a terrorist. UN member states to implement an This long-awaited action is a victory for assets freeze, a travel ban and an arms American diplomacy and the embargo against Azhar. We expect all international community against countries to uphold these obligations. terrorism and an important step towards Mr Mike Pompeo “Jaish-e-Mohammed is a UN-designated peace in South Asia,” the top US official terrorist group and Azhar, as the founder and leader tweeted. In a huge diplomatic victory for India and a blow to of the JeM, clearly met the criteria for designation by Pakistan, the UNSC declared Azhar a global terrorist the UN,” it said.


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Narendra Modi— the Great Unifier by sandeep bamzai


fter smashing through all bastions in north and middle India — from Haryana, Himachal, Uttarakhand and Delhi in the north to Bengal in the east, all the way up to Assam in the northeast, Hindutva has a new sheen, hue and connotation. It is a relentless drum roll of persuasion which argues for Hindutva Plus, dynasty be damned. Plugging and playing into the fears and aspirations on a rapidly evolving India, the politics of appeasement has given way to majoritarianism instead of greater inclusiveness. India circa 2019 stands on the cusp of a new age, discarding the age of identity politics. A fork has come on the road where miasma and prevarications have been junked, it is a strategic shift where the GOP has been blown out of the water for the second time in a row. It is time to accept what was thought to be politically incorrect, for there is a fine line between calculation and candor. The short path between the two is strewn with deceit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unique populist development model predicated on welfare economics to connect with the poorest of the poor at the bottom of the pyramid is his other arrow in the quiver. Empowering people and reaching out to them with the fruits of economic reforms has been his version of Modinomics. A catalogue of welfare schemes targeting the poor has obviously worked on the ground. This double attack is paying enormous dividends. From forward castes to SC/ST and backwards, the Modi equity and persona is larger than life almost Gargantuan and unstoppable. By being the progenitor of the Hindu vote bank, Narendra Modi using subliminal messaging to give majoritarian forces a new identity has swept all-comers over the last five years in Indian electoral politics. The new Hindu order works on the cult of appeasement and anti-minorityism. A consolidation of the Hindu vote cutting across caste fault lines has helped Modi win repeatedly in recent memory. First when he bagged 73 out of 80 seats (including two Apna Dal victories) in the 2014 general hustings followed by a virtual rout of the opposition in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh state elections. In between there is Assam, Jammu division of Jammu and Kashmir and in totality a clear

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triumph for the Hindu Hriday Samrat Narendra Modi as the Hindu vote aggregated behind him. Covert messaging appealing to the subconscious against appeasement and constant pandering of Muslims has led to the spectre of anti-minortiyism making Hindus vote en bloc thrice over in Uttar Pradesh. Pertinently, this phenomenon goes beyond the temple and Ayodhya, it is about Hindu asmita or chauvinism or even machismo which was compromised by pandering to minorities. It has struck a chord with Hindus, across all strata and states. Resulting in naked majoritarianism and even Islamophobia and Muslim bashing, an unfortunate spin off being mob lynchings and the cow assuming a largerthan-life position in our collective national consciousness. Deep down, this grouse of appeasement has resulted in consolidation of the Hindu vote. Modi and BJP President Amit Shah know that the rise of majoritarianism in India is peaking and is still to reach a crescendo. Increasingly, majoritarianism is equal to faux nationalism. This translates into majoritariaism nationalism as a derivative of ethno centrisim. While India, unlike its neighbours in South Asia, has been accommodative of religious and linguistic minorities all these years, the trendline is changing dramatically. The almost imperceptible shift in India of the middle ground of public opinion in favour of Hindu ultra nationalism rather than Hindutva is clear as daylight. Hindutva has actualised into a Hindu identity shift. Hindutva may not necessarily mean Ram Temple and Ayodhya anymore, but a more aggressive mien displayed by Hindus who want to reclaim their identity and land. Aggrieved as they reckon they are after years of minority pacification. I condemn these lynchings, an offshoot of lumpenisation and mobocracy, but equally understand the need for Hindus to reclaim their identity. The wave of majority identity politics across the world is a harsh reality. Majoritarian impulses have sparked humiliation of religious minorities and lower castes in India, driving a cleave within the fabric of India. The faultlines have become so stark that the Congress under Rahul Gandhi tried practicing a similar type of soft Hindutva identity politics. Nida Kirmani, a Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of

Pictures by: siPra Das

Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore University of Management Sciences and her views published in the Dawn sometime back provide an interesting prism: The seeds of this majoritarianism were not only present in the explicitly rightwing BJP but were also present in the rhetoric of the Congress party. And alongside the bonds of cooperation and friendship between religious communities were also strands of resentment and distrust, which flared up periodically. Modi did not create Hindu majoritarianism. He only stoked the embers that had been simmering in the Indian polity for several decades. However, India is not exceptional; majoritarianism is not an

exclusively Hindu malaise. Like twins separated at birth, India and Pakistan both continue to carry the same toxic ingredients within our countries’ DNA. Somewhere in these two-three lines remains buried the Modi DNA, that he is not the creator of Hindu majoritarianism, but has played on the underlying fears of the Hindu majority embedded deep in their psyche. It is very subtle at one level, but the contagion of stimulating the threshold of this particular sensation has spread far and wide. It has kick-started a consciousness that the minority has been given too much and it is constantly taking from the majority. More than that, it will

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become the majority in India if this process of appeasement continues—is another strand to this theme. While this may not be true, the latent and dormant intuitive mind listens to the inner voice which plays on these very underlying fears. Majoritarianism is a global phenomena, an offshoot of terrorist attacks and the rise of Islamists and Jihadists. Kenneth Roth, writing in the World Report succinctly articulates its dangerous rise: The appeal of the populists has grown with mounting public discontent over the status quo. In the West, many people feel left behind by technological change, the global economy, and growing inequality. Horrific incidents of terrorism generate apprehension and fear. Some are uneasy with societies that have become more ethnically, religiously and racially diverse. There is an increasing sense that governments and the elite ignore public concerns. In this cauldron of discontent, certain politicians are flourishing and even gaining power by portraying rights as protecting only the terrorist suspect or the asylum seeker at the expense of the safety, economic welfare, and cultural preferences of the presumed majority. They scapegoat refugees, immigrant communities, and minorities. Truth is a frequent casualty. Nativism, xenophobia, racism, and Islamophobia are on the rise. The rising tide of populism in the name of a perceived majority has paralleled a new infatuation with strongman rule that was apparent particularly prominently during the US presidential election campaign. If all that matters are the declared interests of the majority, the thinking seems to go, why not embrace the autocrat who shows no qualms about asserting his “majoritarian” vision—self-serving as it may be—and subjugating those who disagree. Joshua Kurlantzick, a senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, writing for The Washington Post, said: Populism’s continuing appeal should remind longstanding, mainstream political parties worldwide that the factors behind the populist wave are, if not universal, found in many different countries now. Furious voters may turn to populist outsiders who would shock political systems but not destroy them - or who could well demolish them. Either way, 2018 and 2019 will provide more reminders that populism is here to stay. Mukul Kesavan points out, majoritarianism is not simply Islamophobia - in India or Myanmar or anywhere else—Majoritarian politics results from the patiently constructed self-image of an aggrieved, besieged majority that be-

