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Mixing of Covid vaccines not protocol yet, clarifies Centre

Graded unlock process begins in several states as Covid-19 cases hit a 50-day low.

Sabyasachi Roy Choudhury

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The Centre on Tuesday said that mixing of Covid-19 vaccines is not protocol yet and asserted that there is no change in the schedule of two-dose vaccines Covishield and Covaxin. The clarification came at a time when several states have initiated a graded unlock process with Covid-19 cases on a steady decline.

Briefing a press on Covid and vaccination-related updates in the country, Chair of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) and Member (Health) in NITI Aayog, Dr Vinod K. Paul, said: “We have heard that, it is being said that now only one dose of Covishield would be given. I would like to clarify that only two doses of Covishield are scheduled in India. After the first Covishield dose is administered, the second dose will be given after 12 weeks. There is no change. Covaxin also has two doses’ schedule, second dose to be administered in 4-6 weeks.”

“Second thing which has come is the mixing of the vaccine. Mixing of vaccine is not the protocol yet, the same vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) to be administered for both doses. Stick to the SOP,” he added. “There is international research underway on the mixing of vaccines as the possibility of a positive effect is also plausible, but a harmful reaction cannot be ruled out either. It is an unresolved scientific question, science will settle it,” he added.

Earlier, Dr N.K. Arora, Chairman of Covid-19 working group under the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), said that India may in few weeks start testing the feasibility of a regimen that mixes two different doses of Covid vaccines to see if it helps boost the immune response to the virus. The mixing of vaccine of Covid-19 has been discussed at the Covid-19 group, NTAGI and National Expert group on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration (NEGVAC).

Dr Vinod K. Paul’s clarification came even as the coronavirus outbreak in the country seems to be mitigating as the number of fresh Covid-19 infections is declining. The states and the Union territories with a falling graph of Covid-19 cases have begun the unlocking process. Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh are some states on this list.

On the contrary, states such as Maharashtra, Goa, Odisha, Telangana, Sikkim, and Kerala have continued with the lockdown as the infection rate and mortality rate is still high in some districts.

Though there are a few states with high numbers, the overall country’s infection statistics are falling. According to Health and Family Welfare Ministry’s information, 152,734 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours which is the lowest single-day rise in the last 50 days. The daily positivity rate is 9.07 per cent which is less than 10 per cent for the seventh consecutive day.

Delhi government has initiated the unlocking process on May 3 as the positivity rate has come down to 1.5%. The government has relaxed a few restrictions there. However, the other curbs will continue till 7 June. It has given a green light to the manufacturing and construction business. However, they have to follow strict Covid-19 guidelines at the workplace. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has stated that, if the cases start surging, the unlock process will be halted. He said, “We have to maintain a balance between controlling the spread of Covid-19 and allow economic activities.”

Maharashtra is still struggling to lower its Covid-19 infection rate. The state government has extended the lockdown till June 15. However, it has relaxed restrictions in the districts with fewer Covid-19 cases. The government has permitted the non-essential shops to operate in Mumbai on alternate weekdays from 7 am to 2 pm. These shops will remain shut during the weekend.

Except for 20 districts, the Uttar Pradesh government has eased the restriction in the rest of the state. However, the night curfew and weekend lockdown will continue throughout the state. In 55 districts, with less than 600 cases, the shops outside the containment zone have been permitted to operate during weekdays. Private businesses can function with limited staff and the government offices will open with half capacity.

Karnataka is under lockdown till 7 June. However, the state›s Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on Monday has recommended the state should continue the lockdown, placing lives before livelihood.

The Madhya Pradesh government has announced that the «corona curfew» will last till June 15. As per the guidelines, not more than 20 people can attend a marriage ceremony. The number of people allowed at a funeral procession is 10. Only four people can gather at a religious place.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has extended the lockdown till June 9 with a few relaxations. He stated that all industries can function with minimal staff. Banks will operate on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Most other states have announced the “unlock” in the first half of June.

