Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
As India’s iconic Hero Cycles makes inroads into the UK and European markets with the launch of 75 bikes under its new “Insync” brand, the worlds biggest bicycle manufacturer aims to grow by over 60 per cent over the next four years, says Sreeram Venkateswaran, head of the companys UK operations.
He said that from a $800-850 million company (across all its businesses, including automotive), it is poised to become $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion company by 2022, with Europe and bicycles being an “extremely important component” of that growth story.
Sreeram told IANS in an interview that with the launch of the Insync brand, the company not only aims to penetrate the mid-premium segment of the European market but also transform the way it caters to the Indian market.
In 2015, Hero Cycles had acquired the UK’s Avocet Sports to expand its footprint into Europe and Sreeram was appointed Avocet CEO. Last year, the company opened a global design centre in Manchester to design bicycles of global standards. The 75 new cycles are the first of the lot designed at the $2.7 million Hero Cycles Global Design Centre.
Sreeram said it was natural for Hero Cycles to “get out of the well called India” if it had to transform itself into a strong global player from “value perspective” from being one of the largest manufacturers from a “volume perspective”.
“Just from the figures perspective, India does about 17 million bicycles a year and the total value is $1 billion. UK does about 2.75 million bicycles a year and the business is worth about $2 billion to $2.1 billion. Europe does about 21 million bicycles and the business is about $12 billion,” he said.
At the same time, the company’s Europe and UK plans are in sync with its growth plans in India, Sreeram said.
With India’s medium- to high-end cycling segment growing at about 25-27 per cent over the last one-and-a-half years, Hero Cycles plans to optimise the Insync brand models for the Indian market and then take them back home.
“Also, having the ownership of Firefox in India, which is clearly the market leader in the mid to high-end bikes, we are well poised to garner a disproportionate share of the growth as the market starts to grow,” he said.
Sreeram said the UK operations would not only go a long way to help the company grow at a robust pace but would also transform the way it caters to the Indian market.
“UK happens to be in a very nice cusp of market development. It’s about three to four years behind mainland Europe and it’s about three to four or five ahead of the Indian development cycle.
“What it does from a business perspective is that while usually a bike range has shelf life of one year, a facility in Manchester gives me an opportunity to extend that shelf life to three to four years,” Sreeram said.
“So any investment I make into design and development of bicycles here in this facility has actually four times the value that can be extracted compared to any other company which is solely based out of Europe or the UK and selling only in this market. That’s a huge advantage,” Sreeram said.
The facility in the UK and designing bikes for the European market make it necessary for the company to also keep updating the design and manufacturing team back home in India to bring it at par with what is required by a European customer, he added.
“So they start looking at quality from not what a guy in Latur would want but as what a guy in Luxemburg will want. That’s the difference we have to create even from a quality perspective.
“These are the kinds of things that are slowly getting imbibed in the entire manufacturing chain which makes us a much more robust and stronger company,” he added. (IANS)
Canada-based online magazine that covers alternate politics unveiled its annual calendar dedicated to the year-long farmers' protest in India, organisers said on Monday.
Dedicated to the year-long farmers' protest in India, the 2022 calendar released in Surrey bears important dates related to the struggle that eventually compelled the government to roll back three farm laws that prompted the agitation.
The event began with a moment of silence for more than 700 farmers who had laid down their lives during the movement, besides dozens of workers who died in a recent coal mine disaster in Russia.
Follow NewsGram on Instagram to keep yourself updated.
The unveiling ceremony was held amidst the presence of well-known community activists who have been raising their voices for Indian farmers for the past one year. The calendar has been designed by Vipin Kapoor.
Among the elected officials who spoke on the occasion were Surrey-Newton MP Sukh Dhaliwal and Surrey -Greentimbers MLA Rachna Singh, besides former Burnaby School Trustee Baljinder Kaur Narang.
At least two scholars Harsharan Singh Punia and Raghbir Singh Sirjana shed the light on the background of the farmer agitation.Unsplash
Also read: SC on Protests against the farmers' law
Prominent Punjabi poet Amrit Diwana recited a poem dedicated to the famers before the speakers were invited on the dais. Media personality Noni Kaur sung a song as a tribute to the protest.
At least two scholars Harsharan Singh Punia and Raghbir Singh Sirjana shed the light on the background of the farmer agitation. Those present included prominent painter Jarnail Singh and a movie actor B.K.S. Rakhra.
Keywords: Farmer's Protest, One year, canada, one year
By Robinder Nath Sachdev & Dr. Anand Kumar Agnihotri
The title of this column today is inspired by the title of a piece that your author wrote way back in 2007, when the US-India civil nuclear deal was being negotiated. Therein I had argued that the US-India nuclear deal was not only about energy -- but that rather it was more a deal about "Atoms of Peace and Trust" between the United States and India.
