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Every State to get one Smart City, says M.Venkaiah Naidu



By NewsGram Staff Writer

Every State in the country will get to develop at least one city as Smart City under the central government’s initiative of developing 100 smart cities, Minister of Urban Development, M.Venkaiah Naidu informed Rajya Sabha today.

“The Union Cabinet accorded approval for the Smart Cities Mission last week and guidelines for its implementation including the criteria for selection of cities are being finalised,” Naidu said. The Minister clarified that the process of selection of cities for developing them as smart cities will be initiated after the guidelines are issued to the States.

The Minister informed the House that Smart City aspirants will be selected based on a ‘City Challenge Competition.’ He said that the cities will be graded based on their revenues, expenditure, availability of infrastructure relating to transport, drinking water, solid waste management etc. Naidu emphasized the need for smart leadership and smart people to achieve the objectives of the Smart Cities Mission by undertaking the much needed urban reforms.

Elaborating on the benefits of India-US Cooperation in making Visakhapatnam, Allahabad and Ajmer as Smart Cities, Naidu said that that the US will extend technical support for preparing master plans for these three cities besides assisting in capacity building and undertaking feasibility studies etc. He clarified that there will be no financial support from the US. The United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) has signed MoU with the States of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in this regard.

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Nutrition Very Essential for Little Ones Development

Nutrition, important factor in your little one's development, whether physical or cognitive

Healthy kid
A balanced diet comprising carbohydrates, proteins and fat along with vitamins and minerals is essential for optimal growth. Pixabay

Nutrition is a key actor in your little one’s development, whether physical or cognitive, and can complement contributions from genetic and environmental – physical and psychosocial- factors.

A balanced diet comprising carbohydrates, proteins and fat along with vitamins and minerals is essential for optimal growth. Dr Suresh Birajdar, Neonatologist and Pediatrician at Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar lists certain key food items that could drive and support a child’s development.


Proteins are the key drivers of a child’s growth and development. They are also an important ingredient of antibodies – an infection fighting protein. In addition, the amino acids derived from proteins play a critical role in repair of tissues, synthesis of neurotransmitters as well as hormones. Proteins are obtained from plants as well as animal sources. Both sources are equally effective. Choices could be made from pulses, legumes, dairy products (milk/cheese or paneer), eggs and animal proteins.


Fats are very important for brain development. Polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids are healthier than saturated or trans fatty acids. Major sources of healthy fats are vegetable oil (soya/olive/sunflower) and fish oil. It is the right quantity as well the way oil is consumed that matters more than a brand or source. Oil used for deep frying is less likely to contribute to development than sprays or oil used for light cooking. In addition, wholegrains and other cereals have natural oils in their husks/brans that are very healthy.


Iron plays an important role in formation of hemoglobin. Deficiency of iron can result in anemia that in turn can alter learning and memory processes. Iron rich foods include vegetables such as spinach, peas, broccoli, nuts, raisins and legumes (chickpeas, lentils). The animal sources of iron include liver, salmon, eggs etc. A child needs to consume the correct portions of these sources to maximize absorption of iron from the stomach.


Iodine is a trace element essential for synthesis of thyroid hormone – an important hormone for brain development in infants. In addition, thyroid hormone also regulates protein synthesis. Naturally, iodine can be found in abundant quantities in a variety of seafoods. Dairy products also contain small proportions of iodine. However in countries like India where iodine deficiency is endemic, the best source of iodine is through regular consumption of iodized salt.