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Cases dip in Delhi, but weekend curfew to continue

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Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal government on Friday recommended the lifting of weekend curfews in the national capital in view of declining COVID-19 cases. Delhi reported 10,756 new cases of the disease during the last 24 hours, said the state government on Friday.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sent a recommendation to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to end the weekend curfew. In the proposal, the CM also sought the removal of the odd-even system in the markets and to allow private offices to operate at 50% capacity, the sources added. However, sources say that Baijal rejected the government’s proposal to lift the weekend curfew and ease COVID-19 restrictions. According to the sources, Baijal agreed to a 50% attendance in private offices but said that the status quo be maintained with regards to weekend curfew and opening of markets. A decision will be taken on the subject once the COVID situation improves further, the sources said.

Later on Friday, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority allowed all private offices in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, outside of containment zones, to function with up to 50% attendance with immediate effect. The DDMA has, however, advised private offices to stagger office timing, presence and quantum of staff. “They’re further advised to follow work from home, as far as possible,” it said in its order. Notably, the DDMA clarified that the night curfew and weekend lockdown will continue to in the national capital. “It is also clarified that Night Curfew from 10 PM to 5 AM every day and Weekend Curfew from 10 PM of Friday till 5 AM of subsequent Monday, on the movement of individuals in NCT of Delhi shall also remain in force till further order,” said the DDMA in its order.

COWIN

In a recent update on the CoWIN portal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that up to six members can now register using a single mobile number. The Ministry, in a press release said, “Instead of the existing limit of 4 members, now 6 members can be registered using one mobile number on Co-WIN.”

As per the update, a new utility feature has been introduced to raise an issue in Co-WIN account through which a beneficiary can revoke its current vaccination status from fully vaccinated to partially vaccinated or unvaccinated status and also partially vaccinated to unvaccinated status.

“The vaccination status can be corrected by the beneficiaries, where in occasional isolated cases, the vaccination certificates are generated due to inadvertent data entry errors by the vaccinator in the updation of vaccination data of beneficiaries,” the release said.

The Ministry also said that the changes may take three to seven days after submitting the online request through raising an issue utility.

“Such beneficiaries can get their due vaccine dose, maybe at nearest vaccination centre, as per the existent standard guidelines once new vaccination status is successfully updated in the system,” the Ministry appraised.

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Netaji statue at India Gate; hologram to be unveiled on 23 January

The statue will be 28 feet in height and 6 feet in width.

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A grand granite statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose will be installed at India Gate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday. “At a time when the entire nation is marking the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, I am glad to share that his grand statue, made of granite, will be installed at India Gate. This would be a symbol of India’s indebtedness to him,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet today. The Prime Minister said that till the time the grand statue of Netaji Bose is completed, a hologram statue will occupy the place.

“Till the grand statue of Netaji Bose is completed, a hologram statue of his would be present at the same place. I will unveil the hologram statue on 23rd January, Netaji’s birth anniversary,” tweeted PM Modi.

Republic Day celebrations will start on 23 January this year, the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. It will end on 30 January, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.

Official sources said that the dimensions of the Netaji statue would be 28 feet in height and 6 feet in width.

Acknowledging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision, Netaji’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff, on Friday said that honouring Netaji by setting up his statue is “very remarkable”. “Honouring him by setting up his statue is very remarkable. Very happy that Netaji’s statue would be put up in a prominent place in Delhi. This is a great tribute to a man who has suffered so much for the wellbeing of his country”, she said.

Anita Bose also found it gratifying to see young people still knew Netaji and respected him. “125 years is a long time and 75 years since Indian Independence. More than one generation has passed away… It is gratifying to see that young people still know who Netaji is, still respect him and many love him. This is a great tribute to him.”

“What I find more important is having a revival and strengthening Netaji’s values and ideas into today’s lives and politics not only of high-level politicians but of every single man and woman. Let that be the guideline for action. Jai Hind”, said Netaji’s daughter.

