India-Business, Political, Diplomatic and Diaspora Connectivity
e have a special section this issue called Chambers. It focuses on activities undertaken by Indian chambers of commerce in catalyzing internal trade and making it a critical component of overall economic activity. Business chambers like FICCI, CII, ASSOCHAM, FIEO and several others are continuously interfacing with the top leadership in Government in order to reorient policies that reduce hindrances—there is so much talk about revisiting the implementation of GST, for instance, these days as the micro and small entrepreneurs are particularly hard-pressed for working capital after paying tax upfront. Boosting growth in infrastructure, manufacturing and exports remain perennial challenges that it is left to industry bodies to lobby hard for policies that facilitate ease of doing business. On our cover is Mr Narinder Wadhwa, Founder and Managing Director of the SKI Group, a premier financial services house, who is an active member of several of India’s leading industry bodies. He is on the National Executive Committee of FICCI, ASSOCHAM and ANMI. Since FICCI reaches out to over 250,000 companies and ASSOCHAM to about 450,000 members, Mr Wadhwa’s position in the organization speaks volumes about how self-made entrepreneurs like him are at the cutting-edge of India’s economic robustness. At ASSOCHAM, Mr Wadhwa is Chairman of National Council for Capital Market.
empire Volume 13 No. 5 October 2017 www.indiaempire.com 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 G. Ganbold, Francis Kokutse, 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.
The SKI group itself was founded in 1989 by Mr Wadhwa, a senior Chartered Accountant and Law Graduated, is Mr R S Wadhwa, a retired IRS officer with decades of experience in the financial markets. The group has grown from a small broking house to a leading investment services organization with an acknowledged industry leadership.
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In a key political interview, we have one with Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Mr Anant Gangaram Geete, who responds to questions on a range of issues, including ones that relate to Maharatna PSU BHEL’s ground-breaking achievements and closure of weak CPSEs.
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Sayantan Chakravarty is in a select group of 12 writers chosen by Scholastic Education to promote advanced English literature for schools worldwide. Included in the group are Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats, R K Narayan (Padma Vibushan and Sahitya Award winner), journalist and poet Walt Whitman, writer Saki (Hector Hugh Munro), poet Nissim Ezekiel (Sahitya Akademi Awardee), writer Jerome K Jerome (author of Three Men in a Boat), poet Edward Lear, Roald Dahl (16th on Time Magazine’s list of greatest British writers). Sayantan Chakravarty’s stories featured in Best of Indian Express of 25 years and among select stories in Best of India Today’s 25 years.
Mr AnAnt GAnGArAM Geete, UnIon MInIster of HeAvy InDUstrIes AnD PUBlIC enterPrIses
“BHEL has made groundbreaking achievements” Mr Anant Geete is a political stalwart who has represented the Shiv Sena very ably in Parliament—he has been elected MP six times between 1996 and 2014—and as a Minister in the NDA Government. Credit for much of the political camaraderie that exists between the BJP and the Shiv Sena at the Centre goes to Mr Geete for things have not always been hunky dory between the two parties in Maharashtra. Back in the days of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government, Mr Geete had been Union Power Minister. Now having completed three years as Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Mr Geete is easily one of the senior-most faces in a Cabinet rank in the Narendra Modi Government. India Empire had featured him on the cover in the December 2015 edition. In this issue, he responds to a few questions from the magazine once again: You led the way for the construction of TAGMA Centre for Excellence and Training at Chakan, Pune. This will, of course, go a long way in enhancing the Make in India initiative of Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. What is the progress on that front? Common Engineering Facilities Centre (CEFC) is being set up at Chakan, Pune at the cost of Rs.51.92 crore with grant from DHI for Rs.26.27 crore. The facility is being set up for enhancing the capabilities of the Indian Tooling fraternity engaged in making tools and gauges primarily for the automotive industry including OEMs, tier 1, and tier 2 companies. This project will benefit 200 MSMEs, which would be able to utilize the high end machines at a single place by paying the user charges. The facility is proposed to have the following key components: ● Design and Training Centre ● Tooling and Machining Services ● Try out and Validation – Stamping services ● Try out and Validation – Moulding services ● Skill Development Centre The building is almost ready and machines to be installed would be finalised in a month’s time. First instalment of grant of Rs 8.18 crore has been released to TAGMA. Under your overall guidance, BHEL has set new benchmarks. Kindly talk us through the new groundbreaking achievements… There have been some ground-breaking achievements: ❖ 178 GW of power equipment installed by BHEL in India
