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India records nearly 1.80 lakh fresh Covid-19 cases; active cases cross 700,000-mark

This is the fourth consecutive day when India’s daily tally has stayed above the 1 lakh mark.

In yet another huge spike, India reported 1,79,723 cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Monday, as the Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly in the country, according to the data published by the Union ministry of health and family welfare (Mohfw). The number of active cases breached the 700,000-mark, the updated data also showed.

India is witnessing the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic as the virus is raging across states, leading to a spike in daily infections. This is the fourth day when India’s daily tally has stayed above the 1 lakh mark.

The number of Omicron also surged and now stands at 4,033, with Maharashtra recording the maximum number of infections (1,126). It is followed by Rajasthan (529), Delhi (513), Karnataka (441) and Kerala (333), according to health ministry.

The ministry also reported 146 new deaths, taking the total death toll to 483,936. After Monday’s fresh infections, the cumulative cases stand at 3,57,07,727.

The daily positivity rate soared to 13.29 per cent, while the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 7.92 per cent, according to the ministry.

The national Covid-19 recovery rate decreased to 96.98 per cent, the ministry data also showed. As many as 46,569 people have recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative number to 3,45,00,172.

As cases rise exponentially, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya will chair a meeting on Monday to review the pandemic situation in five states and one Union territory (UT), news agency PTI reported.

The meeting will be attended by the health ministers of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting to review the Covid-19 situation across the country where he directed the officials to speed up vaccinations.

Meanwhile, India began administering the ‘precaution dose’ of the Covid vaccine to frontline workers and senior citizens with comorbidities. Eligible beneficiaries can walk-in to their nearby vaccination centre and get the third dose, according to the Centre’s guidelines.

The guidelines also mandate the same vaccine to be administered to the beneficiary and no mix-match is allowed as of now. This means those who were administered with Covaxin as their first and second dose will receive the same as their ‘precautionary dose’, and people who received Covishield will be given the same vaccine again.

Omicron Lockdown: New restrictions for 10 days in Gurugram, 4 Haryana districts

All sports complexes, swimming pools will remain closed. Offices for these 10 days will function with 50% staff attendance while malls and markets are allowed to open till 5pm. Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate with 50% seating capacity, the government order said.

The Haryana government on Saturday announced several restrictions in five districts including Gurugram, Faridabad, Ambala, Panchkula and Sonipat which will come into effect from tomorrow 5am. The restrictions will be in place till 5am, January 12. All cinema halls, theatres, multiplexes in these five districts will remain closed for these 10 days. Sports complexes, swimming pools will also remain closed. Offices in these five districts will function with 50% sraff attendance while malls and markets are allowed to open till 5pm. Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate with 50% seating capacity, the government order said.

Only fully vaccinated persons are allowed to enter public places like sabzi mandi, grain markets, public transport, parks, religious places, bars, restaurants, hotels, departmental stores, ration shops, liquor and wine shops.

In other districts of the state, cinema halls, restaurants, bars, gyms, spas and clubhouses are allowed to open with 50% seating capacity with adherence to requisite social distancing. Schools, colleges, polytechnics, ITIs will remain closed. No mask, no service will strictly be observed in the state.

The restrictions come a day after Haryana reported the biggest single-day jump of 26 cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus pushing the tally to 63. Officials said that majority of the Omicron cases were being reported from districts under the NCR and hence the restrictions are applicable to only these five districts.

Omicron has cast a shadow of apprehension as the infection is spreading faster than the previous variants. Delhi has imposed a mini lockdown shutting schools and limiting the number of people in public transport, bars and restaurants. 

Indian Husband-And-Wife Worth $586 Million After Map Startup’s IPO

More than two decades ago, when Rakesh and Rashmi Verma decided to create digital maps of India, the couple were treading new terrain, quite literally.

More than two decades ago, when Rakesh and Rashmi Verma decided to create digital maps of India, the couple were treading new terrain, quite literally. Long before Google revolutionized web cartography, the Vermas traversed India’s mega-cities by foot, painstakingly charting streets and landmarks.

But the mammoth task of building their company, MapmyIndia, paid off Tuesday. The Vermas’ startup met with resounding success during its trading debut after its initial public offering. The stock rose around 35 per cent to 1,393.65 Indian rupees ($18.4), pushing the couple’s net worth to about $586 million. It was a fittingly bold start for a company that sells digital maps and geographic data covering India’s challenging topography.