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AMAR JAWAN JYOTI MERGED WITH WAR MEMORIAL FLAME, CONGRESS CRIES FOUL

Army veterans hail move; National War Memorial has the names of all Indian defence personnel who have lost their lives since 1947-48.

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In a historic move by the Centre ahead of the Republic Day celebrations, the Amar Jawan Jyoti or the “eternal flame” for soldiers at India Gate was merged with the torch at the National War Memorial in a ceremony on Friday. The decision was hailed by most military veterans and political leaders belonging to the ruling coalition. However, the Congress severely criticised the government for the move.

On Friday, a part of the flame was carried to the War Memorial in the afternoon in a ceremony that was presided over by the Integrated Defence Staff Chief, Air Marshal Balabadhra Radha Krishna. Krishna laid a wreath after which a torch was lit from the Amar Jawan Jyoti and the flame was doused. The torch was then taken to the National War Memorial by a ceremonial guard from Guards Regiment of the Indian Army. After travelling for around 150 metres, the torch was used to symbolically merge the flame from Amar Jawan Jyoti with the one at the National War Memorial.

Air Marshal Krishna presided over the ceremony at both the locations.

However, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the Central government for the move. Taking to Twitter, the Congress MP said, “It is a matter of great sadness that the immortal flame that used to burn for our brave soldiers will be extinguished today. Some people cannot understand patriotism and sacrifice – never mind. We will once again light the Amar Jawan Jyoti for our soldiers.”

Congress MP Manish Tewari too criticised the Central government and said that merging Amar Jawan Jyoti with War Memorial Torch means “erasing history”. The Congress MP said, “Whatever is being done is a national tragedy and an attempt to rewrite history. Amar Jawan Jyoti is the soul of crores of people. Merging Amar Jawan Jyoti with War Memorial Torch means erasing history. BJP has built the National War Memorial, that does not mean they can extinguish the Amar Jawan Jyoti.”. He asked, “Why can’t India have two eternal flames? Amar Jawan Jyoti and National War Memorial.” “Redeveloping the Central Vista was hubris enough but extinguishing the eternal flame at India Gate is nothing short of a crime. I am surprised that the nation is silent as a national icon would be snuffed out in the project to re-write history,” he asserted.

Government sources, however, said that a lot of misinformation was being spread and that the flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti was not being extinguished, it was being merged with the flame at the National War Memorial. “It was odd to see that the flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti paid homage to the martyrs of 1971 and other war heroes but none of their names are present there but now the names of all Indian martyrs from all wars, including 1971 and wars before and after it are housed at the National War Memorial. This would be a true tribute to our fallen heroes,” the sources added.

Lashing out at the Congress, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “The question that needs to be asked of the Opposition is why did you not think of making a permanent memorial in the last six decades when you were in power. This flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti is a temporary one… India Gate was built in the pre-Independence era and it does not have the names of the fallen heroes of 1971 or other wars,” said the minister. “Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi built the National War Memorial and the name of every fallen hero is put there. That is the best tribute to be given to our soldiers. I’m astounded by the duplicity and the hypocrisy of the opposition,” he said.

Commenting on the move, former Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Lieutenant General (Retd) Satish Dua called it the “right decision”. Speaking to a news agency, Lt General Dua said, “India Gate was built to pay tribute to the heroes of World War I. Since we did not have any national war memorial, we continued with India Gate. After the victory of the 1971 war, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was installed in 1972. It was not there before 1972. As we did not have a national memorial it continued to remain so.” “The merger of Amar Jawan Jyoti with the National War Memorial is the right decision to make. There should be no controversy. National War Memorial has a national character,” he added.

