Calcutta Chamber of Commerce: the oldest chamber of commerce in IndiaCalcutta Chamber of Commerce: the oldest chamber of commerce in India

Major Events 2020-21

September 28 2021
Virtual Session on "Positioning Kolkata as the Super Gateway to Nepal"

The Guests of Honour were Shri Vinit Kumar, Chairman, Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata, Shri N. Sivasailam, Former Special Secretary, Logistics, Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry & Administrative Member, Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal, Bengaluru, Shri Shekhar Golchha, President, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and Shri Rajendra Malla, President, Nepal Chamber of Commerce.

Shri Vinit Kumar mentioned that in the last three years Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port have done pretty well in the sense of highest cargo in 2020 i.e. 63.9 billion tons and in last year, though in the first 4-6 months the cargo movement were 25% down but by the end of the year this is 62 billion tons. This is approximately 4% down compared to 2020. Port could maintain our bottom line and top line very well despite the Covid situation. The overall performance of port is good-looking. The ports were down by 30% and the exports were up by 25% and this caused the imbalances. They had a meeting with Hon'ble Minister of Commerce, other departmental officers and shipping liners also and they are hopeful that by the first quarter of next year the picture will be quite normal.

In regard to Nepal he said that the container movement and container trend is good in the last year. He mentioned that Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port is giving various facilities to Nepal trade. Normally containers comes to the port after two days, we levy charge on them and in case of Nepal container, for road delivery is the free time and rail delivery 40 days is the free time and this is applicable to both importers and exporters. Shri Kumar also mentioned that in the last year during pandemic, the Nepalese containers were allowed to stay in the port without any charge. For containers and cargo movements the entire process is paperless in the port and nobody needs to come to the port. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port is the highest revenue earner in the country by e-method.

While addressing the session Shri Sivasailam, Former Special Secretary (Logistics) said that Kolkata was always the hub of trade and industry but the question is how we are going to do better. There are changes in technology, changes in expectation, changes in business techniques and how we should take if forward. He was on the same opinion that a task force is needed but the task force is not for talking but it's for doing. Nepal Chamber of Commerce, FNCCI and Calcutta Chamber of Commerce together should perform as a task force and implement ideas for business. In the logistics part, unless and until everything is tied up nothing is tied up and that's the way it works in logistics. But there can be business process, investment process, cooperative process and the task force will address this issue.

He appreciated the idea of inland waterways from Sagar to Sahibganj, it can be entirely Nepal based investment; it can be State of the Art. Task Force should look the necessity of infrastructure in the Sahibganj Port. If there is no investment in infrastructure, logistics cost can never go down because every intervention adds money. He emphasized on the container business which will be organized by three chambers which helps huge savings immediately. His advice was on the digital platform for documentation, everybody will join you whether it is financially or on any other matter and it helps immensely and the big thing is nobody can suspect your documents which have been already uploaded.

Shri Shekhar Golcha alleged that Kolkata is not only the gateway for Nepal Exim trade but it also has a special historic relation for such a long time. Kolkata is a special place in our heart. The railway service agreement that has recently been amended by India is a very welcome step. In Nepal we have been so challenged for our industry and cost of doing business, the logistics costs were relatively very high and since we have only one railway operator and now we really welcome the step. They will help us reducing our logistics costs but the same has not been implemented by shipping liners yet. In recent years there is an infrastructure development and progress is going on in Kolkata Port which is helping to facilitate the Nepalese trade. We are hoping that the volume will again be slowly transferred to Kolkata as infrastructure development and facilitation are extended to Nepalese traders.

He mentioned in the webinar that the banking system and banking standards in Nepal are world-class. The concern is that the shipping companies are not registered in Nepal and appealed that shipping liners should be registered in Nepal and they should accept payment locally and take a transfer and this is very important for Nepal trade. India and Nepal have also agreed to the development of indigenous waterways. In future, Nepal would also be operating small vessels using inland waterways and Kolkata will be connected to Nepal through this.

Shri Malla believed that we have a historical relationship with Kolkata, we add a great importance to Kolkata as we are closely linked culturally and also from economic point of view. Kolkata is the gateway of Nepalese because more than 2/3rd of our external trade occurs through the Kolkata Port. There are direct link of cargo, trains from Kolkata to Nepal, connected to the different cities of Nepal. India and Nepal has excellent bilateral relationship in political, economical, trade and cultural fields. India is extending technical and economic support to Nepal especially from 1951. A large number of people attracted to Nepal for religious tourism. India is the largest trade partner of Nepal. We can also enhance our business through inland waterways. We also need to develop the digital payment system. He mentioned that hydro power sector is very potential sector in Nepal. Indian people can invest in the hydro sector. Lastly he appealed to formulate a Task Force between Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, Nepal Chamber of Commerce and FNCCI so that we can sit together for developing the business ties.

