• UST GlobalCEO Krishna Sudheendra named by Glassdooramong Highest RatedChief Executive Officers During the COVID-19 Times

    Survey highlights Chief ExecutiveOfficers who have stepped up to the plate to ensure the well-being and success of their employees amid the pandemic
    UST Global, a leading digital transformation solutions company,is proud to announce that CEO Krishna Sudheendra has been named to the list of the 25 highest-rated CEOs during the COVID-19 crisis by Glassdoor. The employee reviews website Glassdoorreleased the ranking, which used feedback from employee reviews between March and July 2020.

    To create the list, Glassdoor looked at the quality of employee reviews, CEO approval ratings, and how employees talked about their leadership during the pandemic.Krishna Sudheendra, one of 8 tech CEOs featured, received a leadership score of 86% and ranked 18thaccording to the survey. 

    Glassdoorevaluated employee reviews specifically related to how a leader prioritizes work-life balance, taking care of employees' overall well-being, offering flexible and remote working policies, establishing strong health benefits and maintaining frequent, clear communication.

    “I am truly humbled to be among this prestigious list of leaders who are working their bestto navigate the pandemic crisis,” said Krishna Sudheendra, Chief Executive Officer, UST Global. “At UST Global, our focus remains on our people – the ‘USsociates’ who make the company we are proud to be.I am only a representative of them,and this is a true testament to several unsung heroes who live our values every day and are committed to the purpose beyond self.  They have worked tirelessly during this pandemic, went beyond the call of duty to take care of our people, our customers, and our community.  As we work through these current challenges and look ahead post-COVID, we will continue transparent communication, listening to individual needs, and prioritizing thehealth and safety of employees while ensuring the success of ourclients and their customers.” 

    UST Global is also the recipient of the Glassdoor Employees' Choice Award, recognizing the company as one of the  Glassdoor Top 100 Best Places to Work in 2020.

    “We are honored that Krishna has been recognized by Glassdoor and our employees for his outstanding leadership within a year of his role of CEO, working through one of the most difficult times for businesses,” added Paras Chandaria, Executive Chairman, UST Global,“We know this crisis is going to fundamentally change the future of business operations and work. We stand behind Krishna, his leadership and dedication to our people who are working with our clients to transform their enterprises, so we can all come out of this even stronger and more agile.”

    Krishna Sudheendra was named CEO of the company in May 2019. With more than 26+ years leading high-growth organizations, Krishna is responsible for growing the business at scale and creating shareholder value for the company. Prior to his appointment as CEO, Krishna served as the President and CFO, handling customer, market expansion, and finance. During his 16 years career at UST Global, he oversaw several transformative deals, mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures. Krishna holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Bangalore University. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

  • STARLUX Airlines Deploys IBS Software’s iCargo Platform to Manage All Cargo Business Functions from Launch

    STARLUX Airlines, Taiwan’s newest luxury carrier, has deployed IBS Software’s iCargo platform to manage business and operational functions for its entire cargo business. The iCargo management platform was implemented ahead of STARLUX Airlines’ launch in January 2020, which saw maiden flights to Macau, Penang and Da Nang with three A321neo aircraft. Although Covid-19 has significantly impacted flights, STARLUX’s cargo operations have been ramping up quickly during this difficult time.  

    After a rigorous evaluation process, STARLUX Airlines chose IBS Software’s iCargo SaaS-based cargo platform to provide a single, unified platform for all critical functions. iCargo now manages all aspects of STARLUX’s cargo business, including sales, airline operations, US customs, mail, Unit Load Device, cashiering, claims, cargo and mail revenue accounting, portal services, data warehousing and business intelligence modules. 

    “We chose the industry-leading iCargo management platform to achieve our goal of providing the best and seamless cargo service to our customers,” said Glenn Chai, CEO, STARLUX Airlines. “So far, iCargo has proved itself to be well worth the investment. It is an advanced digital solution featuring advanced and user-friendly functions. STARLUX is very glad to have made the right choice.” 

    “We were proud to have been selected as a launch partner for STARLUX Airlines, our first iCargo customer in Taiwan. As a startup airline, STARLUX had strict timelines for implementation and regulatory requirements, and extremely high expectations for the technology and its support of their business model. In IBS Software they found a partner with deep expertise, total commitment to driving business value, and a strong delivery track record. We’re thrilled to welcome STARLUX to the iCargo family and to continue our partnership as the airline continues to thrive,” said Ashok Rajan, Head of Cargo & Logistics Solutions, IBS Software.

