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ISCC on economic ties between Spanish and Indian business communities

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Indo Spanish Chamber of Commerce (ISCC) held a webinar. ISCC is a private non-profit organisation and the only business aggrupation of Spanish companies in India. In 2019 ISCC got the recognition as the official chamber of Spain in India, by the endorsement of the Spanish Government. The aim of ISCC is creating a forum in which sharing experiences, exchange, and contacts, with the aim of promoting the economic ties between the Spanish and the Indian business communities. Today ISCC has as members the most representative Spanish companies operating in India, and many Indian companies including some of the Nifty index ones.

Talking about the India-Spain relations, Indian Ambassador to Spain, H.E Mr. Sanjay Verma said, “I think that is a story in itself, it sounds very suggestive of where India itself would be looking at in that sector. Our Arogya Setu app- the contact tracing app or Aadhar are digital identity platform. These are indicative of how India has embraced the digital world. We are also focusing on startups in India, I think I understand seven startups have reached unicorn status in 2020 alone, joining the 30 odd plus already in this table and the sector of the economy where I think the digital economy is going to have tremendous impact from the Indian perspective is health, agriculture, education, defence, and not very insignificantly in empowerment. And when I talk about empowerment, I mean the socio-economic mobility or the empowerment of women or marginalized sections of society. Of course, it’s a double-edged in that to break into this you need minimum infrastructure and facilities but after that, it can be a near-level playing field.”

Mr. Sanjay further said, “As far as Spain goes, our understanding is that 4% of Spain GDP depends on this sector. There are 34,000 companies here and the areas in which Spain is doing tremendously well is software for defense and utilities, banking, air traffic control, etc. I also understand the Barcelona and Madrid combined together would be the fourth-largest hub in Europe with about 2400 startups in this field. I think names like glovo and cabify are suggestive of the role Spain and Spanish companies can play in this regard. At the country and the bilateral level, I think there is synergy emerging. I mean both the countries are bullish on AI, Spain has a secretary of state for digitalization with whom I’m incidentally meeting next week. So the takeaways from this meeting, I will report to the Secretary of State. In India, Niti Ayoga has an ambitious national AI plan, our new education policy depends a lot on digitalization and I may also add that the Indian foreign ministry this year in January 2020 established a division called NEST, it is New, Emerging and Strategic Technologies Division which is going to handmaiden and interface Indian foreign policy with the trends in this area, combining both are security and business interests. So this is a wonderful topic taken and I will try to listen very carefully; I am sure and in essence, we are looking for the Christopher Columbus to take India-Spain relations forward in this area. Maybe there’s a Christopher Columbus among us, doesn’t have to be a man could be a woman. But I’m glad we all join hands together because this is the age where we are going to determine how we regulate the digitalization space, how we generate incomes, without being Luddites. You surely cannot escape the fact that we are a country of 1.3 billion people and this debate on whether this is going to eat up jobs or is going to create jobs. I mean, the human interface and all this, I would imagine, would add to jobs.”

Throwing some light on the current situation in the IT sector involving digital transformation, Prasad P. Meharunkar, Regional Director for Iberia & Italy, WIPRO said, “Basically I represent the Indian IT industry, India definitely has potential to become world’s capital for artificial intelligence. It is not only because we have a large pool of talent, but like as embassy said we are a country of 1.3 billion people and we definitely lead outsourcing age, Internet age and digital age. So, definitely, we are very well in a position to be the world’s capital for artificial intelligence. And this is not only because we have a large pool of talent, but, the thing is that India has like so many challenges, so many complexities which can be solved by artificial intelligence, the problems to a common man in the sector of health care and education are the problems of the normal truck driver or normal taxi driver or even vegetable seller. So, because of this variety of problem, the complexity of the problem, we will have a phenomenal number of use cases in India and such kind of variety of experiences, our number of use cases- it is very difficult for anywhere in the world to be generated. And this kind of experience we can bring to the world and we can apply these use cases to promote or to implement the artificial intelligence-led solution for citizens across the world, and by this India will be able to lead this era of artificial intelligence in my opinion.”