September 27 2021
Virtual Session on "India's Macroeconomic Prospects-Questions in Search of Answers"

The Guest of Honour is Dr. Duvvuri Subbarao, Former Governor, Reserve Bank of India.

Dr. Subbarao said in September 2020 the total situation was most horrible. The Covid test was not very encouraging, medical infrastructure was inadequate, medical personnel were ill prepared, there was no cure there was no vaccine, factories and businesses were stopped, schools were shut down, there was a reverse migration of 200 million people and 100 millions of people across villages in the country were in a destitute condition. There was a pressure on the government to borrow and pay out to support the vulnerable households and vulnerable businesses. RBI was embarking on one of the most extraordinary issue policy. The economic growth was in a precarious situation and there was a fear and anxiety all around. But when second wave came, our medical infrastructure was much prepared, our health and medical personnel were prepared, our large vaccination programme is running smoothly, schools have been opening up slowly, exports are expanding, the agriculture sector is growing, the fiscal situation has improved, the economy is on the recovery track. The economy is certainly recovering but there are many challenges ahead to get back on to a high growth trajectory.

He said that for the cause of pandemic the first scars is permanent loss of income. The output at the end of 2022 will be 6-7% lower than what if there have been no pandemic. He expressed his deep concern that the economy generated wider inequality by the pandemic. When the economy catches over 7% last year, 75 million people actually were below the poverty line. The stock market is booming with indices record high. Despite the stringent lockdown last year, despite the negative growth rate; corporate sector in India recorded profits of 2.6% possibly highest ever even when employment loss is 23.5% last year. So this is the biggest scar the economy leaves behind us.

According to Dr. Subbarao we cannot depend on private consumption. Investment cannot be a growth driver for the short term because the economy is operating below capacity. Unless demand picks up, the private sector cannot play a big role. So in the short term we will have to depend on exports and government expenditure. For the long term growth we have to depend on consumption, investment, local exports and government expenditure by way of investment. He believes that asset monetization is a good idea. The economy is recovering but already the inflation is high.

September 19 2021
Virtual Session on "Exploring Business Opportunities in the New World : Visit Expo 2020, Dubai"

The Guest of Honour is Shri Vedant Marda, Vibrant Experiences

Shri Vedant Marda said that Vibrant Experiences is the authorized partner of Dubai Expo 2020. He remarked that Expo 2020 is going to be a greatest global event on the planet. The Expo will start from 1st October 2021 till 31st March 2022. The theme of the Expo is "Connecting Minds Creating the Future". The Expo 2020 is going to incorporate 190 countries participating from across the globe. It is the opportunity for businessmen to connect with the best of the best. The world's most futuristic design, architecture and innovative technology will be showcased at Expo 2020. In 182 days 60 events are going to take place every day. It is the first time in expo history that more than 190 countries are participating in the Dubai Expo 2020. India will be having its own pavilion. More than 25 million visitors expected to participate in the Expo.

One can experience business, technology, learning, architecture, entertainments, music of the world, domes of the world, cuisines of the world and so on. 200 pavilions will be showcasing their future in terms of the technology, business and in terms of sustainability. For businessmen the Expo 2020 has different kinds of industries showcasing the best. One will be able to see the industries such as retail, banking and finance, technology and innovation, design and architecture. Dubai Expo 2020 is the grandest stage for networking global giants and visitors from 190 countries visiting this under one platform. With the Expo 2020, one also gets the advantage of B2B App which people can use to connect and to network with the visitors travelling to Expo 2020.

Lastly he said that in the Expo one can understand the differences in business, the ways that people can invest, the different types of people you can meet to invest in the future. So experience the magic of Expo 2020.

August 05 2021
Virtual Session on "Align Your Chakras For Maximum Wellness"

The Guest of Honour is Ms. Hemlata Rathi, Clinical Nutritionist

Ms. Hemlata Rathi explained in the webinar how the Chakras work in our life. Chakras are located in the mid line of our body and they govern our physiological, physical, psychological, emotional and mental health. We have to balance them properly to get maximum wellness. Chakras control our fear, anxiety, emotion which is very much necessary during this pandemic time. She elaborated seven different Chakras - Muladhara Chakra, Swadishthana Chakra, Manipur Chakra, Anahata Chakra, Vishuddhi Chakra, Ajna Chakra, Sahasrara Chakra - their colour, location, sound, activity to enhance the energy of different chakras, what food should we take and the affirmation statement. At the end of the session she performed some yogasana, exercise and meditation for fitness of our health.

