• Simplify interstate tariffs to promote domestic tourism: Kerala Governor

    Arif Mohammed Khan Inaugurates March 1-5 Kerala Travel Mart, urging for tourism strategy focusing on safety in post-Covid era
    Kerala Travel Mart(KTM) got off to a start on Sunday evening, as state Governor ShriArif Mohammed Khan inaugurated the country’s biggest tourism meet with a call to highlight domestic tourism for better collaboration among states and greater understanding between people.
    “A better industry-level co-ordination in hospitality and transportation and an inter-state understanding to rationalize and simplify taxes and tariffs will help in leveraging the true potential of our domestic market in tourism,” he said, declaring open the March 1-5 virtual summit, through videoconferencing, that aims to revitalize the state’s travel sector in the post-Covid scenario.
    Stressing the need to embrace the spirit of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) bytreating domestic tourism as the mainstay for the industry when global air travel is facing restrictions, the Governor said,“Let tourism enable people of every part of India to understand and value each other so that we strengthen our cultural unity as a nation.”
    Shri Khan complimented Kerala’s tourism projects aimed at makingit a “complete and different”destination with focus on cultural heritage. “We need to re-configure our business strategy by emphasizing on safety and security so as to meet the post-pandemic global demands and aspirations,” he added.
    This is the chief aim of the 11thKTM, with close to 500 international buyers and 650 domestic buyers, facilitating 15,000 meetings between the buyers and exhibitors. By striving to restore the pace of growth of tourism that has slid since the outbreak of the global pandemic, the event by KTM Society will exhibit the various products of the state’s vital tourism sector. The summit is being attended by all members of the KTM Society,which is India’s biggest organisation in the travel and tourism segment.
    The Governor, addressing delegates at Uday Palace Convention Centre here, expressed the hope thatthe post-pandemic global consciousness will expect governments and communities to renew work to meet the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. “This is vital in tourism where the basic assets are Nature and the tangible and 

    intangible heritage of humanity. ‘Green, clean and safe’ should be the motto of all tourism activities,” he added at the functionorganised in adherence with Covid-19 protocols.
    Dr V P Joy, Chief Secretary of Kerala, chairing the ceremony, said Kerala tourism is on a revival path, involving right from grassroots workers to top-level functionaries.
    He noted that the ongoing vaccination, which is to pick up in Kerala from March, would help the state get out of the pandemic — to the benefit of its tourism.“Once we are through with Covid-19, the industry will be back on the rails,” Dr Joy added.
    Kerala Tourism Principal Secretary Smt Rani Georgespoke how new campaigns were helping the state resume tourism after the outbreak of Covid-19. Ayurveda can be an added attraction for the tourists arriving in the state, known for the ancient wellness system.
    Listing a set of new heritage products, Smt George specially invited tourists to visit the state’s northern parts that have been given a fresh focus.
    Kerala Tourism Director Shri V R Krishna Teja, IAS,said KTM 2021 gives deserving space to small and medium buyers, adding to the synergy of trade and tourism. 
    India Tourism Regional Director (Chennai) Shri DVenkatesan said several destinations, despite the Covid-induced issues, have begun to clock footfalls. “Kerala has done well in conserving nature and devising products while making strides in tourism,” he noted.
    KTM Society President Shri Baby MathewSomatheeram, welcoming the gathering, said the virtual mart would show the world that Kerala is successfully fighting out the novel coronavirus. The event highlightsthe state’s capability tobring in touristsamid a changed world order, he added.
    KTM Society former presidentShri EM Najeeb reiterated the need to review the quarantine for domestic tourists.Shri Abraham George, another past president of the Society, proposed a vote of thanks.

  • CM to inaugurate March 1 to 5 KTM virtual meet that seeks to revive Kerala’s tourism

    Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan will open next week’s Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) that seeks to reinvigorate the state’s tourism, as the March 1-5 virtual braces up to take full advantage out of a post-Covid scenario by initiating a milestone convergence of domestic and foreign buyers in the vital sector.
    Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran will be chair the inaugural function at the Uday Palace Convention Centre at Kowdiar in the heart of the city. Finance Minister Dr T M Thomas Isaac will be the chief guest at the ceremony being organised in strict adherence to Covid-19 protocol, according to KTM Society which is India’s biggest organization in the travel and tourism segment.
    KTM, as the country’s biggest tourism meet, will facilitate domestic and foreign buyers to hold online interactions with 700 sellers across continents. The prime aim is to restore the pace of growth of tourism that has been affected for a year owing to the outbreak of the global pandemic, organisers said.
    Present at the March 1 inaugural function will be Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Kum Arya Rajendran; Dr Shashi Tharoor, MP;  Adv V K Prasanth, MLA; Kerala Tourism Principal Secretary Smt Rani George; Director Shri V R Krishna Teja; Municipal Corporation Member Smt S Sathikumari; KTM Society President Shri Baby Mathew Somatheeram and Secretary Shri Jose Pradeep besides former presidents of KTM Society.
    The five-day meet, which will be attended by all members of the KTM Society, is set to exhibit the various products of the state’s tourism sector.
    The previous edition (2018) of the KTM, too, was held in the aftermath of a disaster: floods. That time (in September), the meet sought to allaypublic apprehensions about the monsoon calamity upsetting Kerala’s tourism prospects. The upcoming KTM, too, work for a similar model that caninspire confidence in the stakeholders. The deliberations are aimed to chart out ways that can help the sector lessen the losses owing to Covid-19 and its lingering effects.
    Already, the government’s measures against the pandemic has won Kerala appreciation across the globe. In fact, steps to strengthen the inflow of tourists have been successful, given a surge in travelers in the past four months. Sticking to Covid protocol, the state’s tourism department has been working in association with the hotels, resorts and homestays, boosting the state’s travel industry.
    Also, the government has rolled out a Rs 455-crore relief package for both theentrepreneurs and employees/workers in tourism. The state-level bankers’committee gives loans up to Rs 25 lakh to entrepreneurs intourism. The government is paying half the interest for the first year.

    Further, Kerala Bank gives loans between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 to those employed in the tourism sector. The beneficiaries need to pay only 3 per cent interest, as thegovernment pays the rest 6 per cent as subsidies.
    The authorities are giving Rs 10,000 each as a one-time relief amount to 328 guidesaccredited with the tourism departments of the state and central governments. Grants up to Rs 1.25 lakh are being distributed for the maintenance of houseboats.The commercial tax, which the local administration department was collecting fromhomestays,has been retained as house tax to the relief to the hospitality industry.

  • MPEDA and NCDC sign MoU to synergise their programmes for promotion of export oriented marine products

    The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to synergise their various programmes in the interest of export-oriented capture and culture of fisheries and allied sectors for bringing better value to the stakeholders.
    The MoU was signed by Shri K.S. Srinivas, Chairman, MPEDA and ShriSundeep Kumar Nayak, Managing Director, NCDC, here last evening.
    “We have identified ample scope for working jointly in the interest of export promotion of marine products for bringing better value to the stakeholders through a variety of activities, including export focus, in line with the policies of the government,” ShriSrinivas said. 
    Under the MoU, MPEDA and its Societies (NETFISH, NaCSA& RGCA) and NCDC will jointly formulate programmes to provide technical know-how to cooperatives to upscale infrastructure created for primary production and post-harvest management in the marine products export sector.
    MPEDA and its societies will share a list of all clusters in various states with NCDC, which may approach the clusters for achieving scale and aggregation with export orientation. It would also facilitate exports by the cooperatives assisted or identified by NCDC.
    The two parties will jointly work towards capacity development of various stakeholders, organise outreach and awareness programmes and conduct workshops for the stakeholders.
    The MoU also envisages MPEDA and its Societies and NCDC to work in close tandem to showcase to the Indian and global market, the products, technologies, processes, knowledge and services by the stakeholders through a variety of modes as may be identified by them from time to time.
    Further, they would work together to achieve the export targets and the goal of doubling farmer’s income as set out by the government.
    The expenses towards implementation in these areas and cooperation will be met by NCDC and MPEDA and its Societies through respective enabling provisions of their financial assistance schemes.
    Both the parties also agreed to the setting up of a Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) composed of representatives from MPEDA and NCDC.  The terms of reference of this Committee would be to plan, monitor and oversee the activities under this MoU in accordance with the schemes and programmes of the parties.  JCC will meet at least once in a quarter and periodically monitor and review the progress.  
    MPEDA and NCDC will nominate Nodal Officers for managing and implementing the decisions of JCC and the objectives of this MoU.
    MPEDA, under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is the nodal agency for promotion of marine products exports sector through a range of activities such as providing financial assistance, registration of entities, fixing of standards and specifications, carrying out inspection of marine products, regulating the export, improving the marketing of marine products outside India, and collection of export statistics.
    NCDC is a development finance institution set up by the Govt. of India for planning and promoting programmes for the production, processing, marketing, storage, export and import of agricultural produce, foodstuffs, industrial goods, and livestock on cooperative principles.

