Thursday, February 28, 2019

IndiaLends Founder Gaurav Chopra wins the prestigious Young Entrepreneur Award

 Recognising the astute leadership in creating one of the leading digital lending platforms in India, IndiaLends Founder & CEO Gaurav Chopra was conferred with the BW Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019 at the 5th Annual Young Entrepreneur's Summit. The gala ceremony was held at Taj MG Road, Bengaluru on 20th February, 2019.

Delhi based IndiaLends is a credit scoring and analytics platform which was started in March 2015. Gaurav Chopra was bestowed the award for his multifaceted entrepreneurial ingenuity. His relentless pursuit of excellence through strategic thinking, innovation, consistent growth, strong marketing models and organisational sustainability were the key factors behind his victory.

On receiving the award, IndiaLends Founder and CEO Gaurav Chopra said, “I am humbled to receive the recognition and it is a boost of encouragement for the future. This recognition not just for me but for my entire team who are the backbone of this company.”

Gaurav Chopra is a business strategist turned entrepreneur with more than 14 years of experience and domain expertise in driving business innovation in digital finance, credit analytics and mobile payments across Indian and global markets. Gaurav’s goal is to get rid of the unorganized lending sector in India and bring more people into the fold of formal channels of credit using better underwriting techniques and technology.

BW Young Entrepreneur Awards is an annual event conceptualized by BW Businessworld to recognize India's Hottest Young Entrepreneurs. The platform is an interactive and insightful platform which endeavours to generate interesting debates on issues related to Indian Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. The awards recognizes those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses.
IndiaLends is a credit underwriting and analytics platform. Available on both the web and mobile, IndiaLends uses proprietary algorithms to connect borrowers with the right financial institutions. IndiaLends also provides technology and data analytics along with a loan management platform to financial institutions. It has also helped automate workflows and risk assessments thereby making the loan disbursal process much more efficient. IndiaLends is run by a team of credit risk professionals and data scientists with multiple years of experience in consumer and small business credit. For further information, please visit

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

MX Player defines ‘EveryTainment’ with the launch of 5 new MX Original Series’

● Hosts a library of over 1 Lakh hours of licensed content that caters to 70 million users every
● The New MX Original Series’ stream for free starting 20th February
● The ad supported platform streams premium content for free
● Offers viewers an online content hub ranging across web series, TV Shows, movies, sports
and news

MX Player, the world’s largest local video player and India’s biggest entertainment platform with 70 million daily active users, today announced the launch of its first 5 MX Original Series’ that will go live starting 20 th February. Streaming premium content for free, this ad supported video on demand platform hosts a large repository of over 1,00,000 hrs of licensed content from leading content creators and partner platforms such as Alt Balaji, TVF, Arre and SonyLIV amongst others. MX Player is also the first and only Indian entertainment platform that integrates all forms of entertainment on one app – top grade offline video playing capabilities, online streaming and music streaming powered by Gaana, as offerings for its viewers.

Present in every 1 out of 2 devices sold in India, the app has consistently ranked among the top 10 Android apps since 2012 and is available across - Android, iOS and Web. Speaking at the launch Karan Bedi – CEO, MX Player said, “Our vision is to build a platform that caters to every entertainment need of the discerning viewer starting from playing a video in any format, to watching stories across every genre and even listening to music for every mood! As more people move towards consuming content online, we want to create digital-first stories that appeal not only to the urban audiences but also much beyond. We have collaborated with some of the best talent in the industry to create our slate of MX Originals that will bring us a step closer to becoming the go -to destination for entertainment in India.”

Driving synergies with this vision is the new brand ideology wherein MX Player defines
‘Everytainment’ – a promise to deliver entertainment for every mood. Elaborating on the same,
CEO Karan Bedi said, “Everytainmnet is the core of our product and combines not just all forms of
entertainment but also caters to content for every season, every reason, every occasion and most
importantly, every mood. So whether you're happy, sad, mellow, active or excited, we have a story, a song or a moment for you. We showcase films, web series, sports and news, and with our original programming, we are exploring various new genres spanning satire, drama, comedy, chat shows, historical sagas, biopics, big ticket reality shows and more across multiple languages. The new music tab on our platform will allow viewers to stream music, powered by Gaana on the same app and has made us the one stop shop for all things entertainment. ”

The 5 new MX Original Series will appeal to different audiences across varied geographies. Be it
Aafat which is about 5 women who are breaking stereotypes while struggling to get married in
Delhi’s arranged marketplace; Hey Prabhu that traces the story of a twitter god who has to navigate
the offline troubles of life; ImMature, A TVF Creation that is a coming-of-age story about the many
first adventures of 3 young boys in school; Lots of Love (in Tamil and Telugu) which is a story of
four friends and how a trip changes their lives or Famously Filmfare which goes regional and will
see powerhouse actors like Priyamani, Chinmayee, Bhavana Balakrishnan, Surveen Chawla, Abir
Chaterjee and Amruta Khanvilkar turning host for different regions through the series – these are
shows championing diverse stories ranging a wide spectrum.