July 27 2021
Virtual Session on "Prospects of Industrialisation in West Bengal"

Shri Rajiva Sinha, IAS, Hon'ble Chairman, West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. was our Chief Guest. The Guests of Honour were Shri Sitaram Sharma, Chairman, Mironda Minmetals Pvt Ltd., Shri Hari Mohan Bangur, Managing Director, Shree Cement Limited and Shri Sanjay Budhia, Managing Director, Patton International Limited.

Shri Rajiva Sinha said that Bengal has been a forefront in industry since many years and the footfall is known to all of us. He always prefers to address the problems what the industry are facing. He said that let it be left to the Government or the Bureaucracy to address all the problems. He cleared that our focus area is only the creation of wealth by the private sector in Bengal. WBIDC's role is to facilitating the industry in different ways. West Bengal has always been known as a sector leader in MSMEs. At the WBIDC we started an exercise to identify top 50 companies in Bengal which are large industry having a turnover of more than 250 crores and one will be surprised to know that 156 companies have already come up in the pipeline. So we have a huge response from the people of West Bengal. He mentioned that every bureaucrat and every department of Govt. of West Bengal is pro-active and pro-industry.

Shri Sitaram Sharma said that at one time Bengal was the powerhouse of all industries. He pointed out 3 Ps- first is Perception, second is Potential and third is prospect. Perception is very important, Bengal has got all the potentials, Bengal is the 6th largest State in terms of foreign investment. In regard to prospect, physical and social infrastructure is very important. We need many agro-based industries. Bengal has been the pioneer in the field of steel, mines, minerals, textiles etc. and we need to back to them. MSME is playing a key role in the state. We have a huge coal block which is second in the whole world. He urged to the government for incentives.

Shri Hari Mohan Bangur said that Bengal is ready to absorb any amount of investment because land is cheaper here and industrial atmosphere is good. We are very bullish about the people here. The State is doing much better than the Indian growth and we don't find any problem. In last one year people are very positive about Bengal which sets the perception. Within last ten years no manpower is lost and the biggest thing is because of small scale industries, good horticulture, floriculture, pisciculture are there. Any investment will be viable in Bengal. He suggested that the state government may think of reducing the amount of incentives being offered now but can give incentive to industry upfront.

Shri Sanjay Budhia focused on 3 M- material, manpower and market. A variety of raw materials are available here, most learned manpower are here and the state has markets like entire North East, East and connectivity to the different states and neighbouring countries. He said Bengal is the best State for doing business. Engineering exports components are produced here and exports are done in different countries. In the perspective of government and governance we are far ahead. He admired the administration; it is so strong that we should not go to the senior level. Two main sectors like- logistics are doing well and so many industrial parks have been built up here and that we are experiencing ourselves. One world class Convention Centre is there in West Bengal. Overall West Bengal is the main attractive destination for investment.

July 13 2021
Virtual Session on "Atmanirbhar Bharat - Opportunities & challenges"

The Guest of Honour is Shri Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, GoI

Shri Sanjeev Sanyal pointed out that there was a big impact on certain sectors on an aggregate of much smaller than the 1st lockdown. There are also certain parts of the economy that are actually doing exceptionally well, one of them being FDI, another one being exports. There are lot of activities happening and record exports have taken place even accounting for last year low base. So exports are doing exceptionally well. The best response is to look at an actual data and actual events and to respond firmly and quickly to whatever actually happens rather than try to guess.

He described three possible ways for the economy to grow. One way is that we have open the economy up after the second wave is stabilized, enough of the economy comes back, the FDI is doing well, the exports are doing well and some sectors may be doing well; but generally the overall economy slows down. In that environment we may have to provide extra supporting efforts to support the economy, but clearly we need to do something more than just implement our budget. The second possibility is that inflation is not entirely clear right now and inflation is coming back worldwide; we need to be concerned about this. In that environment our approach will be much more cautious about demand expansion. The third environment is some different one, the demand comes back and inflation is somehow an issue. In that environment we will have to provide much targeted support for those segments that could be horizontal segments or could be vertical segments. So in that situation a much more targeted approach will have to use. Disinvestment programme will continue and we are committed to privatizing.

Shri Sanyal explained Atmanirbhar Bharat as leveraging our internal strength. It is about being pragmatic and resilience so that we can create skill, leveraging our own internal market. This is quite different from the earlier era import substitution. This is not about closing ourselves to the rest of the world and not about that we can't compete to the rest of the world. This is about a resilience of a global competitive industry and this is the thinking that if we want to compete globally we need to be able to achieve at least certain cluster of economic activity in-house and through it in future we will have major reforms.