Also Read: Social Media: A Boon Amid Lockdown

Folic acid and B group of vitamins

B group of vitamins are required as cofactors for various metabolic processes and enzymes in the body. These processes help in overall growth as well as development in children. Folic acid is especially significant in pregnancy for fetal brain development. In addition, Folic acid is required for the synthesis of DNA in many cells. Also helps in prevention of certain anemia. Green leafy vegetables as well as fresh fruits such as oranges, apples etc are great sources of vitamins. Boiling and deep frying can result in significant loss of these vitamins. Therefore, fruit and vegetables are best eaten raw or lightly sauteed. Whole Grains with their husks are abundant in some B Group of vitamins. (IANS)

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A New World Post Coronavirus

As the world is shut indoors, here are some points to ponder about

Coronavirus has forced the materialistic minds to stay indoors and think of the harm done to the world in the past years. Pixabay


The entire world is struggling as the coronavirus struts around like a manic pigeon, threatening to send the world into recession and depression, as the Indian economy and world economies tremble. Struggling to contain the rogue virus, we are like novice boxers taking blows and punches as we stagger around dazed and uncertain.

Sooner or later this had to happen. Pull back and you will see fault-lines strewn across the world. Most of our leaders across the world are struggling. Policies are floundering. Religions, societies, education, industry and ideologies are standing around helplessly looking for guidance and support. At the core is a very deep and fundamental imbalance. Suddenly the world is back to the starting block. Almost.

The crisis reflects a malaise that has evolved with our active participation. Mankind has been in a mental lockdown for years now, ever since we stopped thinking about how we were exploiting our future. We continued to apply technology without applying our minds. The pace of change was so rapid that we just kept adjusting and reshaping to catch up with the neighbours.

The destruction of habitats, the disregard for family systems, disruption of community bonds, the ruthless disregard for the small, cottage and village industries has been enough to bring the world to its knees. Economic lockdown is our creation. The coronavirus only took advantage just as all viruses feed on a weak and compromised immune system.

It is time to reset and recalibrate. This is the time to get back to the basics and look at our options without bias or prejudice. Every economy will have its own peculiar symptoms and they will need to be put in perspective. In India, the tragedy and reaction of the migrant labour to head back en masse to their villages during the economic crisis must galvanise us to think again.

Their exodus and desperation to move back to the villages must alert us to the insecurity and insensitivity that exists, perhaps not only for them but for most people, except the ultra rich. There is insecurity and concern all around. Economic revival needs manpower and it needs the assurance of demand for businesses to take the financial risk to get back on their feet. The problem is that both manpower and demand are disappearing, a bit like elephants headed for their final resting ground.

There is emerging concern that the contours of demand may already have changed dramatically. It may not be just a weakening of the demand quantum. Demand may no more be a simple replication of the consumer preferences that existed just a few months ago. We do not know if consumers will remain the same. Maybe they will trade down on quality or perhaps emerge with a completely new mindset.

Establishing a new world order in the times of corona will not be an easy task. Pixabay

There is little doubt that as income generation slows down or stops in weakening and locked down economies, not only for migrant workers but also for the educated professional and youth, there will be serious disruption in buying behaviour and spending patterns.

As younger generations experience the hardships of the post independence generations, the settled classifications of consumer behaviour that marketing models have silently relied on could undergo dramatic changes. Consumers might move from conspicuous spending to a saving lockdown or they may become just a bit more risk averse.

Will they aggressively look for more value addition, or will they simply demand more value for money. Business and marketing experts are wondering how the values, priorities, lifestyles could change. Maybe, enhanced sensitivity to waste and environmental degradation will focus preferences for sustainability and long-term value. Perhaps this will be a turning point that marks a reversal of the trend towards nuclear families and starts a slide back to the joint family concept of social existence.

There could be many other possibilities and none of these can be ruled out. The future is going to be challenging for psychologists and other experts in behaviour and consumer insights, as they try to demystify the consumer of the new world.

What will this brave new world look like. Much depends, of course, on the path that policy makers set us on as we begin to recalibrate the economic models, at least in India. It is like standing at the starting block, trying to anticipate the marker’s pistol shot, waiting for the race to begin. There are some indicators that India is considering a model of self-reliance. If that is so, perhaps we could find some clues in the thinking and experiences of Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi who have explored similar economics.

Swami Vivekananda believed that the greatest sin is in the neglect of the masses and they need to be well educated, well fed and well cared for. He said that we need people who have courage, vigour and fearlessness which is possible only if we have faith in ourselves. There can be little argument with that. The problem today is whether we have that faith in ourselves, to find an economic solution when we do not have the resources.