Addressing the SMEs and the IT sector in India, Shivendra Singh, Vice President & Head of the Global Trade Development at (National Assoication for Software & Service Companies) NASSCOM said, “It’s a very, very rapidly evolving world. Now, the fact of the matter is that even under the pandemic, when, you know, we’ve seen a huge amount of negative growth, the tech industry, in the last two quarters have performed amazingly well. And one of the areas where the growth is happening is in the area of digital transformation, so that’s one big area, nearly about 40, to 50%, of all the growth is happening in this area. Now it’s a very, very conducive environment, cause you’ve seen cloud migration happening, you’re seeing bundling of technologies, you’re seeing workplace technologies, you’re seeing, you know, high speed, secure infrastructure, so there’s a lot which is happening, platformization of services are all happening. So, a lot which is happening is conducive to the current environment, and the growth. And as alluded to by Prasad, coming to the artificial intelligence, we are seeing the huge opportunities that exist in this area, whether he talked about the common man and some of the benefits but let’s look at the banking, financial services & insurance sector. Now, that’s something which is probably the largest for the tech industry, and the maximum potential to grow in the current pandemic is also there. So things on contact lists, technology, things on mobile payment, analytics in terms of customer expectation and managing all of that definitely is something which is really going to push developments and the growth of AI. In fact, all companies are technology companies, so you look at a bank, you look at a retailer, all of them are now probably technology companies because the order flow-in is phenomenal. So I am pretty bullish about it and just to answer the question about Python, in terms of acquisitions, the way this is going to go is you will have organic growth, but a lot of growth happening is with the engagement with startups and the scale of startups which have a stack of technology, large companies are also engaging with them, that could be a joint go to market strategy as well, an acquisition is one part of it, but there are various ways in which that engagement can happen. And for those startups, the great thing is that the large reach and scalability provided by our large tech companies are phenomenal. So it’s a win-win scenario and this is going to lead to a lot of partnership between, on one hand, startups in the middle, you have these tech players, and you will have the enterprises. So this whole combined approach is going to drive a lot of this growth in digital transformation as well and we’re seeing that happening.”

Dr Kiron Ravindran, the Asst. Professor of Information Systems at IE Business School, one of the most reputed business schools worldwide, addressed the current picture of India’s IT sector; he said, “I’m actually very happy to be in technology at this point in time. And my point, my viewpoint is that, for the longest time, we’ve always thought of IT as something that fixes problems being discussed about the communication issues, the silos that our organizations are, the departments not talking to each other and we were given the task of cleaning up the mess within client photos. In the last few years, what we’re seeing is, we’re taking a more upfront and central role, where we’re saying, look, let’s not fix up your messes in the back end but let’s go up front and address how your end customers are actually dealing with your product or service or whatever, right. And that’s where design comes into the conversation. For the longest time, our IT developers were placed in the basements of your client organization, you know, separated from the end customers, because we’ve been told not to talk to them, they were specifically skilled people who are given the responsibility of talking to clients. And now recently, we actually contracted by the WIPRO design team and I was very proud to go to this organization and tell the rest of my colleagues, look, these are the guys who are technically an Indian company, that’s telling us how we should do our customer experience. And for me, it was a matter of pride and seeing this in a bigger picture, if we think of what it is that an IT service provider provides for a client firm, we’ve been trying to reduce costs for a long time, we’ve been trying to raise growth or profits for a long time and for which, we got better and better. We introduced AI and robotics and all of this stuff, basically, to make this cost reduction a more company argument when the labour arbitrage was not so strong anymore. Now, we get to the point where we fixed up most of the messes, we’ve cleaned up the processes, there’s not much more we can add value to, use a cliche, we there’s not much more we can add value in that aspect. So we have to go ahead and realize that what we need to do is, make this software or the products that we develop for these customers actually used by their customers and so we get better at delivering the experience. And if that comes from internal channels, excellent. If it doesn’t come from internal channels, there are sourcing capabilities just like we did it for their clients. But I think the part that we’re missing out, and I don’t hear much attention being paid to this, are the role of all of this being under the banner of compliance and specifically compliance linked with security, cybersecurity. My hunch is that in the near future, there will be a lot more emphasis on service providers from India or wherever, having to not only deliver service, not only meet the demands of design but also ensure or help the clients maintain a level of cybersecurity that they might not be able to manage themselves. I also think that maybe in the future, we will have another compliance pressure in terms of the economic impact of the services that we offer. If you look at other industries, they are waking up to the fact that the service that they produce or products that they produce have an impact on the environment. For us, we know what we don’t admit that it actually has a carbon footprint. You know, every artificial intelligence algorithm that we come up with has an impact on the environment, has an impact on energy consumption, and we’re not talking about it yet. And my hunch is, these are the directions that the smarter ones among us will seize the opportunity in cybersecurity and energy compliance. We know how to do AI, robotics, IoT, blockchain, all of that stuff. But I think the part that we haven’t heard many conversations is about cybersecurity and energy complaint.”