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and abroad. Rs 10,047 crore largest ever export order from Bangladesh 2x660 MW Maitree STPP received. 508 Patents/Copyrights filed during 2016-17. Total intellectual capital of around 4000 Patents/copyrights. As part of skill India initiative, trained 23,810 vocational trainees, including 4,728 Act-apprentices. Clean Energy generation of 14.76 Million Units from inhouse Solar Power installations avoiding 14,320 MT of Co2 emission. World’s largest 800 KV , 6000 MW multi terminal HVDC NE Agra transmission project under execution by BHEL. Developed more efficient EHV Transmission systems and products All the three ships of the Kolkata class stealth guided missile destroyers equipped with BHEL’s 76/62 mm Super Rapid Gun Mount and Auxiliary Control system 95% of hydroelectric generating capacity in Bhutan is installed by BHEL Highest R&D expenditure of Turnover (2.5%) in Indian engineering field Developing Advanced Ultra Supercritical (AUSC) technology for coal based power plants with NTPC & IGCAR. Indigenized Super critical technology resulting in 11% reduction in Co2 emissions, higher efficiency & lower cost to customers Highest number of eco-friendly supercritical sets commissioned in the country till date Among Top 25 best companies to work for in 2016-17, awarded by Business Today
pictures © sipra das OPENING NEW DOORS: The TAGMA Centre for Excellence in Pune will go a long way in enhancing the Make in India initiative and open up new possibilities for the Indian automotive industry
BHEL employees continuously receiving Prime Minister’s Shram Awards and Viishwakarma Rashtriya Puraskars.
Please let us know about the Centre for Excellence in Heavy Engineering Design set up to train 1350 engineers in three years… Common Engineering Facility Centre for electro slag re-
melting, welding, gear box manufacturing and non-destructive testing by HEC—the project relates to setting up a Common Engineering Facility Center for providing niche training in the field of relating to electro slag re-melting, welding, gear box manufacturing and non-destructive testing from HEC— a central PSU in the area of manufacture of heavy engineering equipment since Nehruvian era. This project has been ap-
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MAJOR REASON TO SMILE: Under Minister Geete’s guidance and leadership, public sector Maharatna giant BHEL has performed new ground-breaking feats
proved by the Apex Committee under Capital Goods Scheme in its third meeting held on 28.1.2016 for a Government of India grant of Rs 30 crore. The project size is envisaged at Rs 50 crore. Under this project, HEC has collaborated with Messrs CNIITMASH – a Russian government Industrial Technology Research Institute. The importance of the collaboration is in the fact that after several decades, closely held and strategically significant technologies will again flow to India, modernizing Nehruvian era PSUs and private sector units. The proposal is for imparting training to 1350 engineers in three years in the latest technologies relating to electro slag re-melting, welding, gear box manufacturing and non-destructive testing. Project is being implemented by PRATHAM, a not for profit SPV formed by HEC. Grant of Rs 13.41 crores has been released thus far. Preparation of classrooms and guest houses for teacher’s accommodation is underway. Process started for procurement of the small equipment, computers etc. Marketing of the course has started with roadshows and advertisement campaign being planned. Course material in Russian has been drafted by CNIITMACH and its translation into English is being done. The final courseware is likely to be received by December 2017. The training is likely to start in January 2018. Guidelines were set in 2016 by the Department of Public Enterprises to expedite the process of closure of weak CPSEs. What is the progress made on the implementation of those guidelines? In May, 2014 when the NDA Government took over under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, there were 32 Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) under the Department of Heavy Industry, majority of them were incur-
