Venture Cap Funds to bolster India's Sports and Tech Industry

Universal Newsline outlines some of the Venture Capital Funds that are focused to transform the Indian Sports and Technology industry. A dynamic fusion of sports and technology introduces a diverse range of innovations aimed at improving performance, interaction, and overall enjoyment in sports. From wearable devices tracking vital advanced analytics to platforms revolutionizing player assessments, the field is experiencing rapid evolution and creativity.  

Venture Cap Funds focused on Sports and Gaming industry


Investing in the sports-tech sector presents an enticing prospect where technology and sports intersect, promising substantial returns and societal influence. Opportunities abound, whether in supporting startups creating innovative fitness monitoring devices or backing enterprises reshaping fan interaction with virtual reality innovations. Across the sports tech spectrum, avenues for investment diversification are plentiful, offering potential for financial growth alongside contributions to the evolution of sports and entertainment experiences. 

Centre Court Capital - Centre Court Capital is a Venture Capital fund that has set its sights on bolstering India’s sports tech and gaming ecosystem. It will invest in sports tech, an evolving space that is bringing to life data that arms the sporting ecosystem with deeper and smarter insights - empowering athletes, engaging fans, and providing immersive viewership experiences that transform entertainment in sport. It looks to invest in the gaming and eSports space where innovations in technology are lowering the entry barriers to game development and making content more accessible globally. With a new age of entrepreneurs from India building in the space, Centre Court Capital looks to back game developers, creators, and game tech infrastructure companies. Centre Court Capital merges a rare combination of deep operating and investing experience for its sectors, enabling it to bring a level of depth and understanding that is unparalleled in the market.

Kalaari Capital - Kalaari is a $160 million venture capital fund with a strong advisory team in Bangalore investing in early-stage, technology-oriented companies in India. It is an early-stage, technology-focused venture capital firm. They invest across Seed and Series A startups and empower visionary entrepreneurs to build unique solutions that reshape the way Indians live, work, consume and transact. Kalaari Capital invests in the unknown Indian entrepreneur who is poised to become tomorrow’s global leader. They are India’s leading investor in early-stage businesses, nurturing them through every aspect of growth on the transformative journey toward success. 

Kae Capital -  Kae Capital is an early-stage venture capital fund that invests in technology startups across various sectors, including sports tech. They have backed companies such as Dream11, a fantasy sports platform, which has become one of India's most successful sports tech startups. Kae Capital is a pioneer of early-stage investing in India, focused on tech startups, and has been investing in India for 10+ years. Founded in 2012, and based out of Mumbai and Bengaluru, Kae is a sector-agnostic fund that invests in pre-seed to pre-series A stages. Kae partners with passionate founders and teams, building for Indian and global markets. Kae aims to be an all-weather partner to its portfolio founders, enabling them to build enduring companies.

SucSEED Indovation - SucSEED Indovation supports early-stage deep tech & tech driven startups providing solutions to the large scale needs of India and with potential to serve global emerging market needs too. With decades of experience building the venture capital ecosystem, they leverage their wide network to grow companies, build a solid foundation and help them with funding, strategic and operating support, providing critical connections, and securing growth. SucSEED Indovation offers access to capital for deep tech startups to scale and grow. SucSEED supports early-stage deep tech and tech-driven startups providing solutions to the large-scale needs of India and with the potential to serve global emerging market needs too.

Blume Ventures - Blume Ventures provides pre-series A and early stage funding to tech-focused/tech-enabled ventures. They are typically the first institutional investors in their portfolio companies and invest for about 8-10 years. They are proponents of a collaborative approach and like to co-invest with like-minded angels and seed funds. They then provide follow-on investments to their stellar portfolio companies. They partner with the founders at a very early stage, helping them achieve product-market fit and power through the first point of scale. Apart from bringing in capital and counsel, their strength is their conviction. 

Bal Raksha Bharat's remarkable achievement in prioritizing health, cultivating culture fostering well-being of children

Bal Raksha Bharat, a child welfare organization
Bal Raksha Bharat, a child welfare organization working across 15 states and three Union Territories

Positive results are visible in the efforts of Bal Raksha Bharat, a comprehensive child welfare organization in the fields of education, health, protection, and humanitarian needs of most deprived and marginalized children as efficiency of Nutrition cases surges to 98.11% in Uttar Pradesh’s Shravasti Dist. 

Bal Raksha Bharat in a concerted effort to enhance maternal and child health services, trained over 167 Anganwadi Workers, Asha Sanginis, and ANMs on the usage of Poshan Tracker, E-Kawach Application and documentation and Reporting of Triple Burden Cases. As a result of these capacity-building efforts, there has been a remarkable improvement in the measurement efficiency of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) cases. The efficiency rate surged from 92.77% in June 2023 to an impressive 98.11% by January 2024. Notably, 95 out of 177 Anganwadi Centers have achieved a commendable 100% measurement efficiency, reflecting the tangible impact of targeted training initiatives on healthcare service delivery.

The successful implementation of the 'Strengthening Aspirational Block Program' by Bal Raksha Bharat has directly benefited over 28,000 children. The project aims to extend access to government services and further improve nutritional outcomes in Jamunaha (NITI Aayog aspirational block) of Shravasti (Aspirational District) in Uttar Pradesh.

Congratulating on the impact made, Smt. Sarneet Kaur Broca, IAS, Director ICDS, Uttar Pradesh said, ‘In order to promote nutrition and healthy choices amongst children, we need to adopt a strategic approach. This involves educating and empowering women through informative videos that underscore the crucial role of overall child well-being. Instigating meaningful change begins with prioritizing health and cultivating a culture that fosters well-being. Bal Raksha Bharat has displayed remarkable dedication and effectiveness in driving and bringing this change, and by associating with them, we have witnessed a significant surge in measurement efficiency.’

