Monthly Archives: April 2016

How Mamta Rawat rescued hundreds of people from the floods that destroyed Uttarakhand

24-year-old Mamta Rawat helped rescue hundreds of people from the 2013 floods which devastated Uttarakhand. More than 5,000 people are presumed to have died in the catastrophe which struck the state. The difficulty did not stop Mamta’s rescue work despite losing her own home in the disaster.


Mamta was at home in her village Bankholi, when she got a call on her mobile phone, saying that a group of school students trekking in the Himalayas were stranded amid torrential rains. A professional mountain guide, Mamta who had grown up around the mountains, was familiar with the terrain. Mamta was able to reach the stranded group quickly and escort them back to safety. However, by the time she returned, floods had begun to engulf the mountainous area and distress calls were coming in thick and fast.

Mamta told BBC that she was flooded with requests to rescue people trapped on various mountains, some 2,500 metres (7,500 feet) above sea level. So that’s exactly what she did, continued to help people in need, despite the fact that her own home had been destroyed, and many of the bridges and roads in the mountains had been washed away.

Mamta told BBC that she was flooded with requests to rescue people trapped on various mountains, some 2,500 metres (7,500 feet) above sea level. So that’s exactly what she did, continued to help people in need, despite the fact that her own home had been destroyed, and many of the bridges and roads in the mountains had been washed away.

source: 27-April-2016

Apple eyes India for future growth

Bengaluru: For tech giant Apple, India is the last bastion of growth, even as its revenues fell for the first time in 13 years in the quarter ended March.

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Globally, its flagship iPhone’s sales fell by 16 per cent during the quarter; but in India, its sales grew by 56 per cent.
On Wednesday, Apple reported a 13 per cent drop in revenues at $50.6 billion, while profits slid by 22 per cent to $10.5 billion for the March quarter.

Growth of iPhone sales in the US and China (the company’s two largest markets) has turned negative, after hitting saturation point. About $50 billion of Apple’s stock value was also wiped away.

Tim Cook, chief executive officer, Apple, brushed away worries that demand for smartphones globally had hit a peak by saying that penetration still stood at only 42 per cent.

He said there was still room for growth, especially in emerging markets. “For example, in India, our iPhone sales were up 56 per cent from a year ago,” he told an investor call.
While India is indeed the only bright spot for Apple, the country contributes to just one per cent of overall iPhone sales. So it is unlikely that it will offset the global decline in the short term, according to telecom analyst Counterpoint Technology Market Research.

However, with a base of just 220 million smartphones in the country, which is less than 30 per cent of the population, the long-term potential of India is huge.

Nine out of 10 smartphones sold in India run on Android, the mobile operating system of Google, with average price points of less than Rs 10,000. Apple has two per cent market share in unit values and 10 per cent in value terms. However, Apple attributes the low sales numbers of the iPhone to the slow mobile internet speeds in India as most consumers are on 2G or 3G networks and expects the faster 4G network would help consumers realise the utility of iPhone.

“Because the smartphones that are working there (India) are low end, primarily because of the network and the economics, the market potential has not been as great. But I view India as where China was maybe seven to 10 years ago. From that point of view, I think there’s a really great opportunity there,” said Cook.

The local market began showing consistent high double digit growth for iPhone sales, with the Cupertino company registering a 76-per-cent increase during the October to December quarter. This demand from emerging markets (especially India) drove Apple to release its most affordable smartphone yet, the four-inch iPhone SE that’s now being aimed at people switching over from Android to the iPhone. Sales of the iPhone SE were not reflected in the Jan-Mar quarterly report since the device launched only on March 31.

India is already adding smartphones at the rate of 100 million devices every year, but this growth is expected to compound with the coming of better network connectivity and faster data speeds, at lower cost. Reliance Jio has invested close to $23 billion to setup its 4G infrastructure and could potentially boost the already fast growing smartphone market in the country. The iPhone too will benefit from this.

“Compared to China, India will be slower in iPhone adoption as disposable income of Indian middle class is still less as compared to that of China a few years ago. This can be supported by the recent uptake of iPhone 5S (first launched two and a half years ago) which contributed to almost half of total sell-in during Q1 2016 in India post its steep price cut in December,” said Neil Shah, director at Counterpoint Research.

While for Apple the growth of its business in India is indeed encouraging, the impact isn’t going to be seen anytime soon. The company need to continue building its distribution channel as there’s already a sizeable chunk of the population that can afford the iPhone’s hefty price tag. Apple is seen to be moving along this path by increasing the number of distributors from one to five and is even trying to setup a wholly-owned wholesale subsidiary in the country.

“Apple is seen as an aspirational brand even in tier two and three cities,”  says Vishal Tripathi, Director at technology researcher Gartner Inc. “I would still see them do lot more in India, primarily on smartphone. Lot of innovative work around cashback, zero interest and EMI. The phone is still Rs 60,000. These innovative ideas would help increase sales.”

Source: Business Standard April 28, 2016 Last Updated at 00:58 IST

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Meet Shanti Devi, the only woman truck mechanic in India

Shanti Devi is believed to be the only woman truck mechanic in India. “I find it quite strange to see people looking at me with surprise when I am replacing truck tyres. But to me, there’s no such thing as a job for men or a job for women exclusively. I believe in following my heart. I do not adhere to parameters set by others,” Shanti told Gulf News.


