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Predicting and detecting dengue outbreaks with data mining | Express Healthcare, 05 nov 2019
As debt grows, more Indian women farmers taking their lives | Aljazeera, 05 nov 2019
Health-conscious millennials are boosting India's $55bn wellness industry | Livemint, 05 nov 2019
Hard Times: How do we know India is facing an economic slowdown - not just a temporary speedbump? | Scroll.in, 05 nov 2019
We need an innovation ecosystem to attain Sustainable Development Goals, say experts | India Today, 04 nov 2019
Can we tackle unemployment by setting up entrepreneurship universities | The Times of India, 04 nov 2019
Africa should look to India for digital inspiration | The Financial Times, 04 nov 2019
Indian Economy In For A Couple Of 'Nasty Years', Warns Fitch Chief Economist | BloombergQuint, 04 nov 2019
Region-specific models will help double farmer incomes | The Hindu, 03 nov 2019
Entrepreneurship, A Means to a Sustainable Livelihood | Entrepreneur, 29 oct 2019
Business & Finance
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 oct 2019
Agriculture is one of the critical sectors of Indian economy as it employs about 50% of the working population and contributes 15-16% to GDP. Even though government policies are designed to make the sector benficial for those engaged in it, but the media is full of news describing the ailing condition of India's agriculture at the ground. Can entrepreneurs, full of ideas and working zeal, coupled with effectiveness and efficiencies of technology, become harbingers of change and transform the condition of not only the farms and their produce, but also the farmers and all other hard working people employed in the sector. Abhishek Agarwal, co-founder of TechnifyBiz, suggests that agri-tech entrepreneurs can tackle some of the problems of Indian agriculture and help grow the sector. He cites following issues - Depleted ground-water, low-quality seeds and ravaged soil quality due to over-use of chemicals; Lack of market linkage creates a considerable gap in the industry; Inadeguate transporation and storage; Scarcity of credit and high lending rates. He suggests that agri-startups can assist in standardization of agri-market practices through technology, aggregation and organized marketing. According to NASSCOM, sector had secured a funding of US$ 73 million in 2018. The agri-tech industry has been able to raise financing of over US$ 248 million till June 2019. Accenture says that digital agricultural services market is set to touch US$ 4.55 billion by 2020. Mr. Agarwal explains, 'Market linkage, farmer markets in the digital space, superior database management, digital agriculture and micro-financing are gaining in popularity, making the sector conducive to attract funding.' Agri-startups are encompassing both the production and after-harvest side of agriculture. He says, 'The various areas of improvement, like the reduction of input costs, better nutritional value in food crops, better quality seeds that drive crop production and improving soil quality. Using technology to predict weather patterns, irrigation cycles and soil quality are the focus of some startups. This enhances the quality of production...The use of smart technology and superior logistics infrastructure has created a new eco-system of agri-marketing. New-age startups are leveraging technology to tap the retail as well as B2B marketplaces through digital agronomy startups.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 sep 2019
Project-based work is resulting in the rise of flexi or contractual staff hiring in India, partcularly in the IT-ITeS (Information Technology and IT-enabled Services) industry. According to the Talent Radar 2019 report by Infosys, the top 5 technical skills in demand for digital projects are - analytics, user experience, automation, IT architecture and artificial intelligence. Indian Staffing Federation (ISF) says that IT-ITeS sector tops flexi-staff adoption with around 12 out of every 100 employees being contractual or flexi staff and, this workforces is expected to grow to 720000 by 2021 from 500000 in 2018. Pankaj Khanna, VP of talent acquisition at Mindtree, says, 'The first advantage of flexi hiring is that demand can be fulfilled faster...Secondly, for requirements that are short term, it makes business sense to leverage the subcontracting/flexi hiring models without increasing the headcount.' U. B. Pravin Rao, COO of Infosys, says, 'As enterprises progress in their digital journeys, the winners will be those who utilize multiple hiring sources and reskill workers in a culture of lifelong learning.' According to Broadband India Forum, the IoT and AI-based applications will create over 2.8 million jobs in rural India over the next 8-10 years generating Rs. 60000 crore every year. Rituparna Chakraborty, President of ISF and co-founder of Teamlease, says, 'With emerging technologies such as AI and big data, new skill requirements are in demand. Flexi staffing is a solution to find out the right skills, based on project requirement.' Sivaram S., engagement manager at Zinnov, says, 'The focus on flexi-staffing is to quickly deploy talent for new-age areas such as AI, Machine Learning, and IoT, and drive velocity/agility in transformative engagements. It can be viewed as a means to augment existing digital engineering workforce in an organization, as there are challenges associated with hiring for specific skillsets.' Siddharth Pai, IT consultant and venture capitalist, says, 'The reason for the proliferation of project-based work, as opposed to long-term contracts is the global slowdown that is leading companies to hire for one-off projects so that they can easily let people off when there is no requirement.' According to Nomura Research, subcontractors are typically 15-20% (more) expensive than employees and are a margin headwind going into FY20F. Apurva Prasad, Research Analyst (IT) at HDFC Securities, says, 'Increase in sub-contracting resulted from a combination of surge in demand and staffing challenges on account of tech supply crunch.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 sep 2019
Trust between patients and care givers is one of the critical factors in determining success of healthcare system. And trust develops over a period of time through positive experiences that are achieved by providing quality care at the right time, effectively and efficiently at the right price. But, it seems, India's healthcare is lacking behind in satisfactory healthcare delivery. According to the recent report by Ernst & Young (EY) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), 'Re-engineering Indian Healthcare 2.0', based on an online survey of 1000 patients across six geographical zones in India, 'There is a growing mistrust among patients against healthcare providers and the Indian healthcare system needs to tailor its current model for inclusion and mass healthcare to deliver true care with a focus on primary care, wellness and health outcomes.' The report finds that - 61% patients believe that hospitals did not act in their best interests; 63% of patients indicated that they were not happy with hospital responsiveness and waiting times; 59% patients felt the hospitals were not concerned about feedback and do not actively seek it. Kaivaan Movdawalla, Partner at EY India (Healthcare), says, 'For realising the aspired levels of efficiency, it is imperative for healthcare providers to shift from an incremental performance plus approach to a radical design to cost or direct-to-consumer approach for redesigning their operating models and cost structures.' Dr. Arvind Lal, Chair at FICCI Healthservices Committee and CMD of Dr Lal PathLabs, says, 'There is an urgent need to bridge the 'trust deficit' between the patient and the doctor; patient and the hospital; as well as government and the private healthcare provider for the Health of the Indian Healthcare.' EY recommends a '5E Framework' for building trust across all principal stakeholders, that is, policymakers, healthcare providers, payors and the public. This framework comprises integrating empathy, efficiency, empowerment, ease and environment to achieve the agenda of universal health access and the right to health. Read on...
Most patients are dissatisfied with India's healthcare system, says EY-FICCI report
Author: P. B. Jayakumar
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 sep 2019
Healthcare technologies enhance efficiencies, improve access and create informed patient-doctor relationships. Around the globe there is fast-paced adoption of these technologies. India too is undergoing health-tech transformation. According to a 15-country Future Health Index (FHI) 2019 report by Royal Philips, about 76% of healthcare professionals in India are already using digital health records (DHRs) in their practice. Moreover, 80% of healthcare professionals have shared patient information with other professionals inside their health facility, which is equal to 15-country average. India also meets the 15-country average when it comes to the usage of artificial intelligence (AI) within healthcare at 46%. Report also finds that a majority of Indian healthcare professionals who use DHRs in their practice report that DHRs have a positive impact on quality of care (90%), healthcare professional satisfaction (89%), and patient outcomes (70%) when compared to the 15-country average of 69%, 64% and 59% respectively. Rohit Sathe, President of Philips Healthcare (Indian Subcontinent), says, 'The report confirms that digital health technology is a pivotal pillar in delivering value-based care across the healthcare continuum in India. Tools including telehealth and adaptive intelligence solutions can help lower the barriers between hospitals and patients, thereby improving access to care and enhancing overall patient satisfaction, particularity in tier II & III cities in India.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 aug 2019
Startups are enabling tech-based transformation of India's retail sector through Android-based smart PoS (Point of Sale) devices. The promise of these devices goes beyond payments and makes supply chain more efficient with data analytics and potential credit scoring. Vicky Bindra, CEO of Pine Labs, says, 'Retailers and merchants from diverse sectors such as electronics, food and beverage, fashion, pharmacy, telecom, and airlines are adopting the new smart PoS machines to improve their efficiencies and enhance consumer's shopping experience.' Praveen Hari of industry association iSPIRT says, 'Today a smart PoS device is not just accepting cards, but they can also provide UPI (unified payments interface) pull transactions, QR codes (displayed on screens), NFC (near-field communication) transactions, wallet transactions, or basically, any payment mode that is available in India.' Ashish Jhina, co-founder of Jumbotail, says, 'Today smart PoS machines can do four key business functions: payment, billing, inventory management, wholesale procurement.' Smart PoS data is also valuable for credit scoring. Mr. Hari explains, 'The GST data itself is good enough for a lender to make a lending decision and the shopkeeper or his FMCG distributor now has an incentive to report all the transactions. The transaction data itself can help a lender make a lending decision.' Manish Patel, CEO of Mswipe, says, 'We have engineered a credit model where when our merchants can borrow money (to make wholesale purchases) from any of our NBFC partners, based on data we provide...In terms of recollection, the merchant can opt to pay back in daily and monthly instalments.' Read on...
Wireless, smart PoS devices revamping India's retail landscape
Author: Salman S. H.
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 aug 2019
People with the twin passion of design and development of new products can transform into design entrepreneurs. They are able to control both the design and business processes. Vijayant Bansal, founder of World University of Design (India), explains what it takes to be a design entrepreneur and explores the shifting landscape of design entrepreneurship in India. He says, 'We are in the midst of a design revolution and increasingly design is gaining a lot of focus...But it's not easy starting from ground zero and working yourself towards achieving credibility, recognition and last but not the least, generating demand. This involves having to create a balance between what we want to create with what the customer wants; what is possible technically and how much of a resource pull will it involve.' Contemporary design entrepreneurship includes new product development, restoring crafts, innovating existing products and providing design services based on new & emerging technologies. Explaining the design revolution, he says, 'Designing is undergoing a metamorphosis, aided by new technologies and digital transformation of today. New and disruptive technologies like Artificial intelligence, IoT, Machine learning etc., are the biggest enablers, disrupting traditional processes and systems, enabling out of the box thinking and new ideas, which in turn reshape the entire user experience.' Universities can play an important role in guiding and mentoring students to pursue design entrepreneurship. Industry experts can also play a role in this and enable students to participate in hands-on training. Virtual products have also expanded the scope of design entrepreneurship with designers engaged in designing and developing games and apps. Design entrepreneurship is the new career paradigm. Mr. Bansal suggests, 'Today the scenario has undergone a sea change, with almost every industry, be it apparel, automobiles, film making, animation, product design or gaming, with design playing an intrinsic role in the entire process from an idea to the end product. It's worth the challenge if financial security and stability are not foremost on your mind and you have the patience and inclination to see through the entire process of making the design-centric idea into a successful venture.' Read on...