A strong market debut punctuates several recent highs for MapmyIndia, formally known as C.E. Info Systems Ltd. Earlier this month, the company reported it had received bids for more than 150 times the number of shares on offer in its initial public offering. Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are among those that have purchased the company’s software.

The husband-and-wife team, who own nearly 54 per cent of the company post-IPO, are the latest founders to strike gold during this year’s stock market boom. India’s startups, in particular, are having a moment, buoyed by strong pandemic-driven demand for e-commerce and online services. Home-grown businesses such as MapmyIndia have led the surge in new fundraisings, setting IPO records and pricking the ears of investors looking for the next big market in Asia.

“Nobody understood mapping data when we started,” Rakesh said in a telephone interview before the listing. “Now, 25 years on, mapping data pervades businesses, industries, government-owned companies and ministries,” he said. 

The startup reported a 31 per cent profit margin for the last fiscal year, with revenue of 1.92 billion rupees ($25 million) and net profit of 594.3 million rupees. Its profit margin reached 46% for the first two quarters of the current year, ending in September.

Rakesh, 71, and Rashmi, 65, started their company in the mid-1990s, when businesses had little interest in buying mapping data. At that time, public internet access had not been introduced in India. Startups had yet to define the culture of today’s tech havens, including Bengaluru and Gurgaon.

As the field of entrepreneurs deepened in India, the Vermas stood out for their staying power. Rashmi drives the technology wing of the business, serving as its chief technology officer. Rakesh was instrumental in expansions into sectors ranging from automotive to government-owned companies.

Their skill-set was sharpened abroad. In the late 1970s, after graduating from elite engineering schools in India, the Vermas headed to the U.S., where they completed graduate degrees and launched successful corporate careers. Rakesh climbed the ranks at General Motors Co. Rashmi built computer databases at International Business Machines Corp. When the couple returned to India, they identified a niche in digital mapping, which had started to catch on in the developed world.

At that time, “databases were tabular, data was thought of in megabytes and there was no internet,” Rashmi said. C.E. Info Systems was incorporated in February 1995. 

The couple said the first few years of mapping India were more or less a nightmare. Rakesh often joined surveyors on the streets of Mumbai, where the team manually recorded addresses. As technology improved, triangulating data helped capture further flung corners of the country.

The gamble paid off. Barely a year after starting the business, Coca-Cola Co. hired the Vermas to chart their distributorships, which for many years had been demarcated by vague markers such as “along a river” or “next to a highway.” Motorola, Ericsson AB and Qualcomm Inc. followed suit, contracting the company to build map terrains and locate their mobile towers. In 2004, Rakesh and Rashmi unveiled India’s first interactive maps platform. 

“Our data modeling is our key IP and that’s what gives us a head start in this field,” Rakesh said. “We’ve mapped 99.99% of India, capturing every city, town, village and habitation.”

Globally, Google Maps dominates the consumer segment of the market, with more than one billion users, far more than its competitors. The app is bolstered by high brand recall and the advantage of having its software pre-installed on Android devices.

MapmyIndia, by contrast, has excelled by selling licenses to the biggest automakers, including BMW AG and Daimler AG’s Mercedes Benz, and to marquee global brands such as McDonald’s Corp. Many of the Vermas’ clients are also local startups, including Paytm, the digital payments platform, and Ola, a popular ride-sharing company. Qualcomm, Zenrin Co. and Flipkart, now owned by Walmart Inc., are among the startup’s investors. 

Taking the business public was a logical next step after the Indian government changed rules this year over gathering mapping and geographic data. The new measures compel foreign companies to buy data directly from Indian-owned ones, providing another buffer for MapmyIndia to capture the local market and turn would-be competitors like Apple Maps — which uses the startup’s software — into customers. Across India, the company says it has a 95 per cent market share of GPS navigation.

With the cash infusion, the Vermas plan to expand after integrating maps for more than 200 countries into their software platform. But the couple said Tuesday’s success would have no bearing on their lifestyle. They have no plans to travel or move from their home in a leafy Delhi suburb. Their half-hour commute to company headquarters on the city’s outskirts will continue.

“My work and my family, including the four grandkids, are my enduring passion,” Rashmi said. “Nothing changes.”