  • KIMSHEALTH collaborates with MGM Healthcare for heart lung transplants in Trivandrum

    KIMSHEALTH and MGM Healthcare have collaborated to establish a Comprehensive Heart & Lung Transplantation Unit at KIMSHEALTH Trivandrum. 
    KIMSHEALTH Trivandrum, a quaternary care multi-organ transplant centre, has established itself as a leading centre in the region to perform various organ transplants like kidney, liver and combined kidney-liver transplants. Expanding the multi-organ transplant programme, it has established expertise in complicated liver transplants including paediatric transplants and ABO incompatible transplants. Having successfully completed over 800 organ transplants, with a success rate on par with international standards, KIMSHEALTH has commissioned KIMSHEALTH EAST which has a dedicated facility for multi-organ transplants. The transplantation team comprises dedicated surgeons, anaesthetists and intensivists who are supported by perfusionists, technicians and nurses.
    MGM Healthcare is a quaternary care super-specialty hospital in the heart of Chennai city. It has been recognised as one of the superlative health-caring hospitals to have performed all solid organ transplants, within its first year of existence. MGM Healthcare is currently one of the leading hospitals for heart-lung transplants in the country. The heart-lung transplant team at MGM, led by Dr KR Balakrishnan, has successfully performed over 400 heart and lung surgeries. MGM Healthcare is Asia’s first hospital to perform a Berlin heart implantation (total artificial heart) on a two-year-old as well as Asia’s first hospital to perform bilateral lung transplant for a patient with COVID-induced lung damage. It also runs Asia’s largest ECMO programme. 
    "Heart transplant remains the gold standard for the treatment of end-stage heart failure. The first successful heart transplant in India was done in 1994 and the patient survived for 14 years. Over the years, we have seen increased awareness and an increasing societal acceptance of cadaver donation for heart transplant, which is a positive trend. With this collaboration, KIMSHEALTH will become an international destination for multi-organ transplants," said DrM I Sahadulla, Group Chairman and Managing Director, KIMSHEALTH.
    “KIMS Charitable Trust has earmarked Rs 50 lakh for making these transplants affordable to those who are facing financial challenges,” Dr Sahadulla revealed. 
    Dr Sheriff Sahadulla, Group CEO, KIMSHEALTH, through videoconferencing, said that the initiative will be beneficial to patients and the community as well.

    "Individuals who have suffered from severe heart failure following which the heart loses its capacity to function optimally are recommended for heart transplant surgery. End-stage usually entails that all other forms of treatments — such as medications, device support and other therapies to improve heart function — have all been tried out but to no avail. However, not every individual who has been diagnosed with end-stage heart disease will be considered for heart transplantation. We run a heart failure clinic and maintain a registry for heart failure patients and deserving patients for transplant are selected based on proper clinical evaluation," said Dr G Vijayaraghavan, Vice-Chairman and Head of Cardiology, KIMSHEALTH.
    “MGM Healthcare is one of the leading hospitals for heart-lung transplant and heart failure management across the country today. Investing in the best clinical expertise, in advanced technology and in state-of-the-art infrastructure, we have been consistently delivering better patient outcomes. This MoU with KIMSHEALTH will further our collective cause of providing better healthcare facilities in a country that has a high mortality rate due to cardiovascular disease,” said Dr Prashanth Rajagopalan, Director, MGM Healthcare.
    Speaking about the partnership, Dr KR Balakrishnan, Director, Institute of Heart & Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support, MGM Healthcare, said, “Our clinical team at MGM Healthcare will be working closely with the clinical team at KIMSHEALTH to establish the heart and lung transplant and heart failure management programmes, and provide treatment options for patients in both institutions. Medical technology and treatment protocols have greatly evolved over the past few years. Ensuring that patients get the best that the medical world has to offer is this team's and this hospital’s primary goal.” 
    Dr Suresh Rao K G, Co-Director - Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support and HOD – Cardiac Anaesthesia, MGM Healthcare, added, “We provide advanced medical care, especially for those with serious and critical cardiac and pulmonary-related conditions who are unable to cope up with normal life, even with maximum possible medical treatment.”
    Dr Sahadulla and Dr Suresh Rao exchanged the memorandum of understanding (MoU) of the collaboration on the occasion. 
    Dr Sujit V.I and Dr Shaji Palangadan - Cardiothoracic and Transplant Surgeons from KIMSHEALTH, Dr Praveen Muralidharan - Director Transplant Program, Mr E M Najeeb - Executive Director, Mr Harish Manian, CEO, MGM Healthcare, and Mr Saravanan Raman, Vice President, MGM Healthcare, were also present at the press conference.

