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Tremendous scope for Australian investment into India: Piyush Goyal




Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said that there is tremendous scope for Australian investment into India as the country eases FDI norms and opens up different sectors.

Addressing the CII’s session on ‘Enhancing India Australia Bilateral Economic and Trade Relationship’, the Minister for Railways, Commerce and industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public distribution said India has opened up the agriculture sector for greater investments in food processing and value addition.

The Minister also launched ‘India-Australia Economic Strategy Report’.

Accordingly, Goyal said that India is continuously trying to make FDI policies more facilitative, congenial and supportive of foreign investment.

He said that newer areas like space, nuclear energy and defence production will open up good opportunities for Indo-Australian mutual engagement.

Emerging sectors of defence, sports, textiles, textile designing, digital gaming, animation, water management, commercial ship-building, space collaboration and digital engagement in education, hold great promise in our efforts to balance this trade relationship, he mentioned.

Besides, Goyal said that recent labour reforms will also enable a new ecosystem for labour regulations and flexibility in employment.

Areas like tourism, he cited will generate a lot of jobs in India under the new framework, and will make tourism projects in India more viable.

“We wish to ensure that the farmers of India get even greater incomes which would only be possible with more value-added on our farm produce and greater engagement with the rest of the world, to meet the needs of the international community,” the Minister added.

Furthermore, he said that in the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the focus of the industry, which had been to bring back economic activity, is yielding very good results and the economy is showing a V-shaped recovery.

“India has utilised the opportunity thrown up by Covid-19 to further liberalise our economy and make it easier to do business in India.

“We are one of the most open economies today particularly with FDI in automatic route up to 100 per cent in almost all sector expect,” Goyal added.


Save our livelihoods: Big Bazaar female staff appeal to Narendra Modi




On the International Women’s Day, over 2,600 women across Big Bazaar outlets in India appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to save the livelihood of over 2,00,000 women working for the Future Group’s retail chain, here on Monday.

The ‘Women of Big Bazaar SOS (Save Our Sustenance)’, serving with the Future Group narrated the plight of women whose jobs are jeopardised — comprising 10,000 direct employees and another 2,00,000 indirectly earning their livelihood by supplying products to the company’s brands.

A total of 2,677 women working in various positions with Future Group from Assam to Rajasthan, Kashmir to Kerala and all other states, have petitioned the PM to “urgently intervene” and save their livelihoods from “certain ruin in the wake of the ongoing crisis precipitated by Amazon”.

“Future Retail and Reliance had entered into an arrangement through which Future’s retail stores will continue to be operated by Reliance. Reliance has also committed to clear all debts and dues owed by Future Retail to suppliers and vendors,” the Group’s appeal said.

Owing to the tough times during the pandemic, this deal kindled hopes and confidence for their continued livelihoods, but Amazon has tried to stop this tie-up and consequently the future of the women and their families hangs precariously, implored the women.

Seeking the PM’s priority attention, they pointed out how “India’s daughters continue to live in fear and under the looming threat of cruel uncertainty to our livelihoods and lives”.

They stressed that owing to close family links, leaving the towns where they currently reside was not an option, even if they stopped earning or losing their current sources of livelihood.

“Without our jobs and sources of income, we would be left at the mercy of the cruel world. We shall all suffer deeply, and our families will undergo untold and unimaginable hardships. Just to think of this, shatters our hearts,” they appealed.

They said that in the wake of the Amazon-Reliance face-off for control over India’s retail, the Future Group’s vast and vibrant service and socio-economic ecosystem is under severe duress.

“For women, retail offers the unique advantage of it being the only industry where they are readily employed in blue-collar jobs particularly in smaller towns and cities across the country,” they said.

Invoking the PM’s philosophy of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ Mission, the Group urged him to “extend to us a little support so that we may live with dignity and be able to provide succour to our families”.

The group’s members are convinced that if the contentious Amazon interference in the FG-Reliance deal is permitted to proceed, the most severely hit will be the small-town retail women employees and those women of the extended support ecosystem set-ups where the impact of the impediment will be far greater and deeper than can be imagined, said the appeal to PM.

The appeal has been made by the Women of Big Bazaar SOS on behalf of the 10K-plus direct women staffers of the Future Group’s retail chains, plus another 2,00,000 who supply products to its associates like Central, Brand Factory, Easy Day, Heritage City, WH Smith, 7-Eleven, fbb, etc.