    STARLUX plans to expand its network with additional A321neo aircraft scheduled for delivery, plus wide-body A350 XWB aircraft. iCargo is fully enabled to support this future growth and continue to empower STARLUX to deliver on its brand promise to customers. 

    Over the last 24 months demand for iCargo has gained significant momentum around the world, with 18 implementations going live over this period – including eight new customers.

  • The Indian travel trade is coming back in full force at ReCONNECT, the virtual travel show

    The virtual B2B travel trade exhibition is the best online gateway to India’s travel markets 
    As the travel and tourism industry gears up to restart operations globally, Fairfest Media, organisers of India’s leading travel tradeshows TTF, OTM & BLTM, have launched ReCONNECT 2020, a virtual B2B travel trade exhibition that will take place on the 18th of September.ReCONNECT is the most awaited opportunity for the global travel community to rekindle relations with the Indian travel trade and buyers, and reboot their businesses. The virtual event will bring together over 3000+ travel industry professionals in a cutting- edge digital platform for networking in the post-pandemic world.

    Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and Kenya Tourism Board have joined the event as Premium Partner Countries. Singapore Tourism Board has come onboard as the Feature Country. Frankfurt Tourism, Visit Brussels and Zagreb Tourist Board will also be present as Feature Destinations for the first time. Spain Tourism is the Official Partner of ReCONNECT.

    International destinations like Azerbaijan, Belgium, Croatia, Ethiopia, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Singapore, Thailand, Zimbabwe and many others will be represented at the event. While helloGTXis the event’s Travel Technology Partner, OneAboveis its DMC Partner. 

    Amongst Indian destinations, Gujarat Tourism will be present as the Premium Partner State and many others are expected to join. ReCONNECT is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India, which is also setting up a virtual booth.

    ReCONNECT’s stunning virtual platform allows ease of doing business where destinations can e-meet with their buyers and media to rebuild confidence and re-energise travel. Using the AI-powered Smart Matchmaking tool, sellers can connect with the most relevant buyers for digital networking. Virtual brand promotion, video conferencing and screen sharing are all a part of ReCONNECT. Over 2,000 buyers have registered for the virtual event. 

    That’s not all. The event’s Conference Programme is bringing together the best minds of travel & tourism experts from India, Asia and beyond for exclusive knowledge sessions. Leaders from Lonely Planet India, SAP Concur, Travelstop, Thomas Cook have already confirmed. Others are expected to join soon. 

    ReCONNECT has the esteemed support of TAAI, OTOAI, FAITH, ADTOI, MTOA, IATTE, Skal International, GTAA, TOSG, TAAN, VTA, ATAA, TAAS, TAG, TTAUP, HHTDN, EHTTOA, SIGTOA, TTAA and others. 

    The virtual event is all set to provide the long-awaited restart to the Indian travel trade community and their global partners. Visit the website by clicking here to learn more about ReCONNECT, brought to you by OTM, BLTM and TTF

  • Kerala State Single Window Clearances Board - Fast tracking industrial approvals

     Fast-tracking the investment procedures  within a 30-day deadline, Kerala Government has cleared 29 industrial projects having an investment of Rs. 3,604.70 crore under the Kerala State Single Window Clearance Board (KSSWCB) in the last four years.

    Constituted under the Kerala Industrial Single Window Clearance Boards and Industrial Township Area Development Act, 1999, KSSWCB was originally empowered to give go-ahead to  any industrial project with an investment layout of Rs. 15 crore and above within 45 days by facilitating clearances from various Government Departments. 

    This Act was amended by the Kerala Investment Promotion and Facilitation Act, 2018, which reduced the deadline for giving clearances from 45 to 30 days.

    KSSWCB, chaired by the Chief Secretary, has held 12 meetings since June 2016.

    “Kerala has considerably improved the Ease of Doing Business, through a string of reform-oriented legislations. These, calibrated with the Government’s policy initiatives, have helped the state attract investments in a range of highly promising sectors”, said Shri S Harikishore IAS, Managing Director, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC).

