Vidya Ratan Sharma shared how his company has been working with the Government to supply LMO to various states in these challenging times.
Q. How are steel conglomerates the likes of Jindal steel, setting up the way ahead for remote parts of the country and rural parts of the country to procure this life-saving gas?
A: We, as a country, have been going through a very difficult time and this is an ordeal that we had to come through. And the steel industry has come forward to supply LMO to the state hospitals everywhere in the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. We are supplying LMO, the entire steel industry is together under the Ministry of Steel portal. The Ministry of Steel gave us a call that you had to spare LMO as much as possible. So we are voluntarily told that whatever options are available with us, it is available to the nation. And we will be in a position to supply to the Government of India and there won’t be an issue. And after that, the nodal agency was formed under the Ministry of Steel and Ministry of Home Affairs and now a nodal agency is governed by the local administrators and the local Chief Ministers of different states. We get the requirement and then they send the tankers and we fill up the tankers and send them back and this is how the chain is going on. The country needs about 7000 tonnes of oxygen every day although its capacity is more than 8000 tonnes. So there is no shortage of oxygen in the country. The country is capable enough to produce and protect the lives of the people. The only issue today is the logistics as the steel plants are remotely located somewhere in the eastern part of the country and bringing the liquid oxygen to the western part of the country like in Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, or Chennai is a big problem. The distance is about 2000 to 3000 kilometres. This is how the chain is going on. But we are always ready in the interest of the nation.
Q. What were the initial hiccups versus the challenges that are being faced by the steel conglomerates in providing oxygen to various states and districts? How ready are we for the third wave?
A. The main steel producer produces about 10% of the total oxygen into the liquid. Since we are in the steel plants, we need oxygen as our raw material and that goes as a gas. So, just for the factor of safety, sometimes we have to take the shutdown breakdown of the plant. At that time we use liquid oxygen, we convert liquid into oxygen and utilise it. Most of these plants have this test facility about 8% to 10% of the total liquid oxygen available with them. So, we discussed and pondered upon which steel mill is near to which Metro cities or major cities in the country, for example, we are located in Angul, we are supplying mainly to Telangana and Andra Pradesh then Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Similarly, we also supplied some of the gas to Chattisgarh and also to the western part of India. We have also kept the options open for the people if somebody is in dire need of oxygen. They do come to us and we fill it up. Now the challenge is that we have to compromise the production. So 8% to 9% production cut we have taken to meet our country’s demand. If the need be, then we’ll further take a hit but will not let people die for the amount of oxygen. So, for example, we can go up to 150 tonnes per day, but today we are dispatching about 100-200 tonnes every day. We have recently stocked about 360 tonnes and are waiting for the tankers to come in to fill it up.
Talking about the third wave, we didn’t even know what the second wave is. So from where the third wave has come? Nobody knows. The point here is, you cannot predict it. But we’re in a very similar situation like a biological bomb. The first thing is the financial capital of the country, Mumbai, and entire Maharashtra was affected by this virus. Then soon after maybe two weeks later, it is Delhi, now Delhi NCR. So two major capital cities of the country, one is the financial capital hub, and the other is the political capital, both are seriously affected by this particular virus. How it came, whether it is a tsunami or is a wave, I cannot say anything. The third wave should not come as we are now more educated, more prepared to compare the situation. But we have to see what is the origin of this particular virus? I’m not saying that it is coming from some foreign countries but maybe some of the miscreants are going to create this particular virus or spread this particular virus within the country. So we have to find out internally as well as externally. I’m sure the Government of India intelligence department and the Prime Minister’s office must be working, how to combat it and solve this problem. Thanks to all the European countries as well as America and many other countries who are helping India, bringing the concentrators and even the oxygen. The Indian steel industry is committed and we are working hand in hand for the government and shoulder to shoulder to support them.
