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Vol 7 Issue No.76 Feb - Mar 2018

OUTLOOK FOR GOLD IN 2018

Shri V.P. Nandakumar MD & CEO, Manappuram Finance Ltd.

A journey to the island of healing,

curacao

SPEARHEADING A PRODIGIOUS

‘CA’ EMPIRE Mr. James Mathew, Group CEO Crowe Horwath UAE and Oman

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Printed by: Ajit Ravi Published by: Ajit Ravi Owned by: Ajit Ravi Printed at: S T Reddiar P.B. No: 3627, Veekshanam Road, Cochin Published at: Pegasus, L5-106 Changampuzha Nagar Kalamassery Ernakulam-682 033 e-mail: editor@uniquetimes.org uniquetimesindia@gmail.com Ph:0484 3242220, 6555533, 4025666 Mob:+91 98460 50283, 94470 50283 Editor Ajit Ravi Sub-Editor Vignesh Associate Editor Ravi Saini Editor-In-charge Jebitha Ajit Legal Advisor Latha Anand B.S.Krishnan Associates bskrishnanassociates@gmail.com Correspondents Dr. Thomas Nechupadam Vivek Venugopal- Quarter Mile Amrutha V Kumar Karthika S Nair Marketing UAE Phygicart.com P.O. Box: 92546, Al Karama Dubai Mr. Anish K Joy Mob: +971528946999 info@phygicart.com Tamil Nadu Vice president Uma Riyas Khan chennai, Mob: 9841072955 Unique Times, No.6/31, Arunachalam main road, Saligramam, Chennai – 600093 Andhrapradesh & Karnataka PEGASUS Ph: 09288800999 Sunilkumar NN, Saneesh Ashok Your wing Director Shwetha Menon Photographer Ashique Hassan Creative Design PEGASUS Cover Photograph Mr. James Mathew, Group CEO Crowe Horwath UAE and Oman 4

Cover Photographer Feb-Mar18 Yasir Saeed

Editorial

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riter and the UK’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill once told: "The price of greatness is responsibility".

In this issue our main story is about a Keralite who conquered greater heights in business. His business group adorns 8th rank globally and 6th rank in the MENA region. When we asked the key to his greatness in business, he said, 'Responsibility". Read this interesting success story of James Mathew who is the Group Cheif Executive officer of Crowe Horwath in UAE and Oman. In the regular column, V.P. Nandakumar, the Chairman & MD, Manappuram Finance, finds the answer for the question, to which direction gold prices likely to go this year? He makes a prediction though such an attempt in case of gold is never easy because of its nature. Unlike other commodities where prices are driven by demand and supply, gold is also ultra-sensitive to the global economic and political trends of the day.

In Auto, our team introduces Scoda Octavia RS which considered as the perfect fast car all have been waiting for. At 25.49 lakhs (ex. showroom), it is only Rs.4 lakhs more than the regular 1.8 TSI, is fantastic value. Travel captures Curacao, the island that is presently an autonomous country under the Kingdom of Netherlands. Here’s another fresh issue for you with plenty of articles on interesting topics like the stock market, gadgets, banking, movie review, and book review etc. And I hope you enjoy the read!


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CONTENTS

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Outlook for gold in 2018

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The perils of managing through ‘Multi-tasking’!

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Spearheading a prodigious ‘CA’ empire

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Manappuram Miss South India 2018

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Union Budget 2018–19 What it holds for India Inc

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Gadgets

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Recipes

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Hairstyle tips for women with thin hair

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A journey to the Island of healing, Curacao

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Skoda Octavia RS

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UNIQUE DIARY

Paytm unveils new platform to help small and medium businesses

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ne of the leading digital payment platforms Paytm has unveiled a new platform to help the small and medium businesses of the country. The new platform will enable the small and medium business persons to accept cash from their customers through Paytm easily. Those businessmen, who are interested to utilise this facility offered by the digital payment platform giant to improve their business, can download the application from the Android Play Store. A senior officer of the company has informed the media persons that the new innovative platform would not only make digital payment process easy but also make financial management effortless.

Maruthi to launch four new products

“Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.� Peter Drucker

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aruthi, the automobile manufacturer giant which have been demonstrating an enviable performance in terms of its sales growth for last four years, is planning to launch at least four new products this year. For last four years, the conglomerate has been experiencing a double digit sales growth, which is very rare and unusual in the segment of business in which the company ventured into. As per the information, in the Auto Expo 2018 scheduled to take place from February 9 to February 14, the company will launch the all-new version of Swift, which is one of the popular and widely appreciated cars launched by the manufacturer. The new versions of Ciaz, Ertiga and Wagon R are the other products which are likely to be introduced this year.

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US Federal Shutdown likely to affect Indian export

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he United States Federal Shutdown, which was the result of the US lawmakers’ inability to reach an agreement on the issues related to immigration and border security, is likely to affect the Indian export sector adversely. The United States is one of the largest recipients of the Indian export products and services, so it is an undisputed fact that any kind of fluctuation in the United States market has potential to disturb the country’s export. A representative of a company working in the segment has acknowledged that the Indian shipments to the US might face difficulty due to the unexpected economic disaster occurred in the world’s most powerful country.

WEF ranking: India stands at 62nd position on Inclusive Development Index

“Have the end in mind and every day make sure your working towards it” Ryan Allis

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he World Economic Forum has ranked India at the 62nd position on an Inclusive Development Index, far behind our neighbours –China and Pakistan- who have been ranked at the 26th position and 47th position respectively. Unsurprisingly, Norway is one of the countries which have retained the top position of the WEF’ Inclusive Development Index. Normally, the WEF releases the rankings ahead of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. This year’s annual meeting has been organised at Davous, Switzerland. Top world leaders such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump have attended the crucial meeting held at Switzerland.

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UNIQUE DIARY

Steel maker giants to discuss the possibility of making ‘environment friendly’ products

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he steel maker giants, such as Tata Steel, Nippon Steel and Bao Steel, are set to meet in the Asian Steel Conference. The prime focus of the three day meet will be the possibility of making ‘environment friendly’ products. The Chinese Society of Metals, the Korean Institute of Metals and Materials, the Indian Institute of Metals and the Iron and Steel Institute of Japan are the prime organisers of the triennial function, which is going to take place at Bhubaneswar, Orissa. Notably, the prime sponsor of the prestigious event in which several crucial decisions are likely to be taken for the good of the sector is Tata Steel.

Canadian pension fund to acquire the stake of ADB in ReNew Power Ventures

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” Ralph

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anada Pension Plan Investment Board is set to buy around 6.3 per cent stake of the Asian Development Bank in the ReNew Power Ventures Pvt. Ltd. The Canadian pension fund will pay at least one hundred and forty four million United States dollars to acquire the aforementioned stake. The ADB is likely to gain a huge profit from the deal. The ReNew Power Ventures is one of the most powerful players of the energy sector. It is in the path of growth. It has nearly two thousand and five hundred Mega Watt of commissioned wind and solar energy assets. Within few years, it is expected to increase its assets by around one thousand Mega Watt.

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DISTRIBUTION & ENQUIRIES 9846050283

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BUSINESS

Shri V.P.Nandakumar MD & CEO Manappuram Finance Ltd.

My view was based largely on expectations of aggravated political uncertainties, doubts about whether the US Federal Reserve would be able to go ahead with interest rates hikes, and the fear of inflation resurfacing in the US with an expansionary fiscal policy under President Trump.

OUTLOOK FOR GOLD IN 2018 N

ow that 2018 is here, it is time again to take a look at gold prices, how they have moved in the year gone by, and what is likely to happen in the current year. Making predictions about gold prices is never easy because unlike other commodities where prices are driven by demand and supply, gold is also ultra-sensitive to international economic and political trends of the day. And that is why predictions by experts and industry insiders about where gold is headed often turn out no better than the layman’s stray opinion.

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Last January, in these very pages, I had said that gold was more than likely to hold its own, and with an upward bias. This was when the overall mood was one of pessimism, with gold having surrendered much of its gains during 2016 following shock events like Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory. My view was based largely on expectations of aggravated political uncertainties, doubts about whether the US Federal Reserve would be able to go ahead with interest rates hikes, and the fear of inflation resurfacing in the US with an expansionary fiscal policy under

President Trump. As it turned out, the US Fed did succeed in pushing through three interest rate hikes, political tensions were no worse than in 2016, and US inflation continued to rule below 2 percent. However, the prediction that gold price would move up turned out to be true with gold price having gained nearly 13 percent in 2017.

A recap of gold price movement in recent years

The international price of gold experienced a steady and continuous upward trend from US $271.04 per troy ounce in 2001


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to its all-time high price of around USD $1,900 per troy ounce September 2011. Thereafter, gold price remained range bound for some months and subsequently started declining steadily from 2013 to reach USD $1,060 by the end of calendar year 2015. Here is a tabular summary of gold price movements in the international markets over the last five years.

The year 2016 was marked by unusual volatility (at one point gold was up 26 percent only to close the year with a more modest 8 percent gain) due to one-off events like Brexit and the shock of the Trump victory in the US. In contrast, 2017 was much more subdued with gold up by 17.5 percent at the peak and closing the year with a net gain of 12.7 percent. What, then, were the key factors that mattered for gold in 2017? Here is a summary in two parts, with factors that supported gold and factors with negative impact listed separately.