Sudarshan Suchi, CEO, Bal Raksha Bharat added, “Our mission with the ‘Strengthening Aspirational Block Program’ is to ensure that every child in the Jamunaha Block has access to adequate nutrition for a healthy and sustainable life. This initiative aims to streamline data management and ensure efficient monitoring of nutritional interventions. Furthermore, the frontline healthcare providers have also received training on documentation and reporting procedures for cases burdened by triple health challenges.”

He further said, “Strengthening Aspirational Block Program for Improved Nutritional Outcomes aligns with Bal Raksha Bharat's broader goal of ensuring that no child dies of preventable causes before their fifth birthday. Key achievements of the project include capacitating 167 Anganwadi Workers, Asha Sanginis, and ANMs on the usage of Poshan Tracker and E-Kawach Application, as well as documentation and reporting of triple burden cases.”

Bal Raksha Bharat aims in fostering the Government’s mission to strengthen the health & nutrition, and well-being of marginalised children and families. With the focus on this project, the organisation has addressed various factors contributing to illnesses and under nutrition among infants and young children. Through data-driven interventions and community engagement, the organization aims to continue to make strides toward achieving its vision of a future where every child can thrive.

Bal Raksha Bharat works across 15 states and three Union Territories of India on issues related to education, health, protection, and humanitarian/DRR needs of children, especially for those who are the most deprived and marginalized. 

For more information, visit

Facial Care during summer - Slugging: Understanding the science behind the overnight skincare trend

Slugging: Understanding the science behind the overnight skincare trend
Understanding the science behind the overnight skincare trend

Recommended by experts, Slugging is safe, affordable and effective method to restore skin moisture since it helps prevent water loss that is ideal for those with dry skin. However it may not be suitable for naturally oily, acne-prone skin as occlusives may clog the pores, leading to irritation and increased risk of breakout writes Priyanki Mehrotra.

Social media platforms are inundated with lifestyle and beauty advice. Now and then, a new trend emerges and takes the platform by storm. Slugging is one of those beauty trends that first emerged on some social media platforms and instantly became a part of many people’s nightly skincare routines.

Though the trend has gained immense traction in recent years, thanks to social media, the practice of slugging is not new. It is obvious to question the effectiveness since it is popularised through social media platforms, but the process of slugging does work for some. 

The viral trend, which comes from the South Korean beauty world, involves slathering the face with a thin layer of rich ointments like Vaseline or Aquaphor at the end of the nightly skincare routine. These occlusive products prevent water loss, thereby imparting a ‘slug-like’ sheen to the skin. It makes the face look dewy, plump and hydrated.

The skin generally appears dull or dry when its top layer, also called the skin barrier, lacks the balance of keratinocytes (skin cells) and lipids. When the skin barrier gets damaged due to sun exposure, pollution, over-exfoliation and other factors, the lipids or the glue that keeps the outer layer intact starts depleting. This leads to water loss, leaving the skin dry and flaky.

Occlusives, used for slugging, rest on the surface of the skin, acting as a shield to prevent trans-epidermal water loss. They eventually make the skin look fresh and hydrated. Occlusives have nothing to do with moisturising, as the skin cannot absorb petroleum. They simply lock in the water, helping the skin retain moisture. Considering the process helps prevent water loss, slugging is ideal for those with dry skin. But it may not be suitable for naturally oily or, acne-prone skin, as occlusives may clog the pores, leading to irritation and increased risk of breakout. This night time routine is extremely beneficial for older people as the problem of water loss spikes with age.

However, one must not overdo it and should listen to the skin when including this routine in their daily skincare regime. In winter months, the frequency can be increased as the skin loses water easily due to dry and harsh weather. In the summer and rainy months, the process should be limited to once or twice in a week. This is because in the hotter months, the skin naturally produces more oil, and the rainy season is often accompanied by extreme humidity, causing the skin to produce excessive oil.  

Above all, it should be done correctly for maximum effectiveness and to reduce the chances of any side-effects. The skin works harder at night time to repair itself, so slugging at night is the best way to get maximum output. One must start by cleaning the skin properly to avoid any dust or germs getting trapped in the outer layer. After that comes moisturising, followed by applying a thin layer of Vaseline or an occlusive of your choice. In the morning, cleanse the skin to remove any excess product and carry on with the normal daytime skincare routine.  Without proper moisturisation, slugging won’t be effective. In the case of sensitive skin, avoid slugging with retinoids as it may lead to irritation.

Slugging is safe and has been recommended by experts for decades. It is an affordable and effective method to restore skin moisture. The only thing one must consider is the type of occlusives used for slugging.

The author of this article is Priyanki Mehrotra, Deputy General Manager, Consumer Products Division, Ginni Filaments Ltd.

Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship awarded to New Delhi Student Sumaira Khan

Sumaira Khan awarded with Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship
Sumaira Khan awarded with Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship

The scholarship that is awarded to aspiring female researchers from India - Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship was today presented to a New Delhi student with a passion to improve health outcomes for vulnerable communities, to study in Australia.

La Trobe University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Theo Farrell presented Sumaira Khan in Delhi with the 2024 Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship, valued at more than $225,000 (AUD).

Sumaira was selected from a competitive field of applicants from across India for the four-year scholarship, which recognises the humanitarian and social justice achievements of Shah Rukh Khan (SRK). The PhD scholarship was made possible through La Trobe’s long-standing partnership with the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.

Designed to support aspiring female Indian researchers who want to make a meaningful impact in the world, the scholarship enables Sumaira to undertake research at La Trobe’s state-of-the-art facilities in Melbourne, Australia.

Sumaira will work with medical anthropologists Dr Tarryn Phillips and Dr Catherine Trundle to identify ways to improve healthcare for South Asian migrant women in Australia with an elevated risk of Type 2 diabetes. The study seeks to understand the factors that shape and constrain the ability to practice self-care, and inform improved healthcare design, access and equity for healthcare programs in Australia and India.