July 04 2021
Webinar on "Virtual Tour To Morocco - The Melting Pot of Cultures & Dynasties"

The Guest of Honour is Ms. Alifiya Calcuttawala, Regional Director, The Wanderers

Morocco, a North African country and according to Ms. Alifiya, Morocco is a fantastic destination for everyone. They are culturally very rich. Their population is about 35 million. Morocco is surrounded by Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea on the both sides, mountain on the centre and Sahara Desert on the west. Casablanca, Rabat, Tangler, Marrakesh are the main cities in Morocco. Rabat is the capital city and the major language is Arabic, Berber and French. The best time to visit to Morocco is in the winter. Casablanca is the main gateway to Morocco, it is a power house and it has a big industrial hub. Hassan II Mosque is a great mosque and it is the second largest mosque in the world and it has an outstanding feature.

One of the most favourite cities in Morocco is Fez, it is famous for many historical buildings, rich culture, historical evidences in every nook and corner. The University of Karueen is the oldest existing university in the world situated in Fez. Date is the favourite fruit, all the sweets in Morocco are date-based and it is very healthy as well. Pottery and Mosaic tiles are very famous. Morocco is very famous for leather. Snow cap Atlas Mountain is situated in Morocco. The historian says that the region of Morocco has been inhabited for almost 90 thousand years. Morocco has the largest film studio in the world named as Atlas Film Studio and it is over 300 thousand sq. ft. Tourists are welcome to visit this site. Riad is a Moroccan Tomb built around an interior garden or courtyard. The word Riad came from the Arabic word for 'garden'.

June 13 2021
Webinar on Be Blessed with Nature

The Guests of Honour are Dr. Piyush Dwivedi, MD, Ayurved Expert & Smt. Anuradha Vidhawan, Nutritionist.

The Session was organized by Calcutta Chamber of Commerce in association with Concern for Calcutta, Friends of Kolkata, Rotary Club of District 3291, Rotary Belur, Calcutta New Alipore & Calcutta Victoria.

Smt. Anuradha Vidhawan mentioned that mankind is dependent on nature for food, for water, for oxygen, for medicine and various other products which we get from nature. To overcome the present Pandemic situation, she advised that we must stay in touch with nature. Nature will sooth us, heal us, our immune system will improve and it will boost our health and well being. Smt. Vidhawan further said that to maintain our balance in life we need to have good food, we need to sleep well, drink fresh water to hydrate ourself and of course we need to do exercise regularly. Sunlight is very important in our life to boost ourselves. The most important immune boost food is fresh fruit and in the same way we can have fresh vegetables. Both of them have all the vitamins and minerals which we require. Another immunity boosting food is natural spices, especially she mentioned about turmeric which acts as antibiotic in our health and very healthy for our health. We do require nuts and seeds in our daily routine.

Dr. Piyush Dwivedi explained Ayurveda as divine science. We will get long quality life through ayurved. Ayurveda deals with the daily lifestyle, the seasonal lifestyle, the discipline of life, the growth of spirituality, making a complete defense system both physically, emotionally, psychologically and socially. Ayurved covers all these very strongly. According to Ayurveda this is appropriate connection with the atmosphere and dynamic ability to adopt the atmosphere both outside and inside. It is a complete holistic approach with the specific individuality. As per Ayurved Shastra no food is good food and no food is bad food because it depends on your constitution and the state of disease. This is the Ayurveda in true sense. He strongly mentioned in the webinar that we should boost our digestive system in different ways rather than boosting our immunity system. The food consumption should be 1/3rd of our ability to eat, food should be easily digestible and at the time of eating we should focus on food. Ayurveda is not a pathy, this is the best way of living and there is no comparison to any other pathies. There should not be any clash with the Ayurveda because ayurveda is the mother of all the medical science.

June 11 2021
Webinar on Awareness of Search & Seizure Under Income Tax - Key Issues

The Guests of Honour are Shri Subrata Kumar Ray, Former Member, CBDT & Shri Paras Kochar, Advocate, Author & Tax Consultant. The session was moderated by Shri M.P. Sureka, Past President, Calcutta Chamber of Commerce

Shri Subrata Ray said that search and survey are entirely two different things. Though they are part of the tools that the Authorities under Income Tax Acts use for different purposes. Survey is part of very routine investigation where a Jt. Commissioner or an Addl. Commissioner can authorize his Assistant Commissioner or Dy. Commissioner or ITO or any Inspector to carry out survey. They can only enter the business premises where the books of accounts and the documents etc. for verification purpose and that too within office hours. Whereas in the case of search, certain conditions have to be satisfied and person as senior as a Director General or Pr. Director General has to approve it because it is invading privacy of a person. During search and seizure they can seize the documents and they can enter any time of the day and night. Therefore survey and search are totally different. He warned that the deleted messages in the digital platform can be retrieved by the department people and can be used against the assesses and be very careful about it.

