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Former Mumbai Police Commissioner and retired IPS officer 1 Rakesh Maria is back making the headlines.

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Rakesh Maria

Former Mumbai Police Commissioner and retired IPS officer Rakesh Maria is back making the headlines. Throughout his career as a policeman, Maria was one of the most talked-about officers from the Maharashtra Police. He unearthed and handled  biggest cases in Mumbai over a period of 28 years. These included investigating the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, which is busting a module of the Indian Mujahideen in 2008 and solving the high profile Neeraj Grover murder case.

Now, Rakesh Maria is back in the news, and we are grateful  to his recently published autobiography. Two cases are particularly in  the focus. The very first is the 2012 Sheena Bora murder case during the investigation of which Maria got marching orders as the commissioner of Mumbai Police and was also promoted to director-general of home guards. Maria talks extensively about how taken aback he was at the abrupt transfer and reveals his version of events.

However, it is another case that Maria investigating that has caused a lot of (arguably unnecessary) controversy — includes the deadly 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. In his book, Rakesh Maria has also  written in detail about his role during the attack. At the time, he was the joint commissioner (crime) in Mumbai. During the attacks, Maria took control of the Mumbai Police’s control room. Later, he investigated the terror attack.

CONTROVERSY RETURNS

In his autobiography, Rakesh Maria has also recounted his time investigating the 26/11 terror attack. And, thanks to a cursory reading of his account, controversy is back to hound him. First, let’s look at what prompted the controversy.

Maria in his book also writes about how the conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan and how ten youngsters were prepared to  the attack Mumbai by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Maria writes that the youngsters were also given a new identity before the attack.

Maria writes, ‘Soon their hair was cut and beards shaved off, new clothes and shoes were purchased for them and they were given watches set to Indian time. The labels on their clothes were removed to prevent identification… New photographs were clicked to make fake identity cards to pass them off as Indian Hindus. To complete Hindu impersonation, they were instructed not to forget tying the red sacred thread around their wrists.’

Elaborating on the conspiracy, Maria also  writes, ‘If all had gone well he Ajmal Kasab, the only one of the ten terrorists will be caught alive  and would have been dead with a red string tied around his wrist like a Hindu. We would have found an identity card on this person with the fictitious name Samir Dinesh Choudhari, student of the Arunoday Degree and P.G College.’ Maria goes on to take a jibe at the media that there would have been the screaming headlines in newspapers about how ‘Hindu’ terrorists had attacked Mumbai and ‘over-the-top’ TV journalists would have made a beeline to interview the “Hindu terrorist’s” family and neighbours.

Of course Maria doesn’t mention that it probably would have been one of his subordinates who would have leaked the information about the ‘Hindu terrorists’ to the media. Anyway, the point is that the  Maria’s “revelations” have generated a controversy.

The BJP was the first to react, with a Union minister asking why Maria was speaking up now. The minister tied it to the term ‘Hindu terror’ that was in the popular usage during the UPA era and said it was a big conspiracy hatched by the Congress on the instructions of then home minister Chidambaram.

NEEDLESS CONTROVERSY

Interestingly, Marria’s “revelations” are nothing new. The information about the fake ID cards is part of the chargesheet filed in the 26/11 terror attack case. However, what is even more interesting is that Maria’s own book contradicts the suggestion that the LeT planned to portray 26/11 as an act of ‘Hindu terrorism’.

In his book, Maria also gives details about a telephonic conversation between one of the ten terrorists and his handler back in Pakistan. The conversation was being tapped by Indian agencies. Maria writes, ‘In the meanwhile the handlers and the gunmen started working on using some of the hostages to make demands on the government of India as was planned, through the  live TV interviews “

During the conversation — which is also part of the charge sheet — the handler tells the terrorist that if he was asked about his organisation, he was to say that he was associated with the Deccan Mujahideen.

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Finally Some Good News To Cherish, Digital Revenue Of Indian IT Companies’ Crosses $50 Billion

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Indian IT companies data

Globally, Indian IT companies are well known for their performance. However, in 2017, analysts had stated that the Indian Information Technology was unable to respond positively to the advances of technology in the areas of AI/ML, sensors and robotics. Some even predicted its downfall.