Lieutenant General (Retd), Former Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) Indian Army, Vinod Bhatia hailed the Centre’s decision. “Today is a great occasion, the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate is being merged with the National War Memorial. It’s a good decision,” Bhatia said. “Amar Jawan Jyoti honours our soldiers in 1971 for 50 years. We have a National War Memorial which honours nearly 25,000 soldiers, sailors who made the supreme sacrifices in defence of India. The time has come to shift the Amar Jawan Jyoti to merge it with National War Memorial,” he said.

1971 war veteran and former Army Deputy Chief Lieutenant General J.B.S. Yadava (Retd) also supported the Centre’s decision and said “Amar Jawan Jyoti should be merged with National War Memorial. There should be only one War Memorial in the country.” “There should be no politics on the merger of Amar Jawan Jyoti and National War Memorial. It has become a trend to give a political angle to every initiative done by the Centre,” Yadava said.

However, Air Force veteran Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur said that the eternal flame at India Gate is part of Indian psyche. “You, I and our generation grew up saluting our brave jawans there. While National War Memorial is great, the memories of #AmarJawanJyoti are indelible,” he tweeted earlier in the day.

The India Gate memorial was built by the British government in memory of the British Indian Army soldiers who lost their lives between 1914-1921. However, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was included in the memorial structure in the 1970s after India’s victory over Pakistan.

After a long wait and multiple considerations, the National War Memorial was built in the India Gate complex by the Narendra Modi government and was inaugurated in 2019. After the inauguration of the building in War memorial, all military ceremonial events were shifted to it from the India Gate memorial. The National War Memorial has the names of all the Indian defence personnel who have lost their lives in different operations from the 1947-48 war with Pakistan to the Galwan valley clash with Chinese troops. The names of troops who lost lives in the counter-terrorist operations are also included on the walls of the memorial.

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Everything X everywhere: The new BMW X3 launched in India

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The new BMW X3 has been launched in India today. The successful Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV), BMW X3 is now sportier and more modern with its comprehensive refreshed look, premium interior with new equipment features and updated infotainment.

Available in locally produced two petrol variants, the new BMW X3 is now available at BMW dealerships from today onwards. The diesel variant will be launched later. Vikram Pawah, President, BMW Group India said, “The new evolved third generation BMW X3 is here to continue the model’s trailblazing success in the premium mid-size SAV segment. Refreshed design and driving performance make BMW X3 a luxurious and practical car that is agile on and off-road. You will experience the unbeatable thrill and joy of a distinctive combination of powerful drive, sporty dynamics and comfort. With its independence and individuality, the new X3 packs in unlimited action and is meant for everything x everywhere.”

The new BMW X3 is available in two petrol variants at an attractive introductory price (ex-showroom) as follows-

BMW X3 xDrive30i SportX Plus : INR 59,90,000

BMW X3 xDrive30i M Sport : INR 65,90,000

*Price prevailing at the time of invoicing will be applicable. Ex-showroom prices inclusive of GST (incl. compensation cess) as applicable but excludes Road Tax, Tax Collected at Source (TCS), RTO statutory taxes/fees, other local tax cess levies and insurance. Price and options are subject to change without prior notice.

For further information, please contact the local authorised BMW Dealer. The new BMW X3 is available in the following metallic paintworks: Mineral White, Phytonic Blue, Brooklyn Grey, Sophisto Grey, Black Sapphire and Carbon Black. The new BMW X3 features Sensatec Perforated Upholstery as standard with the following combinations – Canberra Beige and Cognac.

The new BMW X3 emphasis on classic X-elements as standard. It has a more modern look with a more powerful presence, plenty of space and driving dynamics. SportX Plus variant ensures a greater focus on sportiness and “X-ness”. The M Sport variant is enriched with high quality X elements.

BMW Service Inclusive and BMW Service Inclusive Plus are optionally available with the BMW X3. These service packages cover Condition Based Service (CBS) and maintenance work with a choice of plans from 3 yrs. / 40,000 kms to 10 yrs. / 2,00,000 kms and start at an attractive pricing of INR 1.53 per km.