  • Public participation essential for developmental projects Union Minister

    V Muraleedharan inaugurates Bamco’s 36th Samrudhi store at Ettumanoor
     The days of government directly carrying out all developmental projects are over with an increasing public participation in the new age, Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shri V Muraleedharan said today.
    “Society at large is implementing a lot of developmental activities,” he said, after inaugurating a Grameen Samrudhi Store Supermarket of the Ettumanoor Social Service Society (ESSS) in association with the Bharath Agro Processing and Marketing Cooperative (Bamco). The unit at Ettumanoor, 10 km north of this city, is Bamco’s the 36th Samrudhi store in Kerala.
    “The role of cooperative movements in the empowerment of women is invaluable,” the Minister noted, over video conferencing. “Many of the women who won the recent civic elections in Kerala are those who rose through their involvement in cooperative movements.”
    Ettumanoor MLA Shri Suresh Kurup, inaugurating the showroom, hailed the system where the privileged members are eligible to receive the dividend from running the Samrudhi store. “Not only does Samrudhi enjoy public confidence, the supermarket is set to work for the betterment of the people,” he said.
    The 9,000-sqft Samrudhi store, on the Ettumanoor-Peroor Junction, sells groceries, vegetables, milk, stationeries and crockery items at affordable prices.
    Installing a special app on mobile phone facilitates home delivery of the items. The app and a website on the store were inaugurated today by Ettumanoor Municipal Corporation Chairpersons Smt Lovely George.
    Vazhoor Theerthapada Ashramam president Swami Prajnanananda Theerthapadar, and Grameen Samrudhi Charitable Society president Shri P K Madhusoodan lit a lamp on the occasion.
    ESSS Secretary Shri M S Vinod said the Ettumanoor unit of Samrudhi launched a novel scheme by paying dividend to privileged members. Besides home-delivery facility, the store, as a policy, encourages local farmers and procurers, he added.
    ESSS President Dr K V Sathyadev presided over the function. The others present were Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (Ettumanoor) president Shri M P Thomas, ward councillor Smt Rashmi Shyam, Vyapari Kshema Nidhi Board Vice Chairman Shri E S Biju, Hindu Economic Forum (HEF) General Secretary Shri S Padmabhushan, Bamco Vice-President P R Muralidhar, HEF Kerala Joint Secretary Shri Sunil Kumar, Ettumanoor Athirampuzha Jama-ath General Secretary Akbar, HEF (Kottayam District Forum) president Shri P J Harikumar, Ettumanoor former Municipal Chairperson James Plakkithottil and HEF Ettumanoor president Shri K U Shyam Krishnan.
    ESSS treasurer Shri P K Jayakumar proposed thanks.

  • Tourism sector should tap potential of Co op sector Minister

    Seeking to ensure welfare of tourism sector employees, an initiative called the Kerala Tourism Fraternity Social Welfare Cooperative Society Limited (KTFCS) was launched here under the auspices of Association of Tourism Trade Organisations, India (ATTOI).
    Inaugurating the Society at a function last evening, Minister for Tourism and Co-operation Shri Kadakampally Surendran said  tourism enterprises  should aim to tap the Co-operative sector for finance, especially in view of the reluctance of the public sector banks to provide loans to the cash-stressed tourism sector.  
    Kerala’s cooperative sector is very large. However, it has not been able to make its presence felt in the tourism sector. KTFCS will be able to bring a change to this, the Minister said.
    KTFCS would be able to revive the tourism sector by coordinating the activities of regional tourist centres and the stakeholders by forming societies to solve their problems, the minister added.
    The minister also unveiled the logo of KTFCS at the function. 
    Although the government had many programmes to support the tourism sector during the pandemic times, KTFCS will be very helpful to those working in the sector, said Smt. Rani George IAS, Principal Secretary, Tourism.
    The society was created from the lessons learned from the experience of the pandemic and it will result in bringing a better working atmosphere to the sector, said Shri P Bala Kiran IAS, Director, Tourism. 
    Shri Anish Kumar PK, Chief Promoter of KTFCS, said the society is being formed keeping in mind the development of the tourism sector and  the welfare of those working in it.
    KTFCS will take the lead in finding capital, loans and resource mobilization in the tourism sector.
    It was when the tourism sector was reeling under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that the idea to start KTFCS was originated and it received much support from the tourism department, said Shri Vinod CS, President, Association of Tourism Trade Organisations, India (ATTOI).
    KTM President Shri Baby Mathew and Shri Manu PV, Secretary, ATTOI also spoke.

  • Folk art fest Utsavam 2021 gets off to a colourful start across Kerala

     Showcasing the best of Kerala’s vibrant folk and ritualistic art traditions, the 7-day cultural festival  ‘Utsavam 2021’ got off to a colorful start this evening,  featuring hundreds of artistes in 30 venues across the state.

    Inaugurating the event at Nishagandhi Auditorium here this evening, Hon’ble Minister for Co-operation, Tourism and Devaswoms Shri Kadakampally Surendran said  the festival is aimed at preserving the rich and diverse art forms of Kerala. 

    “These folk art and cultural traditions are the tangible legacy of Kerala, handed down through generations. Many of them are now facing threat of sliding into oblivion. The Government considers it as its responsibility to preserve them by extending all support to artists, many of whom are struggling to keep these traditions alive” the Minister said.

    The festival  is organized by Kerala Tourism together with Kerala Folklore Academy, Bharat Bhavan and District Tourism Promotion Councils.

    Adv V K Prasanth, MLA  presided over the function. Dr Reena KS., Councilor, and Kerala Folklore Academy,  Chairman Dr. C J Kuttappan spoke at the function.

    The folk arts and ritualistic traditions are vital components of Kerala’s culture and conserving and promoting them would also contribute to the growth of tourism, said Smt Rani George IAS, Principal Secretary, Tourism. 