Addressing the institutional framework for the development of AI and digital transformation on the Spanish side, the Chief Representative of CDTI, for India, South & Southeast Asia, the Spanish Government agency for Innovation, pertaining to the Ministry of Science and Innovation, Adrian Gutierrez said, “There is, at EU as well as at national level right now, institutional backing, as well as a top-down strategic approach effort towards digital transformation and this again will be coupled with a significant investment that will follow soon now. So basically, when we look at the EU framework, we basically have the next generation e-recovery plan that basically puts the emphasis on the twin, green and digital transformations as the two basic routes to reinforce EU’s competitiveness, resilience and stand as a global power. So with that framework, basically, the European Union is envisioning an expenditure and investment of more than 750 billion euros and targeted reinforcements on the long term through the EU budget from 2021 to 2027. EU’s vision of a digital single market relies on three pillars basically, the first one is better connectivity and rapid deployment of 5G. The second pillar priority would be to develop a larger technical and industrial presence of European industry across strong, digital and strategic digital capabilities, such as AI, quantum supercomputers, blockchain and so forth. And the third pillar is the reduction of the fragmentation and striving towards more European common data spaces, visibly like China and the United States, because that will enable the EU firms and the EU players to develop products and services that could reach and have a larger impact, larger scale. So in full alignment with the EU priorities and framework, the Spanish government has also developed its own vision, its own priorities, its own strategy and basically the two frameworks I would like to draw your attention to, which are the Spanish digital agenda 2025, recently released in 2020, and the research development and innovation strategy in artificial intelligence. The first one, the Spanish digital agenda, identify the objectives and structural reforms that need to be pursued in order to roll out the supporting infrastructure, develop better connectivity, and make companies especially SMEs more digital. The digital agenda in Spain will mobilize a significant volume of public and private investment, amounting to approximately 70 billion euros up to 2025. And the initial period of 2020 to 2022, the public investment announced is around 20 billion euros, out of which 15 will come from the European programs and funding instruments that are to be implemented through the new EU recovery plan. On the other hand, the research development innovation strategy of artificial intelligence is another relevant framework that we have currently in Spain, because this is the first time that the government reflects on in which areas the Spanish R&D stakeholders should do AI R&D related activities and basically, they have prioritized several sectors such as industry 4.0, health and energy, which were mentioned already for by some of the other panelists, tourism, public administration, environment, safety and security. And it’s not only that they set the R&D priorities but also they are established certain policy recommendations in the area of training and skill development, or, for instance, in the development and rollout of supporting computing infrastructure. So basically, what I wanted to bring to the attention of the panel is that there is an institutional backing to the transition, to the digital transformation right now in Europe, as well as a national level, that there is a strategic approach, and that there will be a good and significant amount of funding supporting that digital transformation in Europe. So basically, those would be my contributions when it comes to the EU and national broad frameworks for promoting digital transformation.”