The Rise of the Contemporary Indian Design Entrepreneur
Author: Vijayant Bansal
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2019
Even though India has achieved success consistently in agriculture sector through policy and reforms, but there is still a lot to be desired. Farmer suicides and droughts become headline news from time to time. Ken Ash, Director of Trade & Agriculture at OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), and Silvia Sorescu, Policy Analyst at OECD, provides an overview of India's state of agriculture and what needs to be done to tap opportunities. According to them, many smallholders have not been able to exploit the opportunities opening up to them; they remain hampered by low productivity, an under-developed food processing and retail sector, and water and environmental degradation. They explain that India faces 'triple challenge' in the agricultural sector similar to other countries - delivering safe and nutritious food to a growing population at affordable prices; providing a livelihood for farmers and others in the food chain; and overcoming severe resource and climate pressures. According to the OECD and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) report in the Agricultural Policies in India 2018 study and the 2019 OECD Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation, India's domestic and trade policies (like restrictions due to agri-marketing regulations, export restrictions, huge farm subsidies for farm inputs etc) have combined to reduce Indian farm revenue by an estimated 5.7% in the past three years. Moreover, funding for public services - such as physical infrastructure, inspection, research & development, and education and skills - that are essential to enable the long-term productivity and sustainability of the sector has not kept pace. India can draw lessons from Ashok Gulati's analysis of farm policy developments in China, and also from EU's (European Union) agricultural policy reform experiences. Persistence is critical for the success in the sector. Electronic National Agricultural Market (eNAM), the 2017 marketing model act, and the recently implemented direct cash transfers scheme to small-scale farmers, are steps in the right direction. Authors suggest, 'Scarce financial resources should be directed towards investment in public services that enable a productive, sustainable, and resilient food and agriculture sector. Doing so would require strengthening the institutional framework; eliminating duplication and fragmentation is a pre-requisite to ensuring coherent policy packages are developed and consistently implemented. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and addressing the 'triple challenge' will require new policy directions in India, as elsewhere.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2019
India's CSR legislation is a step in the right direction and is globally praised. Recently, 47 participants from 33 global multinational companies that are associated with WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) visited India to learn about sustainable businesses. WBCSD Leadership Program is a year-long series of engagements and learning exercises in partnership with Yale University. Rodney Irwin, Managing Director of WBCSD's Redefining Value and Education program, says, 'The legislation asking large companies to spend 2% of their profit on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is appreciable, but large companies should not stop there. These large firms should look at making their businesses sustainable by integrating the concept of environmental, social and governance advantages into the core business.' He advocated the need for integrating sustainable approach to doing businesses along with maintaining profitability. He adds, 'In long-run, profitability can be greater if you embrace opportunities that accompany sustainable approach.' Since a number of large Indian companies are family-owned, he says, 'The companies that have family connections tend to not just make the businesses successful but they want to make sure that the business can be passed on to the next generation. They have a long-term vision.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 apr 2019
According to the recent report 'India Digital Ad-fraud Market 2018' by techARC, the total size of digital ad-fraud in India stood at staggering US$ 1.63 Billion, which is 8.7% of the global size. The report projects 23% increase in digital ad-fraud in 2019. Digital Commerce contributed more than half 51% of the total ad-fraud in India. While, Leisure & Travel (26%), Entertainment & Gaming (13%), Banking & Finance (8%), Healthcare & Pharma (1%) and Others (1%). Although, App Fraud contributes to over 85% of the total digital ad-fraud, the organizations should not ignore the web platforms. Web platforms are more susceptible to frauds as in several organizations the digital teams are primarily focusing on the app, leaving the web space vulnerable. As video is increasingly becoming the preferred medium of content, it is also attracting fraudsters to exploit this advertising channel. The report finds that businesses who have an ad-fraud solution in place are better equipped to have higher levels of customer engagements. Faisal Kawoosa, Founder & Chief Analyst at techARC, says, 'Digital ad-fraud is getting increased attention from the C-level leadership of evolved organisations, where it is no longer an agenda of a CDO or CMO. The impact of digital ad-fraud now goes beyond diminishing the returns on marketing spends and can jeopardize the entire digital transformation journey hampering Brand Equity, Relevance and Positioning among other ramifications.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 apr 2019
Biotechnology is expected to be the next big thing for the Indian economy, just like the IT industry has been, explains Amit Kapoor, President & CEO of India Council on Competitiveness and Honorary Chairman at Institute for Competitiveness. According to him, '...biotechnology industry seemed poised to take over the mantle. In the span of a decade beginning in 2007, the industry has grown exponentially in size from about US$ 2 billion to over US$ 11 billion in terms of revenue. By 2025, it is targeted to touch US$ 100 billion.' In the past, both Green Revolution (agricultural transformation) and White Revolution (dairy sector transformation) became successful because of the contributions from biotechnology. At present India's rising competitiveness in pharmaceuticals is also the result of biotechnological advancements and research. Moreover, energy needs of rural areas are also met by biomass fuel, produced through application of biotechnology. Mr. Kapoor explains evolution of biotechnology in India, 'As early as 1986, Rajiv Gandhi, recognising the potential of biotechnology in the country's development, set up the Department of Biotechnology...Department of Biotechnology has set up 17 Centres of Excellence at higher education institutions across the country and has supported the establishment of eight biotechnology parks across different cities...Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) in 2012, which has successfully supported 316 start-ups in its six years of existence...As of 2016, India had over a thousand biotechnology start-ups.' According to Mr. Kapoor, the sector faces many challenges and they need to be addressed effectively and promptly - (1) India's research and development expenditure is quite low at 0.67% of GDP, not only compared to mature biotechnology economies such as Japan and the US (around 3%) but also in comparison to emerging economies like China (around 2%). (2) Specific to the biotech pharmaceutical sector, there are a few India-specific challenges with the country's IP regime. There are two main areas of contention for the industry in India's approach to intellectual property. The first issue lies in Section 3(d) of the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005, which sets a higher standard for patentability than mandated by TRIPS. The industry argues that India's stricter standards for patents discourages innovation and dampens foreign investment. The second issue is that of compulsory licensing, which gives the government power to suspend a patent in times of health emergencies. Although India has used this option only once, the industry feels that such regulations keep investors clear of Indian markets. (3) Another challenge lies in the risk involved in the Valley of Death, that is, the risk of failure in the transition of innovative products and services from discovery to marketisation. Most of the early research funding, often provided by universities or the government, runs out before the marketisation phase, the funding for which is mostly provided by venture capitalists. It becomes difficult to attract further capital between these two stages because a developing technology may seem promising, but it is often too early to validate its commercial potential. This gap has a huge impact in commercialisation of innovative ideas. Read on...
The Economic Times:
Why biotechnology can be Indian economy's next success story
Author: Amit Kapoor
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 apr 2019
India is a diverse economy with a large population size. The availability of correct data is a challenge. But there are reliable and free sources that contain datasets and data visualisations of the Indian economic scenario that can be utilized by data scientists - (1) NITI Aayog (Salary Expenditure): It is part of data.gov.in website. An expense or expenditure made to the employees for their work in terms of salary is known as Salary expenditure. It is an outflow of money from the Government for different services. The Data contains Actual, Pre-actual and Budgeted Expenditure for Salary expenditure, total expenditure, Revenue Expenditure, Salary expenditure as percentage of revenue expenditure (net of IP & Pension) and Salary expenditure as percentage of total expenditure of states & union territories. (2) Open Budgets India (openbudgetsindia.org): The portal provides budget information of different tiers of government in India (Union Budget, State Budgets, and Budgets of several Municipal Corporations across the country) in accessible and open (non-proprietary) formats. The four major features of the portal, as of now (in the beta version), are - Budget documents (i.e. the original PDF documents); Machine Readable Datasets (for those budget documents, where it was technically feasible to prepare machine readable datasets); Visualizations (or infographics) generated from the machine readable datasets; and Budget basics (for greater familiarity with budget concepts, processes and documents). The portal includes twelve broad sectors that represent Union and State Budget expenditure on both Economic Services and Social Services. It has 10.6k datasets from 509 budget sources. (3) Ministry Of Statistics (Indian Income Tax): It is part of data.gov.in website. The data refers to details on receipts under income tax from 2000-01 to 2011-12 in head of account such as Minor Head-Other Receipts, Minor Head-Surcharge, Penalties, Interest Recoveries, Primary Education Cess, Secondary and Higher Education Cess. (4) NITI Aayog (Manufacturing GDP): It is part of data.gov.in website. The data refers to information on contribution to manufacturing GDP in the 11th Five-Year Plan and employment in 2009-10 in different segments of the manufacturing sector. It projects employment in 2016-17 and 2024-25 in different segments of manufacturing in two different scenarios. (5) Ministry Of Finance (Statistical Appendix): It is part of the Economic Survey. Website is mofapp.nic.in:8080/economicsurvey. Includes Economic Survey 2017-18 and previous ones. The Statistical Appendix has following sections along with their sub-sections - National Income and Production; Budgetary Transactions; Employment; Monetary Trends; Prices; Balance of Payments; Foreign Trade; External Assistance; Human Development Indicators. Data files can be downloaded in Excel and PDF formats. (6) Ministry of Finance - Department Of Economic Affairs (Trade Balance Of India): It is part of data.gov.in website. The trade balance is the difference between the monetary value of exports and imports of output in an economy. It is one of the most important macroeconomic parameter. Data contains Exports, Imports and Trade Balance of India (in Rs Crore and US$ Million) from 1949-50. It also contains the percentage rate of change of exports as well as imports with respect to the previous year. The data has been provided by Department of Economic Affairs. (7) The World Bank (data.worldbank.org/country/india): Includes time series data on variety of topics like GDP, Population, School Enrolment, CO2 Emissions etc. DataBank is an analysis and visualization tool. (8) IMF DATA (data.imf.org): It provides access to macroeconomic and financial data. Asia and Pacific Regional Economic Outlook (APDREO) provides information on recent economic developments and prospects for countries in Asia and Pacific. India is included in this region. Read on...
Analytics India Magazine:
8 Free Resources On Indian Economy You Can Use For Your Data Science Projects
Author: Ram Sagar
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 mar 2019
According to the recent NASSCOM CEO survey of 100 participants from IT and ITES sector, majority agreed that 2019 will have large digital deals and to gain part of this they consider making investments into products and platforms and intend to co-innovate with start-ups to build digital capabilities as a priority. In 2018, 40 global capability centers were opened in India and the number of digitally skilled workers has increased to 6 lakh. Industry leaders discussed the emergence of India as a preferred hub of new age innovation in the digital era at NASSCOM's Technology and Leadership Forum. Whether it is creation, storage or analytics, data is the big thing along with artifical intelligence or machine learning. Nivruti Rai, Country Head of Intel India, says, 'The two most important technologies which are critical from Intel's perspective are artificial technology and 5G transmission technology.' Sashikumar Sreedharan, Managing Director of Microsoft India, says, 'The fundamentals of technology, like services innovation and supportability in an automatic and self sustainable manner over the full lifecycle are some of the areas where innovation is happening at Microsoft.' Chetan Garga, Managing Director and Country Head of All State Insurance India, says, 'Business is driving innovation but also technology is driving businesses to do things differently, it's a two-way flow.' Innovation is critical and most business leaders agree that meeting the expectations of customers in the real world and understanding their needs is where the convergence lies. India with 1 billion population, large data size along with its complexity can become a test lab for the world. Pankaj Phatarphod, Managing Director & Country Head of Services at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), says, 'If it works in India It can work anywhere...I wish we had more applied research and smarter talent.' Read on...
India emerges as a preferred hub of new-age innovation
Author: Rukmini Rao
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 feb 2019
Companies Act of 2014 made India the first country that made CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) mandatory for a section of corporates. The companies were expected to integrate social development programs into their business models and culture. KPMG's 2018-19 report that analyzed the CSR work of 100 companies found that corporates increased their prescribed amount for CSR expenditure from Rs 5779.7 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 7096.9 crore in 2017-18. Moreover, they were actually spending more than what was prescribed (Rs 4708 crore in 2014-15; Rs 7424 crore in 2017-18. But India's most backward districts remain deprived these CSR funds. According to the Ministry of Rural Development, 115 of the 718 districts in India are backward. NITI Aayog suggests that corporates can contribute to the development of these districts. Jharkhand (19 districts, 1% CSR funds received); Bihar (13, 2%); Chhattisgarh (10, 1%); Madhya Pradesh (8, 3%); Odisha (8, 11%). While Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, which account for only 15% of such districts, have received 60% of the CSR money. The most backward districts got only 13% of this year's funds and not more than 25% of the total projects. Companies have found convenient ways to direct their CSR funds and shrug off their social responsibility. In July 2018, 272 companies were served notices by the Registrar of Companies for non-compliance with CSR expenditure. Between July 2016 and March 2017, about 1018 companies were issued notices for non-compliance. KPMG has identified three principal areas of non-compliance - disclosure of direct and overhead expenditure on projects, details of overhead expenses, and keeping these overhead expenses below 5% of total CSR spends. Sujit Kumar Singh, senior program manager at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), says, 'There is no data to know if companies are undertaking need-based assessment studies, a must since it prioritises the requirements of the impacted communities.' Mr. Singh adds, '...Often, professionals handling CSR are not trained to comprehend societal nuances. In most cases those heading the human resource department handle CSR activities. The need now is a policy which drive companies towards self-regulation, the key to CSR.' According to the reporting guidelines that CSE has prepared, 'Companies should self-regulate and be responsive to the disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised sections of society. They should respect and promote human rights, make efforts to protect and restore the environment, and support inclusive growth and equitable development. The guidelines show how to improve accountability and transparency in CSR spending, and make it an integral part of business.' Read on...
