Avneet Singh Marwah, Director & CEO, Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd, joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Avneet spoke about what sets his company Super Plastronics Ltd apart from other players, expectations from the festive season, impact of Covid and much more. Read excerpts:
Giving us an insight into Super Plastronics Ltd and what sets it apart from other players in this competitive market, Avneet said, “Super Plastronics is about a 30-year-old company. We started with plastic moulding of television back then for CRT and then we started manufacturing CRT. We are a complete backboned integrated plant and that experience was forward toward manufacturing LCDs and now LEDs, 4K TVs, USDs. The company invested. Back then, we were completely “Atmanirbhar” for CRT televisions, now we are again in LED televisions. We are a complete backbone integrated plant and we have everything in house, from plastic molding to SMDs to cleanroom and assembly line. Currently, we have about five brands, starting from Kodak, then Thomson-we launched in 2018, after that we launched Globewarm, recently we launched Westinghouse televisions and then we have white Westinghouse by Electrolux- our appliance in washing machine brand. We are one of the largest brand licenses in India and second-largest television manufacturing in India right now.”
He added, “In terms of selling, we currently selling more than 18,000 pin codes in India. We are on top 2 of online selling brands. Our major strategic partner is Flipkart. For Kodak, it is available across online and offline, both. We have a vast service network of more than 550 service center that are company-owned and about 20 warehousing, we have one manufacturing unit in Noida and there are two manufacturing units that are coming up.”
Talking about his expectations from this festive season, Avneet said, “The festive season for any electronic brand is about 35% to 40% of the year. As I told you that we are online and offline, so there are three major sales that come to online. This time, the sales started a bit early, so it is a very important month for us, then the Dussehra sales comes and then “Dhanteras”. The majority of the season is covered in this. We have done a couple of new launches. There are more launches that are coming up this festive season. The company is completely focused on how we can give you the best technology at affordable pricing.
When asked whether there has been an issue of demand-supply gaps because of the Covid situation, Avneet responded, “When the first wave hit, there was a lot of pent-up demand. One of the reasons was the whole world was on screen and work from home. Classes were going online, and then there were OTT platforms to entertain you in the evening. At that point of time, there was a huge spike in terms of buying of screens and televisions, smart TVs plays a very vital role in that. There was about 30% growth but things changed after the second wave. The kind of second wave that hit India, people start saving and they were not spending their disposable incomes. The mortality rate was very high. India is a very big saving economy. After June, I would say, in April and June, the market got stagnant. But, as the economy is recovering, and the first sales show a very encouraging sign. We saw about 80% year on year growth on Big Billion days sales and Amazon’s The Great India festive sale. I think its recovering. We are hoping that Diwali has good numbers. If wave three is not hit, I think the market will recover and you will see the growth in smart TV market.”
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LOGIC OR INSTINCT, WHICH DO WE FOLLOW?
During the last days of 2004, as a giant tsunami-ravaged a dozen countries, killing almost two hundred thousand people, researchers noticed something odd at the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka. The park, home to several hundred species, hardly had any animal carcasses. National Geographic magazine quotes observers reporting strange behavior from animals before the tsunami hit. Elephants screamed and ran for higher ground, turtles changed paths, and dogs refused to go outdoors. What did the animals sense that humans didn’t?
The pinstriped world of Wall Street might seem far removed from the forests of Sri Lanka, yet the same animal instincts run deep. Billionaire investor George Soros said that the onset of back pain is, for him, often “a signal that there was something wrong in my portfolio”. In his son’s words, Soros often “changes his position on the market” because “his back is killing him”. A study by researcher John Coates observed that traders who were more aware of their body rhythms made more profitable trades and could sense when ‘something just felt right.
Does this mean that we should trust our ‘gut instinct’ more often?
The answer, unfortunately, is not that simple. Almost every trader or gambler who places a bet feels that ‘today is going to be my lucky day. A look at the ranks of failed gamblers tells us that blind reliance on instinct can lead to ruin. Examples abound not just of businesses but entire kingdoms which were destroyed because the leader chose to act on an impulse or a whim. Giving our instincts a free run is like letting an angry elephant loose in a bazaar.
