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Why UN gives its prestigious ‘Champion of Earth Prize’ to India’s CIAL

Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) just selected for United Nations highest Environmental honour. All you need to know about this remarkable achievement

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Erik Solheim, United Nation’s global chief of environment, visiting CIAL, Kerala in May 2018. Image/CIAL Facebook page

Kerala-based CIAL (Cochin International Airport Limited), one of the classic examples of profitable public-private partnership projects in India, has just won the coveted Champion of Earth Prize, the highest environmental honour instituted by United Nations.

CIAL has been selected for the honour for its innovative approach in operating an airport fully powered with solar energy.

CIAL is the world’s first fully solar-powered airport

“CIAL is honoured for its successful execution of one of the revolutionary ideas of using solar energy which made Cochin Airport a first in the world fully powered by it,” CIAL said in a press statement Thursday.

According to Erik Solheim, United Nation’s global chief of environment and executive director, United Nations Environment Programme, the honour reflects CIAL’s leadership in the use of sustainable energy. CIAL is the world’s first fully solar-powered airport, setting an inspiring yet viable model for similar ventures across the globe.

The UN recognition would take CIAL’s green ideas to a global audience. We showed the world that big infrastructure projects like Airport can be put into operation fully using renewable energy sources- V J Kurian, managing director, CIAL, who also pioneered the idea, said in a press statement.

A UN team led by Erik Solheim visited CIAL in May to get an idea about its solar initiatives.  And now the United Nations is endorsing Kerala’s unique business venture as the world’s first airport fully powered by solar energy.

By winning the award, CIAL has got entry to an elite list of awardees which includes Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, world’s largest bike sharing app Mobike, to name a few.

CIAL commissioned its 12 MWp solar power plant on 18 August 2015, and scaled it up to 30 MWp by April 2018.

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India is becoming a smartphone manufacturing hub under Modi’s rule

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign has turned the country into a manufacturing hub for the fast-growing smartphone market



Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project Make in India has invoked diverse reactions from different quarters since it launched in September 2014. Some call it a big hit, and indeed, for the opposition it’s just a publicity stunt. But the project seems to be a keystone for the smartphone manufacturing sector in India.

There was a time, even Indian mobile manufacturers used to export ready-made devices from China to sell in the regional market. It was the business model even for the much-hyped desi brands like Micromax.

What India needs to do is manufacturing mobile handsets and high-value smartphone components for the world

However, the time has changed. Modi’s smart move to impose duties on imports made the smartphone companies to change their minds. Now, from local player Lava to Chinese giant Oppo, the viable business model is manufacturing mobile phones in India itself. The Chinese companies pull in record sales every quarter, and they don’t want to miss the great potential of the Indian market.

Over 380 million of the India’s phone subscribers still do not have a smartphone. That’s where the phased manufacturing plan initiated by Narendra Modi makes sense. To tap this potential, brands like Oppo and Xiaomi are planning big in India in terms of manufacturing and job creation.

Narendra Modi addressing at the inauguration of the Samsung manufacturing plant in Noida, Uttar Pradesh on July 09, 2018/Image:PIB

More than 120 new manufacturing units have created about 450,000 jobs in the mobile phone industry over the past four years, according to the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association. The recently published ICEA-McKinsey Report 2018, states that India can manufacture 450 million mobile devices by 2025, employing 18 lakh people in the industry.

The size of the mobile manufacturing sector will hit 80 billion dollar by 2025, the same report noted.  It needs to be noted that in July 2018, South Korean giant Samsung opened the world’s largest mobile manufacturing plant in Noida, extending a great fillip to Modi’s Make in India campaign.

More than 120 new manufacturing units have created about 450,000 jobs in the mobile phone industry over the past four years, according to the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association

“This occasion is extremely important in the direction of making India a global hub of manufacturing. The investment of Rs. 5,000 crore will not only strengthen the business relations of Samsung in India but will also be very important for the relations between India and Korea. Samsung’s global R&D hub is based in India and now this manufacturing facility will further enhance our pride,” Modi said during the inauguration of Samsung’s plant on July 9, 2018.