The product has been built from scratch with a simple and intuitive interface and offers sub-one-
second latency to its viewers, which translates to instant streaming. By using massive scale
datasets, MX Player has created a world-class recommendation and personalization engine. By
far, it is the only platform to build such an engine in-house, which sets it apart from the competition.
Additionally, MX Player is leading the way in video tech by building better compression algorithms
to optimize streaming on the top of global compression standards like H-265. To further enhance
the user experience, the app comes with features like adjusting volume and screen brightness
on the go while streaming, vertical trailers for special shows and offline playback feature which
allows users to download content and view without an internet connection. The app is built keeping
low-to-high end devices in mind and works well for the fluctuating network.

MX Player is the world’s No.1 entertainment app offering viewers high quality, digital first content. With over 70 million Daily Active Users (DAUs) and 650 million downloads worldwide – it is
the largest entertainment platform in the country, present on 1 out of every 2 smartphones. Defining
“everytainment” for viewers with entertainment that suits every mood, it currently operates on an ad
supported model and is a free to use app for premium content. MX Player provides users a wide
online streaming library of over 100,000 hours of licensed content, across 10 languages and an
exciting slate of MX Original Series with genres ranging across drama, comedy, reality and romance.
From the stable of Times Internet (the digital venture of Times of India, India's largest media and entertainment group), MX Player has consistently ranked amongst the top 10 Android apps since
2012 and is available across Android, iOS and Web.

‘Giant’ bicycles launched its flagship showroom in Mumbai in collaboration with Element Retail

Element Retail brings to India, world’s largest producer of high-quality bikes
World’s largest producer of high quality and performance bicycles – ‘Giant’, enters Indian retail cycle market with its first flagship store in Mumbai in association with Element Retail Pvt Ltd. Founded by two young and vibrant entrepreneurs Aditya Bafna and Varun Bagadiya in 2013, Element Retail has been steadily growing their portfolio and has become category leaders in swimwear and sports shoe segment. Element Retail has a license to distribute Giant bicycles Pan India. Catering to a large community of cyclists, fitness enthusiasts and athletes, Giant will bring together high-quality craftsmanship, technology and innovative designs under one roof.

Sharing his thoughts on the new showroom launch, Aditya Bafna, Managing Director, Element Retail Pvt Ltd quoted, “The athleisure and fitness sector in India has gained tremendous popularity in recent years as more and more people have become fitness enthusiasts giving a huge scope for Giant to grow in India. According to "India Bicycle Market Outlook, 2021", bicycle market size crossed INR 5000 crore mark in 2015. There is a huge demand and great potential for international bikes that are a perfect blend of innovation and technology.”

Aditya Bafna further added, “Based on the growth figures, we foresee new opportunities and continuous growth in the Indian retail cycle market. Giant Bicycles offers a wide range of on-road, X-road, off-road and youth cycles, along with LIV, an in-house woman oriented brand. Serving as an “all-under-one-roof” outlet, the brand also offers protective gears, bike gears, service gears, and components to address every biking need. An increase in demand for quality bicycles also caters to the ‘Go Green’ initiative in the country and could assist in curbing down pollution issues.”

About GIANT: Giant is the world’s leading brand of high-quality bicycles and cycling gear. Since 1972, Giant has combined craftsmanship, technology and innovative design to create the ultimate cycling experience for all riders, casual to competitive. Through its products, people and retail partners, Giant inspires passion for cycling all around the world.

About Element Retail: Element Retail was founded in 2013 and since inception has been steadily growing. They have launched exclusive outlets for brands like Asics, Speedo, Apple & Jockey in India. Element Retail was the first franchise player to introduce exclusive outlets of Asics in Mumbai. Apart from being a sports-oriented franchise model, they have also ventured in running an Authorised Apple store which is one of the early entrants’s in Nasik and offers the city a wide range of Apple Products to choose from. Additionally, they also operate a Jockey store in Pune. Element Retail is focused in bringing on board the best brands in the fitness industry under their portfolio.