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In continuing Modi surge, BJP claims Middle India The Bharatiya Janata Party has effected a redrawing of its support base that now spreads beyond the Hindi heartland to include at least 10 states that form its core. The results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections show that Middle India is now firmly in the BJP’s kitty and comprises Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. There are two noteworthy states on this list— Odisha and West Bengal, ones outside the Hindi heartland but now part of the BJP’s support base. Thus far they had been islands, ringfenced from direct BJP influence because of some essential cultural differences between what comprised the way of life of traditional BJP supporters and people in these states. That wall has been breached with these elections. In West Bengal and Odisha, the BJP followed a set strategy. It built its organisational muscle in these states by bringing in leaders from existing parties who, in turn, brought their foot soldiers with them. It then aggressively sold the idea of Modi—a strong leader, the Modi model of development and nationalism. Uttar Pradesh is the nerve-centre of the BJP support base. The mahagathbandhan of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal appeared to be a roadblock in its way. lieves itself to be long-suffering and refuses to suffer in silence anymore. The cultivation of this sense of injury is the necessary precondition for the lynchings, pogroms, and ethnic cleansing that invariably follow. When centrists like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were re-elected in Europe despite a strong anti-immigration rhetoric, the world breathed a sigh of relief, but with Merkel now under pressure from her own allies in the national coalition on the same prickly issue of migration, the far right is making a staunch comeback. ❐

Pictures by: siPra Das


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Pictures by: siPra Das


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Business and



THE NEW DHAKA-DELHI CONNECTION After a gap of five years which is an eternity in the volatile aviation industry, Biman Bangladesh commenced operations in the Dhaka-New Delhi sector in May 2019. Coming at a time when Jet Airways has shut down direct flight operations in the sector, Biman’s decision will be a welcome relief for those planning to fly non-stop between the two national capitals. The other flights operating in this sector have at least one stopover. India Empire Magazine caught up with Mr Shakil Meraj, General Manager, Public Relations at Biman Bangladesh Airlines, during his recent visit to Delhi On re-launching the Dhaka-Delhi sector… Biman has been operating on the Delhi-Dhaka route since the 1980s. In 2014 we had to shut down operations, not because the airlines was not earning enough revenues but because of a shortage of aircraft at the time. For a long while now we’ve been planning to re-launch operations, and finally now the moment has arrived with the inaugural flight from Dhaka to Delhi on May 13, 2019.

Mr Shakil Meraj

On Biman’s expansion strategy… The year 2019 is one of expansion for us. This year we will have four new aircrafts, two of them Boeing 737-800s in May and June. In July and September two brand new state-of-theart 787 dreamliners from the Boeing factory in Seattle will be added to our fleet. Naturally, we’ll be able to spread our wings and touch new horizons. In October we’ll be adding two more dreamliners. It will close out a deal worth USD 2.1 billion signed with Boeing in 2008.

Increasing presence in India and Dhaka serving as a transit hub… In India as of now we are operating 14 flights a week from Kolkata. In 2020 we plan to start flying the Dhaka-Chennai sector and the Dhaka-Guwahati sector as well. InterGlobe is our GSA for entire India. Dhaka locational advantage means it connects both the west and the east, and people in India can use it as a hub to travel to destinations like Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Guangzhou. In fact we’ve increased our frequencies to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok, as well as in the domestic market. If we establish Dhaka as a wellconnected transit point, then our traffic will grow much better. We are, therefore, planning along those lines. By next year we will additionally acquire three brand new aircrafts from Bombardier in Canada. Next year we’ll also be connected to Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Male (Maldives), both popular tourist destinations for Bangladeshi people. So we’d like to establish our stronghold in the South Asian market.

On new routes… By the first week of July three new routes would have opened up. In the Delhi-Dhaka sector where we are already operational, we are flying three times a week—on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The flight from Dhaka departs at 3 p.m., while the one from Delhi takes off at 6.20 p.m. The 737-800 will have 12 business class seats and 150 in economy. We’ve witnessed major traffic growth in this route over the years, primarily for medical purposes, tourism, education, official tours, and business. Then in the first week of July we will fly four times a week to Guangzhou, China. We’ll also start flying to Medina, the pilgrimage destination.

On profitability… Between 2013 and 2017 we were in the black. In 2017-2018 we suffered losses and were briefly in the red. But in 2018-2019 we once again bounced back and have become profitable again. With more than 40 aircrafts and over 40 destinations to fly to, our year-on-year growth is there for one and all to see. The booming Bangladesh economy is clocking 8 percent annual growth but the aviation industry is soaring at 13-14 percent. So we’re all set to tap into the potentialities that all markets provide. We have a new sales window that can be accessed on ❐

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Pictures by: siPra Das


Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi meeting the President of People’s Republic of Bangladesh Mr Md. Abdul Hamid at Hyderabad House in New Delhi in May 2019


he Hon’ble President of Bangladesh visited New Delhi from 29-31 May 2019 to attend the Swearing-in Ceremony of the new Government of India on May 30, 2019. The distinguished guest has earlier paid a State Visit to India in December 2014, as well as an official visit in March 2018, for the first meeting of the International Solar Alliance. During the visit, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India H.E. Mr Narendra Modi met H.E Mr Md. Abdul Hamid, President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on 31 May noon at Hyderabad House. During the meeting, the leaders expressed great satisfaction at the excellent state of bilateral relations. The visiting Hon’ble President conveyed felicitations of Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh H.E. Sheikh Hasina, who was unable to travel in person because of a prior commitment. He conveyed the invitation of the Government of Bangladesh to Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to visit that country, which was accepted with pleasure. The leaders agreed that dates would be decided through diplomatic channels. Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi noted that the bilateral relationship, forged in Bangladesh’s War of Liberation, remained of the highest priority to India. In the past five years, the two countries had demonstrated great maturity and patience in resolving a number of complex pending issues, such as the demarcation of the Land Boundary. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of India and Bangladesh raising ties to a new level, as part of a joint effort to suitably commemorate the centenary of the birth of Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (in 2020) and the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s Liberation, in 2021. ❐

