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MNCs find Yoga Guru Ramdev’s ‘multinationals dangerous’ campaign a ‘gimmick’

Patanjali, whose turnover was not officially known being a private, unlisted enterprise, recently said its income during 2015-16 was Rs 5,000 crore, with a target of Rs 10,000 crore in 2016

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Baba Ramdev and PM Narendra Modi. Wikimedia
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New Delhi, August 16, 2016: While on one hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is promoting ‘Make in India’ and actively seeking foreign investments, on the other hand, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev is openly attacking multinationals, calling their products “dangerous” in a concerted ad campaign.

MNCs are terming the campaign a marketing gimmick, but they can’t entirely ignore it either, as Ramdev’s consumer products empire is rapidly growing and challenging their bottom lines.

At stake is a piece of the $40 billion processed food industry, growing annually at 11 percent per year. Stakeholders hope the government will eventually crack down on the “misleading” advertisements of the Baba Ramdev-led Patanjali, whose top brass is considered close to the powers that be.

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“We live in a democratic nation, where the consumer is king. The consumers decide what is good and what is bad for them,” said Sagar Kurade, President, All India Food Processors’ Association (AIFPA), reacting to the advertisements.

“This country has a policy in place where any multinational company is free to invest in the food processing sector and any domestic company is free to grow, considering the rules and regulations associated with the sector are adhered to,” Kurade told IANS.

Patanjali Yogpeeth, Wikimedia Commons
Patanjali Yogpeeth, Wikimedia Commons

In a promotional by Patanjali on 104.0 Fever FM, Baba Ramdev is himself leading the charge.

“Hair oils have cancer-causing mineral oils, biscuits and noodles have refined flour, drinks have a cold drink (aerated drinks) and liquor, food items are adulterated, cosmetics have chemicals. These products and foreign companies are dangerous for us and our country,” he says.

“Since they take the country’s wealth outside and don’t do any charity work here, the alternative is Patanjali’s pure and home-produced campaign, the main aim of which is charity and patriotism. Adopt Patanjali and give economic freedom to our country.”

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Such an advertising campaign comes close on the heels of India relaxing its foreign equity norms to allow 100 per cent investment in trading of food products that’s manufactured or produced inIndia, including sales through e-commerce, to cut wastage, check price rise and help farmers.

“In a vibrant economy — whether a domestic company is trying to become a multinational or a multinational is trying to capture the domestic market- they are free to compete against each other,” Kurade said.

Baba Ramdev is now a business professional like any other company. He’s promoting his brands. If the outlook was that only Indian products will be sold, then there are a number of Indian companies — Dabur and Emami are Indian companies,” added Amit Dhanuka, CEO of Kejriwal Bee Care India.

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“This is just a marketing gimmick and nothing else,” added Dhanuka, a past President of AIFPA.

“There has already been a complaint against him (Baba Ramdev) the way he has been advertising and it is just a matter of time before the government will become harsh on him. This is something which is momentary and with time people will understand and all the image he has built will wane.”

Patanjali spokesperson S.K. Tijarawala defended the campaign. “Modi is the head of the government and free to keep the government’s view. I don’t think there’s any bar on trading and dealing with Indians,” he said, alluding that allowing foreign equity does not bar the domestic industry.

Patanjali Logo, Wikimedia Commons
Patanjali Logo, Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Both Kurade and Dhanuka, as also other stakeholders IANS spoke to — most of whom requested anonymity — felt that a large market like India cannot be dented by a single company, more so as it is dominated by small-scale units and the unorganised sector.

“The fact of the matter is that almost 75 percent of the food processing industry is small- and medium-sized enterprises sector driven. Big companies are primarily competing for 25 percent of the market share,” said Kurade.

But the market for big players is also not small either. Patanjali, whose turnover was not officially known being a private, unlisted enterprise, recently said its income during 2015-16 was Rs 5,000 crore, with a target of Rs 10,000 crore this year.

In contrast, the operating income for the Indian arm of Nestle — that has a presence in this country for over 100 years — was a little over Rs 80,000 crore last calendar year, while for Britannia, which was set up around 125 years ago, it was around 8,500 crore in 2015-16.