Once the deal was done, there was a quantum jump in mutual trust between the two countries - and it marks a historic milestone of a hockey-stick curve upswing in US-India relations. Now, we are in 2021, and I invite you dear reader, to join me in a 5-minute read below, and let us sow seeds of hope and trust between India and Afghanistan.
Follow NewsGram on Twitter to stay updated about the World news.
The children and people of Afghanistan are in midst of harshest conditions of hunger. According to reports, 95 per cent of the people in Afghanistan do not have enough food, and more than half of Afghanistan's 39 million people are "marching to starvation". With winter approaching, this onslaught will exact a cruel toll of human life in Afghanistan.
The world community must do its utmost to alleviate this hunger. While it is separately tackling the wider socio-economic-politico-security challenges of Afghanistan.
It is laudable that the Indian government, recognizing the gravity of the humanitarian crisis, and in empathy and sympathy with the children and people of a proud and war-torn nation, has offered to immediately donate 50,000 tonnes of wheat-grains to Afghanistan.
Seeds of hope and trust
In above backdrop, the think tank Imagindia Institute, and the Lemonade Party, a global motivational movement with a motto to make lemonade when life gives you lemons, are urging that India could execute a masterstroke of innovation in food security for Afghanistan -- by doing just a tad little more than what it is already planning.
The suggestion is, India must add a block of 1,000 tonnes of "Seeds of Hope and Trust", in addition to the 50,000 tonnes of wheat-grains that will be sent to Afghanistan. This extra 1,000 tonnes would be wheat-seeds that our Afghan brothers and sisters can sow, and keep reaping the benefits for several years.
Let us unpack the nuances and value of such a gift, below.
A gift that keeps giving -- seeds of hope and trust
While the 50,000 tonnes of wheat-grains from India that reach Afghanistan will be consumed within weeks or months, the additional 1,000 tonnes of the seeds of hope and trust will be a gift to the Afghan people that will keep producing about 30,000 tonnes of wheat-grains, year on year.
Within 9 months of sowing, under Afghan conditions, the 1,000 tonnes of the wheat-seeds will produce a first crop of about 30,000 tonnes of wheat-grains. Out of these 30,000 tonnes, 1,000 tonnes would be kept aside as wheat-seeds to sow the next crop, and the balance 29,000 tonnes can be consumed.
Also read: India hosting Taliban welcome meet
This cycle can be repeated every year, and will provide 29,000 tonnes of wheat-grains per year, for the next 4 years at least.
The returns will be manifold for both Afghanistan and India.
1. Will add to the food security of Afghanistan, on a year-on-year sustainable basis.
2. India will earn ongoing goodwill of Afghan people, every year, at harvest time.
3. and, will bring worldwide respect for India's innovation in agricultural practices and diplomacy to solve challenges of world hunger.
Talk of a gift that keeps giving! Also, reminds of the old adage -- don't just give fish, but teach how to fish. Here below is how this can be done, and done well.
The calculus of wheat in Afghanistan
The Lemonade Party has done research to evaluate the technical pragmatism of our call to send seeds of hope and trust to Afghanistan, as a piggy-back to the donation of wheat-grains.
Your column of today, has discussed with some of the world's top experts in agriculture, soil sciences, wheat varieties, and with field experiences in Afghanistan, to arrive at a conclusion that should be able deliver on the promise as set out in this column.
India does already have some wheat-seed varieties that could be suitable for the rugged environs of Afghanistan, including a variety that has been specifically developed for the highland, cold regions of Afghanistan. Therefore, we have identified a most appropriate seed variety for this initiative of seeds of hope and trust.
As compared to India, where one crop of wheat is harvested in about 6 months (and in balance 6 months of the year, 2-3 other crops are harvested from the same farmland), in Afghanistan the wheat crop cycle takes about 9 months (and in balance 3 months of the year farmers may, or may not, grow some local, seasonal produce). In highland cold regions of Afghanistan, wheat is sown in the months of October-November, and it remains under snow till February. The buried seedlings start growing once the snow melts, and the crop is harvested in April to June.
Thus, 1,000 tonnes of the wheat-seeds would yield about 30,000 tonnes of wheat-grains, every year in Afghanistan.Unsplash
In usual Indian conditions, one kilogram of wheat-seeds produce about 55 kg of wheat-grains. Accounting for Afghanistan conditions, and highland cold regions, the yield of the wheat-seeds chosen for this exercise is expected to be about 30 kilograms of wheat-grains, for every kilogram of wheat-seeds. Thus, 1,000 tonnes of the wheat-seeds would yield about 30,000 tonnes of wheat-grains, every year in Afghanistan.
