How to order beauty services at home in Mumbai?

How to order beauty services at home in Mumbai?

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Regional connectivity

The NDA government’s plan to promote regional air connec­tivity continues to be met with resistance, with private airline oper­ators citing their current financial state to oppose the move. Though many airline operators are looking to increase regional connectivity, poor load factor, apart from profitability, has been the main concern inhib­iting them from responding posi­tively to the government’s intention of connecting remote areas. Though the current low global crude prices have come as a blessing for all car­riers, there is no guarantee that the fuel prices will stay at this level.

Currently, air traffic in the coun­try is focussed around bigger cities and the six key metros – Delhi, Mum­bai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru – constitute over 65 per cent of the total air traffic in the country. Last fortnight, Prime Min­ister Narendra Modi asked the civil aviation ministry to improve regional connectivity to smaller cities and pro­mote regional airports and airlines. This has put pressure on the civil avi­ation ministry to deliver the results.

The ministry, on its part, is try­ing to improve connectivity at non- operational airports by waiving off landing and parking charges at these airports. These waivers will be appli­cable at about 32 smaller airports that are managed by AAI and have not received any flights in the past 18 months. The ministry has also
asked state governments to work towards improving regional air con­nectivity, by providing financial sup­port to smaller carriers on the lines of Madhya Pradesh, which under­writes about three seats every flight and also waives off tax paid on fuel purchased in the state.

But private carriers have long demanded the reduction of state taxes on aviation turbine fuel (ATF), which have lowered their operational margins. No state government is will­ing to concede the demand yet. The Business Aircraft Operators Associa­tion (BAOA) is reported to have asked the government for capital subsidies, soft interest loans and complemen­tary ground-handling services in Tier II and Tier III airports, among other demands, to ease their burden.

Remote area connection

Analysts feel that regional connectiv­ity will not become viable unless the government provides subsidy to fly to these destinations. “Remote area connectivity is extremely important for a large country like India,” says Amber Dubey, partner & India head, aerospace & defence, KPMG. “It is cur­rently unviable given low demand and high cost of operations. This needs to be facilitated by way of an essen­tial air services fund (EASF), as recom­mended by the NDA-appointed Naresh Chandra Committee in 2003.”




Cab services, food ordering, among others were a voice-op­erated industry. But, now, cabs can be booked and food can be ordered on apps, Website and over a phone call. There are other services that can be done via Facebook and Twit­ter. As these new channels penetrate deeper into our lives, the depen­dence on voice will decrease and will be replaced by these new channels.

Customers nowadays reach out to brands through various channels such as voice, SMS, instant messag­ing, e-mail, social media, Web and video, instead of one channel – call centre – as earlier.

Customers can choose between various channels to get help and support from brands. To manage this customer reaching out from a pleth­ora of channels effectively, brands have been using multi-channel con­tact centre software, which integrates these multiple channels to enable them to provide customer service effectively and efficiently. A major­ity of brands whose target customer is the end customer use multichan­nel contact centre.

Sanjay Gupta, managing director, South Asia & Middle East, Aspect, which offers contact centre software to companies, calls the new equation between brands and customers a rela­tionship revolution. Because, earlier, businesses were deciding how they will be contacted. But, now, custom­ers are deciding how they will contact the service provider. And therefore, control has moved from businesses to consumer. “They will decide the identity of the channel and the time of the day they would like to contact the brands,” says Gupta.

The devices through which cus­tomers and citizens can reach out to companies are going beyond desk­top & mobile. Cisco has helped Kar­nataka police install kiosks from where FIR can be registered. Initially, a pilot project, it’s now being imple­mented state-wide. “We’ve to think about customers and their end cus­tomers as to what they might adapt to and what they might not,” says Daisy Chittilapilly, director, sales, ITS, Cisco India & SAARC.

Customers also expect that the brand identifies and knows the caller and they want that the conversation should be seamless, even if they shift between the channels. If you send an sms and then call the brand, the conversation is taken forward from where you left on the sms and is con­tinued on the call. “There is a con­textual handover from one channel to another channel,” says Gupta.

Beneficial for brands Another change in customer behaviour that is being witnessed today is preference for self-service. Earlier, there was call centre for everything. Now, there are a lot of self-service channels. “Automa­tion is a big thing we’re seeing in the industry. And because of that, now, agents are not a low-value worker,” says Chittilapilly. “All the low-value work will be automated.” Majority of customers call a call centre only for some expert advice, where the role of the call centre agent is that of a sub­ject-matter expert.

