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Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 jul 2024

HR experts got together in Bengaluru on 27 June 2024 at India Today HR Insights to discuss around the theme 'The Future of Work' in the Indian context. Rapid technological advancements bring the continuous need for skilled and trained human resources. India's target to grow to US$ 1 trillion digital economy by 2028 and government's Rs 10000 crore artificial inteligence (AI) mission would add to the HR challenges. Following are what the experts think on the future of work in India - Richard Lobo, Chief People Officer at Tech Mahindra, says, 'Many of our processes are some 20-30 years old and we hang on to them for various reasons...So I think we have to now rethink...the only way to go forward is to break some of these things. If we don't consciously break them, we won't move forward.' Dr. John Bruce, Dean of Placements and Corporate Affairs at Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology, says, 'To fill the skill gap, we look for companies to set up their centres of excellence...We find out from companies what they look for and train (students)...and design our own curriculum to match corporate expectations.' Ashutosh Anshu, CHRO at Hitachi India, says, 'We always cultivate a culture of learning in the organisation. It's very important for us. That's how we mobilise and retain talent.' Asit Kumar, CHRO at Lendingkart, says, 'We look at ‘hunger’. An employee can always be upskilled. If a person has willingness, he or she will learn. (While hiring) we try to look at a level junior...if we are looking at X level, we try to find a person operating at X minus one level.' Prem Anand K., Head of Talent Acquisition at Narayana Health, says, 'When it comes to technology intervention and skills required for the job, there have been a lot of strides in the last couple of years...we have our own app for doctors and nurses...we are technologically far ahead in the game and have upskilled our people.' Shakshar Guha, Senior General Manager HR and Head of Employee Relations at Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, says, 'Money is not the only pull for the new generation. Their aspirations are changing. They also see the brand's purpose...purposeful brands have a lot of meaning for today's generation.' Deepa Ravinder, Client Service at Cisco, says, 'We enabled all our people with technology, with the opportunity of going into different workplaces within the same location or a different location that probably was closer to where they lived.' Aditya Mishra, MD and CEO at CIEL HR, says, 'We see that a lot of people today are valuing flexibility as a clear expectation from their employers...Employers who are not able to provide flexibility tend to score a little less on the attractiveness index.' Anil Kumar Ethanur, Co-founder at Xpheno, says, 'Now, most of the companies are moving to hybrid. It is a reality; we can't avoid it.' Shilpa Vaid, CHRO at Diageo India, says, 'After the pandemic...it just compelled us to think systematically about what flexibility means. We tried to make sure that employees retained the flexibility in a consistent manner to do their best work, while at the same time ensuring that the sense of corporate community that we built over the years was not diluted.' Read on...

India Today: India Today HR Insights - 'Reimagining the way we work'
Author: Ajay Sukumaran


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jun 2024

According to a 2018 HelpAge India report, about 25% of senior citizens in urban India face abuse. Rising cases of elderly abuse and abandonment are a cause of serious concern for Indian social fabric. Even though governmental policies and many nonprofits are working to curb it but challenges remain. Dr. Rajkumaar and Srujana founded Joy Foundation in 2006 in Hyderabad (India) with focus on rural health and road accident healthcare, especially for elderly. The organization also founded an old age home for abandoned seniors. Dr. Rajkumaar, who also runs two hospitals, says, 'The burden of health and care often falls on the wife and children, causing a rift between breadwinners and senior citizens. While I can't fully blame the breadwinners, as supporting a family is challenging, this is where we step in. For me, it's not a big expense, but for them, it's a big relief.' Read on...

The New Indian Express: Spreading hope for elderly people
Author: Anshika Aggarwal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jun 2024

Stanford alum Abdul Aleem returned to Bihar (India) during COVID-19 and in 2021 co-founded BuiltX SDC (Sustainable Design & Construction). The startup is bringing an innovative concept in India's architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry by exclusively working with nonprofits to fulfil their infrastructural needs. The organization provides low-cost high-quality sustainable and environmentally-friendly design and construction to nonprofits with focus on healthcare and education sector. Mr. Aleem says, 'BuiltX is more than just a construction organization; it's a movement towards sustainable and equitable infrastructure, Our core values of empathy, integrity, and innovation drive every project we undertake. We are dedicated to building a future where every child has access to quality education and every individual can receive world-class healthcare, regardless of their financial background.' Their partnership model utilizes Integrated Project Delivery mechanism that ensures a streamlined process from start to finish, managing every detail and allowing non-profit partners to focus on their mission and impact. One of their projects is Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital (Bihar, India), the largest eye hospital in Eastern India. Read on...

Free Press Journal: Sustainable Design & Construction: Pioneering Infrastructure For Non-Profits In India
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 may 2024

According to the research study, 'Severe decline in large farmland trees in India over the past decade' (Authors: Martin Brandt; Dimitri Gominski; Florian Reiner; Ankit Kariryaa; Venkanna Babu Guthula; Philippe Ciais; Xiaoye Tong; Wenmin Zhang; Dhanapal Govindarajulu; Daniel Ortiz-Gonzalo; Rasmus Fensholt), published on 15 may 2024 in Nature Sustainability, during the period 2018-2022, more than 5 million large farmland trees (about 67m² crown size) have vanished, due partly to altered cultivation practices, where trees within fields are perceived as detrimental to crop yields. The study mapped 0.6 billion farmland trees, excluding block plantations, in India and tracked them over the past decade. The research shows that around 11±2% of the large trees (about 96m² crown size) mapped in 2010/2011 had disappeared by 2018. According to the 'European Space Agency (ESA) WorldCover 10 m 2020 v100 (2021)' (zenodo.org) land-cover map, 56% of India is covered by farmland, and only 20% is covered by forest. Prof. Martin Brandt of Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at University of Copenhagen, says on X.com, 'Large trees within fields and croplands in India are clearly visible in satellite images and examining historical Google Earth images showed him how clear the decline of large trees was.' Prof. Jagdish Krishnaswamy, dean of the School of Environment and Sustainability at Bengaluru's Indian Institute for Human Settlements, commenting on the findings of the study on X.com, says, 'This is so worrying. I wonder whether the huge and lovely Mahua trees amidst the farm fields of Jhabua District in Madhya Pradesh in Central India that I saw over twenty years ago are also disappearing.' According to the study, the findings are particularly unsettling given the current emphasis on agroforestry as an essential natural climate solution playing a crucial role in both climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, as well as for livelihoods and biodiversity. Read on...

The Wire: The Vanishing: Over 3 Years, India’s Farmlands Have Lost More Than 5 Million Large Trees
Author: Aathira Perinchery


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 may 2024

According to the report, 'Climate Change in the Indian Mind 2023' (Authors: Anthony Leiserowitz; Jagadish Thaker; Marija Verner; Emily Goddard; Jennifer Carman; Seth Rosenthal; Naga Raghuveer Modala; Mallika Talwar; Yashwant Deshmukh; Gaura Shukla; Jennifer Marlon; Matthew Ballew; Matthew Goldberg), based on a third nationally representative survey conducted by Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) and the Centre for Voting Opinion & Trends in Election Research (CVoter), 91% respondents believe global warming is real and happening right now. Indian public is highly concerned about global warming and the related consequences as 59% expressed very worried sentiments about it. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT - 52% believe that if global warming occurs, it is primarily caused by human activities; On the basis of global warming risk perceptions, a large majority believe it will harm flora and fauna (83%), people in India (82%), future generations (81%), people in their own community (78%), and themselves and their own family (74%); About 53% of Indians believe they are already being affected by global warming; 71% of respondents said global warming affected their local weather and 76% said it affected monsoons in India; 79% demonstrated their willingness to act to combat global warming; 78% of Indians expect the government to do more address global warming; About 86% supported the Indian government's commitment to achieve the Net Zero emissions target by 2070. Read on...

DownToEarth: Over 90% Indians want policies to address green issues and climate action, finds Yale survey
Author: Susan Chacko


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 apr 2024

Combination of design and manufacturing is key for the success of 'Make in India' initiative and its beneficial outcome domestically and globally. Sajjan Jindal, Chairman & MD of JSW Group, says, 'Just as trust in a product hinges on its reliability and innovation, trust in India's manufacturing future also rests on its ability to seamlessly blend world-class engineering with cutting-edge design. Embracing design as a core tenet of 'Make in India' is the cornerstone to achieving this trust, both domestically and on the global stage.' He suggests strategic integration of design into the manufacturing process. He says, 'It's about understanding the capabilities and constraints of resources, including production, materials, and the workforce, and then designing products that are not only desirable, but also manufacturable with efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and high quality.' Inculcating design thinking approach can become a core of India's manufacturing prowess. India has been working on building the development of a robust domestic material sciences and engineering ecosystem to support the manufacturing sector. Design thinking and design engineering can lead to cost efficiency, performance ehnancement and reduced environmental impact. Automotive industry saw growth in development of composite materials leading to manufacturing of lightweight car components. This will help in making eco-friendly vehicles and will position India as sustainable manufacturing hub. India's space industry is another opportunity that will be driven by collaborative design and manufacturing approach. Innovation and collaboration go hand in hand. Bringing together diverse knowledge, expertise and skills leads to innovative solutions. Government can help in providing an enabling environment to encourage industry-academia collaboration in design, engineering and manufacturing. Steel is a material of choice in many industries and it needs to interlock with evolution of design engineering to be future-ready. Mr. Jindal continues, 'Design orientation is not a magic bullet. But it's a powerful tool that can significantly strengthen 'Make in India'. By prioritising design, Indian manufacturers can move up the manufacturing value chain and begin to create truly innovative, globally competitive products. This shift in mindset, from ‘Make in India’ to 'Design and Make in India', is key to unlocking the nation's full manufacturing potential.' Read on...

The Economic Times: Embracing design as a core tenet of 'Make in India' will build trust in Indian manufacturing
Author: Sajjan Jindal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2024

India needs to work upon scientific and technological research and development to become an advanced nation. In an interview with Amitabh Sinha, Deputay Editor of The Indian Express, Indian government's Principal Scientific Advisor Ajay Kumar Sood explains the building of a vision and roadmap to become a developed nation by 2047 driven by science and technology. He says, 'We have fairly good scientific traditions and a fairly strong base. But if you look at any of the commonly used indicators to measure the scientific strength of a country, we are far behind, way below the global average. That is because our contribution in science is not proportional to our size or potential. This has to change.' According to him India should work and improve upon indicators like GERD (General Expenditure on Research and Development), the number of researchers per million population, women in science, number of patents etc. There is need for quality in research publications. Moreover, deployment of breakthrough technologies will provide 8-10% economic growth, an essential component to become a developed nation by 2047. He says, 'A Viksit Bharat will have to be a leader in science. There is no other way...The National Research Foundation (NRF) is one big decision that the government is banking heavily on.' Read on...

The Indian Express: In 2047, in terms of science, India should be in top 3 or 5: PSA Ajay Kumar Sood
Author: Amitabh Sinha


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 mar 2024

India has a thriving entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. Traditionally India has always been an enterprising economy with sizeable individuals involved in small and medium enterprises. But, last decade has seen a significant rise in tech-driven new age entrepreneurship and startup culture. Mr. Shri Sanjiv, Joint Secretary (Startup India) at the DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, GOI) provides the detailed explanation of India's evolving entreprenurial landscape, government policies and programs such as Startup India Initiative and involvement of sizeable young minds that are a large demographic of India. He says, 'Eight years ago, on January 16, 2016, India embarked on an ambitious journey, one that would transform the face of the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem...The number of recognised startups in the country has gone from around 400 in 2016 to more than 115000...The unprecedented success of India's startup ecosystem is a positive indicator of the nation's ability to be self-sustaining and to provide prosperity to all segments of society...the launch of the Startup India initiative in 2016 with a simple goal: to create an environment that would empower the people of India to become entrepreneurs and create world-class startups...the systemic approach followed by DPIIT to drive the Startup Indian Initiative: Ideate, Implement, and Innovate. A consistent and comprehensive approach has led to the ideation of targeted flagship programs under the Startup India initiative. The three flagship schemes,i.e., the Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS), the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme(SISFS), and the Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS), demonstrate this philosophy clearly. They were designed keeping in mind that it was neither practical nor ideal to have a one-size-fits-all approach to funding due to the nature of a startup's lifecycle...India is a large country, both in terms of geography and demography, with multiple different factors at play at any given point in time. This was a major consideration under the Startup India initiative and led to the conceptualization of programs such as the National Startup Awards (NSA) in 2020 and the States' Startup Ranking Framework (SRF) in 2018. Both of these programs aim to promote innovationacross the length and breadth of the country...With the notification of the National Startup Advisory Council, policymakers from the government and startup ecosystem stalwarts have worked tirelessly to guide the initiative and suggest practical steps, leading to the development of national initiatives such as the Startup India Investor Connect Portal, the National Mentorship Portal (MAARG) (Mentorship, Advisory, Assistance, Resilience, and Growth), and Startup Champions 2.0, amongst others...visit the Startup India Hub portal, and find all the resources they need to set up a startup...The ideation and institutionalization of Startup20 Engagement Group under India's G20 Presidency in 2023 is a testimony to the government's bringing startups to mainstream policy making agendas and the impact of our startup ecosystem on a global scale...Reaching the goal of Viksit Bharat@2047, the 100th year of independence, represents multiple new possibilities for both the government and India's startups...As we celebrated National Startup Day on January 16th and Startup India Innovation through the month of January 2024, the efforts of all stakeholders...are indispensable to transforming India into a global startup hub.' Read on...

Times Now: India's Startup Revolution: Exploring the Rise of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Author: Shri Sanjiv


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 feb 2024

A recently held panel discussion on 'Decade of Union Budgets: Analysis and Assessment' was organised by MBA Department of Alva's College at Moodbidri (Karnatake, India), in association with Confederation of Indian Industry, Young Indians Mangalore Chapter, Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry and TiE Mangalore Chapter at Moodbidri. The panelists were - Rasananda Panda, professor of Economics a Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad; Ashok Dalwai, Chairman of the empowered Body on Doubling Farmers' Income; G. V. Joshi, Economist and former member of the State Planning Board; Dharmendra B. Mehtha, Retired Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Officer; Cotha Srinivas, ICAI Central Council Member; Narasimha Nayak, Former ICAI Udupi Chapter Chairman; Nobert M. Shenoy, Financial Consultant. Mr. Panda said, ' Education and healthcare were vital indicators of a country's economic growth. Despite decades of warnings from experts about the need for increased funding in these sectors, governments have failed to allocate additional resources.' Mr. Dalwai emphasised the importance of considering both the Budget and allocation outside of it. Mr. Joshi said, 'The government must prioritise job creation and address concerns regarding the fiscal deficit. It is crucial to address challenges faced by small and marginal farmers forming 90% of the farming population. Tackling climate change should be a priority.' Mr. Mehtha talked about emphasis on strong infrastructure development. Read on...

The Hindu: Successive governments declined additional allocation to education and healthcare, laments Economics professor
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 feb 2024

India's interim budget 2024 focuses on short-term allocations for the interim period before the formation of new government after this year's elections. There are minor increases in allocated funds to healthcare and family welfare (1.68%), and women and child development (2.53%). The budget announced the extension of the flagship Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme to all ASHA and Anganwadi workers and helpers. It also upgraded and strengthened the POSHAN scheme (meal scheme for government school children). Dr. Vijayabhaskaran, Executive Director at Kauvery Hospital in Bengaluru & Hosur, says, '...budget for the healthcare sector underscores a multi-faceted approach towards enhancing healthcare education, broadening coverage, and emphasising preventive measures. The initiative to establish more medical colleges by leveraging existing hospital infrastructures aligns with global best practices...in order to effectively manage the primary healthcare needs and address the shortage at the speciality level, it's essential to consider strategies beyond just increasing the number of medical colleges.' Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, Surgical Oncologist at Manipal Hospital in Dwarka, appreciates the announcement for health of young girls. He says, 'Cervical cancer is one of the preventable cancers. HPV vaccination in the age group 9-14 years has been shown to be safe and effective in preventing HPV infection and cervical cancer. Routine HPV vaccination should be included in the National Immunisation Programme.' Sombrata Roy, Unit head of CMRI-CK Birla Hospitals in Kolkata, says, 'We eagerly anticipate contributing to these national initiatives, ensuring comprehensive and inclusive healthcare for all.' Dr. Vijayabhaskaran suggests following to overcome rural-urban imbalance in healthcare provision and shortage of health profesionals - (1) Incentivising Rural Service (2) Enhanced Telemedicine Services (3) Focused Training Programmes (4) Public-Private Partnerships (5) Regulatory Reforms For Health Practitioners. Read on...

WION: What do health experts think of India's interim budget? How can govt improve it?
Author: Srishti Singh Sisodia


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jan 2024

As India's youth population continues to rise so does the need for educational infrastructure and technologies. Union Budget 2024 is coming soon and educational sector focus is the necessity. Expectations and predictions for education tecnology and higher education would include - Alignment of digital education initiatives and National Education Policy 2020; Enhanced global educational relationships through benefits and support to Non-Resident Indians; Tax relief for education abroad by lowering rate of Tax Collected at Source (TCS); Balacing TCS impact on educational remittances; Boosting efforts towards skill-centric learning in remote areas by leveraging technology; Acomodating and facilitating global educational institutions to establish campuses in India; Reduced GST on educational content and services, and more budget allocatiom on research and development; Enhancing accessibility and affordability to student loans to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) to 50% by 2030. Read on...

: 10 predictions for EdTech and higher education ahead of India's Union Budget 2024
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 jan 2024

According to the National CSR Portal website of Govt. of India (csr.gov.in), India Inc, spent Rs. 25000 crore in 2021-22 toward Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). 18000 companies contrbuted to this and implemented 40000 developmental projects. 65% of this fund has been allocated to health, education and poverty related issues, while the environment sector received less than 7%. Historically, the fund for environmental issues has never exceeded 10%. Anuja Malhotra (Policy Manager) and Abi Tamim Vanak (Director) at the Centre for Policy Design, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), explain the reasons behind this skewed fund allocation and what is required to streamline funds towards environmental sector and steps needed to optimize its potential. Explaining the low allocation, the authors say, 'This may be attributed to a lack of quantifiable metrics in the environmental and ecological sector, the long gestation period required to calculate 'returns' and lack of usable monitoring, reporting and evaluation frameworks. These challenges are further exacerbated by the fact that executing environmental projects requires expertise and often involves engaging and collaborating with highly specialised institutions.' Policy initiatives such as Schedule VII of Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013, includes the environment as a key CSR focus area for implementation, and the Reserve Bank of India’s latest report on currency and finance, equitable CSR funding is listed as one of the key policy options to mitigate climate risk, will streamline CSR funding towards environmental issues. Authors suggest following steps to optimize its potential - (1) Companies interested in investing in protecting and restoring India's natural resource base should prepare for a long-term funding strategy if they want to achieve effective results. (2) Funders must recognise that working in the environmental sector necessitates close collaboration with local communities and other relevant stakeholders. (3) Avoid large-scale but homogenous activities such as tree plantations. Investments in more socio-ecologically responsible restoration strategies require strategic and well planned design and operationalisation of interventions that minimise unintended consequences. (4) investing in the development and use of technology for carbon sequestration potential may prove useful in creating a knowledge base for India's transition to green credits, carbon markets, and green growth. (5) A long-term goal and vision will also help companies plan and pace their expenditures, thereby reducing unspent balances. In addition, companies may align their CSR investment goals with their ESGs (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategies and try to reduce their carbon footprints. Moreover, for long-term continued success, CSR funds can serve as a platform to operationalise the science-policy-practice interface by investing in well-researched and carefully designed projects and, develop collaboration with civil society and policymakers to develop sense of shared responsibility and ownership. Read on...

MONGABAY: How to strategically align CSR funds to meet India’s sustainability goals
AuthorS: Anuja Malhotra, Abi Tamim Vanak


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2023

Fashion industry is dynamic and ever evolving through continuous creativity and innovation, and trends keep changing. In India, due to multi-cultural and diverse communities, fashion and related industries are expanding and need for skilled workers is increasing. Raghav Mittal, Chief Creative Director & Managing Director at House of Surya, provides career options for aspiring students and professionals in different areas of fashion industry - (1) Clothing and garment design for various occasions, age groups and demographics. (2) Accessory design that enhances clothing design trends through creation and design of complementary pieces. (3) Textile design that relates to patterns and art work on fabrics that brings into use India's cultural heritage. (4) Fashion styling that utilizes creativity by bringing together all the different elements of fashion for media platforms. Career options include photo shoots, fashion shows, advertising, movies and films etc. (5) Fashion journalism that combines communication skills and fashion and works towards covering fashion trends, industry events etc. As fashion in India continues to evolve there are trends that are becoming prominent in recent times such as concern for environment through sustainable fashion, embracing diversity and inclusivity, and ditial transformation like designing technologies, online retail, social media influencing etc. Read on...

