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Agniveers will be the real winners

The current average age of a solider is 32 which is young by civilian standards, but old by Army standards, particularly when one aspires to be a world-class Army. An Agniveer would walk in society with the confidence of an empowered young man.

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Who will decide what is good for the Armed forces? Definitely it is not the people who have come on the streets to oppose the new recruitment policy. Definitely it is not the Opposition parties that are trying to find out fault with everything that the Narendra Modi government does.

Department of Military Affairs Additional Secretary Lieutenant General Anil Puri addresses a press conference regarding the Agnipath Recruitment Scheme, at South Block Ministry of Defence, in New Delhi on Sunday. Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi and Air Marshal Suraj Kumar Jha are also seen. ANI

Then who will decide? Of course, it is the Armed forces that will decide what kind of equipment they need to keep pace with the technologically advanced world. They would also decide the kind of men needed to perform the prestigious task. The need of the hour is able-bodied youth, uncorrupted by the influence of society and keen to do something for the country.

The institution is such that it would transform these youth into well trained individuals expert in use of firearms and modern technology. The “Agniveer” title suggests the same. They are the fire warriors the country needs to handle its strategic defence. Winning war is a sum-total of technology and youthful energy. The government’s job then becomes that of the facilitator. Within the resources available what is the best way out. And once the best way is decided the job remains to walk the talk and stand by the armed forces like a rock. This is exactly what the Narendra Modi government is doing.

The Opposition parties that have tried to fan the anger of people are playing with fire. Leave the Army out of your politics and listen to what the institution is telling you. You want a fighting fit force or you want the Army to become a recruitment ground for unemployed youth. Close to 45,000 jobs per year in the army as Jawans is no solace in the country where jobs are needed in crores. For the uninitiated, the Kargil Review Committee set up after India’s breathtaking victory at Kargil had recommended a younger profile for the young recruits. The committee was set up in July 1999 and its report was tabled in Parliament in February 2000. While Kargil was a swan song for military genius of our brave soldiers who pushed back the Pakistanis, it was also marked for intelligence failures. How could the Pakistanis get ensconced so high on the mountains without getting noticed by anyone?

It was the young officers and jawans who made this victory possible. It was the most difficult battle since the enemies were firing from the top. But the bravery of our young soldiers snatched victory from what appeared to many to be an impossible task. A young army means an agile army and a daredevil effective army.

The current average age of a solider is 32 which is young by civilian standards, but old by Army standards, particularly when one aspires to be a world class army. It is not that people become ineffective between 25-40 since they are still young and there should be no discrimination on the basis of age. But the fact remains that as one grows in age, one is faced with various responsibilities of home and family. This hinders soldiering when compared to a 25-year-old who is free from all fetters and wants to rise in life by showing example.

Close to 50,000 soldiers retire every year at the age of 35-40. They are at the peak of their youth and have a family to support. The army organises retraining and skilling of these people to give them a second career. Under the Agnipath scheme, the Agniveers who would join at 18 would retire at 22 (after four years). With discipline of the army and an enhanced educational qualification, he would be in a much better situation to plan his career.

How many youth in our country get settled by the age of 25? He is hardly able to understand the society and ends up becoming a burden till he finds a petty job to support his family. How many rural families can support higher education for their children to empower them to get six-figure salary? And how many people in this country would get that kind of salary? An Agniveer would walk in society with the confidence of an empowered young man and he would be able to decide what is best for him.

Not only will he earn close to Rs 20 lakh as salary in the four years of his dedicated service, he will also get the training of a world-class army. If he continues to prove his worth and has the fire to be a soldier, he would definitely qualify for being retained in the permanent tenure. Twenty-five percent absorption is a very high percentage.

Now consider that he does not make it to the 25%. With experience and exposure, he may not even want to continue. Some may find that the rigours of hard work and demand from the family do not match. He has the best of both the worlds. He walks away with a non-taxable amount of Rs 11.5 lakh. He can start something on his own with banks ready to give liberal loans in viable schemes. Or he can plan his second innings when his peers have not ever started their first.

He has the option to try various para-military forces under the Central government or state police or various other organisations. Most BJP-ruled states have announced they would give preference to recruiting Agniveers in their police force. This opens up immense possibilities. They would definitely score better than average candidates because of their skill, physical fitness, discipline and the fact that they have already served in the army.

Army should not be seen as a job-opportunity but a platform for youth to serve the country. The opportunities provided by Agnipath would enable youth to give vent to their aspiration. This would be a process by which youth would join, get training and serve the army as battle ready Agniveers and would exit the system after four years to explore greener pastures. They will have an edge over others.