Indian firms' CSR spending needs more accountability and transparency
Author: Vikrant Wankhede
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 feb 2019
India's 'Development Agenda' as outlined by current government includes development of 100 smart cities, 40 million dwelling units, 20 million affordable homes, better infrastructure facilities through the AMRUT scheme, focus on urban development and transformation, slum rehabilitation, and 'Housing for All' by 2022. It is estimated that to fulfil this agenda there is requirement of 75 million skilled people in real estate and infrastructure. Moreover, according to reports there is need of 4 million core professionals (architects, engineers, planners). Shubika Bilkha, Business Head at The Real Estate Management Institute (REMI), explains the key aspects that architectural graduates and planners should keep in while building their skill set in evolving environment - (1) Be Multifaceted: Take advantage of a number of roles- from design architecture, structural or liaisoning architects, to urban planning, property development, sustainable development, teaching or getting involved with disaster relief/re-building communities. Require skills such as engineering, design, supervisory skills, managing people/teams/vendors/client expectations, an understanding of key building/designing/construction/smart technology, strong communication and persuasion skills to communicate their vision. Have much larger role and bigger scope getting involved from pre-design services, to cost analysis and land-use studies, feasibility reports, environment studies to developing the final construction plans etc. (2) Be Business Minded: Understand key real estate and planning concepts and calculations, municipal and local development regulations, legal limitations, the social and urban infrastructure, fundraising/financing and the evolving policy framework. (3) Be Responsible: Consider social and environmental impact of the recommendations. Understand sustainability and implement it effectively. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 dec 2018
In India there are central government run healthcare institutions, public state run institutions and private medical colleges that provide modern healthcare education mainly the four year degree MBBS and after that post-graduate degrees of MS and MD. India also have a number of institutions that provide degrees in other healthcare systems like Ayurveda (BAMS), Unani-Greek (BUMS), Homoeopathy (BHMS), Naturopathy etc. Moreover, there are vocational training institutes that provide skills and courses to develop other medical staff like nurses, health assistants etc. There are also corporate run and other private medical colleges and universities and training institutes. India's healthcare facilities are generally concentrated in urban areas while rural areas are generally served by public hospitals and centers. Private clinics are also present in both rural and urban areas. They are generally run by a single doctor or doctor couple and provide basic healthcare. Diagnostic centers are spread all over due to technological advancements and compact and affordable equipments. Healthcare has major disparities between urban and rural areas when it comes to healthcare access. Healthcare has become one of India's largest sectors - both in terms of revenue and employment. The industry comprises public and private hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, pathology and diagnostics, medical devices industry, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment. The public sector constitutes primary health centers, central research centers and hospitals, state-run research institutes and hospitals etc. The private sector provides majority of secondary, tertiary and quaternary care institutions with a major concentration in metros, tier-I and tier-II cities. According to National Family Health Survey-3, the private medical sector remains the primary source of health care for 70% of households in urban areas and 63% of households in rural areas. Rise of technology is creating new business models in the healthcare industry. Healthcare through smart phones and fitness trackers is new trend. Information technology is automating and streamlining various healthcare processes. Big data is creating new ways of improving healthcare delivery. Startups in India are promising to provide best healthcare at affordable cost more effectively. Latest healthcare equipment is not only imported but also manufactured in India. Digital technologies are enhancing every aspect of healthcare. Technology solutions are able to modernise current medical practices, reduce costs, eliminate any duplication of tests as well as streamline processes and update medical records in real time. Modern technology has great potential to increase access of healthcare services in rural communities, especially the ones where there is serious shortage of doctors. India has demonstrated since long a commitment to offer comprehensive healthcare to all citizens. This has been reaffirmed in the 12th Five-year Plan, National Health Assurance Mission, and more recently through Ayushman Bharat Program. However, the challenges remain and this goal has not been achieved as of yet. There are two critical components of successful healthcare systems. One is the financial aspects whereby citizens are protected against any eventuality and don't get into penury due to health spending. Second is the provision and delivery of healthcare services. It is imperative to ensure that healthcare infrastructure is sufficiently equipped to provide effective healthcare when needed by its citizens. Technology, public-private partnerships, access and affordability are the critical component in the future of India's healthcare. Better healthcare with policy, financial and physical framework will bring long-term benefits to the nation. Develop effective mechanisms to improve general health, and disease prevention strategies through campaigns, advocacy etc. To make India's citizens more aware about their health, inculcate better sanitization and cleanliness habits will help to improve overall health of India. Prevention before cure becomes the key for the country with the size and demographic profile like India. Health aware citizens, trained, sensitive and caring medical staff, cutting edge technologies and modern infrastructure, are the golden elements for a healthy future of India. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 dec 2018
India is adopting emerging technologies and its future progress will be defined by their effective utilization. A recent study by Cisco and IDC suggests that globally the net job addition in new technologies will be more than 5.9 million by 2027 out of which 1.4 million will be in India. India is building its capacities in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). Government has special focus on AI, as between mid 2017 and early 2018, the government constituted two AI Task Forces, first under the Ministry of Commerce and the second under the Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Information Technology has also set up four committees to encourage research in the field. Niti Aayog has also published the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. Similarly, efforts have been underway by goverment to promote the development and adoption of IoT since 2016 with the release of a draft policy on IOT by MeitY. Private sector too has made massive investments in IoT. Another technology that India has to focus on is Data Science as it has enormous potential in promoting development and humanitarian efforts. Data Science has the capability to provide effective solutions to problems faced by the developing world. It can significantly make an impact in decision and policy making. India has to understand the advantages of using Data Science to complement policy efforts and exploit its potential accordingly. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2018
Corporations are encouraging their employees to volunteer as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts. Experts recently conducted a workshop to discuss different stages of volunteering, scaling up the volunteer programs and how companies can use volunteering for better employee engagement, learning and alignment. Aditya Nagpal, Director and BU Head at Goodera, said, 'Our goal is to use technology and data to simplify volunteering, so more people are able to do good at scale. We feel that employee volunteering lies at the perfect intersection of people, planet and profit.' According to him companies go through five stages of volunteering - (1) Informal volunteering (2) Support and encouragement by launching initiatives (3) Planning initiatives strategically (4) Volunteering becomes essential component (5) Volunteering programs attain brand status. Svetlana Pinto, Country Head Communications & CSR at Novartis India, said, 'There are many advantages of volunteering that we have seen in our journey so far. Interestingly, we have found a lot of enthusiasm in the younger lot that is joining the workforce. Other things being equal, they would look more favourably towards an organization with a soul that helps them give back to the community. Volunteering has also helped in building a greater team spirit.' Ester Martinez, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of People Matters Media, conducted a session on 'Designing volunteering experiences for your workforce: Is your organization volunteering ready?' He addressed four challenges - getting started; sustainability of employees; architecting a good experience; policymaking. To overcome them it is important to have clear communication of values, better engagement of employees and a good reward and recognition program. Read on...
Designing volunteering experiences for your workforce
Author: Sharon Lobo
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 nov 2018
There are many sides to India's agriculture story. But, what we often hear is the sad one of farmer poverty and suicides. Although many challenges remain including that of humanitarian crises of farmer suicides, but Indian agriculture is going through many positive transformations. According to recent data, tractors sales ended the last fiscal year with a growth of 22% due to good monsoon and strong rural demand. Improvements in road connectivity has boosted tractor sales even in the remote parts of Jharkhand, Telangana, Haryana and other states. The Bloomberg Indian rural economy indices provide a steady upward movement in rural output growth. Two-wheeler sales, a positive indicator of rural growth, have also picked up in recent months. Moreover, there are other visible innovative aspects of Indian agriculture that are good news. India is one of the biggest agrarian economies and even though it lacks in productivity but with 30% of world's organic farmers it is the largest organic farming country. People like Subhash Palekar, who preaches 'zero budget spiritual farming', or farming using only natural and low-cost fertilisers and techniques, are bringing the much needed change. His work has had an impact on 400000 farmers in Maharashtra and adjoining states. Top Indian restaurants and chefs now promote black rice and brown rice grown in India. Customers are also willing to pay a premium for organic produce, thus encouraging cropping up of startups and entrepreneurial ventures in organic farming space. Sikkim has recetly won a prestigious United Nations award for its status as an organic food-only destination. There are also innovations happening in dairy sector with startups putting the certain regions into limelight. India remains as one of the top milk producing countries in the world. Indian agri-tech startups have grown to such an extent that they now have their own exlusive expo that promotes diverse innovations like new pumping techniques, soil testing and management systems, and raw food supply chain breakthroughs. Read on...
How to join the dots of growth in Indian agriculture
Author: Hindol Sengupta
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 oct 2018
Indian corporates that fulfil the conditions of Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013 relating to mandatory spending of 2% of last 3 years average profit on CSR are making a difference in vulnerable communities in India. According to the latest India CSR Outlook Report published by NGOBOX, Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank, Wipro, Tata Steel, NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation & ONGC spent more than their prescribed CSR budgets in FY 2017-18. The report analyzed CSR spends of 359 companies. The prescribed CSR budget of these 359 companies was Rs 9543.51 crore whereas the actual CSR spend was Rs 8875.93 crore (3/4th of total CSR spend in India). There is an increase in the prescribed CSR from 6% to 8% in the actual CSR spend from FY 16-17 and the number of projects have also increased by 25% from the previous year. REPORT HIGHLIGHTS: Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat together received over 1/4th of India's total CSR fund. North-eastern states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have received least funds; Public sector contribution is over 1/4th of the total; Oil, refinery and petrochemicals account for alsmost 1/4th of the total while healthcare and pharma contributes the least with just Rs 294 crore; CSR funding on education and skill increased by 50% from last year and is 1/3rd of the total CSR spend; Over 1/4th is spend on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and healthcare projects. Read on...
Corporates spend 50% CSR funds in education, skill development: Report
Author: Sonal Khetarpal
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 sep 2018
As retail in India grows and get more organized, diversity among retail leadership will become visible. Women in retail have a major role to play as women consumers are a big demographic and they have very specific needs and wants. Here are 5 women entrepreneurs who have taken the mantle of leadership in various areas of retail - (1) Farah Malik (Managing Director, Metro Shoes Ltd.): '...Retail had always excited me and I have never regretted the decision of joining the business. The fashion retail industry is extremely demanding and women still often have to make a choice between a family life and a career...' (2) Rashi Menda (CEO & Founder, Zapyle): 'The whole eco-system is very different from what it was 3 years back and I think that the biggest challenge that any woman entrepreneur would face in today's world lack of understanding of one's own abilities...For me, forming a winning team and hiring the right people was the biggest challenge...' (3) Shubhika Jain (Founder, RAS Luxury Oils): 'When I initially joined family business it was difficult for the existing staff to accept a young lady as their head. I had to prove myself to be worthy by way of executing tasks and handling situations in a mature and strategic manner...India has as many as 9% of women entrepreneurs...Yet there are a lot of problems that women have continued to face in this country.' (4) Jagrati Shringi (Co-Founder & CTO, Voylla): 'More women entrepreneurs need to look at the big picture and think about scaling up, sustaining and growing their businesses. Despite extremely talented individuals, there aren't enough women driving big brands...there is a need for more skilled women to look beyond the safety net of IT and other jobs to realise their career goals.' (5) Trishla Surana (Founder, Colour Me Mad): 'While women entrepreneurs form only 3% of the total universe of the entrepreneurs in India, it is welcoming that people are becoming more open to having women as bosses. Also, women today need to focus more on upgrading their skills, understanding interface of design and technology and get as much exposure as they can to achieve their dreams...' Read on...
How these 5 Women Entrepreneurs Are Making a Difference in Retail Industry?
Author: Tanya Krishna
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 sep 2018
India's large size with huge population (1.25 billion), substantial part of which resides in rural and underdeveloped regions, brings both challenges and opportunities for implementing healthcare policies and initiatives, both public and private. Over the years ineffective implementation of such initiatives at various levels, has created lopsided infrastructure and uneven development in healthcare. Indian health system also lacks effective payment mechanism and has a high out-of-pocket expenditure (roughly 70%). Adverse health events (health shocks) have considerable impact on India's overall poverty figures, adding about seven percentage points. Health is associated with the overall wellness of the citizens. Good health reflects on the productivity and growth of the nation. More so in the case of India as substantial population is young. India has more than 50% (about 662 million) of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. By 2020, the average age of India's population is expected to be 29 years. Aging of this large population will happen at the same time. Having adequate infrastructure is key to avoid a massive health catastrophe for this elderly population in future. Health is also a key issue in the public policy sphere. In the public policy context healthcare issues are often related to accessibility, affordability, socio-economic disparities, healthcare delivery mechanisms, illness and diseases and their impact on society etc. India have a conceptual universal health care system run by the constituent states and union territories. The biggest challenge is to make it accessible and affordable for the overall population. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2018
India has to give special emphasis to agriculture to ensure food security for its large population. Recent report, 'Agricultural Policies in India' (Authors: Ashoka Gulati, Infosys chair professor for agriculture at ICRIER; Carmen Cahill, Deputy Director for trade and agriculture at OECD), jointly developed by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), provides outcomes of the research conducted for over two years to map and measure the nature of agricultural policies in India and how they have impacted producers and consumers. The report includes key policy indicators like the producer support estimates (PSEs) and consumer support estimates (CSEs). According to the authors of the report, 'The methodology adopted is a standard one that OECD has applied to measure PSEs and CSEs for 51 countries over the last 30 years. In the case of PSEs, it basically captures the impact of various policies on two components: (a) the output prices that producers receive, benchmarked against global prices of comparable products; and (b) the various input subsidies that farmers receive through budgetary allocations by the Centre and states. The two are combined to see if farmers receive positive support (PSE), or negative, as a percentage of gross farm receipts. A positive PSE (%) means that policies have helped producers receive higher revenues than would have been the case otherwise, and a negative PSE (%) implies lower revenues for farmers (a sort of implicit tax) due to the set of policies adopted.' The report found India's PSE, on average, during 2014-15 to 2016-17 was -6% of farm receipts. Contrary to this most other countries have positive PSEs. Overall, PSE (%) was negative to the tune of 14%, on average, over the entire period from 2000-01 to 2016-17, indicating that, despite positive input subsidies, farmers in India received 14% less revenue due to restrictive trade and marketing policies. To incentivise farmers to raise productivity, build an efficient and sustainable agriculture that augments farmers' incomes and foster rural growth and jobs all along the value chain, authors suggest - (1) Change policies to 'get the markets right' by reforming domestic marketing regulations (ECA and APMC), promoting a competitive national market and upgrading marketing infrastructure. Also review restrictive export policies for agri-products. (2) The report recongnizes concerns of the policymakers to protect consumers from price rise. But, it argues for switching to an income policy approach through a direct benefit transfer (DBT) targeted to the vulnerable sections of the population. (3) Indian agriculture and farmers would be much better off if input subsidies are contained and gradually reduced, and the equivalent savings are channelled simultaneously towards higher investments in agri-R&D, extension, building rural infrastructure for better markets and agri-value chains, as also on better water management to deal with climate change. (4) A greater degree of coordination is required between the Centre and the States, and also across various ministries, for a more holistic approach towards reforming agriculture. Read on...