Q.Taking the ongoing second wave into consideration, we are better educated, more aware and have learned the lesson the hard way, is there a logistical organisational and management managerial concept of proof that we can learn from and apply in the future? Keeping in mind that there needs to be some sort of digital connection or a digital control room war room that needs to be created at a macro level on a national level, or perhaps even internationally. Thereby allowing steel conglomerates and other key industries to be in touch with the government’s ministries to ensure that there is an overall system, whenever needed on an emergency basis, so that lives do not get lost like that. What are your views on it?
A: There is already a nodal agency and it is controlled by the Government of India and is mechanised as well as fully IT-driven. So they know which tanker is moving where, which truck driver is having which phone number and various details, and now they are going to put up a GPS so that even the empty truck can be monitored. Up till now, they’re not monitoring the empty trucks. So the empty container tankers when they go back for the refilling that is also most important stoker down the turndown cycle. The total cycle time is 10 to 12 days. We request the Government of India to do three things. Firstly, please ask the tanker operators or tanker owners to depute at least two drivers per tanker. The government of India found yesterday that 2400 more drivers will be working as Corona warriors. They will be deployed on every truck so at least 1200 trucks can run for 24 hours a day. Secondly, we suggested to the Government of India that it is for a large country, and it is like a biological attack on the country. We should have more than 600 oxygen plants. They declared the next day that the PM Cares fund will invest money and 551 oxygen plants will be installed in different parts of the country. This is a very good move. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a very good manager and he can manage these disasters in a much better way. We only have to support him, we don’t have to find a fault in the government, whether it is state government or Central government. My request to the doctors, the patients in hospitals is not to create panic in this situation. Thirdly, we request the Government of India that there should be a capping on the fees being charged by doctors and hospitals. Nowadays the doctors are demanding online consultation fees ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000. Some doctors are charging even more than Rs 5,000 for 30 minutes of consultation. This is ridiculous, it’s not the time for the doctors to earn money out of the desperate or distressed patients, it›s time to help them. The basic humanity has to be shown by them and the hospitals. People are running from one hospital to another hospital. They are not even being accommodated in the corridors or on the stretchers or the wheelchairs. We have to do something and the government must come up with some strong disability action. I think the consultation fee should not be more than Rs 1,000.
Talking about what kind of preparation and education we have based on last year, I agree that we were very raw back then. But we got into lockdown, the entire country was down for about two and a half months. That’s why this spread could be avoided. But this time, the decision has been left on the states. So the states will have to decide what needs to be done. I have one suggestion, I’d like to share with the government officials that now the government authorities need to open the government offices at night. There should be shift duty for the government officers like from 6 am to 2 pm and 2 pm to 10 pm or even 10 pm to 6 pm as the industries are also working in shifts. Through this, the country will keep running and we will not be locked down into the houses and contribute to the nation’s growth as a whole in a holistic way.
Q. It’s been a long haul of a year and a half and the second wave has been unprecedented. It has stretched us all to our maximum, frustrated us and made us feel completely helpless at times. A lot of our friends, family members, or relatives have all been reeling under the crisis in a personal capacity. How have you been able to tackle it?
A. There are two things here. First, I’ll suggest all hospitals in the country and the health institutions, those who are running the hospitals or any nursing homes or medical colleges, to please put up their own oxygen plants. They can be self-reliant and the oxygen is made out of the air and the consumable is only electricity. So, there are no chemicals and no raw material is required to produce oxygen. Today, the oxygen plants are available even at a very small cost of Rs 40 lakhs to Rs 50 lakhs and they can manage about 150 beds 24 by 7. This is a very meagre amount. The oxygen plants or containers are available in Malaysia, Italy and China and these plants can be imported immediately. Even if the hospital does not have a place to keep the oxygen plants we can request the city authorities to allow them to keep the plant on the outside footpath.