    The projects that received clearances during the period included expansion of the factory unit for manufacturing tyres of M/s PTL Enterprises Limited ( Rs. 250 crore), construction of 1500-bed multi-Specialty hospital of M/s Believer’s Church Medical College Hospital ( (Rs. 539 crore), expansion of  hospital by M/s KIMS Health care Management (Rs. 210 crore), setting up of a commercial project by Prestige Group with cost (Rs. 750 crore) and expansion of hospital by M/s Lakeshore Hospital and Research Centre Limited  (Rs. 363.50 crore).

    It is envisaged that 34,786 employment opportunities have been created by these projects, which covered sectors such as Healthcare, Hospitality, Food processing, Mining, Manufacturing and Textiles. 

  • Kerala bags ‘Top Performer’ honour in States’ Startup Ranking 2019

    Kerala has bagged the “Top Performer” honour for developing a strong  startup ecosystem for the second consecutive year in the annual States’ Startup Ranking 2019, announced by the Government of India on Friday, recognizing the state as a leader across all pillars of startup ecosystem.
    While four states were adjudged as the Top performers last year there are only two states to receive the honour this year, neighbouring Karnataka being the other.
    The ranking was declared in the presence of Hon’ble Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal; Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Civil Aviation, Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri; and Hon’ble Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Shri Som Parkash.
    The States’ Startup Ranking Framework 2019, prepared by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, recognized Electronics and Information Technology Department of Government of Kerala as an institutional leader, regulatory change champion, procurement leader, incubation hub, seeding innovation leader, and scaling innovations leader.
    Kerala has taken several exemplary initiatives in establishing institutional support for women-led startups, including pre-incubation support, special subsidies and seed funding.
    Initiatives like robust venture funding mechanism for startups are being implemented through the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), the nodal agency for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.
    It was noted on the occasion that “Kerala and Karnataka have displayed visionary leadership and taken strategic initiatives to strengthen innovative entrepreneurship of the ecosystem . These states have exhibited unwavering commitment to the growth of start-up ecosystem by taking dedicated and focussed initiatives across all pillars of start-ups ranking exercise.”
    It also recognised Dr Saji Gopinath, CEO Kerala Startup Mission and Shri Ashok Kurian Panjikaran, Head, Business Development of KSUM, as “Startup Champions of the State.”
    Dr Saji Gopinath said : "This recognition for the second consecutive year will encourage more young entrepreneurs to make use of the robust startup ecosystem  in the state."
    The States’ Startup Ranking Framework 2019 was done across seven specific dimensions: Institutional Support, Easing Compliances, Relaxation in Public Procurement norms, Incubation Support, Seed Funding Support, Venture Funding Support, and Awareness and Outreach.
    The key objective of the exercise is capacity building, and to further the spirit of entrepreneurship in the Indian Startup Ecosystem.The ‘State/UT Startup Ranking Framework’ 2019 is spread across seven areas of intervention with a total of 30 action points, as compared to the 38 action points in the Previous Year State Ranking Framework. The framework provides the guidelines to support implementation of action points along with good practices against each action point.
    The State Ranking Framework aims to evaluate States/UTs in a balanced and transparent manner and has thus made documentary evidence of compliance on action points by the State/UT Government a pre- requisite for collection of feedback. Scoring was then done on the basis of the feedback received.

  • All-New MahindraTreoSet to Electrify Kerala Roads: To Transform State’s Last & First mile Travelwith e-Mobility

    Made-in-India Electric Auto with Annual Savings of Up To 45,000

    Mahindra Electric Mobility Ltd, part of the USD 19.4 billion Mahindra Group, today announced the launch of itsnew electric three-wheeler Mahindra Treo in Kerala at ₹2.7 lakh, post FAME subsidies (Ex-showroom, Kerala). The new Mahindra Treo electric auto is now completely designed and developed in India and offers best-in-class performance with higher speed of 55 kmph, better acceleration from 0-20 kmph in just 2.3 seconds and best-in-classgradeability of 12.7 degree. The new Mahindra Treo can save an ownerup to ₹ 45,000/year*. The Treo is available with a low down payment scheme of just ₹50,000 from Mahindra Finance and low interest rate scheme of only 10.8% from State Bank of India. Mahindra Treo comes with attractive exchange bonus of ₹5,000.