India Today: Fashion designing in India: A thriving industry with endless possibilities
Author: Karan Yadav


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 nov 2023

According to the recent report by Great Place to Work India, nonprofit sector in India have 45% women in its workforce which is 24% higher than the other industries. The survey highlighted on average NGOs work across 13 locations, with 323 individuals and 97% of them working full time. The report finds that 80% of NGOs in India primarily focus their efforts on promoting quality education, ensuring good health and well-being, and working towards eradicating poverty. Yeshasvini Ramaswamy, CEO of Great Place To Work India, says, 'Over the years, we've witnessed incredible achievements in initiatives like Polio eradication and the Aanganwadi initiative by the Government of India, which have positively impacted the lives of millions.' According to the NGO Darpan Portal, top states based on number of NGOs are - Uttar Pradesh (15%); Maharashtra (14%); Delhi (8%); West Bengal (7%). Moreover, 94% of NGO employees expressed deep satisfaction with their organisations' societal contributions. Read on...

Zee Business: Indian NGOs employ 45% women, 24% more than other industries: Report
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2023

Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is an entity that acts as a human resources collaborative bridge that provides lease of employees to business organizations. By managing essential HR functions such as employee benefits, compensation and payroll administration, workers' compensation etc, PEO's take the load off the businesses. PEO's hire for their clients, but keep these employees on their own payroll and they become Employer on Record (EOR) for the PEO. These employees are provided key performance indicators (KPIs) by the client organizations on a regular basis while they operate under the HR guidelines set by PEOs. By working with PEOs, busineses can focus on their strategic issues and core competencies. The extent of HR functions outsourced to a PEO can vary depending on the specific agreement and the PEO's offerings. Another option can be Administrative Services Outsourcing (ASO) for organizations that seek outsourcing benefits without co-employment. Krishan Aggarwal, Senior Manager, International Business Advisory at Dezan Shira & Associates, says, 'The arrangement of Employer of Record (EOR) provides a cost-effective and efficient method for foreign entities to conduct market research activities without the need to establish their own entity, which can be a costly and time-consuming process...the management or control remains with the principal employer, enabling efficient staff management in India.' Multi-national organizations can utilize the expertise and resources of PEOs in India but there are things that they can and cannot do. PEOs can do the following in India - Assist with hiring and onboarding; Mitigating risk and ensuring compliance; Ensure proper payroll management and processing; Enhanced efficiency and time savings; Access to expertise and resources; Cost savings and improved benefits; Scalability and flexibility. PEOs cannot do the following - Serve as the sole legal employer; Take full control of your organization; Be solely responsible for hiring and firing employees; Read on...

India Briefing: Maximizing Business Growth in India with PEOs as Strategic HR Partners
Author: Naina Bhardwaj


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 sep 2023

The World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is to be held in October 2025 in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). The event is intended to galvanize conservation actions to protect the planet amid local and global challenges. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), says, 'The challenges of biodiversity loss remain our most pressing concern and an immediate challenge too. It is critical that the Congress identifies clear directions for implementing actions under the KM Global Biodiversity framework, to stop and reverse biodiversity loss and to restore nature through its 23 targets over the next decade...From climate change point of view, transition to clean energy and developing infrastructure and services to achieve NetZero ambitions will also be a significant challenge...The 2025 Congress in Abu Dhabi will also be important for the South and South-East Asia region as well.' With India's significant influence in the region and at global level, there is a special role that India can play in making an impact in the Congress. She says, 'India can help shape the agenda of the Congress to achieve positive outcomes for biodiversity and environment. India has been an IUCN member since 1969 with two of the former IUCN Presidents coming from India...brings extensive knowledge and expertise, from policy making to natural resources management to livelihood and food security, that will further enrich the Congress discussions...ensuring food and water security for over 1.4 billion people (India's population) will mean both agricultural expansion and infrastructure development. If not planned and executed with care, this expansion can further exacerbate existing challenges of deforestation, air pollution and plastic pollution which can have significant implications for endangered species, habitats, and key terrestrial and marine ecosystems...India, with its enormous technology infrastructure, vast pool of skilled IT resources and advanced space programme, is well equipped to deal with them and demonstrate its leadership to the world.' Read on...

The Hindu: 'Tech infrastructure, skilled IT resources and advanced space programme helps India deal with environmental challenges': Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri
Author: K. C. Deepika


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 sep 2023

According to Mercer's Global Talent Trends 2023 HR Leader Pulse Survey, 50% of the organizations don't have clarity on the skills their employees require in future. HR (Human Resources) has to improve companies' ability to predict skills needed tomorrow and train today's talent. HR leaders in India must focus on skill development, worker fatigue and flexibility for their companies' growth. Shanthi Naresh, partner at Mercer Career India, says, '2023 will be a defining year as an optimistic and ambitious India looks to drive transformation amidst a BANI (brittle, anxiety-inducing, non-linear and incomprehensible) global environment. HR will have to lead the way in readying itself and the business for what lies ahead. In an economically challenging situation, if organizations are looking for ways to identify non-monetary drivers that can engage and retain employees, then investing in supporting flexible workforces certainly seems to be an area of opportunity.' Employee well-being is a critical consideration and 45% of Indian companies in India are redesigning work based on it. Companies are ensuring that their employees have realistic workloads, no-meeting days and a positive work environment. Read on...

Business Standard: Indian firms must focus on skilling workforce, flexibility. HR survey
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 aug 2023

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, in 2022 India ranked 4th most popular destination for startups and attracted 4.2% of global venture capital (USA - 41%, China - 18%, UK - 6%). Moreover, it is estimated that the global venture capital share of India will double by 2030. Sampath Sharma Nariyanuri, CFA Fintech Research Analyst at S&P Global Intelligence and Shankar Krishnamurthy, Head of Essential Tech Center of Excellence & Innovation at S&P Global, looking forward into 2030 answer 3 questions regarding Indian startups and their impact on the economy - (1) Will venture capital (VC) interest in Indian startups continue?: As India is expected to be 3rd largest economy there is huge scope of growth in startup ecosystem. In 2022, starup funding surpassed amount raised by public companies. Growth in mobile internet and government supported digital stack will give a boost to startups. India saw a record 26542 startup registrations in 2022, even amid a global funding slowdown. India had more than 92000 startups recognized by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as of 28 feb 2023. (2) Which startup sectors will be resilient in India?: The fintech sector has topped the funding charts in India in recent years, attracting a cumulative US$ 9.7 billion in 2021 and 2022. ndia's digital commerce and on-demand services space won more than US$ 10 billion of VC investments over the last two years. Online B2B marketplaces in manufacturing and retail raised US$ 2.76 billion in aggregate in the last two years. Government sponsored initiatives like Account Aggregator (AA) network and the Open Credit Enablement Network (OCEN), will boost and streamline online lending workflows and can be integrated with e-commerce, fintech and marketplace apps. While Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) will bring interoperability across the widely fragmented digital commerce space. Other main sectors that attracted substantial VC funding include E-commerce (US$ 7.320 billion), Edtech (US$ 4.256 billion), Food and Grocery Delivery (US$ 3.462 billion), Media and Entertainment Tech (US$ 3.013 billion), Healthcare Tech (US$ 2.206 billion) etc. (3) What are the emerging sectors for startups in India?: Emerging sectors that got VC funding in 2021 and 2022 combined include AgTech (US$ 1.112 billion), Electric Vehicles (US$ 1.065 billion), Automation (US$ 0.591 billion), Clean Technology (US$ 0.193 billion). Artifical Intelligence, Space Technology and Drones are other significant emerging sectors. Electric vehicles sector will need about US$ 266 billion of investment this decade to meet government targets. In the long-term, India's open APIs and public digital stack will likely act as enablers for new startups. Read on...

S&P Global: Startups Riding Digital Infrastructure Could Transform Indian Economy
Authors: Sampath Sharma Nariyanuri, Shankar Krishnamurthy


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2023

The research study, 'Leveraging Multi-tier Healthcare Facility Network Simulations for Capacity Planning in a Pandemic' (Authors: Varun Ramamohan, of Indian Institute of Technology Delhi; Navonil Mustafee of University of Exeter Business School; Karan Madan of All India Institute of Medical Sciences - AIIMS; Shoaib Mohd of IIT Delhi), published in the journal Socio-Economic Planning Sciences (Aug 2023), demonstrates how a network-based modelling and simulation approach utilising generic modelling principles can - (1) Quantify the extent to which the existing facilities in the PHS (Public Health System) can effectively cope with the forecasted COVID-19 caseload; (2) Inform decisions on capacity at makeshift COVID-19 Care Centres (CCC) to handle patient overflows. Moreover, the research demonstrates how multi-tier healthcare facility network simulations can be leveraged for capacity planning in health crises. The simulation tool developed by researchers analyses emergency handling capacity of a particular region's health infrastructure, and provides details like number of health centres in an area, bed availability, ICU facility, ventilators, oxygen, medicine supply and available number of healthcare workers. Prof. Varun Ramamohan, the lead researcher of the study, says, 'In Delhi there are often shortages of beds during peak of dengue, so our tool can be used for effective planning of operational responses.' Read on...

The Times of India: Researchers develop tool for health emergencies
Author: Shreya Ghosh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jul 2023

Machines are designed to perform tasks and solve human problems. Their capabilities range from very large/heavy work to very tiny nano-level mechanisms. French philosopher René Descartes influenced advancements in machine design and development through his ideas on human body and machines. Further progress in physics and mathematics led to the formalization of the study of Mechanical Engineering. Prof. Sudipto Mukherjee of IIT-Delhi provides details on the study of mechanical engineering and the careers that can be pursued in the field. He says, 'It is important to have a good relationship with computers early in your career. But as you seek to enhance human abilities and empower society, the first requirement is to have social skills such as interpersonal abilities and empathy. Mechanical engineering is the right choice if you are passionate about solving physical challenges faced by humans in today’s world. The knowledge needed to provide solutions will come as you progress through a solid mechanical engineering curriculum, starting from identifying needs and ending with delivering the final product.' He further explains what training is provided to those who pursue study in specific fields of mechanical engineering like machine design, industrial engineering etc. Pursuing entrepreneurship, and furthering career in management and business administration are attractive options for mechanical engineers. Prof. Mukherjee points out, 'The world of mechanical engineering is not deterministic, meaning it does not operate based on specific occurrences, It works with expected values, such as statistical means and variance...Mechanical engineering is perhaps the only engineering discipline that sees designing with failure as an integral part of the design process and recognises that it is inevitable...It is worth noting that sometimes mechanical components replace failing human joints and organs...Mechanical engineering is a good playing field for those who have empathy, an outward-looking mindset, resilience, and some mathematical skills.' Read on...

The Indian Express: From entrepreneurship to design, mechanical engineering provides multiple opportunities, writes IIT Delhi professor
Author: Sudipto Mukherjee


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jun 2023

According to a study commissioned by The Times of India on CSR spends by NSE listed companies, CSR project spends in FY22 at Rs 14558 crore were marginally lower than Rs 14615 crore in the previous year. On the contrary, the number of companies that become part of CSR community increased to 1278 from 1251 in the previous year. As per 2021 amendment companies can defer CSR funds for a specific period. Companies have option to support multi-year projects and can transfer the unspent amount from an ongoing project to a separate bank account and can utilize it in the next three years. Pranav Haldia, MD of Prime Database says, 'Top areas continued to be healthcare and education, garnering nearly 60% of spends. Another area that gained prominence is the newly-introduced schedule of disaster management.' Shivananda Shetty, Head of ESG Advisory at KPMG, says, 'Companies are formulating multi-year projects of higher value, as the average per capita project expenditure is showing a positive trend. Read on...

The Times of India: CSR spends remain flat at Rs 14.6k crore in FY22: Study
Author: Rupali Mukherjee


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jun 2023

India's ecommerce market is projected to grow to US$ 150-170 billion by 2027. The growth is driven by increasing internet and mobile usage, booming millennial consumer base, and rise in digital payments. Bain & Company’s 'How India Shops Report' indicates that India's online seller base has grown by 35% annually, with approximately 40% of new sellers emerging from tier-2 or smaller cities. Moreover, Indian government's Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) initiative is poised to democratize the ecommerce industry, providing a level playing field for all sellers in terms of product, pricing, reach, and sales. Narinder Mahajan, CEO & cofounder of ODN, says that to gain a competitive advantage in this new environment, sellers from across India will need to think differently and one of the ways to do this is to better understand their customers by leveraging consumer insights and data analytics. Small businesses can utilize analytics and big data to gain valuable insights about consumers that can equip them to tailor strategies effectivcely to reach customers and expand their businesses. This will also help them to compete in better ways with large businesses. As small businesses work with smaller budgets they can't do extensive market research but utlizing many low-cost data analytics solutions they can identify trends and opportunities in the market, allowing them to create new products or services that meet the needs and demands of their customers. Mr. Mahajan suggests other benefits of data analytics for improving ecommerce business - (1) Enhanced inventory planning (2) Personalized customer experiences (3) Targeted promotions (4) Optimal product pricing (5) New market/platform entry (6) Churn reduction. Read on...

Express Computer: Small Retailers in India: How Consumer Insights and Data Analytics are levelling the Playing Field for Ecommerce Success
Author: Narinder Mahajan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 may 2023

According to the study, 'Annual Survey of States of Marginal Farmers in India', done by the Forum of Enterprises for Equitable Development (FEED), around 2/3 of farmers (68.29%) households are engaged in non-farm activities, such as daily wage labour in road construction and house construction etc, to supplement their income from crop cultivation. Moreover, these marginal farmers (owning less than 2.5 acres) are not able to access government schemes and their farm earnings are less than non-farm earnings. Sandeep Ghosh, who lead the study, says, '...our survey asks is why are the marginal land-holders considered as 'farmers'.' Dr. PS Brithal, Director of ICAR - National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, says, '...existing disparities on the ground which government need to address.' VV Sadamate, former Agriculture Advisor to the Government of India, says, 'There is a need to re-orientate agri-extension services and make them for marginal farmers.' Read on...

The New Indian Express: Why marginal landholders consider 'farmer', ask new study
Author: Jitendra Choubey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 apr 2023

Even though India is on a development and growth path, but there are areas that require special attention particularly the social issues like poverty, unemployment, gender inequality, and environmental degradation. According to the Lancet study 'Progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators in 707 districts of India: A quantitative mid-line assessment using the National Family Health Surveys, 2016 and 2021' (Authors: S.V. Subramanian of Harvard University, Mayanka Ambade of Laxmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute India, Akhil Kumar of Harvard University, Hyejun Chi of Korea University, William Joe of Institute of Economic Growth India, Sunil Rajpal of Korea University, Rockli Kim of Korea University), India is not on-target for 19 of the 33 SDGs indicators. The critical off-target indicators include access to basic services, wasting and overweight children, anaemia, child marriage, partner violence, tobacco use, and modern contraceptive use. For these indicators, more than 75% of the districts were off-target. Because of a worsening trend observed between 2016 and 2021, and assuming no course correction occurs, many districts will never meet the targets on the SDGs even well after 2030. Abhishek Dubey, founder and CEO of Muskaan Dreams, suggests that India needs more social impact entrepreneurs to make a positive difference in society. Social entrepreneurs are capable to put their talent and energy for social causes that they value along with generating revenue and profits. The are well suited to contribute effectively to India's growth story for following reasons - (1) Tackling social problems at scale (2) Promoting inclusive growth (3) Solving environmental challenges (4) Innovating for social impact (5) Bridging the gap between the public and private sectors (6) Creating sustainable ventures. Read on...

Forbes: Why India needs more social entrepreneurs
Author: Abhishek Dubey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2023

Entrepreneurial ecosystem is essential for thriving economy as it creates jobs and wealth. According to the 2022 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER2022), US$ $6.4 trillion of value creation happened due to global startup economy. The GSER2022 ranks startup ecosystems on seven success factors, including performance and talent and at the top are - Silicon Valley, New York City, London, Boston and Beijing. First Site Guide puts USA at the top country with 71153 startups and there over 69% of entrepreneurs having started their business at home. India is the third largest startup ecosystem with 107 unicorns (valuation of US$ 1 billion or more) and a a total valuation of $340.79 billion, as of 7 September 2022. By 2025, India is expected to have 250 unicorns. GSER2022 reports rise in Indian ecosystems ranking - Delhi entered top 30 and now is at 26, up 11 places, while Bangalore has moved up one place and is at 22. According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) India Report 21-22, India’s entrepreneurial activity expanded in 2021, with its total entrepreneurial activity rate(% of adults aged 18–64 who are starting or running a new business) increased to 14.4% in 2021, up from 5.3% in 2020. India has the highest fintech adoption rate in the world at 87%, the global average rate being 64%. India’s largest share from fintech startups is through ‘payments’ and is followed by lending, wealth tech, personal finance, insurtech, regtech and others. Government of India's 'Digital India' also boosted the adoption of fintech. Read on...

Financial Express: Global Growth of entrepreneurship; India not far behind
Author: Archie Bandyopadhyay


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 mar 2023

The ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India) Foundation for CSR organized a two-day Awareness Summit on 'Illness to Wellness' in New Delhi with an objective to initiate a dialogue on promoting and building a 'New India - Healthy India'. Many experts shared their views in various sessions. Following are comments from experts on the first session related to healthcare human resources. Bhubaneswar Kalita, Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Health and Family Welfare, said, 'The main challenge is the lack of diversified and qualified workforce and we must work towards improving the status quo as the workforce is the soul of our healthcare system.' Anil Rajput, Chairperson of ASSOCHAM National CSR Council, said, 'I strongly believe that when the workforce is healthy and capable, our nation can achieve its full potential across all domains. The Government of India has also accorded topmost priority to it, making it a fundamental pillar for a 'Swastha and Samruddha Rashtra'. Read on...

The Times of India: Investment in healthcare workforce key to accelerating India's economic growth: Experts at ASSOCHAM event
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 feb 2023

Even though India's economic growth is a silver lining in the global economic landscape and the big cities are the front runners in contributing to the GDP with 60% share, but all this growth is not translating into the enhanced quality of life of their urban population. About 1/3rd of India's population resides in urban centers. According to the Economic Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Global Liveability Index 2022 five Indian cities are ranked poorly among 173 cities of the world - Delhi (140), Mumbai (141), Chennai (142), Ahmedabad (143), Bengaluru (146). The cities are ranked on the basis of five parameters - political stability, healthcare, culture and environment, infrastructure, and education. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) developed the Ease of Living Index (EoLI) 2022 by evaluating 111 Indian cities based on the quality of life, economic ability, sustainability, and resilience. Bengaluru is ranked at the top with a score of 66.70 out of 100, followed by Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Surat, Navi Mumbai, Coimbatore, Vadodara, Indore and Greater Mumbai. Delhi is ranked 13th. Bangaluru's ranking in the global index (at the bottom among other Indian cities) and the Indian index (at the top), brings a point that more indicators and benchmarks need to be included to achieve reliable insights, particularly for the assessment of quality of life. EoLI indicators for quality of life include affordable housing, traffic congestion, quality of air and the city's ability to withstand natural disasters. Affordable housing situtaion in India's cities is in very bad state. The draft Delhi Master Plan 2041 estimated that 85% of residents cannot afford a regular shelter. The air quality in Indian cities is further deteriorating and some are ranked at the top in global most polluted cities ranking. Similar is the case with disaster management situation with most cities unprepared to handle it effectively. Traffic condition is also deteriorating in these cities. TomTom, the leading geolocation technology specialist measuring city traffic congestion, placed Bengaluru as the 10th most congested globally in 2021, while in 2022 it took the second place. Central government, local state governments and agencies must take appropriate measures to enhance the quality of life in these cities with focus on affordable housing, public transport, sustainable population growth due to migration in urban centers by providing employment opportunities in sub-urban and rural areas, proper policies on environment and tackling climate change, better disaster management preparedness etc. Read on...