This trend is beneficial for brands as well, because the multi-channel contact centre is more cost-effec­tive, more automated and prone to less manual error than in an agent- led voice call centre. The indus­try is optimistic that, in the tiroes to come, volume of voice will defi­nitely come down.

Aspect has 200 customers in India, such as Max Bupa Healthcare, Asian Paints, Homeshopl8, Naaptol, and rbl Bank. It has been in India for more than a decade and today, India is its biggest R&D hubs globally. Lead­ing global players in the industry are Cisco, Aspect, Avaya, and Genesis. “Our CRM solution that is integrated with the contact centre telephony solution enables superior customer interaction,” says Vikrant Khanna chief operating officer, TV & online business, HomeShopl8.

Contact centre adoption has grown in India and today, a majority of the businesses that directly touch a consumer has a contact centre India’s contact centre market is an $85 million market and it is growing at a rate of 5-6 per cent CAGR. Going forward, due io the mobile and Inter­net revolution, dependence on voice is expected to come down, signifi­cantly reducing cost for brands. And there will be a rise in the use of other channels as well as self-service. If that happens, that could lead to large number of job cuts.

♦ RQHIT PANCHAL as a guest pf Aspect in Koctol [email protected]:


New measure


The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), the new set up to gauge television audience mea­surement system, is now functional in the country. A joint industry body set up in India in 2012 with the spe­cific purpose of designing, commis­sioning, supervising and owning India’s television audience measure­ment system, barc is a joint ven­ture bringing together the three key stakeholders in television audience measurement – broadcasters, adver­tisers and advertising & media agen­cies. Their respective apex bodies the Indian Broadcasting Foundation] (IBF), the Indian Society of Advertis­ers (ISA) and the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), represent the three industries. According to Partho Dasgupta, ceo, barc, the set­ting up of the system was to provide a cutting edge measurement system which will see the marriage of tech­nology and research.

That was one aspect. But the real reason behind the shift from TAM, the earlier audience measurement system, to BARC was after broadcast­ers complained of inaccuracies and anomalies in data provided by TAM Media Research. And this was going on for several years, many industry people charged. TAM measured indi­vidual viewership for 15 years, while BARC is capturing household-level data and the two are not comparable. “Besides, these are just one week’s rat­ings and it would be unfair to make a judgement based on these,” says a media buyer. According to previ­ously published estimates by media agency GroupM, ?16,525 crore worth of advertising on Indian TV channels in 2012 was decided on the basis of TAM numbers. Also, TAM has in the past been involved in a row with Indian broadcasters – both enter­tainment and news channels – over the agency’s data, which the chan­nels maintained was inaccurate and flawed. “The basic tenets of measure­ment were not being followed in how ratings were being reported. It’s not that capability is an issue, the peo­ple at TAM are quite capable,” says a media expert.

Mired in controversies BARC was formed after some broadcasters found that data provided by TAM Media Research in India, a 50:50 joint ven­ture between Nielsen (India) Pvt Ltd and Kantar Media Research, a unit of the London-based advertising com­pany WPP Pic, was inaccurate. News broadcaster NDTV had challenged the authenticity of the data in a New York court and claimed dam­ages. TAM was mired in controversies for a long time. It earned criticism for having too few people – around 10, 000 meters to measure television viewing in the country and did not cover the fact that over a quarter of the population focussed on regional channels.

BARC shortlisted five media research agencies to advise it on the technology required to put in place an accurate and reliable system. It
aimed at starting operations with at least 20,000 people meters to pro­vide a deeper measurement of televi­sion viewing habits in the country. The team at BARC has been organ­ising road shows with broadcasters and media agencies to explain the new ratings system. The exercise led some broadcasters to try out the new rating system as part of BARC’s pilot. BARC has broadcasters, advertisers and agencies as its equity stakehold­ers and thus, would get preference over TAM, which has been discarded.

Last year, when the guidelines approved by the Cabinet to govern the functioning of television rating agencies were spelt out, there were murmurings in the media industry that the new system may have the potential to disrupt the system of measuring TV viewership. But most industry representatives felt that in the long-term it would help bring in greater transparency and accuracy to the process of monitoring and rating broadcasters. The guidelines, then unveiled, prevented any single entity from having paid-up equity in excess of 10 per cent simultaneously in both a rating agency and a broadcaster, advertiser or advertising agency.

That requirement would auto­matically disqualify TAM. “But there is another possibility of TAM taking another form by becoming a third- party member in the compilation of TRP (television rating point) data from the logistics side of things,” comments an industry expert.