From plate to plough: India must get its agri-markets right
Authors: Ashoka Gulati, Carmel Cahill
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jun 2018
According to Korn Ferry's 'The Salary Surge' report, India would be the only economy that will not face an upward revision of wages by 2030, as it has a talent surplus, bucking the global trend of a talent crunch. For organizations around the world lack of highly skilled talent supply will drive up salaries for the most in-demand workers and is expected to add more than US$ 2.5 trillion in annual labour costs by 2030. The Global Talent Crunch analysed global demand for labour at three key milestones, 2020, 2025 and 2030, in 20 markets, including in India, across three sectors, financial and business services, technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) and manufacturing. Wage premiums by 2030 - US (US$ 531 billion); Germany (US$ 176 billion); Japan (US$ 468 billion); China (US$ 342 billion) Asia Pacific (US$ 1 trillion); Singapore and Hong Kong (10% of 2017 GDP). Wage premium per worker per year by 2030 - Asia Pacific (Average US$ 14710); Hong Kong (US$ 40539); Singapore (US$ 29065); Australia (US$ 28625). Dhritiman Chakrabarti, Head of rewards and benefits for the APAC region at Korn Ferry, says, 'The new era of work is one of scarcity in abundance, there are plenty of people, but not enough with the skills their organisations will need to survive. While overall wage increases are just keeping pace with inflation, salaries for in-demand workers will skyrocket if companies choose to compete for the best and brightest on salary alone.' Manufacturing, one of the sector that is a critical driver of growth for emerging economies, may be stalled by the huge impact of the salary surge. Read on...
The Economic Times:
India to be lone economy facing suppressed wages by 2030: Study
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2018
According to British Council's 2016 report, 'The State of Social Enterprise in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan', there are more than two million social enterprises in India with 24% of them led by women. India is one of the fastest growing economy and it needs more social entrepreneurs to tackle socio-economic problems. Women have to enhance their participation. But, existing stereotypes alongwith lack of investor confidence are major hurdles in the way. According to the World Bank, labour force participation rate for women in India has fallen from 37% in 2004-05 to 27.2% in 2017, which is quite low in comparison to developed nations. Increasing participation of women in workforce is vital for balanced growth of the country. Archana Raj, Team Leader at Save The Children, says 'Despite these low indicators, it is worth mentioning that there are new generation women who have broken the barriers of societal norms and regressive mindsets to pave way to the new world of entrepreneurship. Over the past few years, it has been observed that more women are choosing this as a career over other options, making a mark in the start-up ecosystem. Nonetheless, the aim must be to reach higher, which can help the rest of the women of our country to rise beyond the barriers and choose for themselves.' Jamie Cid, a social entrepreneur and founder of MobiHires, says, 'I think that there is a great opportunity for women social entrepreneurs in India, especially mothers returning to the workplace, who develop products and services based on their experience and solve problems in their community. With platforms like Sheroes, Reboot, SheThePeople and Lean In India initiatives that support and invest in women social entrepreneurs, this is the right time to be one.' In one of the blog posts of World Bank, Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation and founder of TrustLaw and Trust Women, gives the example of Ajaita Shah who works in rural regions of India. Shah's organisation, Frontier Markets, sells and distributes products to rural households. The organisation calls itself a 'for-profit business with a social mission'. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, India ranks 35th among countries that are the best for women social entrepreneurs, with the US, Canada and the UK occupying the top three positions. Manju Yagnik, vice chairperson of Nahar Group and member of Indian Merchant Chamber, says, 'I personally do not believe in male-female classifications. I do not think capabilities and talent can be differentiated as per gender. Today's women do not seek sympathy. They want equal opportunities when it comes to decision-making in financial capabilities, which is still male-dominant. Thankfully, with the modern society promoting and striving for gender equality, the position of women is improving year after year. Women entrepreneurs in India are bringing revolution and growth in the public and private sectors. With the help of government initiatives, they will grow further.' Manisha Gupta, founder and director of Start Up!, says, 'Regardless of whether a woman is a social or business entrepreneur, she has to negotiate through an ecosystem that has been structured for men to succeed. Not only do we need more women social entrepreneurs but also an ecosystem where there are more women leaders at every level. We need them as coaches, investors, in finance, as leading incubators, etc to break the template.' Citing challenges women face, Ms. Raj comments, 'Pressures of social norms and societal biases force women to give up the job while tough competitive market further make their work challenging.' Ms. Yagnik feels the need for more women entrepreneurs in India. She says, 'Social entrepreneurship might be a great opportunity for Indian women professionals to break through the glass ceiling that typically exists in traditional corporate life.' Ms. Cid suggests social entrepreneurs to stay positive and focus on the bigger purpose and stay passionate about their goal. Explaining capabilities of women entrepreneurs, Ms. Gupta says, 'I always say that women social entrepreneurs use the 3Rs - resilience, relationship and resistance – to build and grow their ventures. They are masters of resilience, I have seen many women without any resources, standing on their own and building a business in rural regions. They also demonstrate strong capabilities of building connections and meaningful relationships with stakeholders which takes them far.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 may 2018
Design as a separate field is getting more recognition in India. Policy initiatives like 'Design in India' and 'Make in India' will give design further impetus and assist in creating a thriving design ecosystem. India now have 30 to 35 design schools, most of them came up in the last few years. Prof. Anirudha Joshi of Industrial Design Centre at IIT-Bombay explores the condition of design education in India and suggests ways to make it better and more in tune with industry. He lists prevalent gaps between academia and industry - what is taught in design schools and what a professional designer need to do - (1) Uninentional gaps: Things that left out in design curriculums. Course duration is shorter than what is needed to become a good designer. (2) Lack of industry/hands-on environment: Certain things are best taught in industry setup and academic setup doesn't suit them. (3) Intentional gaps: Design school is not supposed to prepare students only for industry. Focus is on developing thought leaders having theoretical concepts and not just skills and training. (4) Limited availability of design teachers. (5) Lack of strong tradition in design research. (6) Lack of design education infrastructure. There is demand/supply gap in terms of skilled human resources. As the industry is growing, at least five million designers are required as compared to the current approximately 20000 designers. Many sectors like manufacturing, small scale industries, small printing and publishing houses etc, although have need for designers but can't afford one in the present scenario. Moreover, the focus of current designs is more global and there are few instances of designs that are specific to the Indian market. More emphasis should be given to designers that specifically focus on India. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 may 2018
Artificial Intelligence's (AI) potential for healthcare transformation is becoming visible. AI health market is expected to increase exponentially from US$ 600 million in 2014 to US$ 6.6 billion by 2021. Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO of YES Bank and Chairman of YES Global Institute, explains how AI can redefine and revolutionize healthcare and transform existing healthcare sytems into 'smart wellness' delivery mechanisms. In the context of India, he says, 'With the Indian healthcare market estimated to grow to US$ 372 billion by 2022, coupled with growing healthcare needs of a 1.3 billion strong population, successfully leveraging AI, is vital to catapulting the 'healthcare of today' into the 'health-tech of tomorrow'.' He provides four ways AI can catalyze change in healthcare - (1) Economising healthcare costs through machine learning and big data. Integrating big data with wellness could potentially save the healthcare industry up to US$ 100 billion per year. (2) Merging cognitive computing and healthcare can potentially mitigate estimated global shortage of 12.9 million healthcare professionals by 2035. AI-powered applications can augment the services of physicians and expand healthcare outreach at affordable costs. (3) Enhanced diagnosis and identification of diseases. Through algorithms and analysis of big data patterns, AI can detect trends to enhance disease diagnosis and create treatment plans in order to efficiently streamline the healthcare needs of a patient. (4) AI and Internet of Things (IoT) can lead to personalization and more patient-centric approach to healthcare. Wearable gadgets powered by AI can capture and store health data of individuals and play an important role in preventive treatment. Mr. Rana further suggests, 'In India, where we rank a lowly 154th in the Healthcare Access and Quality Index, we must make collaborative efforts to unlock the potential of AI to create an enabling health technology ecosystem to match demand, optimise costs, and demonstrate value.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2018
According to the report by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), 'Anatomy of an Internet Blackout: Measuring the Economic Impact of Internet Shutdowns in India', 12615 hours of mobile Internet shutdowns in India cost the economy approximately US$ 2.37 billion and 3700 hours of mobile and fixed line Internet shutdowns in India resulted in a loss of approximately US$ 678.4 million during the period 2012 to 2017. Most affected by the shutdowns were e-commerce businesses and online freelancers operating from small towns. Tourism is another sector affected. Rajat Kathuria, Director & CEO of ICRIER, says, 'The objective of the study is not to pronounce on the efficacy of a state decision on an Internet blackout, rather to estimate the economic costs associated with the event. However, policy makers would be well advised to consider these costs in the final decision on a shutdown. If digital use were to proliferate as envisaged under the Digital India programme, the magnitude of loss could increase in the future.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 apr 2018
According to a report by The Times of India, engineers in India are now showing more interest in the automobile industry as compared to the usual IT industry, signalling a boom time for the more traditional manufacturing sector. Tightening of US visa rules, streamlining of staff by big IT companies and increasing importance of big data and artificial intelligence in automobile industry are some factors promoting this shift. NASSCOM says that IT sector will see single-digit growth for the third-consecutive year and jobless growth for the second year. Gopal Mahadevan, CFO of Ashok Leyland, says, 'Earlier mechanical engineers were going to the IT industry but now they're coming back. There appears a reverse brain drain happening and suddenly we're getting lots of applications from this segment, much more than in the last 3 years.' According to the Naukri Jobspeak data for March 2018, there has been significant hiring growth for the auto industry. The sector has witnessed a 33% growth in March 2018 compared to March 2017. Rajan Wadhera, President of Automotive Division at Mahindra & Mahindra, says, 'The IT allure is beginning to wear off as that segment has almost reached a saturation point. The pay growth is also not as good as it once was. So the attraction to join the auto industry is back.' Thammaiah B. N., MD of Kelly Services, says, 'Product specialists are in demand and their experience levels are in the tune of 8 to 10 years or higher. The auto industry itself has stepped up its hiring by 30% and IT has been a major contributor.' Read on...
The Economic Times:
Automobile industry is the new IT for India's engineers
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 mar 2018
Ineffectively designed education and training system breeds unemployability. As former President of India Late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had rightly once said, 'It is not unemployment, which is a major problem; it is the question of 'unemployability', which is a bigger crisis.' According to the recent TeamLease Services' survey report 'Industry Opportunity Based Vocational Course Design', that included 105 organisation and 65 students, 'The vocational education ecosystem in its current form has not succeeded in creating adequate employable job seekers in India as more than 60% candidates and employers find these courses ineffective.' The report also mentions that only 18% of the students undergoing voc-ed (vocational education) courses get jobs, of which merely 7% are formal jobs. The survey highlights the reasons of disconnect between courses and industry - unavailability of quality academic content, lack of funds and negative perception about courses. Neeti Sharma, SVP of TeamLease, says, 'With advancement in technology, improved infrastructure and easy access to domestic and global market, job profiles are continuously and rapidly evolving every day. The need of the hour is advanced vocational skills training...' Read on...
The Economic Times:
Vocational education mostly ineffective in India - Survey
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 mar 2018
According to the recent report based on PRIME Database, listed Indian companies that total 1019 have spent Rs. 9034 crore in 2017-18 to fund their CSR (Corporate Social Resposibility) projects and activities. Nearly 37% of these funds were used for education and vocational skill training activities. This development area also witnessed the largest absolute increase in allocation of resources and funds. Moreover, the biggest increase was found in activities that support and benefit the armed forces veterans, war widows and their dependents. Other focus areas that saw increased in expenditure were community development, infrastructure, environment sustainability, social welfare, sports, and slum development. But, eradication of hunger and poverty, and promotion of healthcare and sanitation had expenditure decreased by 18.6%, from Rs. 2944 crore to Rs. 2394 crore. Report by KPMG, 'India CSR Reporting Survey 2017', showed that while education and healthcare have been in focus for the past three years, organizations have slowly begun diversifying their area and geography of development in the last one year. Another recent report found the total CSR expenditure figure at Rs. 7050 crores and said that out of India's top 100 firms, 59 met their CSR targets, while 33 companies had an expenditure of less than required 2%. This report also listed educational projects, rural development, and healthcare as the key focus areas of the companies. Read on...