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ring losses for last several years and had become chronically sick. Most of these CPSEs were not in a position to even pay salary / wages to their employees and had become financially dependent upon the budgetary support from Govt. of India to discharge their statutory liabilities towards employees. Government had been supporting these CPSEs through non-plan loans since the year 2004, for payment of salary, wages and other statutory dues to their employees. CCEA in its meeting held on 10th September, 2014 approved an amount of Rs. 287.67 crore as non-plan loan to 11 CPSEs towards payment of salary, wages and employee related statutory dues for the period September, 2013 to March, 2014. With this cash outgo, the Government had so far released Rs. 3084.28 crore to 24 CPSEs in last decade since the year 2004. These CPSEs were also provided various Revival packages also from time to time wherein financial restructurings were allowed which contained conversion of loan into equity, waiver of interest, infusion of fresh equity and also loan for working capital etc. However, most of these companies failed to come up to the expectations and revive itself. There were many factors responsible for the sub-optimal performance of the CPSEs. Some of the broad reasons were, overstaffing, huge manpower cost, obsolete and out-dated plant & machineries, old and obsolete products range, failure to adopt new technology, change in consumer preference and behaviour, change in economic environment of business with opening up of the economy in 1991, stiff competition from emerging lean, mean and strong private sector.. Seven CPSEs/Units of CPSEs—Tungabhadra Steel Products Ltd., HMT Chinar Watches Ltd., HMT Watches Ltd., HMT Bearings Ltd., Hindustan Cables Ltd., HMT Ltd., Instrumentation Ltd. Kota Unit, have since been closed down operationally with the approval of Government of India. ❐
COVER STORY—BUSINESS PROFILE
Mr narinder Wadhwa founder and Managing Director, sKI Group
GEN NEXT “Invest in yourself. Your career is the engine of your wealth”
—Paul Clitheroe, Australian Financial Analyst
By Yogesh Sood
ndian cinema’s acclaimed superstar Priyanka Chopra has said that any transition is easier if you believe in yourself, and your talent. Her words sit well on Narinder Wadhwa, who had the courage to leave a cushy job at Citigroup and first start his own practice as a Chartered Accountant, and subsequently SKI group, the firm that he heads. He could, of course do that because he believed in himself, and in the talent that he had. No wonder, his stock has always gone one way—North. Today, Mr Narinder Wadhwa is not just the Founder and Managing Director of the SKI Group—a premier financial services house, he is an active member of several of India’s leading industry bodies. He is on the National Executive Committee of FICCI, ASSOCHAM and ANMI. Mr Wadhwa’s position in the organizations speak volumes about the distance he’s covered since he forayed into his own business in 1987. ENTREPRENEURIAL BUG While growing up in the capital city of India, Narinder Wadhwa attended the University of Delhi from where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. He then went on to complete his Chartered Accountancy, and then earn an LLB from the Faculty of Law at Delhi University. Later he participated in a number of Executive Education Programs at the Harvard Business School. Upon completing his Chartered Accountancy, Mr. Wadhwa took a job with Citigroup’s Investment Advisory Services in New Delhi. The son of an IRS Officer, Mr. Wadhwa was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at an early age. He dreamt big and wanted to be his own boss. He started his own CA practice 10 india empire | october 2017
after leaving his first job. His passion for the financial markets and being an active investor himself led him to form SKI Capital Services in 1993. The company has since expanded from a pure advisory investment bank to a broadbased capital market firm. SKI was among the first members to take membership in the major exchanges such as NSE, BSE, NCDEX, and MCX. Mr. Wadhwa calls himself an “incorrigible optimist.” According to him, financial markets in India are still underdeveloped and there are so many untapped opportunities out there. “It’s like going to a buffet: You have to decide how much you’re going to eat and how much you can eat.” India’s equity market turnover has increased significantly in recent years. The annual turnover value in the NSE witnessed a CAGR of 20.7 per cent between FY96 and FY17 to reach INR 50.56 lakh crore. During the month of August 2017, the mutual fund equity schemes attracted a net inflow of US$ 4.2 billion whereas the AUM touched INR 20.59 lakh crore. “At the same time there is no shortage of competition,” Mr Wadhwa says. By 2008, SKI had branch offices in 40 cities, with over 100 employees and 200 business partners. But the company's rapid expansion began to cut into profit, and SKI had trouble raising capital to finance further growth. To remedy this, Mr. Wadhwa agreed to sell a minority shareholding of SKI to a private equity investor. He has always encouraged gen-next to join in to bring freshness in all the thinking and business process. His two sons—Manick Wadhwa, a graduate in law, and Ankit Wadhwa, an associate Chartered Accountant—joined the business and are instrumental in bringing new technologies and business ideas to the table.