Observer Research Foundation: India's economic rise is not translating into a rise in city liveability
Author: Ramanath Jha


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jan 2023

According to the research by Prof. Praveen Kopalle from the Tuck School of Business (Dartmouth College), Prof. S. Arunachalam of the Rawls College of Business (Texas Tech University), Prof. Hariom Manchiraju of the Indian School of Business (ISB), and Prof. Rahul Suhag of the Kenan-Flagler Business School (University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill), what's good for society and the environment can also be good for a company's bottom line. Firms spending on CSR activities impacts their profitability. Researchers studied data from 2320 unique firms in India between the years 2012 and 2017, completing two forms of empirical analysis - (1) A difference-in-differences design, analyzed companies' CSR spending, advertising, and gross profit margins before and after the passage of the India's CSR law. (2) A regression discontinuity, looked at firms very close to law's threshold (on both sides) and compared the differences in their pricing. According to Prof. Kopalle, 'If both techniques are pointing in the same direction, then we can establish a casual inference that the law is what's making the difference.' After making data more comprehensible, researchers identified three categories of the firms - (1) Newspender: Firms that started spending on CSR after the law was passed. (2) Prosocial: Firms that spent on CSR even before the law was passed. (3) Nonspender: Firms that didn't spend on CSR after the law, and chose to explain to the government why they didn't do so. Mentioning key findings, Prof. Kopalle says, 'The Newspenders start saying more about CSR in their ads and it ends up positively impacting their gross margins...consumers reward socially responsible, profit-maximizing companies and absorb the corresponding price increases without reducing their purchase quantities...At the company level, you can do well by doing good. It's not a zero-sum game...Between using advertising and price as leverage, and having the law as a backup, it gives a cohesive and well-founded story to consumers, so they say it's worthwhile to pay more for products from these companies.' The research also provides proof that governments in emerging economies can use mandatory CSR laws as an innovative strategy to nudge companies to contribute to social causes. Read on...

Tuck School of Business News: Corporate Social Responsibility is not a Zero-Sum Game
Author: Kirk Kardashian


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jan 2023

India continues to face many challenges in its agricultural sector. As the population continues to grow, food security becomes a prominent issue. In addition to this India has to take care of risks like climate change, supply chain inefficiencies etc. India has to make effective use of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) among others to mitigate risks in agricultural sector. World Economic Forum has an initiative called Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture Innovation (AI4AI) that is directed to do just that. The initiative led by Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) India and the Platform for Shaping the Future of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, encourages collaboration between government, academia and businesses to develop and implement innovative technological solutions. 'Saagu Bagu' pilot was launched with Government of the Indian state of Telangana to implement a framework for scaling up emerging technologies to improve productivity, efficiency and sustainability in the agriculture sector. The C4IR India developed the AI for Agriculture framework for public-private partnership in 2021. The framework includes Intelligent Crop Planning, Smart Farming, Farm-gate to Fork, Data-driven Agriculture. About 7000 farmers are now using the technologies to monitor the health of their crops, perform quality control and test soil. Read on...

World Economic Forum: AI for agriculture: How Indian farmers are harnessing emerging technologies to sustainably increase productivity
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 dec 2022

Since ancient times art and design has been a part of Indian culture and society and the skill-based learning system existed where the master imparted the skills and shared his experience with his pupil, who often learned by observing and doing. In India there existed communities of design and in most cases the skill got passed as part of the family tradition from generation to generation. There was generally no formal design institutions imparting design education in earlier times. The formal design education in India, in the modern sense, began when the National Institute of Design was established in 1961 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat). Prof. Bhaskar Batt, Director of School of Design at Anant National University, explains what design is all about, how design education is evolving in India and its relevance in modern times. He says, 'Design, as we say, is a creative problem-solving process used to develop innovative solutions and services to make our lives better. Contrary to the expressionist approach of art, design is strongly focused on the identification of the user and market needs, and thus is a process-centric exercise to develop new and innovative solutions.' McKinseys 2018 report emphasises the value of design and found that design-led companies grew twice as compared to non-design ones. Explaining design in Indian context, he says, 'Design in India focused on the social sectors prior to liberalisation of the economy and industry post the millennium. Whilst design embraced the industry, designers retained the philosophical bedrock of trying to make the world a better place. In the following two decades, India has seen a dramatic rise in manufacturing and services, with design as an enabler for product and service creation.' India's education system now have exclusive design schools and design focused departments in universities, both public and private. Many specializations exist similar to design schools in other countries that have advanced design education system. This include industrial and product design, communication design, fashion and textile design, interaction design and many more. Indian design schools have a teaching methodology that is a mix of theory and practicals involving innovative project-based learning. Prof. Bhatt explains, 'Unlike traditional courses which are evaluated through exams, most design schools evaluate through juries, where professional designers from the industry evaluate students' work through rigorous debate...There are three traditional exit pathways in design education - employment in studios and large companies, entrepreneurship or solo consulting, and further education...Design education is strongly influenced by market forces. In the recent past, we have witnessed two meta forces (internet in the 1990s and the smartphone revolution in the 2000s) that have changed the course of human development.' Read on...

India Today: Explained: The growing impact of design education in India
Author: Bhaskar Bhatt


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2022

In a panel discussion in TechSparks 2022 titled 'STEM Education: Key to a future-ready India' experts talked about the importance of experiential learning, particularly in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects, for India to have a sustainable and future-ready workforce. Amit Chatterjee, Startup Program and Strategic Business Initiatives at Intel India, says, 'We have more than 1.4 lakh schools in the country...National Education Policy 2020, which says we need to be more activity-oriented, have more experiential and practical-oriented education. And what we want to do today is to have the conversation on how exactly we can enable that.' Harish Rawlani, Co-founder and Director of MakerInMe Technologies, says, '...How to create something which will allow students to learn technology - is one of the key challenges when it comes to the technology aspect of STEM education. We have to abstract out technology so that students can learn and find it engaging.' Manila Carvalho, Principal of Delhi Public School(Bangalore East), says, 'In schools across rural and urban areas, most of us [teachers] do not belong to the digital era. We are learning and we are trying, but the pace in which we are doing it is very slow compared to the children who are in the school. So they definitely require support — maybe external support if teachers are not equipped enough...Teachers need to be trained for whatever changes, whatever new things we will bring to the schools. If they are convinced, the product will work well...' Pooja Goyal, Co-founder and COO of Avishkaar, says, 'The customer acquisition cost is so high, that you end up raising lots of money from venture capital...I think in education, you do need a little bit of patience to build a solid business over a period of time. And the current model of funding is not completely attuned to that pace at which it needs to be built...Children must learn important skills like tech literacy and problem solving skills...So for some of these skills, it is more about teaching computational thinking skills, the vocabulary, how it is applicable to solutions, building real solutions, and that's a very challenging job.' Read on...

YourStory: Why India needs to focus on STEM education and creative learning methods
Author: Christopher Isaac


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 oct 2022

India's large talent pool has exacerbated the growth of Global Capability Centres (GCCs). Currently there are about 1300 of them set up by global corporations. Keerthi Kumar, partner at Deloitte, provides analysis of their evolution and how they are becoming value added research and innovation centres. He says, 'This shift has borne multi-faceted benefits not just for parent organisations but also for India. First, in India's journey towards digitalisation, GCCs have provided a considerable push in skilling and developing a highquality and tech-savvy workforce. Further, the sector has acted as a channel of support for India’s social and environmental objectives. GCCs spend ~US$ 100 million on CSR, of which, 40% is relegated for educational initiatives, and save between 190 and 200K tonnes of GHG emissions through green initiatives. The sector makes a considerable and holistic impact across the economic, human capital, innovation, social, and environmental dimensions of India. Currently, the sector contributes ~US$ 103 billion to India in direct, indirect, and induced output-amounting to ~1 percent of the country’s GDP. Additionally, GCCs also bring forth investment opportunities, with global parent organisations having invested ~US$ 1.5 billion in India, while also directly contributing ~US$ 15 billion to start-up revenue annually.' The main focus is now towards Engineering Research & Development (ER&D). According to the 2022 Global Engineering R&D Pulse Survey by Deloitte and NASSCOM, 85% organisations indicated using a GCC for their ER&D activities. Further, ~75 percent of those were already based in India, while many more are expected to come in. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SURVEY - The GCC sector generates employment for close to 5.5 million Indians, directly employing 1.2–1.3 million Indians (~25% of the direct employment generated by the Indian IT sector); 85% companies' leadership indicating a positive experience with their India GCCs; 90% surveyed organisations intend to maintain or increase their spend on India GCCs in the immediate future. Half of these organisations intend to increase their spend by more than 10% this year, a higher percentage than the global increase in the R&D budget; There is a growing propensity amongst India GCCs to forge partnerships with start-ups, academia, and Engineering Service Providers (ESPs); Co-creation is thus, quickly emerging as the model of choice with ~70% companies exploring or already being involved with start-ups and ESPs in co-creating; ER&D GCCs in India are likely to drive front-line innovation for their parent organisations and oversee end-to-end product development over the next three years; Upward trend to set in over the next three years in terms of volume of tasks migrated to GCCs in India, making India both a 'volume' and a 'value' creator. To maintain its lead India has to ensure that the talent pool remains competitive and future ready, start-up ecosystem continues to grow and ER&D strengthens. Read on...

DATAQUEST: Engineering innovation: India's opportunity to emerge as the world's engine room
Author: Keerthi Kumar


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 sep 2022

India's healthcare challenge is to be taken seriously at all levels - policy, public, private etc. Considering the large population size, an estimated 1.4 billion, it requires consistent and unfaltering efforts to standardize healthcare across all regions, both urban and rural. Within many challenges facing India's healthcare, the two important ones are affordability and accessability. Indian government spends only 2.1% of GDP on healthcare compared to 9.7% across OECD countries. This is one of the main reasons for the large portion of healthcare burden going to Indian people's pockets, which amounts to more than 55%. Another statistics that is disturbing in India's healthcare is vast divide between rural and urban health delivery. India's urban population is 28% while they have access to 66% of the hospital beds. Moreover, 67% of the doctors work in urban areas. One aspect of the solution related to India's many healthcare challenges is collaboration and partnership between public and private entities. The recent COVID-19 challenge highlighted the value of public-private partnerships (PPP) in healthcare. Collaborative public and private efforts in diagnostics, technology and treatment, helped India take the challenge of saving lives during the pandemic. The CoWin portal for vaccination is one such example. There are many instances of such public-private collaborations during the pandemic that provide evidence for the success of PPP model. This model can be taken further to improve and enhance the quality, affordability and accessability of the overall healthcare system in India. In the last few years PPP focused policy initiatives have led to increased investments in PPP projects. India received US$ 7.7 billion of committed investments across 25 projects in 2021, the largest in the South Asia Region. The three ways the PPP projects can help overcome affordability and accessability challenge in India's healthcare are - (1) Expertise: Private sector with urban focus have 58% hospitals and 81% doctors while public sector have most infrastructure in rural areas. Collaboration between urban and rural health by making the private sector services and expertise available in rural public health facilities can become a transformative strategy for improving India's healthcare. (2) Technology: Can be fully utilized to improve affordability and accessability in rural areas. Telemedicine is one such strategy. eSanjeevani, the national teleconsultation service, is an example. (3) Efficiency: The existing healthcare infrastructure can be uplifted through ehnanced efficiencies by implementing PPP model. Read on...

World Economic Forum: How public-private partnerships could be the booster dose for India's healthcare ecosystem
Authors: Neelima Dwivedi, Ruma Bhargava


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 aug 2022

According to Rajesh Verma, Secretary in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (Govt. of India), 'Indian companies have spent more than ₹1 trillion in CSR since the framework for corporate spending on community came into force in 2014-15. Investments in ESG (Environment, Sustainability and Governance) will play a key role in not only meeting the US$ 5 trillion economy goal, but also sustainable development goals (SDG) by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2070.' He suggests that for the survival and betterment of the world, and to overcome present and future challenges - like COVID-19, climate change, resource scarcity, inequality etc - needs people to be responsible, accountable and considerate towards each other. In these challenging scenarios large corporations have special role to play that they can perform through CSR and similar responsible activities. Many Indian companies are even spending more than they are required to under the CSR law. To encourage spending the law allows credit for the excess spending in a year which can be set off against future spending obligations. Green finance is a growing field. According to RBI bulletin of October 2021, global issuance of the green bong had surpassed US$ 250 billion in 2019 and among the list of emerging economies, India is secong to China in the cumulative emerging market green bond issuance. Read on...

Livemint: India Inc spent ₹1 trillion on CSR over seven years
Author: Gireesh Chandra Prasad


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2022

Over the years, use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has grown tremendously. Even though it has benefited farmers in increasing yields and saving crops from pests, but its indiscriminate use had negative effects on soil, environment and human health. This overuse is creating concern in farming communities, governments and nonprofits, and giving rise to a farming movement, often termed as 'organic farming' or 'natural farming', that utilizes old techniques of farming in a new and more scientific way. Indian government highlighted this method of farming in 2021 Economic Survey and work towards lessening use of chemicals in farming. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her 2022 Budget speech said, 'Chemical-free natural farming will be promoted throughout the country, with a focus on farmers' lands in 5 km wide corridors along river Ganga, at the first stage.' Currently only about 3.8 million hectares, or 2.7% of the total area under farming in India, is farmed organically or through natural methods. Experts differ in their views regarding the level of transition required towards 'natural farming' and how much beneficial it would be for India's agricultural economy. Experts supporting 'natural farming' point out the benefits to farmers like reduce input costs, improve soil health and water efficiency, increase farm produce prices, but others experts mention concerns like lower yields, crops becoming more vulnerable to pests and plant diseases etc. Most debates related to agriculture in India often get politicised, but what is needed in India is a more long-term sustainable model in agriculture. G.V. Ramanjaneyulu, executive director of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (Secunderabad), says, 'The focus should be on reducing agro-chemicals, water use and energy utilisation.' Economist Mihir Shah, in a January 2022 report in the journal 'Ecology, Economy and Society', wrote that due to impact of Green Revolution and current situation of pandemic, 'there is an urgent need to scale up alternative approaches of farming.' PM Narendra Modi in his speech to farmers in 2021 National Conclave on Natural Farming said, 'We have to take our agriculture out of the lab of chemistry and connect it to the lab of nature.', referring to agroecology, which guides public policies towards sustainable agriculture and food systems, according to the Food and Agriclture Organization (FAO). 'Natural Farming' and 'Organic Farming', both used interchangably, come under agroecological practices. Natural farming focuses on the use of bio inputs prepared from farm and local ecosystems instead of purchasing those from outside. Sridhar Radhakrishnan, activist and independent agriculture researcher based in Thiruvananthapuram, says, 'Organic farming is defined now more from a perspective of product certification. Except for such certification, organic and natural farming in India are largely similar.' R. Ramakumar, an economist at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), says, 'What binds organic and natural farming proponents is the thrust on the absence of application of chemical fertilisers or chemical pesticides during cultivation...But [some] natural farming proponents argue that even these external applications are not required, as the farm itself can generate much of the inputs required, therefore, they call it Zero-Budget Natural Farming.' Zero-Budget Natural Farming is one of the many methods of natural farming, popularised by agriculturist Subhash Palekar. Vineet Kumar, deputy programme manager of Sustainable Food Systems at CSE (Centre for Science and Environment), says, 'There is scientific evidence on the benefits of natural farming, but the government has to take the initiative to formally collate like it did under AI-NPOF.' Kavitha Kuruganti, a social activist with the Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), says, 'A modern agricultural scientist may not even be able to explain why a concoction sprayed by a farmer increased yield in natural farming, while the scientist may understand how chemicals work.' India's way forward in agriculture would require a robust scientific and economic approach that keeps in mind the interests of the farmers, quality of produce, environment and human health, agri-employment etc. Read on...

IndiaSpend: Explained: What Is Natural Farming?
Author: Shreehari Paliath


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2022

According to the study, 'Analysis of future wind and solar potential over India using climate models' (Authors: T. S. Anandh from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM); Deepak Gopalakrishnan from IITM and Center for Prototype Climate Modeling (NYU, UAE); Parthasarathi Mukhopadhyay from IITM), recently published in the Current Science, 'changing climate patterns over the next 50 years are likely to reduce the generation of solar power in India and affect the major wind power plants in certain regions... the renewable energy sector should work on improving the efficiency of solar farms given that radiation is likely to dip by 10 to 15 watts per square metre (sqm) across all seasons.' The team utilized three projection models - CORDEX-SA, CMIP5, and CMIP6 - to analyse solar and wind potential in India. Parthasarathi Mukhopadhyay of IITM, says, 'We have tried to show the difference between historical climates and the future scenario. All the models show an overall decrease in wind and solar power generation potential in India. Every model has its own uncertainty, but we have used three sets of models to analyse solar and wind potential over the peninsular region.' SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE STUDY: Both wind and solar potential are decreasing in some regions e.g. western India; Central and south-central India must be considered for the sector during pre-monsoon months, as the potential loss was minimum in these regions; North-western India - the biggest solar energy hub - is likely to see a loss in its energy capacity; Global warming would result in a drop in wind potential in some regions, and a rise in others; The southern coast of Odisha and the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu show promising potential for wind energy in the climate change scenario. Researchers predict that the deficits in solar and wind potential in India could be overcome by including more farms and using highly efficient power generators. Read on...

ThePrint: Bad news for renewable sector - study says climate change will hit solar & wind energy in India
Authors: Mohana Basu, Tony Rai


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jun 2022

Effective visualization brings communication to the next level and graphic design is the creative skill that makes it happen. As per reports by research firms - The Business Research Company: 'Global market size of design services is projected to grow to US$ 249.5 billion by 2022 from the US$ 153 billion that it had touched in 2018'; IBISWorld - Global graphic designers' industry market size, which stands at US$ 43.4 billion, is expected to increase by 3.7% in 2022'. Anu Kiran, a graphic designer and motion graphic artist at One Source, says, 'The very essence of graphic design is the ability to convey ideas and resolve complex problems through a platform - a visual and design message board - which appeal to and communicate through the primal sensory touchpoint of sight.' Most industries utilize graphic design when they communicate visually with their customers. Graphic designers need specific skills to excel in their careers. Mohammed Zeeshan, CEO and co-founder of edtech firm MyCaptain, says, 'Apart from knowing the basics, the theories of design and the concepts, you must also be able to possess an understanding of what the user wants. Being a user-first designer helps not only you but also the businesses.' Job titles in graphic design include apparel graphic designer, logo designer, packaging designer, web designer, multimedia designer, art director, UI/ UX artist etc. As the demand for the trained talent in graphic design grows, India has to fulfil it by focusing on creating quality design institutes and upgrading the existing ones. Read on...

Outlook India: As Visual Appeal Takes Centre Stage, Opportunities Open Up For Graphic Designers
Author: Sanyukt Kulshrestha


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2022

Internships are an important component of education and learning ecosystem that provide students with practical learning opportunities while still pursuing formal education in academic settings. Internships provide students with skills and experiences that anhances their career prospects. Prof. Rajnish Jain, Secretary and Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of University Grants Commission (UGC), recently released the 'Draft Guidelines for Research Internship with Faculty and Researchers at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)/Research Institutions'. He says, 'HEIs research outcome catering to social and industrial needs is essential to strengthening self-reliant economic growth. The major push for research promotion initiatives in National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 provisions UG Honours degree with a research internship...As a part of the NEP-2020 implementation, it has been decided to have a robust mechanism to develop plan and strategies, encourage & motivate students for Research Internship at HEls/Research Institutions.' Summer internships are becoming mainstream. Sarvesh Agrawal, founder and CEO of Internshala, says, 'As compared to other months, the summer internships (April to June) are more popular because students have their college vacations going on and have more time to pursue full-time internships. Some of the popular internship profiles for which summer interns are being hired include management profiles like digital marketing, business development, sales and marketing, branding, customer service, market research, finance, human resources, and operations.' Area wise distribution of internships is as follows - Management (46%), Media (25%), Design and Architecture (9%), Commerce (1%), and other areas (2%). Prof. Ranjan Banerjee, Dean at the Birla Institute of Technology School of Management (BITSoM) Pilani, says, 'Internships have always been mandatory for students pursuing full-time two-year MBA programmes right from when the first B-schools started in India. This has been true for engineering students as well since the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) mandated internships in 2017 to improve the employability of engineering graduates. Now we are seeing a trend of undergraduate students in other disciplines also seeking out internships to get a preview of working in the organisations and industries that they aspire to make a career in, and strengthen their CVs at the same time.' Read on...

The Times of India: Why summer internships are on the rise
Author: Rajlakshmi Ghosh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 may 2022

According to Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) 2021-2022 Report on Currency and Finance (RCF) named 'Revive and Construct', the losses due to COVID-19 pandemic will take 15 years to overcome. The report suggests that India should focus on seven wheels of economic progress - aggregate demand; aggregate supply; institutions; intermediaries and markets; macroeconomic stability and policy coordination; productivity and technological progress; structural changes and sustainability. Moreover, price stability is an essential condition for strong and sustainable growth path. Shaktikanta Das, Governor of RBI, emphasises the need to create a virtuous cycle of greater opportunity for entrepreneurs, businesses, and the fiscal authority. For India's economic growth structural reforms that are needed include - enhancing access to litigation free low-cost land; raising the quality of labour through public expenditure on education and health and the Skill India Mission; scaling up R&D activities with an emphasis on innovation and technology; creating an enabling environment for start-ups and unicorns; rationalisation of subsidies that promote inefficiencies; and encouraging urban agglomerations by improving the housing and physical infrastructure. Read on...