Scaling up and running a large enterprise requires standardization, and standardization leaves little room for subjectivity. Not surprisingly, our professional worlds elevate logic over instinct. The parameters for business decision-making, whether at Board meetings or client presentations, prioritize measurable metrics and tangible calculations. For a firm to say that decisions are made based on ‘gut feelings’ of key executives would be comical.
And yet, something valuable is lost when we rely too much on logic. Logic is often just a way for us to rationalize and reduce dissonance with a decision that has already been made based on our emotions. One needs to look no further than debates on Twitter or WhatsApp groups to witness this. Data can often be tortured to spit out a conclusion that suits a particular viewpoint.
In the numerous Board or investment committee meetings that I have attended, I have noticed that if you peel beyond the veneer of logic, key decisions almost always rest on softer factors, such as trust in the management team. Great investors focus on qualitative factors, such as the drive, energy, or integrity of the founders, instead of relying on metrics alone.
Can we leverage this power of instinct in our lives? Experience has shown me that there is a way.
First, we need to build deep expertise in the field in question. Coates’ study was done on experienced traders. My involvement in the stock markets dates back twenty-five years. Over two-thirds of those were spent focusing on left-brain analysis, involving numbers, financials, strategy, metrics, and so on. But in the last eight years, I have been able to transcend these and understand the softer realms of temperament, awareness, subtler patterns, behavioral biases, and so on. Yet, the latter would not have been possible without the former. The logical parts need to be integrated into muscle memory for the instinct to be robust.
Second, we need to polish our antennae. Today, as we increasingly tune into digital noise, we have lost the connection to nature and to the cues that it gives us. We need to tune in to signals from our bodies, minds, and the environment. Coates found that successful traders exhibited greater self-awareness of their body rhythms, such as heart rates. My practice of mindfulness meditation forms the core of my creativity, as it enables me to tap into intuition and get ideas for my writing.
As we eliminate the dust and cobwebs from our antennae, we re-establish our connection with our inner compass and with activities that nourish us deeply. We are then able to tap into the vast primeval universal intelligence. This intelligence works through processes that transcend logic and opens us up to the true power of instinct and intuition.
S.Venkatesh is the bestselling author of AgniBaan and KaalKoot, a leadership coach and an investor who has held key positions with JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Macquarie. He writes about mindfulness and its link to creativity, business and wealth.
SATELLOGIC AND UP42 TEAM UP TO OFFER RAPID MONITORING CAPABILITIES
Satellogic Inc. (NASDAQ: SATL), a leader in sub-meter resolution Earth Observation (“EO”) data collection, announced today that it has agreed with UP42, a geospatial developer platform and marketplace enabling direct access to Satellogic’s satellite tasking high-resolution multispectral and wide-area hyperspectral imagery via the UP42 API-based platform. The agreement includes the archive of high-frequency, high-resolution Satellogic data.
The companies made the announcement today at the Geospatial World Forum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where UP42 CEO Sean Wiid and Satellogic Business Development & Sales Director Eldridge de Melo are featured, speakers.
“This exciting new collaboration gives UP42 customers a distinct advantage in rapidly creating geospatial solutions,” said UP42’s CEO Sean Wild. “Users can now derive insights from Satellogic data using algorithms and data fusion via our developer-first platform.”
Direct API access to Satellogic’s multi- and hyperspectral data – with intraday updates – supports rapid, timely, and frequent monitoring of critical assets in diverse sectors, such as energy, utilities, local government, and security. The UP42 platform’s REST API and Python SDKs can be fully customized, allowing UP42 users to build cost-effective solutions and quickly deliver end products to their clients.
“Our mission of democratizing access to critical Earth Observation data means making our data available where it’s convenient for end-users,” said Thomas VanMatre, VP of Global Business Development at Satellogic. “UP42 is a leading geospatial marketplace with value-added capabilities, enabling its customers to access and analyze data without extensive expertise. It is collaborations like this alliance with UP42 that will increase adoption of EO data across new markets, driving better decision making and outcomes.”
The growing Satellogic constellation currently consists of 22 operational small satellites, capable of acquiring 4-band (RGB NIR) multispectral data at 70 cm (1m native) spatial resolution over a 5km swath and up to 29-band (460-830nm) hyperspectral imagery at 25m resolution over a 125km swath.