Khushi Punj felicitated for becoming world’s youngest third degree black belt holder

Giving impetus to the fact that girls are second to none and can achieve glorious feats of success on the back of strong grit and sheer determination, 13-year old Khushi Ankur Punj, a resident of Mumbai, has attained the rare distinction of becoming the youngest 3rd degree karate black belt holder in the world. She achieved the record at a camp held at Kolad, Maharashtra recently. A student of Holy Cross Convent, Thane, Khushi was felicitated on February 23 by noted actor Anuj Sharma who has essayed key roles in Crime Patrol (India’s longest running reality crime television series), Savdhan India and movie Padmawat.

“Self-defence techniques should form an indispensable part of modern-day school curriculums. Not only does it instil discipline & confidence and enhance self-esteem in students but is key to self-protection for girls in emergency situations. Parents should urge their daughters to emulate the example of Khushi who has made us extremely proud,” stated Ms Jennifer Ferrao, Principal, Holy Cross Convent School.

“Khushi’s resounding success at a young age is the result of hard work, passion and perseverance. She has been a diligent child right from the start and has been regular in her practice sessions. Given the way the world is changing there is a growing need for increased focus on self defence and fitness. Self-defence should be taught to girls from a young age for their safety and protection, and it will surely help them evolve into more stronger personalities. Moreover regular practice helps build determination, confidence, maintain physical and mental balance. It also helps overcome the high stress children face in their studies,  gives strength and focus for an independent life,  contributing to make our society better. Our vision is to make efforts and focus them in bringing more proud moments for our country.,” stated Ankur Punj, Khushi’s father.

“Khushi is a bright example of girls beating the odds and emerging triumphant in a society
with a conventionally male-dominated mindset. She is proof of the fact that discipline, hard-
work and a professional approach to one’s chosen field of endeavor is key to scaling greater
heights of success. We wish that she will bring greater pride for the country by participating
in international karate competitions and playing a key role in putting India on the global
martial arts map,” stated Sensei Sandeep Surve who has been training Khushi along with
Sensei Deepali Surve.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Actor Atul Kulkarni Inaugurates Robotic Assisted Joint Replacement Centre at Upasani Super Specialty Hospital

Doctors at the Upasani Super Speciality Hospital in Mumbai this week performed two back-to-back successful Robotics-assisted total knee replacement surgeries, for the first time in Mumbai on a 65 years old Kanchan Patil both with severe knee pain since over 5 years. These surgeries were done using the NAVIO PFS Robotics surgical system, the latest advanced generation Robotic intervention in joint replacement (developed in the USA) and to the delight of the families, enabled these patients to walk without significant pain within 4 hours of the surgery itself.
Robotics-assisted joint replacement surgery has many definitive benefits over traditional joint replacement surgery: It enables the surgeon to operate with enhanced precision even during the most complex procedures and difficult cases. Enhanced precision and lesser bone removal leads to less blood loss, painless, faster and better post-operative outcomes for the patient. “Robotics assisted joint replacement is at a much higher pedestal than traditional joint replacement surgery”, says Dr. Tejas Upasani, renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon and Head of Orthopaedics at Upasani Super Speciality Hospital.
“The NAVIO Robotics-assisted system reduces the possibilities of human error and ensures perfect alignment, leading to the longevity of the joint implant. Though this is a very high end technology in our hospital, we have chosen to not make it expensive - so that more patients will be able to benefit from this”, confirms Dr. Tejas Upasani, who operated upon the 2 patients.
Robotic Assisted Joint Replacement Centre at Upasani Super Specialty Hospital was inaugurated at the hands of Chief Guest Actor Atul Kulkarni.
Atul Kulkarni said, “This significant change in the medical sector has enhanced the lives people, it is the science to prove that the progress made in medical science and new facilities and equipment helps in diagnosing bigger diseases.”
The two patients and their families are extremely happy with the outcomes from such world-class cutting edge technology, now available to them in Mumbai. They were both discharged to get back home within 2-3 days of the joint replacement surgery and are now undergoing physical rehabilitation to return to an active lifestyle soon.
Using Robot-assisted surgery helps to prevent human error as well as gives best results to the patient, after the surgery same day the patient can walk more confidently, also gets the discharge within three days which results in minimum hospital stay, reduces the use of painkiller medicines, no need of physiotherapy. Overall, the robotics has become a boon for the patients.
The robotic-assisted system is set up by the initiative of Dr Tejas Upasani, Orthopedic and Dr.Vinod Lahiri,  
Dr.Vinod Lahiri, Former Head of department of Seth GS Medical College added, “Robotic technology makes artificial joint replacement more beneficial for a patient, in less time, more accuracy can be obtained, which also increases the longevity of implants and joints. I am very happy to hear that Mumbai now has Robotics in Joint Replacement and in the hands of the right surgeons at Upasani Super Specialty Hospital”
Dr Tejas Upasasni, when asked why he chose to get this technology, said “We at USSH have always believed in giving the best to the patients. We always focus on patient safety and outcomes. With Robotics we are driving this and are at par with the with the world in healthcare.”
On this occasion patient say “I am very happy with the pain relief and recovery is much  better on the knee which was operated through Robotics Assisted Surgery.”