Under the Agnipath scheme, the young man is still in his teens. He has a strong body that can sustain hard work and discipline. What he would get from the army is training on firearms and various other skills and most important the feeling of patriotism and national pride. This would be a deadly cocktail of muscle power and firepower combined with the willingness to sacrifice for motherland.

Those who cry over the security of tenure and assurance of another career that motivates people to join the army are missing the ideology behind the Agnipath Scheme. You come out young and join the same peer in your village and notice the transformation you have witnessed. The empowerment is the assurance.

The Agnipath scheme should also be seen in the context of India’s security needs. India is not lucky to have easy neighbours. It is also not lucky to have a NATO kind of military alliance that ensures safe boundary and gives guarantee of security. There was a time when our leaders thought that India did not need a big army since it did not have enemies. But history proved otherwise.

The Pakistan war immediately after independence and China in 1962 proved that two capricious neighbours could not be trusted. One has been sulking for becoming a failed state though both India and Pakistan started their journeys together; and the other has been blinded by its expansionist design where it sees India as a threat. India has marched ahead and now has the third largest army in the world after China and the US. It has been able to hold its head high without compromising on its principles because of its strengths. It is time we decide that the numbers get the boost of agility and flexibility needed in the high-tech oriented warfare.

If you watch the discussions of Agnipath Recuritment Scheme on Pakistani news channels you would know how this has sent chills down the spine of those Pakistanis who consider India to be their enemy. The common refrain is our army would be no match to Indians. They have been arguing that Modi has done for the country what no other leader has done before. He would wrest PoK from Pakistan and destroy Pakistan is the narrative there.

But Indians are debating and taking demonstrations by youth as a symbol of opposition to the Modi government. The Modi government has tried to implement the recommendations of various committees that looked into giving the armed forces a much younger profile. The need is to bring it down from an average of 32 years at the present to 25-26 years in times to come.

Those who are trying to stoke protest should know that the government has all the wisdom to understand implications of this scheme. It is just that the Prime Minister believes in taking decisions rather than keep things hanging. Everyone knows that the situation of the armed forces when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had to demit office was not very pleasant. It did not have ammunition to sustain a war for even 20 days.

It is not that people become ineffective between 25-40 since they are still young and there should be no discrimination on the basis of age. But the fact remains that as one grows in age, one is faced with various responsibilities of home and family. This hinders soldiering when compared to a 25-year-old who is free from all fetters and wants to rise in life by showing example. Close to 50,000 soldiers retire every year at the age of 35-40. They are at the peak of their youth and have a family to support. The army organises retraining and skilling of these people to give them a second career.

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Threads surpasses 150M monthly active users, reveals mark Zuckerberg

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Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Threads, Meta’s text-based conversation app, boasts over 150 million monthly active users, positioning it as a competitor to Elon Musk’s X (formerly known as Twitter). The monthly active user count for Threads surged from around 100 million users in October last year to 130 million in February.

At an earnings meeting for Meta, Zuckerberg said: “[Threads] continues to be on the trajectory that I hope to see.” He said in July that he expected Threads to become the next billion-user social network in Meta’s apps suite which also includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. Since Threads’ launch last year, Meta has been working on creating a range of new features like a fully functional web application, keyword search, trending topics, edit button, voice posts, and the ability to support multiple accounts.

Additionally, the company has been boosting Threads’ posts on its video and photo-sharing platform, Instagram, in order to expand its social network .In March this year, Meta took a significant stride towards fulfilling its commitment to enhance interoperability for Threads. It started allowing users in countries such as the United States, Canada, and Japan to share their posts to the ‘fediverse’. The fediverse comprises decentralised social networks, such as Mastodon, that can interact with one another using the ActivityPub protocol.

The feature will be available to all users with public profiles above the age of 18 in these countries. Meta is testing a Threads API, aiming to empower creators, developers, and brands to construct their own distinctive integrations, efficiently manage their Threads presence, and distribute content to their communities. Meta’s API empowers developers to authenticate, publish posts, and retrieve their own content. Additionally, the company has recently introduced reply management capabilities, enabling users to access responses to their posts, configure reply settings, and conceal or reveal specific replies.

In a blog posted earlier this month, the company said, “Insights are one of our top requested features for the API, so we are making it possible for people to fetch key metrics for their posts, including the number of likes or views. We are also working on webhooks, which will allow developers to receive real-time notifications when certain events occur on the platform, such as a reply to a given post.” Meta said it is currently working with companies such as Grabyo, Hootsuite, Social News Desk, Sprinklr, Sprout Social, and Techmeme, with plans to make the API available by the end of June this year.