During pre-processing, Satellogic imagery is optimized for analysis by Machine Learning (“ML”) and Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) applications – a significant benefit for UP42 users who will have access to more than 75 ML/AI algorithms on the UP42 platform.
UP42 users will be able to apply Satellogic data sets and extracted knowledge to support projects in a range of applications spanning the public and private sectors, including Agriculture and Forestry, Energy and Sustainability, Critical Infrastructure Management, Finance, and Insurance, Environment and Climate, and Government.
OTT is giving more opportunities to actors: Aamna Sharif
In an exclusive interview with NewsX, actress Aamna Sharif mentioned that OTT is giving her the scope to perform different things as an actor and she is grateful that she is being able to be a part of all three platforms. For an actress, digital or OTT is an interesting place to be, plus the medium is big and gives opportunity to every actor for different sorts of roles and performances.
Actress Aamna Sharif recently joined NewsX for a fun conversation as part of our special series NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, the actress opened up about her role in the series Aadha Ishq, what drew her to the role, and much more.
Speaking about what attracted her to ‘Adha Ishq’, Aamna said, “The title itself is beautiful. I believe all of us have experienced adha ishq once in our life. It is a beautiful love story between Sahil and Roma, the journey of Roma (played by Aamna). The story shows the ten years of Roma’s journey of what happens in her life. The interesting part of this love story is that a couple in love gets separated and later their children fell in love. It’s a different concept which is most exciting.”
Talking about doing a romantic genre, she said she loves being a part of such projects as she is a romantic person and loves watching love stories. Adding further, she said, “I have been playing different roles and was waiting for something like this to come, something as intense as Aadha Ishq.”
When asked about her experience of working in an OTT platform and the scope of digital platforms, Aamna said, “I am loving it, I think it’s a blessing for all the actors because of the kind of scope it provides to all the actors for performances. The last show, which I did, was also a very challenging role and Roma has so many layers to its character. It’s a dream for any actor to do such challenging roles and OTT is giving that scope and space.”
Aamna further shared that it is very important to watch other actors’ performances. She explained that she loves watching the work of other actors as it is important to learn as an actor.
When asked about her previous role in Komolika, Aamna said, “I was scared to play Komollika as I have never played such a role ever before, even though in ‘Ek Villian’ my character had shades of grey but not as much as Komollika in KZK2.”
While talking about her last two years’ experience, Aamna said “The last two years have taught us to value small moments in life and be grateful towards life.”
Aamna further stated that OTT is giving her the scope to perform different things as an actress and she is grateful that she is being able to be a part of all three platforms.
Aamna Sharif stated that ‘Kahiin Toh Hoga’ was a game-changing project for her as it changed her life.
ADANI ACQUIRES HOLCIM STAKE IN ACC-AMBUJA
The Adani Family, through an offshore special purpose vehicle, announced that it had entered into definitive agreements for the acquisition of Switzerland-based Holcim Ltd’s entire stake in two of India’s leading cement companies Ambuja Cements Ltd and ACC Ltd.
Holcim, through its subsidiaries, holds 63.19% in Ambuja Cements and 54.53% in ACC (of which 50.05% is held through Ambuja Cements). The value for the Holcim stake and open offer consideration for Ambuja Cements and ACC is USD 10.5 billion, which makes this the largest ever acquisition by Adani, and India’s largest-ever M&A transaction in the infrastructure and materials space.
“Our move into the cement business is yet another validation of our belief in our nation’s growth story,” said Gautam Adani, Chairman of the Adani Group. “Not only is India expected to remain one of the world’s largest demand-driven economies for several decades, but India also continues to be the world’s second-largest cement market and yet has less than half of the global average per capita cement consumption. In statistical comparison, China’s cement consumption is over 7x that of India’s. When these factors are combined with the several adjacencies of our existing businesses including the Adani Group’s ports and logistics business, energy business, and real estate business, we believe that we will be able to build a uniquely integrated and differentiated business model and set ourselves up for significant capacity expansion.”
