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THE IMPORTANCE OF RIGHTS OF THE NATION

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As we celebrate 75 years of Independence, it is a high time to introspect and contemplate about the gains and losses we made in past this much of years. We got Independence after a long struggle on August 15, 1947. On this day, a new Independent state came into existence. On January 26, 1950, the Constitution of India was implemented, which begins with the Preamble’. The Preamble indicates the mission and vision of the Constitution. The Preamble begins with “We the People of India” followed by “Sovereignty, Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”. All of these goals are the collective responsibility of every citizen of this nation.

Here sovereignty and fraternity is related to the rights of the nation and rest with the rights of the citizens. Unfortunately, the concept of nation has not received appropriate attention within the existing constitutional scheme. In fact, in the entire Constitution, the term nation’ has hardly been mentioned at one or two places, only under the chapter of Fundamental Duties. Article 1 of the Constitution begins with – India i.e. Bharat shall be a union of States. For majority of the people, there is no difference between India and Bharat, but in reality there is a big difference. India is a political entity comprising territories and citizens but Bharat is one of the most ancient cultural civilizations. India is defined according to the modern theories of political science, but the meaning of Bahrat remained undiscussed in postIndependent India. Bharat is one of those rarest nations whose geography naturally defines its territory.

According to Puranas, from the Himalayan range in north to the Indian Ocean in south, the entire region was the land of Bharat. Before 1857, the area of Bharat was somewhere around 1 crore sq km which is now hardly 33 lakh sq km. Bharat Mata means a living entity having all the rights of a natural person. Like any other person, Bharat Mata has the right to dignity, sovereignty and integrity and it is the responsibility of every Bhartiya to protect her rights even at the cost of their own life. Bharat mata has some distinguished rights – like right to territorial sovereignty, ecological sovereignty, cultural sovereignty and spiritual sovereignty.

Here the meaning of territorial sovereignty is any attempt to alter the territorial boundaries should be discouraged and defended by the people of this country with best of their ability. This right of motherland is non compromisable. Our land has been dived 24 times in the last 2500 years, which proves that we could not successfully defend the territorial sovereignty of this country. The idea of ecological sovereignty is deeply ingrained in Indian society in connivance with spiritual sovereignty. The Bhartiya culture is fundamentally eco-centric. Bhartiya darshan always believed in the deep alliance of human being with nature and considered itself as the trustee, and not the owner of the same. The philosophy of non-duality removes the difference among the different creation of supreme divine whether inanimate or animate.

Through the spiritual richness of this nation, we kept our ecology balanced for thousands of years and also provided a safe ecosystem to all components of nature, including the five elements of universe or ‘Panch Mahabhoots’, i.e., Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Bhartiya culture does not believe in exploitation of nature but under the influence of globalisation we are compromising with the cultural and ecological sovereignty of this nation and leaving behind our richest cultural and spiritual heritage, which is the constant source of our existence in all odds. As we mark the 76th Indpendence Day, we need to analyse how much we are concerned about our nation’s rights. There are several good reasons for celebrations. We are now the fifth largest economy of the world, there is a considerable hike in per capita income and we are among the most powerful nations in the world. But there is more to inspect, to think and to analyse. It is a reality that our total forest cover is now only 21.71 per cent though it should at least be 33 per cent of the total area. In coming years, we are going to be the most populated country leaving behind China, which is going to cause immense pressure on our natural resources.

We are the third most polluted country in the world. We are under serious ecological threat. Around 10,000 species of plants and a few hundred animal species are under severe threat due to the violation o f e c o l o g i c a l sovereignty of the nation. Air pollution was responsible for 16.7 lakh deaths in India in 2019, or 17.8 per cent of all deaths in the country that year. According to a report by World Meteorological Organization (WMO), natural disasters, such as cyclones, floods and droughts, cost India around $87 billion in 2020. Air pollution cost Indian businesses about $95 billion or Rs 7 lakh crore every fiscal. There are around 76 active terrorist organisations operating in India. Our border areas are constantly receiving direct or indirect threats; divisive voices are rising from within the nation. These data reveals that we have heavily compromised with the cultural, ecological, spiritual and territorial sovereignty of our nation. All these data indicate that the threats faced by the nation is actually damaging each of us. All these threats are challenging not only our right to life but also to our cultural, ecological and territorial existence. Our Constitution and our courts are very much concerned about the protection of the rights of the citizens. Under Articles 32 and 226 on the violation of the fundamental rights, immediate relief can be claimed before the Supreme Court or any high court. But what about the rights of the nation? They have not been properly recognised by us.

In fact, in many cases of conflicts between the rights of the nation and the rights of the citizens, the latter’s rights prevail. In a very recent observation, the Supreme Court suspended the sedition law. The right to freedom of speech and expression of the citizens is many times protected in violation of the restriction of Article 19(2) which is also a constitutional mandate. Eve n a f t e r 7 5 ye a r s o f Independence ‘Rajdroha’ is not recognised in the form of a separate offence, though it directly violates the right of the nation. Many a times courts are mixing rights of refugees and rights of intruders and illegal migrants and passing such orders which are adversely affecting the rights of the nation. Perhaps we don’t have the realisation that without protecting the rights of the nation, rights of the citizens cannot be protected. In few recent judgments of high courts some ray of hope could be seen, as the courts gave recognition to the ecological right of the nation when they recognised the rights of rivers, birds and animals. In 2017, the Uttarakhand High Court (UHC) had ruled that rivers Ganga and Yamuna, the Gangotri and Yamunotri glaciers, as well as other related natural elements are ‘legal persons’ with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person. And more recently, the Punjab and Haryana High Court declared the entire animal kingdom, including avian and aquatic, as legal entities having a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.

