Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Qatar Airways denies interest in stake in SpiceJet

Qatar Airways has in its statement in response to the recent comments related to SpiceJet, pertaining to a possible stake sale, that it is not in talks to pursue a commercial stake in SpiceJet. There is no interest from the airline to engage in a partnership with the Gurgaon-based airline.

Qatar Airways officially states that it is an inaccurate claim from news reports that, “Qatar Airways is picking up a stake in SpiceJet’’.

Claims are also being made in news reports that a consensus has been reached regarding an interline agreement, and that negotiations are set to continue in the near future.

Qatar Airways does not have any form of interline agreement with SpiceJet, which is the simplest form of relations between any two airlines, and Qatar Airways is not planning to pursue any form of arrangement in the future.

This is not the first time that such claims have been made.  Similar news was disseminated in January 2013, and this appears to be a tactic to increase market and share value. Such comments are unfounded and are believed to be deliberately spread to influence share valuations. 

The Doha-based airline has no further remarks on the matter. Qatar Airways confirms that the only airline it is talking to is the Indian carrier Indigo.

"Make in India" campaign success certain : Mr. K. Shanmugam

India has all the important factors for ‘Make in India’ to succeed, said Mr. K. Shanmugam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, Republic of Singapore, at an interactive session organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore.

“You have a young population, which has the ability to be trained; you have the demographics on your side, with an unrivalled number of young people coming to the workforce. You have management skills that are world-class; Indian managers are among the best in the world”, Mr. Shanmugam said.

He underlined the synergies between India and Singapore. The comfort level between the two countries is high. The bilateral relationship is based tremendously on trust. There is certain warmth we share, given the cultural complementarity of the two countries that is time-tested.

In answer to a question on how businesses in Tamil Nadu can engage with the South East Asian region, the Minister reminded that business people from the state would not find themselves out of place in Singapore. “You have Indian culture. Business standards are international. You would find it seamless to integrate, work, and do business out of Singapore. With the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) coming together as an economic community, if you are in the manufactured goods sector, you can think of decentralising the factors of production across the region, such as capital from Singapore, factory in Thailand, and using ASEAN as a market. This is more and more feasible, because tariffs have come down substantially, and the infrastructure enables free movement of goods and services. Also, the customers in the region are cost-conscious like the Indian consumers,” he noted.

The performance of the Indian community in Singapore has been growing, especially due to the influx of professionals, he observed. Despite constituting only about 8 per cent of the country’s population, Indian community has contributed many Ministers to Singapore government, he reminded. To the healthcare sector, his suggestion was to look at ASEAN as a market. 

India can be a destination of choice for people in ASEAN, to come for treatment. There is tremendous potential there. On a related topic, he said that Singapore and India see eye-to-eye in terms of the pharmaceuticals sector, whereby Indian businesses can make use of the strong IP (intellectual property) protection available in Singapore for reaching out to other markets.

Lauding India for ensuring universal franchise much ahead of even development, Mr. Shanmugam was of the view that the extraordinary experiment has succeeded. “The fact that you are one of the largest economies of the world, as one integral country with a coherent economic, social and foreign policy is itself a success.”

Earlier, at the business forum “Singapore Symposium 2015”, held for the first time in Chennai, Ambassador Gopinath Pillai, Chairman, Institute of South Asian Studies and Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore, traced the history of Singapore, in the backdrop of the 50th anniversary of independence celebrations, and informed the audience about the many Singapore companies that have invested in Tamil Nadu. 

Mrs. Rajshree Pathy, Chairperson of CII Southern Region, said that the agreements concluded between India and Singapore reflect the growing breadth of our cooperation and provide a larger framework for activities between the two Governments, the business community, and people-to-people exchanges. About 6,000 Indian companies are estimated to be registered in Singapore.

The keynote panel discussion saw presentations on water, master-planning, and law, respectively by Mr. Peter Joo Hee Ng, Chief Executive, Public Utilities Board, Singapore’s National Water Agency, Mr. Pang Yee Ean, Group Chief Operating Officer, Surbana Jurong Pvt. Ltd., and Mr. Sat Pal Khattar, Chairman, Khattar Holdings Group of Companies.