Shri Paras Kochar said that every assessee must have certain precautions when the survey and search take place. He advised that during search and survey an assesse or businessman should be very careful that no incoming documents should be kept in office or in the computer. This is the important precaution to be maintained by the assessee. Secondly he suggested that no rough paper should be reused and this is not a good habit because during search and seizure it can be a very dangerous problem. Whatsapp, SMS and Emails are very important for business but at the same time it is very risky as regards survey and search is concerned. Because the team can check everything and if any incoming message is found they will take a printout of the message and they will use it against us. As regards hard disc is concerned, 3-4-5 years accounts are found in the hard disc whenever search and survey take place. He advised that every year we should change the hard disc. Books of accounts should be immediately destroyed after using it and one can preserve it in the pen drive.

Regarding wealth tax he said that jewelleries, cash or any valuable assets when seized cannot be released till the assessment is over. During the course of seizure the reply of an assessee should be very brief and he should be very careful.

May 30 2021
Webinar on Virtual Tour of the Last Pristine Destination in the World- Antarctica

The Guest of Honour is Ms. Alifiya Calcuttawala, Regional Diretor, The Wanderers

Ms. Alifiya Calcuttawala mentioned that Antarctica is the fifth largest continent and it is bigger than Europe and Australia. The closest continent to Antarctica is South America and if anyone wants to visit Antarctica he should go from South America because that is the shortest distance. Antarctica has no population; it has no currency and capital. Antarctica has no official language. The coldest temperature recorded in Antarctica was -90 degree Celsius. She suggested that the best time to travel to Antarctica is from November to 15th of March. The largest glacier in the world is located in East Antarctica. Antarctica doesn't belong to any country, it can be only used for scientific and research purposes and of course it opens to tourism also. As per Antarctica Treaty one cannot take any organism from land to this Pristine Continent.

In the Antarctica one can see 8 species of Penguins, 45 species of birds and various kinds of Seal. The ice sheets are 60-65 meters everywhere, due to climate change; Antarctica has lost 3 trillion tons of ice in just 25 years. Overall the journey to Antarctica is very incredible and amazing.

May 14 2021
Webinar on Wisdom for Start-Ups & SMEs

The Guests of Honour are Shri R. Gopalakrishnan, Author, Speaker and Corporate Adviser, Shri R. Narayanan, Angel Investor and Mentor. The session was conducted by Shri Siddharth Zarabi, Senior Journalist.

Shri Gopalakrishnan said that most middleclass value is to learn adversity from prosperity. No middleclass person in India needs to be persuaded on that particular point and from that perspective this is one of the most severe adversities that India has faced. On a question he replied that the roots of the governance problem have not surfaced through this pandemic but the management of the pandemic surfaced the weaknesses of the governance structure. Therefore, so many things are to be handled to recover the weaknesses of the health system and the governance system.

He said that apart from creativity, our entrepreneurs should have the discipline to convert those ideas into a business model. Because the key difference between Indian entrepreneurs and many other entrepreneurs is that the Indians are very tactical and very creative. We need to be a little more strategic. He mentioned 3E Model - enterprise, education and eudemonia to get the success for startup people. As per his perspective, it is impossible for government to behave like start up, because fundamentally the vision of the government and the start up is very different.

Shri R. Narayanan advised that entrepreneurs are to think really big to accelerate the culture of startups. Entrepreneurs are also influenced and driven impart by success story that they see around. As the startup community finds that they are getting better recognition in some big area it is a good thing. Startups are abnormally growing corporate organism. The lesson for startup community is that they should always remember that they should build an identity first.

May 07 2021
Webinar on Update on Economy and Equity Markets

The Guest of Honour is Shri Rajesh Agarwal, Head, Equity Research Wing, Aum Capital

At the beginning of the webinar Shri Pankaj Tibrewal presented a very well researched note and important data on Covid 19.

Regarding equity markets, Shri Tibrewal said that there are two questions we are asking everyday about our market resilience or our market complacence. He was of opinion that market in this year May will be something like what we have seen in April last year. The impact of the regional lockdown will be there on the overall markets and economy. The available data is showing the galloping rise in the Indian equity market during lockdown. He also added that possibly since second vaccination the market should start getting better and things should be okay. In the last three quarters we have seen that Corporate India has done a very unique job. According to him in the very near term markets will be in a volatile range. This year will be a very tricky year because after a long time inflation is coming back globally. He said corrections happen every year in the markets. He is extremely positive on a 3-5 year basis. There will be enough wealth creating companies in India in near future. He believes that in the next 3-4 years 200 billion dollar IPO will come from the private side. Shri Tibrewal strongly believes that if economic growth picks up over the next 2-3 years, broader market will do far better.

