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Running a successful business in Covid times

The Group CEO of Datar Security Services Group, Adel Singh, shares his vision on how to run a company while ensuring the well-being of employees.

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Adel Singh
Adel Singh

At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has hit every industry in the country, we spoke to Adel Singh, the Group CEO of Datar Security Services Group, on how to run a business successfully without compromising the well-being of employees. Talking about coronavirus and the impact of the unprecedented lockdown on the manpower industry, he says, “No country, no economy, no businesses were prepared for this pandemic. Coming to the manpower industry, as most of my clients are from the public sector and government sector, we were tense because when an economy goes into crisis, your payments get stuck.”

Singh continues, “So the banks had moratoriums coming in and the clients were also pushing us for cost-cutting but it was a tough decision we had to make. We had to restructure our SOPs. Our management was given two weeks but we had to restructure our SOPs and sales strategies and service lines, think about diversifying because it was the need of the moment. Second, coming back to security and manpower, I just wanted to be consistent. I did not want any layoffs, I focused on the retention of my business. So it has been a challenging part but we have sailed through with prime colours and hopefully, we should continue.”

Singh also had a piece of advice for business leaders on how involved they should be in ensuring a healthy work environment for their employees. Talking about the role of the CEO in the well-being and mental health of the employees, he says, “A leader has to be with his force. I am not talking about management having a round table conference with four top people. I think it is going down to deep levels, standing with your workforce. For example, I have clients who are government hospitals. Initially, for the first month, we just procured all the PPE equipment and sent it to our ground forces because they work for hand in glove with the police departments. After a while I realised that I cannot motivate my manpower sitting at home who are standing 24×7 in hospitals, doing Covid work and are right at the frontline working with the paramedical staff. I took a decision and told by management to increase the morale of our people who are on the ground and we decided to go to the ground. I was personally going for site audits.” Singh informs how in the past month, he has been to Gujarat, J&K and has covered almost 4,000 km. “From a CEO point of view, it is a very critical time and it has been difficult for us because it has changed our work and personal lives. So it was very important that in the starting month, I was in touch with all my management people. I was constantly giving them work, taking updates because I did not want anyone to be free.”

 Talking about how he dealt with the economic challenge of the lockdown, he says, “We had no layoffs and I instructed my management to support our people. From the people at the ground to the management, we had to give them back what they gave us. This was the 2 or 3 months where I had to give them back.”

Singh also spoke about his personal journey and what led him to take over the reins of the DSSG group. “My father was in the armed forces, he was a Colonel in the Army and a Shaurya Chakra awardee. Back in 2004, he left the army and he started this organisation. So he started with the first contract of 100 people, scaling it up to 5,000 people until the point I joined. I was 16 years old when my father started this organisation. Seeing his entrepreneurship, hard work and seeing how he is giving his whole sole heart to the work, I was really inspired and I took him as my role model,” he says.

 Singh also spoke of his journey from a college dropout to a Group CEO. “I joined the Delhi University, I joined VCACS and I was doing my BA programme. Then I realised that this wasn’t my cup of tea and my inheritance was business and finally my family would at some time ask me to join our business. At that point I joined IBM, I was in an MBA programme there. I could not complete my degree due to some reasons, but the knowledge I gained was not theoretical but practical. So I would say that from a CEO’s desk, whatever that you learn is from your mistakes. But you need to have a person who believes in you. In my organisation, the person who believed in me was my father. But it took me time to make him trust me in my decisions. When you start you always make mistakes. I will not say that a person is successful without making mistakes. I have failed an ample amount of times but consistency is the key. If you fail, you have to get up.”

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REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS

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The National Flag is hoisted above the Clock Tower (Ghanta Ghar) on the occasion of the 73rd Republic Day, at Lal Chowk, in Srinagar on Wednesday. ANIIndian Air Force’s Rafale aircraft leading MIG-27, MIG-29 and Sukhoi aircraft in a fly-past above Rajpath during the 73rd Republic Day parade, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANIPresident Ram Nath Kovind presents the Ashoka Chakra (Posthumous) to Babu Ram, Assistant Sub-Inspector of J&K Police. The award was received by his wife Reema Rani and son Manik Sharma, at the 73rd Republic Day Celebrations, at Rajpath, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANIA dance performance going on during the 73rd Republic Day Parade, in front of Vidhan Sabha, in Lucknow on Wednesday. ANIArtists take a selfie after the conclusion of the 73rd Republic Day Parade, in Jammu on Wednesday. ANIThe Arunachal Pradesh tableau, based on the theme “Anglo-Abor (Adi) Wars” on the Rajpath during the 73rd Republic Day Parade, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANIIndian Army’s Akash missiles on display during the 73rd Republic Day Parade, at Rajpath, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANIBorder Security Force (BSF) women Dare Devils perform a stunt during the 73rd Republic Day Parade, at Rajpath, in New Delhi on Wednesday. ANIParamilitary personnel march during 73rd Republic Day celebrations, in Leh, Ladakh on Wednesday. ANICentral Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel celebrate after winning the first prize for march past at the 73rd Republic Day function, in Patna on Wednesday. ANI