STK Accessories launches 12000 mAh Power Bank

Following the success of Soap and Cuboid Power Bank, STK Accessories, a pioneer in a wide range of mobile phone and computing accessories, adds the 12000 mAh Power bank, the highest in the capacity with the power to provide up to 80 hours of talk time and 320 hours of audio playback. This monster power begins a new battle by raising the design and performance benchmarks for the lifesavers to your gadgets. 

At the price of Rs. 3,299/- the 12000 mAh Power Bank comes with a sleek and sophisticated crafted body. Its robust & durable build, which also contributes to the beauty and strength of the device lending a smooth, premium finish gives it a luxurious look.

The Power Bank bears two USB ports (one with 2.1A and the other with 1A output) for simultaneous charging, to charge your gadgets around the clock. With conversion rate of 85 per cent one can make the optimum use by charging two devices at the same time. With no switches on the bank, it starts charging as soon as you plug something in and there is no need to fiddle with a switch to get things running.

The 12000 mAh Power Bank has the ability to power up 4-5 life cycles of the media device (depending upon their input power lifecycle varies). It has dimensions 138 X 62 X 22, and weighs 280 grams.

Featuring the large capacity and high-quality lithium – polymer technology the sturdy Power Bank can power up smart phones, MP3, MP4, 1 AMP Tablets and other such devices with its battery. Compatible with most of the gadgets it fits easily into any bag or pocket.

With the nine layers of circuit chip protection for safety the Power Bank offers high speed, high efficiency with Power Safe Technology to prevent over charging and overheating providing maximum safety while charging.

The 12000 mAh power bank is an ideal companion for smart phone and tablet owners who are to spend several days away from mains power. It keeps your portable wireless devices charged with unprecedented power output and lightening fast charge.

So whether you need to urgently check emails or want entertainment on the move, you can keep your device going for longer! The 12000 mAh is available across leading retail stores and eCommerce portals.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SKF India launches YES-Youth Empowerment, flagship skill development program

SKF India recently announced the formal launch of its flagship CSR program-YES: Youth Empowerment at SKF for vocational skill development of underprivileged youth. The program aims at empowering the beneficiaries with the know-how of modern automobile maintenance and servicing skills in order to help them gain employment or become entrepreneurs. The program will train more than 5,000 youth in the next five years.

The company announced the launch of this program as part of its CSR initiative, starting with the inauguration of the Pune Centre followed by the Bangalore centre, which is expected to be completely operational by the end of this year.

SKF India, with its vision of scaling up the project, will set up a total of five skill development centres across the country in the next five years.

SKF India’s YES program, with the chosen implementation partners will prepare the beneficiaries to work at various automotive OEMs, dealer service network and workshops and also impart entrepreneurial skills to enable them to set up their own vehicle service stations in future. 

As part of this program, the beneficiaries will undergo six months of rigorous vocational training in automotive two-wheeler & four-wheeler repair as per the Modular Employability Skills (MES) course of Ministry of Employment and Training (Government of India). The six month long program will additionally train students in personality, communication skills, customer service, goal setting, financing and Business Management skills, for the holistic development and growth.

Mr. Shishir Joshipura, Managing Director & Country Head, SKF India, said: “At SKF India, we believe that all our programs must make a meaningful difference in the lives of its recipients. The YES program will empower these young people and create employability, thus bridging the skill gap that India faces. The program is in line with the government’s recently launched Skill India Mission and we are looking forward to scaling-up the project to take it across different parts of the country.”

In Pune, SKF has chosen Don Bosco as its implementation partner in Pune and Sambhav Foundation in Bangalore. As part of the program in Pune, the SKF–Don Bosco teams will scout for prospective undergraduate youth from villages and cities around Pune. The six month long program will additionally train students for overall development in personality, communication skills and customer service.