Adani added, “Holcim’s global leadership in cement production and sustainability best practices brings to us some of the cutting-edge technologies that will allow us to accelerate the path to greener cement production. In addition, Ambuja Cements and ACC are two of the strongest brands recognized across India. When augmented with our renewable power generation footprint, we gain a big headstart in the decarburisation journey that is a must for cement production. This combination of all our capabilities makes me confident that we will be able to establish the cleanest and most sustainable cement manufacturing processes that will meet or exceed global benchmarks.”
“I am delighted that the Adani Group is acquiring our business in India to lead its next era of growth,” said Jan Jenisch, CEO of Holcim Limited. “Gautam Adani is a highly recognized business leader in India who shares our deep commitment to sustainability, people, and communities. I would like to thank our 10,000 Indian colleagues who have played an essential role in the development of our business over the years with their relentless dedication and expertise. I am confident that the Adani Group is the perfect home for them as well as our customers to continue to thrive.”
With India’s cement consumption at just 242 kg per capita, as compared to the global average of 525 kg per capita, there is significant potential for the growth of the cement sector in India. The tailwinds of rapid urbanization, the growing middle class, and affordable housing together with the post-pandemic recovery in construction and other infrastructure sectors are expected to continue driving the growth of the cement sector over the next several decades.
Ambuja Cements and ACC currently have a combined installed production capacity of 70 MTPA. The two companies are among the strongest brands in India with immense depth of manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure, represented by their 23 cement plants, 14 grinding stations, 80 ready-mix concrete plants, and over 50,000 channel partners across India.
Both Ambuja and ACC will benefit from synergies with the integrated Adani infrastructure platform, especially in the areas of raw material, renewable power, and logistics, where Adani Portfolio companies have vast experience and deep expertise. This will enable higher margins and return on capital employed for the two companies. The Companies will also benefit from Adani’s focus on ESG, Circular Economy, and Capital Management Philosophy. The businesses will continue to be deeply aligned to UN Sustainability Development Goals with a clear focus on SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and SDG 13 (Climate Action).
The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and conditions.
CONCERNS GROW ABOUT THE ELDERLY POPULATION OF INDIA
India has been witnessing an upward trend when it comes to the living arrangement patterns of elderlies. Many today are staying alone or just with their spouses. The features of joint family systems are not just declining but vanishing speedily in correlation with economic development and modernization.
‘For there is assuredly nothing dearer to a man than wisdom and though age takes away all else, it undoubtedly brings us that.” Affirmed Cicero, the Roman philosopher, ages ago. It is time we question ourselves if at all we are valuing this wisdom. One of the indicators of India’s progress should compel us to think through much deeper than this. The increase in life expectancy at birth in India, which is 70 years (United Nations Population Division. World Population Prospects: 2019) is indeed catching up with the global average of 73.4 years. This increase is resulting in a surge in the number of elderly people, with projections of 300 million elderly (more than 20% of the total population) by 2050. Catching up with the global average in statistics is not accompanied by adequate facilities, services, and support systems as a whole that can be considered age-friendly. This only means that India has to work much harder to catch up economically as well as socially.
One of the largest nationwide surveys called ‘Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI)’ published in 2021 has turned out to be an eye-opener on aspects related to the burden of disease, functional health, and the social and economic wellbeing of elderlies. LASI covered a panel sample of 31464 individuals aged and their spouses aged 60 years and above and 6,749 oldest-old persons aged 75 and above from 35 states and union territories of India (excluding Sikkim).
The demographics are mindboggling, 2020 was the year when the world witnessed the number of people older than 60 years of age surpass the number of children under 5 years of age. The resultant life extension, without reducing aging, has increased the extent of aging and age-related diseases. This dramatic increase in life expectancy has increased the risk of disease, disability, dementia, and advanced aging before death. An elderly in India rightly exclaims: “Years are being added to my life, life is not being added to my years: the extra years are being added at the very end of my life and are of poor quality.