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ITA Awards 2021 will be held in March this year: Anu Ranjan

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX as part of NewsX India A-List, Anu Ranjan gave us an insight into her association with ITA.

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As the countdown for ITA Awards 2021 begins, Producer Anu Ranjan joined NewsX as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Anu Ranjan gave us an insight into ITA, her association with ITA and the preparations for this year’s ceremony, especially amid a Covid scare.

Speaking about her association with ITA 2021 and what has the journey been like, Anu Ranjan said, “This is our 21st year. I started it and I have been there since its inception. It is just that because of what has happened the previous year, we have been running a few months late.

Talking about the inception of ITA awards, she shared, “It was an idea told to me by my friends while we were walking on the beach. They were saying that there are no TV awards and that was in 2000. I used to live in America and I moved to India after I got married. The Emmy’s was something that we had always seen so I said ‘Okay, let me try doing it’. It just so happened that TV started at the same time. All the KBCs and K Series etc all started and ITA was launched the same year.

When asked what has changed in the past 2 years considering the Covid-19 outbreak and the protocols that have been put in place, Anu Ranjan responded, “Last to last year, it was fab. There were 10-15 thousand people. We had it in Indore. It was perfect. Last year, we had to have it a studio. What we did was instead of having a 3-hour live show; we kind of extended it over 2 days. We did one act and let them all go. We had 10 awards with just 30 people and then continued.

On recognising actors who have amazed the audiences in the OTT space in ITA Awards 2021 nominations, she said, “This year, we have got OTT at par with TV. So far, TV was 80% chunk and OTT was 20%. Now, what has happened is that it has become 60-40. TV is still a little heavier. There is a lot happening here and the good thing is that all the artists, more or less, the same. Whether you are doing television, films or web, it is the same people and they are very widely recognised and accepted by all. That has made a very big difference. We started OTT 3 years ago and that time we had 14 show entries. This year, it goes into 100+. Every single network, all 8-10 of the platforms, all actively participating in the ITA awards.”

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Amity Mumbai IT students win Hacktoberfest 2021

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Six students of Amity University, Mumbai won Hacktoberfest 2021 challenge. Atherva Patil, MD Asshar, Ameya Gawade, Devarsh Bela, Kaustubh Kadu, Yash Sharma, all students of Amity Institute of Information Technology have participated and won the prizes. The Hacktoberfest 2021 Challenge was organised by Digital Ocean, Appwriter, Intel Devmesh and deep source to promote the open source software. Participating in Hacktoberfest leads to personal growth, professional opportunities, and community building. It begins with meaningful and quality contributions to open-source software.

 On these achievements of students, Prof. A W Santhosh kumar, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Amity University Mumbai, said that, “The success of the IT Students in Hacktoberfest 2021 competition, is right step to enhance the IT Skills of the students. This participation is not only promoting the open source but also encouraging to the students to contribute into the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The young generation students have wisely selected for the Plantation of the trees, which shows their awareness towards the environment.”

Faculty mentor and Head of the Institution, Dr. Manoj Devare said that, “To have used Innovative Teaching and learning pedagogy of Indirect Gamification to involve the students in the learning of the advanced IT Tools of DevOps. This year, six students have shown their skills in the Hacktoberfest 2021. The competition›s mix of UG and PG students has created a healthy environment. It was interesting to see how the students were helping each other succeed in submitting the PRs. Students have learned from their peers and understanding the Distributed Version Controlling System, forking the repositories, and using Git and GitHub tools made them more confident to make them Industry-ready.”