Factors that supported gold price in 2017

• US Fed rate hike: The US Federal Reserve raised its key policy rate three times in 2017, in March, June and December. Strictly speaking, when US interest rates go up, gold should fall as an alternative safe investment becomes more attractive. In this case,

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Thereafter, gold price remained range bound for some months and subsequently started declining steadily from 2013 to reach USD $1,060 by the end of calendar year 2015.

although the Fed raised interest rate three times, it fell short of the hawkish expectation of four such rate hikes. Moreover, following the latest hike in December, gold price increased because of uncertainty over the pace of rate hikes in 2018. • Political uncertainty: The German elections in September 2017 led to re-election of Chancellor Angela Merkel with sharply reduced vote share making government formation difficult. (In fact, even as we have come to the end of January 2018, talks are still going on regarding the next government formation.) The political crisis in Spain over the demands for secession of Catalonia may result in early election in 2018, while the political uncertainties in Saudi Arabia following the anti-graft drive, and the US standoff with North Korea, all worked in favour of gold. • Depreciating dollar index. The US dollar depreciated against major currencies in 2017. The

dollar index, which measure the strength of US currency against a basket of other major currencies, depreciated by 9 percent in 2017, recording its biggest annual loss since 2003. The dollar index and the price of gold share an inverse relationship and it is no surprise that gold price ended the year with gains of 12.7 percent.

Factors that held down gold in 2017

• Deprecating Yen: The re-election of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in October 2017 — widely expected to continue ultra-loose monetary policy with further depreciation of the Yen against the US Dollar on the cards — affected gold price. Since gold has a well known inverse relationship with the Dollar, the impact was negative for gold. • The US Tax reform: The introduction of the US tax reform bill which proposed cutting corporate income tax from 35 percent


to 20 percent starting in 2019 further strengthened interest in US equities. The bill was subsequently passed by the US Congress and signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. When alternative investment classes

become more attractive, the impact is negative for gold price. • Recovery in Global economy: The gradual recovery in the global economy especially across the major advanced economies im-

proved trade and capital flow. This resulted in increased risk appetite with money flowing away from safe haven assets like gold and into high risk, high return assets like equity, bonds etc

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BUSINESS

Rajesh Nair, Director, Ernst & Young LLP Rajesh is also the President of the Kerala Chapter of TiE Global

This brings in the modified managerial mind. Today, you need to focus on multiple things at the same time. A deep thought is often fighting for mind space with a phone call, an email, a social media notification and the ‘like’. This is not just a ‘youth’ phenomenon.

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e are host to the younger population of the world. While we brag about our demographic content, it is a perfect fact that today ‘India has more youngsters alive, than have ever lived in India since the history of civilization’. This also brings in paradigm changes in the way we think, work and live. Add to the demographic dimension, there is also the massive advent of technology that we have to negotiate with. The laptops and the constantly flickering smart phones are an extension of the human body for today’s professional. Very simply, the average knowledge worker of today has these massive distractions whether she is at her work place or at home and trading casual banter in a coffee shop! This brings in the modified managerial mind. Today, you need to focus on multiple things at the same time. A deep thought is often fighting for mind space with a phone call, an email, a social media notification and the ‘like’. This is not just a ‘youth’ phenomenon. The middle aged and the senior citizen also have all these multiple distractions, and a retired employee grapples with the same sort of challenges. The time and intent to focus on a task is becoming more and more ephemeral, and this leads to what the management guru’s call –the light touch! This is not the subtle management

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scholarship of deftly manoeuvring, but the complete inability to ‘think through’. The less we do this, we also mentally teach ourselves to focus less. Have you not heard the irate senior asking: “Why is it taking so much time? I wanted this last day!” Suddenly, multitasking is the order of the day! Well, multitasking is not the villain here. Have we not seen people juggle several things at times and with aplomb? We call them time management experts and laud their ability to find time for every task assigned. But, this same capability is taking them away

from mastery. Mastery of anything whether a topic, a skill or even a physical action comes only with the complete coordination of muscle and mind. It is about bringing the whole body into a state of heightened energy. The entire body mind ecosystem comes together as a one in a synchronised step. Ancient scriptures hint that mastery of anything required at least ten thousand hours of practice and repetition. That is when the practice becomes a habit. The key difference between the habit and the practice is that habit is unconscious and practice is conscious. But, the moot question is whether we are paying


The perils of managing through ‘Multi-tasking’!

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that kind of respect and attention to our ability to focus! An average educated Indian (though the data maybe valid for the uneducated as well) spends, intermittently, more than nine hours looking at a screen –a computer, television or a mobile screen. The furious ‘Whatsapp’ users get more than 1000 messages in a day. Yes, perhaps our ability to negotiate this data deluge has improved, but it seems just too much. There are days when we just want to be free from the gazillion emails, blinking screens, perfunctory messages – free from all of it. We often hear the experts say “I can think of only ten things at a time!” While this is more in a lighter vein, it is also true that we now need to think of ten things at a time. Our mental makeup want us to multi-task and also have a clut-

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tered mind. This also leads to the lack of the ability to concentrate (that ability to sit silently, focus our thoughts onto a singular issue or topic, and build expertise and experience around it). Peter Bregman in his bestseller ‘ 18 Minutes’, reiterates the importance of focus and the ability to converge your thoughts on topics and issues. Expertise and experience count a great deal: AMAT VICTORIA CURRAM –a Latin phrase which means Victory loves preparation. Inspiration and passion, while necessary, are not sufficient conditions for innovation and entrepreneurial success. You need expertise, experience and skills, and must mobilise them effectively from where they are available. Of course, it helps if you possess a core skill like finance, technology, marketing etc. But, this is not necessary. We often say that, if you have the right idea,

and back it with the passion and commitment needed, you will find the resources needed to accomplish what you have to do. Our mental faculty needs time to think through to capture the essence of things. There is a no easy way to do this, but there are some things we can consciously do to build this. Having a structure is the best way to learn as per Benjamin Carey, the eminent author of ‘How we learn’. The key is to build a mental structure of the themes we are working on. This is also akin to the mind of a school student. If we mentally add whatever we observe, read and think to a mental structure of the subjects, the students can connect different subjects together. What we learn in different classrooms will get connected to the structure and ‘parts will form the holistic sum’.


One of the most undervalued of skills, it is also still in a nascent state as a business competency. As an entrepreneur, our minds perceive that the biggest challenge is to explain our idea, product or service to others. It needs to be mentally reinforced that our pitches become much more refined when we listen to the stakeholders around and their questions.

The other key aspect is our listening skills. It is a silent truth that one of the key aspects of persuasion is the ability to listen and understand. This is often neglected when we rate articulation much higher than listening and as they say –we refuse to put listening on the same pedestal as ‘speaking well’. One of the most undervalued of skills, it is also still in a nascent state as a business competency. As an entrepreneur, our minds perceive that the biggest challenge is to explain our idea, product

or service to others. It needs to be mentally reinforced that our pitches become much more refined when we listen to the stakeholders around and their questions. It could be the insightful suggestion of a junior team member, an acerbic comment of a customer, the pointed query of an investor –all of them help you build your repertoire of responses. We are also driven by the need to feel that what we hear confirms to our beliefs and ideas what Dan Kanhemann calls the ‘confirmation bias’.

So, is multi-tasking passé? Of course, we will not suddenly eschew technology and multifarious devices that has become our life and internal part of our lifestyle. But, it will serve well for us to remember that the ability to juggle multiple things cannot be an excuse to not concentrate, spend time thinking, using that silent mental space which will clarify and cleanse issues of the multifarious angles and proclivities that make them complex!

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SPEARHEADING A PRODIGIOUS ‘CA’ EMPIRE Mr. James Mathew is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Crowe Horwath in UAE & Oman and also serves on the Global Board of the organization, which is ranked 8th largest accounting and audit network in the world.

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hrough our interview segment, we attempt to help our leaders get familiarise with exceptional professionals and business personalities from almost all walks of life. It is an honour to introduce a man, who is an excellent professional and an extraordinary businessman, in this edition. Mr. James Mathew is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Crowe Horwath in UAE and Oman and also serves in the Global Board of the organisation, which possesses nearly 105 year’s experience in the Accounting and Audit sector. Among the professional affiliations, he has also served as the Secretary-General of Indian Business & Professional Council, Dubai and Chairman of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Dubai chapter in the recent years. Let’s go through what he has to say about his business, professional and personal life, and, particularly, his economic views.

What is it that motivated you to take up the challenging career of Chartered Accountant?

I loved Mathematics as a subject since my school days, unlike my other classmates. In fact, I was the only student to score full marks in the mathematics and was a topper in my college. But, it was my professor in college who

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suggested me to pursue a career in accountancy.

Say a few words about the institutions which helped you to achieve the skills that you have extensively used to create such a vast empire

I have been fortunate to receive education from good schools and ICAI which, in my view, is one of the best professional education bodies of global standards. But, I feel the foremost institution is the school of values and experience which we learn from our family and life in general, wherein every day should be a lesson learned.

How does it feel sitting at the helm of an organisation which is ranked eighth globally and sixth in the MENA region?