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SC to Amrapali: Ownership rights should be given to Noida and G. Noida authorities


n a big relief for Amrapali home buyers— numbering nearly 46,000—the Supreme Court in May said it may give ownership rights of all the group’s projects to authorities in Noida and Greater Noida to complete the construction and hand over the flats to the homeowners. The top court has been contemplating various steps to safeguard the interest of the home buyers, who invested in the Amrapali Group. The court took a serious note of diversion of funds, money invested by home buyers and the financial misconduct by the real estate group. The top court observed that the group had paid Noida and Greater Noida authorities a meagre 10 percent of the value of the land and that the group still owed Rs 4,545 crore. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U.U. Lalit said Noida and Greater Noida authorities should get all the title deeds of the land allocated to the Amrapali projects. These authorities had originally allotted the land for all the housing projects. Advocates for homebuyers M.L. Lahoty and Anchit Sripat contended that lease of land should be terminated, and that the land should be handed over to Noida and Greater Noida authorities. After learning about the dues of the authorities, the court said that “ownership of land and projects”, can be given to them. The court observed that it has to prioritize the interest of the home buyers who invested their earning in the housing projects, and that banks and financial institutions should fight their battle on their own. The home buyers are already in a fix as the construction in many projects has ceased. The court noted that the home buyers have invested Rs 11,500 crore in the housing projects. As relief for the home buyers, the court said the authorities will be free to engage any renowned real estate developer, including government-owned NBCC, to complete and deliver the projects. Earlier, NBCC, had refused to invest and demanded Rs 8,500 crore. “You (Amrapali) are out now...They (authorities) can engage NBCC or other companies to complete the constructions,” the court said. The court said the first right over the properties of the group will be of the home buyers, and not banks. The

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Justice Arun Mishra

Justice U.U. Lalit

properties are being auctioned on the direction of the court and money raised would be used for construction. The court said: “You (Amrapali) are purely a developer. Neither a bank nor you can claim a stake in the construction completed so far. We will first take care of home buyers’ interest”. The top court noted the forensic auditors’ findings indicating that the Amrapali promoters and the directors did not invest in the projects. The court said the group cannot claim any right on the projects. “What is your (Amrapali) legal capacity to mortgage the properties to banks? Show the court one clause in the agreement that permits you to create a third party interest. How can you mortgage the construction done out of home buyers’ investment?” said the court.


Jagjit Pavadia re-elected

Ms Jagjit Pavadia

Jagjit Pavadia has been re-elected with the highest number of votes by the UN Economic and Social Council to a five-year term on International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), while China’s candidate lost. Pavadia polled 44 votes in May in the first round of voting in the 54member Council facing a field of 15 candidates for the five seats up for election this year ensuring her continuance on the board. The defeat of China’s Hao Wei in his bid for re-election bid was glaring because of Beijing’s strong campaign backed by its Yuan diplomacy across the developing countries. He

got only 22 votes in the first round and 19 in the second. A minimum of 28 votes were required for election. Only two other candidates, Jallal Toufiq of Morocco and Cesar Tomas Arce Rivas of Paraguay received more than the minimum votes needed for election in the first round and Bernard Leroy of France and Viviana Manrique Zuluaga of Colombia were elected in the next round. They will begin their term on March 2, next year. The next big election where India is fielding a candidate is for the Food and Agriculture Organisation. Ramesh Chand, a member of the NITI Aayog, will face four other candidates at the FAO Conference in Rome next month to succeed Jose Graziano da Silva. India’s UN Mission, which is lobbying in New York among the member countries to for his election, recently hosted a luncheon at the Big Apple in his honour. A member of the Indian Revenue Service, Pavadia is a former Narcotics Commissioner of India. She was elected to the INCB in 2014 for her first five-year term. She was the First Vice-President of the Board in 2016 and Chair of the Standing Committee on Estimates in 2015 and 2017. The Vienna-headquartered INCB has quasi-judicial powers to monitor the implementation of the UN’s international drug control conventions. The INCB, while ensuring that adequate supplies of narcotics are available for medical and scientific purposes while combating their diversion as well as the illicit drugs manufacture and trafficking.

US-based Alorica opens India back office US-based customer experience solutions’ provider Alorica Inc in May opened its India back office and an innovation lab in this tech hub. “Expanding into India is a natural progression for our business. We will invest and create jobs to contribute to the Indian society through CSR initiatives,” said Alorica India Chief Transformation Officer Bhaskar Menon. Headquartered in California, the 20-year-old company’s business processing management operations will cater to the growing demand for digital, cognitive and robotic process management services in the Indian sub-continent. “The strategic expansion will make us focus on exploring new technologies in a

Mr Bhaskar Menon

competitive marketplace,” said Mr Menon. The company plans to hire about 300 techies by this year-end to provide digital back office services to more new economy unicorns brands. Using an agile approach, the innovation lab will design, develop, test and deploy digital transformation platforms and services. The services include robotic and cognitive automation (RDA, RPA, AI, AML, VA, chatbots), digital sandboxes, omnichannel super-agents, blockchain, business transformation consulting, analytics and datadriven insights. Managing operations in Asia-Pacific for over 15 years, Alorica has 24 locations in the region, employing about 40,000 people in China, Japan, Philippines and now India.

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Samsung pips OnePlus, leads premium segment in India

Indian millennials driving innovation for us: Samsung

Mr Ranjivjit Singh

After losing out to Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus for three quarters in a row, Samsung regained the top spot in the Indian premium smartphone segment in the first quarter of 2019, Counterpoint Research said in May. The initial uptake for the Galaxy S10 series drove Samsung to the leadership position in the premium segment, said the market research firm. Top three premium brands including Samsung, OnePlus and Apple accounted for 90 percent of the premium segment shipments in Q1 2019 as compared to 95 percent in Q1 2018. OnePlus came second as it underwent its seasonal cycle. However, the OnePlus 6T remained the bestselling premium smartphone in Q1 2019, a title it has held since its launch. “The success of Galaxy S10 series and OnePlus 6T highlights the trend of an expanding the premium segment in India,” said Karn Chauhan, Research Analyst, Mobile Devices at Counterpoint. “Users who are buying their second or third smartphone are already considering an upgrade into the premium segment. Another reason for the growth in the premium segment is a plethora of offers and installment plans available,” the report added. Other smartphone brands like Huawei share the remaining 10 percent of the segment volumes. Huawei’s Mate and P series entered the market in India recently and received good traction. Apple, however, is still struggling to arrest its decline because of its excessive pricing. “It is likely to start mass production of iPhones in India, which will eventually help it to save 20 percent import duty on its devices,” Chauhan added. With an upcoming mid-tier variant of the Pixel, Google has a chance to start things from scratch in some of emerging markets like India where the premium segment is small but growing fast, said the report.