Defining progress in the times of corona will be challenging. Pixabay

Gandhi’s economic views were humanitarian. He advocated cottage industries including handloom, handicraft and sericulture to help combat joblessness, containment of wants and the integration of society. He was wary of technology-induced unemployment and stressed khadi and the charkha effectively to make his point. He emphasised plain living and cutting down on wants.

However, given the fundamental human instincts, this was perhaps too idealistic and untenable as a sustainable model, and was in conflict with the generally accepted economic models of consumer behaviour. These models have understood that the consumer behaviour cannot be static or limited. He inherently gravitates towards multiplication of wants and keeps moving to the next higher level of consumption and satisfaction.

Dr. J.D. Singh, international marketing consultant and former Professor at IIM Bangalore believes that while consumer behaviour is complex, there are some basics that are not likely to change.

He said: “On a macro level, individuals are hardwired to feel and be seen better than others. The demonstration effect is well established and is a fundamental concept in socio economic modelling. It refers to the tendency of people to imitate the consumption patterns of neighbours better off than them even if they do not have the purchasing power themselves.”

An ardent advocate of responsible marketing, Dr. J.D. Singh believes: “Marketing is more about establishing trust to generate demand rather than pushing demand. Therefore, we cannot take the consumer for granted. A human being has the power to think and is like a black box. You can keep him locked down for sometime but sooner or later he will break out and explore new grounds with curiosity and anticipation.”

That is really what progress is all about.

Modern management and economic culture are not much different in essence. Business builds on an understanding of human behaviour and continuously makes efforts to understand how the consumers’ expectation, needs and ambition are likely to be interacting within the black box of the human mind and creating demand. If an economy has to grow, it needs the demand to be strong and predictable. If we want to progress as a society, we will need to encourage innovation and curiosity for the unknown.

This cannot happen if we remove the competitive triggers and motivators that are essential for people to set their targets and to stretch their capabilities. The difference and the solution to this problem will depend on the route that we take to become self reliant. The time has come, perhaps, to consider the CSV model more closely as the underlying business philosophy for the industry.

Creating Shared Value or CSV is not to be confused with CSR that is an artificial add-on and is often an unconnected responsibility that can become a liability for the business. The concept of Creating Shared Value was developed some years ago by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer at Harvard University as a pragmatic business philosophy.

It was accepted and adopted by Nestle S.A and the then Chairman Peter Brabeck had stressed CSV as the company’s approach to business worldwide. The strength of this concept is that it underpins business strategy to create value for its shareholders while at the same time creating value for society, particularly for the community in which the company operates. The concept demands focus on environmental sustainability and is required to be embedded in each stage of the value chain.

When strategy is guided by the identified objective of creating shared value, the business plans will be structured accordingly to allow it to leverage its expertise and resources effectively. Identifying what is most significant for the communities where it operates and matching it with its own expertise will enable businesses to create shared value.

This is perhaps the middle path that we need to champion with an open mind, courage and conviction, to enable businesses to prosper while contributing to social solutions. As businesses and communities join hands to work together, they can create value efficiently in almost every area including improved quality, safety, reduction of wastage, conservation of resources, embed sustainability and efficiency in the supply chain and above all enhance loyalty and trust.

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Reconstruction of the Indian economy will not be an easy matter. It will require knowledge, understanding of economics, expertise, planning, administrative acumen and the ability to implement effectively. CSV may well be the bridge that we require between economic policy and business confidence. It can leverage business resources and experience very efficiently to accelerate the happiness index in society. It may stabilise the imbalance that currently haunts the core of industry and the economy. (IANS)

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Safer Infrastructure Conducive to Wellness Industry Post-Lockdown

Backlash suffered by Wellness industry to be reversed by safer infrastructure

Wellness Industry to commit to safer Infrastruture post pandemic. Pixabay


With the global COVID-19 pandemic scourging across the nation and our daily lives, we have to cut down on a lot of things. One of the main activities taking a hit is our grooming and wellness regimen. The salons, spas, barber shops, parlours, clinics are under the lens of social distancing norms, as consumers our regular visit to cater to our grooming and wellness requirements have taken a halt.