It’s a responsibility. I feel highly responsible for taking care of the interests of our employees and stakeholders. I feel taking care of your people within the organisation and all other associated is critical on a leadership position. The right approach, skills and hard work can result in reaching professional heights, but what would keep you there is your values and work ethics.

What are those things which


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have been contributed by you to Crowe Horwath to make it a quintessential organisation?

Crowe Horwath is one of the leading accounting and professional services firms in the region and globally. The scope and the environment, in which we operate today, are very competitive and dynamic. Technology has become indispensable. My focus has been integrating technology into our practice and diversifying into the non-audit services which are indeed the need of the hour. Clients today demand holistic solutions.

How your life at Sainik School, Trivandrum helped you to mould your character and physical, numeric abilities?

I cherish my salad days at Sainik School. The formative years in school shape up a person future and how he or she will grow up to be. The discipline, sportsmen spirit and multi-tasking that I learned during my school life has helped me immensely in my professional career and building my business.

What are the prime future expansion plans of Crowe Horwath?

As I said earlier, we are focusing on building our capabilities in the tax and technology practice and diversifying into the non-audit professional services.

Why should a businessman approach Crowe Horwath?

Crowe Horwath has been in existence for more than 103 years now and we celebrated 35 years in the country last year. We carry forward a tradition and legacy of practice build on strong values and work ethics. Our motto has been global exposure, local expertise. We facilitate our clients with making smart decision creating lasting values. Our services include audit, tax, company formation and corporate advisory. I would proudly say that if you conceive a business idea, we can make a reality from start to end.

Who is your role model?

My role models are my parents. I owe my achievements to none but my parents.

What will be your message to CA aspirants?

“Never ignore technology and never stop learning�. Success in accounting profession is not only confined to your number crunching abilities, but also knowledge and understanding of relevant industries and economic

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Never ignore technology and never stop learning�. Success in accounting profession is not only confined to your number crunching abilities, but also knowledge and understanding of relevant industries and economic scenario in general.

scenario in general.

How important it is to be a socially committed businessman?

We derive our riches from the society we grew up and live in. It’s imperative to value your people and count your blessings. We cannot separate business from society today. Some assume that charity is the prerogative of the rich, but I believe irrespective of which stage you are in your life one

should devote a portion of their time and money to societal welfare.

Say few words about the awards and honours bestowed on you during your professional career

It’s encouraging to be recognised for your work. It was humbling being included among the top 100 businessmen of Indian origin in the region from being awarded in the financialservices arena by

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I believe the leadership of UAE & the Kingdom are futuristic and leading the nations to be strong stakeholders on the global stage.

the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Conference last month at Bahrain.

Will emerging protectionism hurt the global business community?

To my understanding, the recent talks of protectionism are a concern, but not a threat. It

has been talked about a lot since the US President opined it as his strategic approach to policymaking. The world today is highly interdependent and cannot grow in seclusion. No progressing individuals or businesses would ever dwell on this idea.

What will be the role of the

Middle East in the world which stands in the middle of the new protectionist US, the new skeptical Europe and the new globalist China?

The international economic scenario definitelyhas a role to play in the diverse activities of the region, but who understands the DNA of the Middle East region especially the UAE would know that the dynamics of the market here is different and driven largely by travel, tourism, trade and financial services which, in a way, will have a lesser impact. The Middle East economies are joining through a major overhauling with the introduction of Value Added Tax and diversification from being oil driven. These changes will bring new prospects and build the region's market in the long run. I believe the leadership of UAE & the Kingdom are futuristic and leading the nations to be strong stakeholders on the global stage.

Say few words about your family?

My wife, Bindu, has been a constant support throughout the journey. She takes care of the entire administration, finance and new company incorporations in the firm. We are blessed with two daughters. The elder one, Jesline, will be completing her graduation in accountancy from Warwick Business School, UK, this year and the younger daughter, Jennifer, is doing her first year IB at JESS Dubai

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Kerala’s Lakshmi Menon wins prestigious

Manappuram Miss South India 2018

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t was a beautiful evening. When the winner’s name was announced, all those who were in the venue where the program took place clapped with joy. Lakshmi Menon was selected as the title winner of the sixteenth edition of the Manappuram Miss South India 2018, the prestigious beauty contest directed by Pegasus

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Chairman Dr. Ajit Ravi. The program, which held at Gokulam Convention Centre in Kochi, received wide appreciation especially for the way it was presented before the audience. In the beauty contest presented by Manappuram Finance Ltd and DQ Watches, at least twenty-two


beautiful beauties from five different South Indian states participated. It was a perfect union of different talents and culture traits. More than a competition, it was a learning ground for the participants. Aishwarya Setty (Andhra Pradesh), Anagha Bhaskar (Karnataka), Dushara (Tamil Nadu), Falguni Khatod (Tamil Nadu), Hrithma Shetty (Karnataka), Lakshmi Menon (Kerala), Mahalakshmi Sathiamurthy (Tamil Nadu), Navya Ann Abraham (Kerala), Nikitha Iyyappan (Tamil Nadu), Sahana Sridhar (Tamil Nadu), Samrudha Sunil Kumar (Kerala), Sandhya Thota (Andhra Pradesh ), Shaasthra Shetty (Karnataka), Shali Nivekas (Tamil Nadu), Sharanya Shetty (Karnata-

ka), Shrisha (Tamil Nadu), Sreya Pramod (Kerala), Sushmitha Gopinath (Karnataka), Tanurya Menta (Andhra Prade sh ), Varsha Ashok Shetty (Karnataka), Vidyashree (Karnataka) and Yashaswi Devadiga (Karnataka) were the participants of the beauty contest. It was a hard job for the judging panel to select the title winners, as each and every participant was enormously blessed with talent and beauty. Anyway, that duty was done with extreme sincerity. Apart from the title winners, Ms. Shrisha (who represented the Indian state of Tamil Nadu) and Ms. Dushara (also the participant from Tamil Nadu) were selected as the first and second runner up

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respectively. The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Manappuram Finance Limited, Mr. V P Nandakumar and the previous year’s winner, Ms. Bavithra crowned the title winner of the Miss South India 2018, the first and second runners up. The judging panel job was not just limited to selecting the title winners. It was also assigned the tough job of selecting the regional and subtitle winners. When Shrisha and Sandhya Thota won the Miss Tamil Nadu and Miss Queen Andhra regional titles respectively, Shaasthra Shetty and Navya Ann Abraham secured the Miss Queen Karnataka and Miss Queen Kerala respectively. In the subtitle category, Shali Nivekas (Tamil Nadu), Sharanya Shetty (Karnataka), Sandhya Thota (Andhra Pradesh), Sushmitha Gopinath (Karnataka), Anagha Bhaskar (Karnataka), Nikitha Iyyappan (Tamil Nadu), Vidyashree (Karnataka), Varsha Ashok Shetty (Karnataka), Hrithma Shetty (Karnataka), Samrudha Sunil Kumar (Kerala), Falguni Khatod (Tamil Nadu) and Dushara (Tamil Nadu) wristed the Miss Beautiful Hair, Miss Beautiful Smile, Miss Beautiful Skin, Miss Beautiful Face, Miss Beautiful Eyes, Miss Congeniality, Miss Personality, Miss Catwalk, Miss Perfect Ten, Miss Talent, Miss Photogenic and Miss Humaneness titles respectively. Some exceptional contestants gained additional perks. Anagha Bhaskar, Samrudha Sunil Kumar and Hrithma Shetty were gifted the additional titles of Miss Viewers’ Choice, Miss Social Media and Miss Fitness respectively. It was a colourful competition. There were three prime rounds in the contest: the designer saree round, red cocktail round and black gown round. The efficient judging panel and sincere groomers were the prime

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peculiarity of this quintessential beauty contest. Vanisree Bhatt (model, actress and writer), Rajeev Pillai (model and actor), Uma Riyaz Khan (actress), Miss Asia International first runner-up 2016 Rashmi Thakur, Mrs South India 2017 Preethi Kitchappan were in the judges panel, which selected the title, regional and subtitle winners. In the grooming panel, there were several talented personalities who possess a significant

experience and, thus, knowledge about the fashion, entertainment, fitness and beauty sectors. Aileena Catherin Amon (Miss South India 2015), Sameer Khan (Fashion Choreographer), Preethi Damiyan, Jithesh, Geophy Mathews (Personality Trainers), Dr. Eldho Koshi (Dentist), Reji Bhaskar (Fashion Photographer), Vibin Xavier (Fitness Trainer), Dr. Elizabath Chacko (Kalpana International), Jannet (Yoga Trainer) were the prime

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members of the grooming panel. Notably, all winners were facilitated attractive cash prizes. The cash prize for the first and third place holders was contributed by Manappuram Finance Limited and the second place holder received the money sponsored by Saara Media. The title winner won one lakh Indian rupees, while the first and second runner ups secured sixty thousand Indian rupees and forty thousand Indian rupees respectively. In addition to these cash prizes, the winners also got the crowns designed by Parakkat Jewellers. Unlike the previous editions, in this edition, a special title, named Miss Humaneness,

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was given to a contestant who amassed maximum fund from the public using the crowd funding program launched in association with Ketto Online Ventures to fund the social activities. Each and every penny gathered through this program will be used in the 100 life challenge program conceptualised by Dr. Ajit Ravi to help the financially week heart patients. Kent Constructions, Nandilath G-Mart, Kalpana International, Manappuram Riti Jewellery, Qube Watches, Unique Times Magazine, Vee Kay Vee’s Caterers, Kanyaka, XIMS, Saara Media, Parakkat Resorts, Fitness For Ever and Aiswaria Advertising are the prime event partners of the Miss South India 2018


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Managing a ‘Legal’ business The story of this man’s success and hard work will not only inspire several confused students to take up the challenging career of law to conquer their dreams, but also inject confidence into the hearts of young lawyers who are still sceptical about their future as lawyers.