Well, it looks like the Indian IT industry won’t give up so easily. Figures from the Indian IT association Nasscom show that these new digital areas have exceeded the $50 billion revenue mark, last fiscal. This amounts to more than a quarter of the total revenue of $191 billion.

Let’s know more

Indian IT companies

India shows tremendous advancement in AI/ML, sensors, and robotics

 The statistics show that in the case of top-notch IT companies the value is even higher. For TCS the digital accounted for 33% of their overall revenues, for Infosys, it accounted for 42%, and for Wipro, it accounted up to 41% of the overall revenue in the same fiscal year.

These numbers are a clear measure of valuable progress. However, since each firm has different parameters to define digital, these numbers cannot be compared.

Indian IT companies data

Since 2012, Nasscom has started breaking out digital. In that year, the value of digital in the sector’s total revenue was only 4%. But as we moved to 2015 and 2016, the value was estimated at $16 billion to $20 billion, a major boost to 11%-14% of the overall IT sector’s revenue.

Know what the experts say on this

Phil Fersht:

The CEO of IT consulting firm HfS Research, Phil Fersht believes that Indian IT companies have established a significant ‘permission to play’ through the years. He feels the secret ingredient of the industry rests in the IT firms’ sheer perseverance, love for technology, and wide-spread entrepreneurship. He said, “Today, many of the Indian IT firms are genuine alternatives to the traditional integration firms such as Deloitte and IBM to perform high-level digital work, a lot higher up the value stack when compared to five years ago.”

“I credit Indian IT talent with a marked improvement in learning new programming languages and becoming strong at mastering low-code software, such as RPA, Salesforce and Pega”, he further adds.

Nirmalya Kumar:

The Lee Kong Chian professor of marketing at Singapore Management University, Nirmalya Kumar said since 2010, the Indian IT industry has recognized the fact that they need to adapt to digital enterprises as all their customers were changing too. The clients need to work on their budgets to resolve the front end issues of digitally connecting with customers via websites and apps, instead of working on the maintenance of the legacy IT infrastructure.

He said, “Client focus had shifted to revenues and customer experience, which meant going digital had become a boardroom imperative.” “And for Indian IT, to make the transformation, digital talent was the constraint, not budgets”, he adds.

Moshe Katri:

The MD at Wedbush Securities, Moshe Katri acknowledges that since the past few years, IT companies in India have extensively taken charge of acquainting employees with new digital technologies, recruiting new employees with advanced knowledge in novel technologies. The companies have also directed sales forces towards digital and cross-selling digital-based projects amidst their existing legacy client base.

Vivek Wadhwa:

A distinguished person from the Carnegie Mellon University’s college of engineering, Vivek Wadhwa, who once criticized the IT industry, today gives a changed opinion. He felt that if India’s IT industry does not wake up and reinvent itself; it would be in free fall. Today, he adds, “But it did wake up from its slumber and launch a series of new initiatives in new industries.”

In his upcoming book, he discusses how companies that comprehend the exponential curves can dominate the future. He also talks about how legacy firms have an upper hand over newly established startups and ‘big equals slow and stodgy’ is a myth. He concludes, “It takes a lot of effort to get them to move, as it did for Indian IT, but when they do, they can move mountains.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Zomato And Swiggy Have Started Delivering Groceries Across India

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Zomato

After Zomato, Swiggy has now started delivering groceries and essentials across various cities in India. Swiggy has partnered with retail grocery stores like Vishal Mega Mart, and is already active in tier-1 and tier-2 cities.

This isn’t the first time Swiggy is delivering groceries. It launched Swiggy Stores last February for groceries but this service had been limited to Bengaluru and Gurugram. It also introduced Swiggy Go which is like Dunzo, and lets users order products from a store and get them delivered.

Swiggy now has a dedicated section for groceries on its Swiggy app, and it is visible in places where the service is available. The company also plans to expand its delivery service by partnering with more FMCG brands, Gagdets360 reported. Last week, Zomato also started its grocery delivery service in India. Called “Zomato Market”, Zomato users can order groceries and essentials within the app. The maximum order capacity is 12 kg per order, while the minimum amount is Rs 300. Zomato had first piloted this service in Kerala, Delhi and Punjab, but it has now expanded to over 80 cities.

Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO, Zomato, said in a company blog on Tuesday:

“We have started grocery delivery in 80+ cities across India to help with the supply of essentials. Our delivery network in the country is only second to India Post, and we are putting in every effort to make sure that we put it to good use to serve the community.”

The Zomato app now features Zomato Market that lists local grocery stores in an area.

Food ordering apps, delivery apps, and cab hailing companies are leveraging their available delivery executives to double up as carriers of essential items such as staples and personal hygiene goods.

They are doing this by tying up with several fast-moving consumer goods companies and even partnering with online grocery companies such as BigBasket and Grofers.

Online grocery retailer Grofers, for instance, is working with Zomato to get its delivery fleet onboard. Last week, Mumbai-based packaged consumer goods company Marico, said it has launched “Saffola Store” in partnership with online food ordering apps Zomato and Swiggy to deliver its range of oats and cooking oils to consumers. On Zomato, Saffola Store is available to some shoppers in parts of Delhi-NCR and Bangalore. It will gradually be rolled out in other cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad starting next week, Marico said in a statement to the press on Friday.

The global pandemic is prompting the consumer goods industry to partner up as large packaged consumer goods companies that rely on sales through small neighborhood stores and large grocery stores come together to ease last-minute delivery.

Goyal also listed steps the company has taken since the country entered its three week lockdown that has disrupted several businesses, including restaurants and food delivery services.

The company has rolled out “contactless delivery” amid consumer concerns around the contagious disease.

“Customers can opt to allow the delivery partner to leave the package outside their home, ensuring no human-to-human interaction and hence lowering risk of any transmission,” he said.

The online food delivery company said it is also asking restaurants to “self-declare” their compliance with hygiene practices as mandated by the WHO, apart from asking restaurant partners to follow strict hygiene standards. Delivery partners too are being asked to share a daily self-declaration on hygiene.

“We are making a big push to ensure hygiene standards are being followed by restaurants and passing on that information to users so that they can make an informed decision and are assured of the safety and hygiene standards of the food,” he said.

Moreover, it has temporarily paused cash on delivery, urging users to opt for online payments instead.

 

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CBSE has postponed the Class 12 English exam

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CBSE

CBSE has postponed the Class 12 English exam that was  supposed to be scheduled to be conducted tomorrow due to the ongoing violence in the area. The Board, however, has not released the new dates.

The new dates will get announced by CBSE soon on the official site of CBSE at cbse.nic.in. The official notice will be given below. Candidates who will be appearing for the exam can check it once.

CBSE

Central Board of Secondary Education, CBSE is also scheduled to conduct the CBSE Class 10 English Communicative and Class 10 English Language and Literature Exam as well as CBSE XII Web Application (Old/New) as well as CBSE XII Media exam today – February 26, 2020.

After continued volatile situations in the Delhi’s North East, CBSE late last evening  also decided to postpone the examinations scheduled for today – for both classes 10th and 12th for riot affected areas. CBSE has also issued a list of 86 examination centre where the exam now remains postponed for today.

The board’s notice  which is also available on cbse.nic.in is provided below. Parents and Students may  also note that the order is applicable only for the examination centres in the list provided here. The CBSE Exam schedule for all other areas (even of Delhi, NCR) will remain unchanged. The new date for the examination would be issued by the board soon. 

The order is for a total for 86 schools and examination centres located in the North East Delhi. Parents and students may check the complete list of Schools/ Examination Centres where the examination has been cancelled here.

Central Board of Secondary Education, CBSE has released an official notification conforming its decision to postpone the Class 10th 12th Board Examination scheduled for tomorrow, for centres located in North East Delhi. The decision was taken following the instances of violence in the area.

To ensure safety of students, the board has hence decided to postpone the examination for the students in that area. This is, please note, relevant only for the North East Delhi area affected by recent violence following CAA protests. The notice, however, does not apply to the other areas or other parts of the country.

Central Board of Secondary Examination has been directed by Delhi High Court to take a decision on changing the exam centre located in the violence-hit area Chandu Nagar in Delhi.

The Bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdar was hearing a petition filed by Bhai Parmanand Vidya Mandir and kin of students to change the exam centre for students who are appearing for CBSE Board Exams 2020 for Class 10 and 12. However, the Court has given couple of hours to the Board to take a decision on it. 

Following violent clashes between pro and anti-CAA groups, the Delhi Government ordered shut all the schools in North East Delhi today. Furthermore, the internal examination for schools in the affected area were also cancelled. There was no impact on the CBSE Board Exam 2020 schedule as there was no examination scheduled for today. Students, however, are anxious about tomorrow, as the condition remains tense.

Taking to the social media, many students have reached out directly to the board, sharing how the rumours of exam being cancelled are spreading in the area. The board, however, has promptly replied that it has not been decided as yet. CBSE has also asked students not to believe rumours and advised them that information would be shared on the official website cbse.nic.in as well as on CBSE  Official Twitter Handle.

The root of the rumour lies in the plea of Delhi’s Education Minister to the HRD Ministry, asking them to cancel the paper scheduled for today. However, the board had promptly replied that there would be no change in schedule as there was no examination centre in the affected areas of Delhi for today’s scheduled examinations.

CBSE had further clarified that only 18 examination centres in West Delhi were allocated for the planned exams today – February 25, 2020. However, February 26 is another story. CBSE is scheduled to conduct the Class 10 English examination on February 26, 2020. Almost all the registered students would be appearing for the English Class 10 examination. With the situations in Delhi still tense, the spread of rumours is inevitable.

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Some Of The Women Who Made Headlines In 2019

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Women

From making headlines for economic reforms (Nirmala Sitharaman) to Royal Society Fellow (Gagandeep Kang), first in 360 years, women created a lot of buzz across the spectrum.

Let’s take a glimpse into the lives of some of the women who made headlines in 2019 (till now).

GS Lakshmi has become the first-ever woman referee to be appointed on the ICC International Panel of Match Referees.

Lakshmi, 51, who first officiated as a match referee in domestic women’s cricket in 2008-09, has overseen three women’s ODI matches and three women’s T20I matches.

Richa Kar, Zivamew

Richa Kar had worked with a retailer and global technology company before starting Zivame. As part of her earlier work, she studied the Indian lingerie market and realized that most women were not comfortable shopping for lingerie in brick and mortar stores. She conceptualized Zivame as a lingerie store where women could understand their lingerie needs, browse through styles, order for the right size, and get the goods delivered to their doorstep without any embarrassment.

Zivame, therefore, takes care to deliver products discreetly. Their products are packed without any branding or product description to make sure that orders can be delivered anywhere without inviting comment or curiosity. The startup, one of the best places for online lingerie shopping in India, is funded by IDG Ventures, Kalaari Capital, and Unilazer Ventures.

Preeta Sukhtankar, The Label Corp

Preeta Sukhtankar started The Label Corp to provide curated, rare-to-find products to a niche audience who want a tasteful home. Her earlier stints in media and brand-building helped her to connect with celebrities and create three brands as part of The Label Corp: The Home Label with Suzanne Khan, The Closet Label with Malaika Arora Khan, and The Trunk Label with Bipasha Basu. She has an all-women team, and interestingly, Kalaari Capital, led by Vani Kola, is her startup’s venture investor on board. Vani Kola herself was an entrepreneur in the US, who had a billion-dollar exit before starting a venture fund in India. In her, Sukhtankar found a perfect mentor.

Vrinda Rathi: Cricketer turned umpire

Vrinda Rathi is set to become the first national woman umpire from India.

Traditionally a male-dominated sport, the country’s most favoured game is now welcoming more and more women onto the field.

Cricketer turned umpire, 29-year-old Vrinda came second in BCCI’S Level 2 umpiring exam for match referees. Along with her was Chennai-based N Janani, and the two will now be able to officiate men’s first-class matches, reports Mid-Day.

Gagandeep Kang: First in 360 years

Gagandeep Kang is the first Indian woman scientist to be elected Royal Society Fellow in 360 years.