India Today: Indian economy will take 15 years to overcome Covid losses, says RBI report. Here are the key takeaways.
Author: Aishwarya Paliwal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 apr 2022

Generating positive word-of-mouth (WOM) is one of the important component of brand influence. Nowadays, brands utilize influencer marketing strategies to get WOM. The study, 'How implicit self-theories and dual-brand personalities enhance word-of-mouth' [Authors: Arvind Sahay (Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad), Sudipta Mandal (Indian Institute of Management Indore), Adrian Terron (Tata Group), Kavita Mahto (Tata Sons Ltd)], published in European Journal of Marketing, investigates how and why consumers' mindsets can influence their WOM intentions toward a brand and the consequent implications for a brand's personality. The research study finds that fixed (growth) mindset individuals exhibit greater WOM intentions than growth (fixed) mindset individuals for motives of 'impression management' ('learning and information acquisition'). Moreover, the study results also demonstrate that brands that exhibit dual personality dimensions simultaneously, one salient and the other non-salient at any instant, garner equivalent WOM intentions from both fixed and growth mindset individuals, contingent on the fit between the salient brand personality dimension and the dominant consumer mindset. Finally, using a real brand, it can be seen that WOM intentions actually translate into behavior'. Prof. Arvind Sahay says, 'In today's world, influencers, both offline and online world, influencers, both offline and online, help you to sell your brand. Many of these influencers will have different kinds of personalities. As a brand, if I can build personalities of the brand itself, that appeals more to different kinds of influencers, they will generate more word-of-mouth.' Prof. Sahay suggests, 'Brands which have a purpose, brands which empathise with their customers, brands who try to connect with their customers are going to do better.' Read on...

The Economic Times: Brands could have dual personalities in an influencer-led economy: Arvind Sahay, marketing professor, IIM-A
Authors: Chehneet Kaur, Prasad Sangameshwaran


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 apr 2022

Leaders are expected to have strong decision-making and showing of doubt is considered a weakness. They are supposed to have answers to all questions and a clear understanding of how they will lead into the future. Being unsure and insecure make them vulnerable. But, a team of academics and researchers, Prof. Manoj Joshi (Amity University and co-author of the books 'The VUCA Company' and 'VUCA in Start-ups'), Prof. Ashok Kumar (Amity University and co-author of the book 'VUCA in Start-ups') and Suhayl Abidi (Consultant and co-author of the books 'The VUCA Company' and 'VUCA in Start-ups') explain that even though decisiveness is key characteristic required in leaders in normal and stable times but due to uncertainty, unpredictability and possibility of multiple scenarios leading to success, a different set of mindset is needed among leaders to navigate the environment and sail their organizations into the successful future. According to them, 'Today, we can't predict what will work to achieve the organisation's goals or purpose. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. There is no fixed recipe and patterns emanating from hindsight. It is far more complex and intertwined. New problems, which have not been tackled before, require new paradigms. We need CEOs with different mindsets who encourage exploring the world around us. Leaders need to ask better questions, engage in deeper dialogues and look for fresher perspectives. Weak or distant signals are subtle clues to what's coming next. Some distant signals are audible only to you. Other signals may bypass you, but others may be listening. It is the innate quality of a leader, honing the strategic foresight, ready to counter the unexpected-unknown-unknown.' Prof. Bob Johansen, a futurist, writes in his book 'The New Leadership Literacies', 'In this emerging world, the best companies will be very clear about where they are going, but very flexible about how they get there. The future will reward clarity but punish certainty.' Research shows that an absence of doubt leads to flawed decision-making. In the new VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) world, having a bit of doubt with openness to change, being flexible and adaptive with changing scenarios is needed. Authors suggest, 'Uncertainty is here to stay. By visualising multiple futures and working back to the present, companies can prepare for any VUCA event. Doubt should not be seen as leading to pain and paralysis but a productive form of questioning and discovery.' Read on...

Businessworld: In VUCA - Doubt Is Good, Embrace It
Authors: Manoj Joshi, Suhayl Abidi, Ashok Kumar


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 mar 2022

India's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) law, Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013, makes it mandatory for companies to spend 2% of their average net profit made during last three financial years on CSR activities in the current financial year. The companies that come under this law include - (i) Net worth of Rs. 500 crore or more. (ii) Turnover of Rs. 1000 crore or more (iii) Net profit of Rs. 5 crore or more. Some of the areas where these funds can be applied are poverty and hunger eradication, education, healthcare, rural development, women empowerment and environmental sustainability. To incorporate CSR in such a way is quite unique when compared to CSR as practiced around the world. Adhip Ray, founder of WinSavvy.com, explains the benefits of CSR as applied in India and how other countries and businesses operating there can apply this model for greater good to the society. India's CSR law provides for forming a CSR committee that should be created and enforced by three board directors, giving it more powerful role. The CSR policy should be elaborate, money spent should be audited, details of activity to be provided on annual report and also on company website. Indian companies are taking the law seriously and competing with each other to better spend CSR funds. This helps companies to enhance their value in communities they operate and provides them with great branding opportunity. India's dedicated approach to CSR can be internationalized. Mr. Ray suggests the following basic principles that companies must adhere to for effective CSR - (1) Get the highest management on board. (2) Create OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) for enforcing your policy. (3) Fix accountability on the top management. Read on...

Sustainable Brands: Why the Business World Should Use India as a Model for Corporate Social Responsibility
Author: Adhip Ray


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 feb 2022

Social entrepreneurship can fill the gap in India's healthcare infrastructure and delivery through the combination of innovation and the spirit to do social good. Maanoj Shah, co-founder of Mission ICU, provides how social enterprises can be boon to India's healthcare infrastructure, particularly in the underserved rural and remote areas, and bring positive change through entrepreneurial spirit and the commitment to serve the community. Pandemic induced crisis highlighted the importance of social and community based efforts in healthcare system. The need is to consolidate these scattered and individual efforts through developing social enterprises. Mr. Shah suggests following ways in which social entrepreneurship could uplift India's healthcare infrastructure - (1) Devise solutions based on detailed research: Use of technology and digital solutions at the grassroots level; Conducting thorough studies to find out gaps in healthcare delivery to rural communities; Create awareness regarding hygiene and health. (2) A focus on long-term, sustainable impact on healthcare infrastructure: Social enterprises with their commitment to service to society can bring long-term sustainable impact by channeling capital and resources where healthcare facililities are scarce; Committed healthcare personnel can be deployed in rural areas and make healthcare accessible and affordable. (3) Collaborations with local partners: Working with local social service organizations and communities is essential for successful implementation of healthcare projects; By this collaboration it will be easier for social entrepreneurs to identify and understand local needs and find opportunities and create tailored solutions; Partnerships are a necessity where the resources are scarce and help efficiently utilized them for better outcomes. (4) Bridge administrative gaps to complement the public health system: Government schemes can only be successful when implemented effectively and efficiently and that's where social enterprises can contribute significantly; Social enterprises with innovative and creative focus can bridge the implementation gap and work to strengthen public healthcare system. Read on...

IndiaInfoline: How social entrepreneurship can play a role in augmenting India's healthcare infrastructure?
Author: Maanoj Shah


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 feb 2022

Healthcare in rural India is a challenge that needs to be taken seriously and sincerely. The infrastructure is in dismal condition. India's rural population is substantial, was about 903 million in 2021, and is expected to increase to 905 million in 2022. Priyadarshi Mohapatra, founder of CureBay, provides overview of India's rural healthcare sector and the challenges. He also explores the startup ecosystem and suggests how proper use of techology can be a game changer to improve accessibility and affordability of healthcare. Accessibility of quality healthcare is major issue in rural areas. The growing chronic diseases is also a cause of concern. Government run schemes, like Ayushman Bharat Health, Infrastructure Mission and Jan Arogya Yojana, when implemented effectively, can boost rural healthcare infrastructure. According to Invest India's study, 100% FDI has been allowed by the government under the automatic route to invest in developing hospitals. Moreover, 100% FDI is also permissible under automatic routes in medical device manufacturing. Health-tech entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem can play an important role in filling the gaps through innovation. The size of the market that is expected to reach Rs. 485.4 billion by 2024. According to Invest India's report, there has been a 45.06% increase in total investments in health-tech startups. A report by London & Partners and Dealroom.co published last year says that Indian health-tech startups have raised US$ 1.9 billion alone in 2021 from VCs. This ranks India just behind the US, China, and the UK. Currently, there are over 3000 health-tech startups in India and it is further growing. The investment will also provide employment opportunities to the sector. Government's healthcare infrastructure schemes, health-tech startup ecosystem and substantial investment can provide an upgrade to rural healthcare resulting in accessibility and affordability in healthcare delivery to rural population. Read on...

The Times of India: How the changing dynamics of healthcare industry are making rural India healthy?
Author: Priyadarshi Mohapatra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 05 jan 2022

COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges to the already struggling India's overall education delivery system. The school closures had not only affected the learning process but has led many students to drop out completely citing diverse reasons. Sudden transition from in-school learning to online learning took many by surprise - both teachers and students. This has been the case particularly with government-run and low budget private schools in small towns and rural areas, and students belonging to low socio-economic status (SES) households. Children had been deprived of mid-day meals that they use to get in schools, leading to a further challenge of malnutrition. Even though India has been undergoing digital transformation and evolving as a digital society, but the pandemic disrupted the gradual process. Many students, as well as a large number of teachers, found adapting to the technology-enabled learning difficult to handle efficiently and the process lacked effective learning outcomes. According to the School Children's Online and Offline Learning (SCHOOL) survey overseen by economists such as Jean Dreze, Reetika Khera etc, 77% of families in urban areas and 51% in villages have access to smartphones, a healthy number. But, only 31% of children in cities and 15% in villages are able to make use of smartphones for academic purposes. This shows how challenging it had been for children to use phones as an educational device. The Ministry of Education (Govt. of India) reported to the Parliamentary Committee of Women's Empowerment that about 320 million children got affected due to school closures and out of this 49.37% were girls. The Ministry of Education told the panel, 'Post pandemic, this can lead to a higher risk of girls permanently dropping out of school and reversing the gains made over recent years. One cannot also ignore the fact that there is a gender dimension in digital access to learning. In families which possess a single smartphone, it is likely that sons will be given the preference to access online classes, followed by girls, if time permits.' According to the report 'State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery' prepared by World Bank in cooperation with UNESCO and UNICEF (The Indian Express, 13 dec 2021), Jaime Saavedra, World Bank Global Director for Education, says, 'The COVID-19 crisis brought education systems across the world to a halt. Now, 21 months later, schools remain closed for millions of children, and others may never return to school. The loss of learning that many children are experiencing is morally unacceptable. And the potential increase of learning poverty might have a devastating impact on future productivity, earnings, and wellbeing for this generation of children and youth, their families and the world's economies.' The challenges remain as new variants of the COVID-19 like Delta and Omicron keep arising and pushing governments to implement measures like curfews, lock-downs, school closures etc. So, the online education will continue to remain the mode of learning in these times. Governments, nonprofits, technology companies, etc have to make sure that the process is able to provide optimal outcomes as it is a question of the country's and the world's future. Read on...

The Siasat Daily: The chaos of online education in India's pandemic times
Author: Manogna Chandrika Matta


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 dec 2021

India's handicraft sector is an important part of the economy, both from local consumption and export point of view. According to ibef.org (India Brand Equity Forum) website India has around 7 million artisans as per official estimates, but unofficial figures consider this figure to be huge 200 million. Moreover, there are more than 3000 art forms in which these artisans are engaged in. The website (ibef.org) further provides the following statistics related to Indian handicraft and handloom export (FY21): Woodwares at US$ 845.51 million; Embroidered and crocheted goods at US$ 604.38 million; Art metal wares at US$ 468.66 million; Handprinted textiles and scarves at US$ 339.03 million; Imitation jewellery at US$ 186.65 million; Miscellaneous handicrafts at US$ 826.68 million. Indian government is also providing special push to this sector through various schemes, as described on the handicrafts.nic.in (Development Commissioner Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India) website - NATIONAL HANDICRAFTS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME - NHDP (Includes Marketing Support and Services; Skill Development in Handicraft Sector; Ambedkar Hastshilp Vikas Yojana [AHVY]; Direct Benefit to Artisans (Welfare); Infrastructure and Technology Support; Research and Development ). COMPERHENSIVE HANDICRAFTS CLUSTER DEVELOPMENT SCHEME (CHCDS) that aims to enhance the insfratructural and production chain at handicraft clusters in India and bring them to global standards. According to Prof. Syed Khalid Hashmi of Millennium Institute of Management, Aurangabad (Market for Indian Handicrafts, Excel Journal of Engineering Technology and Management Science, Dec-Jan 2012), 'The handicrafts sector plays a significant and important role in the country's economy. It provides employment to a vast segment of craft persons in rural and semi urban areas and generates substantial foreign exchange for the country. The handicraft sector has, however, suffered due to its being unorganized, with the additional constraints of lack of education, low capital, and poor exposure to new technologies, absence of market intelligence, and a poor institutional framework...Indian handicraft has great growth potential in the changing scenario with its basic strength being the abundant and cheap availability of manpower and being a traditional profession of millions still requires very low investment compared with other countries barring China.' A new book, 'Crafting a Future: Stories of Indian Textiles and Sustainable Practices' by Archana Shah, explores the contribution of artisans, designers, NGOs etc to handcrafted textiles sector by focusing on the skills and processes of the creators, and weaves the stories of their accomplishment and success. Ms. Shah is worried about the competition that handcrafted textiles face with tech-powered textile manufacturing and has been working to revive and rejuvenate several craft skills. She is the founder of Ahmedabad's Bandhej (a handcrafted textile fashion brand founded in 1981), and has been collaborating with artisans around the country for the last 40 years to create textiles for urban markets. The book is the result of her interactions with artisans over her long career. She says, 'It is broadly divided into three sections of natural fibres: cotton, a plant-based fibre; silk produced by insects; and wool, obtained from animals. It resonates with Gandhiji's concept of developing khadi and village industries to rejuvenate the rural economy and stimulate development through a bottoms-up approach.' The book addresses two major challenges - unemployment and climate change. Ms. Shah says, 'By making productive use of their time and skills, women and marginalised communities involved in this sector will be empowered, and enjoy a sense of self-worth and dignity. Families will benefit from sustainable livelihoods in their own locations, protecting them from the misery of forced economic migration to urban centres where regular work is difficult to find. The challenge is how to bridge the gap, connect the producers with the markets, create products that are 'Handmade in India' for the local, national and global markets and in the process, make the world a better place for future generations.' Read on...

Deccan Chronicle: Handmade in India
Author: Swati Sharma


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 21 nov 2021

The book 'Unshackling India: Hard Truths and Clear Choices for Economic Revival' authored by Ajay Chhibber and Salman Anees Soz explores expectations from India's economy in the next 25 years and whether it will become a mature democracy and developed economy by 2047, the hundredth year of its independence. The authors argue that India needs to look ahead to achieve economic prosperity and inclusivity with realistic approaches and new ideas. They say, 'What India needs is an aspirational goal. GDP targets - US$ 5 trillion or even US$ 10 trillion - do not inspire the broader citizenry.' The book consider China a threat and suggests a competitive approach towards it. Also, 'Samriddh aur Sajit Bharat @100' (Prosperous and Inclusive India @100) is a slogan that all political parties should adopt as their motto. For Indian corporations, the book says, 'They should aim to grow at home and abroad instead of looking for tweaks in tariffs and regulations to serve very narrow short-term interests.' Mentioning COVID-19 crisis and government's approach towards it with existing substandard healthcare infrastructure, authors say, 'New lockdowns ensued, guaranteeing a slowdown in economic activity and prospects of further misery for the poorest and most vulnerable sections of society...India has been forced to reset by the COVID-19 crisis. Perhaps that is how India reforms - in response to crises. While COVID-19 may have set us back by several years (or longer), India could convert this into an opportunity to revitalize and structure our economic system for the future.' The crisis also created global economic challenges and India has to manage them effectivcely to pursue its expected growth trajectory. Read on...

Devdiscource: Book takes critical look at Indian economy
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2021

India's changing socio-economic scenario is urging corporates, entrepreneurs and individuals to focus on solving social problems and creating a positive social impact in lives of those who are at the bottom of the pyramid, a concept that was first propagated by C. K. Prahalad and Stuart L. Hart in their article 'The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid' (Strategy+Business, 2002). It proposed that companies should innovate and also focus on the needs of those at the bottom of the pyramid. By doing so they will not only expand their markets but will also serve the marginalized communites and uplift their socio-economic conditions. According to the article 'Budget 2014: Tapping the aspirational class of India' (Shuchi Bansal; Mint, 11 Jul 2014), while presenting the budget in 2014 Late Mr. Arun Jaitley, the then Finance Minister, referred to aspirational Indians and what he called the 'neo middle class'. He said, 'India unhesitatingly desires to grow...those who have got an opportunity to emerge from the difficult challenges have become aspirational. They now want to be part of the neo middle class.' In the same article, a research study by Quantum Consumer Consulting, finds that 34% of these strata are aged between 10 and 25 years and aspires for a better life. Ravi Narayan, CEO at T-Hub, explains how this aspirational class can be an opportunity for social entrepreneurs to focus on and make a real difference in the innovation ecosystem. He says, 'It is about time social changemakers start tapping into India's aspirational class, who are tomorrow's neo-middle class. Understanding this under-served stratum is key to unlocking the potential of the Indian economy.' He provides examples of organizations from India's impact ecosystem that are making a difference. According to Mr. Narayan, 'India's strong digital infrastructure has been a gamechanger for those who want to leverage the power of technology to create a social impact on a larger scale. The growing smartphone penetration and high-speed internet connectivity in rural areas have empowered social entrepreneurs and innovators to create new models for change to accelerate social impact.' EdTech, AgriTech, healthcare and microcredit finance are critical areas where social entrepreneurs and incubators are offering inclusive and sustainable solutions to ensure the upward mobility of the marginalized class. Mentioning the best practices in social innovation in India's context, Mr. Narayan says, 'Speaking from experience, I am convinced that social innovation in the Indian context is not clearly defined by an evidence-based approach. Perhaps therein lies one of its bigger challenges. Social entrepreneurs working to create an impact on the scale have to contend with operational challenges, such as a lack of market access, besides inadequate investor connect and mentoring opportunities. Also, technologically and in terms of scale, it is difficult to solve problems in this sector as the risk factor is high for social entrepreneurs. Besides, the educated class with its worldview isn't contributing enough to the growth of this sector. Such pain points highlight the need for open innovation to solve India's most complex social problems.' He also says that maximizing inclusion is key and this cannot be attained by merely leveraging technology. There has to be a larger objective of creating a holistic inclusive social impact ecosystem. A fragmented innovation ecosystem cannot thrive in the absence of a comprehensive social innovation policy. He concludes, 'I believe that social innovators - be it individuals, social incubators, governments, corporates, academia, or startups - who put people first will help create new and exciting markets and facilitate a synergistic innovation ecosystem.' Read on...

Entrepreneur: How to Address the Yawning Gap in India's Social Impact Sector
Author: Ravi Narayan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 sep 2021

Healthcare infrastructure, both public and private, in small towns and rural areas of India is still rudimentary and lacks quality and efficiency. COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated the sorry state of healthcare delivery. Moreover, during pandemic times healthcare facilities became out of reach for non-COVID patients with other diseases and healthcare issues. Fear of COVID infection was one of the major factor that made healthcare delivery situation worse. Most OPD's and in-patient treatment in big hospitals, both public and private, was restricted. Technology-enabled healthcare and telemedicine came to the rescue during this time. Many healthcare facilities even tested advanced digital technologies to fill the gap and to keep themselves afloat businesswise and manage revenue streams. Technology also helped healthcare to expand reach to rural and remote areas. Keeping this in mind, last year the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), NITI Aayog, and the Board of Governors (BoG) Medical Council of India (MCI) released the initial formal guidelines to regulate practices across India leading to democratization of healthcare delivery, especially telemedicine. Remote healthcare delivery also hastened during this time. Concept of remote or smart ICUs also became prevalent considering the shortage of critical care staff in hospitals. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices came handy in remote and digital healthcare. With AI, predictive analytics, electronic health records etc medical consultation has become more efficient. This particularly helped during pandemic and is very relevant for areas where physical healthcare delivery is limited or unavailable. The scope of remote healthcare in India is promising. According to the latest McKinsey report telehealth is projected as a quarter trillion-dollar industry post-COVID. The report states that telehealth use has increased 38 times from the pre-COVID-19 baseline. The industry is projected to reach a size of US$ 10.6 billion by 2025 in India. The healthcare delivery for rural and remote areas has to combine both digital and physical modes, the evolved 'Phygital Model'. As India's rural population is sizeable, about 65% of total population, the healthcare efforts would require contribution from both public and private sectors. Currently, patients from rural areas and small towns have to travel to larger cities to avail better healthcare facilities, increasing the load on already burdened healthcare infrastructure there. Moreover, it also increases the cost of healthcare for those who travel. Use of phygital model will reduce the cost of healthcare and lessen the burden on large cities. Innovative startups and entrepreneurial spirit of India's youth can help bring this healthcare transformation with support from government and investors. Read on...