Second, when we are telling people that they can’t come to the hospital, we must see how we can help them and what best can be done. Third, there are oxygen concentrators in most of the hospitals; they do not have only concentrators, they are banking upon the cylinder gas or dry gas. So, I request to all the hospitals that if you have a 100-bed hospital at least you should have 30 to 40 oxygen concentrators. Now the Government of India has also reduced the GST, it is now only 12% on concentrators and there is no import duty. It›s a wonderful move. People can give oxygen concentrators to relatives and or medical institutions. We must utilise this so that we can have the equipment ready in emergency cases. Times are uncertain, we have to get up, manage ourselves and support the government at this time. We should not overburden the hospitals and the healthcare system. We must help the government to combat the situation.
Q. When you have diverted all your resources and manpower in the creation of LMO it is bound to impact the primary production levels of the steel plant of your company. How soon can the recovery be made?
A. It’s very a great concern. Our Chairman Naveen Jindal, tweeted about it 10 days back that the last drop of liquid oxygen is available for the nation. He said that people’s first so we are going by that. The approach we have taken is if the country is there, then we are there. We aim to serve the nation. Even if we had to lose some production or compromise on production, we will keep on compromising. We will get time to recover. If our markets are good, our customers are our ally, if they are healthy, MSMEs are working. The steel users are working. There’ll be a time that we can recall and if people are disturbed, the entire country is disturbed, then we will never get time to recover. So our motto is people first. In business, 5% less production or 10% less production doesn’t matter as we can still pick up in the next one to three months. So we will have to work shoulder to shoulder with the Government of India, local authorities, and I’ll also ask the media to spread the positive news and combat it together. Let us find a solution together and conquer these particular catastrophic conditions.
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IN DEEP FINANCIAL MESS, ANDHRA NEEDS TO PUT ITS ACT TOGETHER BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
Andhra Pradesh has earned for itself the sobriquet of “Annapurna” or Rice Bowl of the country, which symbolizes the entrepreneurial spirit that the hard working citizens of the state are known for. At present, Andhra’s GSDP is projected above Rs. 13.38 lakh crore and the state revenue comprising own tax and non tax revenue stand at Rs. 76.55 thousand crore and its share in Central taxes at Rs. 32.24 thousands crore along with grant-in-aids from Central Government for Rs. 53.17 thousand crore for the financial year 2022–23 as estimated in the state budget, with an estimated size of the budget at Rs. 2.56 lakh crore. However, the fiscal deficit for this period is estimated at Rs. 48.29 thousand crore.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy during the foundation stone laying ceremony of the world’s largest Integrated Renewable Energy Storage Project (IRESP), in Kurnool on 17 May. ANI
Post-bifurcation, the financial health of the state suffered for initial two to three years and, thereafter, the average growth the state registered was remarkably sound, while leaving behind other states in ease of doing business (EODB), even though there were several constraints. After 2019 general elections, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP came to power with a huge majority. Though the growth of the state has been registered constantly above national average in many parameters, it has failed to attract major new domestic and foreign investments for the past three years, lagging behind in EODB rankings. With an increase in suicides of farmers, a huge debt without productive asset creation, diversion of funds and a huge debt-to-GSDP ratio at 38%, the state is deep in financial crisis so much so that even it has paled a state like Bihar.
The present financial outlook of the state is bleak as per analyses by experts of key financial indicators as per the prevailing systems, procedures and methods of the Finance and Accounting Guidelines and Standards as stipulated by the CAG, Finance Commission Recommendations and Union Finance Ministry parameters. With around 60% of new net debts of the state spent on servicing existing debts alone, there is no debt balance available to repay the principal, thus adversely impacting its credit rating. According to financial experts, Andhra Pradesh has fallen in serious debt trap and needs immediate remedial measures to extricate itself from an impending financial emergency.