As per media reports, the Royal Society of London has announced a list of 51 eminent scientists elected to its fellowship in the year 2019.

Dr Kang is the first Indian woman to be elected to the Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).

Aarohi Pandit: Crossing Atlantic

Meet Captain Aarohi Pandit, the 23-year-old girl who became world’s first woman to cross Atlantic Ocean in LSA.

Captain Aarohi Pandit, a 23-year-old pilot from Mumbai became the world’s first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a Light Sports Aircraft (LSA), thrilling her family, friends and aviation circles.

Hina Jaiswal: Woman flight engineer

Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal became the first Indian Woman Flight Engineer of the Indian Air Force.

Hina completed the six-month flight engineer course from the 112 Helicopter Unit attached to the Air Force Station in Yelahanka in Bengaluru.

A flight engineer is the member of an aircraft’s flight crew who monitors and operates its complex aircraft systems requiring a specialised skill set.

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Indians are going to receive the biggest hikes in the Asia-Pacific next year

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India

Indians are going to receive the biggest hikes in the Asia-Pacific next year, even if it is only going to be a marginal change from this year’s raise.

The 10% raise that  Indians are slated to receive in 2020 won’t be that much different from the actual increase of 9.9% this year, according to the latest salary budget planning report by UK-based advisory firm Willis Towers Watson.

The firm received  around 4,521 responses from 1,128 companies across 20 markets in Asia Pacific, including 337 from India for this report.

 “Though salary increases in the India still continue to be among the highest in the region, companies are taking a cautious approach and do not intend to make any such significant changes from previous years,” said Rajul Mathur, consulting leader of talent & rewards at Willis Towers Watson, said. “Companies are beginning to make selective skill-based compensation adjustments to cater to requirements around automation and digitisation. ”

Gauging the mood

This year, the hiring sentiment is somewhat very worse than the year before. Fewer companies projected a positive business outlook for the next 12 months over the last year.

With this cautious business outlook, the recruitment efforts are also taking a hit. A mere 22% of the organisations in India plan to add to their headcount compared to 29% last year. If anything, seven in the 10 plan to maintain their current headcounts.

Most sectors like chemicals, high tech, and pharmaceuticals can expect salary increases around the average mark of 10%. The energy, financial services, and consumer products sectors stand out for the highest year-on-year growth.

Making money

Importantly, salaries are set to go up across all the career stages in 2020.

Highlighting a continued shift towards  the variable pay, especially at senior management levels, the survey found that actual variable pay at the executive level increased to 30.7% in 2019 from 20.7% a year ago.

“Attracting and retaining the right talent at leadership positions is commanding higher pay increases as the leadership pool continues to be limited. The increase is mostly in terms of variable pay as there is a greater focus on pay for performance,” said Arvind Usretay, director of rewards at Willis Towers Watson. “Companies are also working towards more robust succession planning.”

The survey found that, on average, 25% of the salary-hike budget is being allocated to the top 11.5% of the performers. This implies that for each rupee allocated to an average or below-average performer, Rs2.16 goes to a top performer, compared to about Rs1.3 last year.

Employers are no longer looking at compensation alone as a key retention driver. A re-emergence of employee benefits is underway. “If the last decade was about compensation…the next could well be about ‘purpose-led benefits’,” Arvind said. “With the employee now seen as a consumer, benefits will expectedly become more segmented, flexible, and targeted.”

Fresh engineering graduates, who are finding it increasingly tough to land a job in India’s $160-billion IT industry with each passing year due to lower levels of hiring, may have to deal with another disappointment this year — their starting salaries are unlikely to see a spike anytime in the near future and will largely remain stagnant at their decade-old levels.

According to human resources heads of top companies such as TCS Infosys and Wipro, as well as several recruiters and experts tracking India’s IT industry, India’s largest outsourcing firms are unlikely to revise fresher-level wages, at a time when spending from top customers such as Citigroup and General Electric is declining and IT firms are scrambling to protect their precious margins, amid rising inflation and cross-currency fluctuations.

More worryingly, experts point out, a huge demand-supply imbalance has tilted the odds squarely in favour of the country’s largest software services firms, with only one job available for every five engineers who are graduating from colleges across the country every year.

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