Smartphones Change Lives of Rural Women in India

28-year old Manisha Badekar runs a design and tailoring shop in Supane, a village in India’s western state of Maharashtra. Though she is well-versed in basic tailoring, Badekar has never been to a design school. Yet, her advanced design learning has been via a smartphone, which she uses to look up designs and re-create them. She is the first both in her family, and among the women in Supane from her generation, to use a smartphone and access the Internet. Badekar also keeps in touch with friends on WhatsApp which she accesses on a 4G connection. She says, “I think everybody should learn how to use the Internet. ”

Another 28-year old from the same region, Monali Shinde, spouse of a soldier in the Indian Army, is excited about the smartphone. Though she doesn’t own one herself, she uses one belonging to Asha Kamle, a well-respected woman in the village who has taught many women how to use smartphones. Shinde is an Arts graduate and a teacher by profession. Interested in design, she learned how to cut fabrics, and paper, and also how to fashion mehendi (henna) designs, and clothes designs. “I used to be so excited, every evening, when I had time for a half hour or an hour, I used to come sit with Tai (Kamle is respectfully referred to as ‘older sister’) and learn,” Shinde says. Aside from learning about possible home businesses, she wants to use the Internet to teach her children. “It is a really a useful way for them to learn, with pictures, and videos,” she says.

Nubia Smartphone

In the same village of Supane, is 33-year old Pallavi Kamble, whose husband is a daily wage earner. She has discovered recipes on the smartphone which she tries out at home to entice her children to eat their vegetables (which they hate)! She doesn’t own a smartphone buts looks forward to a time when smartphones will be available in a range of $38 – $45 so that she can buy one, reports The Hindu.

March 20, 2017   No Comments

Saab Commences Transfer of Missile Technology to India

Sweden‘s Saab Group and India’s Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd., gear up to win the Indian Army’s $2 billion surface-to-air missile contract. Even though the joint venture between the two companies has not yet been finalized, the transfer of technology has begun for the air defense missile system called the BAMSE SRSAM, an all-weather operational Automatic Command-to-Line-of-Sight missile system with unjammable missile guidance. It is designed for flexible usage both for stand-alone operations as well as in a network with other sensors and weapon systems.

Under this program, 52 Ashok Leyland 8/8 Super Stallion trucks will be fitted with Saab’s Eagle radar that will be used to track enemy radars, while two more such trucks will be mounted with Saab’s Giraffe radar, which has the capability to target and shoot, reports BusinessLine. The production line will likely be set up in Satara, in the western state of Maharashtra.

Saab SRSAM Systems

Bo Almqvist, who heads Saab’s air defense systems, told BusinessLine, We have a long-term commitment based on Make in India for maintenance and research and development of future generations.”

November 6, 2016   No Comments

Ferrero Rocher to Double its Investment in India

In an interview with the Economic Times, Roberto Grasso, India managing director of the Italian Ferrero Rocher brand of candies, outlined his company’s growth and said that the company will double its investment to $256 million in the next few years.

Ferrero Chocolates

Ferrero entered India a decade ago, and:

  • Has an annual sales turnover of $240 million.
  • Has worked with its vendors to achieve the quality of raw material it requires for its confections; 90% of its raw material is now sourced from India.
  • 50% of the products manufactured in India is exported.
  • The India branch of the company has recently overtaken Nestle’s chocolate production figures, in India.
  • Established its first research and development laboratory outside of Europe, in Baramati in the western state of Maharashtra. This lab designs and develops toys that are used in the Kinder Joy product.

October 28, 2016   No Comments

India’s Ports Handle Increasing Numbers of Containers

According to the Journal of Commerce, container volumes increased this year by 6.3 percent from May to September at India’s major ports over the same period last year, reports the Maritime Executive.

TEU volumes for Kolkata were up 17 percent; up by five percent at Tuticorin; Visakhapatnam volumes were up 132 percent;  and DP World-operated Vallarpadam Terminal volumes were up 20.5 percent.

International Container Transshipment Terminal in Kochi, India

Statistics for the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in the western state of Maharashtra:

  • Accounted for 2.26 million TEUs, representing more than 50 percent of India’s total containerized traffic
  • Turnaround time for one ship was reduced to 2.01 days from 2.85 days
  • Aims to handle 10 million TEUs by 2021, after a new terminal is commissioned.

Statistics for the DP World operated Mundra International Container Terminal in the western state of Gujarat:

  • Achieved a rate of 49.5 moves per crane per hour while handling the Maersk Line vessel Seroja Lima
  • The 8,520-TEUs Seroja Lima was unloaded, loaded and departed within a time frame of less than 10 hours
  • Achieved a productivity rate of 180 moves per hour at the main berth having four twin-lift and 21-across quay cranes

Prime Minister Modi wants to develop ports that can shift freight onto vessels capable of carrying 18,000 TEUs.


October 22, 2016   No Comments

Asia Competitive Institute Ranks India’s States for Ease of Business

In a study done by the Asia Competitive Institute which is part of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, the Indian states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi NCR, Goa and Andhra Pradesh are rated as the top five of 21 sub-regional economies in ease of doing business in India.

Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka, were rated as the most competitive states, as well as states that lead in attracting foreign direct investment accounting for over 50 percent of the total FDI inflow into the country, said Sasidaran Gopalan, research fellow at the institute.

States of India

States of India

India’s appreciating real effective exchange rates have not significantly affected FDI inflows over the last decade, reports Bloomberg.

“The impact of real exchange rates on FDI in India has been rather negligible so far,” Gopalan pointed out, citing the finding from a recently concluded study by the institute for 2000-2013. The research study, however, also concluded that the volatility in Indian rupee “actually appears to induce more FDI into the country”.

September 17, 2016   No Comments