Notwithstanding the statements pouted by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, state Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy and others saying the situation is under control, the debt burden of the state has reached alarming proportions. A cursory look at the figures is enough to draw such dire inferences:
(A) Debts as on 2nd June 2014 soon after state bifurcation:
Budgeted debt: Rs. 90 thousand crore
Corporation loans: Rs. 18 thousand crore
Total debt: Rs. 1.08 lakh crore as on 2nd June 2014
(B) Incremental debt from 2nd June, 2014 to 31st March 2019:
Budgeted debt: Rs. 1.79 lakh crore, including outstanding bills of Rs. 25 thousand crore
Corporation loans: Rs. 31 thousand crore additional loans were raised
Total incremental debt: Rs. 2.10 lakh crore of total additional debt was raised between 2014 and 2019
Total outstanding debt as on 31st March 2019 was Rs. 3.14 lakh crore.
C) Incremental debts from 1st April 2019 to 30th April 2022:
Budgeted debt: Rs. 3.40 lack crore including outstanding bills and other liabilities of Rs. 1.69 lakh crore raised
Corporation loans: Rs. 1.46 lakh crore additional loans raised
Total incremental debts: Rs. 4.86 lakh crore raised between 1st April 2019 and 30th April 2022
Total outstanding debt as on 30th April 2022 was Rs. 8.00 lakh crore.
Analysis of above data is required to be done in a sensible manner taking into account five indicators to assess the health of state’s finances for the last three financial years: revenue deficit, primary deficit – meaning deficit before serving the interest, interest, debt servicing and fiscal deficit – overall deficit in a financial year.
(1) Revenue Deficit : (In Cr) :
2) Primary Deficit : (In Cr)
3) Interest : (In Cr)
4) Fiscal Deficit : ( In Cr)
5) Debt service : ( In Cr )
If we observe columns 4 and 5 above, total budgeted new debts (fiscal deficit) of Andhra Pradesh have been raised for serving the existing interest and instalments only (debt servicing). This means no additional revenue is being generated to serve the existing debts. What about the new debts to be served in the future? Where are the resources that have been generated out of these debts? This all indicates that the state has fallen deep into the debt trap.
Analysis of columns 2 and 3 as depicted in the above table shows a serious financial crisis at hand in the form of a huge fiscal deficit and the biggest financial disease that ails the state exists in the form of primary deficit.
If we examine the above facts, the root cause of the prevailing financial problems of the state lies in the persisting revenue deficit post bifurcation and even 14th and 15th Finance Commissions have assessed and projected the revenue deficit for Andhra Pradesh till 2025. But the problems Andhra Pradesh is beset with are beyond the assessment of revenue deficit alone, since the present government’s approach toward the governance is problematic as it has been on an unproductive spending spree, thus upsetting the balance of revenue and expenditure, leading to an increasing dependence on abnormal debts. Though the 15th Finance Commission estimated total revenue deficit of the state at Rs. 30,497 crore, to be recovered from the Union Government for 5 years between 2021 and 2026, it may be beyond 1 lakh crore. The big question is: Why and how did this huge gap emerge? The only answer is that the government has miserably failed to manage its finances and resources in a prudent manner and has rather used public funds on meeting unproductive poll promises, pushing the state toward an disaster.
Improper planning for application of funds as per budget has led to a situation where funds are least available for incurring capital expenditure, which could have helped the state create productive revenue-generating assets or social infrastructure for better living conditions. Facts and figures pertaining to the capital expenditure is as follows:
(Up to Feb)
The actual capital expenditure incurred by the state government is only 45% of the estimates in the budget on average for the last three years, one-third of which was illegally combined with revenue expenditure in a deceptive manner as pointed out by the CAG. Several questions have been raised. For instance, did the government fabricate speculative assets by showing that it had spent capital expenditure though it was never incurred, according to CAG observations? CAG has pointed out that the government is inflating capital expenditure by showing the revenue expenditure as capital expenditure. This has resulted in the actual revenue deficit being reduced to the extent of inter-transfer from revenue expenditure to capital expenditure, thus artificially raising capital expenditure without creation of any asset and simultaneously scaling down the revenue deficit too. The fact is that the state government had projected a budgeted capital expenditure of Rs 32,293 crore in 2019–20, which was actually incurred for Rs 12,244 crore only. However, if the capital expenditure in 2019–20 was miscalculated to the tune of Rs 4,779 crore, as per the CAG, the actual capital expenditure could be around less than Rs 7,500 crore only. According to state government figures, the revenue deficit was Rs 26,440 crore in 2019–20, but if the revenue expenditure figures are revised as per the CAG observations, the revenue deficit would be Rs. 31,219 crore.