At the time the government also gave 30 days to the parties to comply with the change. Any non-compli­ance would lead to forfeiture of two bank guarantees worth ?1 crore fur­nished by the company in the first
instance. If the requirement is found not to be met again, the registration of the agency would be cancelled.

According to Apar Gupta, a law­yer who works on media issues, the nature of guidelines was such that it may lead to litigation in the future aimed at preserving the position of rating agencies.”The guidelines limit the cross-holding of media entities in rating agencies to not more than 10 per cent. Given this, and the pres­ent ownership structure of the rating agency, there is a likelihood of litiga­tion, whereby the guidelines may be challenged,” he says.

However, it is just the beginning for BARC and much has to be seen. Paritosh Joshi, a member of the tech­nical committee of BARC, says the company will start gathering data from 20,000 homes in the next six months. According to him, some

  • meters have been installed. These will start collecting data in the next few weeks. Dasgupta has announced the launch of the view­ership study that currently covers only urban areas with a population of 100,000-plus.

However, the data has been col­lated from 12,000 people meters in homes against the 20,000 promised at the time. “The system should be allowed time,” he says. He also said comparisons should not be made between old data from TAM and the new data from BARC. “There are dif­ferent ways of computing them and even the establishment study is dif­ferent. BARC follows a new consumer classification system.” In the near future, BARC will start measuring towns with a population of under

  • and rural markets.



Classification societies play a cru­cial role in the making of a strong maritime nation. In the 1970s, when India’s international trade gathered speed the country’s merchant fleet too had expanded substantially. In an ambitious move to promote the country’s maritime interests, the gov­ernment of India constituted a Steer­ing Committee (known as Mudaliar Committee) whose recommenda­tion for formation of an Indian clas­sification society was accepted by the government in 1974. Thus, in March 1975, Indian Register of Shipping (ms) was established as a public lim­ited company under Section 25 of the Indian Companies Act, 1956 with no share capital, no shareholders and dis­tributing no dividends, it sought to provide faithful and accurate classifi­cation and record of mercantile ship­ping classed with IRS – also known as ir Class. Its responsibilities include establishing standards and formu­lating rules for the construction and maintenance of ships, amphibious installation, marine equipment and industrial and general engineering equipment.

Within a short span of its incep­tion, IRS has proved its mettle as an international ship classification soci­ety and is in many ways on a par with leading ship classification soci­eties of the world, which have been in existence for over a hundred years. Armed with highly skilled and motivated technical personnel, which continue to be its main source of strength, and an enviable safety record, IRS enjoys the confidence of the entire marine fraternity – ship owners, ship builders, underwrit­ers, government, industries allied to

Risk business!


In the second half of the 18th cen­tury, London merchants, ship-own­ers, and captains often gathered at Edward Lloyds’ coffee house to gossip and make deals including sharing the risks and rewards of individual voyages. This became known as underwriting after the practice of signing one’s name at the bottom of a document pledging to make good a portion of the losses if the ship didn’t make it in return for a portion of the profits. The underwriters needed a way of assessing the quality of the ships that they were being asked to insure. In 1760, the Register Society was formed – the first classification society and the one which would subsequently

shipping, et al.

Today, JRClass is an established Classification Society and a full member of the International Asso­ciation of Classification Societies (IACS). Its services currently extend to quality certification, industrial inspection, consultancy and training services along with its core marine classification.

Smooth sailing In a recent event commemorating the successful com­pletion of 40 years, Sriramamurthy, chief operating officer, highlighted the journey of JRClass from its humble beginnings. He narrated the changes JRClass has gone through and men­tioned about its ‘Beyond Class’ ser­vices under the newly formed entity IRClass Systems & Solutions Pvt Ltd. Arun Sharma, chairman and manag­ing director, reiterated iRClass’s com­mitment to be ‘A Class by Choice’,

become Lloyd’s Register – to publish an annual register of ships.

This publication tried to classify the condition of the ship’s hull and equip­ment. At that time, an attempt was made to classify the condition of each ship on an annual basis. The condition of the hull was classified A, E, I, o or u, according to the state of its construction and its adjudged continuing soundness (or lack of it). Equipment was c, B, or B: simply, good, middling or bad. Later on, c, M and B were replaced by 1, 2 and 3, which is the origin of the well-known expression ‘Al’, meaning ‘first or highest class’. The purpose of this system was not to assess safety, fitness for purpose or seaworthiness of the ship. It was to evaluate risk.

while thanking all the stakeholders for their support. The event show­cased ‘The Journey of Four Pecades of IRClass’ through a presentation that underscored the major nationa. and international contributions made by IRClass including those to offshore, port and naval sectors by way of rules & regulations, research and training.