In both the judgments, the ecological and environmental sovereignty of the nation were indirectly recognised. All these discussions conclude that we are very indifferent with the importance of the rights of the nation. The importance can be understood from those who are stateless and known as illegal migrants or intruders. We still don’t realise that we cannot exist without the existence of our nation. This is not the responsibility of the armed forces and the government only to protect the rights of the motherland. This should be our collective responsibility. It is high time for the government/s and judiciary to recognise the rights of the nation and to give them supreme priority. Governments should be responsible to citizens, but every citizen must also be responsible to the nation.

We cannot survive as a powerful citizen unless the rights of the nation are protected. So let’s take a pledge to save our nation, to save its values, its sovereignty and its culture. Let’s take a pledge that we will not destroy what we have not created on our motherland… we will save this divine motherland at all cost raising above our petty interests. Let’s rise together to protect the territorial, cultural, ecological and spiritual sovereignty of the nation to save our existence and to save the future of the coming generations.

(Dr Seema Singh is Assistant Professor, Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi. The views expressed are personal)

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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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Air India, BIAL Partner to Create South India’s Top Aviation Hub

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Air India and Tata Group airlines will partner with BIAL to improve airport services and connectivity at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport, including setting up an exclusive lounge for premium passengers.

Air India and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) have entered into an agreement aimed at bolstering Bengaluru’s status as a premier aviation hub for southern India. The collaboration seeks to enhance air travel connectivity to and from India over the next five years.

Under the agreement, Air India, along with other Tata Group airlines such as AIX and Vistara, will work closely with BIAL to improve international connectivity, operational efficiency, and passenger experience at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (KIAB or BLR airport). This includes plans to strengthen the group’s presence at the airport and establish a dedicated domestic lounge for premium and frequent travelers of Tata Group airlines.

Furthermore, Air India has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Government of Karnataka to develop maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facilities at the Bengaluru airport. This partnership aims to stimulate the MRO ecosystem and create over 1,200 new job opportunities in the state.

Campbell Wilson, CEO and MD of Air India, emphasized the importance of airline-airport synergy in enhancing customer experience and operational efficiency. He expressed enthusiasm for strengthening Air India’s relationship with BIAL and expanding its presence at the airport, as well as establishing a major MRO center.

Hari Marar, MD and CEO of Bangalore International Airport Limited, highlighted the BLR airport’s commitment to becoming the international gateway in Southern and Central India. He stated that the collaboration with Air India aligns with the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s vision of developing Indian airports as hubs and aims to enhance the passenger experience. Marar also expressed ambitions to capture a significant share of long-haul routes from Bengaluru Airport over the next five years.

In related news, Air India announced the appointment of Jayaraj Shanmugam as its Head of Global Airport Operations, effective April 15. Shanmugam, who previously served as the chief operating officer (COO) at BIAL, brings extensive experience to his new role.

The collaboration between Air India and BIAL represents a significant milestone in the transformation of Bengaluru into a key aviation hub in the region. By leveraging each other’s strengths and resources, the partnership aims to not only enhance air connectivity but also contribute to the economic growth of Karnataka by generating job opportunities through the establishment of MRO facilities.

Jayaraj Shanmugam’s appointment as the Head of Global Airport Operations further solidifies Air India’s commitment to optimizing its airport operations and providing a seamless travel experience for passengers. His extensive experience in airport management, coupled with his previous role at BIAL, positions him well to drive operational excellence and efficiency within the airline.

As the aviation industry continues to evolve, alliances between airlines and airports are becoming increasingly vital to meet the growing demands of travelers and enhance overall competitiveness. The strategic collaboration between Air India and BIAL sets a precedent for future partnerships in the aviation sector, emphasizing the importance of cooperation and synergy to achieve common goals.

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March sees strong growth in Indian pharma market, up by 9.5%

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The Indian pharmaceutical market (IPM) experienced a notable 9.5 percent increase in sales in March, reflecting robust value growth across various therapy segments, except for respiratory. According to data from research firm Pharmarack, all therapies demonstrated positive value growth, contributing to the overall expansion of the market.

Sheetal Sapale, Vice President-Commercial at Pharmarack, noted that while many pharmaceutical companies showed double-digit value growth, unit growth remained a challenge. The growth in sales during March was primarily driven by value growth and new introductions, particularly in the anti-diabetic segment.

Several factors contributed to the uptick in sales, including new product introductions and patent expiries. For instance, there were multiple launches in the hematinic market following the loss of exclusivity rights for iron supplement Orofer FCM in October 2023. Additionally, patent expiries for drugs like Linagliptin and Dulaglutide further fueled competition in the anti-diabetic segment.

In March, Alkem emerged as one of the few companies reporting positive unit and value growth, with a 15.1 percent increase in value and an 11.3 percent increase in units sold. Other key players such as Cadilla, Fourrts, and Natco Pharma also witnessed double-digit value and unit growth during the month.

The top-selling medicine brands in March included Glaxo Smith Kline’s Augmentin and USV’s Glycomet GP, with Augmentin achieving sales of Rs 73 crore. Despite facing challenges in unit growth, Augmentin reported a 10 percent increase in value sales. Mankind’s Manforce condom brand retained its position as the third top-selling brand, despite negative unit and value growth.

Cipla’s Foracort inhaler maintained its fourth position in the respiratory segment, with sales totaling Rs 50 crore. Abbott’s Type 2 diabetes/weight management drug Rybelsus demonstrated remarkable growth, with a double-digit value growth rate of 7 percent and a staggering 75 percent increase in units sold in March.

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