One thing is clear: Demand for geographic data is soaring. The Indian government has projected a $14 billion market by the end of the decade, reflecting one of the fastest growth rates in the world. Rakesh can’t help but marvel at how things have come together.

“We are profitable, our future revenues are predictable and our valuation is easy to arrive at,” he said.

Reference: NDTV

India’s Harnaaz Sandhu Brings Home Miss Universe Crown After 21 Years

Before Harnaaz Sandhu, only two Indians have won the title of Miss Universe – actors Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.

India’s Harnaaz Sandhu is the new Miss Universe, 21 years after Lara Dutta won the title in 2000.

Ms Sandhu represented India today at the 70th Miss Universe 2021, held in Eilat, Israel.

The 21-year-old from Punjab claimed the crown edging out Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira and South Africa’s Lalela Mswane.

Ms Sandhu was presented the crown by Andrea Meza, former Miss Universe 2020 from Mexico.

Before the Chandigarh-based model, only two Indians have won the title of Miss Universe – actors Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.

On being asked what advice she would give to young women on how to deal with the pressures they face, a composed Ms Sandhu said, “The biggest pressure the youth of today is facing is to believe in themselves, to know that you are unique and that’s what makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk about more important things that’s happening worldwide.”

On being asked what advice she would give to young women on how to deal with the pressures they face, a composed Ms Sandhu said, “The biggest pressure the youth of today is facing is to believe in themselves, to know that you are unique and that’s what makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk about more important things that’s happening worldwide.”

Ms Sandhu, who started her journey in pageantry at the age of 17, has previously been crowned Miss Diva 2021, Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and was even placed in the Top 12 at Femina Miss India 2019.

India's Harnaaz Sandhu Brings Home Miss Universe Crown After 21 Years

Harnaaz Sandhu is the new Miss Universe, 21 years after Lara Dutta won the title in 2000.2New Delhi: 

India’s Harnaaz Sandhu is the new Miss Universe, 21 years after Lara Dutta won the title in 2000.

Ms Sandhu represented India today at the 70th Miss Universe 2021, held in Eilat, Israel.

The 21-year-old from Punjab claimed the crown edging out Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira and South Africa’s Lalela Mswane.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1470227063789563907&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ndtv.com%2Findia-news%2Fharnaaz-sandhu-miss-universe-2021-indias-harnaaz-sandhu-miss-universe-2021-crown-comes-home-after-21-years-2648220&sessionId=9787c345b4a68693ca8746605d07f10caadf4d0d&siteScreenName=ndtv&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9fd78d5%3A1638479056965&width=550px

The new Miss Universe is…India!!!! #MISSUNIVERSEpic.twitter.com/DTiOKzTHl4— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) December 13, 2021

Ms Sandhu was presented the crown by Andrea Meza, former Miss Universe 2020 from Mexico.

Before the Chandigarh-based model, only two Indians have won the title of Miss Universe – actors Sushmita Sen in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.https://embed.kooapp.com/embedKoo?kooId=58138823-18e5-4144-8eff-a22130f80efa#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%7D

On being asked what advice she would give to young women on how to deal with the pressures they face, a composed Ms Sandhu said, “The biggest pressure the youth of today is facing is to believe in themselves, to know that you are unique and that’s what makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk about more important things that’s happening worldwide.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1470220584869154831&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ndtv.com%2Findia-news%2Fharnaaz-sandhu-miss-universe-2021-indias-harnaaz-sandhu-miss-universe-2021-crown-comes-home-after-21-years-2648220&sessionId=9787c345b4a68693ca8746605d07f10caadf4d0d&siteScreenName=ndtv&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9fd78d5%3A1638479056965&width=550px

FINAL STATEMENT: India. #MISSUNIVERSE

The 70th MISS UNIVERSE Competition is airing LIVE around the world from Eilat, Israel on @foxtvpic.twitter.com/wwyMhsAyvd— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) December 13, 2021

“This is what you need to understand. Come out, speak for yourselves because you are the leader of your life, you are the voice of your own. I believed in myself and that’s why I am standing here today,” Ms Sandhu said with aplomb.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1470237682324361217&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ndtv.com%2Findia-news%2Fharnaaz-sandhu-miss-universe-2021-indias-harnaaz-sandhu-miss-universe-2021-crown-comes-home-after-21-years-2648220&sessionId=9787c345b4a68693ca8746605d07f10caadf4d0d&siteScreenName=ndtv&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9fd78d5%3A1638479056965&width=550px

WHO ARE YOU? #MISSUNIVERSEpic.twitter.com/YUy7x9iTN8— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) December 13, 2021

Ms Sandhu, who started her journey in pageantry at the age of 17, has previously been crowned Miss Diva 2021, Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and was even placed in the Top 12 at Femina Miss India 2019.