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Millennials are our core target audience because they understand advanced technology which drive us to push the envelope and bring out devices with top-notch specifications, a top Samsung executive has said in May. Focused on the millennials, the company said it sold two million phones in its mid-price segment Galaxy A series in India in just 40 days starting March 2019, earning a revenue of $500 million. “Millennials are a very important constituent for us which constitute over 34 percent of India’s population. Nearly 70 percent of the total household income being generated in the country is contributed by them. About 80 percent of the collective Internet usage in the country comes from the Gen Z. They understand the technology so we are more than eager to meet their standards,” Mr Ranjivjit Singh, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President-Mobile Business, Samsung India told IANS. Earlier this year, the company launched ‘M’ series smartphones aimed specifically at the millennials, which, according to the company, sold out immediately as soon as they were on sale on “Our millennials thankfully recognise many of the world’s-first innovations that we have brought in our premium Galaxy S10 series,” Mr Singh noted. Riding on the success of Galaxy S10 series, Samsung India saw a massive jump in market share in the premium smartphone segment in the first quarter of 2019 — clocking 68.9 percent market share (by volume) and 65.9 percent (by value). In the month of March alone, the company clocked 76.5 percent market share (by volume) and 77 percent (by value) in the over-Rs 30,000 price segment in the country. After losing out to Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus for three quarters in a row, Samsung regained the top spot in the Indian premium smartphone segment in the first quarter of 2019, said Counterpoint Research. The company is working hard on building millennial-friendly capabilities like “Live Casting” in its devices, said Singh.


Surge in co-working space leasing

Mr Anshuman Magazine

Leasing activity in the flexible or co-working office segment during the January-March quarter (Q1) of 2019 surged by 277 percent on a year-on-year basis to 2.9 million square feet across the country’s major cities, a CBRE report said in May. Compared to the previous quarter, October-December 2018, the space take-up rose by 70 percent, said the report titled “India Flexible Space Quarterly Digest - Q1 2019”, adding that Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR were the larget markets for flexible space, accounting for more than half of flexible space leasing in the country. Anshuman Magazine, Chairman and CEO, India, South East Asia, Middle East and Africa for CBRE, said: “Given that the Indian flexible space market is one of the biggest across APAC, we anticipate that this segment will remain

high on the investor radar as well. We expect that the leasing quantum of this segment would marginally rise from about 7.1 million square feet in 2018 to about 10 million square feet by 2020 and will remain high on the investor radar going forward.” As per the report, more established corporates would opt for flexible spaces in the near future. “The optimism of flexible space operators is being fuelled by the rising interest of established corporates in this segment. We anticipate that this trend would continue, given the willingness of operators to customise offerings and prioritise member loyalties,” it said. It further observed that established corporates would take up a larger number of seats as compared to start-ups in the future.

Reliance Retail set to disrupt Amazon, Walmart-Flipkart: Report Reliance Retail’s upcoming entry into the online retail sector is the biggest challenge for Amazon and Walmart-Flipkart as the Mukesh Ambani-led behemoth is well positioned to create massive disruption in the market, a new report has stressed. According to the global market research firm Forrester, the online retail sales in India will grow at a five-year CAGR of 25.8 per cent to reach $85 billion by 2023, despite the hiccups of demonetization in 2016, GST in 2017 and the governmental changes in e-commerce policy announced last December. The time is ripe for Reliance Retail, which operates 10,415 stores in more than 6,600 cities, with 500 million annual footfalls—giving the company the kind of scale required to swiftly launch India-based operations. “One of the things

that will trouble Amazon and Flipkart is Reliance’s history of launching operations via massive discounts,” Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst at Forrester Research, said in May. Reliance entered the telecom sector in 2003 with the Monsoon Hungama tariff plan, which brought tariffs for voice calls down to just Rs 0.40 a minute from the existing rate of Rs 2 a minute, followed by the launch of Jio 4G plan in 2016 that dropped data rates from Rs 250 per GB to Rs 50 per GB. “This kind of discounting can disrupt any market, and we expect something similar to happen in the grocery space during Reliance’s launch,” Mr Meena added. Reliance is fast working on creating the world’s largest online-to-offline New Commerce Platform, according to Mukesh Ambani, CMD, Reliance Industries.

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Thomson, Kodak TV maker to start production at new unit Targeting sales of about four lakh units this fiscal, the maker of Thomson and Kodak brand televisions, Super Plastronics, will start rolling out TVs from its new facility this month end, a top company official said in May. He also said the company was mulling the possibilities of entering some more consumer durable products. “The new facility at Noida in Uttar Pradesh will be activated by the end of this month. Deliveries will start in the first week of next month. The expansion involved an outlay of about Rs 150 crore,” CEO Avneet Singh Marwah told the media. Once the new unit starts production, Super Plastronics’ annual production capacity will double to about 500,000 units, he added. The company currently has three plants - in Jammu, Una in Himachal Pradesh and Noida. Mr Marwah reiterated that there were no plans to consolidate the production operations at one place. According to him, the company hopes to log a turnover of about Rs 600 crore this year, up from Rs 350 crore clocked last fiscal. The company sells the Thomson brand TVs only through Flipkart while Kodak is sold online and offline.

Mr Avneet Singh Marwah

“We don’t have any plans to alter that sales model,” Mr Marwah said. Speaking about new launches, Mr Marwah said eight new TV models under Thomson brand and two under Kodak brand will be launched.

Value of M&A deals in hospital sector up 155 percent in FY19 The total transaction value of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the hospital sector surged 155 percent in India during the financial year 2018-19 to Rs 7,615 crore, an ICRA report said in May. The value of Rs 7,615 crore is the highest in the last five years, said the report. In FY 2017-18, the total value of M&A in the sector stood at Rs 2,991 crore. “The hospital sector has witnessed consolidation and a significant jump in M&A transactions, post the stress on performance of the sector due to regulatory restrictions,” the report said. “Two largest transactions in FY 2018-19 were the acquisition of stakes in two listed entities—Fortis Healthcare for Rs 4,000 crore (by IHH Heathcare) and Max Healthcare Limited for Rs 2,351 crore (by KKR-Radiant),” ICRA said, adding that in both the cases, the deals were signed at a premium to the then prevailing market price. The acquisition of shares in Fortis Healthcare was done at a price of Rs 170 per share, against the then prevailing market price of Rs 144 per share, while the agreement to acquire shares in Max Healthcare was announced with an equity value of Rs 4,298 crore for the healthcare business against the then prevailing market value Rs 2,170 crore, as per the report. The premium paid reflected the healthy appetite for quality healthcare assets from the global reputed investors, despite the recent underperformance of the sector. “Excluding the largest transaction in the sector—

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Fortis Healthcare—the growth in value of the transactions done in FY2019 will be 21 percent,” the report said. ICRA maintained a stable outlook for the sector and held that the performance of the hospital companies has likely bottomed out and the sector was likely to witness an improvement over the medium term, though any incremental regulation may have a transient impact. “Structurally, in the long term, underlying fundamentals continue to favour the sector like the significant shortage of beds in the country and the increase in the disease burden and ageing demographic profile.