Talking about systems and mechanisms that extend care, services, and support to the older people, a lot depends on the settings which vary from those residing in their own homes, and those that access support through old age homes, nursing homes, day-care centres, and many more such units depending on the nature of the problems they face. Essentially, care of the elderly also necessitates ways and means that need to be evolved to address varied issues of varied elderly. The elderly population is not a homogenous group, especially in a diverse society like India. The
Concerns of the young-old and oldest-old vary considerably in terms of financial security, functional competencies, loneliness, and social and work participation. Heterogeneity is visible when it comes to urban and rural geographies. Those residing in rural areas are comparatively less vulnerable when compared to their urban counterparts. As much as the reality reflects that no two elderlies are the same, even the government does not view them in the same frame as far as their needs and challenges are concerned. These obvious disparities naturally fail to register their problems as most elderly get classified based on caste and other socio-cultural dimensions. Likewise, pension and social security are also restricted to those who have worked in the organized sector, as against those who have been labourers for a lifetime in the unorganized sector.
India has also been witnessing an upward trend when it comes to the living arrangement patterns of elderlies. Many today are staying alone or just with their spouses.
The features of joint family systems are not just declining but vanishing speedily in correlation with economic development and modernization. Services that respond to the needs of the elderly are another side of the coin. Despite an aging population, geriatric care is unheard of in our country. Both the system and services focus little on this very age group, with no dedicated facilities for elderly people. Whatever little is available, exists in urban areas alone. One of the greatest challenges that show an increasing trend is elder abuse among those that are functionally impaired, and live all alone.
While the nurturing of an age-friendly ecosystem for the elderlies will take its own time, as the current focus is on adolescents and youth in the light of demographic dividend, a clear strategy to leverage their existence by sensitizing them regarding the challenges of elderlies should not be ignored. Over and above the commitment from governments, a comprehensive support system for the elderly is possible only with the involvement of the elderly themselves, their families, and the communities next door, as the challenges are not limited to economic needs, socio-cultural disparities, or health care requirements alone, the spectrum is much wider than what can be explained in words.
Enhancing the social participation of older adults is a critical factor in achieving the goals of successful aging. Such a participative perspective is indeed present in the current aging discourse the more active the elderlies are, the more they contribute to society. However, the social participation of the elderly has not yet been a focus of the aging discourse in India.
Coming back to the wisdom which Cicero talked about, our socio-cultural fabric should be willing and ready to print the images that emerge from the immense experience of the personal and professional lives of elderlies. It is time we leverage this for a better tomorrow.
The author has attained her PhD in Public Health Policy with a specific reference to policies of government of India vis-à-vis the population, reproductive health and family welfare aspects.
Manik Saha is sworn in as Tripura Chief Minister
After the unexpected resignation of the former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, the BJP state president Manik Saha was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tripura. Governor S.N. Arya administered the oath of office to the new CM Manik Saha at the Raj Bhavan, Agartala.
During the swearing-in ceremony, Saha promised to improvise the law and order situation in the state, taking the development agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Congratulation to Shri @DrManikSaha2 on taking oath as Tripura’s CM. Best wishes to him for a fruitful tenure. I am confident he will add vigour to the development journey of Tripura which began in 2018.” The year 2018 put an end to the 25-year communist rule in Tripura.
After quitting Congress, CM Manik Saha joined BJP in 2016 and was elevated to BJP state president in 2020. Earlier, this year, he had won the Rajya Sabha seat from Tripura. Saha is also the president of the Tripura Cricket Association. He is also a dentist by profession, who used to teach at Tripura Medical College in Hapania before entering mainstream politics.
The oath-taking ceremony was attended by Union minister Pratima Bhowmick and the former CM Biplab Kumar Deb, other BJP MLAs, and state ministers. Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma and minister Ram Prasad Paul appeared at the Raj Bhavan minutes after the swearing-in ceremony was over. They protested Saha’s appointment as Chief Minister at the BJP’s legislative party meeting on Saturday. According to the sources, the step was taken after an RSS report submitted to the BJP’s national leadership concluded that the party and government needed a change of guard. Saha’s excellent track record of ensuring the BJP’s victory in all thirteen municipal elections in November 2021 earned the faith of the party.
The opposition CPI(M) MLAs boycotted the oath-taking ceremony, claiming that the BJP’s administration has resulted in “fascist-style violence” in the state. Similarly, the Trinamool Congress, which is attempting to gain a foothold in the state, claimed that the Chief Minister was replaced because the BJP realised that the people had lost faith in the state administration.
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