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egal profession is one of the toughest professions. It is very hard to achieve success in this profession, as it demands serious hard work and commitment.

In this edition, we introduce you a ‘Stephanian’ who made enviable gains through this unfriendly profession. An alumnus of University of London, Kuriakose Varghese is the Managing Partner of one of the leading law firms. The story of this man’s success and hard work will not only inspire several confused students to take up the challenging career of law to conquer their dreams, but also inject confidence into the hearts of young lawyers who are still sceptical about their future as lawyers. This brilliant man teaches us ‘everything is conquerable if one has the will and patience’. Let’s make a look at this legend’s educational path, life, professional career and views.

1. How did you enter the challenging profession of law?What was your motivation to enter this career path? Say few words about the academic path you followed

The profession of law actually chose me through a series of events. After my BA (Honours) in History in 1999, I was considering joining NDTV as I had worked with them briefly for 'Question Time India' (BBC's first venture in India) and in their election team. Electronic media was in a very nascent stage and was full of opportunities. It was at this point in time that

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I also filled up an application form for the three year LLB course at the 'Faculty of Law' in Delhi University. I took the written entrance examination and was happy when I cleared it. The Faculty of Law had an exceptionally brilliant faculty -the famous constitutional expert and writer M P Singh was our constitutional law teacher and we had legendary professors like BB Pande (for Criminal Law), Kamala Shankaran (for Administrative law), Moolchand Sharma (for International Comparative Law). A few years before that Delhi University faculty also had legends like Prof. NR Madhava Menon and Upendra Baxi. I was, however, not that lucky to be trained by them. It was an intellectually invigorating period. Thanks to Prof. MP Singh.We used to have regular lectures from jurists of eminence. I once remember sitting on the floor right within three feet of Granville Austin whose treatises on the Indian Constitution remain unsurpassed. We were encouraged to ask questions. As an intern, I had an opportunity to work with a legal NGO under Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan. Straight after passing out from LLB, I joined the Chambers of the Central Government Standing Counsel in the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi. The motivation when I joined the practice of law was the desire to have a professional degree. But, when I look back now after about 15-16 years, I am not able to identify one single factor -there were many factors.

2. How the St. Stephen’s College influenced your personality and career?

I went to Air Force Bal Bharti School on Lodhi Road for my plus two, as I really wanted to pursue liberal arts. In 1994, not many Schools in


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a nation. It is to the selfless service and advice of my teachers that I owe my most sincere thanks. In my career, my friends, alumni and teachers have been my greatest well-wishers. Really, it was a long journey.

3. Has an LLM from the University of London been helpful?

Undoubtedly, the LLM from London has been an excellent addition. The curriculum in the University of London is built more on an analytical approach and the collegiate LLM had almost 150 subjects to choose from. The students were expected to read from a very elaborate bibliography for each subject. Yet again, I was lucky to have an excellent faculty including Prof. Muchlinski. My majors were Foreign Direct Investment in Emerging Economies (taught by Prof. George Walker and Prof. Maria Losa) and Multinational Enterprises and the Law. It is during my LLM in London that I also met my life partner.

4. Has the KMNP LAW firm crossed the point you expected it would when you launched it?How difficult it is to manage a law firm?

Kerala offered liberal arts and humanities. So, I ended up in Delhi in 1994 just as our country was entering the phase of liberalization. As I was one of the toppers from my school, I cleared the cut off for St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi. My interview was tough as one had to face the famous Principal Dr. Anil Wilson, Prof.Tanika Sarkar and Prof.Wanchoo during the interviews. St. Stephen's College was an excellent experience, as we had students from all over the country -and from all walks of life. We had various societies in the college ranging from the hundredyear-old Social Service League to the Photographic Society. Each

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student could hone his talent and skill outside of the rigid academic syllabi. Prof. Baker and Prof. Upinder Singh (daughter of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) were our faculty. They distinguished themselves by their simplicity and by their sincerity. In my third and final year, I stood for the college elections and became the president of the Students Union in the year 1999. It was a matter of great pride as previously Shashi Tharoor was the other President of malayali origin. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to my alma mater for the valuable peers, the teachers (who could have chosen any career path) but chose to teach and shape

KMNP Law came into existence in 2013. I was a junior associate in the Chambers of Krishnan Venugopal. He was again a Harvard law graduate and a brilliant teacher. When you presented a draft to him, you had to make sure that every colon, semi-colon and comma was in place. We used to work from 9:30 am in the morning till about 2 am, especially as we also handled the matters for the Government of India at the Dispute Settlement Body at Geneva. There were some matters in which KK Venugopal sir was also briefed and such matters were a great learning experience. My best memory about those years was the 'vishukaineetom' that we would get from KK Venugopal sir. It always felt special to be reminded of one's cultural roots outside Kerala.


KMNP Law was formed actually out of the Chambers of KK Venugopal sir and Krishnan Venugopal sir. Let me elaborate that further -Adv. Abir Phukan and myself are from the Chambers of Senior Advocate Krishnan Venugopal whereas Adv V. Shyamohan (former Standing Counsel, State of Kerala in the Supreme Court) is from the Chambers of KK Venugopal. Our fourth founder partner Dr. Mathew Kuzhalnadan is a doctorate from the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. As a law firm, we are very young. We have two offices in Safdarjung Enclave one is a basement from where we started in 2010 as Kuriakose Varghese and Associates and a new First Floor office which was opened in 2017. We have two corporate law partners -Barrister Nitin Ahluwalia based in New Delhi. He is qualified to practice in Hong Kong as well. He read law at Cardiff University, UK. Our Bangalore office focuses on corporate law and is headed by Renu Gopalakrishnan. Renu is also a Stephanian and has done her law from the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. She has a wide experience in corporate law and has handled matters involving multiple jurisdictions. We have an associate office in Singapore through the offices of Barrister Niru Pillai. Barrister Niru Pillai is like our guru and mentor and is qualified to practice in multiple jurisdictions including Singapore, Malaysia, UK, Australia and others. We now have a clientele which includes an international airline, several mining companies, one of India's largest steel companies, two very large international hotel chains, one of the world's wealthiest temples, one of India's largest spiritual organizations with followers across the world and several other dynamic companies and start-ups. In the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India,the KMNP Law has been associated with the Coal De-Allocation Scam case, Call drop case, GM Crops, Tiger Conservation etc. Apart from that, we are also empanelled by the Department

of Commerce, Government of India for anti-dumping matters. We have also recently provided legal research for a multilateral lending agency based in Washington DC and also provided a crucial advice for one of the state governments on FDI at the behest of one of the oldest consultancies in the world. Though as Managing Partner at times it is challenging; every decision of our is based on consensus of each and every Partner. We have also been gifted with exceptionally talented junior associates one of whom is also a commercial pilot. They raise the intellectual bar to a very high level and creates an atmosphere which is growth enhancing and balanced. We now have a team of about thirty people which includes about twenty lawyers. Our vision is to grow into a successful law Firm, with some of the best lawyers with a pan India presence -contributing to the growth of the bar and the country.

5. For the first time in the history of the Supreme Court, four judges met media personals on 12 January, 2018, to express their concerns about the functioning of the top court. Do you think that Indian

democracy is in danger? Do you think that the Indian judicial system must undergo a reformation? What will be the one big reformation you would suggest?

On the Four Learned Judges of the Hon'ble Supreme Court giving a Press Conference, I do not think it is appropriate to make any comments. The Indian democracy is definitely going through its worst phase ever, as a certain variety of hate based divisiveness has taken root. Our Indian culture is built on the ancient ethos of sanathana dharma. In fact, the Indian Constitution's very Preamble reflects that spirit. The Indian judiciary is at the vanguard of Indian democracy and I do not think any Institution in India enjoys that kind of a reputation and goodwill amongst the common people. The Indian judiciary needs to attract high quality people on the Bench. The number of pending vacancies in judicial appointments is huge. I know for a fact that the number of cases a judge is called upon to hear and dispose in our country is unprecedented, compared to other common wealth jurisdictions. The number of judges burning midnight oil in this country is unsung and never remembered. What unfortunately gets undue attention is

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needs to undergo amendments?

Since the start of the Doha round of Negotiations, there has been a stalemate. India especially feels vulnerable more so as agriculture in India is more subsistence based than commercial. WTO has given way to more Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) as countries negotiate with each other for more market share and reduced trade barriers. WTO is only a trade platform but it also needs to urgently tackle the issue of climate change at least to create a carbon neutral trade environment.

only the so-called sensational news. One reformation, which is already happening on a pilot basis is the marriage of law and technology. Artificial intelligence may change the way legal research is done. The second aspect is that it is high time the judiciary engages or hires or recruits an exclusive judicial management cadre distinct from the judges. An officer akin to a CEO for each High Court would free up a lot of time of the Hon'ble Judges to focus on their strength which is in the evolution and development of law -especially as the field of law is changing at a very fast pace- for example law to deal with and interpret broadcasting, data protection, space, drones, artificial intelligence etc.