Big things in the offing

Experts are of the opinion that if India can change the focus of mobile manufacturing in an export-oriented mind-set, it would transform the sector in a revolutionary manner. What India needs to do is manufacturing mobile handsets and high-value smartphone components for the world. Major brands should treat the country as their export hub. As per the report by ICEA-McKinsey, it can create around 47 lakh jobs, paving the way for a big leap in the sector to reach a size of $230 billion.

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Pro-nationalist thinker S Gurumurthy appointed as part-time RBI director

A staunch advocate of Swadeshi economics, Gurumurthy is known for his nationalistic views on various issues including demonetization

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S Gurumurthy

Narendra Modi-government has appointed Swaminathan Gurumurthy and Satish Marathe as part-time directors on the board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), indeed, a move that would please the Swadeshi group in Sangh Parivar.

Gurumurthy, a chartered accountant by profession, has been a staunch advocate of Swadeshi economics, known for supporting Narendra Modi’s crucial reforms including demonetization.

For him, the Swadeshi philosophy is contrary to the idea of protectionism

Gurumurthy is also the co-convenor of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, an organisation affiliated to the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), which has been promoting national self-reliance since its inception in 1991.

“Story of my appointment as director RBI. This is the first directorship ever. Never accepted any private or PSU directorship. Not even audit of PSUs or Pvt cos.  Wanted to be free to speak. But when pressure built up I am needed to do something in public interest I had to accept,” Gurumurthy tweeted.

One of the most influential figures in the Sangh, Gurumurthy has succeeded in projecting ‘Swadeshi’ ideology as an ideal platform for India to take her growth to next level.

For him, the Swadeshi philosophy is contrary to the idea of protectionism.

He belongs to the league of Hindutva idelogues who think that India has to bank on development models that will work for India instead of importing the economic ideas from the West.

Sathish Marathe, founder of Sahakar Bharati, has also got entry into the RBI board along with Gurumurthy.

Marathe has been associated with the cooperative movement in the country as the head of Sahakar Bharati, an organisation functioning under the aegis of the RSS.


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From Madras to the top of food & beverage giant PepsiCo

As Indra Nooyi is stepping down as CEO of PepsiCo, the corporate world is losing one of its few high-profile female chief executives

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Image: Illustration: The Indic Post

Indra Nooyi, one of the most high-profile female chief executives in the US, is stepping down from her role as the head of food-and-beverage company PepsiCo.

Nooyi was the first foreign-born as well as the first woman chief executive of PepsiCo.

Nooyi, 62, will step down from the company on October 3rd, and stay on as chairman until 2019. India-born Nooyi is leaving her job at a time when the drinks maker is struggling to explore new growth potential from the old business model. But leave that for a while. The story of Indra Nooyi is an exceptional one for aspiring women business professionals across the world.

Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and became the chief financial officer of the firm in 2001

“Today is a day of mixed emotions for me. @PepsiCo has been my life for 24 years & part of my heart will always remain here. I’m proud of what we’ve done & excited for the future. I believe PepsiCo’s best days are yet to come,” Nooyi tweeted.

Born to a Tamil family in Chennai of India’s southern state Tamil Nadu, Nooyi has achieved great heights with her strong willpower and sheer enthusiasm to move on irrespective of adversities.

She has a bachelor’s degree from Madras Christian College and got management education training from IIM Calcutta. Also a master’s degree holder from the Yale School of Management, Nooyi served some of the big corporations at the beginning of her career, including the Boston Consulting Group, Motorola, and Asea Brown Boveri.

Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and became the chief financial officer of the firm in 2001. Recognizing her sharp management skills, she was named the president and chief executive of PepsiCo in 2006.

The strategist

Nooyi has a phenomenal stint at PepsiCo as the top executive of the firm. She has shaped the global agenda of the drinks giant, spearheading the diversification plans which resulted in the shifting of product portfolio into healthier and more nutritious brands.

She also made the crucial decision of Pepsico’s Tropicana acquisition, and led the merger with Quaker Oats. Nooyi has been widely projected as an inspiring role model for women entrepreneurs and young female business professionals.

“Growing up in India, I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to lead an extraordinary company like PepsiCo,”Nooyi’s emotional tweet tells the crux of the story. If you have the will and determination, you can achieve.

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