Mr Narinder Wadhwa (seated) with sons, Manick, a Law graduate, and Ankit, an Associate Chartered Accountant
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COVER STORY—BUSINESS PROFILE
LEFT: Mr Wadhwa who plays a leadership role in several chambers speaks at a seminar on Emerging Role of IPO Platform for SMEs at PHD Chamber. RIGHT: Mr Wadhwa spoke at the business council meeting at the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil (July 2014) which was attended by Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi. This was Mr Modi’s second foreign visit as PM
About SKI SKI group is a premier financial services house providing unparalleled services in all the segments of the financial markets. The group is driven by an unwavering commitment to building lasting client relationships and enjoys the honor of serving a large number of valued customers. The foundation of the group was laid in 1989 by Mr. Narinder Wadhwa, a senior Chartered Accountant, and Mr. R.S. Wadhwa, a retired IRS officer with decades of experience in financial markets. The group has grown from a small broking house to a leading investment services organization with an acknowledged industry leadership. SKI Edge ❖ 30 years of expertise in financial services ❖ An ISO 9001: 2008 certified company, with well-defined processes for client satisfaction ❖ Pan-India presence ❖ Effortless and fluent trading using our software, web, and mobile trading platforms ❖ Access to a wide array of financial products ❖ Seamless transactions, multiple segments through single screen ❖ Team of dedicated and ambitious professionals ❖ Complete transparency and fair trade executions ❖ Web Based Back offices ❖ Research and training services Mr Wadhwa created Nextgen group in Anmi and in Assocham to bring sons and daughter of members together and to mainstream. In the past, Mr Narinder Wadhwa has served as the Chairman of the Association of National Stock Exchange Members of India. He was part of India’s delegation 12 india empire | october 2017
Mr Wadhwa (right) with SEBI Chairman Mr Ajay Tyagi (left) and Mr D S Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM
at the 6th BRICS Summit in Brazil in 2014. He is alternative President of Commodity Participant Association of India (CPAI). He was conferred the ‘Pride of India Gold Award’ by the President of Mauritius at the NRI Summit in Mauritius and ‘Global Indian Award’ by the Bank of Doha in Qatar. Australian television presenter and financial analyst Paul Clitheroe would say, “Invest in yourself. Your career is the engine of your wealth.” Indeed, one can safely say that Narinder Wadhwa’s believed in his own talent, and invested wisely in it. Mr. Wadhwa believes that one should be humble and balanced. There are always things someone can be unhappy about, but one needs to reflect on the good things. Wadhwa believes that “there’s always an element of good luck in ones achievement.” Looking back at how far SKI Group has come, Mr. Wadhwa says “I think we have made some progress, but I frankly feel we have a long way to go, to create and build a SKI brand which has the ability to withstand hundreds of years. ❐
INDIA-BELARUS INVESTMENT Agriculture, pharmaceuticals, nano technology and infrastructure projects were some of the key sectors which can be explored for collaboration by Indian and Belarusian industry, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said in September. With an aim to enhance bilateral investment ties, Semashko, addressing the ‘India-Belarus Business Forum’ organised jointly by business chambers FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM, invited Indian businesses to the East European country, saying they can avail tax exemptions extending from five to seven years and other such incentives. Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister Anant G. Geete said there was enormous untapped investment and trade potential between India and Belarus. “India was committed to forge partnerships and joint ventures with the Belarusian industry. The Forum would augur well if Belarus makes investments in India,” he said. Mr Geete added that India was commissioning large projects and would help Belarus in terms of its work and experience besides assisting in training of manpower and providing best
technology for such projects. Vladimir Ulakhovich, Chairman, Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said there should be active interaction between business communities of India and Belarus to augment trade and investment. “Continuous dialogue and the support from the two governments to the business community would help in taking the bilateral trade and investment to the next level,” Ulakhovich added. India and Belarusian organisations exchanged 11 MoUs at the forum, including “Agreement on Basic Conditions” between Glorincor LLC and Biocon, and Belarus’ Ministry of Health, Glorincor LLC and Cadila Healthcare, FICCI said in a statement. “India-Belarus bilateral trade stood at $210 million in 2016-17 and the two countries have set a target of $1 billion by 2020,” the statement added. “Thus, industry is of the view that it is time to elevate India-Belarus relations to a higher trajectory by building on the enormous potential in trade and investment, defence cooperation, science and technology as well as educational and academic linkages.”