Taking the conversation further, Pablo Royo Martin, Business Consulting Partner at Energy&Utilities of Minsait, and Indra Group company, said, “First of all, and I guess we are very happy to hear that from a public administration point of view, there is a clear view that digitalization strategy and the digitalization of the economy are key values to develop the economy. I think we all have seen this a couple of years back, that’s in fact, just to put our example, we launched this main side brand within Indra because it was founded to address the transformation in digitalization across the sectors. So we are aware that it needs to happen, that it is important, as this is the future; how we will develop, we are still in this roadmap. I still believe there is a long way to cover, I was hearing Kiron and I don’t know if I understood you correctly; there are many things the IT department knows- how to do robotics, etc, I think that’s correct. But there is still a long way to go and why is that, I guess technology is now a very intrinsic part of the business, it’s not a separate functioning animal. We see that in doing a proprietary framework, we see how this technology is going to help the business and we see three different ways that are completely different among them. One keeps on doing what you are doing but use all these transformations to do the things better; you will run your operations more efficiently, you will understand your customer more efficiently and better be able to customize the products to him or her, but you will still keep on doing what you were doing before, so it’s the same business. There is another way where you can tackle this, as you can build a new business model while you still are in the same business; to put an example, you are supplying electricity and you are complementing it, but you create a new business model that didn’t exist before because the technology was not enabling it. And there is a third aspect, which is a completely different model, you are changing the industry altogether. For all three, that I think needs to be tackled very differently, the technological part is already embedded. And I said before, I think there is still a long way to go and a long way to go where we can see it from the companies we are collaborating with.”

Anindya Saha, CEO & Founding Partner of NERO VENTURES S.L. expressed his views during the conversation. He said, “My professional life revolves around grassroot levels. The Spanish govt is working towards making the money reach MSMEs. People from India need to understand that in Spain 95 per cent of the companies are small and medium scale and these are great companies. And most of the technological transformations have come from these companies. Even in Switzerland, most of these are small companies. So, the scenario is very different in this part of the world; it is not run by the WIPROs and the TCS and the Infosys of the world, at the grassroots levels, it is really run by the smaller companies. Indra, now has grown much bigger but at a point, it was a small company. And so has happened to many other companies and there are two aspects to that. Glovo for me is not a technology company, it is a business model. Flipkart is not a technology company, Amazon- what we buy on the internet is not a technology company, it is a logistics company with a technological background. If you talk about Amazon web services, it is a technology company. So, these were two different things and we need to clarify that. India has tremendous potential because the entire population of Spain is 40 million and just only Uttar Pradesh population amounts 200 million. The population multiplying factor is huge. We need to do business and people sitting in India will be surprised at how similar the Spain and Italian culture are to the Indian culture and how distinct it is from the American culture. India has worked very strongly with the US but surprisingly, not Spain where the work and environment cultures are so similar that you feel totally like home within six months. The only difference is that the roads are cleaner here, otherwise, we are very similar in our imperfections. I am very surprised at how so little business happens between India and Spain and that is because of the over bias of India with UK and the US.”

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‘Dream Come True’: Akashdeep Sengupta on composing Sooryavanshi’s Mere Yaara

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Music composer Akashdeep Sengupta joined NewsX for a candid chat as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Akashdeep opened up about composing a song for Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif starrer Sooryavanshi, his journey till now and much more.

Talking about composing the song, ‘Mere Yaara’ in Sooryavanshi, Akashdeep expressed, “It is a dream come true to be a part of such a big production, such a big casting, working with the likes of Karan Johar, Dharma Productions, Akshay Kumar, Rohit Shetty and such a big franchise. It is a dream come true. It is a lovely song. We always had that trust. Me, Kaushik and Guddu, they are my fellow composers in the song. It is a dream come true for me to compose such a track for them. It took some time for this song to come out but eventually it has.”

When asked how did he bag the project, Akashdeep shared, “It was something that completely happened because of Azeem Dayani. Azeem is the music supervisor for Dharma films. He supervises all the films for Dharma music. He had immense faith in the song and in us. He took this song a long time back. It was with him since 2017-18. He tried to put the best film with the best cast and the best people. He got it in Sooryavanshi.”

Talking about the response to song, Akashdeep said, “I am simply overwhelmed. It is a dream come true. Before this, it never happened but now that the song is out, people have messaged and congratulated me and my team. We have all been benefitted a lot from this song and people have really loved it. They have really welcomed us in the industry as music directors.”