“I’m very grateful to receive the Shah Rukh Khan scholarship. It’s life-changing for me and my family, and I’m excited to interact with La Trobe’s global community of researchers. It really is my proudest achievement,” Sumaira said.

Shah Rukh Khan said he was delighted to support the development of Indian women to pursue solutions to challenges affecting not just Indian communities, but global issues.

“Sumaira’s passion to improve health outcomes for vulnerable communities is inspiring, and her journey is a wonderful lesson to other Indian women who want to improve lives through scientific study,” Khan said.

“I am pleased to be able to support Sumaira’s ongoing development and education with this scholarship at La Trobe University in Melbourne.”

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor, Professor Theo Farrell, said the University was proud to continue the Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship to a student, whose goal is to support some of the most vulnerable in our community.

“This ongoing scholarship is testament to the strong relationship and shared vision La Trobe has with Mr Khan to inspire positive change through education and find solutions for some of the most challenging issues facing the world,” said Professor Farrell.

Dispojekt single use syringes with safety needle propels India as a global powerhouse in medical devices


Dispojekt Safety Needle made in India
Dispojekt Safety Needle now made in India

Yet another efforts towards Atmanirbhar Bharat with the launch of first-of-its kind Dispojekt single use syringes with safety needle that is developed by Hindustan Syringes and Medical Devices (HMD) that is nearly half the cost of safety single use syringes used in the USA and Europe.  


The launch aligns with India's efforts to become a self-reliant hub for medical device manufacturing and exporting. Dispojekt is expected to bring about a positive financial impact on the healthcare sector by reducing healthcare worker injuries and associated costs.

With the revolutionary Dispojekt safety syringes, HMD aims to reduce prevalence of accidental Needle Stick Injuries (NSIs) among health workers, reduction of infection control cost and that of disposal and training, offering a long term positive financial impact on the healthcare sector. Domestic manufactured, technologically advanced products will provide India a global edge in the realm of R&D and leapfrog indigenous players to meet the highly demanding global market for sharp injury prevention syringes. 

The use of safety needles in healthcare settings offer numerous cost benefits. They reduce healthcare worker injuries, lowering costs from potential disease treatment and potential long-term health issues. By minimizing needle stick injuries, they also decrease expenses for post-exposure prophylaxis and associated healthcare costs. Moreover, safety needles mitigate compensation claims, absenteeism, and can lead to lower health insurance premiums, while also reducing product and packaging footprints for cost and environmental savings. They assist in creating a safer and more reliable workplace environment for healthcare workers. 

“Equipped with a safety shield (SIP Shield), Dispojekt syringe addresses critical concerns of needle stick injuries and reaffirms our commitment as market leader towards excellence in healthcare. It is a great outcome of our Make in India resolve as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to realize the goal of Viksit Bharat,” said Rajiv Nath, Managing Director, HMD, adding that India is all poised to become a global powerhouse in manufacturing and exporting of medical devices in sync with the spirit of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

There is significant headroom for innovation and growth in the medical devices industry and the future of healthcare technology rests on robust R&D. With the disposable syringe market size in India estimated to be over 5 billion units per year and 5-6 billion needles, 80 % of which are in the hands of private sector players. “We aim for 60-70 % market share in the next three years, thanks to our innovative Dispojekt,” informed the Executive Director, Sohail Nath.

“HMD believes in delivering the best at the most competitive costing. Dispojekt safety needle syringes are going to be the game changer in the Global fight against NSIs. We are aiming to initially produce 200 million syringes and needles per annum for which we have invested approximately Rs 70 cr in the first phase which is expected to increase to 300 million pieces annually in second phase,” revealed Mr Sohail.

As one of the most reputed medical device manufacturers with multiple state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Faridabad, Haryana, HMD produces over 4 billion injection needles per annum, catering to the needs of its primary markets comprising India, Europe, US, Middle East, and its secondary markets of South-East Asia and Africa.

Reflecting further, he said that Dispojekt safety needle syringes will not only further strengthen our position as market leader but will give a boost global collective efforts of WHO to check NSIs leading to transmission of blood borne disease, like Hepatitis B, C and HIV among healthcare personnel, betting on its quality, uniqueness and affordability.

“Dispojekt safety needle syringes have been designed to be affordable for the developing world including India and are nearly half the cost of safety single use syringes used in the USA and Europe where 100 percent usage is mandatory by legislation,” informed Sohail Nath.

According to research, the prevalence of NSIs among healthcare workers in India is between 57% and 73%. In fact, approximately 54% of NSIs are reported because of using hypodermic needles. Many instances of NSIs go unreported, making it a way more serious problem than it appears. To shield frontline healthcare workers from the dangers of NSIs, we at HMD have pioneered a single-use syringe with safety needle –Dispojekt.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, US, has estimated that only 10 % of NSIs injuries are reported. In developing countries, which have the highest global prevalence of HIV, the prevalence of needle stick injuries is also at the highest level. Studies report an annual of 100,000 injuries caused by sharp objects among nurses in the UK as well.

Asked about clinical studies conducted to affirm safety and efficacy of Dispojekt safety needle syringes, Rajiv Nath said, “Dispojekt syringes are a part of Safety Engineered Devices (SED). Numerous clinical studies and evaluations have been conducted to assess the safety and efficacy of syringes with safety needles. There are clinical trials which have proved that the use of SED has reduced the incidence of needle stick injuries in healthcare workers” and its usage is encouraged as best practices for Injection Safety in EU & USA and by WHO in the developing world. This initial design was field trialed in India, UK and USA and based on feedback received the product was re-engineered to be more cost effective and affordable and user friendly, by being a major improvement over existing commonly available safety syringes in the global market.

The launch of Dispojekt safety needle syringes, an innovative and cost-effective product from the R&D lab of the world’s largest manufacturer of Auto-Disable (AD) syringes, assumes significance in view of the monstrous magnitude of NSIs among the health workers.