The BMW X3 also comes with optional BMW Repair Inclusive that extends warranty benefits from third year of operation to maximum sixth year, after the completion of the standard two-year warranty period. Together, these packages provide complete peace of mind and freedom to enjoy unlimited driving pleasure.

BMW India Financial Services offers an attractive BMW 360@ financial plan with ‘drive away monthly price’ of INR 79,999/-, assured buyback of up to 60% and flexible end of term options. Customized financial solutions can be further designed as per individual requirements.

The new BMW X3.

The design of the new BMW X3 makes a sportier orientation. With the redesigned BMW kidney grille, flatter headlights and the new front apron, the new BMW X3 flaunts a refreshed design appearance. More strikingly shaped and larger BMW kidney grille now comprising of a single-piece frame.

The front feature adaptive LED headlights with Matrix function. A black border gives the full LED rear lights a more precise appearance, while the narrower light graphic now includes a three-dimensionally modelled pincer contour and horizontal turn signals integrated in filigree style.

The new, flush-fitting free-form tailpipe trims are larger and sportier, conveying a more powerful presence. In the M Sport package, front apron features larger air inlets finished in high-gloss black and air curtains. The sportier rear bumper includes a diffuser finished in Dark Shadow. The M Sport trim includes the new 19-inch Y-Spoke 887M alloy wheels. However, 20-inch M alloy wheels are also available as an early bird offer.

The interior boasts an exceptional level of comfort and functionality in an extremely modern ambience. Exclusive functions such as Multi-function Sport Steering Wheel, electrical seat adjustment with memory function, exterior mirror package add to the comfort. Driver and front passenger enjoy the superior sporty flair of a premium SAV. M Sport has an exclusive set interior package like Sport seats, Sensatec perforated upholstery, M leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons, M interior trim adding the performance-oriented ambience. Panoramic glass roof and Welcome Light Carpet are few among the long list of features that create the perfect ambience.

New electroplated trim elements on the air vents add a touch of elegance while emphasising the horizontal lines in the interior. Ambient Lighting with six dimmable designs creates an atmosphere for every mood. Features such as electroplated controls and 3-zone automatic climate control with extended options add to the overall luxurious feel. The boot has a capacity of 550 litres and can be expanded further to 1600 litres by folding down the 40/20/40 split rear seat backrest.

Thanks to the unrivalled BMW Twin Power Turbo technology, the petrol engine melds maximum power with exemplary efficiency and offers spontaneous responsiveness even at low engine speeds. The two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine of the BMW X3 xDrive30i produces an output of 185 kW / 252 hp and a maximum torque of 350 Nm at 1,450 – 4,800 rpm. The car accelerates from 0 -100 km/hr in just 6.6 seconds with a top speed of 235 km/h.

The eight-speed automatic Steptronic sport transmission performs smooth, almost imperceptible gearshifts. At any time, in any gear, the transmission collaborates perfectly with the engine, enabling it to develop its full power and efficiency.

Adaptive Suspension with its individual electronically controlled dampers adapts to both road conditions & individual driving style thereby offering exceptional precision and improves the drive and handling dynamics. For even greater driving pleasure, it is available with steering wheel paddle shifters, cruise control with braking function and Automatic differential brakes (ADB) with electronic differential locks as standard. The BMW Performance Control system increases the stability of the car by targeted braking of the wheels.

BMW xDrive, an intelligent all-wheel-drive system, monitors the driving situation constantly and is quick to respond. Electronically controlled ‘Automatic Differential Brakes/Locks’ (ADB-X), extended ‘Dynamic Traction Control’ (DTC), Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control help to conquer every terrain.

A host of BMW Connected Drive technologies continues to break the innovation barrier in automotive industry – BMW Gesture Control and Wireless Apple CarPlay® / Android Auto. The modern cockpit concept BMW Live Cockpit Professional running on latest BMW Operating System 7.0 includes 3D Navigation, with a high-resolution 12.3” screen instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a control display.