India Inc.'s CSR spend highest on education and skilling - Report
Author: Manav Seth
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 feb 2018
Challenges in healthcare provide opportunities to create new business models. Home healthcare is one such model that is currently getting more organized and seeking success in India's healthcare ecosystem. According to Cyber Media Research (CMR), the market stood at around US$ 3.20 billion in 2016, and is expected to grow to around US$ 4.46 billion by 2018 and US$ 6.21 billion in 2020. Vivek Srivastava, CEO and co-founder of Healthcare atHome, says, 'Home healthcare services are an extension of hospital services into the patient's house and providing personalized care by competent professionals. Home healthcare companies work with hospitals to widen their reach, by freeing the beds for new patients while covering almost 70% of all healthcare requirements of a consumer and extending to management of lifestyle and chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension etc. over a consumer's lifetime. Its advantages include cost effectiveness with excellent clinical outcomes as customers end up saving 20-50% costs as compared to regular hospital treatment depending upon the services taken...it includes customized care plans prescribed by the patient's doctor; quicker patient recovery; and professional protocol-led healthcare.' Rajiv Mathur, Founder CCU (Critical Care Unified) Health Care, says, 'Interconnectivity through devices and portability of treatments and equipments makes it feasible to provide critical care at the comfortable environs of home. Patients receive individualized care designed to meet their specific needs. Home health care enables people to recuperate in the comfort and privacy of their own home, at a cost savings of 36-50% over hospitalization or nursing home confinement.' Rajit Mehta, CEO and MD of Max Healthcare, says, 'The demand for at-home healthcare delivery is growing. At the same time, quality post-operative care in familiar surroundings has been observed to enable faster patient recovery.' Prof. Arup Mitra of Health Policy Research Unit (HPRU) at Institute of Economic Growth, says, 'Home healthcare is becoming a brisk business nowadays. As elderly population in the country is increasing very fast and more and more people want to have better social positioning, facilities such as home healthcare seem very flashy at face value and is manifestation of people's social status. It is in a preliminary stage and may prove to be an illusion in future as there is no guarantee of risks and insurance involved.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jan 2018
Social entrepreneurship ecosystem conference, 'Development Dialogue', organized by Kakatiya Sandbox, was recently held in Nizamabad (Telengana, India). Experts emphasized the need for greater collaboration between government and innovators to build the ecosystem. This year's theme was 'Collaborating for Big Bets'. Gururak Deshpande, venture capitalist, philanthropist and founder of Deshpande Foundation, says, 'We should not expect governments to innovate. Instead, we need to develop a system via philanthropic money to experiment, and if something works, the government needs to acquire it. That way we will be able to bring about transformations that are systemic and large.' NVS Reddy, Managing Director of Hyderbad Metro Rail (HMR), says, 'Out of more than 200 mass transportation projects in the world, only four metro projects are making profits. When we took up the Hyderabad Metro Project under the public-private partnership (PPP) model...world's biggest metro project...many were sceptical about its success. We were able to tackle all the challenges with a collaborative approach.' Phanindra Sama, Chief Innovation Officer of Telangana and co-founder of Kakatiya Sandbox, says, 'Governments are now open to innovative ideas. The onus is on the individuals to seize this opportunity and make an impact from within...' Read on...
The Times of India:
'Must build ecosystem for social entrepreneurship'
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 jan 2018
India's growth trajectory can slow down if firms are not able to grow and banks are not able to lend. Restructuring can be an immediate policy solution for the twin balance-sheet problem. But, for the long-term growth and job creation, the causes of financial misallocation have to be deeply considered and mitigated. Growth needs more efficient firms to produce more output and use more factors of production, which includes ease of access to bank loans. Contrary to this in India, a case of financial misallocation is a common phenonmenon, where less efficient firms get more bank loans reducing the ability of more efficient firms to grow and scale up. The cause for India's financial misallocation is distortion in the land market, as less efficient firms can access more land consequently enhancing their ability to get loans. Land provides strong collateral to access bank loans. Financial misallocation is a bigger problem in the manufacturing sector, that is more land intensive, as compared to services industry. World Bank lead economist, Ejaz Ghani, alongwith Gilles Duranton, Arti Goswami Grover and William Robert Kerr, examined plant-level data on millions of formal and informal enterprises, in both the manufacturing and services sectors, in more than 600 districts in India and provided important insights into the geographic and industry distributions of financial and land misallocation in their World Bank research report, 'Effects Of Land Misallocation On Capital Allocations In India'. According to Mr. Ghani, 'Most bank loans in the manufacturing sector are taken up by large firms in the organized sector. The small firms in the unorganized sector, which account for nearly 80% of jobs, and about half of the value of land and buildings held in the manufacturing sector, pull in a very small share of bank loans. The value of financial loans reported in the informal sector is barely 2-6% of the value of total bank loans reported in the manufacturing sector.' Mr. Ghani explains, 'We computed an index of misallocation in manufacturing and services, and the organized and unorganized sectors, in the districts. The indices of misallocation for output, value added, and factors of production were computed individually for financial loans, land and labour. India is one of the most land-scarce countries in the world. Land and financial misallocation trumps labour misallocation. The former appears to be at the root of much of the misallocation of output in the manufacturing sector...poorly functioning land and financial markets explain why India has so few start-ups; entrants are constrained by financial misallocation, and incumbents don't grow in the manufacturing sector.' Mr. Ghani recommends, 'Policy makers need to pay more attention to addressing the underlying causes of financial misallocation. This would involve removing land market distortions, better land-use regulations, and more efficient taxation of properties. Faster growth requires marching ahead with even stronger policy reforms to promote competition and innovation, and enabling more efficient firms to grow faster.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 dec 2017
Family businesses are a substantial part of India's economic landscape with two-thirds of the listed corporates (with market cap above US$ 50 million) and contributing 79% to GDP. Presently, survival rate of family businesses from first to second generation is 30%, falling sharply to 12% and then just 3% after that. Family businesses have their own set of challenges and have to continuously evolve and stay competitive. According to Vishesh C. Chandiok of Grant Thornton India, 'Typically, family businesses go through three stages over the first three generations - entrepreneurship, sibling partnership and cousins confederation. Complexity of issues at each stage changes exponentially...Technology is disrupting old family business as also giving an opportunity to the family to rapidly build or own new-age business. It's more of an opportunity than a threat for Indian family business, if they can have a well organised family office that is separate from the main business.' Pranav Sayta of Ernst & Young says, 'Often, emotional ties come in the way of mature decision-making when handing over reins, and that impacts transition after the first generation is no more.' But it is not always the case as many owners have successfully diversified their businesses and others have brought in professional management to take them to further growth and progress. Nitin Atroley of KPMG says, 'A big challenge is maintaining the same momentum and scale.' Nikhil Prasad Ojha of Bain & Company says, 'It's important to imbibe the learnings of the founders' mentality to thrive.' While the nature of businesses is changing with more technology use, it's important for GeNext to know their 'roles and goals', says Mr. Chandiok. Mr. Atroley points out, 'This era calls for a higher risk-taking ability to deal with continuous disruption that industries are going through.' Mr. Ojha comments, 'The central challenge for the next generation is to become 'scale insurgent' in their industry. They must simultaneously capture the benefits of size and retain a strong sense of founders' mentality (that is, insurgency, frontline obsession and owner mindset).' Mr. Sayta believes family businesses have a much longer term vision compared to professionally-run businesses, which are under tremendous pressure to perform and deliver in the short term. He adds, 'There will definitely be room for family businesses, provided they adapt to changing times.' Read on...
The Economic Times:
How family-run businesses are evolving amid innovation and the startup invasion
Author: Shelley Singh
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 dec 2017
Entrepreneurship as a thought process is to be inculcated at the very early stage among children. It is also essential to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem in India that brings all the elements together for entrepreneurship to thrive. In a recently held panel discussion in Hyderabad (India) on developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem, moderated by Ramesh Abhishek (Secretary at the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion), Patricia G. Greene (Director of Women's Bureau, US Department of Labour) said, 'This effort should begin right from the pre-school days in children where teachers can drive kids to become future entrepreneurs.' Another panelist, Ravi Kailas (Chairman at Mytrah Energy) said, 'The ecosystem has a huge impact on creating different types of entrepreneurs...Innovative ideas and ventures will always bring in funds.' While Amit Ranbir Chandra (MD and India Head at Bain Capital) emphasised the need for domestic capital to address the requirements of entrepreneurs and less dependency on government funding. Read on...
Inculcate entrepreneurship spirit from 'pre-school days'
Author: G. Naga Sridhar
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 nov 2017
Thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem drives business growth and economic development. India is steadily transforming itself into a major hub of tech entrepreneurship. According to Raman Roy, Chairman of NASSCOM and CEO of Quatro, 'About 1000 tech start-ups were registered this year (2017), taking their total to 5200 and making India the world's third largest start-up ecosystem.' The report 'Indian Start-up Ecosystem - Traversing the maturity cycle', compiled jointly by NASSCOM and Zinnov, was recently released. Major trends include - India is witnessing a rapid rise in the B2B tech start-up landscape, focused on verticals like healthtech, fintech, and ecommerce/aggregators; Bengaluru, Delhi/NCR and Mumbai retained their position as the key start-up hubs, with 20% of the start-ups emerging from tier-2 and tier-3 cities across the country. Some highlights of the report - 40% of the start-ups are in the B2B segment. Its share in tech start-up funding is 30%; Fin-tech start-up base is about 360, indicating 31% annual growth, with US$ 200 million funding in the first half of this year, recording a 135% annual growth; Health-based technology start-ups are 320, with 28% annual growth and attracted US$ 160 million funding in the April-September period, which is an increase of 129% in the same period of 2016. Mr. Roy says, 'With 60% start-ups, the B2C segment is focused on creating innovative business models and taking the vertical approach, securing about 70% funding in the year's first half.' R. Chandrashekhar, NASSCOM president and former Telecom Secretary, observing that the ecosystem is driven by young, diverse and inclusive entrepreneurs, says that the landscape is leading to focused domain solutions in verticals like healthcare, agriculture and education. He comments, 'We will continue its drive towards catalysing tech start-ups, build category leaders and support start-ups to create for India.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 oct 2017
India's future success will be defined on the basis of how its positive elements like demographic dividend, IT and software, manufacturing, agriculture, government initiatives (Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Startup India) etc, gel together effectively and grow. Adding to all these, focus on research, design and innovation, will further propel creation and development of new and emerging technologies and concepts. Specifically, Indian auto industry does have R&D capabilities, but it is mostly driven by foreign collaborations and partnerships. Moreover, Indian operations of most foreign auto makers rely on their global development centers when it comes to technological innovations. But the dynamics of the industry are shifting, and companies are mobilizing resources and assets towards design and development also, in addition to manufacturing. The change is also visible in the electric vehicle segment with a strong policy focus. Recent conference organized by NASSCOM and Autocar Professional was directed towards discussing the design, R&D and technology based future of the industry. Sameer Yajnik, COO-APAC of Tata Technologies, says, 'Indian engineers, thus far, have brought together just a few parts of the jigsaw puzzle in terms of vehicle development, but this is set to be transformed. With EVs, ADAS, autonomous, connected cars, et al, there are a slew of technology-driven changes that need to be responded to and India is an excellent place.' Patrick Newbery, Chief Digital Officer of Global Logic, says, 'Design and engineering work best when coupled together, and the Indian start-up ecosystem has displayed a good show of that already...Amalgamating design and engineering, as well as with its ability to innovate and create as a response-stimulus to change, India holds a strong place in developing new future technologies, where even the US would be looking outside to outsource these innovative solutions. There is more likelihood of innovation coming out of such environment.' Current spend in automotive engineering and R&D of Europe is 35%, that of US is 25% and, India's is at 10%. This is expected to triple in next 3 years. Sanjeev Verma, CEO of Altran India, says, 'India holds a very important place in the whole jigsaw and especially can play a great role in designing passive safety and IoT systems...With the whole ecosystem springing up now, the next three to four years are going to be extremely transformational for the development vertical in the Indian automotive sector.' Commenting on design in India, Raman Vaidyanathan of Tech Mahindra says, 'Indian engineering is bound to be more frugal, compared to the rest of the world because of the country’s legacy in being cost conscious. This is very positive as it implies that a good quality product, designed and developed to a cost in India could be produced in the emerged markets, while the reverse is going to prove rather expensive.' The challenge of skilled human resources in design and engineering in India remains. NASSCOM has started a foundation course in integrated product development that has reached 1000 colleges since CY2015. Government, academica and industry has to come up with integrated strategies that need to be applied to upgrade the knowledge and skills of graduates coming out of technology institutes and ensure success of design, research and development in India. Read on...
Beyond Make in India - Design and develop in India now imperative
Authors: Sumantra B. Barooah, Mayank Dhingra
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 oct 2017
Festive season brings attractive offerings from businesses to influence customers to buy more. Sometimes these offerings can be wrapped in unwanted and unreal freebies and discounts. Understand the following tricks to avoid overspending during festive seasons - (1) The unreal urgency: Sales and discounts happen all the year round. There is no need to rush. If you missed one, there will be another. (2) Useless freebies: Don't fall for unwanted free gifts. Direct price discounts on individual items are good alternatives. (3) The fear of loss: When proper research is done before purchase, the best deals can be found all the year round, not just during festive season. Look for the deal that is most suitable. (4) Big savings: The promise of big discounts can be unreal and may not be available at the time of buying. It may just be an advertising attraction with many conditions in the footnote. (5) The deceptive discounts: Deceptive discounts come with asterix. You might actually overspend then what you wanted to. Here are few suggestions to buy only what/when you want and need - (1) Prioritize (2) Postpone your purchase (3) Resist peer pressure (4) Don't shop to de-stress. Performing sufficient market research before the purchase is best to avoid traps and get most value. Read on...