“My husband, Ram Bahadur and I are a team and I can say with confidence that I juggle my job and my household duties with ease. I am as comfortable cooking for the family and working on the sewing machine as I am fixing a punctured tyre at our workshop – AW-7, Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar (SGTN) in Delhi.”

SGTN is spread over an area of more than 75 acres and is reportedly the largest trucking stopover point in Asia. Over 70,000 trucks are parked here at any given time and around 20,000 trucks pass by every day. Here, the husband-wife duo started their business with a tea shop.


Shanti said, “Considering the tea shop’s success and its ideal location, opening a workshop made perfect sense. In the beginning, men would stare at me, probably wondering what I was doing in this stereotypically masculine profession, but things have changed. Nowadays, more women are starting to join their husbands by helping them run the family business.”

Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and Cisco are betting big on India’s ‘smart cities’ project

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NEW DELHI: Global majors such as Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and Cisco are betting big on India’s ‘smart cities’ project, which is estimated to be an up to $50 billion (Rs 340,000 crore) business opportunity over five years.


For companies like Cisco, which are largely looking at IT solutions, the opportunity is pegged at around $25 million per city, according to industry estimates.

Players like Ericsson and Huawei have started working on some of the projects in the country, while Nokia could soon bid for some projects. Cisco, on the other hand, is involved in more than 25 cities, including the government’s 20 official smart cities shortlist.

The government has defined a smart city in the Indian context as one that provides a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment, and supports the application of smart solutions.

It has shortlisted 20 cities, including Pune, Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Ahmedbad, New Delhi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Ludhiana and Bhopal, which will be developed as smart cities. The smart city market opportunity in India will be $45-50 billion over the next five years, according to a report by Sustainability Outlook.

The electronic equipment business, just for the first phase, will be a $220-250 million opportunity for these vendors. For companies like Cisco, which are largely looking at IT solutions, the opportunity is pegged at around $25 million per city, according to industry estimates. “The Indian government’s vision of a Smart Digital India is creating enormous opportunities,” said Orvar Hurtig, global head of industry and society at Ericsson. The company has identified three key industry segments public safety, utilities and transport—as its focus areas in the country.

The Swedish company has just won its first deal in India in the utilities space—to install 15,000 smart meters in Assam over the next three years for a public sector power company.

Ericsson, which earlier created a separate vertical called ‘industry & society’ to tap ‘Smart City’ and ‘Digital India’ opportunities, expects up to 20% of its India sales to come from this segment by 2020. Sales from this segment are negligible now.

Sandeep Girotra, Nokia’s head of India market, said the company is in talks with various state governments and the Centre and may soon bid for some projects. “We believe that there is no single approach that fits all cities and each city can have multiple drivers, therefore, it is absolutely vital to engage with state government, city administration and planners to understand their objectives and KPIs,” Girotra added.

Cisco, which has worked on more than 120 smart cities globally, is working in 12-13 cities out of the list of 20. Besides, the company has been working in another 14-15 cities, according to Purushottam Kaushik, managing director-sales at Cisco India & Saarc.

“We are not just providing its solutions to the authorities, but also providing consultancy services,” Kaushik said.
source: The Economic Times 22-Apr-2016



After Forbes, Flipkart’s Bansals now on the TIME 100 list

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Flipkart marches towards being a $100 billion company


Sachin-Bansal-Binny-Bansal-Flipkart (1)

The devaluation or even the recent rounds of senior executive exits don’t seem to have lessened the impact that Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal have created. The founders of Flipkart, which is ranked as India’s biggest e-commerce marketplace, have found a spot in the TIME 100 list – a list of 100 most influential people in the world.

Included under the ‘Titan’ section, the list has had some truly big names like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Wang Jianlin, Mohammed Bin Nayef, Tim Cook, Yuri Milner, Pope Francis, Pricilla Chan and Sundar Pichai to name a few.

A few months back, in September, the Bansals had made their debut on the country’s top 100 rich list as per Forbes magazine. It is to be noted that the Bansals are country’s first e-commerce billionaires as well. The Bansals made their debut at 86th position with a net worth of $1.3 billion each.

For close to 13 years now, the TIME list compiles the list of the world’s most influential men and women. Nancy Gibbs, Editor of TIME, states that while power is certain, influence is subtle. She added that as much as the exercise works towards chronicling the achievements made in the past year, the list also focusses on figures whose influence will most likely grow.

Speaking of being included in the list, Sachin and Binny Bansal say that this is a recognition of the Indian internet ecosystem and its role in using technology to solve Indian problems. They added that this acknowledgement comes as a validation of the work they are doing and it also reinforces the faith people have in Flipkart.

Some of the technology leaders who have been featured in the list include Sergey Brin, Steve Ballmer, Travis Kalanick and Larry Page.

An excerpt of the list says:

“Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal (no relation) started Flipkart in 2007 as an online bookstore. For seed money, they pooled their savings: around $10,000. Their data center was their apartment in Bangalore. So it could have been the height of arrogance when the two Bansals, who had worked together at Amazon, told investors Flipkart could be worth $100 million in a decade.”