    Speaking at the launch,Mahesh Babu, MD & CEO, Mahindra Electric said, “Kerala has demonstrated faster adoption of EVs and helped the Treo to become the market leader in its segment. With ~5000 Treo vehicles plying across over 400 districts of India, Treo has already covered 1.6Crore km on the Indian roads. The new Treo will further boost our customers’ savings and will be a great fit for the state’s first and last mile mobility needs.The Indian EV growth story is dominated by electric 3-wheelers and the sizeable segment will play a crucial role in growth ofEVs in the country.”

    Higher Savings of up to 45,000 
    The running cost of Mahindra Treo is only50 paise/km which can save up to ₹ 45,000 per year on fuel costs. 
    The lithium-ion battery requires zero-maintenance and offers1,50,000+Km of hassle free running. 
    Best-in-Segment Performance: 
    The new improved AC induction motor now has a highestpower of 8 kW and a highest/excellent torque of 42 Nm. 
    The top-speed of Mahindra Treo has improved significantly to 55 kmph with an increased gradeability of 12.7 degree.

    Advanced Technology:
    LITHIUM-ION TECHNOLOGY:The new Mahindra Treo is powered by advanced lithium-ion technology and can travel for up to 130 km (declared driving range) on a single charge.
    AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION: It comes with automatic transmission, and is gearless, clutch-less and vibration-free making the drive very comfortable and fatigue-free

    EASE OF CHARGING:Mahindra Treo can be charged anywhere as it comes with a portable charger and can be fully charged using a 15 A socket 
    RELIABLE IP 67 RATED MOTORgives enhanced protection from dust and water entry
    RUST FREE BODY PANELS:Modular rust-free Sheet Moulding Compound (SMC) panels for easy cleaning

    Superior Space & Comfort: 
    BEST-IN-SEGMENT WHEELBASE:With the longestwheelbase of 2073mm the Mahindra Treo offers segment best comfort with more leg room and easy entry and exit for all age groups. 
    ENHANCED SAFETY:Mahindra Treo offers side doorsmaking the ride much safer.
    Excellent Warranty& Aftersales

    STANDARD WARRANTY:Mahindra Treo comes with a standard warranty of 3 years/80,000 km along with the optional 4th and 5th year extended warranty of up to overall 1 lakh Km.  
    EASE OF SERVICE: Wide service network of 140+ dealerships across India
     

  • KIMSHEALTH: Traumatic head injury patient recovers after neurosurgery

    Shattered skull pieces removed from the brain in five-hour procedure

    Death looked a near-certainty when a 57-year-old fisherman shattered his skull into pieces in a freak fishing accident, but an incredible surgery and effective aftercare at KIMSHEALTH, a world-class multispecialty hospital here, pulled him back from the brink to a new lease of life. 
    In the surgery that lasted about five hours, Dr M D Sreejith, Neurosurgeon at KIMSHEALTH, undertook the high-risk procedure of extricating the broken pieces of the skull from the patient’s partly damaged brain and emerged successful, despite the survival rate in such cases being only razor-thin and almost negligible.
    “Although the odds were heavily stacked against the patient – the critical nature of the wound, the collateral injuries he suffered on the chest and his age – we are happy the patient could leave the hospital cured in over 10 days’ time,” said a beaming Dr. Sreejith. 
    It was on August 14 that the cable of the hydraulic fishing net hauler snapped and pierced through the patient’s skull when he was on the high seas, fishing on board a trawler off the coast of Neendakara Fishing Harbour with a few of his colleagues.
    Not only did the incident cause him serious head injury, its impact tossed him off the boat. To make matters worse, his chest violently hit the side of the trawler as he hurtled into the water. His colleagues immediately stopped the boat and two of them rescued him and brought him back to the trawler even as he was losing consciousness. An ambulance was ready on the coast to take him to the nearest hospital.
    By the time he reached the hospital the patient was finding it difficult to breathe. He was immediately intubated, a process in which a tube is inserted into a person’s trachea for ventilation. Seeing the nature of the injuries, the hospital advised his colleagues to take him to another hospital which had a neurosurgery department.
    When the patient reached KIMSHEALTH, much time had been lost; moreover, he urgently needed ventilator support.
    Doctors attending on the patient pointed out to his colleagues that the surgery was fraught with utter risks, but then there was no alternative to it. On getting the consent and based on advice from Dr Khalil Issac, the surgery was taken up and Dr Sreejith which took five long hours to remove all the bone splinters in the patient’s head.
    “The wound resembled a bullet injury, in which the skull gets shattered into several pieces on slug impact. Each bit had to be carefully extricated from the brain. The patient survived the operation. While we waited fingers-crossed, he moved his fingers on the second day which gave us hope,” said the surgeon.
    The patient had an ICD (Intercostal Drainage in both chest) apart from an ET tube (Endotracheal tube). On the third day, he was slowly weaned away from the ventilator. However, there was a setback on the fifth day as Henry showed signs of pneumonia, largely due to the blow he suffered on the chest and the sea water he ingested.
    A tracheostomy was performed and the patient was given support to breathe. Moreover, phlegm from his chest was removed using the tubes and by the seventh day he recovered to a great extent.The patient condition improved thereon and he was discharged on the 11th day.
    “The 57-year-old will have to return to KIMSHEALTH after a couple of months to attach a titanium cap to the part of the skull that was traumatized,”Dr. Sreejith said, adding: “The worst is over for him, and he can look forward to a new lease of life.” 
    The patient care team included Dr Bhadrinath N (Anesthetist), Dr Khalil Issac (Neurosurgeon), Dr Sudin Koshy (Respiratory Medicine), Dr Ragitha B (ENT), Dr Sujith V (Cardiac Surgeon) and Dr Shafy Ali (General Surgery).
     