She has also worked in Punjabi films like “Yaara Diyan Poo Baran” and “Bai Ji Kuttange”.

General Bipin Rawat To Be Cremated With Full Military Honours Today

Last rites of Brigadier Lakhwinder Singh Lidder, defence assistant to General Rawat, were held today.

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah paid respects to General Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat at their 3, Kamraj Marg residence. 

The Army has said civilians can pay their respects to General Rawat at his 3, Kamraj Marg residence between 10 am and 12.30 pm today, news agency ANI reported. Those in the forces can pay their tribute between 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm.

The bodies of General Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat are scheduled to leave for the crematorium at 2 pm. There, the General will be given a funeral with full military honours.

The funeral of Brigadier Lakhwinder Singh Lidder, defence assistant to General Rawat and another victim of the chopper crash, was held at Delhi Cantonment today.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar paid their respects to Brigadier Lidder

The bodies of General Rawat, his wife and the defence personnel killed in the clash were flown in from Sulur in Tamil Nadu last night.

On their arrival at Palam air base in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and top officials of the defence services paid them tributes.

General Rawat and 12 people on board an Mi-17 V5 helicopter were on their way to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington when the crash took place.

Group Captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor from the crash, has been shifted to Air Force Command hospital at Bengaluru for treatment.

So far, the bodies of General Rawat, his wife, Brigadier Lidder and Lance Naik Vivek Kumar have been identified. The Army has said the process to identify the other bodies is on.

Game-Changing Made-In-India Anti-Covid Pills Could Be Cleared For Use In Days

The medicine is meant for adults who are at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 or hospitalization.

Emergency Use Authorisation for the Merck drug Molnupiravir — an oral antiviral medicine for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 — is likely “within days”, Dr Ram Vishwakarma, Chairman of the Covid Strategy Group, CSIR, told NDTV on Wednesday. The medicine is meant for adults who are at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 or hospitalization. Another pill from Pfizer, Paxlovid, may take some more time, he added.  

The two drugs, he said, will make a difference and “as we move from pandemic to endemic, these are the ones which are going to be more important than vaccination”.

Calling the drugs the “final nail in the coffin of the virus by science”, he said, “I think Molnupiravir will be already available to us. Five companies are sitting with the drug manufacturer… I think any day we will have approval of Molnupiravir”.

Data for Molnupiravir has been “sitting with the regulator” here before the UK regulator’s approval, he said. “So already SECs are looking at it. And I think they will they will get faster approval now. And therefore, it would it be safe to say that within the next one month, there would be a decision on approval for the Merck drug”.

Pfizer has said according to clinical trial, its Paxlovid cuts the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89 per cent in vulnerable adults.

Merck has already contracted five companies “and the way Merck has given this license to several companies, Pfizer will also do because Pfizer will have to utilise the Indian capacity to manufacture the drugs that are required for the global use”.

The cost, he said, will be far lower than the 700 dollars that’s being considered in the US for the Merck vaccine “because in America it is costly for various other reasons and not for the manufacturing cost”.

“I think here when the government of India comes into play, they will buy in bulk from these companies and of course, they will have a dual pricing system and a staggered pricing system,” he said.  

He said it might initially cost “2000 to 3000 or 4000 rupees per cycle of treatment, then it will come down to 500 to 600 or 1,000 rupees”.

Resourcses: NDTV

Tech integration for sustainable future– Vedanta and Adani Group in Goa are benefiting from this model

The recent advancements in technology are no secret and using them for environmental sustainability is not an exaggeration anymore, especially when it comes to big players like Vedanta and Adani. Coal projects in Goa are certainly benefiting from tech integration in daily operations.

Economic developmental is very important to improve the standard of living, but that shouldn’t lead to any compromise with the sustainable approach that is taking precedence over every other thing.  Sustainable future is as important as anything, especially in a state like Goa. Blessed with a rich biodiversity, the state is also home to many coal projects, which play a significant role to create employment opportunities, meet the electricity demand and build a mammoth supply chain for other businesses along the way.  