As far as the CAG report for the financial year 2020–21 is concerned, Andhra’s finances have reached an alarming situation as per the following observations: Rs. 1,10,509.12 crore expenditure incurred directly from the consolidated fund without prior approval from the legislature, and utilization of funds from the consolidate fund without the approval of the legislature is unconstitutional as per Articles 204 and 205 of the Constitution. It is noteworthy that payments of Rs 48,281.31 crore were made through CFMS by adjusting the consolidated fund and public accounts with special bills without following the Treasury Code and Treasury procedures. The 15th Finance Commission had recommended that a provision should be made to include corporation loans of Rs 38,312.70 crore and non-budgetary loans of Rs 88,250.82 crore in the budget note. But the state government failed to do so.
Payments made trough AP Centre for Financial Systems and Services, a public sector company, are against the code and making such payments other than though treasury can lead to frauds. The state credit rating was badly hit in 2020–21 as the government maintained 103 days on overdraft, 184 days on ways and means (short-term adjustments), 44 days on special facilities and cash balance on hand is only for 34 days. The situation continues to prevail as of now.
Apart from this, the state government has practiced what is called “single source of income used to raise double debt” in violation of the provisions as stipulated in Article 293(3). This revenue, which was supposed to be credited in the Consolidated Fund, was diverted. Whether the fiscal deficit is under control or not is a big question, as the government has projected it to be at Rs.48,724 crore, 3.64% of GSDP, for the year 2022–23. When the FRBM limits have been violated consistently and it has been agreed to waive nearly Rs. 6000 crore per annum for the next three years from the eligible borrowing limits of the state for the financial year 2020–21, then what about the borrowings to be raised above the limit pertaining to the financial year 2021–22?
While the Union Finance Ministry has raised queries on the various issues pertaining to the state finances, the state government sends inconsistent answers on loans raised by it, which may not be considered by the Centre. The central government seeks information from all the states in the Indian Union on debts and other financial management tools used, the policies of states have bearing on overall economic performance of the country. But the Central government agencies follow strict accounting practices with regard to financial management though there is a risk of deteriorating state finances due to faulty financial management by the state government. As far as Andhra Pradesh is concerned, the debt-to-GDP ratio, which currently stands at over 35 per cent, is set to rise to 70 per cent after the following adjustments are made:
(1) ADJUSTMENT OF BORROWINGS LIMITS FOR FUTURE :
Loans already raised in excess of FRBM limits for the financial years 2020–21 and 2021–22 have to be adjusted against the future borrowing limits, while now the budget for the current financial year 2021–22 is 37,030 crore as per FRBM limits. According to the monthly actual accounts on the CAG website, by February 2022, the state debts had reached Rs. 51,112 crore, which means that at least another Rs 17,000 crore of additional debt had to be adjusted in the future borrowing limits. However, according to the revised estimates for the current financial year, the state government has shown Rs. 38,224 crore as debts. This means that loans made in the last two financial years exceeding the total limit of nearly Rs 35,000 crore may have to be adjusted in the future limits as per a advised by the Central Government.
(2) ADDITIONAL CREDIT LIMIT FOR POWER REFORMS:
The state budget shows that the implementation of reforms in this category will only add up to another 0.5% of the GSDP and make up to 3.64% of the 2022–23 fiscal year, which is likely to result in 4% debt. But is 0.36% for adjustment of excess debt made in previous years?