Businessworld: How Are Advances In Digital Technology Making Healthcare Delivery In Rural India More Efficient?
Author: Col Hemraj Singh Parmar


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 aug 2021

India is predominantly an agrarian society with 2/3rd of its population associated with agriculture and related sectors. Moreover, 1/3rd of rural India still lives below poverty line. These statistics points towards an imbalance in rural and urban society and leads to migration by rural population towards cities in search of livelihoods. Long-term well thought out planning and implementation is a necessity to pursue rural development and make rural economy a thriving force to bridge the rural-urban divide and provide opportunities to rural population and enhance their quality of life in rural areas. Some of the steps that would be required to make it a reality would include - (1) Skilled Manpower: Improve availability of educational and vocational skill-based training for rural youth to enhance their employability; Awareness and knowledge about modern agricultural practices to rural population; In addition to education, public health and sanitation, women empowerment, providing better electricity and irrigation, facilities for agriculture extension, research, loans and credit availability, along with skill development for employment, are some of the steps needed in this regard. (2) Aiding Growth: To reduce unplanned migration towards cities it is required to provide opportunities to youth in rural areas. It is necessary to invest time and resources in promoting investment and creating infrastructure for better employment opportunities; Quality of agricultural jobs should be improved and there should be better human resources practices in such jobs to make them attractive for rural youth. (3) Building Opportunities: Entrepreneurship is one concept that should be seriously introduced in rural and agricultural sector to increase opportunities and support growth. It is important to create micro-entrepreneurs and economic clusters in rural India; For rural entrepreneurs to thrive government has to improve rural infrastructure through investments in roads, electricity, irrigation networks, and national cold chain grids in the rural areas; Welfare funding is another area that need to be addressed. But overall the most important thing is to empower rural youth to become entrepreneur and become generator of employment opportunites within the rural setting will be turning point in rural economy leading to sustainable rural development. Read on...

YourStory: How can rural economy contribute to the socio-economic growth of India
Authors: Sanjay Rai Sherpuriya, Suman Singh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jul 2021

Fashion industry is one of the most polluting industry in the world. The World Economic Forum article 'These facts show how unsustainable the fashion industry is' (Author - Morgan McFall-Johnsen; 31 jan 2020) provides data to emphasize the fashion industry's polluting aspects. Here are the few of these facts - (1) In total, up to 85% of textiles go into landfills each year. That's enough to fill the Sydney harbor annually. (2) Washing clothes releases 500000 tons of microfibers into the ocean each year - the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. (3) A 2017 report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated that 35% of all microplastics - very small pieces of plastic that never biodegrade - in the ocean came from the laundering of synthetic textiles like polyester. (4) The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of humanity's carbon emissions. (5) The fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water worldwide. (6) Textile dyeing is the world's second-largest polluter of water, since the water leftover from the dyeing process is often dumped into ditches, streams, or rivers. (7) Fashion industry is responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution worldwide. Fast fashion is one of the main reasons behind the negative impact of fashion industry. According to Wikipedia article 'Environmental impact of fashion', fast fashion is 'an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.' The idea is that speedy mass production combined with cheap labor will make clothes cheaper for those buying them, thus allowing these fast fashion trends to maintain economic success. The main concern with fast fashion is the clothes waste it produces. According to the Environmental Protection Agency 15.1 million tons of textile clothing waste was produced in 2013 alone. Recently a webinar was organized by Department of Design and Crafts at BBKDAV College for Women with experts in the field discussing the sustainability concepts in fashion and design industry. Prof. Raghuraman Iyer, a master of Design in Product Designing from IIT (Mumbai) and Head of Punyaa Education and Research Foundation, said, 'The need to move towards sustainable practices in designing and crafting of the products is more than ever now. Sustainable and sensible crafting will lead to less textile waste, less harm to animals, fairer wages and working conditions and a better tomorrow for the future.' Prof. Prabhjot Kaur, Department of design at BBKDAV, said, 'Even while investing in furniture of the house, one needs to be cautious as the chemical polish used on it releases toxic fumes. We can overcome such issues by keeping high oxygen generating indoor plants or having good ventilation system.' Dr. Pushpinder Walia, Principal of BBKDAV College for Women, said that after experiencing the pandemic, our generation must become more responsible. Read on...

Tribune India: 'Killing' it with fast fashion
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jun 2021

COVID-19 has brought about a massive online education transformation in India. There are many challenges that the traditional education system already faces and with the advent of the new tech-enabled education at such a large scale the challenges have multiplied. Dr. K. Kasturirangan, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Orgnisation (ISRO) and chairman of the committee that drafted the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP), voiced out his concerns while speaking at the 'Development Dialogue', a virtual interaction hosted by the International Centre Goa. He said, 'This is the beginning of online learning. Certainly, there is a digital divide. Whether it is internet connectivity, internet-enabled devices or a quiet study environment, these are all grossly underestimated in their complexity to be integrated into an Indian educational system. Quite a lot of research is going on but to have a system that can be adopted in an operational, scalable and affordable sense, I think we still have to wait.' He also emphasized the need for children to learn regional languages as recommened in the new NEP. He also talked about the importance of learning foreign language, particularly English, and mentioned that the new education policy will provide more opportunities to learn foreign languages. Read on...

The Indian Express: 'Digital divide in online education does exist, research on to find operational solution'
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2021

COVID-19's recent second wave in India has brought about a healthcare crisis that has never been seen before. The situation is so difficult that it requires all the possible efforts by government, private sector, social organizations, individuals etc and even then they generally fall short considering the large population size, infrastructural deficiencies and systemic inefficiencies. But in this grim scenario the spirit of social entrepreneurship is trying to bring a ray of hope and their contribution is making life of many, particularly vulnerable communities, a little easier in these hard times. Social entrepreneurs have been effective due to their on-the-ground presence and their ability to act as first responders in support of vulnerable communities. Following are the six social enterprises from the Schwab Foundation's community of social innovators that are working to save lives during current COVID-19 crisis in India - (1) Goonj NGO (Providing resources to the most vulnerable): Distributed more than 8800 tons of rations and other essential items, provided more than 362000 meals, sourced 225000 kgs of vegetables from farmers, reached out to more than 380000 families (about 1.5 million people) and produced more than 800000 face masks and more than 1200000 cloth sanitary pads. (2) SEWA - Self-Employed Women's Association (Helping women in the informal economy): Provides support to self-employed women and on behalf of its 1.7 million women workers in 18 states of India, urged the government to declare income support to all the families of the informal economy workers to tide over this crisis, issue a circular to all the states to declare a compensatory package of Rs 5000 per month to all registered workers, provide a free public distribution system for ration supply as long as the crisis lasts, and offer six months amortization on repayment of all loans.(3) Aajeevika Bureau (Providing resources to migrants): Provided relief to stranded migrant workers, daily wagers and their households to see them through this period of distress. Relief included emergency food distribution, cash transfers, health care and help to workers in distress. They also provided travel assistance to migrants attempting to return home and also facilitated the transition of those who returned to their villages. (4) Glocal Healthcare (Providing healthcare to people in remote areas): Recently launched a free telemedicine consultation for COVID-19 screenings. This can be accessed both from phone line as well as from websites and apps. The goal is to prevent panic; ensure correct screening, triage and treatment before conditions become too serious; and prevent the health infrastructure from collapsing. (5) Jan Sahas (Supporting migrant families, survivors of sexual violence and frontline workers): Within 100 days of the COVID-19 lockdown, Jan Sahas drew support from more than 30 philanthropic and private sector donors (resulted in more than US$ 2 million) and worked with 42 nonprofits across 19 states in India to address the needs of more than 1040000 migrant families, 1237 survivors of sexual violence, 12480 frontline health workers and state actors through immediate relief support. (6) Mann Deshi (Providing women with access to finance): During COVID-19 it had been working non-stop to provide relief - including providing food packages, masks and PPE kits. It also partnered with a district government to build a 300-bed COVID-19 hospital by refurbishing an old unused rural hospital and turning it into a free dedicated COVID-19 hospital. It is also working with the district administration 24/7 to provide oxygen beds, ventilators, Remdisvir and Tocilizumab to critical stage patients. Read on...

World Economic Forum: 6 ways social entrepreneurs are saving lives during India's COVID-19 crisis
Author: Pavitra Raja


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2021

According to the 2018 report 'Indian Giving Benchmarking Report', building strategy and attracting new donors are the two key fundraising challenges Indian nonprofits face. The research report was a collaborative effort of India Development Review (IDR), Samhita and the Collective Good Foundation to understand what nonprofits are doing when it comes to fundraising, and what is working in the individual donor fundraising space in India. The report is based on a 40-question survey filled by 682 nonprofits out of 2800 organizations in Samhita GoodCSR's network in 2018. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT - Nonprofits raised an average of INR 49 lakh (approximately USD 68000) from 191 individual givers; The median amount raised from individuals was INR 3.5 lakh (USD 4860) from 30 donors; Nonprofits had a diverse mix of revenue sources, with individual donors representing the largest share of total income at 35%, followed by government (18%), and CSR departments (13%); For small organizations, individual givers account for 60% of annual revenue. For large nonprofits, the figure is 16%, while for very large organizations, it's 10%; When it comes to CSR, very large nonprofits received 35% of their income from companies, compared to 7% for small organizations. KEY INSIGHTS - (1) Fundraising Strategies And Approaches: 72% find new donors through their founder's network and commonly leverage social media and board members to acquire new donors; Only 38% stated that their board members give money or are involved with fundraising; 68% find asking money face-to-face as the most effective way to solicit donations. (2) Donor Engagement: Annual reports (64%) and, beneficiary updates, letters, and interactions (62%) top the list of activities to build relationships with donors; Other engagement strategies include texting donors (31%), impact reports (33%), social media (39%), and face-to-face meetings (32%); 54% of nonprofits had a volunteer program to engage their potential and current donors. (3) Challenges When Fundraising From Individuals: 46% don't know how to attract new donors, and a third dont have a clear fundraising strategy; Some of the other challenges include lack of staff (26%), Crowdfunding platforms are not working/bringing in new donors/money (22%); Don't have clear and compelling message (22%); Don't have experience asking for money (18%); Don't know wealthy people (18%). Frontline fundraisers need to work hard and effectively to overcome challenges and to make serious and sincere efforts to identify donors and, to build and nurture relationships with them. Particularly in the time of pandemic, with many nonrprofits struggling to stay alive, nonprofits need innovative strategies so they can continue serving the communities. Read on...

India Development Review: The fundraising challenges plaguing Indian nonprofits
Author: Morry Rao Hermón


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 mar 2021

India's healthcare ecosystem is continuously evolving with changes in health policies, advancement in technologies, financial innovations etc. But, what is most critical is patient centricity, that should be at the core of all products and services development. Digital transformation is enabling this patient focus in healthcare. According to the World Economic Forum Report 2016 (weforum.org) titled 'Building the Healthcare System of the Future', the future of healthcare will be 'consumer-centric' and there are four digital themes that will be critical for digital transformation of healthcare over the next decade - (1) Smart Care (2) Care Anywhere (3) Empowered Care (4) Intelligent Healthcare Enterprise. The new structure for the healthcare system will include - Continuous Monitoring; Retail Clinics; Connected Home; Auto Paitent Access; Virtual Care Circles; Omni-channel Experience; Intelligent Treatments; Me, My Data and I; Augmented Wayfinding; Seamless Financing; Intelligent Machines; Virtual Care Team; Connected Care; Coordinated Ecosystem. Rehan A. Khan, Managing Director of MSD (India Region), explains how the patient-centered digitally-led healthcare ecosystem is developing in India driven by disease management, prevention and focus on wellness. He says, 'By leveraging disruptive innovations, we are personalizing patient and physician experience, and transforming healthcare access. We are around a close corner from a future where personalized medicines, curative therapies, digital therapeutics and precision intervention through robotic surgery, nanotechnology, 3D printing etc. will redefine healthcare across the globe and in our country.' Healthcare policies focused on digitalization are already in place and the initiatives are beginning to shape the future. There are now over 1 million registered Health IDs, 2900 verified 'digi doctors', a robust Health Facility Registry with over 1400 approved health facilities and a Live NDHM (National Digital Health Mission) application available on Android store. National Policy on Security of Health Systems and Privacy of Personal Health Records developed in accordance with the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019, will enable swift implementation of big data analytics. Mr. Khan suggests, 'Developing innovation hubs, forging strong Public Private Partnerships and driving patientcare digitally are critical pillars for driving Health For All.' Read on...

The Economic Times: Reimagining healthcare in India
Author: Rehan A. Khan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 mar 2021

According to a research paper that is part of the wider report published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on how protected areas were affected by the pandemic, India was among the 22 countries which has enacted or proposed changes to its environmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In India there are at least 31 proposals to open up national parks and sanctuaries for infrastructure, extraction and development projects, including coal mining. The pandemic's impact around the globe on nature conservation efforts include - job losses among protected area rangers, reduced anti-poaching patrols, and deaths among indigenous communities living in those lands. Pandemic has further made the protected areas more vulnerable. Out of the 60 countries surveyed, 17 countries have maintained or increased their support to protected areas despite the crisis. This includes 8 countries from the European Union. The researchers argue that to reduce further pandemic risks, more protected areas need to be created and the existing ones should be made sustainable. Mariana Napolitano Ferreira, head of science at WWF Brazil, and one of 150 researchers that are part of the research report, says, 'During a time when all eyes were obviously on covid...you had governments reducing budgets or weakening environmental protection. In this moment of economic and humanitarian crisis, we have an unique opportunity to stop and think on how to rebuild. We have to look at (protected areas) differently.' Dr. Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General, while mentioning about the research papers published by IUCN (iucn.org) in a special issue of PARKS, the journal of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, says, 'While the global health crisis remains priority, this new research reveals just how severe a toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on conservation efforts and on communities dedicated to protecting nature. Let us not forget that only by investing in healthy nature can we provide a solid basis for our recovery from the pandemic, and avoid future public health crises.' Read on...

Livemint: India rolls back environmental regulations during the pandemic
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 feb 2021

Personalized, mindful and attractively designed interiors are essential components of good living spaces. The design should be harmoniously aligned to facilitate better living and growth of occupants. Nandita Manwani, founder of The Studio by Nandita Manwani (Bangalore, India), suggests 5 key design elements to make home interiors well-balanced and with a warm and nice feel - (1) Furniture: Includes the shape, material, colour, theme, placement and size. (2) Lighting: Requires layering of ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. (3) Painting/ Wall Finishes/ Floor Finishes: Includes well thought out selection of materials, textures and finishes for good overall outcome. (4) Furnishing (5) Décor. Furnishing and décor should be part of the financial planning from the start. Any budgetary compromise at the end on furnishing and décor will adversely affect the overall outcome of the interior design. All these 5 elements should be blended together in balance to provide quality design. Moreover, Ms. Manwani adds another important 6th element to the interior design essentials - the people for whom the design is done. Their life-stage, lifestyle and aspirations. This personalization component is one of the most valuable part, as all other 5 elements will revolve around this and make home design truly different and unique. Read on...

The Times of India: Interior design - The sixth element
Author: Nandita Manwani


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jan 2021

According to the World Bank's most recent statistics - India's rural population is 66% of the total population (2019); 41% of the total employment is involved in agriculture and farming (2020); Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added, contribute 16% to India's GDP (2019). Moreover, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (fao.org) says , 'Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is the largest source of livelihoods in India. 70% of its rural households still depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood, with 82% of farmers being small and marginal.' Considering these statistics it is evident that India is substantially dependant on agrarian economy. The sector is looking for transition from an inefficient, unorganized and archaic one, that pushes farmers to commit suicide, to more modern with incorporation of technology and scientific methodologies, to make it profitable and sustainable to the agricultural community. The recent protest of the farmers at such a large scale has also brought the need of handling any transformation in the sector with caution and is to be carried out in a peaceful and democratic way by taking into confidence those who are affected the most with any policy change. The need for consultation and understanding is the only way to bring the needed evolution of the agricultural sector and make it thrive. Digitization and varied use of technology is a step that pushes agricultural economy towards this goal. NITI Aayog's report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) says that to maintain annual growth rate of 8-10%, agriculture must grow at 4% or higher. Technologies that can be applied include those on the farming side like sensor-assisted soil assessment, automated monitoring of free-ranging animals on pastures, targeted control of agricultural machinery, use of high quality seeds, optimum and measured use of fertilizers and pesticides, modern farming equipment and methods, scientific approach to agriculture etc, and there are technologies that need to be applied post-production, from farm to the market, like digitization in farm product management, supply chain management, logistics, Mandis and retail selling etc. This will lead to better produce with agri-waste reduction and efficiency in cost optimization. The three most essential elements that would lay the foundation of digitization in agriculture would include - Internet of Things (IoT); Nanotechnology; Digital Education. There are two most important technology related concepts in farming - 'Precision Farming' involves creating new production and management techniques that make intensive and efficient use of data regarding a specific location and crop; 'Smart Farming' or 'Farming 4.0' is the application of information and data technologies for optimising complex farming systems. To implement these concepts at a large scale in India's massive agriculture sector comes up with many challenges that need to be overcome - Digital divide; Lack of farmer literacy; Lack of financial resources particularly in case of small and medium farmers; Interruptions in rural power supply. Even though government and private sector knows the potential of digitization and technological transformation, major challenge is to involve farmers in the process by creating proper awareness and showcasing the benefits of technology-enabled agriculture. Government and private sector have already initiated the various projects in this regard like for example Microsoft has developed an 'AI-Sowing App', in collaboration with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), that sends advisory to the farmers regarding the optimal date of seed-sowing; NITI Aayog has partnered with IBM to develop a crop yield prediction model backed by AI to provide real-time data and communicate the required advisory to farmers; 'Blue River' project has designed and integrated computer vision with machine learning technology that will help cultivators to reduce the use of fertilisers and herbicides by spraying only where and when needed. Government projects in digitization include - Kisan Suvidha, Pusa Krishi, Farm-o-pedia App, Crop Insurance Android App, Agri-Market, M-Kisan Application, Shetkari Masik Android App etc. Read on...