Shrikant Savangikar, Director, Business Excellence, Quality and Sustainability, SKF India, said: “It gives us great pride to launch the YES Program, with the all new state-of-the art infrastructure especially created for the YES Skill Development Centre. At SKF India, we strongly believe that for a company to sustain its success in the industry it must be environmentally and socially responsible and we are confident that this program will help a great deal in this direction”.

To provide the best of theoretical and practical knowledge, SKF has built a training lab and an Interactive room at the Don Bosco Private Industrial Training Institute, which offers a superlative learning experience in a simulated environment. The interactive room will facilitate collaborative and interactive learning about automotive vehicle principles and applications, through the latest technology and e-learning courses, thereby, making them tech-savvy mechanics that can provide high quality reliable service to their customers.

Mahindra First Choice Wheels supports first all-woman trans-continental expedition from India

Mahindra First Choice Wheels Ltd. (MFCWL), India’s No.1 multi-brand certified used car company, has thrown its might behind a three woman team of drivers which has embarked on an epic drive from Delhi to London. Nidhi Tiwari, Rashmi Koppar and Soumya Goyal of Women Beyond Boundaries will make the 55 day journey in a certified used Scorpio from Mahindra First Choice Wheels.

Women Beyond Boundaries is a unique concept which brings together the thrill of driving with the passion of social initiative. Helmed by Nidhi Tiwari, Rashmi Koppar and Soumya Goyal, it seeks to empower and enable a greater number of women to occupy the long distance/off road driving space. It will train, design and assist women r towards this endeavour. 

The vehicle chosen for this drive, a Mahindra Scorpio, was refurbished and made expedition ready by the MFCWL team. It also underwent the mandatory 118 point certification process which every certified MFCWL vehicle has to pass before being deemed road worthy. 

The expedtion, which was flagged off from the Major Dhyanchand Stadium in New Delhi on July 23, was recognized and supported by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India. Mr. Anantkumar, Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, flagged off the drive and the event was presided over by Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of State - Independent Charge for Sports and Youth Affairs.

The Scorpio from Mahindra First Choice Wheels will travel 15,000 km through several countries including Myanmar, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium and France, with its journey culminating in London.
“At Mahindra First Choice Wheels we believe in providing cost efficient, four wheel mobility solutions to aspirational Indians. We are delighted to support Women Beyond Boundaries in its quest for motoring history. Through this arduous expedition, our aim is to convey the message to people that certified used cars from MFCWL are safe, reliable and as capable as a new vehicle. We wish this intrepid all-ladies team the very best of luck and look forward to seeing our vehicle reach London,” said Dr. Nagendra Palle, CEO & Managing Director, Mahindra First Choice Wheels Ltd.

“Mahindra First Choice Wheels’ stringent checks and promise of quality has given us enough confidence in our car’s ability to complete the journey. Our thanks to the company for believing in us and our dream and I am sure we will do them proud when we finally drive the Scorpio into London,” said Nidhi Tiwari.

From its humble beginnings in 2007 when its first franchisee outlet was established, MFCWL has achieved a dominant status in retailing of multi-brand used cars in the country. The company is driven by its mission to transform the way used cars are retailed and has made several innovations along the way. 

The list of innovations include developing a unique franchisee based business model, selling certified multi-brand used cars under warranty and offering the most comprehensive warranty product available on used cars in the country. 

Jet Airways, Sashastra Seema Bal honoured with Leadership in Animal Welfare Award

Jet Airways, Sashastra Seema Bal and Dr. Ashutosh Joshi (officer-in-charge of Uttarakhand State Animal Welfare Board) were conferred with the Leadership in Animal Welfare Award for their exemplary service to animals in the past year. Humane Society International/India and People for Animals jointly presented the Awards under the able guidance of Ms. Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Women and Child Development.

Jet Airways was recognized with the Henry Spira Corporate Progress Award for trail-blazing the ban on shark fins as cargo. Jet Airways is the first airline in India to independently implement this policy, thereby making a remarkable impact on the shark fin industry that often targets protected species of sharks. 