Confidence Group and Time Technoplast join hands to launch ‘first-of-its-kind’ 100% blast proof LPG composite cylinders in India

 Confidence Petroleum India Limited (CPIL) (BSE Code: 526829), India's leading Private Sector LPG marketer & retailer and Time Technoplast Limited (TTL) (BSE Code: 532856), a leading technology based innovative polymer product company, have joined hands by entering into a ‘Cooperation Agreement’ with a view to give major thrust to retail LPG cylinder market under the brand name ‘GoGas Elite’.

‘GoGas Elite’ blast proof LPG composite cylinders have been launched keeping in mind the importance of safety and convenience in Indian kitchens. These light weight translucent cylinders are manufactured using composite material which have high fire and heat resistance, are non-corrosive, UV protected and 100% re-cyclable when compared to the conventionally available LPG cylinders. Consumers can order ‘GoGas Elite’ cylinders via an App which will be delivered 24x7. This collaboration is aimed at ‘GoGas Elite’ spreading its wings to 22 states across India, making life of consumers safe and convenient.

Confidence Petroleum India Limited had launched ‘GoGas Elite’ cylinders a couple of months ago, targeting commercial and industrial users. Backed by its commercial success, Confidence Group has ventured to launch ‘GoGas Elite’ in the residential space.

These composite cylinders manufactured by Time Technoplast Ltd. are approved and certified by Indian and International certification bodies. Every composite LPG cylinder goes through a stringent 14 point quality check before it is ‘certified ok’ for commercial use.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Nitin Khara, Chairman & Managing Director of Confidence Group, said, “We, in partnership with Time Technoplast, are happy to herald the next phase of evolution in Indian kitchens – be it residential or commercial, by introducing ‘GoGas Elite’ brand of world class light-weight, blast-proof, rust proof & translucent composite LPG Cylinders to make the Indian kitchens more safe, clean & consumer friendly. We are moving to an App based time bound delivery of LPG Cylinders on 24x7 basis at the click of a finger for the delight of our consumers. The company’s 58 LPG bottling plants are ready to fill composite cylinders to cater to the demand of 22 states. We are also planning to launch these composite cylinders in Indonesia where we have 2 LPG bottling plants”.

 Mr. Anil Jain, Managing Director & CEO, Time Technoplast Limited stated, “Time Technoplast introduced LiteSafe Composite Cylinders– translucent, lighter & absolutely blast proof for the first time in India. We have approval for these Cylinders in 58 countries and are exporting it to over 28 countries worldwide. We are grateful to Confidence Group for launching the LiteSafe Composite Cylinders in Indian market under the brand name ‘GoGas Elite”.

About Confidence Petroleum Limited:
Confidence Group is India's leading private sector Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) retailer. The company markets LPG under the brand name 'GoGas' and has 127 Auto LPG Dispensing Stations spread over Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Telangana. The company has recently introduced light-weight and blast-proof composite LPG cylinders under the brand name 'GoGas Elite' for domestic and commercial LPG use. Confidence Petroleum is India's largest manufacturer of LPG Cylinders with a capacity of manufacturing 5 million units per annum. The company has pan India presence with 15 cylinder manufacturing units and 58 bottling plants across 22 Indian states. For more information, visit

About Time Technoplast Limited:  
Time Technoplast ( is a leading technology based innovative polymer product company. Over the years, TimeTech has emerged as a formidable player in the polymer space, with a product repertoire that caters to diverse segments like Industrial Packaging, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Healthcare, Composites and Auto Components related products. It focuses on replacing metals with polymers in high performance areas using innovation and latest technology. TimeTech services wide spectrum of user industry in each of its business verticals, reducing sectoral risks and tapping new opportunities for growth. TimeTech is an aspiring Indian multinational having presence in India, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia & Egypt.

Dancing Shadows Productions launches Music Video - the magnum opus ‘Neel Samandar’ with a special media preview

 Dancing Shadows Productions launched its much awaited music video named ‘Neel Samandar’. For the first time in Hindi film industry, a complete video has been shot in the serene locations of Andaman Islands and is inspired by a true story, that took place between the protected tribes of Andaman & Nicobar Islands & a tourist. The video is Directed by National Award winning Director Pradeep Sarkar and written by National Award winner Lyricist Swanand Kirkire. Featuring Actor Richa Chadda and debutant Ankit D’souza, a fresh face. 