The GitHub and Git Version Controlling System are important tools for the Team of programmers working on the IT Projects. GitHub is the popular tool among the programming community to submit their daily contributions into the Project Repositories. Similarly, the open-source community is involved in pushing and pulling the program code into the public and private repositories. The Automation of the software development processes in the Development and Operations (DevOps) smoothly handover the completed software modules from the Developer to the Operations Team. In Continuation to this, the Participation of the IT Students in the Hactoberfest 2021 makes them Industry ready, and also contributing into the Sustainability. Participants in Hacktoberfest came from all over the world and represent thousands of unique skills sets in programming and Software project management.

The students have won prizes for the T-Shirts, Stickers, and selected tree plantation to reduce carbon footprints contributing sustainable environment.

All six winners are pursuing their BCA, BSC-IT and MCA programs from Amity Institute of Information Technology. Yash Sharma, student of BCA second year and one of the winner of competition said that, “I have completed Hacktoberfest›21; indeed, it was a great month-long journey got to collaborate on new ideas, projects, and tech stacks, around the world. The best part was its learning curve, networking, adding value, and building this open-source community more strongly. I have made successful contributions to frameworks like React Native, Angular, Python, etc. also was part of an organization like Appwrite.”

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‘Suspense thriller’ is a genre that leverages itself to the audio space: Anshuman Jha

In this exclusive interview, actor Anshuman Jha talks about his debut in the audio-based medium with the audiobook ‘Bombay Stranglers Ke Khauffnaak Tapes.’ He extensively describes his experience working on the project with writer Piyush Jha.

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Anshuman Jha

Actor Anshuman Jha’s debut Audible Original, Bombay Strangler Ke Khauffnaak Tapes, written by author Piyush Jha, is gaining acclaim from the fans of the emerging community of audiobook-lovers. We hosted Anshuman for a frank interview as part of our special series, NewsX India A-List. Below are the excerpts from the interview:

We firstly asked the actor about what convinced him to take up his first audio-based project. To this, Anshuman replied, “For an audio debut for me, something had to be unique and exciting enough.” Expressing gratitude for the role, he said, “All credit for it should go to Mr Piyush Jha who’s an exceptional writer. He has written some bestselling books including Mumbaistan which I really like.” According to the actor, Piyush had made up his mind to cast Anshuman as the narrator in the ideation stage itself.

Talking about the audiobook, Anshuman stated, “Bombay Strangler… is essentially a suspense thriller. It’s a genre I personally love. It’s a genre that also leverages itself to the audio space.” He described his experience with the audio-based medium and said, “I have heard it and I was really amazed because it sucks you into the universe, and to think that you don’t have any visuals and still be so mesmerized and so affected by what you’re listening.”

“It can be done simultaneously. So you could be driving and listening; you could be cooking and listening… It’s not something that needs all your focused attention,” said Anshuman while talking about why the new medium is a disruptive force in the entertainment industry.

We then asked Jha about the extra efforts he had to put in to convey expressions using just his voice.”A bit of both because by nature, the way I am, I can’t do anything just like that. So I asked Piyush sir what’s the space,” said the actor. He added, “The beauty about Bombay Strangler… is that it happens over a space of ‘X’ number of days.” Explaining that the script required a lot of tension in the storytelling, Anshuman said, “There had to be a lot of energy.”

Speaking about challenges he had to overcome for his debut role in an audiobook, Anshuman revealed, “For me, the preparation was how to break my pre-conceived notion of being subtle with voice because I had to be subtle in a different way.” Appreciating the support he received from the production team, the actor stated, “I’m very, very grateful that I got to be a part of it.”

For our last question, we asked Anshuman about his plans for 2022, to which he revealed his biggest plan of the year, “I think I’m gonna get married this year, firstly. That’s gonna happen because it’s been long pending and we’ve been waiting for COVID to go.” He further expressed hope of the world getting rid of the pandemic. “Before a flame extinguishes, it gives its last sparks. So I hope it’s the last bit that it’s doing and now it leaves us,” said the actor hopefully.



Watch the full interview here:

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I did not know the magnitude of this entire world: Shefali Shah

In this exclusive interview, Shefali Shah tells us about her experience working on her latest project, ‘Human’. She also speaks about her professional relationship with her husband and the series’ producer, Vipul Shah.