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PAUL JOHN NIRVANA BAGS GOLD MEDAL IN PRESTIGIOUS LONDON SPIRITS COMPETITION

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John Distilleries Ltd.’s Paul John single malt whiskey ‘Nirvana’ has been awarded “Gold” medal in the prestigious London Spirits Competition 2024. JDL’s two other offerings – Roulette London Dry Gin and Paul John XO Brandy – have also won ‘Silver’ medals. JDL is the only Indian company to have been awarded in three different categories – whiskey, gin and brandy. “We are honored to have been awarded at the London Spirits Competition. It is indeed a privilege to be appreciated for the quality of our products,” said JDL Chairman and Managing Director Mr. Paul P John.

JDL is one of the most awarded Indian companies internationally as it has bagged various prestigious awards in the events like the International Wine and Spirit Competition, the World Whiskey Awards and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The London Spirits Competition, organized by the Beverage Trade Network, aims to recognize and promote spirits brands that resonate with consumers and offer value for both trade buyers and end consumers.

Judging criteria include quality, value for money, and packaging appeal.

Paul John Nirvana

From the Goan shores of India, Paul John Nirvana is an unpeated expression bottled at an ABV of 40% and is created from Indian 6-row barley and matured in charred American oak casks.

Every expression of Paul John Whisky including Nirvana do not have any added flavours or colours. ‘Nirvana is an expression for those willing and keen to experience single malts, especially for the first time. Its exotic richness is sure to captivate whisky connoisseurs and amateurs equally.’ – Paul P John, Chairman. Soft aromas of caramel, bourbon and fruitcake, flavours of succulent vanilla and sweet honeycomb enhance the sublime and honeyed finish.

Nirvana ensures a captivating experience beyond the worldly realm. Created for those who seek greater heights and who enjoy creating their own path Nirvana was aptly named because it is an expression for those who discover happiness in their purpose of being. Paul John XO 100% Indian Grape Brandy Following the success of Paul John Whisky, Paul P John, Chairman of John Distilleries, ventured into the premium brandy segment with the release of

Paul John XO, a 100% Indian Grape Brandy

Paul John XO is made from the famed Ugni Blanc and the rich Bangalore purple grape. The brandy is matured in specially selected, medium toasted new French limousine oak barrels.

With gentle honeyed aromas, orange zest and a touch of herbs that enhance the tender raisin and sweet oak flavours, the exotic Paul John XO is matured and distilled in Goa. Paul John XO is bottled at 46% ABV and was released in October 2019 across select countries including USA, Europe, UK, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and India & many more.

Roulette Dry Gin

Roulette is a first choice for those who have a fresh take on life. People who love to experiment and are unafraid to try new things. Discover the perfect balance of versatility and flavour. With its juniper forward profile, it’s ideal for sipping or mixing. Whether you’re enjoying it neat or with a mixer, its refreshing and easy-going character shines through.

Roulette’s effervescent charm and juniper-rich taste elevates any occasion, be it before or after sunset. Roulette London Dry Gin uses all three types of distillation methods for extracting the botanical’s flavours. Our Gin production is further elevated by the exceptional Muller Pot Still, a masterpiece handcrafted and custom-made in Germany.

This 500 liter copper pot still is a small batch wonder and one of world’s finest. What sets it apart is its patented AROMAT technology that elevates our handcrafted liquid to extraordinary heights.

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Nepalese Tycoon Binod Chaudhary who sold ‘WaiWai’ plans to list India unit by 2026

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The firm, boasting a 28% share in the local instant noodles market and generating an annual revenue of 8 billion rupees ($96.2 million), is in preliminary talks regarding its listing plans. The aims is to achieve a 15% revenue growth this year.”

Nepalese billionaire Binod Chaudhary, who made his fortune selling instant noodles, is seeking to list his conglomerate Chaudhary Group’s India food unit by 2026. The Gurgaon-based firm, known for its Wai Wai brand of noodles that rivals market leader Maggi from Nestle Ltd. and ITC Ltd.’s Yippee, “would be ready to go for a sizable listing” in the next two years after rolling out new products and acquiring smaller firms in the noodle-related industry, Manvendra Shukla, global chief executive officer at CG Foods India Pvt., said in an interview. He didn’t share any other details. The listing plans for the firm, which has a 28 per cent share in the local instant noodles market and an annual revenue of Rs 8 billion ($96.2 million), are still in the early stages of discussion, he added. It aims to grow its revenue by 15 per cent this year.