    Kerala’s cultural heritage is rich and vibrant, and by organizing Útsavam’ the State Tourism Department has been fulfilling its responsibility in preserving these traditions by extending support to these artists, said Tourism Director Shri P Bala Kiran IAS.

    The highlight of the state-level roll-out of the annual event was the launch of  ‘Utsavam’ Signature song, rendered by noted singer Shri Kavalam Sreekumar. Written by Shri.BS Biju,   music to the song is set by Shri. Mathew Itty. The inaugural function was followed by a presentation of folk dance and naadan pattu, led by Shri. C J Kuttappan.

    Leading folklore artists representing various traditions were honoured at the function with the Utsavam Puraskaram. The artists selected for the honour are Smt T K Baby (Onamkali Pattu), Shri Pramod TA (Pattu & Kaalakali), Shri Padmanabhan TR (Ambatheeradikalari), Shri Sudarshanakumar T (Padayani), Smt Bindu Pazhur (Mudiyettu), Smt Malathi Balan (Uralikoothu), Smt Rajamma A (Pooppada Thullal), Shri K Kunhi Koran (Poorakkali), Shri Dineshan Thekkankooran Peruvannan (Theyyam) and Smt Umbichi K (Mangalam kali).

    The festival offers a venue for scores of performers representing a wide variety of folk, tribal and ethnic traditions that flourished in different parts of the state. This year, the event assumes added significance as it has come as a big support to artists hit by  sweeping disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had its grim impact on the cultural domain as well.

  • KSUM calls applications for Student Startup Programme

    Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) has invited applications from students in the district for aprogramme that aimsat cultivating entrepreneurial aptitudeand equip students to set up startupswhile pursuing their studies.
    The Student Startup Programme,being implemented in association with the cohort of startup enterprises, ‘KASARACODE Community’,is envisaged to find out solutions for numerous social problems, and create productsand services that enable the digitalization of traditional industries. It also offers an opportunity to learn and share the latest technology. 
    Second year students, who are pursuing engineering, diploma, management and ITC courses, can apply for the programme. Selected candidates will get mentoring and othersupport from startup foundersto convert their ideas into products.  
    For registration, visit: https://tinyurl.com/ydbute8k
    Last date of applications is February 28. For more details, contact: 7736495689. 
    KSUM is the nodal agency of the Kerala Government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.

  • Kochi based ecommerce platform Maneraa launched to promote aspiring designers and budding brands

    Maneraa, a new-age multi- brand lifestyle and fashion ecommerce platformhas been launched to recognise the potential for small, unbranded fashion & lifestyle retailers, to help them manage quality and to give them an opportunity to share their unique products with the India-wide market on an online aggregator platform.
    Maneraa, headquartered in Kochi,  is an online platform which provides a whole new made-in-India online shopping experience for women, men and kids. The founders, Pune based sisters and fashion enthusiastsShabnaSalam and ShaibaSalam, offer a range of products that have been created by lesser-known brands specially handpicked for their design and quality..
    Maneraa is an equal-opportunity platform that bridges the gap between aspiration and access for both buyers and sellers.
    The company seeks to provide shoppers the desired uniqueness and exclusivity in their wardrobe through beautiful designer wear that does not come with a hefty price tag. The platform sells traditional fusion and western wear and features a varied array of exquisite accessories and lifestyle products.
    Commenting on the launchShabna, Founder &Director –We want to position Maneraa as a ‘Creator of happiness’. Maneraawillcraft a space in the ecommerce market where our buyers get to choose from hundreds of brands with new designs that have been created by talented yet unrecognised designers from around the country.Our sole purpose is to make the online shopping experience on our platform incredibly delightful by giving consumers a one stop solution to find fashionable yet affordable products.
    Adds Shaiba, Co-Founder, -Fashion is no longer the domain of the urban elite - young men and women in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities are increasingly developing a taste for looking good without spending too much. E-commerce is the ideal way to reach these buyers, and platforms like Maneraa allow them to shop from hitherto a number of brands at affordable prices whenever they wish. 
    She adds, “The SME industry is a dominant one in India and Maneraa also seeks to improve India’s GDP by giving new impetus to unbranded sellers. Each retailer is provided with an e-commerce shopfront and an inventory/order management software through which they can process and track orders. Once their accounts are set up, small retailers with high-quality fashion products but no market exposure can compete side by side with major brands for the customer’s attention.”
    Maneraa seeks to onboard over 500 unique sellers by 2021 to cater to 2 million+ buyers across India. With its commitment towards sustainable growth and its inclusion of all its employees and sellers in its goal to create happiness, Maneraa is all set to become one of the top affordable fashion brands in India in the years to come.

  • Top Employers Institute Certification For Three Consecutive Years Highlights USTs People First Practices and Culture

    UST,a leading digital transformation solutions company, has been certified as a Top Employerin the US, United Kingdom, Malaysia, India, Mexico, Spain, Singapore, and the Philippines for 2021 by the Top Employers Institute (TEI), the global authority on recognizing excellence in people practices in the workplace.