On composing music for Amazon Prime’s Sherni and Modern Love, Akashdeep shared, “These projects came to me out of the blue. Aniket, who is the head of Amazon’s music studio originals, called me one day and he told me that he was interested in my profile and he wanted me to supervise music. I have been associated with Pritam Da for a long period of time as a assistant to him. I have been vocally supervising his songs, like dubbing singers and all. From there, he got to know about me and he called me up. I gave them some ideas of mine. Sherni happened. I supervised the title track of Sherni, got all the artists together like Raftaar, Utkarsh, Akasa. For Modern Love, it happened the same way. There was already a song called Setting Sail. He made the Hindi official cover for it. I got Zaedan and Lisa Mishra onboard for that song. It’s pretty much like you recruit the right artist, you choose the correct melody and you try to give a superb soundtrack to the audience. That’s how supervision works.”

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Flexibility and adaptability with the customer have been the growth mantra: Harsh Khandelwal

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Harsh Khandelwal is a young entrepreneur. He is the CEO of SGN Software. A visionary in his own right, Harsh has identified the opportunities for growth in the IT sector and has kept his company ahead in the industry. We hosted him for an interview for our latest series, NewsX India A-List. Below are the excerpts from the interview:

Our first question to Mr. Khanderwal was about the ethos of his company and how they identified the areas where they could capture the market, to which Harsh said, “The ethos for SGN started in 2009 when we saw a gap in the market in the SME space where we saw tech firms, MNCs working in the SME space.” For the second part of the question, he stated, “India’s SME market is huge, so we wanted to see if we can start our initiative on a practice where we can provide enterprise applications services at a cheaper cost. So that initiative started and then I saw we were the early entrants in the market working with leading software players like Oracle, SAP, Salesforce and we made it in the SAP market and we have grown the practice over the last decade working in eastern and northern India.”

We then asked Mr. Khandelwal how the IT industry landscape has changed since the pandemic began and how the transition has been for his clients. “The good thing about IT is the customers realised the importance of IT in the pandemic. While working from home, customers realised the importance of connectivity, real-time data, how to be connected with people, be it HR applications, be it Salesforce automation, be it banking integration where they know what is their incoming account receivable, payables,” said Harsh. He finished the answer by saying, “So, we have done a lot of projects remotely. It’s been a huge paradigm shift.” 

Telling us about their plans for expansion, Harsh informed us that his organisation has invested in the upcoming Bengal Silicon Valley Tech Hub. “We have acquired a space there and we are looking to expand our IT footprints there,” said Mr. Khandelwal. He also said, “We are also looking to get into freshmen recruitment. Currently, we do not have any on-campus recruitment. We hire trained people, experienced people and deliver. But we have realised that we need to nurture new skills.”

Harsh then told us about his journey from an SAP consultant fresh out of college to the CEO of a consulting firm. He shared with us, “I started my career once I graduated from the US, I started my career as an SAP consultant, so I have been a consultant myself before I started this company.” He added, “So, I have been there, done that and know how consulting goes. I am hands-on, I look into the day-to-day affairs.” Harsh further said that coming from the ground up has taught him a great deal about consulting. 

For our next question, we asked Harsh how SGN Software manages a globally spread out clientele, to which his response was, “That’s our MSP. We are an SME company and flexibility is our backbone.” “We have worked with companies, mostly family-run businesses and we show flexibility in our day-to-day delivery mechanism. My mandate to my team is, ‘Keep the customer happy,’ it’s customer first. We go by the word of reference.” He finished the thought by saying, “Flexibility and adaptability with the customer have been the growth mantra over here.”

Talking about talent in the IT industry, Mr. Khandelwal said, “What I have also realized is that we need to build talent. Talent still has a shortage and the new technology, be it machine learning, advanced data analytics, there are hardly any resources available. And if there is resource available, there are big guys in the market – the leading companies – be it the Accentures, the IBMs who hire them. For a small company like us, we need to build our own resource.” 