April 12 2021
Webinar on Mission Smart City Vision of the Coffee House

The Guest of Honour is Shri Debashish Sen, Hon'ble Chairman-Managing director, HIDCO

Shri Debasish Sen enlightened that a smart city depends on 4 platforms. First is Technology that the way the world is going, the telecommunication and work from home is going, the data centres are coming in; so the technology must be used for the benefit of the people. Second is Economic Ability- we know that the cities contributes 60% of the country's GDP, the economic engine of growth. The third aspect is livability- that the city with air cleans, dust-free, quiet, the less visual pollution; these all are in our New Town smart city. And the fourth and last aspect is Sustainability. He said we are doing amazing work towards attaining sustainability with Zero shop.

Shri Sen further said that we got in touch with IIT Kharagpur Centre of Excellence on happiness for making our smart city a happy city. New Town being a growing city, there are lots of IT offices, BPO Centres, there are two SEZs and so on. There are so many road side coffee bars runs in the night and this would make a safety in the neighbourhood. There is a smart street in the New Town displaying so many things around the street. A smart library is also there.

In regards to Coffee House Shri Debashish Sen said that in December 2020 we inaugurated the Coffee House and when we started planning of the coffee house we discovered that there are so many educational institutions around it. So many students can hangout over a cup of coffee or tea and they get a chance to interact with each other. He added that they have faced a lot of challenges to build the coffee house. The most important aspect of the coffee house is affordability. A cup of black coffee starts at Rs.20/- and the other menus are also cheaper and this was the great turning point. There were 98000 foot falls in first four months. Inside the coffee house we have a lot of cartoons, lot of scenes, lot of cultural functions held regularly and these are the splendid exposition. We have put some photographs of older Kolkata and other things on the walls of the coffee house. This is the story of the coffee house and the happy city. This is the story of how you can place the dying business of hospitality in a very vibrant mode. What you need to do is to understand people, to understand the culture, to understand the nostalgia and to make thing at the right level.

March 26 2021
Webinar on How to Manoeuvre Today's Stock Market Volatility

The Guests of Honour is Shri Kailash Kulkarni, Chief Executive, L&T Mutual Fund

Shri Kailash Kulkarni said that no one can predict the market. He showed last 20 years data to show the volatility of the market and it is clear that volatility has been an inherent part of the entire market. He advised all the investors that stay invested for long term to achieve higher return in the bull cycle because after every correction the opportunities come up. There is no logical reason that volatility will reduce. Overall global market are becoming far more integrated, the world is becoming much more integrated, news flow is much more faster, any small and large incident will have an impact on the market, the global economy is much more integrated and you are going to have significant volatility in times to come.

Shri Kulkarni further said that there is nothing wrong in investment and trading. In case of trading the most important thing is how much of your invested money are you ready to lose and that determines your trading capabilities. Different categories of products will give you different kinds of return in different years. When you invest your hard earned money it is entirely depending on you that what type of diversification you want. Rebalancing is very important and it can be done in every six months. In the mutual fund perspective, SIP is very good and India will do better in near future. Therefore, risk will continue and we will have to live in a more volatile world.

March 19 2021
Webinar on Private Funding and Excellence in Universities

The Guests of Honour were Dr. Renu Khator, Hon'ble Chancellor & President, University of Houston System/University of Houston and Shri T.V. Mohandas Pai, Hon'ble Chairman, Manipal Global Education Services Pvt. Ltd.

Dr. Renu Khator shared her views on what transformation has taken place at the University of Houston and what role they have played for fund raising. The movement of transformation in the University of Houston has caught people's eyes, how it is possible to make an institution something different. She emphasized on the culture in any institution. She mentioned that Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States and the system of University of Houston is a very large system. The most remarkable story about the University of Houston is that there is lot of private donations and also corporate relationships are coming place. In 2007, the income from own technology was 1.2 million dollars and now this is 58 million dollars, which means it has increased by about 4000 per cent. She said that Houston University is 93 years old and didn't have any connection with the industry, didn't have connection with the regional community, didn't have connection with the donor and our alumni. In this situation, Dr. Khator took extensive interview over 130 universities in a year and saw that they have lot of big dream, lot of plan and our vision was how much money we can collect from them.