  • Reinventing Travel in The New Normal: ITB Asia 2020 Virtual Theme and Keynote Speakers Revealed

    ITB Asia has announced the theme and keynote speakers for this year’s virtual event on 21 – 23 October 2020
    Organiser of ITB Asia 2020 Virtual today revealed Reinventing Travel in the New Normal as the theme for this year’s virtual event. The three-day, 120-session themed agenda has been specially curated to help travel industry professionals navigate through the current challenges and prepare for the industry’s recovery.
    The virtual event next month will see travel industry professionals around the world connect to share ideas and plans that will shape the next decade of travel in a post-pandemic world. The virtual event will be hosted on ITB Community, which has over 1,500 community members and over 400 buyers subscribed till date, since the launch 2 weeks ago.
    Ms Katrina Leung, Managing Director, Messe Berlin (Singapore), organiser of ITB Asia, states, “We are proud to announce the theme of this year’s virtual event, which will provide the foundation for the travel industry as it moves towards recovery. We truly believe that ITB Asia will play a fundamental role in shaping the future of travel in the new normal. Enabling participants to connect virtually allows for seamless knowledge sharing at a pivotal point in the travel industry’s history. Till date, we’ve over 100 confirmed exhibitors registered for ITB Asia 2020 Virtual.”
    Keynote sessions this year will highlight the emerging trends the travel industry should consider as they continue to navigate COVID-19. Speakers will also address industry’s best practices, business innovations, industry know-how and professional tips on how to adopt the mindset of industry leaders when navigating through challenges.
    Industry-leading keynote speakers this year include:
    Angel Llull Mancas, Vice President & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Booking.com;
    Hermione Joye, Sector Lead, Travel and Vertical Search APAC, Google;
    Deep Kalra, Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip;
    Axel Hefer, Managing Director & CEO, trivago; and
    Ben Drew, President, Viator.
    Said Angel Llull Mancas, Vice President & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Booking.com, "Despite challenging times, I’m heartened that our industry continues to rally together as one strong community - to share global learnings and insights, support industry recovery and restore consumer confidence in travel. As we emerge from this global pandemic, our world and industry will undoubtedly be different, but one thing is for certain - travel and the desire to explore and experience our world will remain fundamental to people's lives. I look forward to sharing how Booking.com continues to stay agile and adaptable today, leveraging the power of our innovation, technology and tools to better support and enable our partners and customers."
    Over the course of the three-day event, sessions will address six core themes:
    Corporate Travel
    Thinking outside the box is critical when it comes to the future of corporate travel, and this series of conferences will urge participants to challenge their approach to “business as usual”. Key speakers will include Tobias Ragge, CEO of HRS Group, who will cover The new prospects for Corporate Travel, and Brett Thomson, General Manager, Corporate Travel, TAG, who will discuss Building a better solution for International Mobility.

