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Born with business in their DNA, baniyas have written several success stories when it comes to traditional, brick-and-mortar industry. With the spurt in digital economy, the clan – be it a Bansal, a Goyal, a Gupta or an Agarwal – has now adapted to newer business models with ease, especially in the burgeoning digital space.
Online food delivery platform Zomato has a masterchef in Deepinder Goyal; Ola is riding on Bhavish Aggarwal; Sachin Bansal helped Flipkart deliver millions of packages; 24-year-old Ritesh Agarwal checked into the budget hotel chain OYO Rooms and Peyush Bansal, founder of Lenskart, has firmly set his eyes on becoming the leader in the eyewear segment.
Zomato has grown into a unicorn valued at $2.3 billion and recently raised $600 million in funding. Ola, India’s local rival to Uber and now present in over 125 cities, has seen its valuation jump to nearly $6 billion.
After selling his stake in Flipkart for nearly $1 billion following his ouster from the online retailer, Bansal has invested $100 million in Bhavish-owned Ola and is expected to invest more.
All of them have certain inherent skills in common: unwavering grip over “Hisaab-Kitab” (accounts) and a clear understanding of their “evolved” customers — most of whom are millennials and are spending most of their time on smartphones and Internet — from ordering pizzas to calling cabs, booking flights to shopping anywhere, anytime.
Baniyas, an occupational community of merchants, bankers, money-lenders, dealers in grains or spices, who have set up commercial enterprises, have fast reinvented themselves for the changing needs of over 400 million millennials which make up for 46 per cent of the country’s workforce, according to a latest Morgan Stanley report.
“The Gen-Y of traditional business families have moved onto the e-commerce bandwagon and are successful due to their exposure to developed economies, newer business models and better education,” says Thomas George, Senior Vice President and Head-CyberMedia Research & Services Ltd. (CMR).
With over 400 million smartphone users and more than 500 million broadband users (nearly 97 per cent of them are on wireless connections), the baniya brigade has sensed their biggest-ever opportunity in the e-commerce and online space.
Zomato currently delivers 22 million monthly orders. The company has acquired a desi startup TechEagle Innovations for drone-based food delivery.
According to Deepinder Goyal, Zomato is currently at the early stage of aerial innovations and are taking baby steps towards building a tomorrow wherein users can expect a drone to deliver the food they ordered online.
“We believe that robots powering the last-mile delivery is an inevitable part of the future and hence is going to be a significant area of investment for us,” he said, reflecting a clear baniya trait, to sense what the new-age customers want.
According to George, the baniya community is now fueled by evolving customer preferences centred around convenience. “Needless to say, the sunshine sectors have offered wider scope and better growth opportunities for them,” George told IANS. (IANS)
Among the Tamil epics written during the Sangam age, only a few survived to this day. Manimegalai is one such. It is written as a sequel to the Sillapadikaram, taking the story forward of Kovalan and Madhavi's daughter, Manimegalai. The Sillapadikaram is about the injustice of the Madurai kingdom in the execution of Kovalan, which turned Kannagi, his wife into a goddess seeking vengeance for her husband's death. Kovalan, before his death, has an affair with a court dancer, Madhavi, and his daughter, Manimegalai, is said to begin a different tradition among the Tamils.
The epic, written by Sattanar, introduces Buddhism to Dravidian culture, something that has been alien to them for years. Manimegalai is the protagonist, who flees constantly from the pursuit of Chola prince Udhayakumara, and tries to lead an ascetic life. Throughout the plot, Buddhist tenets are used to avoid the culmination of a love-story. Manimegalai is believed to be the anti-love story sequel to the Sillapadikaram.
A complete work of Tamil epic written by hand on leaves Image source: wikimedia commons
The Sillapadikaram was written by a Jain monk, Illango Adigal, and Sattanar, uses the sequel to question Jainism. It is almost a political battle between two new religions competing for a place in a predominantly Hindu society. Parts of Manimegalai even go to the extent of opening ridiculing Jain practices and beliefs.
Critics of Tamil literature have stated that while the Tamil epics have great poetic significance, they are inferior to other world epics when it comes to clearly portraying religious affiliations. In fact, they refer to the newer religions with an infant's perspective. Some scholars have found that Sillapadikaram has more ethical substance than its sequel, but in and of itself, despite being written by a Jain monk, reads like Hindu poetry (Subhramanya Aiyar, 1906).
Keywords: Manimegalai, Sillapadikaram, Tamil Epic, Sattanar, Ilango Adigal, Chola kingdom, Sangam Age, Buddhism
The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led. In its Ecoscope report, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: "With Covid-19 hurting India's 'Household' (HH) and 'Government' sectors adversely, the continuity of strong consumption growth is in question."
"On the contrary, with listed companies' financial positions improving and an uptick in household investments in the Real Estate sector (called physical savings), the narrative of investment-led recovery is gaining momentum." The report prescribed that various economic participants - households, governments, listed companies, and unlisted corporates -- to increase their fixed asset investments in the immediate future based on their financial position.
The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led. | Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash
At present, the listed and unlisted corporate sector accounts for only about half of total investments in India. The 'HH' sector including unincorporated enterprises accounts for 35-40 per cent in India's investments, while the remaining 12-13 per cent is contributed by centre and states governments. Besides, the report cited that demand environment is expected to remain subdued due to weak financial position of 'HH' and government sector.
"Despite household investments picking up strongly in 2HFY21, given that Indian households bore the maximum brunt of Covid-led losses in CY20 (and CY21), we believe household spending would remain subdued over the next few years." It further pointed out that unless 'HH', 'Unlisted Corporate', and government sectors can improve their financial positions -- leading to a demand uptick -- a strong revival in investments seems challenging. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: India, covid, pandemic, growth, household, government, investment
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that next time the Dragon spacecraft will have food warmer and free WiFi. Taking to Twitter, the crew of Inspiration4 shared a checklist of things they have been enjoying while orbiting safely around the Earth.
"Can't believe we're eating cold pizza in space. It's extraordinary!" Inspiration4 tweeted. In response, Musk apologised for the cold food, saying: "Sorry, it was cold! Dragon will have food warmer and free WiFi next time."
Inspiration4 Crew | Wikimedia Commons
After lifting off for space, SpaceX's Inspiration4, the first all-civilian crew, is healthy, happy and doing well in the orbit, the company said recently. The mission lifted off at 8.02 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday (5.30 am IST on Thursday) aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from the historic Launch Complex 39 in NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It is commanded by tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman who has been joined by medical officer Haley Arceneaux, a pediatric cancer survivor; Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer; and Mission Pilot Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, entrepreneur and trained pilot. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Elon Musk, SpaceX, Inspiration4, Dragon, Wifi, food