The Economic Times:
Festive season sales could be a trap - Here's how to find out
Author: Devansh Sharma
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 sep 2017
Team of architects at Ant Studio (India) - Monish Siripurapu, Abhishek Sonar, Atul Sekhar, Sudhanshu Kumar - have used computational technologies (CFD Analysis) and reinvented the traditional evaporative cooling technique to lower temperature of emissions from an electronics factory with less cost, energy consumption and impact on surrounding environment. Ancient Egyptians, Persians and later on Mughals in India utilized the evaporative cooling technique to overcome hot climate. According to a research study by Prof. Asif Ali of Aligarh Muslim University (India), published in International Transaction Journal of Engineering, Management, & Applied Sciences & Technologies (2013), 'The emperor's throne at the centre of Diwan-e-Khas is surrounded by two sets of openings four meters apart from each other. These openings were covered with grass mats with sprinkled water during summers...' The architects from Ant Studio stacked cylindrical terracotta cones, giving it a circular shape, and water was made to run over them. Hot air coming from the generators passed over the system lowering the temperature substantially. Further technical details of the system can be obtained from an ArchDaily.com article 'This Innovative Cooling Installation Fights Soaring Temperatures in New Delhi.' Monish Siripurapu, founder of Ant Studio, says, 'As an architect, I wanted to find a solution that is ecological and artistic, and at the same time evolves traditional craft methods...I believe this experiment worked quite well functionally. Findings from this attempt opened up a lot more possibilities where we can integrate this technique with forms that could redefine the way we look at cooling systems, a necessary yet ignored component of a building’s functionality. Every installation could be treated as an art piece...The circular profile can be changed into an artistic interpretation while the falling waters lend a comforting ambience. This, intermingled with the sensuous petrichor from the earthen cylinders allow for it to work in any environment with the slightest of breeze. Having said that, there are many factories throughout the country that face a similar issue and this is a solution that can be easily adopted and a widespread multiplication of this concept may even assist the local potters.' Read on...
Architects in India Use Natural Cooling to Take the Edge off Factory Emissions
Author: Vittoria Traverso
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2017
Industry experts are bullish on India's agriculture and suggest that it has potential to double farmer's income and grow exports to US$ 100 billion by 2022. Rajju Shroff, President of Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI) and MD of United Phosphorus Ltd, says, 'Globally, exports in agricultural products is over US$ 1500 billion annually as per the latest data from WTO and India's share is less than US$ 35 billion at present.' According to the latest report by Centre for Environment and Agriculture (Centegro) and Tata Strategic Management Group, released by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, 'Agriculture's contribution to India's economy extends beyond the rural economy and encompasses many activities in manufacturing and services sector. Export surplus from the country's agricultural trade is higher than the corresponding figure achieved by the manufacturing sector.' Report urges the government to launch 'Grow In India' campaign to achieve gains in agri-exports with a single authority to monitor India's international agricultural trade. Report suggests that organic farming is not sustainable because of low yield and need for huge amount of unavailable manure. Mr. Shroff explains the dynamics of India's agricultural growth, 'This is all due to small and marginal farmers who deploy family labour and engage in intensive multi cropping all year round. They also manage livestock & poultry efficiently using agriculture waste as animal feed and to produce manure.' Read on...
The Economic Times:
Agriculture exports may grow to $100 billion by 2022 - Experts
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 aug 2017
Agriculture is a critical component of the economy and farmers are the nation's backbone. India's 2017 food-grains production is around 273.83 million metric tonne. World Bank predicts Indian food-grain production to reach 280.6 million metric tonne by the year 2020-21. Following are key areas that India's agriculture should pursue for growth and development - (1) Demand Strength: Large population is key driver of agrarian demand growth; Rise in urban and rural income; Increase export demand particularly from Middle-East and Central Asia. (2) Attractive Opportunities: Hybrid seeds; Chemical Fertilizers; Organic Fertilizers. (3) Competitive Advantages: High proportion of over 157 million hectares of agrarian land; Leads in production of jute, pulses, milk, buffalo meat export; Second largest producer of wheat and paddy. (4) Government Policies: Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana has led to development of various organic clusters with very low chemical dependency; Pradhan Mantri Gram Sinchai Yojana has also played a major role to irrigate the agrarian lands; Step towards unified agriculture market; 100% FDI under automatic route for development of seeds; Reduction in wheat import duty from 10% to almost zero and capping import limits to two lakh tonnes by importers in pulses. (5) Development Of Rabi And Kharif Seasons: Kharif season (Summer - April to September) mainly for paddy and Rabi season (Winter - October to March) for wheat production, have registered good growth. In March 2017, almost 64.5 million hectares of agricultural land were sown, out of which over 19 million hectares land was insured during Rabi season. More than 16.4 million farmers were benefitted by the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 aug 2017
According to the Economic Survey 2016-17 (Vol. II), employment in India poses a great challenge in terms of its structure, with it being dominated by informal, unorganised and seasonal workers. It highlighted the deceleration in hiring being faced by the IT-BPM (Business Process Management) sector. It said, 'The IT-BPM industry is also feeling the pinch of the global slowdown and global political uncertainties as clients go slow on their decision-making and investment processes.' The survey cited McKinsey report, saying that nearly half of the workforce in the IT services firms will be "irrelevant" over the next 3-4 years and the bigger challenge ahead for the industry will be to retrain 50-60% of the workforce with a significant shift in technologies. The survey also noted that the growth in digital tech like cloud-based services is happening at a much faster pace and the companies have to learn new technologies and reskill. It quotes 2016 World Bank report that said, automation threatens 69% of the jobs in India, while it threatens 77% in China. The survey added that skilled labour force is essential to meet diversified demands of a growing economy, to tap the benefit of demographic dividend. According to India Skill Report 2016, the present demographic advantage of India is predicted to last only till 2040. Read on...
Adoption of new technologies, reskilling key for job growth
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 aug 2017
According to Prof. Pritam Singh, Oxford Brookes University (UK), BRICS nations will lead the global economy and play vital role in spatial shift of the global capitalist economy. While speaking at expert session on 'Global Economic and Environment Crisis Faced by BRICS Economies' at Chandigarh University, Prof. Singh said, '...By 2050, if the Indian economy continues to maintain the current growth pace (GDP growth 7%), it will be the dominant global supplier of services while China would dominate the global manufacturing industry...' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jul 2017
The survey report 'India Digital Health Report 2017' by D Yellow Elephant (DYE), a digital and social media firm, analyzes India's 160 leading healthcare companies on the basis of their online presence, engagement levels and relevancy on 12 major online platforms. The survey categorized companies into three sections based on their performance - Digial Primes; Digital Aspirants; Digital Onlookers. Among pharmaceuticals, Pfizer topped the Digital Prime category. In diagnostics segment, Apollo Diagnostic is the leader. While, in the hospital segment, Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital and Medical Research Centre topped the category. The report placed 14% of the companies in the Digital Prime category, 54% in Digital Aspirants and 32% in Digital Onlookers. The report also finds that internet penetration in India is currently 35% with 23% Y-on-Y growth in its users. By 2020, India is expected to be home to 730 million internet users with as many as 175 million online shoppers. DYE projects healthcare sector in India growing at a fast pace and is currently values at US$ 100 billion. The sector is expected to touch US$ 280 billion by 2020 at a CAGR growth of 23%. Moreover, private equity and venture capital funding in the sector has gone up by 13 times from US$ 94 million in 2011 to US$ 1275 million in 2016, with an increase of 2.27% against 1.97% in overall health budget. Read on...
Elets eHealth Magazine:
Survey reveals the digital health of Indian healthcare sector
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 jul 2017
India's share of the US$ 54 billion global HR technology market is about US$ 600-700 million. Traditional human resource practices are undergoing tech-driven transformation. According to experts, use of modern HRTech can help India Inc improve productivity and save millions of dollars by optimal use of human resources. Recent study by PeopleStrong predicts that India Inc can save at least US$ 600 million annually by 2021 using HRTech. Jagjit Singh, Chief People Officer at PwC India, says, 'The shift to HR applications in the cloud and artificial intelligence to use predictive data analytics has the potential to transform the entire HR landscape by taking away transactional roles and replacing them with strategic partnering roles...' Anshul Bhargava, Chief People Officer at PNB Housing Finance, says, 'Backed by concrete information and more efficient processes, the hiring process and employee efficiency have improved with the application of analytics.' Dinesh R. of OYO says, 'HR function is increasingly relying on technology to drive results and more predictable outcomes.' Pankaj Bansal, Co-founder and CEO at PeopleStrong, says, 'The new world of work will see employees taking control of their digital landscape of work and will be the decision makers of what gets used by organisations...' Read on...
The Economic Times:
India Inc can save millions by using HR technologies - Experts
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 jun 2017
Healthcare analytics can help in building better patient-doctor relationships for better health outcomes, achieving better operational efficiencies, personalization at a larger scale, targeted customer acquisition and more. Madhu Aravind, CEO of Searchlight Health, explores India's healthcare analytics scenario and what impact it can have in addressing the challenges faced by India's healthcare ecosystem. India's healthcare have some fundamental issues - Cost of healthcare is increasing at 20%; Shortage of 1.5 million doctors and 2 million hospital beds; Only about 5% of the middles class have health insurance. According to Mr. Aravind, 'If healthcare analytics needs to have an impact in India, then it has to tackle some of these fundamental issues...If one can aggregate information from multiple sources and build models that leverage these technologies (Natural Language Processing; Imgage recognition; Speech analysis; Large-scale computing power), then real value creation is possible.' FOR HOSPITALS: Customer acquitisition; Operational efficieny; Clinical delivery. 'The advent of digitization, abundant computing power and new age machine learning models, will enable the formulation of principles from observations from millions of people, creating the foundation for personalized medicine.' FOR INSURERS: Increase middle class coverage; Create customized products; 'Understand disease propensity in detail and also fully model the cost of care needed to manage various conditions.' FOR PHARMACEUTICAL SECTOR: Real world evidence to power R&D, clinical trials etc. India's healthcare analytics faces challenges - Lack of skilled talent; HealthTech spending is less than 1% of the health organization's budget. Read on...
The Economic Times:
Healthcare analytics in India - Opportunities and challenges
Author: Madhu Aravind
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 may 2017
India's demographic dividend can only achieve full potential if its young population continues to update their skills, the private sector continues to upgrade its processes, technologies and management practices to remain profitable and growth oriented, and government continues to improve infrastructure, ease regulations to do business, and attract internal and foreign funds as investments in various industries and businesses. Approximately half of India's 1.2 billion people are under the age of 26. By 2020, around 64% of India's population will be in the working age group of 15-64 years, and it is forecast to be the youngest country in the world, with a median age of 29. Moreover, India is a US$ 2 trillion economy, growing at approximately 7% year on year. It has a strong domestic focus with approximately 75% of the GDP generated on domestic consumption. India's demographic dividend will work in favour of the Indian economy when its young, educated and healthy population, is trained, skilled and gainfully employed, giving rise to an upwardly mobile consumer class. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 apr 2017
According to the findings of KPMG 2017 Global Technology Innovation report, US and China continue to be the most promising markets for technology breakthroughs that have global impact, with India and the UK progressing in third and fourth place with innovative tech hubs of their own. The report is based on survey of 841 business executives globally that focus on technology, and highlights the changing landscape of disruptive technologies, with perspectives on technology innovation trends, barriers to commercialize innovation, and insights into technology innovation leading practices. Although various countries are trying to emulate Silicon Valley to develop their own technology hubs, some are finding success in their efforts while others are facing macroeconomic and infrastructure challenges. Tim Zanni, Global and US chair of KPMG Technology, Media and Technology practice, says, 'What we have seen emerge over time is the result of countries and cities striving to replicate and build on the Silicon Valley tech innovation blueprint, and their increasing degree of success. One can debate whether or not replicating Silicon Valley is possible, but the benefits of the effort are undeniable.' Mr. Zanni states in the report that growing ecosystems as tech innovation has spread across all industries, is fueling the expansion of technology innovation development. Respondents of the survey consider the following as the top global technology innovation visionaries - Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX; Tim Cook, CEO of Apple; Jack Ma, Chairman of Alibaba; Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet; Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google; Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; Bill Gates of Microsoft; Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook; Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Read on...