CG Foods India’s initial public offering plans follow a rush among foodmakers, including packaged food products maker Gopal Snacks Ltd. and animal protein maker Mukka Proteins Ltd., that have gone public in the past year. The sector has seen the second-highest number of IPOs in India in the past 12 months, data compiled by Bloomberg News show. The mini-IPO boom is being fueled by investors attracted to India’s relative political stability and its status as the fastest-growing major economy amid the slowing pace of expansion in China.

The noodle maker, however, is not rushing to list and plans to bolster its market share and product portfolio first. The company is also looking to buy smaller companies that make seasonings, dips or ketchups, Shukla said.

‘Not Replicated’ Chaudhary Group launched the Wai Wai noodle four decades ago in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, and has since grown to become India’s third-largest brand. Wai Wai is known for its preseasoned noodle — it comes with a layer of spice in addition to the seasoning pouches in the packet — which means it can also be munched on as a snack without cooking it. “We have something which is not replicated yet in the market,” Shukla said. CG Foods India currently has seven plants across the country, with Nepal and India contributing over 80 per cent to the group’s food sales. The firm expects to add production lines as volumes continue to grow in India where sales of snacks and soft drinks almost tripled over the past decade in India, exceeding 30 billion dollars. It launched two flavors last month, including a spicier variant called Dynamite, inspired by the Korean cuisine. More products are in the pipeline, including healthier noodle options, according to Shukla.

“It is a flavor battle,” he said.

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Summer Sizzles, Sales Rise, Indian Consumer Firms Gear Up

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Blue Star intensifies its product offerings with a plethora of new home air conditioner models, targeting a remarkable 25% revenue boost in the air conditioning segment, led by Managing Director B. Thiagarajan.

As temperatures soar across India, consumer goods companies are gearing up for what promises to be an exceptionally hot summer. With forecasts predicting an increase in heatwave days, reaching temperatures of at least 40 degrees Celsius in the plains, from April through June, businesses are seizing the opportunity to meet the rising demand for cooling solutions.

Blue Star, a leading appliances maker, has launched a myriad of new home air conditioner models to cater to the anticipated surge in demand. Managing Director B. Thiagarajan aims for a substantial 25% revenue growth from the air conditioning segment, a significant jump from last year’s 5%.

Similarly, renowned ice cream brand Baskin Robbins is rolling out 20 new products in India ahead of the scorching summer months.

Analysts foresee a substantial impact on consumer discretionary spending, particularly on products like air conditioners, fans, refrigerators, and cooling appliances. This surge in demand is expected to reflect robust growth numbers for the first quarter of the fiscal year for companies operating in this sector.

Traditionally, less than 10% of Indian households own air conditioners, but the combination of the hotter summer forecast and new product launches is expected to drive up this figure. Many first-time buyers are entering the market, driven by the desire for temperature-controlled comfort, particularly in light of the extreme temperatures experienced in various parts of the country.

Advertising expenditure is also on the rise, with companies like Blue Star and Baskin Robbins significantly increasing their budgets to capitalize on the heightened demand. Television and online advertising are key avenues for reaching consumers during this period.

Beyond manufacturers, delivery and service providers are also experiencing a surge in demand. Grocery delivery apps like Zepto, Swiggy, and Zomato’s Blinkit are witnessing increased orders for hydrating fruits, beverages, and ice creams as consumers seek relief from the heat.

With the summer months typically leading to increased beer consumption, breweries are gearing up for heightened production and distribution challenges. Carlsberg India’s Managing Director Nilesh Patel highlights the need for careful planning to meet the rising demand.

While the harsh weather may drive up vegetable prices and potentially curtail outdoor spending, analysts anticipate that consumers will continue to indulge in small luxuries like cold beverages and ice cream to find relief from the heat.

Overall, Indian consumer goods companies are bracing themselves for a lucrative summer season, with both manufacturers and service providers working tirelessly to meet the heightened demand for cooling products and refreshments.

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Aerospace parts maker JJG Aero raises $12 mn to hike capacity

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Bengaluru-based aerospace components manufacturer, JJG Aero, has secured USD 12 million (Rs100 crore) in inaugural funding from CX Partners which will be used primarily to increase its new facility’s manufacturing capacity, further vertical integration and other corporate initiatives.

Established in 2008, JJG Aero specializes in manufacturing build-to-print high-precision machined components, with in-house special process finishing capabilities. The funding comes at a time when the aerospace supply chain is facing all-time high demand from aircraft manufacturers, which legacy vendors in the Western world are struggling to meet. The global geopolitical issues, economic stability and Government support make India ideally placed to benefit from this deal.