From an industry angle, the beauty and wellness segment is currently serving livelihoods of 70 lakh employees. Manpower costs being around 40% of revenues and rent being 15-20%, and zero revenue for the sixty days of lockdown, have caused distress among owners and employees. The extended lockdown will lead to large scale unemployment and significant disruption given the high proportion of migrants, say industry experts.

Adding, only safe infrastructure can assure safe processes and protocols. Safety of physical infrastructure of the salon, parlour, clinic being the first pillar, it is imperative to have the stated standards of safety and hygiene before moving to the other pillars of personnel and clientele.

A delegation of representatives of Beauty and Wellness enterprises – barber shops, beauty parlours, salons, spas, clinics recently participated in a video conference with Union MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari to highlight the plight of the industry and seek a lifeline for the 70 lakh professionals, 2/3rds women, mostly belonging to lower socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Participants in the conference represented by the likes of Online Wellness, YLG Salon, Enrich Salon, Lakme Salon, Kaya, Looks Salon, Hakim’s Aalim, BBlunt, JCB Salons, Envi Salon, VLCC, Kapil’s Salons, Juice, Bodycraft, Headmasters, AN John Salons, Naturals, Green Trends, Head Turners, Cleopatra, Vipul Chudasama Salon, Studio Profile, Beyond the Fringe and other micro and small enterprises across the country.

The representatives, requested the authorities that Beauty and Wellness enterprises -barber shops, salons, spas and clinics – should be allowed to operate with strict compliance with the health & safety guidelines issued by the Beauty & Wellness Sector Skills Council, under advise from Corona critical care unit of AIIMS and Ministry of Skill Development.

Wellness industry suffered a backlash, needs safe Infra post-lockdown. Pixabay

The MHA should mandate stringent compliance of the guidelines across the four verticals:

Safe usage of Infrastructure facility

Safety of Administrative personnel

Safety of Clientele

Safety of Service providers

Other key relief measures the representatives sought from the minister than easing the lockdown norms included health cover for employees upto 5 lakh, and life cover upto 25 lakh, extension of GST payment and auto renewal of licensing after 12 months and measures to address the dire need to cover the liquidity crunch.

Responding to the situation, Pushkaraj Shenai, CEO, Lakme Salon said, “We have made significant investments in strong safety protocols delivered by high quality hygiene products. We have used the lockdown period to digitally train our team – right from the housekeeping staff and experts to salon managers, office teams and business partners – in these new methods to ensure complete adherence to protocols. Our 4,500 team members have also attended a cumulative 300,000 plus hours of high-quality education during the lockdown to enhance their skill and execute the highest standards of hygiene and safety. Rigorous hygiene protocols and high-quality products have always been top priorities for us at Lakme Salon. In the new normal, the safety of our team and customers is the key focus area.”

In collaboration with experts and medical professionals, the Lakme Salon team has reengineered the customer experience journey across all touchpoints and developed stringent operating guidelines to ensure the highest levels of safety and hygiene for customers and staff.

Also Read: 5 Ways to Make Your Business Withstand Impending Global Crisis

The key themes are:

Rigorous and continuous screening of salon teams and customers with the Aarogya Setu app. Clients in high risk groups will be advised not to get treatments.

Strict social distancing through 50% staff strength and limited pre-booked appointments.

Daily deep cleaning and regular disinfection of every touchpoint throughout the day with a biosurfactant cleaner

Protective gear – masks, gloves, visors – for the team

Single-use kits for 90% of services

Revised processes for skin, hair and make-up services to reduce touch

Biodegradable disposables

Sterilisation of tools and equipment after every use

Contactless billing and payments

Contactless home delivery for post care products (IANS)