Mr. B.D. Sharma, Director General, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), was awarded for his undeterred implementation in prohibiting the illegal smuggling of animals to Nepal during the Gadhimai Festival in November 2014 and Dr. Ashutosh Joshi, Officer-in-charge, Uttarakhand State Animal Welfare Board, for his nimble response in tackling numerous animal cruelty issues in the state.

Dr. Andrew Rowan, President and CEO of Humane Society International, said: “We are delighted to honour these industry giants and individuals for their vital contribution and efforts made in saving millions of animals. In the coming years, we will continue to work with them and others so we see more members of the industry and government make prudent decisions for the welfare of animals.”

Last year, HSI Awarded India’s Drug Controller General and the Drug Technical Advisory Board the Leadership in Animal Welfare Award for banning animal testing for cosmetics.

HSI/India has liaised with many in the hospitality and aviation industry with a plea to adopt animal welfare standards in their company policies. HSI/India firmly believes that a successful collaboration of government, industries and individuals can go a long way in safeguarding the interests of animals.


1. In 2014, Jet Airways Pvt. Ltd. made public their decision to ban shark fin shipments on all of their airline and cargo services after HSI/India submitted an appeal to consider a ban on the airline’s transport of shark fins. The Henry Spira Humane Corporate Progress Awards acknowledge corporations, individual business people, and other innovators and entrepreneurs for their contributions to the advancement of animal welfare, and to inspire others to include humane concern for animals as a core aspect of corporate social responsibility

2. In November 2014, the Supreme Court of India had issued an interim order to ban the illegal movement of animals across Indo-Nepal border during Gadhimai festival.

As a result of the Supreme Court orders and the SSB’s implementation, Gadhimai 2014 saw a major fall in the number of animals sacrificed (70 per cent dip from 2009)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bridgestone India supports Maharashtra Government’s ‘Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan’ initiative

Bridgestone India Pvt. Ltd. (Bridgestone India), a group company of Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tyre and rubber company, has announced its association with the Maharashtra Government’s integrated water conservation and management initiative ‘Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan’, and conducted de-silting and widening of water streams at Audar village, Khed-Taluka in Pune district. This work will contribute to the village by increasing the water reserves by more than 10,000 meter3. This will benefit over 1,400 families, including certain tribal population, by significantly improving the quality of life in these downtrodden areas.

This environmental initiative will contribute towards the Maharashtra vision of becoming a drought-free State by 2019. 

Bridgestone India decided to initiate water conservation work in Audar village, as it has been identified by local Government authorities as one of the 15 most water-scarce villages in Khed Taluka. The area is experiencing a major migration due to poor water availability, with approximately 40% of its population migrating to urban areas in search of better livelihood. It is believed that the initiative undertaken will improve the conditions of residents in the affected region. Consequently, this activity will sustainably raise the ground water table, resulting in better retention of water for agricultural and domestic use, better channelizing of rain water in the main stream, and raising the water level in the wells.

Mr. Ajay Sevekari, Director-Bridgestone India Private Ltd., said: “The drought situation in Maharashtra is extremely serious and required a rapid response. Bridgestone India will contribute to bringing much-needed relief not only for agricultural activities, but also to improve the daily lives of the villagers in this drought affected area. As a socially and environmentally conscious organization, Bridgestone India believes in encompassing development and growth through social projects for the society as a whole. We are grateful to the Government of Maharashtra for giving us this opportunity to serve the needy and support the betterment of the underprivileged.”

Mr. Himmatrao Kharade, SDO, Khed, remarked: “The State of Maharashtra has been working tirelessly towards the betterment of the drought affected areas and we are delighted to have Bridgestone India support our initiative.”

Mr. Gabaji Hojage, Villager from Audar, stated: “I appreciate and wholeheartedly thank on behalf of my fellow villagers for the efforts and commitment that Bridgestone India is putting in for the betterment of our drought affected village. This initiative will help the villagers in long run to address the water crisis, generate livelihood & reduce migration”.

Bridgestone India believes it is its responsibility to participate in the wellbeing of society, which leads to development of the nation. Through this contribution, the company aims to assist the Government in building a drought-free Maharashtra.