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‘Magic of 80s’: Raj Babbar & Padmini Kolhapure talk about their latest web series Dil Bekaraar

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Actors Raj Babbar and Padmini Kolhapure joined NewsX for a candid chat as part of its special series NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, the duo spoke about their latest web series Dil Bekaraar on Hotstar, which is set in the 80s.

Speaking about what attracted him to the show, Raj Babbar said, “My first priority is my work. I give a lot of time to a lot of things but I thought this is my identity. If I am known as Raj Babbar, it is because of Mumbai and the Hindi Film Industry recognised me as a performer. No matter where I go, people recognise me as an actor and then other adjectives on whatever I am. I realise that I should give priority to the actor side of me, which gave me this recognition and gave me a place in the society. That’s why I feel my first priority is my work.”

He added, “When I heard this story, I remembered a book that I had read sometime in the past. It was a bestseller at that time. It was called, ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’ and it stayed in the mind. When I heard this story, I felt very nice, a very interesting subject and I am doing a very beautiful role in it. I found the innocence of 80s, magic of 80s in this. That romance, the comedy, all of this is beautifully captured in this. The USP of the 80s that people used to think is evil is the corruption and the corrupt is the evil. These fiery girls, my 5 daughters, they are brilliant and also very fiery and ambitious. It is this very interesting thing, which attracted me. When I heard the narration and got to know that Padmini ji and Poonam ji are doing this, I said okay. I got this confidence that we will be in majority. Meher and Akshay are beautiful actors. They are very energetic people and it was fun working with them.”

When the same question was posed to Padmini Kolhapure, she responded, “The first attraction was Mr Habib Faisal. I have seen his work and he is a brilliant director. After working with him, I realised truly how meticulous he is. This script and this story demanded a lot of nuances to recreate the 80s era, which he has done brilliantly. He has lived that era and knows a lot about it. We have been there and done that so it wasn’t very difficult for Raj, Poonam or me to do this. More challenging probably for the youngsters because they don’t know what the 80s era was. I am sure that they would have had to work on every little thing. Second thing was the production house, so it was Smriti Shinde and Sobo films and then the OTT platform, which was Disney + Hotstar, so what better could I have asked for. You have Raj Babbar, Poonam Dhillon, Akshay, Seher, Aditya. This entire ensemble cast and to top it all, my role. It being a web series, it runs into a couple of episodes so it was not like I am playing a primary character in it but I am playing a very important role. It is a very colourful role, which I was quite amused while performing. Every time I would finish my role, I would just look back and laugh. I’d say to myself, ‘what am I doing?’. It is really beautiful when you are an actor and performing such challenging roles. You realise what an actor you can be and what can come out. With a good director and co-actors, you can just create magic.”

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GFI LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO STRENGTHEN FARMER PRODUCER ORGANISATIONS

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Grameen Foundation India (GFI) on Monday launched a special initiative ‘Catalyst Award’ under its MANDI (Market Enabled Access through Digital Innovation) project to support and develop the farmer producer organisations (FPOs) in Uttar Pradesh.

Speaking at the event, Prabhat Labh, Chief Executive Officer, GFI said, “Smallholder farmers, especially women, play the most critical role in ensuring food security in Uttar Pradesh. Grameen’s endeavour is to recognise the role of women smallholder farmers, and support them through linkage to markets, technology and finance in order to increase their incomes.” The MANDI project aims to strengthen the FPO’s capacity to connect smallholder farmers, especially women, to markets and finance, in order to improve farmers’ incomes and resilience. It predominantly works on four thematic areas such as financial linkage, access to market, FPO capacity building on day-to-day operation and compliance, and gender mainstreaming. It also focuses on leveraging data for decision-making and facilitates need-based modern technologies. The MANDI project is implemented by GFI in partnership with Walmart Foundation.

The Catalyst Award is a financial assistance program being offered to select FPOs to support their long-term institutional strengthening and growth. The financial assistance being extended to the FPOs would help them in serving their members, particularly women and smallholder farmers in a better and organised manner. The awards were given at a one-day workshop organized on Monday, 29 November 2021 on “FPO strengthening through Gender Mainstreaming” at the Shatabdi Krishi Prekshagrih, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

Addressing the participants, Mahendra Singh, Joint Director, Agriculture, Government of Uttar Pradesh said, “FPOs can become business entities serving needs of small and marginal farmers and focusing on women participation. FPOs should focus on market and financial linkages to benefit shareholder farmers.”