Another reason for low productivity in Afghanistan, other than soil conditions, is that they use very little fertilizers in farming on account of non-availability, and many fertilizer chemicals are banned there. Fertilizer chemicals are banned because these can be used to make explosives, IEDs, and such. In absence of fertilizers, crops in Afghanistan yield a low productivity.
Thus, a recap - as mentioned earlier, the 1,000 tonnes of wheat-seeds will produce a crop of 30,000 tonnes of wheat-grains every year in Afghanistan. Out of the 30,000 tonnes produce, 1,000 tonnes would be kept aside every year, to be used as seeds for the next sowing season. Therefore, 29,000 tonnes of wheat-grains will available for consumption, every year.
Delivering a caravan of seeds of hope and trust to Afghanistan
India has donated wheat-grains to Afghanistan in past years also -- but that was via the cumbersome sea-route. Last year, India donated 75,000 tonnes of wheat-grains which were sent via the sea route from Kandla port in India to the Chabahar port in Iran, and then trucking from Chabahar to the Iran-Afghanistan border in the remote south-east province of Nimroz in Afghanistan.
However, this time round, India is proposing to instead deliver the shipment of 50,000 tonnes of wheat-grains via the shorter land route, a mere 650 km to Afghanistan border from the Attari-Wagah border, via Pakistan.
Permissions from Pakistan to send this humanitarian aid to Afghanistan are of course key to implement the delivery. Given the state of India-Pakistan relations, Pakistan has been trying to ignore, stone-wall this delivery. However, a range of diplomatic and geopolitical efforts are at play, and given the humanitarian urgency there is a decent chance that Pakistan will acquiesce -- with some usual conditions of international customs, and cross-border travel.
Last week, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in talks with Taliban leaders in Islamabad, is reported to have told them that if they request for the Indian shipment to be allowed to transit Pakistan, then Pakistan may consider to help its Afghan neighbours.
Now, to carry these 50,000 tonnes, it would need about 5,000 trucks (say, more or less) to start rolling their wheels from Attari-Wagah, travel across Pakistan, and reach Afghanistan.
An extra 1,000 tonnes of seeds of hope and trust, will mean only an additional 100 trucks, that could easily be part of this caravan. Thus, instead of 5,000 trucks, it shall be 5,100 trucks. With a massive exercise planned out with 5,000 trucks -- what is an additional 100 trucks?
It is time for India to send seeds of hope and trust to Afghanistan.
Keywords: India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Hunger, Iran
Reports of Covid-19's Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) have thrown a spanner in the works for many UAE holidaymakers planning a trip home to India this winter.
Travel agents here told IANS that UAE expatriates are now reconsidering their travel plans abroad during the upcoming National Day and winter holidays due to fears over the Omicron virus. "Starting this weekend, enquiries have dipped suddenly. We even had a few cancellations this morning owing to the fears," said Adeel S., a travel operator in Dubai's Deira district while explaining how until last week bookings at his small shop were happening in "full swing".
Follow NewsGram on LinkedIn to know what's happening around the world.
Sharjah-based travel agent Md. Jamal said he had received at least a dozen calls until Sunday evening from residents and visitors enquiring about travel restrictions.
"Many, a majority from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, have been asking whether about flights. We are yet to hear from authorities so it is business as usual for us but I have been asking travellers to exercise caution and discretion while planning trips. That's been the case anyway during these testing times of Covid," he said.
Meanwhile resident expats say they are now unsure of their immediate travel plans.
"I was planning to go visit my hometown this winter and then get my dad along after a month. Now I am not feeling that confident anymore of doing the same," said Vikram Choudhury, a Dubai-based banker who was scheduled to fly to Kolkata within weeks on annual leave.
Meanwhile, travellers headed to Kerala from the UAE will not be required to undergo mandatory quarantine for seven days.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George announced on Saturday that Kerala has adopted several preventive measures to combat the spread of Covid-19's Omicron variant. As part of those steps, Kerala will impose mandatory quarantine and other stringent travel protocols only on travellers arriving from countries designated to be "at risk" by the Indian government. European countries, including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel are the countries currently on India's red list.
According to the most recent Indian guidelines, issued on Friday, all passengers travelling to India will still have to undergo an RT-PCR test 72 hours before flying and are required to upload it on the Air Suvidha portal.
UAE nationals, diplomatic missions, official delegations between UAEUnsplash
Also read: World health Organisation Adds
Meanwhile, Indian airlines in the UAE say they are yet to receive any intimation from the Indian government regarding updated quarantine regulations.
From mid-November to early January, ticket prices from UAE to Kerala have been sky high, especially for travel dates around Christmas and the New Year.
The UAE late Friday night announced the suspension of entry for travellers and transit passengers from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, effective from Monday, November 29.
UAE nationals, diplomatic missions, official delegations between UAE and the seven countries and golden residence holders are the only exceptions to this rule.
Keywords: UAE, UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Israel, new covid variant