The Next Silicon Valley:
US and China are top innovation hubs, followed by India and UK
Author: Nitin Dahad
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 mar 2017
According to the NASSCOM Foundation report, 'Catalysing Change Through CSR', about half of the IT and financial services companies (70) interviewed have spent more than 70% of their CSR in education and employable skills initiatives. Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman of NASSCOM Foundation, says, 'Education and employable skills are the key to most of India's social problems. An industry, which has grown solely by investing into knowledge and key skills, realises the difference a skilled knowledge society can make and therefore, a major chunk of the CSR funds has been dedicated to education and employable skills.' The report finds that companies are placing greater importance on monitoring outcomes by integrating technology. Among the roadblocks cited by most companies was identification, selection and due diligence on NGOs and the absence of robust tracking process. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 mar 2017
According to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report, 'India Economic Survey 2017', although India's economy continues to grow (7% in current fiscal year), but the rate of employment has declined and it lags most other countries in creating quality jobs. Over 30% of youth aged 15-29 in India are Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETs). This is more than double the OECD average and almost three times that of China. Isabelle Joumard, senior economist at OECD, says, 'NEETs include all youth left outside paid employment and formal education and training systems. They are NEET because there are not enough quality jobs being created in the system and because they have little incentives or face too high constraints to be in the education and training systems.' OECD points out complexity and strictness of labor laws and restrictive employment protection legislation compared with other emerging economies, as some of the several factors responsible for India's poor performance. Ms. Joumard adds, 'Thus, corporates in India tend to rely more on temporary contract labour, stay small or substitute labour for capital to avoid strict labour laws. Apart from that, corporate income tax has created a giant bias against labour-intensive activities.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 feb 2017
According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian healthcare industry is currently pegged at around US$ 158 billion and is expected to hit US$ 280 billion by 2020. Alpna Doshi, CIO at Philips, while recently speaking on 'Digitalization of Healthcare' at NASSCOM India Leadership Forum, says, 'Unequal access, poor quality and rising costs are three key challenges faced by the healthcare industry.' She adds that these challenges are bringing new opportunities, particularly in the area where technology and healthcare converge. Predictive analytics, home-based healthcare, remote health monitoring with mobile devices and applications, are some prominent areas. Som Mittal, former President and Chairman of NASSCOM, says, 'While access to all will be there as connectivity improves, how can we make healthcare affordable?' And for this, he comments that technology needs to be responsible, citing high margins that are charged for medical devices. Ms. Doshi adds that healthcare companies cannot survive on lower margins, unless the volumes justify those margins. Tie ups with NGOs she said, was one way to increase volumes and thereby bring down costs. Automation in healthcare industry will become more prevalent. She points out that augmented reality and artificial intelligence will further disrupt the healthcare industry. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jan 2017
Economists from Deloitte, Richa Gupta and Rishi Shah, explain the emerging risks that India's economy faces - (1) Protectionist Trade Polices: G20s in 2016 took restrictive trade measures. Such policies create uncertainties as they are meant to provide immediate stimulus and therefore tend to be more variable and less consistent. In addition India, large importer of oil, also get affected by OPEC cuts and hardening prices. (2) Global Growth Faltering: Global growth is expected to pick up in current fiscal on a premise of US stability and higher growth, stable China and rebound in some emerging economies. China's policy of expected Yuan devaluation would affect India as it would mean depreciation of the domestic currency to maintain competitiveness. (3) Brexit and its Implications: Uncertainties and possibility of 'Hard Brexit' will impact India due to linkages in financial markets as adverse events would cause some outflow of funds. (4) Effect of Demonetisation: Expected 7.1% growth for FY17 would further get affected due to demonitisation that resulted in consumer's inability and hesitancy to spend. This will lead to short-term vicious cycle of lower expected consumption feeding into lower investment expectation. (5) Disruption on GST: Disruptions would emerge as the numerous small businesses learn to adapt to not only a new taxation system but also to an incremental digital framework for compliance with the new regime. Read on...
The Economic Times:
Five risks that may hamper India's economic growth
Authors: Richa Gupta, Rishi Shah
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 jan 2017
Marc Faber, editor and publisher of 'The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report', while speaking on Indian economy, says, 'It does not matter whether India grows at 5% per annum or 7% per annum but if you look at the next 10 years or so, you could easily expect an economy that on an average grows anywhere between 4% and 7% per annum. That is a very high growth rate compared to practically no growth expected from the US or in Europe.' On sectors that would be attractive for investments, he comments, 'In 2017, some commodity related stocks including oil and gas will be reasonably attractive. What I have noticed to be the most attractive sectors are plantation companies, agricultural companies and fertiliser companies. They have significant potential on the upside because agricultural commodity prices have been very weak since 2011. These agricultural commodity prices will pace them out and start to increase. The agricultural sector, fertilisers are relatively attractive.' Read on...
The Economic Times:
Expect India to grow between 4%-7% in next 10 years: Marc Faber
Author: Tanvir Gill
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 dec 2016
According to the recent Capgemini and Altimeter study, India is the top innovation destination in Asia and second in the world for new innovation centers. 27% of Asia's new innovation centers are now in India and globally it has 1 in every ten new innovation centers. Cumulatively, India is ranked third with 25, while top two ranked are US (146) and UK (29). Within India, Bengaluru was the favorite destination with 3 out of 11 total that opened between Mar-Oct'16. The study defines 'Innovation Centers' as non-traditional in-house hubs built by enterprises to find new trends happening across the technology ecosystem through interactions with startups, entrepreneurs and others. Their main objectives are to accelerate digital innovation, rethink customer experience, improve operational efficiency and test new business models. Current priorities shared among innovation centers focus on digital technologies such as big data, internet-of-things (IoT), social media, mobile, robotics, augmented reality and 3D printing. Read on...
The Times of India:
India ranked No. 2 innovation destination in the world
Author: Shalina Pillai
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 nov 2016
Opinions on India's demonetization policy vary from masterstroke to hasty and unplanned, and a lot of uncertainty in between. Some experts consider it as a 'short-term pain to long-term gain' scenario. Report from CRISIL, a credit rating agency, analyzes the impact of demonetization policy on the overall economy, both now and beyond - (1) Government revenues to increase, as people deposit more cash in banks and government gets opportunity to tax. (2) Fiscal deficit to narrow in medium to long-term. (3) Public investments to rise as a result of higher tax collection. More spending in infrastructure is expected. (4) Economy to grow in medium to long-term, while there is expected fall in GDP in short-term. In future, government spending will generate employment and income. (5) Inflation to fall near-term but in long-term minimal impact. (6) Increase in liquidity in banking system, an opportunity for banks to profit through lending. (7) Keeps the interest rates lower in long-term due to government's lower fiscal deficit. (8) Demand for gold will fall in short-term due to cash crunch. But in long-term gold hoarding will increase leading more gold imports and higher import bill which means a larger Current Account Deficit (CAD). (9) Digital payments will increase, enhancing the trend toward cashless economy. (10) Sectors affected include real estate, jewellery and cement, as most transactions are in cash. Luxury auto sector will also get impacted. Organized retail sector will benefit due to digital transations. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 nov 2016
There is always a difference of opinion when it comes to whether entrepreneurship is an inherent trait or it can be taught and learned. Both sides seem to have reasonable examples to justify their perspective. For those who value the concept of entreprenuership in business or are contemplating to tread entrepreneurial path, here are some good reads - (1) 'Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish' by Rashmi Bansal (2) 'Creativity Inc.' by Ed Catmull (3) 'Zero to None' by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel (4) 'Business Start Up 101' by Chris Gattis (5) 'The Four Hour Work Week' by Timothy Ferriss (6) 'How To Win Friends And Influence People' by Dale Carnegie (7) 'The Life and Business Lessons of Warren Buffett' by George Ilian (8) 'The Fountain Head' by Ayn Rand (9) 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napoleon Hill. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 oct 2016
Design is critical for national and industrial competitiveness. Prof. Sanjay Dhande, former director of IIT-Kanpur and chief mentor of design-centered Avantika University, explains the value of design in India's competitiveness for manufacturing and service industries, analyzes the evolution of design education and suggests how India can further develop design education to impart skills and training, and nurture creative talent that keeps it at the cutting edge of innovation and design. He says, 'By incorporating design, which by and large shapes our ideas better is inherent in our every act. We design, we create experiences to make the life of individuals more comfortable, information readily available, work more efficient, spaces more convivial, and in turn making peoples' life more meaningful...The government of India has initiated a consultee approach with industry and designers to develop the broad contours for a combined vision towards a design enabled Indian industry.' National Institute of Design was first setup in 1961 by Government of India based on the report on design education developed by American industrial designer duo Charles Eames and his wife Ray Eames. Since then, to fulfil the demand of growing design professionals, number of institutes have come into existence over the years, giving rise to a thriving design ecosystem. But to maintain high quality of design education is an obvious challenge. According to Prof. Dhande, 'Though with a faster-changing world even the standards in design education are very high. And the question remains around how can we remove the loopholes and sustain a high-quality education from a conventional structure?...There is a growing need to eradicate the redundancies in the traditional course curriculum. A strategic streamlining of the education structure which offers practice exposure encourages focussed learning is much required.' He suggests continously evolving and innovation directed approach to design education, starting with admission process, practical learning, quest for right faculty, learning environment and a specialization focus. He concludes, 'Innovation is essential to be able to adapt to, for creating that difference in Indian design education to help students work better in unpredictable market conditions and intense global competition. Incremental improvements by themselves will not do and hence the listed points will help address improve the quality of design training in India.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 sep 2016
According to the conditions set forth in the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Law in India, all companies with a net worth of Rs 500 crore or revenue of Rs 1000 cr or net profit of Rs 5 cr should spend 2% of last 3 years average profit on charity work. CSR management firm, NextGen, studied the annual reports of the top 100 firms by market capitalizations on NSE (National Stock Exchange) for 2014-15 & 91 firms for 2015-16. The total spend on CSR activities for 91 firms is Rs 6033 cr for FY16, while it was Rs 4760 cr by 100 companies in FY15. According to Abhishek Humbad, co-founder of NextGen, 'More and more companies are realizing that not meeting 2% makes them look bad, and for large companies, it can turn out be a reputational risk.' The energy sector accounted for nearly 26% of the total CSR spending. Reliance was the largest spender in FY16, using 2.3% of its profit (Rs 652 cr) on education, health and other social activities. Jagannatha Kumar at chairman's office of RIL says, 'The amount spent on each of the focus areas varies on an annual basis depending on the scope of work for the year.' In FY16 RIL spend on healthcare halved to Rs 314 cr while on education it increased to Rs 215 cr from Rs 18 cr in FY15. According to Parul Soni of Thinkthrough Consulting, a CSR consultancy, 'Manufacturing companies like automotive have been well poised to do CSR because they focus on communities around their plants and it helps build engagement with local communities. Also, many of them are working in skill development.' Some of the top causes that corporates spend on are healthcare, poverty eradication, education, skill development, rural development, and environment. Noshir Dadrawala, CEO of Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy, says, 'Skills have been trendy. These causes have seen an increase because many of the skilling initiatives instead of being classified as an education initiative is being put under providing employment and reducing poverty. Also when it comes to healthcare, conducting blood donation camps is a popular way of doing CSR as it is easy and effective.' Ravi Chellam, ED of Greenpeace, points out that environment is not a priority issue for most Indian corporates. He says, 'On environmental issues, companies seem to prefer to focus on either their own campuses or areas immediately surrounding their locations.' According to Loveleen Kacker, CEO of Tech Mahindra Foundation, '50% of all our CSR capital goes into empowering women and another 10% for the disabled. We believe that any development can happen in any of the areas - from nutrition to sanitation, only when women are empowered. And we feel only economic empowerment of women can bring about social empowerment.' The top geographical regions that were beneficiary of CSR funds for FY16 are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka. Vinod Kulkarni, head of CSR at Tata Motors Ltd, says, 'It is part of our policy to invest CSR funds in geographies in close proximity to our area of operation. It amplifies the outcomes and impact.' Arun Nagpal, co-founder of Mrida Group, comments, 'The reasons for firms to select geographies close to manufacturing plants or areas of work are valid but this leads to an imbalance in the division of CSR funding.' Read on...