    The Top Employers Institute assesses HR best practices worldwide. It recognizes the world’s leading employers to provide employees with the best working conditions and opportunities for personal and professional development.The program has certified and recognized more than 1,600 Top Employers in 120 countries across five continents since its establishment 30 years ago.

    Since first embarking on the annual certification program in 2018, UST has continued to improve year-on-year across all measured criteria, including employee offerings around Talent Strategy, Leadership Development, Workforce Planning, Career & Succession Management, On-Boarding, Compensation & Benefits, Learning & Development, Culture, and Performance Management amongst others.

    Speaking on this, Manu Gopinath, Chief Operating Officer, UST said, “Our talent and people practices have been critical drivers for organizational growth. The goal has always been to orchestrate a talent ecosystem that is responsive, accommodative, and agile. With the onset of the pandemic last year and most of our global workforce operating remotely, their productivity and engagement, well-being, and trust were integral to ensuring customer deliverables with minimal distractions. It was a business imperative to assess, revalidate, and transform our people processes.”

    “Participating in the Top Employers Institute Certification program has always been a fantastic learning opportunity. I am delighted that UST is recognized as a “Top Employer” for the third time in a row, and I thank the Top Employers Institute and all our associates for this remarkable recognition,”Gopinath added.
    In addition to the Top Employers certification, UST was also recognized by Great Place to Work™, the world's foremost authority on workplace culture, in India, UK, and the US. The company was also honored with a Glassdoor Employees' Choice Award, for being one of the Top 100 Best Places to Work in 2020.

    “With a human-centered approach and the power of technology, UST champions curiosity and lifelong learning,” added Kavita Kurup, Global Head - Talent and Organizational Transformation, UST, “The Top Employers certification emphasizes our dedication to our people, who continue to break ground and show that with every new challenge, there is an opportunity to excel, an opportunity to create boundless impact and transform lives.”
     

CM to inaugurate March 1 to 5 KTM virtual meet that seeks to revive Kerala’s tourism

Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan will open next week’s Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) that seeks to reinvigorate the state’s tourism, as the March 1-5 virtual braces up to take full advantage out of a post-Covid scenario by initiating a milestone convergence of domestic and foreign buyers in the vital sector.
Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran will be chair the inaugural function at the Uday Palace Convention Centre at Kowdiar in the heart of the city. Finance Minister Dr T M Thomas Isaac will be the chief guest at the ceremony being organised in strict adherence to Covid-19 protocol, according to KTM Society which is India’s biggest organization in the travel and tourism segment.
KTM, as the country’s biggest tourism meet, will facilitate domestic and foreign buyers to hold online interactions with 700 sellers across continents. The prime aim is to restore the pace of growth of tourism that has been affected for a year owing to the outbreak of the global pandemic, organisers said.
Present at the March 1 inaugural function will be Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Kum Arya Rajendran; Dr Shashi Tharoor, MP;  Adv V K Prasanth, MLA; Kerala Tourism Principal Secretary Smt Rani George; Director Shri V R Krishna Teja; Municipal Corporation Member Smt S Sathikumari; KTM Society President Shri Baby Mathew Somatheeram and Secretary Shri Jose Pradeep besides former presidents of KTM Society.
The five-day meet, which will be attended by all members of the KTM Society, is set to exhibit the various products of the state’s tourism sector.
The previous edition (2018) of the KTM, too, was held in the aftermath of a disaster: floods. That time (in September), the meet sought to allaypublic apprehensions about the monsoon calamity upsetting Kerala’s tourism prospects. The upcoming KTM, too, work for a similar model that caninspire confidence in the stakeholders. The deliberations are aimed to chart out ways that can help the sector lessen the losses owing to Covid-19 and its lingering effects.
Already, the government’s measures against the pandemic has won Kerala appreciation across the globe. In fact, steps to strengthen the inflow of tourists have been successful, given a surge in travelers in the past four months. Sticking to Covid protocol, the state’s tourism department has been working in association with the hotels, resorts and homestays, boosting the state’s travel industry.
Also, the government has rolled out a Rs 455-crore relief package for both theentrepreneurs and employees/workers in tourism. The state-level bankers’committee gives loans up to Rs 25 lakh to entrepreneurs intourism. The government is paying half the interest for the first year.

Further, Kerala Bank gives loans between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 to those employed in the tourism sector. The beneficiaries need to pay only 3 per cent interest, as thegovernment pays the rest 6 per cent as subsidies.
The authorities are giving Rs 10,000 each as a one-time relief amount to 328 guidesaccredited with the tourism departments of the state and central governments. Grants up to Rs 1.25 lakh are being distributed for the maintenance of houseboats.The commercial tax, which the local administration department was collecting fromhomestays,has been retained as house tax to the relief to the hospitality industry.