The spread of driver assistance systems is more extensive than ever. Parking Assistant Plus with 360 camera makes parking in tight spots easier by taking over acceleration, braking as well as steering. The car features a 464W Harman Kardon Surround Sound system 16 speaker with individually adjustable equalizing.

BMW Efficient Dynamics include features such as 8-speed Steptronic Automatic Transmission, Auto Start-Stop, Brake-Energy Regeneration, Electronic Power Steering, 50:50 Weight Distribution, Driving Experience Control switch with different driving modes such as COMFORT/ECO PRO/SPORT/SPORT+ and many other innovative technologies.

BMW Safety technologies includes six airbags, Attentiveness Assistance, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) including Cornering Brake Control (CBC), electric parking brake with auto hold, side-impact protection, electronic vehicle immobilizer and crash sensor, ISOFIX child seat mounting and integrated emergency spare wheel under the load floor.

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NO BOOK EVER SAID THAT THE SECRET TO A HAPPY LIFE IS SUCCESS: SAMIR SONI

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Actor Samir Soni recently joined NewsX for an insightful chat as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation with NewsX, the actor shared insights about his book “The diary of an introvert”. Read excerpts:

We started the interview by asking him about the idea behind his book. Samir replied, “This book contains my actual diary entries. This book was more of a process of discovering myself starting from 10 years back. During this time, I learned why I was the way I was. Writing it down was just my way to get my stuff out of my system. Recently when we were hit by the pandemic and people were depressed and anxious, I was approached for a book. I told them that I have something written which is very relevant today and they absolutely loved it.”

“There are various passages in the book where I am going back to childhood telling stories and in between is the actual process of going through self-discovery. I experienced something first hand, wrote it down and allowed others to judge”, he added.

When asked about how he dealt with being an introvert in this line of work, Samir revealed, “The first step was to discover the issue and then I discovered that I was a classic introvert and that there is nothing wrong with being that way. In front of the media, you have to be a certain way. Nobody shows their pain and struggles because the audience does not want that. I didn’t let people beat me up for who I was and my friends have now accepted me for who I am.”

Further sharing about the reactions he received from the audience on this book, the actor said that the most common reaction he got was people saying that is so much like them. “Over the years, my fans have a pretty decent idea of who I am and the most common thing is that they love it. The aspect of relativity is very much there. Everyone is projecting what they aspire to be, and you might not be that person. Therefore, in my book, I am not trying to be aspirational. No book ever said that the secret to a happy life is fame, money, and success. Everyone’s definition of success is different and everyone has a different journey. ”

Lastly, Samir shared whom he was addressing in his diaries that he wrote 10 years back. “ I was going through personal and professional phases in my life where I wasn’t feeling good about myself and unlike other times when you distract yourself, I decided to stay silent. I did not read books or watch TV as much as I possibly could and my only outlet was writing. As I started to write it took me to all kinds of places in life.”

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THE DEBATE: CAN CHROS BECOME CEOS?

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For years, the position of the CEO, which is arguably the most important and coveted position in an organisation, has gone to professionals from business roles such as Sales & Marketing, or operations. Depending on the Industry, Manufacturing and heavy Engineering Industries have looked at professionals from operations, Financial sectors have looked at Finance professionals, FMCG and FMCD industries have looked at Sales and Marketing incumbents, and so on.

There was no precedence of a CHRO taking the helm till December 2021, when not one but two examples came our way. Leena Nair, CHRO Unilever, was appointed as CEO of Chanel and Alka Mittal, HR director ONGC was appointed as Chairman & MD, ONGC.

And when they did, there was quite a furore and debate on the social media. From, are HR professionals really ready to take on the role of a CEO, do they understand customer, consumer, market, business imperatives and what not?