6. Can ASEAN emerge as a powerful political and economic union, like the European Union?

Multilateral frame works are under challenge. I was recently invited to speak at the ASEAN Conference at the United Nations Convention Centre at Bangkok. ASEAN is a powerful body which has not yet reached its full potential. However, the flavour of the season seems to be a distinct penchant for bilateral agreements and bilateral investment treaties. Though Singapore is a part of ASEAN, our trade

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with Singapore exploded under the aegis of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which is bilateral. Even in the aviation sector, only Malaysia and Singapore have been able to fully utilize a common market.

7. Does India need to move forward with its liberalization policy? If yes, how far?

When the Finance Minister Manmohan SIngh unleashed liberalization in 1991, I was still drinking gold spot. There was no Pepsi and Coca Cola. The only two cars available were fiat and ambassador and for that too the booking period was too long. From Ernakulam city to Tripunithura was a trunk call, which had to be booked through the telephone exchange. My generation has witnesses tremendous changes. There are undoubtedly two sides to the coin. We, as a country, have to retain our humanitarian face, especially for the more than 65% of our population which is engaged in agriculture. The difference between the rich and the poor has widened and in cities like Delhi -a huge number of displaced people from across the North of India have been reduced to beggary.

8. What are those laws of WTO, which, you think,

9. What is your advice to those law aspirants who wish to follow your career path?

Law is a highly rewarding profession and also gives you deep spiritual satisfaction. But, you have to be prepared to work long hours diligently and sincerely. The perception of law amongst the common people and the real practice of law is very different. There is also a certain disconnect between law as theory (in Law Schools) and law in motion (as in practice). One should also choose and find the right teacher who can be a guide and mentor in this field. The more you give to this profession -the more it gives back. That has been my experience so far.

10. Say few words about your family

My wife Sunita Kaur Chima is a corporate lawyer with Credit Suisse, Sinagpore. I have a seven year old daughter Kyra KuriakoseVyshyan and a four year old son called Ezra KuriakoseVyshyan. My father has a catering company which is known as Vee Kay Vee's. My mother Susheela retired from the revenue department. I have two younger brothers. Chacko is in Stern Business School in New York University (NYU). My youngest brother was working with the UN Asia Pacific Commission -he is currently in Harvard University on a full scholarship


Feb-Mar18 WATCHES

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Ravi Saini

The reason behind all this is the lack of clear vision for the leaderships whom we have been entrusting with the jobs and responsibilities of safeguarding our interests. We must stand up and speak up for what we are looking for to live with freedom and with full dignity.

Population Exploitation

Way Ahead for the Survival Let's look at the harshest reality today: Unless we cut the world population, there is no way to avoid violence. People are hungry -they are starving, dying. When somebody is hungry and has no money to buy food, he is going to steal. When somebody is dying, why does he care if he kills somebody else and gets money to survive? The lust for life is the basis of all biological growth. A man can do anything to survive. By the way, who is responsible for all this? These poor and downtrodden are certainly not. The bureaucrats, who get paid handsomely, the corrupted politicians, who cheat people, the unethical business persons, who milk the poor population, and the greedy corporate world, which shares the loot amongst them all and also with the media and judiciary, are the real culprits. And, due to all

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that, the system, in place, have mastered the art of converting an asset meant for the public welfare into a liability, so that it gets transferred to the big boys called the corporate world. The reason behind all this is the lack of clear vision for the leaderships whom we have been entrusting with the jobs and responsibilities of safeguarding our interests. We must stand up and speak up for what we are looking for to live with freedom and with full dignity. Constructive approach is all that is needed and it's about time to get rid of vote bank politics. The Constitution of India came into force on 26th January, 1950. It was when India was legally born. And, this year, we have celebrated our 69th Republic Day, but India has been in existence for many thousands of centuries before this date,

The secret and greatness of India existed for thousands of centuries, was its "Ordinariness", Ordinariness is never desperate, nor is bothered, to increase its ‘”Self Importance” by increasing its destructive power to destroy others, Let us rediscover this India within all of us and spread it across “Mother Earth” to every “Human Species”. We need to be volunteers to come up and take responsibility to strengthen India for strengthening the world through inclusive growth. Whole world is watching us and we just need to do the resources management. Trust me. Billions of dollars are raring to be flown into India. Are you ready to shoulder the burden for the safety of the mankind where all gets a dignified life and come out of poverty. Give what you can and God will always give to the “givers”


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Vinod Kumar

B

y what method can you get sharpeners of attention? To sharpen your attention, breathing techniques and meditation is essential.

1. The mind is exposed to many activities. And all those activities etch impression of your minds. 2. From within the mind, there are surges of thoughts. Is that not your experiences? 3. And then the mind is full of conditions and principles that have been taught to you. 4. And the fourth type of impressions, are those that you inferred, derived and concluded as you dealt with many situations. We are compelled to be in activities. So, begin to make your list of “Things to do�. Many times, there is no clarity on why or what, must be your achievements for the day. You may not have method to segregate and categorise those things that you want to do. So, learn to get organised. Simply write down, about fifteen things that you must accomplish for this day. Once you write them down, then put numbers to them, in the margin. Your thoughts have now, begun to be visible, to you, in the paper. And then, that there are numbers to them. Index the items in this list by way of priority: Urgency, Emergency, Necessity and Need. Then is hobby and other low on returns,

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Now, you got some order and discipline. You are going to get organised. Your brain must cooperate with you. To get the cooperation of your brain, then do breathing technique practices and meditation.

indulgences. After you make a list of, things to do, in ascending or descending order, then write down the methods to make such achievements. Now, you got some order and discipline. You are going to get organised. Your brain must cooperate with you. To get the cooperation of your brain, then do breathing technique practices and meditation. You have to repeatedly decide on the flavour of icecream to chose, or even the kind of food to eat, or the clothes to wear. The place to buy the house or even the career. So, to make correct choices, do you not need to get orderly? So, your wardrobe, shelves and cupboards, are all awaiting to get organised inside. Your brain must get into an organised mode. Your banking, finances and payment of taxes on time will happen, only when you decide, to get orderly. Get the rationale and understanding, on how to get immersed into, a culture of compliances. When many goals overlap, then too, you are confused. Then insert into your daily routine, a ten minutes body stretches programme. May be called as yoga stretches, for your body. This is to practically ensure that you can cut into, the realm of confusion. Much of your inhibitions may be founded on things that are taught to you by socially or in the industry. Has your mind, used to be confined to specific and predictable behaviour patterns? You must get some flexibility for your rigid

and crystalised understanding. You have to imagine new possibilities, fresh configurations of permutation and combinations. In short, get committed to get out of the beaten path. Cut through. Construct and fabricate, actionable solutions. Circumvent and surpass the obstacles and blocks in your nervous system. At any cost, get the expertise on mental skills. By what method, will you reinvent your learnings? Scratch upon the conclusions that you made in the past. Seek updated and upgraded inputs. It is inevitable. Many times your management and transactory doctrines will not correspond with, that which is operational. Your criterions and estimate may not match up with that, what is already in function. So, for workabilities, your wisdom must allow you to relent, to the latest and trendy realities. You can compel yourself to bid goodbye, to the fixations on your past experiences. Move on to progress and forward. Profits and gains are not necessarily, the only indicator of success. Your colleagues choosing to stay together and work together, through times of recession and deficits, can be considered as matters of a healthy company. Ability to collaborate will win, only when you reach out and establish variety of relationships. Business men also need to relate to change in transactions, within the industry. Open up to new methods to say hello, to


Meditative Transactions

consumers of your product. Identify the policy that must have made you shrink or be narrow. Decide to introduce in to your colleagues and staffs, the new mindsets. That of, expansion and to evolve to the new orderliness in the mind. Mental hygiene is a premium product for human resource, and friendly characters. Without sharpness of attention and keenness of awareness, our business is handicapped. So, get the education about working of the mind. The quality of business transaction cannot be enhanced, without the idea of personal purpose, meaning and direction. The Chief Executive Officers are upgrading the Human Resource with commitment, to the cause of meditative transactions. People do, all that they do to arrive at the zone of happiness. Exploring to discover new paradigms to work and bond together,

needs serious attentions. What are the costs that you are incurring because of your addiction to money, as unit of success? Give it sometime. To collaborate and calculate the costs. The expenditure that you have, because of ignorance on many other sources of joy and camaraderie, that is not directly linked to pecuniary gains. How can you afford to neglect a study, that will energise the minds of all those, who work in your company? So do not let it pass. The opportunity to enroll your people into a programme of happiness, will be the timely action. The worker must infer that the owners and management are capable of caring for the worker as much, as they care for the wealth ofthe company. The worker and all the people, learn and receive instructions better when there is a clarity and lightness in their minds. This statement needs your respect. Happy people are more productive. Happiness is source of good performance. GET

THE MEDITATIVE EDGE. Not all intrusion or disruption to others that you may cause, are regressive. You may have inflicted some emotional pain, on another person. Many people who mentor or train other people, are source of inconvenience to the trainee. Because sometimes that student is not just ready for the teacher. I would not worry much, on these, light, yet nice shakeups. How else will anybody learn and equip themselves to be solving their problems? But the intention and charm in approach are essential. Meditative transactions will ensure the maturity in, and of your presence. You can become visibly the reference point for your team. The new and fresh talent can gravitate towards, your methods. Inspiring and influencing, are also signs of victory. Invest into meditation, breath techniques and happiness, to stay ahead in business

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Adv Sherry Samuel Oommen is a practising lawyer at High Court of Kerala who specialises in tax and Corporate Laws. Presently he heads the tax and corporate law practice of Nash Capital Partners. Apart from being a qualified lawyer, he is also a chartered accountant, cost accountant and a company secretary. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate Degree and is reachable at sherryoommen@nashcp.com.