The day also saw the launch of another initiative on which GFI is collaborating with ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics). Under the collaboration, it has developed a support fund for the FPCs (Farmer Producer Companies) in response to Covid-19 pandemic mainly to cope better with situation brought on by the pandemic. FPC support fund (FSF) is being given for promotion and expansion of business activities being conducted by registered FPCs promoted under the MANDI project. A total amount of INR 4.5 lakh will be given to the FPCs.

The overall objective is to provide immediate support to FPCs which will help the project beneficiaries cope better with the pandemic while building resilience and bringing things back on track— by providing access to ‘working capital’ to the farmers through the FPCs, so that the farmers can continue with their farming operations uninterruptedly. This will also help FPCs for strengthening business activities, innovative product and services design and delivery which will help the farmer members of FPCs. The program is implemented through GFI’s subsidiary Grameen Foundation for Social Impact (GFSI) with support from ICRISAT and would cover four districts of Ghazipur, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Prayagraj and would benefit about 11,500 farmers.

This event is part of a series of activities being organised by the GFI for generating awareness among the stakeholders of FPOs, and creating an ecosystem to foster women’s empowerment in agriculture. It aims to sensitise stakeholders on increasing women’s participation in decision-making and in the entire FPO value chain.

About 146 attendees representing FPOs, experts from financial technology, markets and convergence participated in the event and subsequent workshop. The companies such as Blue Soils, UPPRO (State Level Federation of FPOs of Uttar Pradesh), EF Polymer also displayed their products and services.

Grameen Foundation India is a leading social impact organisation, working on financial inclusion, agriculture-based livelihoods and health and nutrition initiatives with the mission to enable the poor, especially women to overcome poverty and hunger. Inspired by the work of Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus, Grameen provides works in partnership with leading development organisations in India to ideate, innovate and scale breakthrough solutions that reach underserved populations, particularly women.

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YOTTA TO BUILD NEXT TWO DATA CENTER BUILDINGS IN GREATER NOIDA

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Yotta Infrastructure announced that it will commence construction of two more data centers in their Greater Noida Data Center Park in January 2022. The two buildings will have a capacity of 30MW IT load each and will be ready to go live in January 2024. The construction of the first of six data center buildings started in January 2021 and will go live for customer operations by July 2022, in a record time of less than 18 months. Once completed, it will have a capacity of 30 MW IT Load.

Commenting on the development and his vision to transform Uttar Pradesh as a technology hub, the Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath, said, “Uttar Pradesh today is at the forefront of all-round development. Data Centers are the hub of the digital revolution. They are the temples for digital democracy. The government of Uttar Pradesh has taken path-breaking steps, including a forward-looking Data Center policy helping and incentivising the development of high-quality, large-scale data centers in UP. I congratulate the Hiranandani Group and Yotta for taking this initiative which shall enhance the quality of life for citizens and shall grow the digital economy of the country, promise them all help and wish them success.” The Uttar Pradesh government, in October 2020, gave approvals to the company to set up a 20-acre hyper-scale data center park in Greater Noida. This will be the first data center park in the region, which will consist of 6 interconnected data center buildings offering 30,000 racks capacity powered by more than 250 MW of power. The estimated cost to set up the park is approximately INR 7000 Crore (~USD 950 Mn). The project will also generate direct and indirect employment in Uttar Pradesh as the company expands its team to operate and build the data centers.

Darshan Hiranandani, Group CEO – Hiranandani Group, said, “The Digital India initiative has opened up new avenues for businesses, and India has been on the upward trajectory with respect to digital transformation way before the pandemic hit us. The last couple of years have only reinstated the need to grow digital infrastructure in our country. We are grateful to the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the Honourable Chief Minister Shri Yogi Adityanath Ji for extending their constant cooperation that helped us speed up the construction process. Our Datacenter Park in Greater Noida will go a long way to augment the digital infrastructure not only in Uttar Pradesh but also in the entire north region of the country as Yotta continues to strive to bridge the demand-supply gap in the Indian data center industry.”