International Baccalaureate (IB) high school track from Les Roches, Haut-Lac provides international immersive experience in Hospitality Management

Les Roches in Switzerland
Les Roches in Switzerland

Les Roches and Haut-Lac International Bilingual School Pioneer the Launch of a Hospitality Specialization Track in High School that equips students with an early introduction to the field of hotel management and networking opportunities with key industry players. 


Specializing in this field was previously only possible after high school, through a university degree. However, for the first time, the partnership between Haut-Lac School and Les Rochesenables young people aged 16 to 18 to complete an international immersive experience in the world of hospitality management in their last two years of high school.


The partnership between Les Roches and Haut-Lac International Bilingual School, two leading international academic institutions, marks a turning point in global youth high school education, offering students a wide range of opportunities that address their vocational aspirations and meet the needs of hospitality businesses.


With a 98% employability rate and a network of over 16,000 Alumni, Les Roches has established a unique and exclusive education model defined as a benchmark for quality and excellence in hospitality education.

Typically, high school students specialize in one of four areas, namely social sciences and humanities, technology and science, art, or general education. This new hospitality track, driven by two leading educational entities such as Haut-Lac School and Les Roches, represents a milestone in the hospitality & tourism and academic worlds. Training in hospitality has experienced steady growth in recent years, leading to an improvement in the quality of tourism and employment in a sector that previously lacked specialized professionals. Through this new IB high school program, future hospitality leaders can begin to immerse themselves in this industry at an earlier stage and learn about the social value of professions linked to the industry.

This International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme combines academic experience with practical training, a hallmark of Les Roches. It provides an early introduction to the field of hotel management, as well as access to networking opportunities with key industry players, including travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality and tourism organizations globally. In addition, students will acquire personal and communication skills and international analytical capabilities that are essential for pursuing university careers in tourism and hospitality management worldwide.

"It is crucial for the secondary education sector that students graduate well-prepared for pursuing their university careers. Therefore, we believe it is very beneficial for this high school news specialization track to exist so that, in a vocationally driven profession like hospitality, students can start immersing themselves in it as soon as possible. Forming this alliance with Haut-Lac will mark a turning point in global youth education, offering a wide range of opportunities that address their concerns and meet the needs of the industry. At Les Roches, we have been pioneers in hospitality and luxury tourism education for seven decades, but the last ten years, during which enrollments have increased by 65%, have brought about a paradigm shift. Specialized training in hospitality is gaining the recognition it truly deserves, and it has been noticeable in the classrooms. It is time to continue advancing and creating benchmarks; therefore, creating similar models to this new international high school program in the Spanish and international educational framework could mean the assured generation of talent in one of our most important industries," said Carlos Díez de la Lastra, CEO of Les Roches.

During the two-year IBCP program at Haut-Lac School, graduates will expand their knowledge and experience in hospitality by completing a research project during a 20-week online study period with Les Roches. They may then also choose to follow a two-week hotel immersion period on the Summer Program at the Les Roches campus in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.

"Embark on a transformative journey with Haut-Lac International Bilingual School and Les Roches Hotel Management School, where the two-year IB Career-Related Programme unfolds a world of opportunities for 16-year-old high school students. Beyond academics, we cultivate holistic development, preparing students for global success by seamlessly blending rigorous education with real-world skills in partnership with a renowned institution. Elevate your learning experience, foster bilingual proficiency, and embrace a pathway to excellence in both education and the thriving world of hotel management", said Rossella Cosso, Head of Secondary at Haut-Lac International Bilingual School.

Upon completion of the course, students wishing to continue studying in this field at university level, will have sufficient credits for direct access to the second year of the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Global Hospitality Management at Les Roches.

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Meenakshi Rathore's one-woman venture 'Saree Falls' now empowers 5 other women

Grassroots impact of Atmanirbhar Bharat 

Meenakshi Rathore's inspiring story of Saree Falls, Ahmedabad
Meenakshi Rathore's inspiring story of Saree Falls, Ahmedabad

An inspirational story, from a one-woman operation, Meenakshi Rathore is scripting a new story of Atmanirbhar Bharat in suburbs of Ahmedabad empowered by a microloan, bringing smiles to five other women. Meenakshi's story is a testament to the grassroots impact of Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India). While her venture may not qualify as a startup, Meenakshi's contribution is as crucial as any.  Her story reflects the journeys of over 415 million Indians who lifted themselves out of poverty between 2005-06 and 2019-21.

Meenakshi's journey with financial empowerment began in June 2021.  A small loan of Rs 60,000 from Light, a microfinance organization, allowed her to launch her saree fall stitching business. From a one-woman operation, Meenakshi's venture, aptly named "Saree Falls," has blossomed into a local employer. Today, she empowers five other women, enabling them to contribute to their households.

Meenakshi's story embodies the growing trend of women entering India's workforce.  "Life wasn't easy," she reflects. "I learned everything through trial and error. That initial loan from Light was a game-changer. I bought a used sewing machine and though the work was limited, the income, however small, brought a sense of financial independence."  Fueled by this newfound self-sufficiency, Meenakshi renewed her loan in July 2022 for Rs 85,000. This investment allowed her to purchase six more machines, creating additional employment opportunities.

Balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship, Meenakshi showcases remarkable determination.  Confidently, she explains, "My family, particularly my husband, has been a pillar of support. From his early backing of the loans to his current contributions of stitching alongside me during his free time, his help has been invaluable." Meenakshi emphasizes the unique fulfilment that comes from being an employer, stating, "There's a different kind of satisfaction and responsibility when you provide for others' livelihoods."

Meenakshi praises microloans as a lifeline for those, like herself, facing barriers to traditional credit. "The Joint Liability Group (JLG) system behind these loans is brilliant," she explains. "It provides not just financial support, but also a network of encouragement. The JLG guides us towards self-employment opportunities that can be managed from home, making it easier to balance family care and household duties." Meenakshi concludes by highlighting how microloans have significantly improved her income, allowing her to envision a brighter future.