However, the current scenario makes sustainable approach a necessity in the region, instead of being an option. This is where tech integration is proving to be a game-changer with big players in the region taking a cue from the coal operators around the world, especially Vedanta and Adani. Coal projects in Goa are also shaping a new model to restrict environmentally detrimental procedures by using technology to their advantage.

For instance, Adani Group is making use of water spray to reduce the dust that emits from coal carrying vehicles on daily basis. The company is utilizing multiple advanced technologies to give precedence to sustainable operations, which include nozzle spray, sprinkler systems and air pollution monitoring systems. On the other hand, Vedanta has also been re-greening one of its mines. The company has been undertaking horticulture plantations, backed by modern techniques at the Sanquelim mine.

The impact of coal dust on the environment is quite significant and it makes sense to take the precautionary measures beforehand to mitigate the impact, instead of hiding from the truth. All these sustainable approaches by leading businesses are certainly making a lasting impact. However, the usage of technology has not been limited to implementing new techniques in the operations of coal projects, but it has been leveraged to mark a defining change in the fortunes of the state with Mormugao Trust working to start a ferry circuit that will run from the South of Goa across three or four routes.    

The move is aimed at enhancing the experience of foreign tourists, a testament to the prowess of technology to increase the number of opportunities for the locals too. Ports have always played a pivotal role in tourism and travel, but the integration of technology can usher in a significant change. The Mormugao port is already a hub for the transportation of coal for JSW, Vedanta and Adani. Goa coal projects of JSW and Vedanta have been operating in the region from a long time, with both the companies owning two berths each at the terminal’s coal handling facility.

At this juncture, the state is certainly taking decent strides towards balancing the economic progress and the impact on the environment through sustainable and eco-friendly approaches. The advancement in technology is coming to the rescue as well, with big players using it judiciously for a bright future.

National Film Awards 2021: Kangana Ranaut receives her 4th award; Manoj Bajpayee, Dhanush are Best Actors

The 67th National Film Awards ceremony took place on Monday. Kangana Ranaut and Manoj Bajpayee, among other winners, recieved their awards. 

The 67th National Film Awards ceremony took place on Monday, October 25. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu presented the awards to those who won this year. The awardees include Kangana Ranaut and Manoj Bajpayee.

Kangana was awarded the Best Actress Award for her performances in Manikarnika: Queen of Jhansi and Panga. The actor, dressed in a traditional saree, walked up to the stage and received her award. This is her fourth National Award. She previously won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fashion and Best Actress Awards for Queen and Tanu Weds Manu Returns. 

26 arrested for raping minor in Mumbai

In a shocking crime, a minor girl was sexually assaulted over a period of nine months. The Manpada police in Dombivli, a town neighbouring Mumbai, have booked 29 accused and arrested 26, including two minors, under the Indian Penal Code as well as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).

The arrested have been remanded to police custody till September 29. The minor offenders have been sent to a juvenile remand home. Police teams are searching for three others.

The 15-year-old victim approached the police on Wednesday night.

Her statement said her boyfriend recorded a video of them in an intimate act in January 2021, which he later used to blackmail her. Her boyfriend used the video to and force her into physical relations with some of his friends. “The victim reached the police station on Wednesday night. According to her statement, the accused sexually assaulted her repeatedly at various locations from January to September this year,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (east region) Datta Karale.

A Special Investigation Team, headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police (Administration) Sonali Dhole, has been formed to probe the case further.

According to the victim’s statement, sexual assault was committed repeatedly in various locations, including Dombivli, Murbad and Badlapur in the Thane district, and Rabale in Navi Mumbai.

According to police sources, the video used to coerce the victim is not yet in the police’s possession. “We checked the mobile phone of the girl and also of the 20-year-old boy with whom she was in a relationship previously. In both the phones, no such video as claimed was found. We will be sending the mobile phones for forensic analysis,” Senior Police Inspector Dadahari Choure, Manpada Police Station, said.

The police are also looking into the delay in reporting the crime, an official said. “All the accused are between the ages of 16 to 23 years and most of them are students. After the case was registered, our focus has been on arresting the accused,” Mr. Karale said.

Sources in the police said that, a few days ago, the victim and her maternal aunt went to a birthday party. The aunt noticed that the girl was not interested in the event, and was busy with calls and messages. Someone at the gathering hinted to the aunt that the girl was facing some issues. The aunt took her home, kept a watch on her for a week, and then took the girl into her confidence.