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The survey notes that post the introduction of GST, India’s tax net has expanded with 50 per cent increase in the unique indirect tax payers.

he Union Budget 2018, which was tabled on 01 February 2018, was observed keenly by the world. The Budget did hold a special significance, especially since this was the first budget tabled by the government after demonetization and the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (“GST”). Considering the increased emphasis of the Government on both structural and economic reforms, it was, indeed, heartening to observe Moody, the international credit rating giant, upgrading India’s ratings from Baa3 to Baa2.

through the infusion of INR 2.1 Lakh crores being the largest ever infusion by any Government for the past three decades, the passing of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, and the increased emphasis on infrastructure through the expansion of the road network. The said tone was also evident in the Economic Survey Report tabled by the Honorable Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley, on 29 January 2018.

From the perspective of Ease of Doing Business, the World Bank, in their Ease of Doing Business Report of 2017, has improved the ratings of India by registering an improvement of 30 places. The report now rates India at the 100th position, considering the government’s pro-reform agenda, comprising of various measures including the recapitalization of banks

The survey notes that post the introduction of GST, India’s tax net has expanded with 50 per cent increase in the unique indirect tax payers. The survey also observes that while the Indian economy has registered a growth rate of 7 per cent in the FY 2017, the said growth rate is likely to reduce to 6.5-6.75 percent in the year 2018. Thus, it was imperative for

Feb-Mar18

the government to keep its focus on growth, whilst revitalizing the rural and the fiscal economy. In a nut-shell, I would believe that the union government has kept its promises alive by focusing on poverty, rural economy, healthcare, education, infrastructure and digitization towards a modern, strong and confident India. I would also add that the budget is also meticulously aligned around flagship schemes of the government like Digital India, Make in India, Clean Ganga, healthcare to underprivileged, among others, whilst containing the fiscal deficit to 3.3% of GDP for 2018-19. In this article, I intend to cover some of the key direct and indirect tax proposals in the Union Budget.

DIRECT TAXES

• On the broad rates of taxa-


Union Budget 2018–19 What it holds for India Inc

tion, while the budget did not offer anything special to individuals, domestic companies with a turnover of up to INR 250 crores during the financial year 2016-17 are eligible for a reduced tax rate of 25 per cent as against 30 per cent. The said reduction in rates, as noted in the budget speech would benefit the entire class of micro, small and medium enterprises which accounts for almost 99 per cent of companies filing their tax returns. • The existing regime of educa-

tion cess and higher education cess aggregating to 3 per cent would be discontinued. In place of the aforesaid cess, a new cess, namely “Health and Education Cess” at 4 per cent would be applicable. Consequently, there would be an increase in the effective tax rate by 1 per cent. • It is proposed to tax long term capital gains exceeding INR 100,000 arising from the transfer of equity shares in a company or units of an equity oriented fund or

units of a business trust at the rate of 10 per cent without indexation benefit. The said rate of 10 per cent would apply only in cases where Securities Transaction Tax has been paid. • With a view to promote startups, the tax deduction available for three consecutive years has now been expanded to provide that the benefit would be available if it is engaged in innovation, development or improvement of products or processes or services, or a scal-

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able business model with a high potential of employment generation or wealth creation. Further, the aforementioned benefit would also be available for startups incorporated on or after 01 April 2019 up to 31st March 2021. • With a view to facilitate the resolution of stress assets under the bankruptcy code, notably, the union budget proposes to allow the benefit of carry forward and set off of losses irrespective of change in the shareholding limit where the resolution plan has been approved by the adjudicating authority. In my view, this change would aid further impetus to the bankruptcy code. Further, whilst computing minimum alternative tax payable, the aggregate amount of unabsorbed depreciation and brought forward losses can be reduced from the book profits for determination of the minimum alternative tax. • In a measure to boost employment, the government has announced funding by the government of employer contribution of 12 per cent of wages in relation to new employees to employees

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provident fund to all sectors based on a scheme to be notified. Further, with a view to boost employment of women, the government has also sought to reduce the percentage of employee contribution from 12 per cent to 8 per cent in the case of women employees, based on a scheme to be notified.

directors, chief executive officer, principal officer, and similar officer of the companies. Further, a failure to furnish a return of income would result in prosecution.

• With a view to curb blackmoney and tax avoidance, the Permanent Account Number (PAN) will be required by every non-individual person that enters into a financial transaction of an amount exceeding INR 250,000 in a financial year. In order to link the above financial transaction with a natural person, the requirement to obtain PAN is expanded to include

A standard deduction of INR 40,000 per annum has now been made available from salary income in lieu of withdrawal of tax free reimbursement of medical expenses (currently, at INR 15,000 per annum) and transport allowance, which is currently available at INR 1,600 per month. In respect of the aforesaid deduction, there would not be a need to furnish any

• From a personal tax perspective, the following are some of the key changes:

In my view, this change would aid further impetus to the bankruptcy code. Further, whilst computing minimum alternative tax payable, the aggregate amount of unabsorbed depreciation and brought forward losses can be reduced from the book profits for determination of the minimum alternative tax.


supporting documents. The deduction available in respect of health insurance premium and medical expenditure for senior citizens has been increased from INR 30,000 per annum to INR 50,000 per annum, under the section 80D of the Act. The section 80DDB of the Act, inter-alia, provide that a deduction is available to an individual and Hindu undivided family with regard to amount paid for medical treatment of specified diseases in respect of very senior citizen up to Rs 80,000 and in case of senior citizens up to Rs 60,000 subject to specified conditions. The budget proposes to amend the provisions of the section 80DDB of the Act so as to raise this monetary limit of deduction to Rs 1,00,000 for both senior citizens and very senior citizens. The deduction available in respect of interest earned by senior citizens has been increased from INR 10,000 to INR 50,000. The aforesaid deduction would be available in respect of both time and recurring deposits. In view of the

same, the threshold for withholding tax on such income has been increased to INR 50,000.

INDIRECT TAXES

• Considering the introduction of GST, the changes in the union budget were restricted to customs duty. With a view to provide impetus to the government’s “Make in India” campaign, the union budget proposes to levy Social Welfare Surcharge at the rate of 10 per cent on the Basic Customs Duty, apart from increasing the Basic Customs Duty rates for various items. With the introduction of Social Welfare Surcharge, Education Cess and Secondary and Higher Education Cess aggregating to 3 per cent has now been removed. • As mentioned earlier, the customs duty rates for various items have been increased in the union budget. For instance, the Basic Customs Duty in respect of mobile phones has been increased from 15 per cent to 20 per cent and 5 per cent to 15 per cent in respect of parts of a mobile phone. • There have been certain welcome administrative amend-

ments, which would improve the taxpayer’s experience. The government has introduced the process of pre-consultation before issuance of demand notices. Further, a time period has been prescribed for completion of adjudication proceedings. Notably, non-adherence to such time limits would make such demand notice null and void, which is, indeed, a bold move on the part of the government. One would hope that similar amendments are also introduced in the GST law as well. In summary, the union budget has paved a way for structural reforms in India through various measures. The new flagship national health protection scheme is slated to provide health insurance cover of INR 500,000 per family per year, which is the largest of its kind. The scheme will cover about 10 crores vulnerable families with close to 50 crores beneficiaries. One would hope that the plans unveiled in the budget would stand implemented in the FY 201819, thereby paving the way for a “Greater India”

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GADGETS

Samsung Leadership 8

MRP: `29, 990 (approximately)   Android v6.0 (Marshmallow) OS   4.2 inches Display   12 MP Primary Camera   5 MP Secondary Camera   4 GB RAM   64 GB Internal Memory   256 GB Expandable Memory   2300 mAh Battery Capacity

Oppo A73

MRP: `16, 499 (approximately)  Android v7.1.1 (Nougat) OS  6.0 inches Display  13 MP Primary Camera  16 MP Secondary Camera  4 GB RAM  32 GB Internal Memory  128 GB Expandable Memory  3200 mAh Battery Capacity

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A 32 GB

MRP: `8, 990 (approximately)  Android v7.1.1 (Nougat) OS  5.5 inches Display  13 MP Primary Camera  16 MP Secondary Camera  3 GB RAM  32 GB Internal Memory  128 GB Expandable Memory  3080 mAh Battery Capacity  Rs. 8, 990 (approximately)

Xiaomi Mi 5X

MRP: 14,990 (approximately)  Android v7.1.1 (Nougat)  5.5 inches Display  12 MP Primary Camera  5 MP Secondary Camera  4 GB RAM  64 GB Internal Memory  128 GB Expandable Memory  3080 mAh Battery Capacity

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COOKERY

Toshma Biju

PINEAPPLE ORANGE JUICE

Ingredients

• •

Pineapple...................................1/4 kg Oranges......................................4 nos

Method Peel the oranges. Core and remove the skin from the pineapple. Blend it together and serve.