The event started with a soulful performance by Pandit Rattan Mohan Sharma and followed by performance by Benny Dayal and Prakriti Kakar. This was then followed by unveiling the look and showcasing the video to all dignitaries and members of media fraternity.

Produced by Actor turned Producer Rahul Bagga  and former Journalist Isha S Kumar, the Vocals are by Benny Dayal who has given many hits like ‘Badtameez Dil’,’ The Disco Song’,’ Pappu Can’t Dance’ and renowned singer Prakriti Kakkar who has sung songs like ‘Hawa Hawa’, ‘Katra Katra’ and ‘Gazab ka hain din’ . 

 The soulful music has been composed by Meet Brothers, popular youngsters who have a high rate of commercial success for the original music composed and Director of Photography by Sylvester Fonseca who has high regard in the entertainment industry for creating visual magic on screen and choreographed by renowned Ranju Varghese.  

National Award winner Director Pradeep Sarkar, expressed his excitement saying, “Neel Samandar is a first of its kind in so many ways and I have enjoyed this entire process of creating this as right from adventurous recce to shooting the entire video in Andamans, it was a completely new experience for me and this being a first, the creative excellence that we achieved with the virgin locales of Andamans was magnanimous.”

Swanand Kirkire whose lyrics has adorned this music video said  “Lyrics are the soul of any song and specially when it I was told the video is based on a love story of a tribal girl and a photographer, the process of writing it was more challenging, yet more interesting.”

Meet Brothers who have composed this soulful creation said   “We are honored to be working with two National Award winning talents in one video and when it comes to conceptualizing music for a romantic plot, it becomes all the more special.” 

Isha S Kumar who is debuting with this music video as a producer said  “Neel Samandar is very special for us as Producers as we achieved many firsts with this project. First time a complete project is filmed in Andamans and first time Richa Chadha has played a tribal in her career.”

Rahul Bagga who after a successful stint in acting is exploring the field of production with Neel Samandar, said “Our aim was to make Neel Samandar a cinematic experience for the viewers and all the crew and talent that came together to shoot it in Andamans. We ensured we provided all the required production amenities in order to make a never seen before video, which shall be remembered for its shooting locales and the concept too.”


 Anil D. Ambani led Reliance Entertainment’s JV with Steven Spielberg and Participant Media won big this Sunday at the Academy Awards 2019, winning 4 Oscars.
“Green Book”, directed by Peter Farrelly, won the coveted Oscar for Best Picture of the Year, along with the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Mahershala Ali, and Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly. The Ryan Gosling starrer “First Man” won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
“Green Book”, was nominated for 5 categories - Best Picture, Best Actor (Viggo Mortensen), Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay & Best Film Editing ; “First Man” was nominated for 4 categories - Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing & Best Visual Effects & “Ready Player One” was nominated for Best Visual Effects.
Reliance Entertainment’s JV with Steven Spielberg has now bagged a total of 8 Oscars during the partnership, including for its earlier acclaimed films, The Help, Lincoln and Bridge of Spies.

Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, Vice Chairman, Reliance Entertainment said, “We are incredibly proud to have partnered with Steven Spielberg and Participant Media in two of this year’s Oscar winning movies, Green Book - a moving story of friendship, respect and empathy - and First Man, with its astonishing visual effects that recreated the history of man’s first landing on the moon.”  

Monday, February 25, 2019

Sonali Bendre Stands in Solidarity with Tough Moms Who Declare #IDidntKnow / #MujheSabNahiPata

Actress Partners with All Out® to Share an Important Message of Encouragement with Mothers

Sometimes, there is strength in vulnerability. The new campaign from All Out® has touched on a very important aspect of a mother’s life in India, where she is conditioned to believe that her instincts are all-knowing and unerring when it comes to her child. All Out® acknowledges that it is difficult for mothers to admit #IDidntKnow / #MujheSabNahiPata and celebrates the toughness mothers show in taking a stance against the pressures of society. A proud mother, Sonali Bendre supports the campaign by encouraging mothers to share their #IDidntKnow / #MujheSabNahiPata stories so that they can help other mothers and their children.

On Facebook she said, “Mujhe Sab Nahi Pata – four very simple words, but they have the power to lift a major weight off a mother’s shoulders. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Motherhood is a journey of wins, mistakes and learnings. For me, it is about parenting to the best of my abilities, not to perfection. I encourage you to not only watch this beautiful film but also come forward and share your stories with us.”