0

MPEDA and NCDC sign MoU to synergise their programmes for promotion of export oriented marine products

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to synergise their various programmes in the interest of export-oriented capture and culture of fisheries and allied sectors for bringing better value to the stakeholders.
The MoU was signed by Shri K.S. Srinivas, Chairman, MPEDA and ShriSundeep Kumar Nayak, Managing Director, NCDC, here last evening.
“We have identified ample scope for working jointly in the interest of export promotion of marine products for bringing better value to the stakeholders through a variety of activities, including export focus, in line with the policies of the government,” ShriSrinivas said. 
Under the MoU, MPEDA and its Societies (NETFISH, NaCSA& RGCA) and NCDC will jointly formulate programmes to provide technical know-how to cooperatives to upscale infrastructure created for primary production and post-harvest management in the marine products export sector.
MPEDA and its societies will share a list of all clusters in various states with NCDC, which may approach the clusters for achieving scale and aggregation with export orientation. It would also facilitate exports by the cooperatives assisted or identified by NCDC.
The two parties will jointly work towards capacity development of various stakeholders, organise outreach and awareness programmes and conduct workshops for the stakeholders.
The MoU also envisages MPEDA and its Societies and NCDC to work in close tandem to showcase to the Indian and global market, the products, technologies, processes, knowledge and services by the stakeholders through a variety of modes as may be identified by them from time to time.
Further, they would work together to achieve the export targets and the goal of doubling farmer’s income as set out by the government.
The expenses towards implementation in these areas and cooperation will be met by NCDC and MPEDA and its Societies through respective enabling provisions of their financial assistance schemes.
Both the parties also agreed to the setting up of a Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) composed of representatives from MPEDA and NCDC.  The terms of reference of this Committee would be to plan, monitor and oversee the activities under this MoU in accordance with the schemes and programmes of the parties.  JCC will meet at least once in a quarter and periodically monitor and review the progress.  
MPEDA and NCDC will nominate Nodal Officers for managing and implementing the decisions of JCC and the objectives of this MoU.
MPEDA, under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is the nodal agency for promotion of marine products exports sector through a range of activities such as providing financial assistance, registration of entities, fixing of standards and specifications, carrying out inspection of marine products, regulating the export, improving the marketing of marine products outside India, and collection of export statistics.
NCDC is a development finance institution set up by the Govt. of India for planning and promoting programmes for the production, processing, marketing, storage, export and import of agricultural produce, foodstuffs, industrial goods, and livestock on cooperative principles.

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KIMSHEALTH collaborates with MGM Healthcare for heart lung transplants in Trivandrum

KIMSHEALTH and MGM Healthcare have collaborated to establish a Comprehensive Heart & Lung Transplantation Unit at KIMSHEALTH Trivandrum. 
KIMSHEALTH Trivandrum, a quaternary care multi-organ transplant centre, has established itself as a leading centre in the region to perform various organ transplants like kidney, liver and combined kidney-liver transplants. Expanding the multi-organ transplant programme, it has established expertise in complicated liver transplants including paediatric transplants and ABO incompatible transplants. Having successfully completed over 800 organ transplants, with a success rate on par with international standards, KIMSHEALTH has commissioned KIMSHEALTH EAST which has a dedicated facility for multi-organ transplants. The transplantation team comprises dedicated surgeons, anaesthetists and intensivists who are supported by perfusionists, technicians and nurses.
MGM Healthcare is a quaternary care super-specialty hospital in the heart of Chennai city. It has been recognised as one of the superlative health-caring hospitals to have performed all solid organ transplants, within its first year of existence. MGM Healthcare is currently one of the leading hospitals for heart-lung transplants in the country. The heart-lung transplant team at MGM, led by Dr KR Balakrishnan, has successfully performed over 400 heart and lung surgeries. MGM Healthcare is Asia’s first hospital to perform a Berlin heart implantation (total artificial heart) on a two-year-old as well as Asia’s first hospital to perform bilateral lung transplant for a patient with COVID-induced lung damage. It also runs Asia’s largest ECMO programme. 
"Heart transplant remains the gold standard for the treatment of end-stage heart failure. The first successful heart transplant in India was done in 1994 and the patient survived for 14 years. Over the years, we have seen increased awareness and an increasing societal acceptance of cadaver donation for heart transplant, which is a positive trend. With this collaboration, KIMSHEALTH will become an international destination for multi-organ transplants," said DrM I Sahadulla, Group Chairman and Managing Director, KIMSHEALTH.
“KIMS Charitable Trust has earmarked Rs 50 lakh for making these transplants affordable to those who are facing financial challenges,” Dr Sahadulla revealed. 
Dr Sheriff Sahadulla, Group CEO, KIMSHEALTH, through videoconferencing, said that the initiative will be beneficial to patients and the community as well.