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MANGO PUNCH Ingredients

• • • •

Mango pulp.......................................................................... 1 cup Lemon Soda.................................................................. 1 1 /2 cup Ice cream.........................................................................2 scoops Mint Leaves...........................................................................5 nos

Method Wash and peel the mangoes. Using a blender, make a smooth pulp of the mango pieces. You can also use store bought mango pulp. Take serving glasses and add some ice cubes. Add 1/2 cup of the mango puree in each glass. Fill the cup with lemon soda and mint leaves in each cup, and top it with a scoop of ice cream.

MANGO PICKLE Ingredients

• • • • • • • • •

Mango.................................................................................. 1/2 kg Turmeric Powder.......................................................... 1 teaspoon Red chili powder......................................................... 4 teaspoons Fenugreek powder.....................................................1/2 teaspoon Salt.................................................................... according to taste Coconut oil...............................................................3 tablespoons Asoefaedita........................................................................ 1 pinch Mustard seeds........................................................1 1/2 teaspoon Curry Leaves..................................................................... 3 sprigs

Method Wash the mangoes and wipe it dry with a towel. Cut into small pieces with the skin. Add salt, turmeric powder, fenugreek powder and chili powder to the mango pieces. Mix it very well. Taste the mix and add more spices if needed. Heat coconut oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Then, pour over the mango pieces and mix it well.

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COOKERY

PRAWNS ADA

Ingredients

• • • • • • • • • • •

Rice flour.............................................................................2 cups Prawns................................................................................. 1/4 kg Onion.................................................................. 2 nos (chopped) Ginger..........................................................1 teaspoon (chopped) Garlic...........................................................1 teaspoon (chopped) Green chilli.......................................................... 3 nos (chopped) Turmeric powder.......................................................1/2 teaspoon Red chilli powder........................................................ 2 teaspoons Garam masala.............................................................. 1 teaspoon Curry leaves................................................................ as required Coconut Oil..............................................................2 tablespoons

Method Marinate the prawns with chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, and salt. Deep fry it in oil. Heat oil in a pan and sauté onion, ginger, garlic, green chilli with 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder until it gets light brown in colour. Add prawns, curry leaves and salt into it. Take a medium size ball from the kneaded dough and press it on a banana leaf. Spoon in the masala into it and fold it. Steam cook it for 20 minutes.

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BEAUTY

Dr. Elizabath Chacko, MD-Kalpana's International

Mob: 9388618112

Hairstyle tips for women with thin hair

H

air style is one of the things that decorate a woman's facial beauty. Even if you did not apply proper makeup, you still could look attractive if you style your hair accordingly. One of worst things women face is when people taunt them for having very thin hair. But, you could make your hair look nice when you set it accordingly. Here are some good hairstyle tips for women with thin hair.

Ponytail

The idea here is to make your hair look thick or voluminous. Make sure that your hair is dry enough. You could do this after blowing your hair with a hair dry after bathing. Then, you pull your hair up and tie into a pony tail. The dry and clean will make your hair look thick and it suits you face

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well.

Braid

This is a common hairstyle adopted by most celebrities. If you have long and thin hair, then this is the best hairstyle, especially if you are wearing kurtha or saree. Leave some hair loose over your forehead or behind the ears. Then, you tie your hair into a braid leaving some portion near your head loose. Then, you leave the braid onto one side. You can use textured spray or hair shining products or glitters.

Bob

This is a popular hairstyle adopted by many popular Hollywood celebrities such as Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson. Use this hairstyle. Shampoo your hair well, and use conditioner and smoother. Then, you comb

your hair properly on either side based on your liking.

Pull back

Comb the top portion of your back and adjust it with a clip or slide. Then you may use conditioner or hair spray for better appearance. This is one of the fastest or easiest ways to give a think appearance to your hair.

Angle bob

This will give a different look altogether. You may go to an expert stylist or beauty parlour for the same. Cut your hair such that the front portion will be longer and the back side is shorter and it cascades down. Like a bow. You may dry your hair for a brown-like appearance. So, try these styles. Have a wonderful time 


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Its original inhabitants were Arawak people whose ancestors migrated to this land from the Amazon Basin. Most of its indigenous people were enslaved by the Spaniards.

A

round five centuries ago, a Portuguese ship left their sailors who were affected by scurvy in a remote island located near the South America in order to prevent the spreading of the disease to other sailors in the ship. When the ship returned to the island to check the fate of the sailors who were left to die in the island, they were surprised to see that the fatal disease affected the sailors was complexly healed. Then, those Portuguese sailors believed that the remote island had some magical ‘disease healing power’. So, they gave it the name “Ilha da Curacao” (which means the Island of healing). Later, though it was discovered that it was the vitamin c rich fruits found in the Island that helped the sailors to recover from the fatal disease of scurvy, which is a vitamin c deficiency disease, no serious efforts were made to change the name of the island. This island is presently an autonomous country under the Kingdom of Netherlands. Its present name is Curacao. This Lesser Antilles Island situated around sixty-five kilometre north of the South American country of Venezuela has a total population of over one lakh sixty thousand people. Willemstad is the capital of one of the youngest autonomous countries in the region of Caribbean, which was once the hub of slave trade. Unfortunately, the Island of Curacao suffered several oppressions and humiliations when it was under the clutches of its colonial masters. Its original inhabitants were Arawak people whose ancestors migrated to this land from the Amazon Basin. Most of its indigenous people were enslaved by the Spaniards. Later, Dutch annexed the territory after it secured independence from

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A journey to the Island of healing,

Curacao

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Spain. It was the Dutch West India Company that established the capital city of Curacao- Willemstad. In those days, no other colonial powers had interest in this land as there were no serious natural resources like gold available in the territory. Dutch’s prime interest in this land was the availability of free labourers. Dutch turned this island into a hub of slave trade soon after its annexation. It mercilessly oppressed all kinds of rebellions, particularly the slave rebellions, emerged against the inhuman trade. Those were the days of humiliation, oppression and merciless rule. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the influence of Dutch in this Island decreased significantly, paving the way for other European powers into the Island. During the aforementioned centuries when there was no powerful European guardian in the island, the Great British Empire and France attempted to attach the land to their colonial territories. Spoiling the ambitions of these colonial powers, Dutch returned to this land and formally incorporate the island into their colonies in the region. Actually, it was a rebirth of this land. As a regretful acknowledgement of the crime Dutch committed against the indigenous Curacao population, Netherlands abolished

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slavery in the mid nineteenth century.

into the path of rapid industrialisation.

Since then, Netherlands is the biggest supporter of this Island. At present, Curacao is an independent territory under Netherlands, which was granted authority by the Island administrators, thus people, to decide over its foreign and defence policies.

Now, Curacao’s economy is a well-developed economy, ranking forty-sixth in terms of GDP (PPP) and twenty-seventh in terms of GDP per capita.

It was the discovery of the oil that changed the course of this country’s growth. Prior to this development, there were no serious resources in the country for the generation of wealth. So, after its development, the country entered

Even though the Island is one of the most beautiful Islands in the Caribbean region, its tourism sector is not developed compared to other Islands in the region. The Island is gifted with magnificent beaches, spectacular natural beauty, pleasant climatic conditions, attractive infrastructure


Westpunt is the westernmost point of the Island of Curacao. It is one of the best scuba diving spots situated in the country. facilities, breathtaking colonial buildings, amazing coral reefs, and many more. Willemstad, Westpunt, Sint Willibrordus and Sint Michiel are the prime tourist destinations in the country. Willemstad is the capital city of Curacao. There are several ancient colonial buildings in this city. Apart from the colonial buildings, there are several significant government buildings situated in the city. Kura Hulanda Museum, Curacao Maritime Museum, Jewish Cultural Historical Museum and Landhuis

Bloemhof are the prime attractions in this capital city. Westpunt is the westernmost point of the Island of Curacao. It is one of the best scuba diving spots situated in the country. There are several beautiful beaches in this region. Christoffelpark, Grote Knip public beach and Playa Kalki (which is popularly known as “Alice in Wonderland”) are the prime attractions in this part of the country. Sint Willibrordus is a tiny town located close to the western coast of the country. It is famous for its divine ambiance. There are several religious centres in this town. Playa Cas Abao, Playa Porto Marie and Daaibooi are the prime attractions of this region. Sint Michiel is a tiny fishing

village located near the country’s capital city. It is where the ruins of the Dutch West Indian Company forts are situated. Blue Bay beach, Kokomo beach and Parasasa beach are the prime attractions of this region. The country is not a good destination for shopping and food expeditions. Most of the Curacao’ dishes are a fine blend of South American, European (particularly Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch), and Caribbean tastes. Plan a trip to this beautiful Island country. May your soul get healed with the help of the magical power of this mysterious land, which gifted a new life to those ‘Old Portuguese Sailors’ who were left to die in this soil

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VIVEK VENUGOPAL

AUTO REVIEW

Skoda

Octavia RS

The car that followed it, the Laura RS was never really an RS. It had the same engine and power output as the regular Laura TSI, and you were left a bit short-changed for it. Now, the RS is back. And, it is the full blown 230spec version as sold in Europe.