Dhanuka also made a technical point on the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

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“He (Baba Ramdev) is showing his products are approved by FSSAI. The fact is it doesn’t approve a product. It is a regulatory body. It comes out with different standards. As an Indian company, it (Patanjali) should follow them. Every company follows those regulations, not just Patanjali.”

Without going into the specifics of any issue, Patanjali’s Tijarawala said there was a need for an institution that trades in home-grown products and uses the profits for the development of the country.

“They (foreign companies) are taking the profits with them and that is of no use for India. Our country will strengthen only when we promote trade in the country by promoting and manufacturing of swadeshi (home-grown) goods. This will also generate employment,” he said.

Asked if this did not go against the government’s policies, Tijarawala said: “We don’t have any differences with the government. Let them bring FDI. Let them push ‘Make in India’. That’s their job. Our job is to strengthen our people by providing opportunities. Where is the controversy?” (IANS)

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New Study Shows Link Between Meditation And Greater Focus

Supplementation, a healthy diet, and daily exercise are key, with recent studies showing that aerobic exercise also increases brain size.

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Pranayamic breathing is just one way to improve brain health.

Pranayamic breathing – an important part of yoga and meditation – has a unique ability to strengthen our focus and a new study by Trinity College Dublin has unlocked its secret. The researchers note that pranayamic breathing affects the levels of a natural chemical in the brain called noradrenaline. The latter is released when we are challenged, curious, focused, or emotionally excited. When present at the right levels, noradrenaline helps the brain grow new connections and helps us concentrate better on important tasks.

The old masters were on the right track

The researchers noted: “Practitioners of yoga have claimed for some 2,500 years, that respiration influences the mind. We looked for a neurophysiological link that could help explain these claims.” The researchers did so by measuring breathing, reaction time, and brain activity in a small area in the brainstem called the locus coeruleus, where noradrenaline is made. Noradrenaline is affected by stress; when we are worried or anxious we produce too much, and cannot concentrate. When we feel lazy, on the other hand, we produce too little and once again, focus is lost. One way to boost levels is through yoga; another method which can complement the latter is the consumption of medical grade focus supplements, which contain compounds such as octopamine (which has a similar effect to noradrenaline).

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Conversely, those with lower mindfulness ratings had greater activation of this part of the brain and also felt more pain. Pixabay

Pranayamic breathing aces the right balance

In the above study, researchers noted that brain activity in the part of the brain where noradrenaline is produced raises slightly when we inhale and drops slightly as we exhale. Thus, balance is achieved and we can focus on what we have set out to do. Pranayama not only boosts concentration but also produces “changes in arousal, attention, and emotional control that can be of great benefit to the meditator.”

What is Pranayamic breathing?

Pranayamic breathing involves controlling and extending breath, with a view to manipulating your vital energy, battling stress, and improving your mood. It is often used in meditation and yoga and interestingly, many yoga experts rank pranayama as even more important than asanas (the postures performed in a yoga session). In yogic tradition, breath is said to carry a person’s life force. Interestingly, scientific studies back this assertion to the extent that pranayamic breathing is able to boost brain function and change the actual structure of the brain. In recent studies, pranayamic breathing has been found to lower or stabilize blood pressure, lower stress, and reduce anxiety and depression.

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In order to comprehend better the Indian seers constructed the special “BOAT” – named Yoga/Meditation.

Implications of the study for aging

The researchers are excited that their findings could signal a way to prevent brain aging. They stated that if brains typically lose mass as we age, practices such as pranayamic breathing greatly reduce the rate of brain shrinkage, thus potentially helping keep dementia and related diseases at bay. Because keeping noradrenaline levels at an optimal level can help the brain grow new connections, meditation is an ideal activity to pursue.

Pranayamic breathing is just one way to improve brain health. Supplementation, a healthy diet, and daily exercise are key, with recent studies showing that aerobic exercise also increases brain size. To make the most of the effect of breathing on focus, consider joining a yoga class or learning the essence of pranayamic breathing online or through an app like Prana Breath or Universal Breathing.