(3) ASSESSMENT OF NET LOANS:
Based on the statistics of the state Government, the open market debt, loans from the Central government, loans from foreign institutions, the amount deposited by the public in the form of small savings, PF, reserve funds and deposits are all calculated and net debt is assessed. Although this is a simple process of calculating debts, such comments can be made only when the juggling of accounts with internal adjustment is over.
(4) CALCULATION OF PENSIONS AND FUTURE PAYMENTS:
These factors are not properly reflected in the fiscal deficit, meaning that pensions and future state government burdens are crucial at the time of employee retirement. It is said that a credit limit has been set after taking into account the fact that these are not properly accounted for.
(5) CONSIDERATION OF CORPORATIONS AND SPV LOANS:
The fact is that the debts of corporations have already been diverted to state government schemes. Also, corporations and SPVs in the state do not have special income to pay their debts and interest. Budget revenues are clearly being used to reverse these, so future reversals should not be mistaken for taking these companies’ debts under FRBM.
(6) CONSIDERATION OF LOANS MADE THROUGH TAX AND CESS REVENUE:
It is a fact that in the years 2020–21 and 2021–22, the proceeds from the budget would be transferred to AP SPDCL through specialized GEOs and Rs. 25,000 crore will be covered by the FRBM as per the accounting procedures. Also, there is a situation where all such loans are evaluated to settle the loans made beyond the limit.
(7) ELECTRICITY ARREARS:
With power arrears also being brought under the debt limit in the state budget FRBM, the state government is likely to have an impact of the existing Rs. 25,000 crore discom arrears on future credit limits.
Meanwhile, many experts have suggested to impose a financial emergency on Andhra Pradesh as per Article 360 due to irregular practices to raise loan for unproductive uses, but the Central government intends to allow the state government to set right the things on its own with a responsibility. As economists suggests, welfare schemes are required to be implemented with the spirit of Antyodaya keeping in view the financial sustainability of the state. But, there are no checks and balances in place in the governance. Everything is done keeping an eye on electoral dividends. The need of the hour is that the state government should come out with a “White Paper on Andhra Pradesh Finance” to spell out a roadmap for rectification of irregularities and steering the state out the present mess.
The author is a BJP leader.
Though the growth of the state has been registered constantly above national average in many parameters, it has failed to attract major new domestic and foreign investments for the past three years, lagging behind in EODB rankings. With an increase in suicides of farmers, a huge debt without productive asset creation, diversion of funds and a huge debt-to-GSDP ratio at 38%, the state is deep in financial crisis so much so that even it has paled a state like Bihar.
Snehalata Memorial Foundation brings Sambhav on Stage at Triveni Kala Sangam
During the last two years, a lot of shows were organized online due to the raging pandemic. Now, most of the organizers have decided to conduct their events offline. Snehalata Memorial Foundation established in the year 1992, is a social organization that aims to spread awareness about classical music throughout the world. Snehalata Memorial Foundation is set to organise Sambhav on Stage with the tagline ‘Gayan Vadan Nritya’. The program is being organized at Triveni Kala Sangam, 205, Tansen Marg, Mandi House, Delhi, 110001 on the 19th of May 2022 from 6 PM onwards.
The program will start with a vocal, followed by a Tabla duet, and end with a Kathak trio recital. The performers have already performed online, this time they would be performing offline. During covid, the upcoming performers have suffered the most and Snehalata has planned to encourage young artists and present their art in front of the audience.
In a candid conversation tabla artist, Saptak Sharma who will be performing in the event said, “It’s completely an honor for me to be performing for Snehalata Memorial Foundation. Especially getting an opportunity after a long gap of 2 years is a whole another experience. I’ve been attached to this organisation and did some online concerts during the lockdown as well. A big thanks to Binay ji and the whole team for making this possible and getting the artists back on stage. It’s a whole different thing to live with the audience in a face-to-face way as compared to the online sessions. The essence of classical music lies in the baithak systems in which the artist is being praised by the audience and the music flowing out of that is completely felt differently. It’s always said music can only be felt and not seen. And that’s the best part about being on stage when you realise your audience feeling your music and reacting to it.”