Over the years the classification profession has evolved, and the prac­tice of assigning different classifi­cations has been superseded, with some exceptions. Today a ship either meets the relevant class society’s rules or it does not. As a consequence it is either ‘in’ or ‘out’ of ‘class’. Clas­sification societies do not issue state­ments or certifications that a vessel is ‘fit to sail’ or ‘unfit to sail’; the} merely say that the vessel is in com­pliance with the required codes. This is in part related to legal liability of the classification society.

Earlier Indian ships had to be clas­sified by foreign societies. There are a number of classification societ­ies, the largest of which are Lloyds,; Bureau Veritas, the American Bureau of Shipping and Det Norske Veritas Classification societies employ shi? surveyors, material engineers, piping engineers, mechanical engineers chemical engineers and electrical engineers, often located at ports andf office buildings around the world. • feedbackSbusmessmdifigFflup-cssJ


A team of Dubai Biotech-nology and Research Park (Dufliotech) and Energy and Environment Park

(EnPatk) – Dubai’s free zone business communities dedicated to the life sciences and alternative energy indus­tries – headed by Marwan Abdulaziz, ED, Du Biotech 6t EnPark, was in Mumbai to share Insight into the offer­ings of the UAE’s free zone module, which includes 100 per cent foreign ownership, 100 per cent tax exemp­tion and tax free salaries for all employees. “The grow­ing Indian pharmaceutical, energy and biotechnology sectors can hugely benefit from these advantages, and tap into the flourishing GCC


Kotak Mahlndra Bank and INO Bank have signed an MoU where both institutions will cooper­ate and explore opportu­nities arising from cross border business, investment and trade flows across Ben­elux (Belgium, Netherlands

market through being a part of one of the UAE’s free zone hubs,” says Adbulaziz. “The UAE and India have shared a long-standing relation­ship and are both growing at exponential rates”, gcc countries are expected to see an average economic growth

and Luxembourg), West­ern Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, Asia and Aus­tralia. “The MoU will leverage the strengths of both institu­tions and will be mutually beneficial. We have a strong corporate, institutional and investment banking
business, which can now meet varying client needs across several geographies,” said K.V.S. Manian (left), president – corporate, insti­tutional 6t investment bank­ing, Kotak Mahlndra Bank. “Our collaboration will allow us to stand apart and create that differentiating experi­ence for our India clients outside India and our global clients active within India. This MoU is equally impor­tant to both iNo and Kotak Mahlndra because it will fuel both our ambitions for cross-border business growth,” added Mark Newman (right), CEO, INo Commercial Bank­ing Asia. The MoU was signed In the presence of Mark Rutte (centre), Prime Minister of Netherlands. ♦


Arzu Uludag Elazig,

marketing director of the Turkey-based Eczactbai Building Products Division of VltrA, a leading bath­room solutions brand, was in India to introduce a new range of high tech and trendy bathroom furniture – Metro- pole. “Made by the award­winning design group NoA, this series offers an intelli­gent, Innovative and timeless range of ceramic wash basins and Wes. The new Metropole range stands out for smart functionality In tastefully restrained forms. This series offers a wide range of infi­nite wash basins which are made with various dimen­sions for maximum ease of use”, explains Uludag Elazig. Metropole wash-basin units are compatible, with two options, mineral cast and ceramic wash basins. “Wash basins with white or black glass front panes create a per­fectly harmonious combina­tion with ceramic or vanity washbasins from this range. The pure white colour option of Metropole helps fashion an elegantly natural bathroom”, adds Uludag Elazig, on her first visit to India, looking at setting up her own distribu­tion network in the country. Althgoough the brand has been around for almost 30 months, It was sold by Kajatla Ceramics and has achieved a turnover of 325 cote, Look­ing at the long-term growth In the Indian market, the marketing director has plans to appoint close to 60 deal­ers, before setting up a man­ufacturing base in India. ♦


The Union textile ministry is In the process of formulating a new national textile policy, which will provide a comprehensive road map for the long-term growth of the domestic textile sector. The new policy, aiming to boost the country’s textile production base, envisages manifold growth in textile exports to about 3300 billion by 2024-25 from the present $40 billion odd, as also looks to create 35 million additional jobs directly or indirectly involved with the textile sector, in order to attract investments and enhance the competitiveness of the country’s tex­tile value chain, the policy also envis­ages suitable amendments to several policies, including labour laws. The new policy will replace the existing policy formulated in the year 2000.