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A

fter years of leaving us drooling for the perfect Octavia RS, Skoda has finally given it. In an era where special editions meant stickers and a spoiler, Skoda surprised everyone with the First gen Octavia RS. It had different bumpers, larger wheels with wider tyres, lowered and stiffer suspension and although detuned, still 150bhp

from a 1.8 litre turbo petrol engine. The car that followed it, the Laura RS was never really an RS. It had the same engine and power output as the regular Laura TSI, and you were left a bit short-changed for it. Now, the RS is back. And, it is the full blown 230spec version as sold in Europe. The Mk3 Skoda Octavia RS is

the new facelift with quad headlamps. The headlamps, however, have been given dark innards here; that makes the inner lamps look like they are part of the grille. You also get an aggressive front bumper, a spoiler and a nicer rear bumper with twin exhausts. The Indian car sits 15 mm higher than the Euro spec model, but is still 15mm lower than the regular TSI. We also get

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The Octavia RS also comes with reworked suspension that is not only lower, but has better damping than the regular TSI. 17 inch alloys, which, though never as funky as the European car’s 18 and 19 inchers, still look good. Inside, you get electrically adjustable Alcantara sport seats with generous side bolstering that are incredibly supportive and comfortable. There is contrasting red stitching everywhere and big RS branding on the seats. The flat bottomed steering wheel gets perforated leather wrap around its rim, and comes with paddle shifters. The entirely black theme of the cabin is spot on. The rear seats are set a bit low, but you do get good leg room and decent headroom. The Octavia, with its hatchback, was always practical; this one with its 590 litre boot space (1580litres with rear seats folded down) is no different. The 2.0 Litre EA 888 motor is the same four cylinder, direct injection turbo petrol you find under the bonnet of the Audi TT or the Porsche Macan. It develops 227bhp and 350Nm which are channelled down through a 6-speed dual clutch transmission (DQ250). The RS is only available in India as a Front Wheel

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drive automatic, though you can buy a manual petrol and all wheel drive diesel if you lived in Europe. The engine is fairly smooth and drivable in town, in normal mode. The gearbox shifts up the ratios at a relatively low 2000rpm and the driving experience here is like that of a 1.8 TSI. Slot it in S and it

becomes an RS. It blips the engine and darts forward eagerly. It revs till about 6700rpm and then shifts up with a great exhaust note. The crackle and pop of the exhausts alone will make you want to shift up down the gears. We managed to hit 0-100kmph in 6.67 seconds and there is a launch control to do this. You don’t get pushed into the seats as hard as the figures suggest, but the build up of speed is so addictive. The progress beyond 150kmph is what marks this car different from others. Top speed is electronically limited to 250kmph and you do get Z rated tyres which can handle that kind of speeds. On our roads, there isn’t another car in that price range that can hold a candle to this one. The Octavia RS also comes with reworked suspension that is not only lower, but has better damping than the regular TSI. Where the TSI felt soft and less tied-down on undulating surfaces, the Octavia RS feels supremely planted. It also changes directions with enthusiasm, helped, of course, by the XDS limited slip differential which brakes an inside wheel for better turn in. You can feel the system working to keep a


tighter line than you intended. The electric steering is very accurate at placing the 1418kg car where you want, but you feel it has a bit more feedback. The 2245/45R17 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres offer good grip and are a good match for the chassis. It is a very easy car to drive fast even with all electronic aids turned off. If there is a downside to this engine, it is the fuel consumption when driving hard. The 230 state of tune is probably a little too rich and guzzles more fuel than could be necessary. We could have done

5kmpl or less when we tested it. But, you can expect between 7-14 kmpl under normal use. However, if you are getting anything above 10kmpl, you are probably driving it wrong. It is very easy to justify buying the RS over anything else. The styling is modern yet conservative enough to go unnoticed at the office car park. It has enough space for the family and immense practicality in the form of a cavernous boot. It has the same chassis and engine as the Audi TT (albeit with slightly less torque) and is

fairly fast. The automatic transmission makes light work of traffic and is very convenient. You get a decent amount of kit, including an 8 inch touch screen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, sunroof, LED headlamps, keyless entry and electronic front differential. It is also safe with eight airbags, ABS and ESP. At 25.49 lakhs (ex. showroom), it is only Rs.4 lakhs more than the regular 1.8 TSI and that is fantastic value. This is the perfect fast car you have all been waiting for 

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MOVIE REVIEW

Pad Man

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t is a bollywood film directed by R Balki. The film tells us the story of a newly-married professional welder who causes a stir in his small village, situated in the Northeastern part of the country, when he attempts to radically revolutionise the art of manufacturing of sanitary napkins for women. Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte, Sonam Kapoor and Biju Menon appear in the prime roles in the film which carries a serious social message. The screenplay of the film contributed by the director himself deserves special appreciation. As a part of the film’s promotion, a social media challenge -Pad Man Challenge- is going on in the social media platforms. Several celebrities, like Karan Johar, have accepted the challenge by posing with a sanitary napkin in the picture uploaded as a part of the challenge in their social media pages.

Aiyaary

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t is a bollywood action thriller directed by Neeraj Pandey. It is the story of an East Indian colonel and his protégé. It tells us how an East Indian colonel successfully completes his duty of defeating his protégé who has turned against the noble establishment for which the colonel is working. There are several action sequences in the film. Manoj Bajpayee and Sidharth Malhotra appear in the lead roles in the film. Apart from them, Pooja Chopra, Rakul Preet Singh and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub act in the action movie, which stands different from other films due to its way of presentation. It is one of the best patriotic films released in the recent history of the bollywood film industry.

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Den of Thieves

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t is a Hollywood action thriller directed by Christian Gudegast. It is a big budget film; at least thirty million United States dollars have been invested to create this exceptional piece of art. The film portrays a violent confrontation between two undisciplined armed factions. There are several action sequences in the film. Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jakson Jr and Evan Jones act in the lead roles. So far, the film has accumulated a huge return of thirtytwo million United States dollars. There is no doubt that all lead actors have showed complete justice to their character. The film has even received good review from the critics.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

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t is a Hollywood science fiction directed by Wes Ball. It is a big budget film; at least sixty-two million United States Dollars have been invested to make this exceptional film. The film is about Thomas who leads some escaped ‘Gladers’ on their most dangers mission yet. The factor that attracts the audience towards the theatre where this film is showed is curiosity: will those who have entered this deadly mission survive it to know the ultimate truth which is the reward to those who successfully complete the unconquerable mission. Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee and Will Poulter appear in the lead roles. The film, which has secured a positive review, has amassed a huge amount of one-hundred and twenty-nine United States Dollars.

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BOOK REVIEW

Catalyst Author Price

: Chandramouli Venkatesan : Rs. 187

W

hat are the key elements which can help us achieve success in our lives? Most of us consider a reputed job, hard work, IQ, EQ and good communication skills as the prime elements which can help us conquer the hill where the success lies. But, the big question is that can all those who possess these aforementioned elements taste the sweetness of success. Many might not give an affirmative answer to this question. The reason is that along with these elements, we need some catalysts to achieve the desired result. This neatly written book gives a deep insight about those catalysts each and every ambitious employee and employer requires.

AAP & Down: An Insider’s Story of India’s Most Controversial Party Author Price

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: Mayank Gandhi, Shrey Shah : Rs. 262

his book speaks about one of the most controversial parties in the world’s largest democratic country. It explains how an anti-corruption movement evolved into a powerful political party. Though the AAP marked an astounding victory in Delhi in the last Assembly Election, it failed to demonstrate similar performance in any other elections. This book has the explanation why didn’t the AAP perform well in Punjab, Goa and Haryana (the states where it has a considerable number of supporters). It also has information about the AAP’s present leadership crisis, which triggered after the expulsion of some of its senior leaders such as Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan.

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BOOK REVIEW

Letters to My Ex Author Price

: Nikita Singh : Rs. 149

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he Valentine’s Day is one of the most beautiful things that come to our mind when we think about the month of February, so it is totally unfair to exclude this book from the set of books we introduce to our readers in this month.This book is one of the most romantic books released this year. It is written by one of the most promising romantic writers in our country, Nikita Singh. Apart from the deep feeling of romance the writer conveys through the book, the words that she has used to do it deserve special appreciation. It is a perfect book for those readers who wish to spend some time with an exceptional romantic book this Valentine’s month.

The Women in the Window Author Price

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: A J Finn : Rs. 299

his book tells a horror story. The way, in which the story is discussed, is definitely different from the conventional style the horror story writers normally use. It is the story of Anna Fox, the mysterious lady who sincerely uses her whole time to stare at her neighbours through the window of her apartment from where she fears to step out. As the story progresses, a family (a new character) is introduced. From that moment onwards, the writer takes the readers to a roller coaster ride. What happened to the family? What did Anna saw? Who will believe Anna? How will Anna solve the puzzle?

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Printed On 01/ 02/ 2018

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RNI Reg No. KERENG/2011/42633

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