“In the conversation that followed, the girl narrated the ordeal that had started from January. The aunt got in touch with a social worker in the area, who then suggested that a trap be laid to nab the accused red-handed,” a police official said. The girl made a call to the accused and arranged a meeting. Some of the accused picked her up in an auto rickshaw while the social worker and victim’s aunt and uncle followed them in another auto rickshaw. The auto rickshaw in which the relatives and social worker were travelling had a punctured tyre, as a result of which they lost track of the vehicle in which the victim was travelling. They called the police. The girl, meanwhile, sent her aunt her location by GPS. The police, with the help of the aunt’s mobile phone, reached the location and began looking for the room in which the girl was. By then, the girl had been gang-raped by six men, who ran when they learnt of the police presence. The police nabbed two of them; the rest were caught on Thursday.

“After learning about the crime from the girl, had the family approached the police, at least the incident of Wednesday could have been avoided,” the officer added.

Source: TheHindu

Pradeep Agarwal: Data Science is a Vital Asset for Companies’ Growth

Pradeep Agarwal explains the benefits of data science and how it can help expand businesses.

The rise of the information and technology sector has led to exponential increment in generation of data. This has offered a chance to evaluate and produce valuable data insights which has made jobs easier and lives comfortable. Pradeep Agarwal expounds upon the field that studies data and puts it to utility – data science. He also expresses confidence in its ability to boost businesses and propel their growth.

Data science involves collecting, processing, interpreting, organising and maintaining information. It is an interdisciplinary field that uses scientific tools and approaches to obtain insights from data. This can then be used by companies to assist them in their operations.

Customer data provides information about consumer behavior, interests, desires, and more. A complete understanding of data science helps make sense of the raw data and can reduce costs for businesses.
Pradeep Agarwal points out that companies generally tend to rely on traditional forms of feedback which are outdated in the digital era. He adds, “Once the data is accumulated, it can be used to improve products and services. Organisations can also personalise customer experience as per the insights they acquire.”

Data science is also a valuable tool for enterprises to enhance their privacy. Notably, financial institutions employ a number of sophisticated algorithms to trace the client behavior. With these digital codes, establishments can smartly gauge their risk management.

Pradeep Agarwal states, “Market trends are large data sets which need real-time processing to be ahead in any industry. Companies can efficiently navigate through this sea of data and improve their performance.”

He also emphasises on how the domain can uncover inadequacies in the manufacturing process, and explains that humans have limited capacity to manually analyse the huge data which is collected during production. A clearly defined algorithm can,thus, boost efficiency of the firm.

For instance, Amazon is among the big companies of the world that engages in e-commerce, cloud computing and media services. Behind its success is the power to harness data. The e-commerce giant deploys an aggressive recommendation engine which offers customers product suggestions based on their search habits and purchase patterns. The activity prompts users to engage and ultimately leads to repeated sales.

Mr. Pradeep Agarwal cites Netflix also has a successful model of how effective data science can be applied. “The recommendation system of the platform runs on collaborative filtering as well as content-based filtering.” He adds, “ This approach processes reviews, watch time, and binging patterns, which helps in generation of personalised suggestions for the viewers.”

There are countless examples that serve as a proof of how worthy the knowledge of data science can be for businesses. Similar to languages, data is merely a collection of words, numbers and figures in a seemingly random order. But when put together, processed, and analysed, it can help companies remain astray of failure in the long run.

India’s top five bankers and their journey to the top

From the realms of banking miracles, the maestros from the industry we look up to today were once leading a life full of struggles and rejections. But their zeal to succeed is what underpinned their obstacles and made them stand on the podium of greatness.

Here we will discuss the top five bankers of India and their journey.

Arundhati Bhattacharya

When mentioning greats from the banking industry, Arundhati Bhattacharya’s name is a must. Post the retirement of her father, it was upon her to take up a job. And exploring her options, Arundhati decided she would take up the State Bank of India (SBI) exam just as her college friends were doing. Fortunately, she was able to crack it and got selected for the post of probationary officer. Even after clearing the exam she was not interested in taking up the job and wanted to pursue print journalism. Nonetheless, she made the important decision to join SBI. Fast forward her amazing career, she was listed as one of the 25th most powerful women in the world by Forbes. She retired as the Chairperson of SBI, an extremely important position in Indian banking.