The government has already come out with the draft of the new national textile policy, which is based on the findings of an expert committee headed by Ajay Shankar, member-secretary, National Man­ufacturing Competitiveness Coun­cil. The Shankar Committee report will be the basis for the new policy, which will have to be approved by the Union Cabinet.

The Vision 2024-25 document by the expert panel believes that if the government takes the necessary steps, the textile exports can grow at 20 pet cent annually over the next decade, as against an average of 11 per cent in the past decade to reach the $300 bil­lion. This would represent a fifth of the global textile business, up from a
> relaxation in the tough norms of the I Industrial Disputes Act and also per­mission to hlte contract workers at least in export-oriented units. This is the only way employment can dou­ble in the next decade.

“The textile industry has the potential to contribute significantly to ‘Make in India’ in view of its employ­ment intensity and export potential,” says R.C.M. Reddy, co-chairman, Fleet Textiles Committee. “It is also a pow­erful tool fot inclusive growth since much of the workforce is women, below poverty line and rural. A holis­tic approach is needed to consolidate and strengthen the industry covering its entire value chain.”

In order to achieve these goals, the committee says there is need to attract about $120 billion in invest­ment, including foreign direct invest­ment. For this, the government has to provide the necessary infrastruc­ture (including creation of new mega textile parks), ensure easy connectiv­ity to ports and promote Innovation and Rfidr. The report also wants India to diversify its export basket, tap­ping newer markets including Japan, China, Brazil and Russia. At present, about 50 per cent of India’s exports are to traditional markets in Europe and the US.

The committee report has also suggested an improvement in pro­ductivity by bringing in efficient processes and encouraging skills development. “The ministry of tex­tiles needs to evolve a credible mech­anism for tracking improvements in quality and productivity across the value chain as well as across indi­vidual enterprises. A programme for assisting individual firms in improv­ing on both parameters needs to be implemented,” says the report.

Meanwhile, the government has geared up to strengthen the textile manufacturing base by reviving the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks. There are plans to set up 20 new tex­tile parks, of which 13 new textiles parks have been approved recently by the Project Approval Committee of the ministry. As part of the land­mark initiative announced by the prime minister, measures have also been initiated to set up of Apparel
and Garment Making Centres in north-eastern states, where people would also be trained to help over­come shortage of skilled manpower in the sector.

« ARB1ND GUPTA [email protected]}ness}n4jgg?,ppp.cQm

Flash Back 30 YEARS AGO The man behind the legend

Even his close friends confess today that they could never have dreamed that Dhirubhai Ambani would scale great lengths to create corporate history and become a legend in his own lifetime. In fact, many predicted that Reliance was a bubble and would burst any time.

EESS Lots of events have unfolded since then. Dhirub­hai Ambani passed away on 6 July 2002. In 2005,

Mukesh and Anil split ways, with Mukesh getting the business India, main Reliance industries, into which Reliance Retro- *            3°

leum had merged. Anil took over the telecommunica-           I 700

tions, finance and power business. Reliance Industries has now entered the telecom business and is set to launch Reliance jio. Reliance Industries, which for some time was the number one company in terms of market cap, has been replaced by TCS. And, its price too has remained relatively flat for some time now. Anil’s companies haven’t fared well either on the bourses. His public offering of Reliance Power in 2008 has left many investors bitter.


Hospitable entry

The spadework for the entry of hospitality giant Carl­son is being done by Rajan jetley’s consultancy firm.

Jetley was formerly managing director, Air India. Carl­son, the world’s largest hospitality and travel com­pany and one of America’s largest privately owned corporations, has been keen on India for some time.

Its three Radisson hotels are being planned in Delhi,

Calcutta and Madras. According to jetley, there’s a definite market for upmarket hotels of the Radisson type and hoteliers cannot afford to ignore such an evident opportunity in the middle segment. Country Inns, therefore, will cater to the growing class of value-conscious customers. SHS Today, Carlson has 117 Carlson Rezidor hotels in operation and is the big­gest hotel operator in India. Its rivals, ITC and Indian Hotels, have over 100 and 93 hotels, respectively, in India. Carlson’s brand portfolio in India now includes the Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites.


An emerging star

Today, Idea Cellular is one of the fastest growing telecom companies in the country, with a growing market share. And, it is much stronger than what it thought it could be. Considered a laggard just a few years ago, it is currently enjoying a market capitalisation of 723,500 crore. In terms of market share, it is ranked third among the telecom compa­nies – after Bharti and Vodafone.