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Tesla, Ford only carmakers not gone bankrupt: Elon Musk



Elon Musk. (Photo: Twitter/@elonmusk)

As several carmakers bleed in the US and beyond, Tesla is profitable and according to Elon Musk, his electric car company and Ford are the only two carmakers in the US which have not gone bankrupt.

Tesla reported another profitable quarter as revenue hit $10.74 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020. In last year, Tesla achieved free cash flow of nearly $2.8 billion after spending more than $3 billion on building new factories and other expenditures.

US automaker Ford last month announced to more than double its investment in electric and autonomous vehicles to $29 billion. The automaker had previously committed to spend $11.5 billion on electrifying its vehicle lineup through 2022.

“Tesla & Ford are the only American carmakers not to have gone bankrupt out of 1000’s of car startups. Prototypes are easy, production is hard & being cash flow positive is excruciating,” Musk said in a tweet on Friday.

Ford CEO Jim Farley responded to his tweet, saying: “Respect”.

In 2020, Tesla produced and delivered half a million vehicles. In addition, Model Y production in Shanghai has begun.

Tesla this year also registered its Indian subsidiary with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) in Bengaluru, on January 8.

“2020 was a defining year for us on many levels. Despite a challenging environment, we’ve reached an important milestone of producing and delivering 0.5 million cars,” Musk had said.

On the other hand, Ford’s increased investment is aimed at catching up with the EV market leader Tesla and keep pace with other automakers like GM and Volkswagen.

“We are accelerating our plans right now, breaking constraints, increasing battery capacity, improving our costs and getting more battery electrics into our cycle plan,” Ford CEO Farley said last month.

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Adidas provides 100% support through its Formotion collection for all women making moves




In its commitment to creating an inclusive space in society for women, global sportswear giant — adidas, has launched Watch Us Move — a campaign to celebrate womanhood and their freedom of movement.

Through this campaign, adidas reaffirms its belief that just like in sport where body types don’t matter, our society is rising above caring for beauty standards.

As per adidas, what is important is that we unbiasedly care about our ambitions, hard work, stamina, willpower, and everything that comes from within. Sport is beyond caste, socio-economic status, physical and psychological barriers. Through ‘Watch Us Move’, the brand celebrates the positive movement of women who are spreading an infectious aura of rebellious optimism.

The launch of the campaign saw Manushi Chhillar, Dipika Pallikal & Nikhat Zareen coming together to narrate how they have broken unrealistic stereotypes of perfection through their incredible journey and positioned themselves as role models for young girls across the country.

Present at the launch, Sunil Gupta, Senior Director, brand adidas, India said: “Watch Us Move” is all about encouraging women to express themselves through movement. Every woman has her own definition of movement, of what progress looks like. They’re already taking action, creating in their own way. Yet many tell her what to do, how to look and who to be. With the launch of “Watch Us Move”, adidas aims to unshackle these expectations and provide 100% support for all women making moves as they move the world.

Speaking at the launch, Manushi Chhillar, Miss World 2017, said, “I am delighted to be a part of adidas’ powerful roster of women athletes who are super inspirational. ‘Watch Us Move’ celebrates women, their achievements and inspires us to keep a positive approach to life. It celebrates the fact that being feminine is powerful in every way, shape and form. Through this platform, I’d like to say we are ready to MOVE and now, more so than ever, it’s time for the world to ‘WATCH US MOVE’.”

Adding to this, Deepika Pallikal, Indian Squash Player, said, “Watch Us Move is a rallying call for all women to be the drivers of change for one another with their inspiring rebellious optimism. Through this campaign, I urge women to express themselves more freely and also to move & enjoy and see how this movement can do wonders to their bodies and minds for overall wellbeing.”

As part of the campaign, adidas is pushing boundaries to release product innovations that reflect women’s needs to access possibilities in sport and herself throughout the year. The campaign is timed with the arrival of adidas’ most supportive activewear range — Formotion — a collection that has been developed by an all-female design team to deliver maximum support, whilst offering a comfortable fit that works seamlessly with the body in motion. Formotion is a celebration of freedom and expression through movement and inclusivity for all women.

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