Across India, countless stories echo Meenakshi's, empowered by the burgeoning microfinance sector. In Financial Year 2022-23, this industry provided a staggering Rs 3.48 trillion (around $43.5 billion) in loans, impacting an estimated 660 million individuals. Notably, women entrepreneurs saw a significant surge, with 8 million joining the ranks in FY23, bringing the total number of female microfinance clients to a remarkable 66.4 million across the nation.

Light Microfinance: It is a Non-Banking Finance Company registered with the Reserve Bank Of India. Headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Light Microfinance provides micro and meso finance products and services with gender and poverty-focused programs, targeting rural and peri-urban areas, with a specific focus on poor women. The company operates in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and is one of the fastest-growing microfinance companies in India today.

MFIN (Microfinance Industry Network): MFIN is a premier industry association comprising 56 NBFC-MFIs and 44 Associates including Banks, Small Finance Banks (SFBs) and NBFCs. By virtue of bringing all microfinance entities under one common umbrella, MFIN acts as a bridge between them and the regulators to build a dialogue for greater transparency, better policy frameworks and stronger client protection standards for responsible lending, thus enabling the microfinance industry to partake in meeting the larger financial inclusion goals.

Media cannot present another side equally strongly if it doesn't exist: Kalli Purie

Kalli Purie at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi
Kalli Purie at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi

Speaking at the recently concluded India Today Conclave in New Delhi, Kallie Purie, India Today Group Vice-Chairperson and Executive Editor-in-Chieof India Today said that the media cannot play the role of the opposition. These comments came in the backdrop of the election commission announcing the schedule for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections which is set to further raise the political temperature in the coming months when media will be subject to larger scrutiny and attack.

“If the opposition is in disarray the media cannot be blamed for it. We cannot present another side equally strongly if it doesn't exist,” Purie said.

“We are observers in this boxing match. We are not the players. If one side is weak or doesn't show up, we cannot jump into the ring. This is not fear. This is a matter of rules, roles, and competence. We are the medium. We are not the message,” said Purie adding that their role as media is to take people as close to the primary source of information as they can.

Delivering another “thank you” note after the keynote speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Purie said, “Recently, I had the good fortune of walking from the old parliament to the new parliament. They are just 30 steps apart. But it's like walking between two Indias. The one I was born in and the one I will pass on to the next generation. I love them both.”

“But they are a world apart. The new parliament is pristine, organised, efficient, full of light, and holds a lot of promise and hope for the future. The old is musty, dusty, full of our rich history, the corridors whisper of our triumphs, great debates, and remembrances, embodying the soul of our ancient nation and young democracy. Walking between the two is a surreal experience. You enter in one century, and you come out in another. It is the story of your leadership, Prime Minister, in 30 steps,” she said.

“Both of them have their own charm, and I believe both are essential if we are going to be a great nation. I hope that you will be able to bridge the two as only you can. The great Indian spirit in an enriched, enlightened new avatar,” Purie concluded.

Baryl Vanneihsangi speaks out on challenges of being first time MLA in Indian politics

Baryl Vanneihsangi speaks out on challenges of being first time MLA in Indian politics

Baryl Vanneihsangi, the youngest first-time woman legislator in Mizoram is a journalist who rose to become Mizoram's youngest MLA, sheds light on the challenges and pressure of being a first-time legislator and a woman in Indian politics on Day 2 of India Today Conclave 2024 held in Dalhi. 

Mizoram's Baryl Vanneihsangi, who has etched history as the youngest MLA in the northeastern state, shed light on her inclination to serve the community and her motivation to stay relevant in the political arena. She admitted to having been born and brought up in a patriarchal society and the challenges she faces as a woman legislator.

Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2024, Baryl Vanneihsangi spoke about her decision to plunge into Mizoram politics and her life before that.

"Prior to plunging into state politics, I had the privilege to serve the community as a media person for seven to eight years. It was a fulfilling experience. The reason I say fulfilling is that many of the viewers might think that entertainment is something that just amuses you, or you have fun with and, later on, waste your time. But to me, entertainment imparts education, knowledge and information," she said.

On her inclination to serve people through politics, Baryl Vanneihsangi said, "Life of the people that I was serving through television, so I became interested in pursuing politics as it allows you to truly work for people and with people. The mission perfectly matched my passion."

Baryl Vanneihsangi, 32, not only became the youngest MLA in Mizoram but also stands as the first woman to take charge of an Assembly session in the state's history. Her journey to the historic milestone began with her victory in the December 2023 election, where she triumphed in the Aizawl South-III constituency under the banner of the Zoram People's Movement (ZPM), securing victory by a margin of 1,414 votes.

Beyond her political milestones, Baryl Vanneihsangi's influence extends to the digital realm, boasting a considerable following of over 252k on Instagram.

On having been inducted as the youngest MLA in Mizoram and the two months since she assumed the office and her expectations, she said, "I have pressure on my shoulders, the seniors, veterans sometimes tell me what to do and what not to about the approach, and I'm always in dilemma. But later, I follow my heart and hear the voices inside my head, and look back at the reasons why I entered politics. Let's see now for the next five years (as an MLA)."


Speaking about the Women's Reservation Bill and politics in India, she said, "Born and brought up in a patriarchal society, I did have a lot of obstacles even during the campaign, not only as an MLA but even as a corporator (in the civic body), which was my previous profession. But those disadvantages can always turn into advantages of mine. But why do I bother? Why not utilise it as a stepping stone to climb the higher ladder?

"When you're optimistic, you can overcome anything. Everyone asked me about women's reservations, but you should not seek a reservation just because you are a woman," she opined. 

Jayalakshmi, an electrical engineer from Thrissur is the 1st Runner up in Mrs Keralam Gold Category

Mrs Keralam Gold Category
Jayalakshmi crowned at the 1st Runner up in the Mrs Keralam Gold Category

Among several married women from diverse backgrounds showcased their talents and shared their stories at the The Crown of Glory beauty pageant held at Kochi.