Businessworld: Digitisation In Agriculture: A Necessity For India
Author: Urvi Shrivastav


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jan 2021

More and more educators and experts are advocating inclusion of design and creativity focused subjects in the mainstream school level curriculum. In a webinar titled, 'Why Design Education is Important for Odisha', educators and policymakers discussed the value of design education in India and specifically for the state of Odisha. Prof. Pradyumna Vyas, Senior Advisor of Design and Innovation at Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and former Director of National Institute of Design (NID) at Ahmedabad, says, 'We are in the fourth industrial revolution. Everything is merging with the other and as such design education can't be thought of in isolation. While the dependence on technology has been rapidly increasing, we have been losing touch on a human level. But the focus has to be on people. It should be remembered that technology is just an enabler, humanising that tech is design. If the pandemic has shown anything, it is that human beings can't be ignored.' Dr. Amar Patnaik, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), says, 'There is a need to mainstream design education and for that, it should be started at the school level. A curriculum should be built to incorporate design education as well. Design should be approached holistically and therefore it needs to be taught at the grassroot level and not during adulthood when it needs to be applied.' Prof. G. V. Sreekumar, former Head of the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) at IIT Bombay, says, 'There is a need to merge design with science, technology and art and looked at as a whole...More than a mere design school, the need is to build a design research center.' Prof. Paresh Choudhury, Founder of Odisha Design Council and former Head of National Institute of Design (NID) in Andhra Pradesh (AP), proposed the need to set up a design school in Odisha. Odisha Design Council (ODC) is a social nonprofit enterprise that intends to spread education, research and development and innovation in the field of design. Read on...

edexlive.com: Design education must be taught at the grassroot level: Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Amar Patnaik
Author: Bidushi Das


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 dec 2020

Social enterprises have been part of the Indian social sector ecosystem for a long time, albeit not in the theoretically and legally defined framework that exists now. According to the study, 'The State of Social Enterprise in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan' (British Council, 2016), led by Emily Darko, Director of Research at Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), there are roughly 2 million social enterprises operating in India. The study based on a survey of 258 social enterprises found a young social enterprise scene with 57% being 5 years old or younger. Moreover, these social enterprises work in many sectors - skills development (53%); education (30%); agriculture/fisheries/dairy (28%); financial services (26%); energy and clean technology (26%). From the surveyed social enterprises, 80% reinvest to further social or environmental goals, and they have supported a total of 150 million beneficiaries over their lifetime. The report found a total of 39 central government policies relevant to social enterprise and entrepreneurship. A notable policy with a specific mention of social enterprises was the 'National Skill and Entrepreneurship Policy' announced on 15 July 2015 by the Ministry of Skills and Entrepreneurship. The policy includes a section on social enterprises that aims to foster social entrepreneurship and grassroots innovation. The research study, 'Social Enterprises in the Indian Context: Conceptualizing through Qualitative Lens' (Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, Springer Open, 15 jan 2018) (Authors: Subhanjan Sengupta of Birla Institute of Management Technology, Arunaditya Sahay of Birla Institute of Management Technology), researches the meaning of the 'social enterprise' construct in the Indian context, and develops a conceptual framework that represents the construct. The purpose of this empirical study is to develop orientation needed for aspiring social entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurship researchers to familiarize with 'social enterprise' phenomenon in India. Authors explains, 'India is a country with socio-economic and cultural diversity, and a very high population. The country offers no legal definition for social enterprises. The ecosystem of social entrepreneurship in India is created by different organizations and universities/institutes advocating, promoting, and supporting social enterprises. Multiple stakeholders such as these have formulated their own meaning of social entrepreneurship in India; their work being influenced by the social, economic, and cultural diversity across the geographical length and breadth of the country, and the regulatory frameworks of the state and central governments...The key constructs that emerged to be clustering together to form the concept of social entrepreneurship in the Indian context are social value creation, market orientation, social entrepreneur, and balanced impact.' Recently, an India focused book on social enterpreneurship, 'Social Entrepreneurship in India: Quarter Idealism and a Pound of Pragmatism', is authored by Madhukar Shukla who is a Professor of Strategic Management at XLRI Jamshedpur. The book documents rise of the social innovation movement in India, along with profiles and roadmaps. ON COVID-19 - Prof. Shukla says, 'The pandemic, and the subsequent abrupt lockdown, create an unprecedented humanitarian crisis which has still not ended...In many ways, it was also a watershed event in the civil society and social entrepreneurial space - particularly for many social entrepreneurs, who, with reference to the typology in my book, I would describe as 'Public Goods Providers'. For instance, many of the established social ventures...which were already working in the space of relief and with migrant informal sector workers, spurred up their efforts to meet this challenge. There were also many other innovative initiatives from other ventures. At a smaller and localised level, there were many initiatives taken by individuals, citizen groups, and small organizations such as helping the migrants in their journey back home, providing basic subsistence necessities like rations and sanitary pads to marginalised communities, and so on. Why I used the term 'watershed' is because what I see is that many of these efforts, which started as a response to a crisis, also brought in new talent in the sector, and many are now evolving as viable and sustainable social ventures.' ON ROLE OF ACADEMICS - Prof. Shukla says, 'Academics can and does play a useful role in the social entrepreneurship field by identifying and documenting trends, principles, and models from practice. These can help the entrepreneurs to make more informed decisions.' ON SCALING UP CHALLENGES - Prof. Shukla says, 'When organizations scale-up and try to replicate the model which has succeeded in one place, they have to deal with a new set of problems and challenges. They need to consider and plan for three critical challenges...One, scaling up into other locations also increases the complexity of operations...Secondly, scaling up would also need hiring new talent to manage increasingly complex operations of the venture...Lastly, there is the danger of 'mission drift'.' ON DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY - Prof. Shukla says, 'Over the last decade or so, with the increasing affordability of and access to digital technology, it has become a part of the models that are used by many social entrepreneurs. In my experience, three important ways in which it helps creating social change are Access, Aggregation, and Democratisation.' Read on...

YourStory: From start to scale: Tips for social enterprises from Madhukar Shukla, Author of 'Social Entrepreneurship in India'
Authors: Madanmohan Rao, Suman Singh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 dec 2020

Access and affordability, along with innovation and sound regulatory mechanism and government policies, are the essential components of developed and modern healthcare system. India has to pursue consolidated strategies to become a better healthcare system and leverage its R&D human resources to become a design hub for medical devices with a focus on global markets. Pavan Choudary, Chairman and Director General of Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI), in conversation with Viveka Roychowdhury, Editor of Express Pharma and Express Healthcare, explains his views on India's healthcare sector, medical devices and medtech industry, COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic challenges, government policies, investments in the sector and the way forward. EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW - (1) ON HEALTHCARE SYSTEM: • 'Value-based healthcare will bring together all modalities of care delivery to create a well-coordinated 'continuum of care'. It is important for government to devise incentive systems to work for patients by encouraging companies and healthcare systems to deliver quality and better outcomes.' • 'India can take learning from countries like Philippines and Turkey who have over the time strengthened their health care infrastructure, but this has been done by making a conscious effort to increase their healthcare spend. At 1.29% of GDP spent on healthcare, India needs to considerably increase its healthcare budget to at least four per cent of the total GDP; by doing so, we will have started our journey towards last mile healthcare delivery.' • 'Telemedicine is another avenue that the government can facilitate to improve access to healthcare. The sheer size of India's 1.3 billion demographic means that the applications for telemedicine are immense. Telemedicine will also enable India to address its poor doctor-patient ratio of 0.85 which means barely one physician per 1000 people as compared to four physicians per 1000 people in Europe. A 2019 report by McKinsey Global Institute, 'Digital India: Technology to Transform a Connected Nation', states that India can save up to US$ 10 billion by 2025 if telemedicine services could replace 30 to 40% of in-person consultations.' (2) ON MEDTECH, MEDICAL DEVICES, INVESTMENTS & COVID-19: • 'Instead of implementing price caps on medtech products, the government should adopt a mechanism to rationalise trade margins which will achieve the objective of reducing high MRPs as well as allow medtech industry to continue bringing the latest technology in healthcare to India, increase affordable access to quality care and support skilling and training of health care workers.' • 'India also reduced custom duties on a few essential medical devices used in the treatment of COVID-19, however for the rest of the products it did not lighten the load of the 5% cess ad valorem imposed in April earlier this year. This, coupled with the INR depreciating by almost 7-8% in March 2020 against the EUR and the USD, meant a very significant hit for the medical technology industry where more than 80% of the products are imported.' • 'To be ATMANIRBHAR (self-reliant) in medtech, we should also be able to design in India medical devices for the world by utilising India's rich talent in R&D. India is the third largest medtech R&D employer of the world, next to only US and Germany.' • 'We must also be cognizant of the financial challenges that the pandemic has brought. There are some other aspects which the government needs to closely evaluate and consider to reassure the industry, these aspects include creating policies which provide a level playing field to all players, agnostic of their country of origin and a stable regulatory climate for the industry. Addressing these will move the make in India needle, steadily forward. The global companies hope to be eventually and once again, the main movers of this needle.' ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT is the Prime Minister's vision to make India a self-reliant nation. Read on...

Express Healthcare: To be Atmanirbhar in medtech, we should also be able to design in India medical devices for the world: Pavan Choudary
Author: Viveka Roychowdhury


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2020

According to the latest report by Oxford Economics, India will be worst-affected among the world's major economies even after the pandemic lessens, with output 12% below pre-virus levels through the middle of the decade. Priyanka Kishore, head of economics for South Asia and South-East Asia at Oxford Economics, says, 'It's likely that headwinds already hampering growth prior to 2020 - such as stressed corporate balance sheets, elevated non-performing assets of banks, the fallout in non-bank financial companies, and labor market weakness - will worsen.' Ms. Kishore projects potential growth for India at 4.5% over the next five years, lower than 6.5% before the virus. A recently published paper by Reserve Bank of India predicted Asia's third-largest economy has entered a historic technical recession. The International Monetary Fund predicts GDP will shrink 10.3% in the year to March 2021. Ms. Kishore further adds, 'All supply-side factors feel the effect, with only human capital's contribution unchanged from the pre-virus baseline. Capital accumulation takes the biggest hit because we expect balance-sheet stresses to worsen following the crisis, lengthening the investment recovery cycle.' Read on...

ThePrint: Indian economy will struggle even after Covid, grow at 4.5% until 2025 - Oxford Economics
Author: Anirban Nag


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 oct 2020

India's newly released National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 recommends internationalization of higher education sector. NEP has developed a vision to make India global study destination by 2030. Top universities of the world will be allowed to operate in India and a legislative framework will be created to facilitate this. Moreover, the Ministry of Education is preparing the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) bill to pave way for foreign universities to open their branches in India and Indian universities will be allowed to open campuses abroad and collaborate with foreign institutions. Reasons for this internationalization focus by NEP is due to current dismal standards of higher education - (1) Despite being second largest higher education system India, with its 990 universities and 40000 colleges, none figure in World University Rankings. (2) India ranks as low as 72 among 132 countries in the latest Global Talent Competitive Index which gauges country's current ability to grow and attract talents. (3) Top foreign universities would bring in capital, latest education technology, innovative pedagogy and facilitate institution mobility that is missing in India. (4) Higher education brain drain is a common phenomena in India. In 2019 alone, some 750000 students went for abroad to pursue higher studies. On an average, students spend US$ 15 billion per year to earn these degrees. Historically the policy of internationalization of education has been debated continuously since the inception of economic reforms and liberalization in 1991. There has always been some voices of opposition to such educational reforms. Moreover, there are also other challenges - Many Anglo-American universities are already struggling with financial issues and budget cuts along with drop in enrolments; Indian educational systems's bureaucratic hurdles that contrasts with operational freedom and academic autonomy that foreign institutions often expect. There can't be total guarantee that the legal framework and regulatory environment that NEP desires to create will provide these institutions such freedoms; Academic human resources will see heightened competition and local institutions will be on the receiving end as reputed foreign universities with more benefits will be attractive; Public universities in India work with a social and welfare agenda and emphasize on inclusion. Entry of foreign universities may impact this inclusion aspect. Also, neither NEP nor the HECI bill elaborate how India's public universities opening branches/campuses in other countries will help out the education system at home and at what cost. Indian government's budgetary allocation for education has already been witnessing a decline in recent years. Read on...

Observer Research Foundation: Why internationalisation of higher education can be a game changer for India
Authors: Niranjan Sahoo, Jibran Khan


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 oct 2020

Small women-run farm collectives became a success story of self-sufficiency during COVID-19 lockdown in Tamil Nadu (India). These informal groups have been facilitated by a grassroots nonprofit 'Women's Collective' that encourages poor women, who neither own land nor are able to lease land on their own, to come together and lease land collectively to grow food. In the IndiaSpend article dated 09 sep 2019, author Shreya Raman states, 'In a country (India) where 73.2% of rural women workers are engaged in agriculture, women own only 12.8% of land holdings.' Sheelu Francis, co-founder of Women's Collective, says, 'We began with five collective farms in 2010, with the intention of helping landless single or widowed women achieve food security. With collective farming, we ensure nutrition and food security for landless women at the household level.' There are now 89 collective farms with a total of 695 members spread across Tamil Nadu. Each collective has 5-10 members. Women's Collective is responsible for training and providing agricultural know-how. Farmers utilize organic farm methods and avoid chemical fertilizers. The size of the plot determines the choice of crops the women farmers will grow. Landlord usually gets 1/3 of the harvest as rent while the members distribute the rest among themselves. Read on...

The Guardian: Fruits of shared labour: The Indian women joining forces for food security
Author: Anne Pinto-Rodrigues


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 sep 2020

According to Wikipedia, Ibn Sina or Avicenna (b.23 aug 980 - d.22 jun 1037), a Persian polymath, is regarded as one of the most significant physicians of Islamic Golden Age. His two most influential works are Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb (The Canon of Medicine), a medical encyclopedia, and Kitab al-Shifa (The Book of Healing), a philosophical and scientific encyclopedia. 'The Canon of Medicine' was a standard medical text at many medieval universities and remained in use as late as 1650. In the article, 'The Vast Influence of Ibn Sina, Pioneer of Medicine' (JSTOR Daily, 29 jan 2020), writer Liz Tracey, explains, 'The sections of the Canon dealing with applied (rather than theoretical) medicine seem modern - cataract surgery, the use of forceps during difficult infant deliveries, and an approach to scientifically testing drugs for efficacy and dosage, in effect creating the framework for clinical trials.' In an article, 'How Ibn Sina's work became a guiding light for scientists facing contagions' (TRTWorld, 15 apr 2020), writer Ufuk Necat Taşçi, searches the work of Avicenna to find out his scientific discoveries regarding contagions. In 'The Canon of Medicine', published in 1025, Ibn Sina argued that a 40-day period of quarantine was essential to weaken the spread of contagious infections. Of the 450 works Ibn Sina is believed to have written, 240 have survived. And out of these at least 40 of his manuscripts are about medicine. Recently a book based on Avicenna's 1000 year-old manuscript, 'Risalah al-Adwiya al-Qalbiyah' (The Treatise on Cardiac Drugs), is published and released at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). The book 'Pharmacology of Avicennian Cardiac Drugs' is authored by Prof. Syed Ziaur Rahman of the Department of Pharmacology at JNMC, AMU and is a useful resource material for scholars who want to make a thorough assessment of the Avicennian Cardiac drugs that have cardioprotective activity and indirect improvement of blood supply to all body organs. Prof. Rahman says, 'Avicenna had given descriptions on heart and psychological diseases that affect the cardiovascular organs' physiology. Avicenna mentioned simple and compound natural cardiovascular remedies and it is imperative that the modern medicine practitioners go through all these methods and remedies for cardiovascular diseases with modern perspectives.' Prof. M. U. Rabbani, Chairman of the Department of Cardiology at JNMC, says, 'This book is a precious source of hypothesis for further researches on psychosomatic aspects of cardiovascular diseases as well as phytopharmacological studies on cardioactive medicinal plants.' Prof. K. M. Yusuf Amin, a medical pharmacologist and professor at the Department of Ilmul Advia (Unani Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical Sciences) of Ajmal Khan Tibbiya College at AMU, says, 'The author has attempted to correlate the fundamentals of cardiology and psychology, integrated by the Ruh (Pneuma) as described by Avicenna in the light of present research.' Read on...

Aligarh Muslim University News: Modern take on Avicennian manuscript in new book
Author: Omar Saleem Peerzada


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 aug 2020

COVID-19 has brought about new challenges for brands and businesses. Changing consumer behavior, excessive use of social media, prevalence of fake news, fast spread of public opinion through internet etc has exacerbated the problems that businesses are facing. The large amount of content that is generated at this time is filled with mixed emotions - happiness, anger, fear, and disgust. Anubhav Mishra, professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management Ranchi, provides a solution for brands to follow to manoeuver through the current marketing challenges - a simple LAC Model - that stands for Listen, Act, and Communicate. He explains - (1) LISTEN: 'Social media listening is the first step, which most of the brands regularly do as part of their digital marketing strategy. Brands collect information and do a sentiment analysis to understand the emotions hidden in those tweets or Facebook posts. Sentiment analysis reflects what consumers are feeling about that brand. A careful filtering of the information should reveal consumer's expectations and challenges from the brand.' (2) ACT: 'The next step is to act on the information collected in the listening process...Brands should find innovative ways to act on the information to ease the pains of consumers.' (3) COMMUNICATE: 'A critical aspect of communication is to gather free media and support from consumers...A firm must resist the temptation to chest thumping which can severely backfire. Many people are dying globally and there is a general atmosphere of fear and mistrust...Consumers are showing signs of distrust and skepticism toward any communication. In such scenario, content must be created to show feelings of concerns towards the severe spread. Brands should reflect that they care for their consumers in these testing times.' Read on...

Campaign India: Opinion: Marketing in the time of Covid-19
Author: Anubhav Mishra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 aug 2020

The 'Report of the Committee on Business Responsibility Reporting' was recently released by Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA, Govt. of India) by MCA Secretary Rajesh Verma. The expert members of the committee include Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh (Chairman of the Committee & Joint Secretary, MCA), Amarjeet Singh (Executive Director, SEBI), Chandan Kumar (Deputy Director, MCA), Ashish Garg (President, The Institute of Company Secretaries of India, ICSI), Atul Kumar Gupta (President, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, ICAI), Balwinder Singh (President, The Institute of Cost Accountants of India, ICMAI), Shankar Venkateswaran (Adjunct Faculty, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, IICA) and Viraf Mehta (Adjunct Faculty, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, IICA). The report, as part of new Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) regime, suggests that businesses will have to disclose in detail how they try to influence regulatory policies and public opinion and list the public policy positions they advocate. The report proposes two different reporting procedures - one comprehensive mandatory reporting for large listed and unlisted companies and the other 'lite' reporting version for smaller businesses to adopt voluntarily. Disclosure of lobbying is considered an essential reporting requirement. The report says, 'Businesses, when engaging in influencing public and regulatory policy, should do so in a manner that is responsible and transparent.' Businesses also have to disclose details of public policy positions they advocate, methods resorted to for advocacy and whether information on this is available in the public domain. The report considers inclusion and diversity, and environmental considertations as important components of reporting. Former Secretary of MCA, Injeti Srinivas, who formulated the committee, writes in the report, 'With several global companies being larger than many nation states in terms of turnover, the responsibility of businesses to their stakeholders will only increase in the coming years. The NGRBC (National Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct) and its companion BRSR is a significant step to enable businesses in India to not just behave responsibly, but to also demonstrate to its stakeholders that it walks the talk. We can then proudly say 'Make in India - Responsibly'.' Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh, Chairman of the Committee & Joint Secretary in MCA, writes in the report, 'The endeavour of the Committee has been to ensure that the BRSR reporting format would serve as a single source for all non-financial disclosures. Over the last two decades, public policy across the world, has been moving in this direction. In designing the structure of the report, the Committee has made a conscious effort to balance the objective of self-regulation through disclosures while ensuring that there is no undue compliance burden on companies.' Read on...

Livemint: 'Firms must reveal how they influence policy'
Author: Gireesh Chandra Prasad


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jul 2020

India has developed expertise in chip design and microchip design related services and its R&D centers are world renowned. On the contrary, it lacks sunbstantially in chip fabrication and manufacturing facilities. Over the years not much investment has been made in this regard and India lags far behind countries like Taiwan, China and the US. Experts suggest that building chip fabrication facilities and ecosystem require huge investments and takes time along with conducive government policies. Moreover, manufacturing is expensive unless it can achieve economies of scale like in Taiwan and China. To reduce its dependancy on China and finding an opportunity to become an alternative destination for chip manufacturing, Indian policy makers and businesses have to consider long-term strategic planning in this regard. Aditya Narayan Mishra, Director and CEO of CIEL HR Services, says, 'Chip design and manufacturing is a highly capital-intensive business...We need access to capital, favourable policies and investment on the ecosystem from design to application engineering...The government has to decide if this is an industry which needs to be promoted.' Dr. Satya Gupta, Chairman of India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), says, 'A fabrication facility for chip manufacturing requires on an average US$ 8-to-10 billion of investment...Most chip designers outsource to third-party manufacturers who have the expertise and scale in developing such chips.' Ganesh Suryanarayanan, CTO of Myelin Foundry Pvt. Ltd., says, 'Companies in China and Taiwan have had a lot of government support over the last couple of decades to foster such an ecosystem, which consists of materials, machinery, manufacturing, testing, packaging, and sales...Indian government tried one initiative called the Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (HSMC)...which did not take off-based on the need for heavy initial investment and delayed return on investment.' Read on...