In terms of transforming institutions, we need the leadership of faculty, leadership of staff, because we all have to work together. In order to raise the fund, we realized that the much needed thing is infrastructure. We didn't have any connection with the economy. Here is the challenge was to build engineering programme and talk to the industry about corporate donation, joint project, scholarship in the investment form. The credibility of any university is their alumni, their success and put their money to the university. We have to make people believe that when they invest money it will make difference. You need programmes and you need corporate partnership. Right now, we have an Advisory Board from Energy and on that Advisory Board every single Oil company and who are top leading person is sitting on the Board. They have been leading us and we are on a road of millions of dollars from State Government and corporate funding as well.

Shri Mohandas Pai explained the India's university system. He said India has a huge higher education system. We have more than 975 universities, 51 thousands colleges, 3.65 crore young people in college. The good news is the number of women graduate is higher than men graduate. The rate of graduate students is growing at 3.2% a year. India is facing many challenges in higher education system. There are 3 primary objectives of the higher education system i.e. access, equity and excellence or quality. The share of the Central and State Government are coming down, they are not investing enough. But investing in the higher education is very essential to transform India. The good news is that in the Indian family system, the mothers have understood all across India that the children should get higher education. They sacrifice everything to educate their children and that's the nature of the Indian mother. Every Indian mother is of the opinion that when the children get educated, they will make a very different society in future.

He said that in terms of quality, enough money is needed for research, the research translates into knowledge and knowledge has to be disseminated. The universities have two ways to carry of their duties - creation of knowledge and dissemination of knowledge through teaching. Dissemination happens but the creation doesn't happen adequately because of lack of funding and that impacts quality and the result that the students are not well rounded.

February 19 2021
Webinar on Union Budget 2021-22 and Its Impact on Economy

The Guest of Honour was Shri P.R. Ramesh, Former Chairman, Deloitte India

Shri P. R. Ramesh said that in the budget, percentage doesn't mean anything, outcomes are more important than outlays. India's GDP is approximately 2.7 trillion dollars and it is going to reach 3.8 trillion dollars in the next year. US GDP is 20.5 trillion dollars, China's is 13.6 trillion dollars and we cannot compare with the US and China but in the next 10 years we are expected to catch up and will reach the number which is 10 trillion dollar economy. The reality is the growth rate is picking up.

India's advantage is we have a very young population in the world, we should create jobs for the people, we have 2nd largest work force and more than 60% of the population belongs to the working age. More importantly India produces more engineering graduates than US and Europe combined every year. We have the 4th largest coal reserves in the world, 4th largest iron ore production, 4th largest retail market, we have the growing consumer market and record foreign exchange reserves today, very comfortable food grain production. But the social progress index in India is in a very low stage and we have a long way to go. We need to create 2 million jobs each month and this is not a small number, exports are very low. In the banking sector, the NPA may be 14 lakh crores and it is a burden. In our obsession of the GNP or GDP, we should remember that national happiness is also important. Growth is concerned with GDP and development is concerned with gross national happiness.

He said that if we go through the revised estimate for 2021 and budgeted revenue for 2021-22, it is clear that we have gone back by at least two years due to impact of Covid. However our Finance Minister has done some major allocation towards health and education and highest allocation has gone to MGNREGA. This budget is not only a good budget in bad times but would also rank a good budget in good times. There are numerous good policies announced in this budget.

February 12, 2021
Webinar on Consumer's Access to Speedy and Quality Justice

The Chief Guest is Hon'ble Mr. Rajesh Kumar Agrawal, Former Judge of Supreme Court of India and President, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)
The Guest of Honour is Dr. S.M. Kanatikar, Hon'ble Member, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)

Justce Agrawal remarked that the most important milestones in the consumer movement was the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, to better protect the interest of the consumers. However, in Consumer Protection Act, 1986 single point access to justice was given, which is also time consuming. The new Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force in India, replacing the previous enactment of 1986.

The new act has been introduced after many amendments to provide protection to buyers not only from traditional sellers but also from the new e-commerce retailers/platforms. He said that this Act will prove a significant tool in protecting consumer rights in the country. As we all know the delay in disposal of cases in Law Courts, for whatever reason it may be, has really defeated the purpose for which the people approach the Courts to their redressal. Justice delayed is justice denied

While summarizing the Consumer Protection Act 2019, Justice Agrawal said that this new Act will empower consumers and help them in protecting their rights through its various notified rules and provisions like Consumer Protection Councils, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, Mediation, Product Liability and punishment for manufacture or sale of products containing adulterant / spurious goods. He said that CCPA will be empowered to conduct investigations into violations of consumer rights and institute complaints / prosecution. The new Act provides for simplifying the consumer dispute adjudication process in the consumer commissions, which include, among others, empowerment of the State and District Commissions to review their own orders, enabling a consumer to file complaints electronically and file complaints in consumer Commissions.