This entire debate begs the question- when will we stop looking at ‘labels’ and start looking at the ‘individual’ and what the individual brings to the table, in terms of skills, competencies, knowledge, experience, wisdom, and the ability to do the job at hand? Is stereotyping by profession yet another stereotype we have to live with? Yet another glass ceiling? Will those in so called ‘support functions’ have to reconcile with the fact that their growth will stop at ‘head of function’ of director of function’?

Let us take a broad overview of why this stereotype came into being and how it is fast changing in the present day.

WHY THE STEREOTYPE?

Human resources is an ‘arterial’ function for any organization. Human resources function manages one of the most critical assets an organisation has- It’s people.

An organisation can have the best product or service, state of the art machinery or technology, but the people who sell those products and services, use those machines and technology need to be attracted, recruited, retained, engaged, rewarded, motivated and made productive through the right culture, structures, policies and processes, which is the essential job of the HR function. This is how HR is operating today. Hand in hand with business, helping businesses evolve with the times, being a Strategic HR business Partner.

However, traditionally, the evolution of the HR function has seen several stages. From being a ‘personnel department’ which was essentially responsible for employee documentation, timekeeping and payroll, to being an HR operations function- essentially taking care of day to day HR operations, to being Business partner, to now being a strategic HR business partner.

Despite this evolution, the traditional understanding of HR seems to have stuck and as essential as the role of an HR function is, it is often treated as a relatively lesser significant role in many organizations. It is visible in the fact that you would find the HR head in many companies at a junior grade than other functions. Many emerging and growing organisations often do not even appoint a full time HR resource until they start seeing glaring problems in culture, discipline, processes.

Some businesses are of the opinion that since HR is not directly engaged in the business expansion, or is not a ‘revenue generation function’ or involved in other relevant operations such as finance or supply chain, a CHRO might not be able to do justice to these functions as a CEO. However, the truth could not be farther than this.

Some reasons why people working in the field of HR can make remarkable leaders are listed as follows-

Strong grip on workforce landscape- The primary role of a figure of authority is to ensure a seamless working environment. This includes ensuring that the employees are happy and satisfied with their work and treatment. It goes without saying that few people can perform this function as well as an experienced HR professional. HRs, having dealt exclusively with people and their behaviour for years, have a knack for understanding and forecasting employees’ reactions to potential decisions. They can deploy their expertise in human behaviour to maximise positive outcomes of business decisions as well as ensure a harmonious work environment which is key to success in any organization.

Presence of mind and quick decision-making- As part of their role, CHROs deal with ambiguity, unpredictability and volatility. Human behaviour is one of the most unpredictable matter that one can deal with. Since a CHRO is mainly responsible for dealing with Human Resources, he/she has ample experience in dealing with unpredictability and ambiguity in the most optimum way possible, being prepared with contingency plans and managing multiple stakeholders. They understand the value of a presence of mind and quick decision-making with respect to the changing environment.

A skill like this is of extreme importance in a person in the position of a CEO. This is because managing business environment also requires quick decision making, contingency planning, being comfortable with ambiguity, stakeholder management and most importantly being able to read and deal with human behaviour.

Holistic view of the organisation- Being a Strategic HR Business Partner, a CHRO partners with every function in the organisation, helps them structure for optimal productivity, helps them build capability within or acquire the right capability, streamline processes and policies, reward, recognise, incentivise people, help with talent assessment, appraisals and promotions. This requires them to understand the nitty grittiest of business, business processes, success imperatives. Unlike other functions, who only have view of their own functions, HR, by virtue of their role need to a have full view of the whole organisation, making CHROs uniquely poised to take on the CEO’s mantle.

Summing Up

The debate of whether or not a CHRO is a good choice for a CEO has now come to the fore and hopefully will be quelled as more and more organisations begin to see merit in the choice. The reason behind the debate primarily comes from the fact that a CHRO is responsible for overseeing the Human Resource function which is labelled as a ‘support function’ and does not directly contribute to the business and its growth. However, this notion stands nullified, and could not be further from the truth.

The Author is Founder and Managing Partner, Marching Sheep

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