The campaign has touched a chord with Sonali as she also candidly posted on her Instagram page,“Mothers are expected to be the ones with answers to every question. Under pressure we do forget the simple gesture of ASKING for help. We also tend to forget that sharing what we know, helps another person learn from it. Not having the right solution every time is not an imperfection, but a part of how we grow and evolve. While, I enjoy sharing my stories and experiences, I’d now love to hear your stories. Share it with me and let's proudly say #IDidntKnow #MujheSabNahiPata.”

Sugee Group Supports 100th Week Dadar Beach Clean Up Campaign Along With Jay Shringarpure

Sugee Group, Mumbai’s well known real estate developer supports Jay Shringarpure’s 100th-week beach clean-up activity to clean the Dadar beach and make it plastic free.
The event witnessed participation from environmentally conscious volunteers from all walks of life including Sugee Group employees, partners, local citizens and students.
Jay Foundation which is dedicated to making the beaches and our environment better with a motto, “To give back what we have taken from Mother Earth”, had taken the initiative 99 weeks ago to clean up the Dadar Beach and make it plastic free. His NGO has been awarded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for their cause to make beaches and environment clean.
Nishant Deshmukh, Founder & Managing Director - Sugee Group, present at the event, said,“We are very grateful and proud to be a part of Dadar Beach Clean Up initiative. India needs many more change-makers like Jay to address environmental and social challenges. Sugee Group, through such activities, aims to act as a multiplier force for creating a positive impact in the communities it serves, and we are delighted to work with and support environmental champions like Jay Shringarpure.”
The event also witnessed some activities like Zumba dance, mime act and mentalist Kedar – mind it act apart from cleaning the Dadar beach. Some amazing tips & techniques were also shared on plastic pollution awareness and waste management awareness.
About Sugee Group
Sugee Group is a reputed and trusted realty group that focuses on the redevelopment of residential projects. For a few decades now, Sugee has redeveloped housing projects and built well-appointed homes in Mumbai.
Recently, Sugee Group has been recognized with four major awards:
·         Iconic Luxury Project 2018 award at the Times Realty Icon 2018 under Central Mumbai  category for Project Sugee Trimurti
·         Iconic Redevelopment Developer 2018 award at the Times Realty Icon 2018 under Mumbai City Category
·         Best Realty Brand 2018-19 award at the Economic Times INDIA-UAE Strategic Conclave 2018, held in Abu Dhabi
·         Redevelopment Excellence Award at the HT REAL ESTATE AWARDS 2018 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

India rolls out National Viral Hepatitis Control Program

Our aim is to provide paperless and pocket-less health care for all: MoS. Health & Family Welfare, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey

I am a living example of a Hepatitis B victim; need to pay a lot of attention to detection, treatment and public awareness: WHO-SEARO Goodwill Ambassador Shri Amitabh Bachchan

Technical Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Hepatitis B will help ensure consistency in diagnosis and treatment of the disease: Health Secretary