India’s disturbing consumption slowdown pattern: Kotak Insufficient income growth may have pushed the Indian household to cut down on its consumption and the pattern of this consumption slowdown is “disturbing”, according to a recent report that takes into account both macro and micro data. A Kotak Institutional Equities Research report says the next government may have to face the burden of reviving the country’s flagging economic growth. “The weak volume growth reported by consumer staple companies in 4Q (fourth quarter) FY19 underlines the slowdown seen in housing over the past 5-6 years and in automobiles over the past year,” the report said. “Housing demand has been weak for the past several years and property prices broadly stable. The overall expenditure on residential real estate is down meaningfully, which is amplified as a larger decline in the household physical savings rate in national savings data as the base has grown over this period,” it added. The report noted that auto sales volumes saw a slowdown from the second half of the last fiscal and in general consumption, based on volumes of consumer staple companies, from the fourth quarter. A combination of monetary stimulus and structural reforms may help revive growth over time, but India’s high and “persistent fiscal

deficit, faltering tax revenues and broken business models in agriculture and infrastructure rules out further fiscal stimulus”, the report said. While the liquidity problems of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and solvency challenges are still a concern, the improvement in the balance sheets of banks can support overall credit growth by offsetting the NBFCs’ likely lower loan disbursement, it added.

Rs 133 crore profit for IDBI Federal Life in FY Leading Indian life insurance company, IDBI Federal Life Insurance, in May reported a net profit of Rs 133 crore during FY19, a growth of 31 percent over FY18. This is the seventh consecutive year of profit for the organisation since it first declared profit in FY13. IDBI Federal witnessed an eight percent growth in Total Premium from Rs 1,783 crore in FY18 to Rs 1,933 crore in FY19 driven by a 19 percent growth in renewals and over 50 percent growth in credit life. The company has also announced a maiden dividend of 10 percent as recommended by the Board of Directors which will be paid out subject to approval in the AGM. The organisation’s efforts to provide superior customer service and develop long-lasting relationships have borne fruit with 13th month persistency reaching 86 percent and the company being in the top quartile of all persistency buckets. Keeping customers’ preferences at the epicentre led to the fifth consecutive year of zero open complaints at the end of FY18-19 in the Integrated Grievance Management System (IGMS) of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). Mr Vighnesh Shahane, MD and CEO, IDBI Federal Life Insurance said: “In FY2018-19, with a tight control on costs, a

Mr Vignesh Shahane

focus on underwriting and a leaner organisation, we have been able to serve our customers better which has resulted in improved scores on most parameters. We also implemented a slew of digital initiatives which enhanced the customer experience and helped bring in further efficiencies across our distribution channels.” In July 2018, IDBI Federal was the first new-age life insurance company to wipe out all accumulated losses.

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McDonald’s acquires Connaught Plaza Restaurants Food service retailer McDonald’s India has acquired Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt Ltd (CPRL) as the firm completed a settlement reached with former joint venture partner Vikram Bakshi. May month’s development assumes significance as it ended a dispute with its joint venture partners with whom the firm had formed the CPRL, which managed the McDonald’s outlets in North and East India with 165 outlets. In 2017, the food service retailer ended the franchise agreement with CPRL over non-payment of royalties which resulted in a legal battle. Lately, reports had emerged that the two partners were trying to reach an outof-court settlement. Accordingly, the firm has decided to temporarily close McDonald’s restaurants in North and East India to conduct a comprehensive assessment of operational protocols and employee training. “The existing managers and crew will continue to be employed during this temporary closure and will be actively involved in activities to re-open the restaurants.” According to McDonald’s, the transfer of ownership and management is effective immediately. Robert Hunghanfoo has been appointed Head of CPRL, now owned by MIPL and its affiliate. “During the transition, MIPL will be focused on two key areas - providing employees with clarity and confidence in their future at McDonald’s and leveraging McDonald’s global system

Mr Vikram Bakshi expertise to fortify high operating standards for our local customers,” the statement said. Mr Bakshi had signed the JV as an equal equity partner with McDonald’s Corp in 1995, established the first McDonald’s restaurant in India in 1996. McDonald’s remains committed to the opportunities in North and East India and intends to facilitate future growth by continuing to actively progress finding the right ‘Developmental Licensee’ (DL) for the region. As this process continues, CPRL will remain owned by MIPL and its affiliate.

Hyundai launches connected compact SUV Venue Automobile major Hyundai Motor India in May launched India’s first “fully connected” SUV - Hyundai Venue—in both petrol and diesel variants. According to the company, the petrol variant of the SUV has been priced between Rs 6.5 lakh and Rs 11.1 lakh, where as the diesel fueled version comes in the range of Rs 7.75 lakh to 10.84 lakh. “Venue will be India’s first fully connected SUV equipped with our global ‘BlueLink Connected Technology’. “The Indian market is at the centre of Hyundai’s global growth plan, and the launch of Venue will strengthen our commitment to the Indian market and fulfill our promise of creating a happy life for our customers.” The new SUV also sports an in-house developed seven-speed advanced ‘Dual Clutch Transmission’ (DCT) technology in addition to the proven 6 MT and 5 MT transmissions. “The Venue will be powered with debut of Kappa 1.0 Turbo GDi Petrol Engine along with well-proven 1.2 l Kappa Petrol and 1.4 l Diesel Engine,” the statement added. In terms of connected features, the SUV comes with ‘Hyundai Blue Link’ which has an inbuilt and tamper-proof device powered by Vodafone-Idea

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eSIM and a “Cloud-based Voice Recognition” platform from Global AI (Artificial Intelligence) company - Sound Hound. “The Hyundai Blue Link is Hyundai’s global technology which is introduced in the Indian market with 33 features out of which 10 are India specific features,” the statement said.