Sunil Gupta, Co-founder, and CEO of Yotta Infrastructure said, “Foreseeing increased demand from the region due to digital acceleration, we’ve decided to commence construction of two new data center buildings of 30MW IT load each from January 2022, much ahead of our earlier schedule. The data center park shall be the largest one in the region, powered by redundant 220 KV express feeders and an on-site substation, with an option of 100 percent green energy to customers. With the presence of multiple telco operators, redundant fiber paths and various public and private Internet exchanges and availability of Build To Suit (BTS), Bulk and Retail Colocation and various Cloud and Managed Services, this highly interconnected data center park is attracting customers from across the World and industry verticals.”

Riding on the digital revolution and a huge supply-demand gap in the country for high-quality, scalable data centers and benefitting from its all-around capabilities across the value chain of Datacenter from Build to Operate, Yotta is feverishly developing data center parks across the country. It has also signed MoUs with Tamil Nadu and West Bengal Government to set up data centers in Chennai and Kolkata, respectively. The company recently announced that its first data center in Navi Mumbai – Yotta NM1, is India’s first and the only Tier IV Constructed Facility certified by Uptime Institute (USA).

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In sync with Guru Nanak’s ‘oneness’

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An exhibition titled ‘Paradigm of Oneness’—a solo show by artist Dr Jaspal Singh Kalra—was held recently in the capital at the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre wherein the artist attempts to imagine Baba Nanak in the content of his immortal Shabads.

Artist Dr. Jaspal Singh Kalra

Banrae Embroidery & sketch on linen by Dr. Jaspal Singh Kalra

Bhande bahara Embroidery & sketch on linen by Dr. Jaspal Singh Kalra

Nanak’s oneness goes beyond just humans. His compositions talk of nature, animals, plants, earth, water, air and to love them all is true oneness with the divine. Imagining self as part of other is the paradigm of Nanak’s oneness that takes us beyond our ego. The series of artworks on display are Kalra’s journey of art as a personal expression. His art is not about deciphering or finding reasons but simplifying the complexities.

This personal expression of setting text in artworks has been part of Dr Kalra’s style for more than a decade. When his mother passed away, it transformed into interpretation.

The word ‘Sab Tera’ is also interpreted as ‘terah’ or thirteen and in keeping with this concept thirteen Shabads have been taken to create this series of artworks. Shabads by Baba Nanak, Kabirdas and Sheikh Farid range from oneness of humans, gender, nature, universe, divinity and value of sharing.

Speaking to The Daily Guardian, Kalra explained the title of the exhibition and said that oneness is about gender, people and moving away from discrimination. “When we started creating these artworks, we had people from different faith who understood his philosophy and tried to associate with it. Here it was about the oneness of thought and connecting it with art,” he said.

He added, “We gave it the name paradigm because it was not just about one single thing. There are smaller aspects. It has so many components to it that makes it a paradigm.”

Everyone knows that Guru Nanak is an important religious figure in Sikhism. But in the case of Kalra, he says it is important and a conscious effort to humanise him in order to understand his teachings. “When we humanise something, we connect to that person much closer. When we make someone a god or a demi-god, there’s an awe that comes in. If you have to love someone’s poetry and follow, the first step would be to be in one with that person,” he said while speaking to The Daily Guardian.

On the issue of the hurdles he faced while creating these works, he said that he did not face much of it and added that he was being guided by a force through the creative process. Kalra further said that every time he was working with a Shabad or a Doha of Kabir on his artwork, he was reliving them. “Every time when I was working on it, I would go deeper into the meaning because we were spending so much time in sketching and conceptualising. Then you really look (at the work and the verse) and get into another time zone,” he added.

“The whole process for us (of creating these works) became an act of respect and worship,” the artist said further. From his artwork, he said, the thing that the viewer must capture is the human values and make your own meanings out of them.

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