Jayalakshmi, an electrical engineer, working in the IT sector at Bangalore for the past 25 years, won the first runner-up in the Gold Category at the GNG Mrs Keralam – The Crown of Glory beauty pageant held at Kochi.

The beauty pageant was organised to celebrate the spirit and essence of married women across Kerala. It is a platform which provides a unique and empowering opportunity for married women to embark on a journey of self-discovery, self-confidence, and self-expression.

Jayalakshi, was born in an ordinary family in Kollam district, is the daughter of late Madhusudan and mother Ratnamma. Jayalakshmi, born in a family with no artistic tradition, always excelled in studies.

Jayalakshmi said that her desire to do things outside her comfort zone, while juggling with family and work, prompted her to participate in this race at the age of 48. The constant encouragement of her husband Divakaran (Ullampuzha Mana), working in the IT sector, children Ashwin (engineering student) and Aparna (ninth standard student), had always inspired to start trying new fields. Through this success, Jayalakshmi intends to give a message to married women to believe in their own abilities and follow their dreams.

The beauty pageant is being organised to create a National and Global platform for all the aspiring women in Kerala. This is a space where married women from diverse backgrounds can unite to showcase their multifaceted talents, share their stories, and inspire others. Mrs. Keralam Pageant is a stepping stone for married women to break barriers, redefine beauty standards, and embrace individuality.

Inspiring stories of embracing adversities, brave conversations, navigating difficulties at TEDx FIIB conference

TEDxFIIB 5th Edition

Dr. Gunwant Singh Mongia of Mongia Steel Limited shared his vision for disrupting the not-for-profit business space, Chitra Zutshi - "The Girl on Wheels," shared her inspiring story of overcoming challenges in a paraplegic condition at the TEDx conference that was organized by Fortune Institute of International Business (FIIB), New Delhi, 

Themed "Brave Conversations: Navigating Difficult Dialogues," the day-long conference featured engaging talks from diverse speakers, including eminent personalities, faculty, and students, captivating the audience with their insights and experiences in the 5th edition of TEDxFIIB in the Ishwar Dayal Auditorium.


The latest installment of TEDx FIIB, 'Brave Conversations: Navigating Difficulties,' decoded the secrets to confronting challenges, embracing the unknown, and finding the courage to move forward, even when the path seems daunting.

The panel of distinguished speakers at the TEDxFIIB event included Dr. Gunwant Singh Mongia, Chairman and MD of Mongia Steel Limited, who captivated the audience with his vision for disrupting the not-for-profit business space. He emphasized the importance of community development alongside business growth, showcasing a well-researched plan that could revolutionize nonprofit practices in India and beyond.


Biswajeet Jha, a Social Worker, Social Entrepreneur, and Author, then took the audience on a journey of self-discovery and service. Leaving behind a corporate career, Jha's initiatives, including free schools and football academies for underprivileged children in West Bengal, showcased the power of dedication and compassion in creating meaningful change. The stage was then graced by Pukhraj Joneja, CEO of Udaan India, who embodied servant leadership and commitment to excellence. With credentials from prestigious institutions, Joneja emphasized the importance of holistic growth and personal development in achieving success.

Chitra Zutshi, known as "The Girl on Wheels," shared her inspiring story of overcoming challenges in a paraplegic condition. Her resilience and determination, evident in accomplishments such as completing a 10K Marathon and being a finalist for Harley Davidson's World's Best Job contest, inspired the audience to embrace adversity and strive for greatness.

Dr. Ehteshaam Waquarib, an IPS Officer from the Jharkhand Cadre, then shed light on his impactful work in combating naxalism and human trafficking. His dedication to public service and tireless efforts in upholding justice left a lasting impression on the audience. Niraj Gera, a Social Activist and Founder Chairman of Humanify Foundation, brought attention to menstruation stigma through his powerful photo series, "Sacred Stains." His advocacy for women's rights and empowerment sparked intellectual conversations on gender equality and social justice.

The event also featured collaborative efforts by Nirupama Subramanian and S. Venkatesh, who discussed strategies for empowering marginalized communities. Through their insightful dialogue, they highlighted the importance of unity and solidarity in creating positive change. Pritiman Sarkar, Senior Vice President at SBICard, an alumnus of FIIB, shared his challenging journey during the COVID era, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing connections over conventional necessities.

Among others who took the center stage were Iytha Mallikarjuna, a Social Entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of IDEA, who highlighted the importance of inclusivity and empowerment in entrepreneurship, Dr. Sakshi Kathuria, Assistant Professor at FIIB, who advocated for breaking the silence on issues like dowry and empowering women. Her brave conversations inspired the audience to stand up for themselves and pave the way for positive change. Anoushika Verma, a PGDM student at FIIB, shared her transformative experiences from an introverted individual to a confident scholar and emphasized the importance of honest communication through journal writing. Her insights resonated with many, sparking conversations on self-acceptance and understanding.

As the event concluded, the auditorium was brimming with energy and excitement, and attendees were left inspired and motivated to embark on their own journeys of change and empowerment. The insightful talks, coupled with the captivating aura of the event and the active engagement of the audience, created a powerful platform for futuristic thinking and the exchange of ideas. 

Breakthrough on this International Women’s Day, a new benchmark of 55% Female Workforce at Eveready's Maddur Plant

55 % women workforce at Eveready's Maddur Plant
55 % women workforce at Eveready's Maddur Plant

Women empowerment, that is the theme among the corporate houses in India and with the mission of fostering inclusive work environment, Eveready Industries India Limited achieved a landmark goal of having women in more than half of it's work force at the Maddur Plant on the shop floor, while women consist 5% in it's staff. The Maddur plant offers safe transportation and on-site clinics to meet the needs of their female employees along with on-site childcare services to assist working mothers

The SheMaker Summit 2023 Acknowledges Eveready's Maddur Plant for Women's Development and Inclusive Leadership in Manufacturing and this battery manufacturer is involved in several CSR initiatives- Project Durga, Saksham, Sushasthya, and Go Green are designed to advance sustainable practices, empower women, foster education, and enhance healthcare in local communities forging a breakthrough in its pursuit of diversity, inclusivity, and equality at its Maddur Plant unit in the Mandya district of Karnataka.  