NITI AAYOG VC
PM Advisory Council
Dr Sanjaya Baru is the new Secretary General of FICCI. He was Media Advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (2004-08) and Director for Geo-economics and Strategy, International Institute of Strategic Studies, London (2011-16). He was a Member of the National Security Advisory Board of India (1999-2001), IndiaASEAN Eminent Persons Group (2010) and the Indian National Defence University Committee (2002-04).
Dr Rajiv Kumar, who took over as Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog in September, rejected criticism that demonetisation was responsible for the fall in Gross Domestic Product growth and said it cannot be blamed for that. “Demonetisation should not be seen as the reason for the fall in GDP. There was a sixweek period when cash deficit existed and from January (2017) things were fine,” he told reporters after taking charge of the office.
T h e Prime Minister’s newly constituted Economic Advisory Council ( E AC - P M ) will be chaired by NITI Aayog member Dr Bibek Debroy. He will be analysing economic issues and advising the PM, an official statement has said. Other part-time members of the council are Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Ray and Ashima Goyal. Ratan Watal, Principal Advisor, NITi aayog is the member-secretary of EAC-PM. october 2017 | india empire 13
INDIA INC AVERSE
EXTEND GST RETURN DEADLINE
The Indian industry is still not ready to hand over complete management control of companies to independent boards and professional managers, business chamber ASSOCHAM has said. “An overwhelming majority of 78 per cent of the 155 CEOs both from professional and promoter-driven firms, answered in the negative when asked whether the promoters are willing to cede complete control of the corporate India to independent boards and CEOs”, an ASSOCHAM survey of chief executives said. Against the backdrop of a tussle between the board and promoters of the Bengaluru-headquartered Infosys, ASSOCHAM said that India Inc. was “not yet ready to give complete management control to professional boards and managers, as majority of the corporate firms have promoters’ holding well over 50 per cent and even those with much lower stake are not willing to bet fully on professionals. Trust deficit and the family pre-dominance were the two of the main plausible factors coming in the way of transformation of India Inc where the day-to-day operations are insulated from the principal shareholders or group of shareholders,” it said. “Sixty-seven per cent of the respondent CEOs said trust deficit between the promoters and the professionals creeps in even among the few promoters who have taken a lead for handing over their companies to the professionals.”
Industry chamber CII has said that in view of certain pending issues, the deadline for filing Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns should be further extended by up to a couple of months. “In view of the difficulties of online filing, CII suggested that the due dates for filing GSTR-1, GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 should be deferred for another month or two. This will stabilise the system,” the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has said in a release. “The Finance Ministry has taken cognisance of the initial glitches being faced in online filing of invoices and extended dates for GST returns. CII has now requested for further extension to resolve certain system issues,” it said. Last month, the Government announced a five-day extension for filing the GSTR-3B form till August 25, after the GSTN return filing portal was hit by a technical glitch and stopped functioning, a day ahead of the last date for filing. Technical issues again earlier this month forced the government to extend the deadline for filing the GST sales return—GSTR-1—for another five days till September 10. CII suggested certain changes to the return filing procedure so as to streamline the system further. “All modules of GSTN should be activated or enabled to amend core fields in registration to amend particulars of ‘principal place of business’ or to declare ‘additional place of business’ or file refunds,” CII said.
INDIA 5Th LARGEST by 2030
ADDITIONAL DAY AT AUTO EXPO
India will become the fifth largest consumer market in the world by 2030, a joint report has said. According to a FICCI-Deloitte report on the retail, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and e-commerce sectors in the country, the consumer retail industry is expected to reach a size of Rs 85 trillion by 2021. “Consumer retail forms an integral part of the industry with a current estimated size of more than Rs 45 trillion,” said the report “Konnected to Consumers”. “It is further expected to witness a CAGR of over 10 per cent in the period 2016-21 to reach a size of Rs 85 trillion by 2021,” it added. The report said the consumer industry is one of the most dynamic and amongst the fastest growing industries in India. Although optimism is well founded and makes India attractive to FMCG firms and retailers, challenges remain like poor basic infrastructure, a complex multi-layer regulatory and taxation regime, the report added.
The next biennial automobile industry event—Auto Expo—will be held in the second week of February 2018, organisers have said. The expo is scheduled from February 914, 2018 at India Expo Mart in Greater Noida, while the components show will be held at the Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from February 8-11, 2018. According to the organisers, the “Auto Expo - The Motor Show 2018” will be extended by one more day due to the rising interest and increasing footfalls of the visitors. The “Auto Expo - The Motor Show and Components Show”, are jointly organised by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA). The “Motor Show 2018” will be spread across 185,000 sq.m. with all automobile majors participating in 14 indoor exhibition halls.