The company has spent a decade in building best-in-class capabilities, processes, compliance standards, and customer relationships and obtaining requisite approvals and certifications, and we are now in the right place to grow rapidly. Anuj Jhunjhunwala, CEO, JJG Aero sees the company’s strengths and value proposition enabling them to emerge as a key player in the aerospace ecosystem. “India has emerged as an attractive destination for sourcing components and parts by global leaders and we are excited to be selected by so many marquee clients as a strategic growth vendor” says Jhunjhunwala. This investment will enable JJG Aero not only to continue on its growth path through capacity addition but also to upgrade the quality of earnings by focusing on higher value-added components.

Vivek Chhachhi, Managing Partner, CX Partners also notes that with its foray into the manufacture of aero-engine components, JJG Aero is well-positioned to capitalize on these opportunities and further solidify its presence in the market.

From simple 2-axis to complex 5-axis machining, JJG Aero offers a wide range of manufacturing services, complemented by over 30 NADCAP-approved special processes, including electroplating, anodizing, paint, and NDT. Moreover, the company provides assembly, testing, and other value-added services to its esteemed client base.

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Tesla eyes India market as Elon Musk makes bold AI prediction

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In a recent X Spaces session with Nicolai Tangen, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, Tesla CEO Elon Musk emphasized the importance of electric vehicles (EVs) in India, stating that it’s a natural progression for every country to embrace them. Musk highlighted India’s status as the most populous country globally and stressed that electric cars should be accessible to Indian consumers like they are in other parts of the world.

Musk’s comments coincide with Tesla’s intensified efforts to expand its presence in the Indian market. Sources reveal that the state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat have extended enticing land offers to Tesla for the establishment of a cutting-edge EV manufacturing plant. The proposed investment for this venture ranges between USD 2 billion to USD 3 billion, demonstrating Tesla’s commitment to both domestic and international markets.

This move aligns with India’s new EV policy, which aims to attract investments from global EV manufacturers and promote the adoption of advanced EV technology among Indian consumers. The policy emphasizes the importance of domestic value addition (DVA) and sets specific localization targets for manufacturers establishing operations in India.

To incentivize investment, the government has introduced measures such as customs duty exemptions and import quotas for EVs based on the level of investment made by manufacturers. These initiatives aim to position India as a preferred destination for EV manufacturing and contribute to the country’s Make in India initiative.

In anticipation of these developments, Tesla plans to dispatch a team of experts to explore suitable locations across India for the proposed manufacturing facility. Musk’s previous statement about visiting India in 2024 further underscores the company’s eagerness to enter the Indian market and collaborate with local stakeholders.

Tesla’s expansion into India represents a significant step forward in the global EV landscape and underscores the company’s commitment to sustainable transportation solutions. With India poised to become a key market for electric vehicles, Tesla’s entry is expected to drive innovation and accelerate the adoption of EVs in the country.

As the electric vehicle market continues to evolve, Tesla’s entry into India holds the potential to reshape the automotive industry and contribute to India’s transition towards a greener and more sustainable future.

Tesla’s entry into the Indian market not only signifies a pivotal moment for the country’s automotive industry but also presents an opportunity for Tesla to capitalize on India’s growing demand for electric vehicles. With the Indian government’s focus on promoting clean energy initiatives and reducing carbon emissions, Tesla’s electric vehicles align perfectly with India’s sustainable development goals.

Moreover, Tesla’s presence in India is expected to stimulate job creation and economic growth, particularly in the manufacturing sector. The establishment of a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant will not only provide employment opportunities for local residents but also foster the development of ancillary industries and supply chains.

In addition to manufacturing, Tesla’s entry into India is poised to catalyze advancements in EV infrastructure and technology. As Tesla vehicles become more accessible to Indian consumers, there will be a corresponding need for charging infrastructure and support services. This presents opportunities for collaboration with local businesses and government agencies to build a robust EV ecosystem.

Furthermore, Tesla’s entry into India could spur competition and innovation in the domestic automotive market, encouraging other manufacturers to invest in electric vehicle technology. This competition could lead to advancements in battery technology, vehicle performance, and affordability, ultimately benefiting consumers.

Overall, Tesla’s decision to establish a manufacturing presence in India reflects the country’s growing importance in the global automotive industry and underscores India’s potential as a key market for electric vehicles. As Tesla’s footprint expands across the country, its impact on India’s economy, environment, and technological landscape is expected to be profound.

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