SEQ Currently, Idea Cellular commands a market cap oft59,748 crore. It has the highest market cap in the Aditya Birla group and is still the number three player, with 155 million subscribers. It had 67 million subscribers in 2010.

In yet another ‘first’,

Audi, the German lux­ury car manufacturer last fortnight introduced the Audi its 6 Avant, the first sportscar with an Avant body style. The power­ful Audi RS 6 Avant was unveiled by Joe King, head, Audi India and crick­eter Virat Kohli. Priced at fl,35,00,750 (ex-showroom New Delhi and Mumbai), the Audi RS 6 Avant is avail­able at all Audi dealerships across India. “Ground­breaking performance and supreme dynamism combined with excellent suitability for everyday use are the Impressive features of the Audi

RS 6 Avant. Embodying our philosophy of ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’, the Audi RS 6 Avant is the first sportscar in India

with an Avant body style,” said King. “Having set the trend of many firsts with the launch of the first com­pact luxury sedan in India – the Audi A3, first compact luxury open top convert­ible – the Audi A3 Cabriolet, India’s first production car with laser high beam light­ing – the limited edition Audi R8 LMX and the intro­duction of the Matrix LED headlights with the Audi A8 L, we believe it’s about time to Introduce the Avant to luxury connoisseurs in the country,” he added. With its low, flowing roofline, the Audi RS 6 Avant is a sure head turner from every angle.


Partnering with farmers and working with them to protect the land they ‘hold in trust for future gen­erations’ is BASF’s main role, says Markus Heldt, presi­dent of the €74-billion Ger­man major’s crop protection division. “The team in India will contribute to these goals by driving the development of new active ingredients, new formulations, and tech­nologies,” according to Heldt, who inaugurated the compa­ny’s new R&D centre in Pune last fortnight. Adds Raman Ramachandran, chairman & managing director, BASF India: “Raising agriculture


A report on the Indian water industry, brought out in the ‘EverythingAbout- Water’ expo held in Mumbai (conducted by Everything- AboutWater, a consulting firm in water sector), analyses the water supply and demand trends, and finds India to be a water-scarce country with an productivity to meet the increasing demand for qual­ity and quantity of food, is one of the most important challenges facing India. We aim to actively look into both local and global topics and imbalance in demand & sup­ply. “It also indicated a huge opportunities across the spec­trum in infrastructure devel­opment for water supply and wastewater management,” explains H. Subramaniam, COO, EA Water Pvt Ltd. “The Industry is creating a $13 billion market oppor­tunity and growing at over 10 per cent per annum. The industrial market is going to be the big opportunity till 2020, with growth in waste- water recycling and Industrial water treatment Countries like India, Mexico, China and Brazil use maximum water for agriculture, unlike the western countries, which develop effective and sustain­able solutions to help farm­ers to solve their challenges and improve food output.” The new centre will focus on global agricultural research on herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides, as well as on solutions that go beyond classical crop protection. It will also investigate scenar­ios that are unique to the country, like specific Weeds and pests, as well as climate stresses like drought, flood cycles and heat stress. It aims to help farmers make better decisions and improve pro­ductivity during the entire cultivation cycle.           *

uses 70-75 per cent water for industrial needs”. Industrial water use in India is about 40 billion cubic metres (bcm). Annual waste water discharge from industry is 30.7 bcm. Water demand for indus­trial and energy usage is pro­jected to increase to 191 bcm by 2025. Pollution control board norms for all manufac­turing industries are planned to become more rigorous and enforcement would become stricter, due to higher pub­lic scrutiny. “The water sec­tor is a sunrise opportunity in India, and is likely to see significant investment in the next five years,” concludes Subramaniam.       «

CMS Info Systems, a cash management and pay­ments solution company, has signed a deal with the Depart­ment of Post (DoP) to person­alise over 15 million RuPay enabled debit cards for India Post savings account holders. The deal, valued at ?30 crore, is estimated to be completed in the next three years. The DoP at present covers a base of approximately 100 million account holders in India, and is in the midst of a phased deployment of ATMs across the country, to serve better their customers. “We expect this to benefit people using teller facilities at the DoP branches, as they can now begin to use these cards for more conve­nient cash withdrawals,” says Mokam Singh Matta, head – card business, CMS Info Sys­tems. The personalised debit cards for DoP will be issued on the National Payment Corpo­ration of India platform and their usage would initially be restricted to ATMs installed at DoP branches only. «