Indian Terrain signs up with Dhoni, to expand network With the signing of Indian cricket icon Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador, men’s wear major Indian Terrain Fashions Ltd plans to double its retail network to 300 outlets as it looks at a turnover of Rs 650 crore in three years time, a senior company official said. The listed company also aims to double its revenue from boys’ wear to Rs 80 crore within three years. “We have not signed up with Dhoni at the fag end of his career. He will be there for a couple of more editions of Indian Premier League. Our brand logo signifies the spirit of a man and Dhoni fits into that very well,” Venky Rajgopal, Founder Chairman, Indian Terrain Fashions, told reporters in May. According to him, the agreement with Dhoni is for two years and boys adore him which augurs well for the company. Rajgopal’s views were echoed by brand expert Harish Bijoor. “A brand ambassador has a shelf life even beyond the game. For example, Sachin Tendulkar has enjoyed a long shelf life even after his retirement. Dhoni has that tail effect. He is a solid cricketer,” Bijoor, founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, told IANS. Bijoor added that a cricketer can take different avatars— player, captain, commentator and others. So it is a long tail. He also said that such players are effective and may come at

Mr MS Dhoni

a lesser cost than what a cricketer at his peak would charge for brand endorsement. About the firm’s expansion plans, Indian Terrain Managing Director Charath Narsimhan said, “The company will be expanding its retail footprint to 300 outlets from the current 150 outlets. The bulk of the expansion will be through the franchisee route. The company will expand into markets in north, east and west, and south.”

“Indian food service sector size Rs 4 lakh crore, employs 7.3 million” Riding on urbanisation, rising income levels and improved investment climate, India’s food service sector has grown at 11 per cent in the last three years and is estimated at Rs 423,865 crore in 2018-19, proving employment to some 7.3 million people, a report released in May said. Growing at 9 per cent, it is projected to reach Rs 599,784 crore by 2022-23, the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) said in its India Food Services Report 2019. “The growth is noticeable at the segment and format levels of the sector,” the report said, adding that the organised segment, which holds a 35 per cent share, grew 13 per cent in the last three years and is estimated at Rs 148,353 crore in 2018-19. It is estimated to grow at 15 per cent to Rs 257,907 crore in 2022-23. Within the organised sector, affordable casual dining restaurants accounted for a whopping Rs 60,255 crore in 201819 and fine diners for Rs 2,872 crore with PBCLs (pubs, bar cafes and lounges) and cafes in between at Rs 17,979 crore and Rs 9,370 crore, respectively. In terms of taxes, the organised sector contributed Rs 18,000 crore in 2018-19 - 12 per cent of the total organised market. The unorganised sector rose 10 per cent in the past three years to touch Rs 275,512 crore in 2018-

19 and is expected to touch Rs 341,877 crore by 2022-23 - a growth of 6 per cent. However, its share is expected to drop to 57 per cent in 2022-23 from the present 57 per cent. In terms of employment, the organised sector provided jobs to 3.7 million people, or 51 per cent of the total in 2018-19, the unorganised sector to another 3.6 million people (49 percent) of the total workforce.

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US envoy meets Mizoram CM discuss health, infra US Ambassador to India Kenneth Ian Juster met Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga and discussed possible areas of cooperation in road infrastructure and health care among others, an official release said from Aizawal said in May. Accompanied by five other officials, including US Consul General in Kolkata Patti Hoffman, the Ambassador arrived in Aizawal on a two-day visit. “Ambassador Juster held meetings with the Chief Minister at the latter’s residence and discussed state policies and possible areas of cooperation especially in road infrastructure and health care,” the official release said. “Strengthening cooperation in tourism and creating more avenues for higher education in the US for students from the northeastern states also figured in the discussion,” an official of the Mizoram Government said. The release said that the US diplomat visited American government funded project on HIV/AIDS. He also interacted with the senior functionaries of “Shalom”, an NGO working on HIV/AIDS, human rights, nutrition, prisoners’ issues, women’s empowerment and youth affairs. “The US envoy held meeting with church leaders at

H.E. Mr Kenneth Ian Juster, US Ambassador met Mizoram Chief Minister Mr Zoramthanga Synod office here and senior officials of Excise and Narcotics Department,” the release added. Mr Juster, after his appointment as the 25th US Ambassador to India in November 2017, had visited other northeastern states including Assam and Tripura.

Tripura Gramin Bank posts profit for 7 successive years Posting net profit for seven consecutive years, the Tripura Gramin Bank (TGB) is among India’s top three out of 46 regional rural banks (RRBs) in terms of profit, business and growth, TGB Chairman Mahendra Mohan Goswami said in May. “In terms of profit, business and growth, the TGB is among the three leading RRBs in the country. After some of them merger with commercial banks, currently India has 46 RRBs against the earlier 56,” Mr Goswami told IANS. He said that the 43-year old TGB, has posted a net profit of Rs 125.45 crore in the fiscal 2018-19 against the net profit of Rs 44.14 crore in 2017-18, and of Rs 56 crore in 2016-17. The Central government has a 50 percent stake in TGB, the United Bank of India (UBI) has 35 per cent, while the 15 per cent is held by the Tripura Government. The TGB, with 148 full-fledged branches and 11 ultra-small branches (USBs), has been gradually expanding its business across the northeastern state, especially in the rural and remote

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Mr Vignesh Shahane

areas. The Chairman said that all the 11 USBs would be converted into full-fledged branches in the current fiscal. “The TGB is the only one among the eight RRBs in the northeastern region, comprising eight states including Sikkim, that has been making profit successively,” he said. Like other nationalised banks, the TGB has been providing all modern facilities to the customers. —Sujit Chakraborty


QUARtERLy LEDGER Q4 Rs 379 crore profit for L&T Infotech

M P Birla firm bags Rs 388 crore Haridwar cable contract

Infrastructure behemoth L&T’s IT services arm Larson & Toubro Infotech (LTI) in May reported a 31 percent consolidated quarterly and 36 percent yearly net profit in the 2018-19 fiscal. “Net profit for the fourth quarter (Q4) of fisMr Sanjay Jalona cal 2018-19 grew 31 percent annually to Rs 379 crore from Rs 289 crore in the same period a year ago and flat (0.9 percent) sequentially from Rs 376 crore a quarter ago,” said the company in a statement. Though headquartered in Mumbai along with its parent firm (L&T), LTI has its largest software development facility in this tech hub. Consolidated revenue for the quarter (Q4) under review grew 24 percent annually to Rs 2,486 crore from Rs 2,001 crore in the same period a year ago and flat (0.5 percent) sequentially from Rs 2,473 crore a quarter ago.

Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL), the sole state-run electricity distribution company, has awarded a Rs 388 crore contract for underground cabling at Haridwar to Vindhya Telelinks Ltd, an M. P. Birla group company. With this, Mr B C K Mishra Haridwar is all set to become Uttarakhand’s first city where power lines will go underground by 2021. “After finalising the tendering process, we have awarded the contract for underground cabling at Haridwar to Vindhya Telelinks Ltd,” said Mr B C K Mishra, UPCL Managing Director. Mr Mishra said the work on the project under the central government-sponsored Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) will begin after May 23 when the election process in the country will be completed. “We are hopeful that the project will be completed before the commencement of the Kumbh Mela in 2021,” said Mr Mishra.

Q4 Rs 2,031 crore profit for HCL Tech

RIL acquires global toy firm Hamleys

IT major HCL Technologies in May reported a 10.32 percent rise in its standalone net profit (profit for the period) for the fourth quarter of 2018-19 at Rs 2,031 crore against Rs 1,841 crore reported in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. Mr C. Vijayakumar For the fiscal, the standalone net profit rose by 11.17 percent to Rs 8,185 crore from Rs 7,362 crore in the previous fiscal. The company’s consolidated net profit during the quarter under review increased to Rs 2,550 crore from Rs 2,230 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. The IT firm’s consolidated net profit in 2018-19 rose 16.02 percent to Rs 10,120 crore from Rs 8,722 crore in the previous fiscal. Segment-wise, the infrastructure services of the company grew by 7.3 percent on a quarter on quarter basis, the company said. During the previous fiscal, the infrastructure segment grew by 11.1 percent as compared to FY 2018-19.

In a bid to become a dominant player in the global toy retail industry, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) in May announced it has acquired iconic British toy retailer Hamleys from Chinese fashion wear firm C Banner InMr Darshan Mehta ternational. The company acquired “Hamleys Global Holdings Limited (HGHL) for a cash consideration of GBP 67.96 million” (nearly Rs 620 crore), RIL said in a BSE filing. Of late, the toy company has struggled financially due to uncertainties owing to Brexit and economic slowdown in the UK. Reliance Brands, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has signed a definitive agreement with Hong Kong-listed firm C Banner International, to acquire 100 percent shares of Hamleys, the company said in a statement. The deal will give the Indian acquirer complete control of Hamleys retail operations spread over 167 stores across 18 countries. june 2019 | india empire 33


QUARtERLy LEDGER Q4 Rs 294.58 crore profit for Titan

Q4 Rs 576.10 crore profit for Airtel

The Titan Company in May reported a 4.42 percent rise in its standalone net profit for the fourth quarter of 2018-19, at Rs 294.58 crore against Rs 282.12 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. For the fiscal, the standalone net profit rose by 18.2 percent to Rs 1,374.36 crore from Rs 1,162.87 crore for the previous fiscal. “Standalone profit before tax for the year 201819 was very encouraging and grew by 22.7 percent to Rs1,927 crore,” the company said in a statement. “This is after 100 percent provision for investments in inter corporate deposits amounting to Rs 145 crore made in IL&FS and impairment of investment in its Swiss subsidiary Favre Leuba, amounting to Rs 70 crore (exceptional item).”

Gains from exceptional item aided telecom major Bharti Airtel to post a rise of 37.5 percent in its total consolidated net profit for the January-March quarter, on an year-on-year (YoY) basis. The total consolidated net profit (profit attributable to owners and non-controlling interest) of the company stood at Rs 576.10 crore during the fourth quarter (Q4) of financial year 2018-19, against Rs 419 crore reported during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, Airtel said in a statement. “Exceptional item during the quarter ended March 31, 2019 mainly of Rs 2,052.2 crore pertaining to re-assessment of levies, based on a recent pronouncement related to the manner of determination of such levies,” the company said in a statement.

Q4 Rs 969 crore profit for ICICI Bank

Q4 Rs 693.58 crore profit for LIC Housing Finance

Private sector ICICI Bank in May reported a five percent decline in its standalone net profit for the fourth quarter of 2018-19 ending March. According to the bank, its net profit during the quarter under review fell to Rs 969 crore from Rs 1,020 crore reported for the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. However, the bank’s net interest income (NII) during the fourth quarter rose to Rs 7,620 crore, from Rs 6,022 crore earned during the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The bank made provisions worth Rs 5,451 crore during the quarter in question, as compared to the Rs 6,626 crore provisioning in the same quarter of 2017-18. “The gross additions to NPA (non-performing asset or bad loans) were Rs 3,547 crore in Q4-2019 compared to Rs 2,091 crore in Q32019,” the lender said in a statement. “The gross NPA additions in Q4-2019 include an account in the sugar sector where the payment obligations are being met.”

LIC Housing Finance on Saturday reported 17 percent rise in its net profit for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 201819. According to the housing finance company, its net profit during the quarter under review rose to Rs 693.58 crore from Rs 594.34 Mr Vinay Sah crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal. The firm’s net interest income (NII) zoomed 21 percent to Rs 1,201 crore during the quarter from Rs 989 crore earned during the corresponding quarter of the previous year. On a financial year basis, the bank reported that its net profit for the year ended March 31, 2019 rose 21 percent to Rs 2,430.97 crore from Rs 2,002.50 crore for the previous financial year. “The company has maintained its growth trajectory in FY2019 despite severe challenges in the financial sector. All financial parameters continued to show improvement,” said Vinay Sah, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at LIC Housing Finance.

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QUARtERLy LEDGER Q4 Rs 6,099 crore profit for Indian Oil

Q4 Rs 1,306 crore profit for Bajaj Auto

State-run Indian Oil Corporation in May reported a 16.88 per cent rise in its standalone net profit for the fourth quarter ended March on the back of foreign exchange gains during the period. According to the company, its standalone net Mr Sanjiv Singh profit for the quarter in consideration rose to Rs 6,099 crore, from Rs 5,218 crore for the corresponding period of the previous financial year. The company’s revenue from operations during the period under review grew to Rs 144,472 crore from Rs 136,716 crore reported for the corresponding quarter of 2017-18. Besides, Indian Oil’s product sales volumes, including exports during the fourth quarter, were at 22.638 million tonnes. “The refining throughput was 17.351 million tonnes in Q4 18-19 and the throughput of the corporation’s countrywide pipelines network was 21.227 million tonnes during the same period,” the company said in a statement.