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pictures Â© sipra das
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pictures Â© sipra das
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IN NIGERIA By Francis Kokutse
fter making his name in India, Manish Mundra, the founder of Drishyam Films, is in the news in Nigeria for contributing to its economic growth in several ways: From petrochemicals to fertilisers. Indorama Corporation, the conglomerate Mundra heads in Nigeria, aims to boost the agriculture sector in the West African nation with the opening of a $1.5 billion project to produce 1.5 million metric tonnes of urea fertiliser per annum so as to make the country self-sufficient in the product. Mundra, who has worked with the Aditya Birla Group, Indian Rayon, Indo-Gulf and finally aluminium maker Hindalco, is an MBA with over 20 years of international management and mergers and acquisitions experience. Mundra joined Indorama Group in 2002 in the corporate strategy department. Given his resourcefulness, he was transferred to Indorama Nigeria as a project manager. There, he supervised the acquisition of the state-owned Eleme Petrochemicals Company Ltd for $225 million. Mundra was appointed Deputy Managing Director of the company in 2007 and Managing Director in 2009. He ran the Nigeria and Senegal operations, especially the expansion projects which are now concluded—Indorama Eleme Fertiliser and Chemicals Ltd (IEFCL), and ICS Senegal. “I figured that Africa would see a growth in business and demand. Nigeria, the most populated and with the most hydrocarbon resources, was the perfect choice,” Mundra said. Those in the oil industry said he must have his eyes on expanding Eleme as he took a personal interest long before he became the Managing Director. “After the acquisition of Eleme Petrochemicals, the thought of establishing a fertiliser plant became a dream,” Mundra said. “We saw that Nigeria needed a breakthrough in food production. It needs to stop its huge food imports which gulp about $5 billion annually,” Mundra said, adding: “Nige-
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Mr Manish Mundra
ria has abundant land resources; so there is no justification for this high import cost.” He said about 75 per cent of Nigeria's land can support agriculture, but only 49 per cent is in use. “It is for this reason that the company thought of building the fertiliser plant to facilitate abundant food production,” Mundra said. Mundra does not seem to have finished with his plans for Nigeria. He said that in the coming decade, Indorama plans to make an impact on the Nigerian economy by creating jobs and consolidating its leadership in petrochemicals. “In the next 10 years we would complete our Natural Gas Liquid plant, methanol plant and the second phase of our fertiliser plant,” he said. “Our vision remains to build the largest petrochemicals and fertiliser hub in West Africa by 2020 with a total investment of $4.2 billion,” Mundra said. ❐
“Diaspora can boost relations”: US diplomat itive connection between the two countries, it adds such an important dimension to our relationship,” Sexton, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in New Delhi, said on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Badamtola Ashar Sangha Durga puja and the Great Kolkata Autumn Heritage Festival. The pandal (marquee) represents a slice of America in Kolkata. “The diaspora is becoming more and more active in A piece of USA at Badamtala, Kalighat, Kolkata, that has celebrated the the US in promoting these Indo-USA Tourism Year 2017 in association with US Consulate General, IAGCC and IFSD. Mr Mridul Pathak of IAGCC welcomes West Bengal Chief Minister kind of connections (crossMs Mamata Banerjee and Mr Jeffrey R Sexton, Counselor for Public Affairs cultural connections)... it is American diplomat Jeffrey Sexton in September batted becoming more politically involved in the US... you see for building on the Indian diaspora in the US to bolster re- many of our politicians ... United Nations ambassador lations, noting it is becoming more and more active in pro- Nikki Haley... the high profile just highlights once again the diversity of the US as a country and its connections to moting cross cultural ties. “The biggest connection that we have now is the size of South Asia and India...,” Sexton said. The U.S. Embassy and the Indian diaspora in the US. All of the Indians who have consulates in India are celebrating the US-India Cultural connections with the US now... relatives, friends studying in Connections and #USIndiaDosti this month through sevthe US and if we just keep building on this wonderful pos- eral engagements.