In line with the Government of India’s deep commitment towards elimination of viral hepatitis, the “National Action Plan – Viral Hepatitis” was launched by Union Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey in Mumbai today. Minister for PWD and Public Health & Family Welfare, Government of Maharashtra, Shri Eknath S. Shinde; and Guest of Honour and Goodwill Ambassador for Hepatitis, WHO SEARO region, Shri Amitabh Bachchan were also present on the occasion.
Viral hepatitis is recognized as an important public health problem across the world. According to WHO estimates, viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths globally in 2015, a number comparable to deaths due to tuberculosis, worldwide. In India, it is estimated that there are 4 crore people suffering from Hepatitis B and 0.6-1.2 crore people suffering from Hepatitis C.
The National Action Plan was developed by experts from across the country, in line with India’s commitment and keeping the global perspective in mind. The Plan provides a strategic framework, based on which National Viral Hepatitis Control Program was framed and launched in July, 2018 under National Health Mission by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. This program is also in line with our global commitment towards achieving Sustainable development Goal (SDG) 3.3. India has affirmed this commitment at the 69th World Health Assembly.
India is one of the few countries in the world to roll out management of Hepatitis B and hepatitis C in a public health approach and offer free diagnostics and drugs lifelong to its beneficiaries.
The aim of the program is to combat hepatitis and achieve countrywide elimination of Hepatitis C by 2030, achieve significant reduction in the infected population, morbidity and mortality associated with Hepatitis B and C viz. Cirrhosis and Hepato-cellular carcinoma (liver cancer) and Hepatitis A and E.
Integrating the interventions within the existing health systems framework under National Health Mission are further complementing the efforts of increasing access to testing and management of viral hepatitis.
Coordination and collaboration with other national programs and schemes to provide a promotive, preventive and curative package of services will further augment the government of India’s determined efforts towards achieving the goal.
The Minister also released the Technical Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Hepatitis B. Many countries have achieved outstanding coverage with the hepatitis B vaccine, scoring an early win for prevention. In India, Hepatitis B vaccine was introduced in the Universal Immunization Program almost a decade ago. Since healthcare workers and high-risk groups by virtue of their occupation and behavior are more vulnerable to acquiring infection, it is envisaged to extend the beneficiaries for this vaccine to healthcare workers and high-risk groups under the NVHCP. Focus under the program is also on screening of pregnant women for hepatitis B, in places where institutional delivery is less than 80%, to ensure provision of birth dose hepatitis B vaccination and Hepatitis B immunoglobulin, if required.
Another important strategy adopted by the program is propagating the use of Re-use Prevention (RUP) syringes in the country.
The NVHCP website was also launched on the occasion; the same can be accessed here –
The dignitaries distributed antiviral drugs for hepatitis to some select citizens.
Addressing the gathering, the Union Minister Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey said: “Today, we have taken a pledge to fight hepatitis; while we have done this in the presence of hundreds of people, the message should go to crores of people. This is important as one needs to maintain one’s health in order to be able to contribute to the society and to the nation. The launch of the National Action Plan – Viral Hepatitis takes forward the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program launched by the Union Health Minister in July 2018. The aim is to eliminate hepatitis by 2030. I am confident that the programme will be successful. India plans to have a decentralized health management for hepatitis, which is necessary for effective treatment. An integrated plan is being prepared, with the involvement of doctors, experts and state governments.
The human body is invaluable, the more it is used, the better it becomes. Our motto is Sarve Santu Niramayaha (health and welfare for all); keeping this in mind, we have come up with a National Health Policy aimed at affordable, effective and universal healthcare for all. The health expenditure has been increased over the years, and we are progressing towards health expenditure reaching 2.5% of GDP. Ayushman Bharat has been rolled out to ensure universal health coverage; under the programme, primary health centres are being upgraded into health and wellness centres. We aim to establish 1.5 lakh Health & Wellness Centres by 2022, out of which 10,000 are already operational; by March 2019, the number will become 15,000. These centres have diagnostic facilities for twelve illnesses.
Indians have often had to sell their assets and other valuables in order to avail health treatment; more than 6 crore fall below poverty line due to the cost incurred on health problems. Ayushman Bharat will change this, it being the biggest health coverage programme offering 5 lakh rupees of health coverage per family per year, covering 50 crore people belonging to 10 crore families. The programme has already benefited 10 lakh people, 10,000 hospitals have already joined. Our aim is to offer a paperless and pocket-less health facility.”
The Maharashtra Health Minister Shri Eknath S. Shinde said: “I am quite confident that we will win the battle against hepatitis through NVHCP. When the whole country comes together for a cause, nothing can stop us from winning. Globally, 32 crore people suffer from hepatitis and 13-14 lakh deaths happen annually due to the disease. However, statistical data for India is missing in this regard; there is a need to bridge this gap. Sustainable Development Goals for leprosy and polio have already been achieved; similarly, SDG for hepatitis would also be achieved.
More than 151 health & wellness centres have been set up in the state under Ayushman Bharat, and more than 12,000 primary health centres and sub-centres in the state will be upgraded into health and wellness centres in the coming years.”