Bajaj Auto in May reported a rise of 21 per cent in its standalone net profit for the fourth quarter of 2018-19. According to the company, its Q4 standalone net profit rose to Rs 1,306 crore from Rs 1,080 crore for the corresponding period of the previous financial year. In terms of the entire fiscal, the company’s standalone net profit rose 15 per cent to Rs 4,675 crore from Rs 4,068 crore reported during 2017-18. On consolidated basis, the two and three wheeler manufacturer’s profit for the quarter under review rose to Rs 1,408 crore from Rs 1,175 crore in the corresponding period of 2017-18. The consolidated net profit for the entire fiscal rose 17 per cent to Rs 4,928 crore from Rs 4,219 crore reported during 2017-18. Besides, the company reported an exceptional item of Rs 342 crore in the current year.

Rs 683 crore profit for City Union Bank in FY 2018-2019

4G tablet market grows 62% in India in Q1, Lenovo leads

City Union Bank closed last fiscal with a net profit of Rs 682.85 crore, up from Rs 592 crore registered during the previous year, a senior bank official said in May. Aiding these results was also the conscious decision Mr N. Kamakodi of the bank to stay away from corporate, consortium and infrastructure project lending which has helped the bank to avoid the non-performing assets (NPA or bad loans) quicksand, City Union Bank Chief Executive N. Kamakodi told reporters in Chennai. “We stayed away from lending to infrastructure, corporate sectors and large consortium lending. Most of the banking sector’s NPAs are due to lending to infrastructure sector,” he said. “Even banks smaller than ours got into problems by lending to those sectors. We decided to grow the business with lending to retail, small and medium enterprises (SME) and trading sectors. One has to build the book brick-by-brick,” Mr Kamakodi said.

The shipment of 4G tablets grew 62 per cent in India in the first quarter of 2019 which was led by Lenovo, a new report said in May. According to CyberMedia Research’s (CMR) “Tablet PC Market Report Review for 1Q CY2019”, there was a 28 per cent sequential increase in tablet shipments in the Rs 10,000-Rs 20,000 price segment. Lenovo with 26 per cent led the market, followed by Samsung at 17 per cent and iBall also at 17 per cent. Apple was fourth with 9 per cent market share. “Lenovo covers 90 per cent market in 4G tablet. In the coming quarters, the market share for Samsung is potentially going to decline as there are no new launches of tablets slated from their end,” said Menka Kumari, an analyst with IIG-CMR. The overall tablet market saw an 11 per cent decline in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter last year. june 2019 | india empire 35


QUARtERLy LEDGER Ramesh Ramanathan appointed CMD of Sterling Holidays

Virgin Atlantic to relaunch London Heathrow-Mumbai flights

Holiday lifestyle major Sterling Holiday Resorts Ltd in May announced the appointment of Ramesh Ramanathan as Chairman by the Board of Directors. In a statement issued here, the company said Ramanathan’s Mr Ramesh Ramanathan elevation is effective from May 16 and he will now lead the company as Chairman and Managing Director. In his role as Managing Director, Ramanathan transformed Sterling Holidays into an experiential holiday brand spread across 37 resorts. Sterling Holidays is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thomas Cook (India) Limited (TCIL). TCIL is a part of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, a USD 43 billion global investment and insurance holding company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

Virgin Atlantic will relaunch flight service between London Heathrow and Mumbai from October 27, 2019. “2019 marks a significant period of growth for Virgin Atlantic and I’m delighted that we’re continuing to expand our route Mr Juha Jarvinen network once more, by returning to Mumbai,” Juha Jarvinen, Executive Vice President, Commercial, Virgin Atlantic said in a statement. “Until recently we’ve been able to serve this important market through our partnership with Jet Airways, however, since Jet Airways has sadly suspended its operation, we now have an opportunity to provide alternative options for our customers and meet this demand.” Currently, the airline operates London-Delhi flight service.

Guinness record

Mr C. Vijayakumar

A Dubai-based charity, owned by an Indian expat, has set a new Guinness World Record for iftar distribution, the media reported. Joginder Singh Salaria, founder of PCT Humanity, said in a statement in May that the effort was in continuation of the vegetarian Iftar held daily at the premises of his company Pehal International at the Dubai Industrial Park, reports Gulf News. “This is an incredible moment for all of us in the long 36 india empire | june 2019

journey of transforming lives of people and bringing smiles to them. Besides the record, our main aim is to feed people pure vegetarian food to stay healthy and fit and also save animals. We are glad people are joining us in spreading this message,” he said in the statement. Adjudicated by Douglas Palau, the attempt saw Iftar meals containing seven items spread in a line without keeping any gap between the packages for a kilometer.


7 Indian-origin kids are US Spelling Bee co-champions by aruL LOuis


even Indian-origin kids, along with an American, were in May declared co-champions of the US National Spelling Bee after the tie among the eight couldn’t be broken even after 20 rounds of the finals. The unprecedented decision to declare eight co-champions was taken on May 30 night after the organisers ran out of their selection of difficult words to challenge them further. The 10-year monopoly of Indian-origin children was finally broken with a non-Indian girl from Alabama, Erin Howard, becoming a co-champion. The seven Indian-origin winners (with the final word they spelled correctly in parenthesis) are Rishik Gandhasri (auslaut), Saketh Sundar (bougainvillea), Shruthika Padhy (aiguillette), Sohum Sukhatankar (pendeloque), Abhijay Kodali (palama), Christopher Serrao (cernuous) and Rohan Raja (odylic). The winners, who will each get $50,000 and a trophy, were the last ones standing from among the 562 contestants drawn from across the US and abroad. In the past only two co-winners were declared - most recently Indians in 2014, 2015 and 2016 - making the eight this year a record. The national level contest held in a Washington suburb

is broadcast nationally on the sports channel ESPN, giving it the aura of a major sports event and a big audience. The contest is sponsored by the media company, EW Scripps. The Spelling Bee opens in school and the winners go on to contests at the next levels and those champions go to the national competition, along with some who meet other criterion for selection. The Spelling Bee is open to students in eighth grade and below. In addition to children from all the 50 US states, students also participate from the Bahamas, Canada, Germany, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea. The 94year-old contest has evolved to be a test of not just memorisation but also of a broad understanding of linguistics and etymology such as the origin of words and how words from classical languages are transmuted into English and how words are borrowed between modern languages. Since Balu Natarajan won the Spelling Bee in 1985, Indian-origin children have been winners in 19 years, continuously for ten years from 2008 to 2018. Indian-origin children do well in the Spelling Bee because the Indian community prizes participation in it and several community groups and businesses organise competitions for children within the community.

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ALkALINIty AND yAGyAS By Yogi Ashwini yOGi ashwini


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

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

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India Empire June 2019  

India Empire June 2019