THE WEEK: Why India is good at designing chips, but not at manufacturing them
Author: Abhinav Singh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 jul 2020

A crisis like COVID-19 pandemic brings challenges and causes disruptions that in turn creates new opportunities and invigorates entrepreneurial activity to search for innovative solutions. Startup companies are a normal progression of this entrepreneurial activity. In the context of India, studies have shown that around 90% of startups fail within the first five years because of various reasons including lack of innovation and guidance. Now Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) is partnering with Entrepreneurship First (EF) of UK to support and fund entrepreneurial talent and early-stage startups. EF will help to build co-founder teams, offer mentorship, strengthen the business model and provide pre-seed investment to the startups. IIT-K will provide the business incubator facility as the next step to build a network of expert advisors, access to prototyping facilities and grants. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, faculty head of IIT-K Incubator, says, 'While India has a huge pool of talented tech-enthusiasts, they are not necessarily knowledgeable about setting up and expanding an enterprise. Industry partnerships can help boost the success rate of early-stage startups in India...The post-COVID-19 world will have a different way of life and technology will become an extension of every process, transaction or interaction.' Esha Tiwary, general manager of Entrepreneur First (India), says, 'Most often, successful enterprises are formed during the times of crisis...The concept of investing in individuals before they have a registered company is in its nascent stage in India as well as across the world. To improve India's startup ecosystem, it is crucial to invest in individuals with unique ideas and early-stage startups.' Read on...

The Times of India: Covid-19 to boost tech entrepreneurship in India
Author: Sheetal Banchariya


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jun 2020

In the recent report, 'Free Universities: Putting the Academic Freedom Index Into Action' by Katrin Kinzelbach (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg - FAU), Robert Quinn (Scholars at Risk Network), Janika Spannagel (Global Public Policy Institute - GPPi) and Ilyas Saliba (GPPi), that introduced Academic Freedom Index (AFi), India has a low score of 0.352 out of the maximum value of 1. India is in the same category [D Status (0.2-0.4)] as Algeria (0.357), Cameroon (0.361), Palestine/Gaza (0.371), Russia (0.364), Saudi Arabia (0.278), Vietnam (0.379) etc. The top category [A Status (0.8–1.0)] include countries like Uruguay (0.971), Portugal (0.971), Latvia (0.964), Germany (0.960), UK (0.934) etc while the bottom category [E Status (0.0-0.2)] include countries like North Korea (0.011), Eritrea (0.015), Bahrain (0.039), Turkey (.097), United Arab Emirates (0.103), Iran (0.116) etc. India is also one of a handful of countries whose AFi dipped by at least 0.1 points in the five years until 2019. The AFi has eight components. Three are based on factual data and the remaining five are 'expert-coded' - they’re based on the 1810 scholars' assessments 'integrated in a Bayesian measurement model'. The components are - (1) Freedom to research and teach (2) Freedom of academic exchange and dissemination (3) Institutional autonomy (4) Campus integrity (5) Freedom of academic and cultural expression (6) Constitutional protection of academic freedom (7) International legal commitment to academic freedom under the the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (8) Existence of universities. Atanu Biswas, a professor at the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI-Kolkata), says that the report's accompanying 'codebook' doesn't have many details about the technique used to 'integrate' the assessments, called 'Bayesian factor analysis'. Madhusudhan Raman, a postdoctoral fellow at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR-Mumbai), also cautioned against over-interpreting conclusions based on one figure. Read on...

The Wire: India Registers Low 'Academic Freedom Index' Score in New International Report
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 jun 2020

India's agriculture should scale up to the next level in terms of empowerment to farmers, enhanced supply chain and logistics networks, advanced technological usage, superior quality of produce and global competitiveness. Recent announcement of reforms by the Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitaraman, focusing on amendment in the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act, the Essential Commodities Act, and facilitating contract farming through price and quality assurance, has drawn a positive response from Ashok Gulati, former chairman of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, who termed it as 'A 1991 moment for Indian agriculture.' M. R. Subramani, executive editor of SwarajyaMag, explains the present focus and what more is required for India's agriculture to revolutionalize itself and move into an era of overall success. He points out three areas - (1) Food Stocks: Going beyond fulfilling domestic demand; Food Corporation of India (FCI) show that current foodgrain stocks in the country are nearly three times the mandated operational and reserve storage norms; Indian agriculture should look more closely at consumers' interests, export markets and making optimum use of its human resources; Focus on producing healthy foods like diabetic-friendly varieties etc; Encouraging the production of coarse grains such as ragi, maize, bajra and sorghum will help farmers diversify and getter higher returns. (2) Focus on Inputs: Focus has been on the input side of agriculture such as seeds, pesticides and insecticides only and most subsidies are directed here; Efforts should focus on the output side of agriculture such as marketing and meeting consumer needs; Change in farmer's mindset is needed to think beyond just selling their produce only to meet their next crop's input costs and keeping a portion for personal consumption; To keep next generations engaged in farming new methods and processes are to be introduced for increased productivity and profitability. (3) Minimum Support Price (MSP) System: Indian MSP policy is under the scrutiny of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for distorting markets and is supposedly flawed as it does not reward productivity; Incentivise foodgrain production by rewarding farmers producing more per hectare, and this is necessary particularly when the outlook shifts towards meeting the consumer or export market demand, in addition to staying self-sufficient. Read on...

The Hindu: India needs a paradigm shift in agriculture
Author: M. R. Subramani


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 may 2020

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) spend is mandatory for certain profitable corporations in India. Most businesses are strategically utilizing their CSR funds. Moreover, Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent directive by government for corporates to participate in Covid-19 relief as part of their CSR activity, has prompted companies to innovate their CSR spends. Gaurav Patra, founder of Value360 Communication, explains how marketers are utilizing the challenge posed by Covid-19 as opportunity to strengthen their brands by strategically focusing on CSR to support society and connect with communities. He says, 'In this hour of global crisis, various marketers are stepping up and aligning their strategy in line with the announcements made by the government. Brands should take this as an opportunity to look inward and be as resourceful as possbile towards the cause. Many companies and businesses are donating certain amounts to the 'PM Cares Fund' formed by the Government of India, while others focus on facilitating vital necessities like masks, sanitizers, gloves, medicines, food to the underprivileged, health institutions, hospitals, etc. Marketers and brands are also committing a certain portion of their CSR funds towards Covid Fund. They are also placing health check-up camps in tier-2 cities in order to help migrants get tested first hand. Few brands have also come forward to manufacture ventilators, sanitizers, thermal testers, drones lending assistance to the government in combating this pandemic situation.' Companies are utilizing various media channels like print, television, social media etc to create awarenesss and educate the masses through creatively designing campaigns with Covid-19 theme. Mr. Patra suggests, 'Given the scale and urgency of the situation, brands should co-create their solutions as an effective response to Covid-19 outbreak. Together, through the right channel, one voice, we can safeguard our nation and help fight this global pandemic.' Read on...

Business Insider: How marketers are now focusing on CSR in current COVID-19 situation
Author: Gaurav Patra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 may 2020

Covid-19 pandemic is affecting all aspects of human life, and even when the immediate severity of the crisis has subsided and nations start to ease lockdowns in hope of bringing their economies and people's lives back on track, the world will continue to see the after effects for a long time ahead. Experts share their views on pandemic's impact on future of design and how it will change the built environment in healthcare, hospitality, residential living etc - (1) Impact on Healthcare (Rahul Kadri, partner and principal Architect, IMK Architects): New generation of hospitals will be designed; Integrate tech-driven solutions; Better natural ventilation to minimize cross-infection; Segregation of general, semi-sterile and sterile zones; Net zero designing; Demarcation and separation of service and maintenance areas from the procedure areas; Rapid time to build and construct; Medical hub model. (2) Impact on Hospitality (Amit Khanna, design principal, Amit Khanna Design Associates): Screenings will become a part of entrance design in hotels; Use of automation to avoid human contact; Automated sliding or revolving glass door; Rethink on facilities like swimming pools, salons and health clubs; Top-end hospitality projects may prefer to redesign their communal facilities. (3) Impact on Urban Design (Mitu Mathur, director, GPM Architects and Planners): Towns need to be designed for all classes of society; Ensure housing-for-all; Promote affordable housing; Special design focus on migrant workers. (4) Using AI for Construction (Anand Sharma, founder partner, Design Forum International): Architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry will have more use of artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing etc; Building Information Management (BIM) Development promotes workers of industry to be collaborative, connected and transparent; Future of construction will innovate like utilising the Internet of Things and leveraging 3D imaging to replicate the experience of a site. (5) Impact on Housing Design (L. C. Mittal, director, Motia Group): Adoption of advanced technology in elevators and entrances, like voice-enabled elevators and key card entry systems respectively, to eliminate human contact; Sanitisation of common areas would become a mandatory exercise for societies; Daily needs shopping store will become an integral part of housing societies. Read on...

India Today: A post-pandemic design revolution
Author: Ridhi Kale


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 apr 2020

Fake news at the time of crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic is a double whammy that further adds to confusion and creates panic. Propagation of false and misleading information through social media and other tech platforms has multiplied. It not only exploits the emotional vulnerability of common public but also impedes and hinders the efforts to collectively and scientifically fight the pandemic and minimize its socio-ecomic effects. But an evergrowing group of Indian scientists have come together to create 'Indian Scientists' Response to COVID-19 (ISRC)' that is working to fight false information. It is a pan-India voluntary effort with more than 400 scientists across more than twenty scientific and research institutes in the country. It counts among its volunteers astrophysicists, animal behaviourists, computer scientists, mathematicians, engineers, chemists, biologist, doctors, social scientists and others. The purpose of the group includes analysing all available data and support national, state and local governments for evidence-based action, in addition to verifying and communicating information. There are sub-groups working on - mathematical modelling of disease spread and transmission, outreach and communication in simple terms for the public and media, translating basic resources in local languages, developing hardware solutions and apps. Aniket Sule, a science communicator with the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education in Mumbai, says, 'Since science communication is my area of interest, I volunteered to be a part of this effort. In this crisis, everyone has a role and each person can contribute by doing what they know best.' R. Ramanujam, a theoretical computer science professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in Chennai, says, 'While people in the medical and healthcare community are doing their work, we thought, what about others like us, what can we do?' Rahul Siddharthan, a computational biologist at the IMSc, says, 'How an individual gets infected is definitely a biology problem, but what we are looking at is how an infection spreads in society, and we are dealing with large numbers of people. Physicists have a lot of experience in dealing with dynamical systems modelling, differential equations, and computer/data scientists can analyse the data that is available. It has to be an interdisciplinary approach and we need people to be talking and on the same platform.' T. V. Venkateshwaran, senior scientist at Vigyan Prasar, says, 'In a situation like this it's important to do two things, one is communicating to people that they need to be alert, not alarmed...The other thing is falling for wrongly circulated remedies and rumours. We need to counter all the misinformation going around so people feel at ease.' The group is putting together links, videos and articles in Indian languages and also working on translating others. Anindita Bhadra, an animal behaviourist and associate professor at IISER Kolkata, says, 'I am not an expert in virology or epidemiology or modelling, but I am interested in science communication so I thought I should help with that as well as translation. You need people who can transmit all this to the public.' Read on...

World Economic Forum: How 300 Indian scientists are fighting fake news about COVID-19
Author: Bhavya Dore


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 apr 2020

Experts say that technology companies are now more inclined to hire people with background in humanities as they have better understanding of customer needs and have capacity to help design more relevant software. Scott Hartley, author and venture capitalist, in his book 'The Fuzzie and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts', says, 'The best engineers are those who are also deeply versed in and passionate about philosophy, psychology, and ethics. They play music, are refined in culture and have a deep sense of their own values.' Kalika Bali, principal researcher at the Microsoft Research Lab in Bengaluru (India), says, 'As technology becomes more pervasive and human-centric, professionals with expertise in social sciences are needed to understand how it is best used by individuals and societies.' Here are the few of the many examples that highlight this trend globally - Bess Yount of Facebook (communications and sociology); Stewart Butterfield of Slack (philosophy); Jack Ma of Alibaba (english); Brian Chesky of Airbnb (fine arts); Susan Wojcicki of YouTube (history and literature). Sean O'Brien, vice president of education and training at SAS, says, 'Many liberal arts degrees require extensive research and writing. And good writing requires precise expression of thinking. So liberal arts majors often have the most training in how to think and how to communicate their ideas in spoken and written form. Few engineers get that kind of writing experience. In an age of 280 characters, IM and Slack, clear communication skills have atrophied. The technology values speed and compression over precision and completeness. This communications scarcity is a gap that liberal arts graduates are ideally fit for.' Ashok Srivastava, chief data officer of Intuit, emphasises the idea of breaking up a problem into smaller pieces and tracing the history behind the decisions made. He also says, 'I have found that teams that have varied backgrounds function better as they have a better understanding of the customer needs.' Richard Lobo, head of human resources at Infosys, says, 'By building a new hybrid talent pool, which draws on broad-based liberal arts foundations and promotes cognitive diversity, we can leverage the liberal arts and technological know-how required to create complex and advanced technology solutions.' Kaushik Banerjee, business head at staffing firm TeamLease, says, 'An education in liberal arts is broad and diverse, rather than narrow and specialised. Most of the successful UI/UX designers are from creative arts.' An average tech company hires about 20% from liberal arts, and a combination of liberal arts with STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects or an MBA is a huge plus. Kamal Karanth, CEO of staffing company Xpheno, says that between the two ends of software industry (tech end and user's end), there's now a critical layer of non-tech talent and skillsets that operates close to both ends. Read on...

The Times of India: Why tech companies are hiring people with humanities degrees
Authors: Avik Das, Arpita Misra, Swati Rathor


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 mar 2020

India needs to upgrade its education system to build trained human resources and benefit from the demographic dividend. Amit Dasgupta, former Indian diplomat, author, educator and Inaugural India Country Director of UNSW (Sydney, Australia), explains, 'In a world of ageing societies, this demographic dividend can be leveraged to global advantage. But for this to happen, the young population needs to be in tune with the demands that future societies would require. This is fundamentally where Indian education fails as it clings on to an obsolete system of pedagogy with an acute resistance to change.' He says that education is about individual's overall development and Australian education makes it possible for students with diverse career aspirations, to gain deeper knowledge in the sectors of their interest. Moreover, it is not restricted to classroom and relies on broad engagement activities, personality development seminars, and soft-skill workshops. He provides lessons that India can learn from Australia's education system - (1) Need for dynamic faculty: Consult with potential employers, understand their expectations and design courses accordingly. Enhance learning experience through experiential or project-based learning. (2) Globalising education: Include, accept and celebrate diversity. Nurture and value different ideas and perspectives. Welcome students from all walks of life and different backgrounds. (3) Quality education: Avoid exclusivity and broaden intake of students. Have clarity in educational objectives. Institutions shouldn't function like business ventures but they should be knowledge imparters and focus on human development. (4) Robust research culture: Research is crucial part of the teaching and learning process. It provides students with in-depth knowledge on the subject and assists individuals in forming clearer opinions and promotes innovation. Read on...

India Today: 4 things we can learn from Australia's education system
Author: Amit Dasgupta


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 mar 2020

Empowering women and girls in rural India is a necessity that can't be ignored. Initiative taken by Gurdev Kaur Deol of Ludhiana (Punjab, India) is trying to achieve it by a self-help group (SHG). She is marketing their produce through Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and making them self-reliant with sizeable income. There are other nonprofits that are transforming lives of women and their families by engaging in various ways. Ms. Kaur says, 'Initially, I formed SHGs involving 15 rural women...Later, I made 'Global Self-Help Group FPO' which is now engaged in production, manufacturing, processing and marketing of food processing items such as pickles, squash, honey besides staples. Currently, we have 300 farmers with 50% of them being women.' Deepika Sindhwani, president of NGO Mahila Kalyan Samiti, says, 'These rural women are talented and need guidance. We have formed 350 SHGs...We have imparted them training in phulkari, jute bags and food processing.' National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is also assisting through SHG Bank Linkage Programme by providing credit, skills and micro entrepreneurship development training. J. P. S. Bindra of NABARD says, 'During the past one decade, we have also started forming Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) to increase farmers' income. A few of our FPOs have successful women farmers.' Read on...

The Tribune: Self-help groups empowering rural women in Punjab
Author: Vijay C. Roy


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 feb 2020

Shrinking living spaces in cities along with small and tiny house movement is bringing new ideas in space utilization and maximization in interior design. According to Rakhee Bedi and Shobhit Kumar of RSDA, 'Scale and proportion should be carefully strategised to craft the sense of space in design. One of the most important aspects of 'making space' is by decluttering.' Following are some ways to do so - (1) Consider an Open Floor Plan: Remove walls and doors. Open floor plan should be between the living room, dining and kitchen. Vivek Singh Rathore of Salient, 'Dividing spaces by functionality, rather than solid partitions is essential to augment the volume.' (2) Choose a Light Colour Palette: Subdued colors reflect light and make the space seem large and breezy. Also for a pop of hue, go in for bright accessories or plants. Pankaj Poddar of Hipcouch, 'Light colours on walls blur the boundaries between the wall and ceiling, essentially making the ceiling seem higher. This is valid for flooring as well. Use light tiles or wood to maximise the effect.' (3) Bring in Sunlight: Natural light is a space enhancer. Use simple blinds or sheer curtains. Moreover, avoid dim lights, dark corners and low-level lighting. Ensure that the light is focused on the central areas of the space. Ms. Bedi and Mr. Kumar suggest, 'Wall sconces help by evenly spreading light and saving floor space while adding to the aesthetics.' (4) Use the Magic of Mirrors: A large mirror in front of the entrance reflects natural and artificial light and creates an illusion of space. Mirrors with artistic, vintage frames or even plain wood frames create an elegant look. Mr. Rathore explains, 'Using mirror-panelled walls also curates a sense of a larger space by adding volume.' (5) Opt for Multipurpose Furniture Pieces: Use furniture pieces that serve more than one purpose. Match the colour of the furniture with the scheme of the walls to create more depth and a feeling of space. (6) Furnish With Light Upholstery: Choose light and breezy fabrics for decoration. Avoid heavy rugs and drapes. Full length curtains or even sheers can be used to make the space look airy and light. Half-length window curtains inadvertently make your space look smaller. Mr. Poddar says, 'Full length curtains or even sheers can be used to make the space look airy and light. Half-length window curtains inadvertently make your space look smaller.' (7) Keep it Simple: Avoid anything over-the-top or grandiose. Opt for simple art pieces rather than elaborate pieces. Avoid complicated colour palettes, patterns and prints. Declutter and organise on a regular basis. Minimalistic approach is the key to make small space look big.Read on...

Architectural Digest: Living Room Interior Design: 7 ways to make more space
Author: Rashmi Gopal Rao


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 feb 2020

Recently published book 'Make Health in India: Reaching a Billion Plus' by Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and adjunct professor at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, analyzes India's health sector since the 1990s, explores the challenges in delivering healthcare to the large Indian population and provides recommendations on various policy and management matters. The book starts with health data and indicators. This provides how some overall figures have improved but digging deeper shows marked inter-state variations. Due to this it is recommended that there is a need to customize policy-making specific to each state. India has poor immunization rate (62-64%), which is even lower than some under-developed economies of sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, public health expenditure in India is among the lowest in the world (0.9-1.2% of the GDP). Another chapter explains how 55-63 million people in India have been pushed to poverty over the past decade because of out-of-pocket expenditure on health as families spend 10-40 per cent of their income on health. WHO recommends out-of-pocket expenditure not to exceed 15-20% of the total health expenditure. The book says, 'To achieve that even in stages, India must aim to bring it to 50% or lower as first step,' suggesting his would require 5-6% of GDP. The book discusses tussle between center and states over increasing in health budgets with Niti Ayog asking states to double their contributions. Currently center contributes 1/3 of total public health spending. Niti Ayog's proposal to hand over district hospitals to private medical colleges in public-private partnership (PPP) mode makes the author to term it as the 'partnership-for-private profit' model, showing discontent with the concept. Another chapter tackles the issue of inaccessibility of medicines - out of 55 million who became poor due to healthcare expenditure in 2011-12, about 38 million were impoverished because of spending on medicines alone. Although India is known as the producer of inexpensive drugs and is recognized as 'global pharmacy'. The book explains, 'While the low purchasing capacity of a large segment of the Indian population may be a contributing factor, the main reason is that many drugs in India are priced higher than they should be. While a reasonable level of profit is acceptable, high mark-ups over the manufacturing cost makes the drugs costlier than they need to be.' The book also addresses Ayushman Bharat scheme and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) - 'While the activation of HWCs (health and wellness centers) is welcome, but the budgetary allocation to the National Health Mission (which covers rural and urban health missions) in 2018 and 2019 does not reflect the commitment to boost rural primary healthcare to the level needed. It is also disappointing to see that the Urban Health Mission component has been virtually ignored in these budgets.' 'In absence of effective primary health services, the uncontrolled demand for services under PMJAY will drain the health budget, and in turn, reduce the funds available for primary care and public sector hospital strengthening.' To address shortage of healthcare providers can debilitate the health system, the book recommends creation of a National Commission for Human Resources in Health. To tackle 'maldistribution of doctors', the book recommends establishment of a National Medical Service which should recruit fresh graduates in rural areas, post-graduates in district hospitals, and create a permanent cadre of specialist doctors. Read on...