KRIShNAN jOINS TWITTER
WhITE hOUSE POSTING
Micro-blogging website Twitter has hired Indianborn Sriram Krishnan, a former top executive from Facebook and Snap, as its Senior Director of Product. “I’m going to be joining Twitter and become a part of #theflock to work with the fantastic product team there,” Krishnan tweeted. A well-known product executive around Silicon Valley, Krishnan has primarily focused on ad technolog y. “So so so so so so excited to have you Sriram! Welcome home,” tweeted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in September.” At Facebook, he helped build the company’s ad network, Audience Network; at Snap, he helped build out the company’s ads API,” Recode reported.
Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has been appointed to a leadership role in the Democratic Party’s new task force on the economy focussing on creating more jobs for Americans. The Congressman will serve as co-chair for the New Economy Task Force, along with Representatives Susan DelBene, Debbie Dingell and Darren Soto. “I’m honoured to take a leading role in crafting our job-focused agenda for the new economy,” said Krishnamoorthi. “Fundamentally, building the economy of the future means ensuring that out workers have the in-demand skills they need to thrive and that businesses have the advanced infrastructure they need to grow.”
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COLUMN: YOGI ASHWINI
MIND AND BODY
SAFFRON By Yogi Ashwini
s early as Treta Yug, asurs have tried to disrupt creation. Disruption of creation is inevitable. Mahapralay is a natural follow through of creation and asurshave an important role to play in it. Without the asurs, mahapralay cannot happen and a new beginning cannot be made. Everything in creation is cyclical, nothing is linear. There is childbirth and death and rebirth. Sun rises and sets to rise again. Seed gives rise to tree which produces more seeds for more trees. Moon follows a cycle, as does water. The cyclical pattern is seen in human evolution too. Lighter thoughts, thoughts for creation and selfless actions make one rise and heavier thoughts, asuric disposition put one on the descending cycle. There is a limit to how much you can rise or fall, and that depends on influence asurs and devas in your life. Ravan, for example, ascended to be one of the greatest pandits of all times who extemporaneously created the Shiv Tandav Stotram, to perfection which calls for sadhna of many years together. Ravan could do that owing to influence of devik shaktis on him. But as asuric shaktis took over, he started disturbing the rishis and munis, and so his descent began. Saffron has been worn by rishis and munis since thousands of years and since thousands of years it has been attacked by the asurs. We all know of Lord Ram who went to defend the yagya of Rishi Vishvamitra against the attack of asurs. Yagyas create positivity and asurs thrive on negativity. Creation is never constant ever, it is always changing form, going up or coming down. Our life is also never a constant, there are upturns and there are downturns in an indvidual’s life. In economics, it is said that a company whose graph is horizontal, that is where there is no upturn or downturn, that company would shutdown in a short while. Even a downturn is considered a growth factor. This law is constant in all aspects of creation. It is also applicable to yogis and to huge empires. Upturn and downturn cy-
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cles are very important for growth. With every downturn, one must use its momentum to reach a new high. In today’s world, increasing influence of asuric forces can be traced back to the beginning of invasions by nomadic tribes of Arabian Peninsula and tribes from far reaches of Europe. Take, for example, the Portuguese invasion of West coast of India in the sixteenth century which brought in its wake large scale destruction of the temples, burning of ancient scriptures as well as disbanding of yagyas and other spiritual practices in the region or the invasions by Ghori and Ghazni. Mahmud of Ghazni destroyed thousands of temples during his raids including the Somnath temple in 1025 AD, killing over 50000 people who tried to defend it. In the early years of British penetration in India, there was an uprising of the saints termed as the Sanyasi Revolt. British fearing the power of these men in saffron and knowing that they would not be able to establish their rule in India till these people are suppressed, killed 150 saints. In present times, the term ‘saffronisation’ has been coined by negative, asuric forces to uproot the vedic culture and undermine the saints. Corrupt so-called saints are highlighted in the media repeatedly to pull down the image of saffron, while hardly ever is a saint working for animals or people or environment brought to fore. Our country is known to produce saints like Ramkrishna Paramhans, Ramana Maharishi and their modern counterparts, but no one talks about them. No one even talks about so-called saints from any other community, when many are known to have committed crimes against humanity. I wonder why only specific few are handpicked by the media. In such times it becomes our prime duty to uphold saffron, by understanding what it is all about, by understanding the vedas and what they talk about and not a myopic opinion based on a minority highlighted in the media. ❐ —Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and can be reached at www.dhyanfoundation.com