Rana Kapoor

After having graduated with an MBA from Rutgers University in the US, Rana Kapoor started off as a management trainee at Bank of America (BoA). Between 1980-1995, he worked up the ranks and headed the bank’s wholesale banking business. In 1990, he was presented the “Eagle Pin,” the highest professional recognition within the Bank for performance excellence. Thereafter, Kapoor headed ANZ Grindlays Investment Bank before embarking on an entrepreneurial journey by founding Rabo India Finance. Rana Kapoor was then granted a greenfield banking license from RBI in 2004 to launch Yes Bank. Under Kapoor’s leadership of 15 years, the bank grew to a total asset size of over Rs. 370,000 crores, making it India’s 4th largest private sector bank. Rana Kapoor’s successful entrepreneurial journey is an inspiring story for the young entrepreneurs of India.

Aditya Puri

Starting his journey by going against his father’s wish, Aditya Puri studied commerce and travelled large swaths across Mumbai to reach his workplace. In his initial days, he worked as an executive assistant to the finance director of Mahindra & Mahindra. By early 1990s, Puri became the CEO of Citibank, Malaysia, but returned to India in 1994 as the Managing Director of HDFC Bank. In 2020, he stepped down as the Managing Director of HDFC bank and is currently deployed as a senior advisor at The Carlyle Group.

Romesh Sobti

Taking a degree in engineering to please his father, Romesh Sobti soon realised that his passion lies somewhere else. And therefore, turned to banking. His career began with the State Bank of India in early 70s, and he went on to work with the likes of Standard Chartered Bank and ABN AMRO, before taking over IndusInd Bank in 2008. After years of service, Sobti stepped down in 2020 as the Managing Director & CEO of IndusInd.

Uday Kotak

After completing his MBA in 1982, Uday Kotak started Kotak Capital Management Finance Ltd from a seed capital of less than US$80,000, which he borrowed from family and friends. But his determination paved way and he converted a bill-discounting start-up into a financial services conglomerate with assets valued at more than US$19 billion in 2014. The bank also became the second largest scheduled commercial bank by market capitalization in India with over 1250 branches. In 2019, he was one of the most highly paid CEOs in Indian Banking and is currently the Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Adani, Ambani consolidate plans to further green energy business in post-pandemic world

The global economy is slowly picking up the pace after months of slowdown caused by the COVID pandemic. Industries are quickly finding their feet as they rush to clear backlogs and take on new orders. The power generation sector in particular, is witnessing a spike in power demands, with both conventional and renewable energy (RE) projects struggling to meet requirements.

India’s power industry is also facing similar issues. Even though conventional thermal plants, along with RE projects, are churning out impressive numbers, supply is predicted to fall well short of projected demands. Although the RE sector has heavyweights like Adani, Ambani and Tata, the surging power demands has effected new launches and ventures by stakeholders.

New deals and acquisitions are being brokered as green energy companies prepare to face tricky post-pandemic conditions. Despite the gloom of uncertainty that drapes the atmosphere, major stakeholders like Adani have acted decisively and kept on track. After acquiring the SoftBank Group-backed SB Energy, Adani has announced its intention to raise a $600 million through overseas bonds. The proceeds will go towards financing green projects for the next two years as well as capital expenditures. The Adani Group had previously achieved its 25GW renewable energy capacity target this June, a full four years ahead of schedule. Currently, its operational capacity stands at 5.4GW after its latest acquisition of SB Energy.

Other than Adani, Ambani has also been quite busy. Hardly a month after it entered the RE business, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) announced its intention to invest $50 million in Ambri Inc., a renewable energy storage company. The investment is a part of a grand fundraising by Ambri from strategic investors to the tune of $144 million. The renewable energy storage manufacturer was working on a liquid metal grid battery technology with plans to commercialize it by 2022. RIL is also pushing for a collaboration with Ambri to create a manufacturing facility for such batteries in India.

India’s renewable energy sector has taken quite a beating but is soldiering on. With markets expected to open up in the coming days, if not weeks, the sector certainly has better days to look forward to. Players like Adani, Ambani, Tata, ReNew Power, etc., have significant number of projects in the pipeline that will increase India’s RE capacity by a considerable margin. The introduction of new technology like advanced energy storage batteries and the influx of funds are exactly what the sector needs to tackle the post-pandemic scenario on an optimistic note.