DownToEarth: Unhealthy affair: Book review - Make Health in India
Author: Banjot Kaur


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 jan 2020

Father of Artificial Intelligence, John McCarthy, said, 'Artificial intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.' AI is a growing field of technology globally and India is also making strides to stay ahead in this space. According to the 2018 PwC report, 'Artificial Intelligence in India - Hype or Reality' (Authors: Sudipta Ghosh, Indranil Mitra, Prasun Nandy, Udayan Bhattacharya, Deboprio Dutta, Shruti Kakar), 71% of respondents (business decision-makers and employees) believe AI will help humans solve complex problems & live richer lives; 67% would prefer AI assistance over humans as office assistants; 43% agree that the government will apply AI to improve global climate, health and education; 60% would prefer AI assistance over humans as financial advisors or tax preparers; 72% believe that AI can provide a better experience of one-to-one personalisation. The report also finds out that nearly all (93%) have major concerns regarding data privacy. Indian researchers are also influencing and contributing to the development of AI field. Here is the list of top AI researchers and influencers in India - (1) Sankar Kumar Pal (Scientist and former Director of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata): Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning; Image/Video Processing; Data Mining; Soft Computing; Granular Computing; Fuzzy-Rough Computing; Neural Nets; Web Intelligence; Bioinformatics; Social Networks; Machine-Mind Development. (2) Krothapalli Sreenivasa Rao (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur): Signal Processing and Machine Learning in Speech Applications; Robust speech interfaces in the context of Indian languages; Signal processing and machine learning paradigms for automatic processing of Hindustani music; Big Data Analytics for speech, music, audio and video document representation, indexing, and retrieval tasks. (3) Bidyut Baran Chaudhari (Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata): Digital Document Processing; Optical Character Recognition; Natural Language Processing; Statistical and Fuzzy Pattern Recognition; Computer Vision and Image Processing; Cognitive Science. (4) Pushpak Bhattacharyya (IIT Bombay): Natural Language Processing; Machine Learning; AI. (5) Sriparna Saha (IIT Patna): Text Mining Pattern Recognition; Natural Language Processing; Multi-Objective Optimization; Biomedical Information Extraction. (6) Sunita Sarawagi (IIT Bombay): Neural Models for Sequence Prediction with applications to dialog generation, translation, grammar correction, and time series forecasting; Domain Adaptation and Domain Generalization; Continuous, Reusable, Human intervenable and Modular Learning; Machine Learning models for reliable aggregate statistics over predicted variables; Graphical models for selective node labeling in social networks; Structure extraction from tables and lists on the web; Inference algorithms for graphical models in information extraction task. (7) Anush Sankaran (IBM Research): Applications of Machine Learning and Deep Learning with applications to computer vision and natural language processing. (8) Anuprriya Gogna (GE Healthcare): Optimization algorithms and learning architectures for various applications in the domain of healthcare, recommendation engines, and signal/image processing; Sparse Recovery; Matrix Factorization/Completion; Deep Learning; Recommender System Design. (9) Balaraman Ravindran (IIT Madras): Machine Learning; Spatio-temporal Abstractions in Reinforcement Learning; Social Network Analysis; Data Mining. (10) VP Subramanyam Rallabandi (National Brain Research Centre, Gurgaon): Mathematical Modeling; Neuroimaging; Machine Learning; Computational Biology; Knowledge-based Image Retrieval; Artificial Neural Networks; Fuzzy Logic; Soft Computing. Read on...

Analytics Insight: THE 10 REMARKABLE AI INFLUENCERS AND RESEARCHERS IN INDIA
Author: Smriti Srivastava


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jan 2020

Team of researchers led by Prof. Saptarshi Ghosh of Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur have developed an AI-based (Artificial Intelligence) system to automate reading of legal case judgements. Although in countries like US, Britain, Japan, Singapore and Australia, AI is utlilized for legal research, review documents during litigation and conduct due diligence, analyse contracts to determine whether they meet pre-determined criteria, and to even predict case outcomes. But this research can become pioneering in Indian context as AI use in legal field is just taking off. India follows a Common Law system that prioritises the doctrine of legal precedent over statutory law, and where legal documents are often written in an unstructured way. The paper, 'Identification of Rhetorical Roles of Sentences in Indian Legal Judgments', based on the research received 'Best Paper Award' at JURIX 2019, the International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems, at Madrid. Other researchers in the project are - Paheli Bhattacharya (IIT Kharagpur), Kripabandhu Ghosh (Tata Research Development and Design Centre, Pune), Shounak Paul (IIT Kharagpur), Adam Wyner (Swansea University, UK). Prof. Ghosh says, 'Taking 50 judgments from the Supreme Court of India, we segmented these by first labelling sentences...then performing extensive analysis of the human-assigned labels and developing a high quality gold standard corpus to train the machine to carry out the task. We are trying to build an AI system which can give guidance to the common man about which laws are being violated in a given situation, or if there is merit in taking a particular situation to court, so that legal costs can be minimised.' The neural methods used by the team enables automatic learning of the features, given sufficient amount of data, and can be used across multiple legal domains. This method can help in several downstream tasks such as summarization of legal judgments, legal search, case law analysis, and other functions. Read on...

Outlook: IIT Kharagpur develops AI-powered tech for reading legal cases
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 dec 2019

According to nseinfobase.com, CSR spends of Indian corporates have increased 17.2% to Rs. 11867.2 crore in FY19 from Rs. 10128.3 in FY18. This is the highest spend since FY15 (Rs. 6552.5 crore), when the CSR spend was made mandatory through Companies Act 2013. It is observed that corporates are increasingly using their CSR spends on charitable contributions. The highest amount of Rs. 4406 crore were for schedule VII (II) that focuses on education. The next big spend was Rs. 3206.5 crore under VII (I) for eradicating hunger, poverty, malnutrition and promoting health and hygiene. Rural development got Rs. 1319 crore and remaining went for projects that include environment protection, benefits to the armed forces, disaster management etc. From geographical point of view Maharashtra and Gujarat were at the top to get contributions while Bihar and North-East states got the least CSR funds. Experts say that large spends have also seemed to have prompted closer attention to how the money is spent. Amit Tandon, founder and MD of Institutional Investor Advisory Services India (IiAS), says, 'There are more and more companies who are doing impact assessment...people recognise the need to do it.' Pranav Haldea, MD at Prime Database, says, 'Low CSR budget could act as a constraint for some companies to adopt monitoring mechanisms. It may only make sense for firms with very large budgets. Smaller companies may find it too expensive to employ an agency for external audits on a regular basis.' Read on...

Business Standard: Companies spent Rs 11,867 cr on CSR activities in FY19; highest so far
Author: Sachin P. Mampatta


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 dec 2019

Social enterprises can become an important pillar of Indian economy just like corporations and businesses. India has more than two million social enterprises that include nonprofits, for-profits and hybrid models. According to a McKinsey study, 'impact investors' in India poured a total of US$ 5.2 billion between 2010 and 2016, with substantial focus on sectors like financial inclusion and clean energy. A survey conducted by Brookings India found that 57% of the social enterprises identify access to debt and equity as a barrier to growth and sustainability. In the budget Indian government proposed a social stock exchange (SSE) to list social enterprises and voluntary organisations. Suresh K. Krishna, MD and CEO, and Geet Kalra, portfolio associate, at Yunus Social Business Fund, explain what benefits this social stock exchange will bring to the social enterprise ecosystem and suggest that careful planning is needed in designing it. They explain, 'SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) set up its working committee on SSEs on September 19, however, many experts have already proposed distilling learnings from those of other countries. Some of these exchanges are either information sites, like in the case of the London Stock Exchange, or list nonprofit projects only. Canada's Social Venture Connexion (SVC) and Singapore's Impact Investment exchange are more advanced in terms of accreditation, valuation and monitoring, whereas the Brazilian model didn't use such valuations at all. While formulating a similar product for India, we need to have an extensive as well as 'cautious' approach. There is no consensus in the wider social impact community about what is and isn't a social enterprise, therefore the definition itself first needs more objectivity...Once we have a shared frame of reference in place, we can design impact valuation parameters for social enterprises based on social and environmental mission, target beneficiaries, service delivery, stakeholder involvement, and impact measurement.' SSE listing will provide visibility to social enterprises and assist in attracting funds in the form of private equity and debt. Listing debt products on the SSE would encourage banks, NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Company) and other investors to participate in the growth of social enterprises and enhancing their impact. Moreover, SSE impact valuation will encourage development of more innovative financial products. SME exchanges operated by BSE and NSE can also provide valuable learning in effectively designing SSE. Mr. Krishna and Mr. Kalra suggest, 'For a social stock exchange to meet its intended objectives, we need to take measures such as: educating market participants about the valuation metrics weighing both on social and financial returns; amplifying the efforts of creating and supporting social businesses; bringing policy and regulatory reforms to support investors, and facilitating research and development for small social enterprises.' Read on...

The Hindu: A social stock exchange will help in raising capital
Authors: Suresh K. Krishna, Geet Kalra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 nov 2019

Human health is closely linked to the condition of the surrounding environment. According to the National Health Report (NHP) released on 31 October 2019, a degraded environment filled with air and water pollution continues to affect health of people in India. Air pollution-linked acute respiratory infections contributed 68.47% to the morbidity burden in the country and also to highest mortality rate after pneumonia. While contaminated drinking water caused acute diarrhoeal diseases that led to second highest morbidity at 21.83%. Moreover, cholera cases went up to 651 in 2018 from 508 in 2017. While releasing the 14th National Health Profile 2019, Dr. Harsh Vardhan (Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India), said, 'Data helps us to navigate health needs and issues, and helps devise area specific programme strategies.' But despite the increasing burden of diseases in the country, the budgetary allowance for controlling diseases has been steadily dipping in the last few years, says the report. According to 2017-18 budget estimates, India spends only 1.28% of its GDP as public expenditure on health. The NHP report pointed out that per capita public expenditure on health has gone up to Rs 1657 in 2017-18 from Rs 621 in 2009-10. While states are bearing 63% of this expenditure, out of pocket expenditure by the patients are not included in this estimate, which is known to be the biggest reason behind increasing debt in the population. Read on...

DownToEarth: Diseases linked to a degraded environment continue to ravage India
Author: Vibha Varshney


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 oct 2019

Christopher Charles Benninger, India-based US architect and author of the book 'Letters to a Young Architect', while speaking at a World Habitat Day event in Kochi (Kerala, India) advocates that Indian students should not go to US to study architecture citing higher cost incurred and subsequent settling there, but instead, they should spend 8-9 months travelling across India to see the country's traditional architectural marvels and the materials used for their construction. He suggests that architects should make use of the local climate, materials and labour force. V. Sunil Kumar, founder and MD of Asset Homes, says, 'Among the economically-backward people of India, there is a dearth of 2.5 crore homes while lower income group also lacks 3 crore houses.' Read on...

The Hindu: 'Architecture should be rooted to local culture'
Author: NA


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...

India Today: Agri-tech: The emerging field for an Indian entrepreneur to grab more opportunities
Author: Abhishek Agarwal


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...

Livemint: Increase in flexi-staff hiring may eat into IT industry's margins
Author: Ayushman Baruah


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...

Business Today: 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...

Livemint: Digital Health Technology can revolutionise healthcare in India: Report
Author: Nandita Mathur


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 aug 2019

Researchers from IIT-Madras (Tamil Nadu, India), Prof. Asokan Thondiyath and research scholar Nagamanikandan Govindan, have designed and developed a multimodal robotic system, termed as 'Grasp Man', that has good grasping, manipulation and locomotion abilities. Their research, 'Design and Analysis of a Multimodal Grasper Having Shape Conformity and Within-Hand Manipulation With Adjustable Contact Forces', is recently published in ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics. The robot is fitted with a pair of graspers that provide morphological adaptation, enabling it to conform to the geometry of the object being grasped, and allowing it to hold objects securely and manipulate them much like the human hand. The two graspers are equipped with a robotic platform that provides behavioural adaptation. The robot will have various industrial applications such as pipe inspection, search-and-rescue operations, and others that involve climbing, holding, and assembling. Prof. Asokan says, 'The motivation behind this research is to realise a robot with a minimalistic design that can overcome the need for task-specific robots that are capable of navigating and manipulating across different environments without increasing the system complexity.' Read on...

YourStory: IIT-Madras researchers design robot with graspers that function like the human hand
Author: Teja Lele Desai


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...

Livemint: 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...

Entrepreneur: The Rise of the Contemporary Indian Design Entrepreneur
Author: Vijayant Bansal


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jul 2019

According to the online research by Booking.com, 59% of youth surveyed want to give back to society as part of their travel experience. This is almost double the global average (31% of Gen Z) that want to volunteer while travelling. Report surveyed 21807 respondents of 16 years or above in 29 markets with about 1000 from each country. 71% of Gen Z travellers consider volunteering as enhancement to their trip's authenticity - more interaction with local people and making a difference. Sustainability travel is also on the rise with care for environment at the top of traveller's mind. Ritu Mehrotra, country manager India at Booking.com, says, 'Over 71% of all travellers want to reduce their carbon footprint by limiting the distance travelled. This number increases further among the Gen Z to 76% as they want to use more environmentally-friendly transport, walking or biking, during the holidays.' Read on...

Devdiscourse: More youth want to volunteer while travelling: Report
Author: NA


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...

Financial Express: Opportunity knocks for Indian agriculture
Authors: Ken Ash, Silvia Sorescu


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jun 2019

According to 'Annual Status of Education Report (Aser) 2017' by nonprofit Pratham, about 42% of rural youth between the ages of 14 and 18 were employed in January 2018, despite going to school. Among these, 79% were working in agriculture, while at the same time only 1.2% of the youth surveyed wanted to become farmers. India's rural population residing in about 600000 villages has not benefited substantially from economic growth and opportunities are limited, resulting in large migration of youth to urban areas in search for greener pastures. But, they are not well equipped in terms of education and skills, to compete in a challenging urban environment to avail better opportunities and respectable lifestyle. Education, coupled with skill development, is the key to bring them at par with their urban counterparts. Ashweetha Shetty, founder of Bodhi Tree Foundation, is trying to bridge this rural-urban divide by building confidence and self-esteem among young people living in rural areas. Explaining the work of her nonprofit, Ms. Shetty says, 'Our foundation works with rural youth between the ages of 17 and 23. We help them build life skills and enlighten them about opportunities. We achieve all this through intervention at our village centers. We have a residential program for girls, and we also work with district administrations on initiatives, particularly those which concern the children of sanitation workers. Most of the rural youth we help are usually first generation college goers. Bodhi Tree helps them to think about their future. These young kids have many inferiority complexes, and there is an information gap. We are trying to bridge that through our organization.' Regarding the life skills that her organization is trying to build, she says, 'We do self-development, self-awareness workshops, and provide exposure to opportunities - we help the children to discover what they want to do in life and understand their strengths and weaknesses. We enable them to develop themselves through public speaking and other skills. We also conduct workshops on resumé writing to help them achieve their goal.' Differentiating her nonprofit from skill building organizations, she says, 'Bodhi Tree is completely different from skill building organizations. We don't want to build a skill in someone and send the message that it's the only thing they can do. Skill building programs have no progression, no scope for dreaming. I feel it robs opportunities from the children. Children should have access to government jobs, schemes, internships - they should have knowledge and know what to do with it. I think that's the difference between us and skill building initiatives. Maybe our model is not working that well because we are not focused on one skill, but I think this is a conscious choice we have made where we don't tell people about what skills they can inculcate. Rather, we tell them what kind of dreams you should have, we make people realize their potential. For us, the immediate impact is more like standing up for yourself and going to college.' Read on...

Fair Observer: Helping India's Rural Youth Unlock Their Potential
Authors: Ankita Mukhopadhyay, Ashweetha Shetty


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jun 2019

Creativity is at the core of art and design. They both are visual and material culmination of varied degrees of human expression. Vibhor Sogani, fusing the lines between design and art, between being a product designer and public installation artist, says, 'At the end of the day, it is all about creativity. People may deem art superior to design but designing is serious business and a very responsible job.' He explains the value of public art for the growth-oriented country like India, 'Since India has so many people and so many public spaces, it is an ideal ground for engaging with them through art. The all-important ingredient of public art is engagement with people.' On balancing creativity and guidelines in commissioned projects, he says, 'We all need a sense of direction. After all, you need to align yourself with something. I think the brief given to me by my client is only a starting point. Thereafter, I am free to follow my vision.' An alumnus of National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad, India) and having worked in the field of industrial design, he is well-versed in the craft of materials as well as technology. He follows both reactive and proactive approaches to pursue his creative work. He suggests that while thinking of an idea is instant, putting it into a tangible shape of art is slow and time consuming. His public art works include Joy in Dubai, Sprouts in New Delhi and Kalpavriksha in Ahmedabad. Read on...

The Tribune: Blurring the line between art and design
Author: Nonika Singh


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...

IndiaCSR: Large companies should look beyond CSR mandate at sustainable ways: Rodney Irwin
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 may 2019

The research, 'Development of a pathological healthcare system for early detection of neurological gait abnormalities', by Prof. Anup Nandy of National Institute of Technology (Rourkela, India) in collaboration with Prof. Gentiane Venture of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT, Japan), aims to address human aging utilizing low-cost software solutions to early diagnose neurological gait abnormalities. Anomalies and abnormalities found in a person's walking style are termed as gait abnormalities. As human beings have different anatomical structure depending on age, gender and body-weight, they are prone to various gait abnormalities. Due to lack of awareness of such diseases and problems, the abnormalities get unnoticed at the initial stages. Moreover, the assessment becomes a little less credible without proper software and automation that uses data analysis. Scientists applied high level Machine Learning Algorithms for detection and periodic assessment of abnormalities. The software with the techniques of deep learning detects the various gait (walking) patterns, assess the collected data on specific parameters and the identified data is used in the detection or observing patient's improvements in various abnormalities like Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson's Disease and Equinus gait. Prof. Nandy says, 'As computer science enthusiasts and researchers, it's our responsibility to serve society and contribute to the betterment. This noble approach bridges the gap between Computer Science and Medical Science and is instrumental in the detection and assessment of various diseases. The low-cost software becomes affordable to everyone and can be beneficial to many in general.' Read on...

Monday Morning - NIT Rourkela: IMPACTING LIVES AND BEYOND: PROF. ANUP NANDY'S RESEARCH ON GAIT ABNORMALITIES
Author: Animesh Pradhan


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...

techARC: At $1.63 Billion, India's share in global digital ad-fraud stood at 8.7% in 2018
Author: NA


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...

Business Today: 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...

DownToEarth: 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...

India Today: Architecture career trend in India: 3 things to keep in mind to be a skilled architect
Author: Shubika Bilkha


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 08 jan 2019

According to the 'Global Highly-Cited Researchers 2018 List' by Clarivate Analytics, India has only 10 researchers among the world's 4000 most influential researchers. Even though India has many globally renowned institutions, but it lacks breakthrough research output. Top three countries in the list are - US (2639), UK (546), China (482). Prof. CNR Rao, world renowned chemist from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Sciences and named in the list, says, 'About 15 years ago, China and India were at the same level, but China today contributes to 15-16% of the science output in the world, while we currently contribute only 4%.' Prof. Dinesh Mohan, environmental science academic at JNU and included in the list, says, 'Areas such as climate change, water and energy are areas where research is more relevant nowadays. Where you publish your work is also important for impact.' Dr. Avnish Agarwal, also named in the list, says, 'We need to improve our research ecosystem...There is a lack of focus on quality research in Indian academia. If teachers do not do high-quality research, they will not be updated with new developments.' Others in the list are - Dr. Rajeev Varshney (Agriculture researcher at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics-ICRISAT); Dr. Ashok Pandey (Researcher at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research); Dr. Alok Mittal and Dr. Jyoti Mittal (Researchers in environmental science, water treatment, green chemistry and chemical kinetics at the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology); Dr. Rajnish Kumar (Researcher and professor at IIT Madras's Department of Chemical Engineering); Dr. Sanjeeb Sahoo (Researcher in nanotechnology at the Institute of Life Sciences); Dr. Sakthivel Rathinaswamy (Professor and researcher in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Bharathiar University). Read on...

Firstpost: ONLY 10 AMONG THE WORLD'S TOP 4000 INFLUENTIAL RESEARCHERS ARE INDIAN: REPORT
Author: NA



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