The event features
Classical Vocal Recital by Abhijeet Mishra
Sarangi – Ejaz Hussain
Tabla – Kamil Khan
Duet Tabla Recital by Saptak Sharma and Ashutosh Verma
Sarangi – Mudassir Khan
Kathak Recital by Harshita Vaish, Disha Gupta, and Sagar Vishwakarma
Sarangi- Ejaz Hussain
Vocal- Zaki Ahmed
Tabla- Shubhan Khan
Padhanti- Aishwarya Rawat
Venue-Triveni Kala Sangam, Delhi
‘WE AT ICCS ARE OFFERING CUSTOMIZED OUTSOURCING SOLUTIONS WITH BEST TECHNOLOGY & INFRASTRUCTURE’
In response to The Daily Guardian, Divij Singhal, Founder & CEO, ICCS, said ICCS’s mission is to outperform the industry by fostering innovation and forming collaborations with the world’s largest brands, as well as enthusiastic leaders and employees. The company envisions being one of the worlds’s most recognized and trusted BPM service provider, offering exceptional value to customers across all industries through cutting-edge technology and world-class service.
Q: What made you launch this business?
A: We looked at the domestic service industry and it was growing in the country and skilled people for voice and non-voice would be needed. We evaluated that there is a niche that can be created in this industry by the amalgamation of people and technology. That motivated us to be a part of this BPO industry.
Q: Goals and objectives when it is founded.
A: The goal was to be a leading player in this space of domestic BPO with the right quality and consistency being delivered to our customers at the right price.
Q: Business success so far
A: Our growth is consistent with the growth of 25% YoY, and something which we really can cherish is all our customers who started with us continued together, and we both grew over time. We believe in high quality and besides, we also give them the technology to improve their customer experience turning into retention.
Q: What will be the industry trends in 2023.
A: New-age technologies are emerging and making their mark in businesses across sectors. We feel that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in particular will be buzzwords and their impact will be such that the BPO sector will witness growth concerning the people in the coming year. The yield per employee will increase and this trend will render a positive impact on the valuation of the BPO industry
Q: What are your future plans?
A: We are indeed joyous that we have had a successful run so far. Indeed, we had our fair share of ups and downs. But we take pride in the fact that we have surpassed them all and are bracing for exponential growth in the future. As far as our growth plans are concerned, we at ICCS are looking forward to expanding our footprints in tier 2 regions as well as in the metro cities. We are also planning to hire 1000+ employees by the end of this year. From the business perspective, our focus is to increase our presence in the healthcare and retail distribution verticals. On the whole, we are striving to bring about innovation as well as foster associations with reputed brands at the global level.
VIBE, THE SKYBAR REOPENS AT GURUGRAM BAANI SQUARE
True to its name, Vibe – The Sky Bar, a rooftop bar at DoubleTree by Hilton Gurugram Baani Square is back to serve its patrons.
Blessed with breathtaking city views and sparkling ambiance, this high-end rooftop bar is an ideal place to socialize with friends and family or for a corporate gathering. Wind down after a busy day in comfortable lounges while you enjoy the sophisticated bites and handcrafted concoctions to lift your spirits.
Enjoy an open-air dining experience in re-imagined spaces secured with stringent safety norms, where Mukesh Kumar, Executive Sous Chef has introduced an array of delectable choices in the eclectic menu which includes The Giant Chicken Wings, Kaffir Lime Gamberi, Kasundi Salmon, Crunchy Amritsari Fish Tots, Tenderloin Boti Popsicles, Raan, Ragi Chickpea Falafel, Mexican Tacos, Citrus Creme Brule, DoubleTree Cookie Pastry, and many more to choose from.
Timings: – 04:00 PM–12:00 AM
Average cost for two: INR 3500 plus taxes
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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.
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