With the mission of fostering an inclusive work environment, Eveready stands as an exemplar of promoting diversity across dimensions such as culture, ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, caste, age and ideas. Notably, the Maddur Plant unit sets a new benchmark with an impressive 55% women representation, showcasing the company's dedication to creating a workplace that embraces diversity at every level.

Eveready’s Maddur plant has also been recognised for its dedication to women’s development and inclusive leadership at The SheMaker Summit, a dynamic platform uniting women in manufacturing to witness, innovate, and collaborate to lead the future in the industry, which took place in August 2023 at IIM Mumbai.

Prasad Tantry, Head, Maddur Plant, Eveready Industries India Ltd., stated “On this Women’s Day we are committed to building an inclusive workforce and proud of achieving 55% women workforce in shop floor setting a powerful precedent for diversity and inclusion in the manufacturing sector. The women employees are working in all areas from running machines to maintaining production records in the ERP systems. They handle stores, dispatches and are actively involved in jobs related to purchase, HR and plant security. By active engagement with nearby and rural communities through employment exchanges and school campuses, we prioritize community development while ensuring gender parity within our diverse workforce, driving innovation and success.”

The company owes much of its success to distinguished female leaders, including the Head of Legal & CS, Head of CSR, Corporate HR Leads, IT Lead, Research and Development Lead, and Women Supervisor at the Maddur plant. In support, we prioritize the well-being of our female workforce, offering secure transportation, on-site clinics, and crèche facilities, with plans to replicate these supportive workplaces across our offices and manufacturing units.

Sandeep Banerjee, CHRO, Eveready Industries India Ltd. said, “At Eveready, we are committed to fostering an inclusive work environment that allows impartial offering of equitable distribution of work opportunities and responsibilities to both men and women. While we celebrate International Women’s Day, we always aspire to provide equal opportunity, emphasize talent and competence above all considerations. As the happiness of our employees is of paramount importance to us, we ensure work-life balance with growth opportunities. In all our endeavours, we strive to create a more inclusive and supportive work environment for our employees for a continued empowered future.”

Celebrating commitment to empower persons with autism, leading fulfilling lives - Autism Centre for Excellence

Autism Centre for Excellence

Providing comprehensive programs and resources rooted in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to empower individuals with autism to reach their full potential, the Autism Centre of Excellence celebrated a Milestone 10 Years of Achievements and Giving Back to the Community. 

The Autism Centre for Excellence (ACE), a beacon of hope and support for the autistic community, celebrated a momentous milestone recently, marking a decade of dedication, innovation, and compassionate care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The celebratory event, held at the esteemed Triveni Kala Sangam, was a vibrant showcase of inclusivity, talent, and the unwavering spirit of the entire ACE family.

The event not only celebrated the past achievements but also reignited the commitment to empowering individuals with autism to lead fulfilling and independent lives.

The evening commenced with a heartfelt welcome note by the Co-founder and Director of ACE, Dr. Archana Nayar set a tone of gratitude and reflection for the journey that began in 2014. The event unfolded with a series of captivating performances, including a student musical, a dance by dedicated staff members, and a play, all of which underscored the talents and capabilities of the ACE community.

An address by the Guest of Honour, Mrs. Indu Rawat, Director of the Hans Foundation, further illuminated the event, reinforcing the importance of support and understanding for individuals with autism. Co-Founder of ACE, Sameer Nayar gave a heartfelt address to distinguished contributors to ACE’s journey, that included Mr. Manit Jain, Mr Lalit Jain and Mr. Rajesh Jain, co-founders of The Heritage School, who were all honored in a felicitation ceremony, celebrating the collaborative efforts that have fueled ACE's mission. 

The highlight of the evening, the ACE Feature Film, provided a visual journey through the center's decade-long endeavor, touching the hearts of all attendees.

In a fashion show titled ‘Fashion beyond Label,’ students dazzled the audience, breaking stereotypes and celebrating diversity. The timeline of student achievements, showcased during the event, was a testament to the progress and breakthroughs made possible through ACE's comprehensive programs and interventions.

The evening also featured heartwarming performances by parents, and a soul-stirring Qawwali performance by the band Rooh. and an art exhibition titled "Imagination meets Creation," allowing guests to witness the creativity and imagination of the ACE students.

Dr. Archana Nayar eloquently captured the essence of the celebration, “I reflect on the achievements of the past decade and envision a future filled with many more milestones and successes. The achievements of students would not have been possible without the support of the parents and the dedicated effort of all those who teach at ACE.”  The event concluded on a note of hope and celebration, with the community coming together to applaud the success stories of individuals who have thrived with the support of ACE.

As ACE steps into its next decade, it remains committed to excellence, innovation, and inclusivity, continuing to pave the way for a more compassionate and supportive society for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The event not only celebrated the past achievements but also reignited the commitment to empowering individuals with autism to lead fulfilling and independent lives.

The Autism Centre for Excellence (ACE) is a pioneering institution dedicated to supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families in India. Founded in 2014 by The Special Child Trust, ACE provides comprehensive programs, interventions, and resources rooted in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to empower individuals with autism to reach their full potential. With a commitment to excellence, innovation, and inclusivity, ACE aims to create a more compassionate and supportive society for individuals with autism in India.