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Shefali Shah

Shefali Shah’s latest project, Human, is based on the underbelly of the global pharmaceutical industry. The show has received praises from the audience and critics alike. We hosted Shefali for a frank interview as part of our special series, NewsX India A-List. Below are the excerpts from the interview:

Our first question to Shefali was about the part that compelled her to take up Human. Shefali said about the script, “When I read it, I was shocked.” She continued, “I have read about trials and I have heard about it, but it is just the surface, you know. There is so much that goes on behind getting a drug from manufacturing it to testing it to getting it into the market.” The actor went on to say about the project, “The script and the role [were] unlike anything I’ve ever done before.”

Speaking about the reality of drug testing in the pharmaceutical industry, Shefali stated, “Yes, we do not know the backstory and we’ll probably never know the entire backstory of it.” She further said, “When you take a cosmetic product, it says, ‘not tested on animals,’ but when you take a strip of medicine, there’s no such disclaimer put on it.” Narrating her amazement on coming across the script involving human drug trials, the actor recounted, “Until I heard the whole theme from Mozez and Vipul, I did not know the magnitude of this entire world…and everything that goes into it.” Commenting on the theme of the series and its relevance in a world marred by a pandemic, Shefali told us, “It’s a very pertinent topic, irrespective of the situation we are in.”

Talking about her love for thriller movies, Shefali said, “I love watching thrillers. As far as doing is concerned, I’m a very greedy actor, and rightfully so, and I want to do every genre possible.”

Describing her professional relationship with her husband and Human producer, Vipul Shah, Shefali said, “Whether it’s from Vipul or somebody else, when a project comes to me, he’s the first one I discuss it [with].” The actor added, “The same goes with Vipul. When he’s planning something, I’m the one he’ll talk to, or I’m probably one of the first ones to read his script.” Stressing upon the professionalism the couple maintains in the industry, Shefali revealed, “I will never tell him to make something for me, one. Two, he will never offer me something if it’s not worth my value.”

“OTT has opened horizons for all creative people. And the best part of it is, it is not determined by the box office,” said Shefali while putting forward her opinion on OTT platforms. She continued the thought, “It is not determined by the prototypes that were required in commercial films: a hero, a heroine, a star system, a dance number, a fight sequence etc.” Shefali described the entertainment industry after the emergence of OTT platforms as “rich and thriving.” She also said, “As an actor, it’s(OTT) opened a completely different world for me.”

Watch the full interview here:

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I love the fact that people still call me ‘Anandi’: Avika Gor

In the exclusive conversation with NewsX, Avika shared her experiences of working in the South film industry, her latest movie releases and much more.

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Recognized for her stellar performance in the show ‘Balika Vadhu’, actor Avika Gor recently joined us for a fun chat. In the exclusive conversation with NewsX, Avika shared her experience of working in the South film industry, her latest movie releases, and much more.

Speaking about her journey from working as ‘Anandi’ in Balika Vadhu to venturing into the South film industry, Avika Gor said, “The journey has been lovely. The kind of support I have received from my audience has been overwhelming at times because they make me feel like a part of their family. I don’t anybody has ever got this amount of love. I feel blessed.”

The actor further revealed how it has been like to break out of the character of ‘Anandi’ and create her own identity. She said, “I honestly don’t want to get out of that character. I love the fact that people still call me ‘Anandi’. It’s just a part of me and I don’t want to get rid of it. Also, the kind of movies and characters I am approached for, all have a sense of innocence I had when I played ‘Anandi’. It’s been 14 to15 years since I’ve been working and people aren’t bored of me.”

Talking about the reactions she received on her recent movie ‘NET’ available on Zee5, Avika exclaimed, ‘Of course, I loved the response. NET has been of those experimental movies that I was a part of and I never thought people would like me in a thriller. I always thought Rom-Com is my zone and people enjoy me in that, but this movie was an experiment and I am glad I showed the courage to do something very different. Another movie named ‘#BRO’ that I worked for was very different again. Characters that I play are all challenging and it just feels amazing to do a different kind of work and not just one character for 7 to 8 years. This is also the reason why I took a step away from the TV and took up all these challenges.”

When asked if the audience could witness her comeback on TV, the actor revealed that she is currently tied up with a lot of movie work and so her comeback is difficult. Avika then spoke about the difference between the Indian television space and the South film industry. “There is a lot of difference in the two industries, but the biggest similarity that I have found is that people love their work. They work with a lot of passion and that’s there in any industry. I have been blessed to be a part of such amazing teams everywhere that it’s always fun to be around them.”

Lastly, the NET actor suggested the viewers to get themselves vaccinated when they are allowed to.

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