Goodwill Ambassador for Hepatitis, WHO SEARO region, Shri Amitabh Bachchansaid: I am here today because I am a Hepatitis B victim. While shooting for the film Coolie, I got injured and required a lot of blood; the blood given by 200 donors saved my life, but one of the donors was carrying the Hepatitis B virus. The detection process for that virus was not in order at that time, and that went into my system. This was discovered only in 2005, when I came to know that 75% of my liver had been destroyed. I am a living example of a Hepatitis B victim. I want to know the impact of the campaigns; we had done a similar campaign against polio, and now India is now polio-free. I am a TB survivor too. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone since TB is normally regarded as a disease contracted by those living in disadvantaged backgrounds; however, if its treatment is done timely, it can be cured. We must pay a lot of attention to the process of detection of these diseases; because if it is detected in time, it can be cured.
I got very interested when I came to know about the programme by Government of India. The need for dissemination of information about Hepatitis B is one thing which attracted me to the programme. Secondly, the factor of discrimination, particularly against women, made me sign in to this programme. I had heard many painful stories where women suffering from Hepatitis are evicted from the family. Women are half the power of our country; to be discriminated against just because they are carrying a Hepatitis B virus is not acceptable. I will fight for this as long as I am alive.”
Secretary, H&FW, Ms. Preeti Sudan said: “This is a start to fight against hepatitis together. Hepatitis is increasingly being recognized as an important public health problem. In India, the estimated burden of hepatitis is high, necessitating focus on prevention and control measures to mitigate morbidity and mortality arising out of hepatitis.
A National Steering Committee was formed to formulate the National Action Plan for Viral Hepatitis in January 2017. Various working groups were formed which looked at various thematic areas. The Plan was formed in consultation with nearly 110 experts, program managers, state officials and community members. Viral Hepatitis needs many stakeholders, it is a complex issue which we are trying to solve and contain through a multi-sectoral coordinated campaign. The detailed plan was concluded after several meetings. The framework was adopted in formalizing the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program which was launched in July 2018.
The Technical Guidelines is intended to serve as a reference document for practising physicians and provide standardized testing and treatment protocols to ensure consistency in diagnosing and treatment of the disease, in the scientifically most appropriate and cost-effective manner. This will be taken down to the lowest level of health care through the Ayushman Bharat programme. The guidelines released today will complement the general guidelines released earlier.
Thrust is now being given on improving the coverage of birth-dose for Hepatitis B, which will contribute to an early win for prevention. Vaccination against Hepatitis B to the health care workers and high-risk population will also be initiated under this program. No child should suffer from Hepatitis B.
The nation has made progress in improving blood transfusion safety, but much more needs to be done. The preventive, promotive and curative interventions need to come together, especially since symptoms for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C often remain dormant for long.
I thank the generic drug manufacturers, due to whom the cost of the 84-day Hepatitis B vaccine dose has come down significantly. We need to use social media and field outreach through mobile vans of the Ministry of I&B to improve public awareness on the disease”.
Regional Director, WHO, SEARO, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal said: “Today is a very significant day. The number of people suffering from Hepatitis B is very large in India. This will augment India’s remarkable work in improving the lives of those suffering from Hepatitis B. SDG 3.3 emphasizes the need for all countries to strengthen their hepatitis programme. Government of India is also a signatory to the World Assembly Resolution 69.2 which aims to eliminate the disease from the world by 2030. India is the first country in the region to develop its own action plan for hepatitis, which is a notable achievement. India’s leadership is demonstrated in the comprehensive Programme launch last year, and the guidelines being released today, provide a guidepost to other countries for emulation. Mother-child transmission is the most common way in which the disease is spread; all blood donations must be voluntary and non-remunerative, thereby reducing the risk of blood-borne infections of hepatitis B. There is also a need to increase public awareness, given that only one in 10 people know of their hepatitis status. India’s efforts in this regard have been very inspiring.
Just 3%-5% of those with hepatitis have been diagnosed; we need to scale up the programme, and reach those at risk. We look forward to the full implementation of the guidelines being released today, and their phased introduction into the health system of India. I thank Mr. Amitabh Bachchan for his commendable contribution in spreading the message of hope in battling hepatitis. I am confident that we will together win the battle against the disease”.
WHO Representative for India, Dr. Henk Bekedam said: “Hepatitis is very clearly on the agenda. The Ministry for Health & Family Welfare has moved very fast. The initiative launched on World Hepatitis Day is a great and comprehensive plan. It is wonderful to see India taking these efforts. Those in the Ministry raised the point that we do not have data on the number of people suffering from Hepatitis B. I commend the Ministry for taking the initiative to prevent Hepatitis B as well. Clean India is very important in this project. In a country where there are more than 4 million injections every year, making the injections safe would be an important step forward. The price reductions achieved in the vaccines is remarkable. The Action Plan is yet another initiative in ensuring a healthier India”.
Earlier, Joint Secretary, MoHFW, Shri Vikas Sheel welcomed the audience and thanked all stakeholders who have contributed to the initiatives being launched today. The cost of treatment for Hepatitis B for one patient has come down to almost 35 dollars per course, from 800 dollars per course earlier. The Government of India has allocated Rs. 907 crore for this program for the next three years.  
Principal Secretary, Maharashtra, Dr. Pradeep Vyas was also present on the occasion.
NVHCP epitomizes government of India’s deep commitment towards moving on path of elimination of viral hepatitis. MoHFW in partnership with the states is making all out efforts towards this endeavour. Effective participation between government of India, state governments and other stakeholders will progressively strengthen the program and will remain the hallmark for achieving the program’s aim.