Bolstering infra projects, Hon'ble PM dedicates 9 projects under BPCL for the nation

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited

Augmentation of Cryogenic facilities, Inauguration of New Kero Hydro Treater (KHT) Unit and the POL Terminal were among the 9 projects dedicated to the nation, that would greatly boost India's infrastructure, the Honourable Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today, laid the foundation stone for the launch of 9 projects led by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), a leading Fortune 500 Maharatna Energy Conglomerate, at an event in Bengusarai, Bihar.

In a major stride towards bolstering infrastructure and fuel production capabilities, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is set to embark on a series of transformative projects with a cumulative investment of Rs. 9,800 crore for the combined 9 projects. Out of these 9 projects, 4 have already been completed, while the remaining 5 are slated for completion between 2024 and 2025.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited

Projects under Foundation Stone:

1.       Kalaburagi POL Depot: Located in Kalaburagi, Karnataka, BPCL constructed a POL Depot spanning 56 acres, amounting to Rs. 246 crores. Serving districts like Gulbarga, Bidar, Yadgir, Bijapur, and Raichur, this depot fosters industrial and economic development in northeastern Karnataka. The depot ensures efficient fuel distribution, generating employment for approximately 1 lakh mandays during construction and offering operational roles for 50 individuals.

2.       City Gas Distribution in Fazilka, Ganganagar, and Hanumangarh: Covering Fazilka, Ganganagar, and Hanumangarh districts in Rajasthan and Punjab, this project targets logistic savings of Rs. 60 crore annually while reducing CO2 emissions. It anticipates creating around 1 lakh mandays of employment, ensuring efficient fuel distribution and significantly impacting the local economy.

3.       POL & LOBS Installations with Receipt Pipelines at Rasayani: Located in Rasayani, Raigad District, Maharashtra, BPCL's pipeline project from Mumbai Refinery to Rasayani aims to foster industrial growth and socio-economic development in the region. This initiative enhances infrastructure, facilitates industrial growth, and generates employment, with approximately 6 lakh mandays during construction and 150 persons during operation.

4.       Lube Oil Blending and Filling Plant at Rasayani: Planned at Rasayani, Raigad District, Maharashtra, this automated blending plant replaces the congested existing plant at Wadilube, ensuring efficient production and operation. This project enhances operational efficiency, leverages strategic location advantages, and generates employment, with around 3 lakh mandays during construction.

5.       Augmentation of Cryogenic facilities at Uran LPG Import Terminal: Located in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, this project enhances cryogenic facilities to import and decant Propane and Butane simultaneously, thereby increasing import capacity. It provides commercial advantages, enhances product distribution efficiency, and benefits the region's economy and employment sector.

Projects under Dedication to the Nation:

1.       Inauguration of New Kero Hydro Treater (KHT) Unit at Mumbai Refinery: BPCL's Mumbai Refinery inaugurated the New Kero Hydro Treater (KHT) unit, aimed at producing Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) with low sulfur content and treating kerosene streams to meet BS VI HSD standards, thus significantly reducing the carbon footprint. This pioneering unit, the first of its kind in India, not only contributes to environmental sustainability but also produces ultra-low sulfur Mineral Turpentine Oil (MTO), Superior Kerosene Oil (SKO), and ATF, aligning with eco-friendly practices. The project, which witnessed substantial employment during both construction and operational phases, represents a significant step towards cleaner and greener fuel production.

2.       Enhancement of Lube Oil Base Stock Production at Mumbai Refinery: BPCL enhanced its Lube Oil Base Stock Production unit, significantly increasing the capacity to produce Group III base oils and specialty oils. This strategic move promotes self-reliance by reducing reliance on imported high-quality lubricants, aligning with the vision of 'Atma-nirbhar Bharat'. During construction and operational phases, the project generated substantial employment opportunities, further boosting the local economy and fostering growth in the lubricants sector.

3.       Construction of POL Terminal with Railway Siding at Haveli, Pune: The POL Terminal at Haveli, Pune, Maharashtra, equipped with a railway siding, addresses the region's fuel supply needs more efficiently. This initiative aimed to reduce dependency on other Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) while increasing product availability in the region. Notably, the construction of this terminal generated indirect employment and contributed to business and economic growth in Pune and Satara districts. Moreover, the reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions associated with truck transportation enhances environmental sustainability.

4.       Commissioning of POL Coastal Installation at Krishnapatnam, SPSR Nellore, Andhra Pradesh: BPCL commissioned a POL Coastal Installation, featuring fully automated and environment-friendly facilities. This state-of-the-art installation ensures product security and supply assurance, catering to various demand centers in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and neighboring states. Significantly, the project generated significant direct and indirect employment, stimulating business and economic growth in the region. Besides, the installation's streamlined operations reduce lead time for supplies, thereby enhancing overall Health, Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE) standards, while also contributing to environmental conservation efforts.

All of the projects are poised to yield multifaceted benefits for society at large. Beyond their immediate impact on the energy sector, these initiatives will play a pivotal role in fostering socio-economic growth.

The implementation of these projects have anticipated to generate employment opportunities of approximately 22.5 lakh man-days, thereby contributing to job creation and skill development within the community.

With the growing demand for fuel and energy in their respective locations, these initiatives have become catalysts for economic growth. Additionally, the expansion of the CGD network in regions like Fazilka, Ganganagar, and Hanumangarh, is in alignment with government’s vision of participation of natural gas in India’s energy basket to 15 percent by 2030.

By incorporating state-of-the-art technologies and sustainable practices, BPCL aims to minimize its ecological footprint, aligning with its dedication to responsible corporate citizenship. These endeavors collectively exemplify BPCL's commitment to innovation, efficiency, and addressing the dynamic energy needs of the nation.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) is a Fortune Global 500 Company, Bharat Petroleum is the second largest Indian Oil Marketing Company and one of the integrated energy companies in India, engaged in refining of crude oil and marketing of petroleum products, with presence in the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry. The company attained the coveted Maharatna status, joining the club of companies having greater operational & financial autonomy.