Dr. Kantikar highlighted that the consumer protection has always been a matter of great concern because of prolong litigation in different courts and it discourage the consumers to seeking the legal reports. Therefore the Consumer Protection Act which was passed in India in 1986 providing easy access to the justice and it brought total revolution in India. However, with the gradual advancement of the technology the people at large are getting its cost effective mechanism and the Act got a popular support.

The new Consumer Protection Bill 2019 passed in the Lok Sabha on 30th July 2019 and in the Rajya Sabha on 6th August 2019. We all are aware that the new Bill came into force in 20th July 2020 and it replaces the previous act. Dr. Kantikar also pointed out one of the most important features to this Act that the protection of consumers rights U/s 2 Sub Section 9 which was not in the previous act which includes the right to be protected against the marketing of the goods and products or services which are hazardous to the society, or the life or the property. He also defined the purpose of Central Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) that it is to regulate the matter relating to violation of consumer rights like unfair trade practices or misleading advertisements which are prejudicial to the interest of public at large.

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 comes into force from 20 July, with its salient features including the establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.

February 01 2021
Webinar on Union Budget- 2021-22

The Guest of Honour is Shri S.K. Tulsiyan, Hon'ble Advocate & Tax Consultant

Shri S.K. Tulsiyan said that this year budget is a development-oriented budget and it also addresses the Pandemic effect on the economy and therefore a huge deficit of 9+ GDP has been kept. He pointed out that there is a huge requirement for meeting the demand; the expenditures will create more money in the hands of the citizens thereby leading to the revival of the economy.

His response on the issue of reopening of assessment proposed by the Hon'ble Finance Minister from 6 years to 3 years is a welcome step, but the relevant assessment in the case of search and seizure which used to be reopened for 10 years, this has been kept there subject to the detection of concealment of 50 lac and above. According to him this should have been reduced to 6 years as against 10 years which originally was.

Hon'ble Finance Minister had proposed in the budget that there should be a Dispute Resolution Committee where income up to 50 lac and tax dispute up to10 lac shall be settled by the said Committee on faceless basis and for the small tax payers, this is a welcome step. Regarding ITAT the Budget said that this also has become faceless but in his opinion this is a derogatory step. He said that a tribunal cannot be faceless. Tribunal being a fact finding body, there are needs for interrogation, examination, argument, so it is not like assessment or appeal and therefore it will surely impact the taxpayers and there should be a rethinking on it. He said the extension of affordable housing for middle class people and tax holiday is worthwhile.

January 08, 2021
Webinar on Indian Equity Markets: Where do we go from here ?

The Guest of Honour is Shri Bharat Shah, Executive Director, ASK Group

While describing the nature of the equity investment Shri Bharat Shah said many people assume that volatility of the market is a great risk and therefore the equity investment is actually more risky than the other investments. He explained that if you approach quality investment with a long term mindset and not short term and if you choose quality stocks there is no risk. He further said that equity investment is nothing if it is not business-like and it is only the quality businesses which creates value and it should be in a long term manner. They create value over a reasonable period of time. He assured all present that in the equity investment it is impossible to lose money.

Shri Shah said that volatility of the price or the index is a fact but that is not a source of risk. Markets were volatile 200 years back; markets were volatile 100 years back. Volatility is the instinctive character of the market and there is nothing unusual about it and therefore markets always will be volatile. So volatility is not a threat, it is not an enemy but volatility actually is a friend of us, you should know how to benefit from it. Therefore the real risk is your own mind, your own knowledge, your own ability to value the business, your own discipline, your own understanding of the reality of the market. Once we are able to dominate or control it, there is nothing safer than equity investment.

December 22, 2020
Webinar on Make Choices not Sacrifices

The Guest of Honour is Dr. Kiran Bedi, Hon'ble Lt. Governor, Puducherry

Through the webinar Dr. Kiran Bedi, Hon'ble Governor of Puducherry advised all present that one has to gather various informations from various sources of the media and it is very important to remain update as a citizen of the country.She/he should do workshops on regular basis on different policies announced by the Government of India like economic policy, labour policy, farm policy, financial policy and others and carry out weekly virtual classes of a particular announcement of the policy of the week and contribute her views to the government portal and send letters to the Hon'ble Prime Minister containing views and suggestions. All of us need to be the authorities in our respective fields. If we have to be progressive we will have to be updated in our news and analysis. Women in the business must stay up-to-date with the latest current news, knowledge and information and how she wants to use it that is her choice.

Dr. Bedi further said that every moment she should realize own potential; she should not keep herself under pressure or underestimate herself. If she has to realize her potential she has to work hard and enjoy. She must enjoy in doing whatever she do and that should be her choice or compulsion. Everybody should be self-driven and not slave-driven.


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