Firms ramp up CSR focus on healthcare, poverty, hunger
Authors: Arundhati Ramanathan, Moyna Manku
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 sep 2016
According to McKinsey report, India's manufacturing sector will grow six-fold by 2025, to US$ 1 trillion, while creating up to 90 million domestic jobs. Dattatreya Gaur, VP and head of Businesss Unit at Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions, explains the opportunities in India's manufacturing and it's evolution led by digital transformation and smart manufacturing. According to him, 'In manufacturing, the potential for cyber-physical systems to improve productivity in the production process and supply chain is vast; this is an opportunity...The main objective of Industry 4.0 is the task to convert this data into information and then into knowledge in real time, in order to make the process more productive, more flexible, to improve the quality and so on. It is a concept of intelligent value chain organisation where the man, machine and material are connected and talk to each other through enablers such as the cyber-physical systems and Internet of Things (IoT)...In the industry of the future, the product will become an information carrier and pilot its own way through the production process. Industry 4.0 is less of a revolution and more of an evolution.' Explaining Industry 4.0 in India's context, he says, 'Industry 4.0 is relevant for India; it is completely in concurrence to 'Make in India' campaign. The number of people using a smartphone in India is huge. This, for us, is a big opportunity. India is the third largest user base for internet and second largest for smartphones. India is also the IT hub. The huge number of software engineers plus the affinity of Indians towards mathematics and technology should provide the perfect recipe for Industry 4.0.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 sep 2016
In the fast paced technology industry, knowledge and skills get obsolete as soon as anything new, effective and valuable comes into the market. Job candidates should continuously update and upgrade their skillset to stay relevant and get hired in the better paid bracket of the technology market. They also have to anticipate the shifts and trends in technologies and acquire the know-how from the best sources. Online courses in many technological domains are just a click away. With just a reasonable internet access, anyone in India can access courses from around the world. Key is when to select what course from which provider. According to Kabir Chadha of Coursera, 'We see a lot of demand for high-tech skills and certifications. Technology and computer science courses register more than half of all the enrollments in India. Computer Science and Data Science lead the pack at 25% and 18% respectively...Most Indian learners associate such courses as a medium to gain skill sets for a new job or enhance their existing job profiles. A lot of users also use our courses to enhance their application for higher education...' Following are some tech courses that can help get a better job in India - (1) R Programming: It is the next programming language that is used in a variety of domains including software development, business analysis, statistical reporting and scientific research. (2) Machine Learning: According to Packt, Machine Learning is one of the most in-demand skills in 2016. (3) Python Programming: IT experts suggest that Python should be the first programming language of a programmer. (4) How to create a website in the weekend: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of web developers is projected to grow 20 per cent from 2012 to 2022. (5) Data Science: Harvard Business Review considers the job of data scientist as the 'Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 aug 2016
Machine tools industry is critical for the success of 'Make in India' and 'Skill India' initiatives. V. Anbu, Director General of the Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers' Association (IMTMA), explains, 'Machine tools are considered a strategic industry segment. It is part and parcel of manufacturing, particularly discreet manufacturing segments such as automobiles, defence, railways, plastic machinery, medical electronics and white goods.' GLOBAL SCENARIO: 'Japan and Germany are strong in production and degree of sophistication/technology level. Global production of machine tools is worth around US$ 84 billion. In volume, China leads the pack; in technological maturity, Germany and Japan are at the same level. China's machine tool production is about US$ 24 billion.' INDIA'S MACHINE TOOL INDUSTRY: 'The Indian machine tool industry will touch US$ 1 billion in 2016. We are looking at getting into high-end manufacturing in sectors like railways, defence and aerospace. Automotive will become bigger, while medical electronics is also expected to grow...India is the 10th biggest market for machine tools. Of the market size of Rs 10,300 crore, domestic production is worth Rs 4,500 crore, which is about 42%. India has limited capability when it comes to high-accuracy machine tools.' INDIAN GOVERNMENT'S ROLE: 'We need much faster, single-window clearances. We are also looking forward to results on GST, policy on land acquisition, and ease of doing business...The government must create a financial mechanism to allow Indian companies to acquire firms abroad.' ISSUES WITH INDIA'S MACHINE TOOL INDUSTRY: 'Technology-gap is one major issue. To have an efficient model or mechanism for companies, they need to improve their own technology. Supply-chain is another issue. Payments and taxation and procurement are the other issues.' SKILL GAPS AND ROLE OF IMTMA: 'We are looking at bringing depth to manufacturing which will help the end-user. IMTMA conducts about 150 training programmes all year. Over 35 companies have lent their support to this initiative...Broad domains that are covered include productivity, design, maintenance, and automation. Most programmes are on metal cutting. We have deliberately added a few topics on metal forming too.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 aug 2016
The competition is heating up between the US technology giants, Google and Facebook, to provide internet access to India's substantially untapped market of 1.25 billion people. Google has already taken a slight lead by clinching a deal with Indian Railways to provide high-speed Wi-Fi services at railroad stations. These services are currently free but would become paid eventually. The number of users is presently about 2 million for the 23 stations that have the hot spots and is expected to increase to 10 million for 100 in future. After the earlier setback in 2015 for its Free Basics scheme that was struck down by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Facebook is getting back in the race by initiatives that provide internet services in the rural parts of India. The scheme is called Express Wi-Fi and streamlines the process through which people buy data allocations from local Internet service providers. Currently, it allows people to use their purchased data bundles through one of 125 rural Wi-Fi hot spots. Both companies seems to be looking at long-term stay in the Indian market and will monetize their services at the right time. The strong advertising model that both these companies have will finally make their efforts and investments profitable in future. Read on...
MIT Technology Review:
Facebook and Google Are Racing to Supply India with Internet Access
Author: Jamie Condliffe
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 aug 2016
According to a research paper by McKinsey Global Institute titled, 'India's Ascent: Five Opportunities for Growth and Transformation' [Authors: Noshir Kaka; Anu Madgavkar; Rajat Gupta; Shirish Sankhe; Jonathan Woetzel; Jacques Bughin; Ashwin Hasyagar; Shishir Gupta], there are five areas that could have a substantial impact on India's economy - (1) From poverty to empowerment: Acceptable living standards for all (2) Sustainable urbanization: Building India's growth engines (3) Manufacturing for India, in India (4) Riding the digital wave: Harnessing technology for India's growth (5) Unlocking the potential of India's women. But the paper suggests that this will require leaders at all levels - local, state and national - to adopt new approaches to governance and provision of services. Moreover, the government agencies must ramp up their capabilities to meet the enormous challenge. It's been 25 years since the economic liberalization process got started and India has been able to improve living standards of its citizens, but there is lot more to be done. The report explains, 'It (India) offers attractive long-term potential, powered largely by a consuming class that we expect will more than triple, to 89 million households, by 2025. The challenge for Indian policy makers is to manage growth in such a way that it creates the basis for sustainable economic performance. India's transformation into a global economic force has yet to fully benefit all Indians.' It further says, 'To achieve its full potential, the country will need to address deprivation using a new set of parameters that address quality of life and access to basic services. This is certainly within India's capacity, but it will require policy makers to promote an agenda that emphasizes job creation, growth-oriented investment, farm-sector productivity, and innovative social programmes so that the benefits actually reach the people who need them.' Read on...
Five areas that could have an impact on India's economy
Author: Pretika Khanna
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 jul 2016
According to the latest CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) survey of 200 Indian firms of varying sizes, the Business Confidence Index rose to 57.2 points in April-June of FY17, compared to 54.1 in the previous quarter. Indian companies are more confident in the first quarter of the current financial year about the macroeconomy and their own companies than any of the previous six quarters. But excess capacity is putting the brakes on these companies to increase their investments. Survey found the following key concerns of the Indian companies - Weak global recovery; Low consumption demand; High borrowing costs; Lack of political consensus on economic reforms. CII said, 'So far this year, price pressures have been on the rise due to increasing food and fuel costs and in expectation of the salary and wage increase of central government employees under the 7th Pay Commission. However, a normal monsoon may provide some relief from food inflation in the latter half of the year.' About 43% attributed the recovery in corporate sector to increased government spending, while 41% of the respondents attributed this recovery to increased consumption demand (private consumption expenditure). Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 jul 2016
'Keep striving for success,' says Azim Premji, one of India's most successful entrepreneurs and generous philanthropist. Taking charge at Wipro at the age of 21 and steering it from a vegetable oil manufacturer to a diversified global congolomerate, with interests in IT, BPO, consulting, lighting, healthcare, education etc, Mr. Premji has probably seen it all in the world of business and management. Biplab Ghosh, founder of KnowStartup, shares the 10 lessons from him for entrepreneurial success - (1) Know your strength: He says, 'It is important to cherish the good in us because it is only our strengths that helps us correct our weaknesses.' (2) Be far-sighted: He believes change is inevitable and 'being forewarned is being forearmed' even when things are going right. (3) Stay grounded: He advises young entrepreneurs to remain down to earth when they have achieved success. When success gets into the head, the path to failure has begun. (4) Stick to your values: He believes that one's value system forms the core of the business. According to him, once you stand by what you believe and don't compromise with it under any circumstances then you become resilient to stand up to crisis, a quality much adored in entrepreneurs. (5) Have faith: He has always believed that it is important to have faith in one's own ideas, even when everyone around tells you it is impossible. (6) Take charge: Readiness to accept challenges earlier on and show leadership, is an important lesson from his long and successful business career. (7) Trust your gut instincts: He says, 'It is important to realize that our intuition is a very important part of decision making. Many things are recorded by our subconscious. Use both sides of the brain. Even that is not enough. Some decisions need the use of the heart as well. When you use your mind and heart together, you may get a completely new and creative answer.' (8) Learn to work in teams: He believes that the challenges ahead are so complex that no individual will be able to face them alone. Unless you build a strong network of people with complimentary skills, you will be restricted by your own limitations. Ability to become an integral part of a cross-cultural team will be a must for your success. (9) Never lose your zest and curiosity: He says, 'Remaining on top of what you need to know will become one of the greatest challenges for you. The natural zest and curiosity for learning is one of the greatest drivers for keeping updated on knowledge...I personally spend at least 10 hours every week on reading. If I do not do that, I will find myself quickly outdated.' (10) Dealing with stress: He feels that the stress that a young person faces today while beginning his or her career is the same as the last generation faced at the time of retirement. These are times when our jobs have become more complex even though some new technology is being rolled out almost every day. It's only natural to get stressed under such circumstances. Develop your own mechanism for dealing with stress. Unless you take care of yourself there is no way you can take care of others. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 jun 2016
According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) report, 'Scaling New Heights: Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor, India's First Coastal Corridor' (Authors - Sabyasachi Mitra, Rana Hasan, Manoj Sharma, Hoe Yun Jeong, Manish Sharma, Arindam Guha), the service sector has been a driver of the Indian economy but the country needs to expand its manufacturing base - through initiatives like Make in India and the development of economic corridors - if it hopes to reach the next level of growth. Here are 12 main things to know about Indian economy, manufacturing and 'Make in India' - (1) India is the world's third largest economy. (2) Service sector is main driver of economic growth and contribute substantially to GDP. (3) India major exporter of IT, BPO, & software expertise through skilled workers. (4) Service sector employs less than 1/3rd of labor force. (5) India's manufacturing has lagged. Only 17% of GDP, while Malaysia has 24% and Thailand has 33%. (6) Manufacturing sector lags due to bad infrastructure, complex regulations, limited finance and inadequate supply of skilled workers. (7) Indian government recognizes that to spread benefits of economic growth, manufacturing sector need to be strengthened. (8) India seeks to increase manufacturing's share to GDP to 25% and create 100 million jobs within a decade. (9) Indian government is promoting 'Make in India' initiative and trying to attract global firms for investments through tax incentives and simplified regulations. (10) India is promoting manufacturing through development of economic corridors, routes along which goods and people move. (11) Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor is the India's first and most advanced econoic corridor. (12) In line with 'Make in India', Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor is being developed as the first coastal economic corridor. Read on...
Manufacturing and Make in India - 12 Things to Know
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 jun 2016
Dr. Amantha Imber's new book, 'The Innovation Formula: The 14 Keys for Creating a Culture where Innovation Thrives', provides an authoritative curation of insights into innovation. Dr. Imber is an innovation psychologist and founder of Australian innovation consultancy Inventium. The book draws upon author's experiences, academic journals and research studies on innovation. It begins with an 'innovation culture audit' based on a survey of 28 questions, that will help assess an organisation's readiness and journey on the innovation path. The tips and case studies are classified into four levels or units of analysis: individual, teams, leadership and organization. These levels have a total of 14 key factors of innovation. (1) INDIVIDUAL LEVEL: CHALLENGE [Imagination breakthroughs (GE), Personal development hacks (Inventium)]; AUTONOMY [Design changes (Etsy, Vimeo)]; RECOGNITION [Innovation Awards (Intuit)]. (2) TEAM LEVEL: DEBATE [Voice of Youth (Infosys), Reverse mentoring (GE, Cisco, HP)], SUPPORTIVENESS ['Flat' teams (Mirvac]; COLLABORATION [Experts from other business units (Pfizer)]. (3) LEADER LEVEL: SUPERVISOR SUPPORT [Design thinking (Disney)]; SENIOR LEADER SUPPORT [CEO office hours (FourSquare), Customer Meetups (Etsy)]; RESOURCES [Hack Days (LinkedIn), Innovation Champions (Pfizer), Toolkits (Adobe, Nestle, CBA)]; GOAL CLARITY [Innovation KPIs (Mirvac)]. (4) ORGANIZATION LEVEL: RISK-TAKING [Annual failure report (EWB), Dare To Try awards (Tata, Pfizer)]; COHESION [Buddy Program (Buzz Products)]; PARTICIPATION [Hack Weeks (Etsy)]; PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT [Central atrium (Circus Oz), Participatory office design (Mirvac)]. Dr. Imber cautions, 'Creating a culture won't happen overnight.' She sums up, 'Innovation is a learned skill.' Read on...
The Innovation Formula - 14 tips for business creativity and growth
Author: Madanmohan Rao
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 jun 2016
The Nikkei Services Business Activity Index, which maps the services sector activity, fell from 53.7 in April to 51.0 in May, pointing to a slight expansion in business activity which has been the weakest since last November. A reading above 50 represents expansion, while one below 50 means contraction. While, the Nikkei India Composite PMI Output Index, which maps both manufacturing and services sectors, fell to a six-month low of 50.9 in May, from 52.8 in April. According to Pollyanna De Lima, economist at Markit, 'Latest PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) numbers raise doubts about the effectiveness of economic and monetary policies. The gloomy growth picture will be a concern to policymakers and will raise the chances of further cuts in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This would be supported by subdued inflationary pressures, with May data pointing to weaker increases in both costs and charges.' Read on...
The Financial Express:
Services sector contracts for 2nd straight month in May
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 may 2016
India's healthcare is an opportunity that has room for growth for all - public or private, for-profit or non-profit, foreign or domestic entities. According to the latest CII-KPMG report, Indian healthcare sector is estimated to reach US$ 160 billion in 2017, accounting for about 4.2% of GDP. It is further expected to grow to US$ 280 billion by 2020. India currently spends only 1.05% of GDP on public health. Over the years, governments have tried to develop policies and have taken steps to provide better healthcare for its citizens. But India's large size, huge population (1.25 billion) and ineffective implementation at various levels, has created lop sided infrastructure and uneven development in healthcare. While bigger towns and cities have developed state of the art healthcare facilities, the rural part has lagged behind on multiple counts. Inspite of all the challenges, India is taking a stride into the next phase of healthcare, riding on technological advances, new financial models and corporatization of hospitals. Timely provision of healthcare assistance is the key to save cost and save lives. Multipronged strategy is the need of the hour. Technology, skilled and trained medical professionals, substantial investment and effective execution of best practices will help India provide what the today's citizens expect from the growing economy. Read on...
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