"Individuals who have suffered from severe heart failure following which the heart loses its capacity to function optimally are recommended for heart transplant surgery. End-stage usually entails that all other forms of treatments — such as medications, device support and other therapies to improve heart function — have all been tried out but to no avail. However, not every individual who has been diagnosed with end-stage heart disease will be considered for heart transplantation. We run a heart failure clinic and maintain a registry for heart failure patients and deserving patients for transplant are selected based on proper clinical evaluation," said Dr G Vijayaraghavan, Vice-Chairman and Head of Cardiology, KIMSHEALTH.
“MGM Healthcare is one of the leading hospitals for heart-lung transplant and heart failure management across the country today. Investing in the best clinical expertise, in advanced technology and in state-of-the-art infrastructure, we have been consistently delivering better patient outcomes. This MoU with KIMSHEALTH will further our collective cause of providing better healthcare facilities in a country that has a high mortality rate due to cardiovascular disease,” said Dr Prashanth Rajagopalan, Director, MGM Healthcare.
Speaking about the partnership, Dr KR Balakrishnan, Director, Institute of Heart & Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support, MGM Healthcare, said, “Our clinical team at MGM Healthcare will be working closely with the clinical team at KIMSHEALTH to establish the heart and lung transplant and heart failure management programmes, and provide treatment options for patients in both institutions. Medical technology and treatment protocols have greatly evolved over the past few years. Ensuring that patients get the best that the medical world has to offer is this team's and this hospital’s primary goal.” 
Dr Suresh Rao K G, Co-Director - Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support and HOD – Cardiac Anaesthesia, MGM Healthcare, added, “We provide advanced medical care, especially for those with serious and critical cardiac and pulmonary-related conditions who are unable to cope up with normal life, even with maximum possible medical treatment.”
Dr Sahadulla and Dr Suresh Rao exchanged the memorandum of understanding (MoU) of the collaboration on the occasion. 
Dr Sujit V.I and Dr Shaji Palangadan - Cardiothoracic and Transplant Surgeons from KIMSHEALTH, Dr Praveen Muralidharan - Director Transplant Program, Mr E M Najeeb - Executive Director, Mr Harish Manian, CEO, MGM Healthcare, and Mr Saravanan Raman, Vice President, MGM Healthcare, were also present at the press conference.

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Public participation essential for developmental projects Union Minister

V Muraleedharan inaugurates Bamco’s 36th Samrudhi store at Ettumanoor
 The days of government directly carrying out all developmental projects are over with an increasing public participation in the new age, Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shri V Muraleedharan said today.
“Society at large is implementing a lot of developmental activities,” he said, after inaugurating a Grameen Samrudhi Store Supermarket of the Ettumanoor Social Service Society (ESSS) in association with the Bharath Agro Processing and Marketing Cooperative (Bamco). The unit at Ettumanoor, 10 km north of this city, is Bamco’s the 36th Samrudhi store in Kerala.
“The role of cooperative movements in the empowerment of women is invaluable,” the Minister noted, over video conferencing. “Many of the women who won the recent civic elections in Kerala are those who rose through their involvement in cooperative movements.”
Ettumanoor MLA Shri Suresh Kurup, inaugurating the showroom, hailed the system where the privileged members are eligible to receive the dividend from running the Samrudhi store. “Not only does Samrudhi enjoy public confidence, the supermarket is set to work for the betterment of the people,” he said.
The 9,000-sqft Samrudhi store, on the Ettumanoor-Peroor Junction, sells groceries, vegetables, milk, stationeries and crockery items at affordable prices.
Installing a special app on mobile phone facilitates home delivery of the items. The app and a website on the store were inaugurated today by Ettumanoor Municipal Corporation Chairpersons Smt Lovely George.
Vazhoor Theerthapada Ashramam president Swami Prajnanananda Theerthapadar, and Grameen Samrudhi Charitable Society president Shri P K Madhusoodan lit a lamp on the occasion.
ESSS Secretary Shri M S Vinod said the Ettumanoor unit of Samrudhi launched a novel scheme by paying dividend to privileged members. Besides home-delivery facility, the store, as a policy, encourages local farmers and procurers, he added.
ESSS President Dr K V Sathyadev presided over the function. The others present were Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (Ettumanoor) president Shri M P Thomas, ward councillor Smt Rashmi Shyam, Vyapari Kshema Nidhi Board Vice Chairman Shri E S Biju, Hindu Economic Forum (HEF) General Secretary Shri S Padmabhushan, Bamco Vice-President P R Muralidhar, HEF Kerala Joint Secretary Shri Sunil Kumar, Ettumanoor Athirampuzha Jama-ath General Secretary Akbar, HEF (Kottayam District Forum) president Shri P J Harikumar, Ettumanoor former Municipal Chairperson James Plakkithottil and HEF Ettumanoor president Shri K U Shyam Krishnan.
ESSS treasurer Shri P K Jayakumar proposed thanks.

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