    MICE Show Asia
    Rethinking the MICE industry will be encouraged in this series of conferences, and participants will be challenged to question their familiar and comfortable approach to everything MICE. Key speakers will include Matthias Schultze, Managing Director, German Convention Bureau (GCB) who will share What’s next in the constantly changing business events industry, and Edward Koh, Executive Director, Conventions, Meetings & Incentive Travel, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), who will also discuss Doing MICE business in the New Normal.
    Travel Tech Asia
    The role of technology in travel is more important than ever before. This conference series will explore what technologies will define the future of travel, as well as those tech trends that are taking off now and helping to keep the industry moving. Oliver Dlouhy, Co-Founder & CEO, Kiwi.com will consider COVID-19 as a fast track to fully digital travel distribution and Richard Harris, Founder & CEO, <intent> who will discuss the future of AI in travel in his keynote You can’t predict the future of travel. But the machine can.
    Destination Marketing
    This conference series sees national tourism boards, destination agencies and marketing experts come together to discuss how to adapt strategies to serve customers in the new normal. Nicola Eliot, Vice President, BBC StoryWorks APAC, BBC Global News will consider How to create the right stories at the right time to reach out to an audience dreaming of travel.
    Hotel Revenue and Distribution
    Hoteliers and those in related fields will share thoughts on how hotels and accommodation can adapt to the current situation as well as how to stay strong during this time. Allen Law, CEO, Park Hotel Group will discuss Navigating the crisis and beyond: Rebound, Recession & Reimagination and Jennifer Li, EVP & Chief Business Officer, Tujia will consider How to revive homestays after the pandemic?
    Tours, Attractions and Activities
    Participants will share thoughts and insights on how the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped the way the travel industry sees customers and businesses in the tours and activities market. James Thornton, CEO, Intrepid Travel will host a speech on the tour operators of the future, and Claudio Bellinzona, Co-Founder & COO, Musement will discuss What tours & activities companies can do to prepare for re-opening and recovery.
    Attendees will have the opportunity to attend over 120 virtual conference sessions led by more than 120 expert speakers from 21 – 23 October 2020. For more information visit http://bit.ly/ITBAsia2020ConferenceAgenda.

  • KSUM’s virtual startup expo gets big response from industry

    The ongoing virtual exhibition of technology start-ups, being organised by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) to providea platform for industry to tap post-COVID opportunities by leveraging products and services from the startup ecosystem at affordable costs, has received overwhelming response.  
    The five-day expo is aimed at augmenting opportunities for startups and connect them to industry. The second edition of the expo follows tremendous response received by the first round of exhibition held in June. 
    The ongoing edition of the show features a wide array of products and services from edutech,  fintech, and enterprise tech sectors. The best products required for educational institutions were on display on the first two days, followed by the turn of startups from fintech (Aug. 27) and enterprise technologies (Aug. 28 and 29) sectors. 
    To view the exhibition, visit: https://business.startupmission.in/demodayfrom 10 am to 4 pm. 
    The ongoing edition will conclude on August 29.KSUM, however, will be repeating the exhibition every two months, putting on display more products each time. 
    Industrialists from edutech, fintech and enterprise tech sectors can participate in the event and also interact with startups through videoconference.  

  • Kerala set to tap post-Covid openings; reforms enhance Ease of Doing Business

    Kerala is set to tap the post-COVID industrial potential fully on the strength of a set of investment-friendly legislations enacted by the State Government, according to Hon’ble Minister for Industries  Shri E P Jayarajan.
    A  Special Investment Promotion Task Force with Chief Secretary Dr Vishwas Mehta IAS as Chairman and Principal Secretary Industries & Commerce Dr K Ellangovan IAS as Vice-Chairman has been constituted to  take forward the efforts  in a time-bound manner.
    The enhanced trust of investors in the Government has been evident from the huge response to the projects showcased at the Global Investor Meet, ASCEND 2020, held in Kochi in January.
    As many as 54 projects with a total investment of Rs 25,000 crore presented before the investors from India and abroad at the two-day event  got under way within months. Another, 15 projects with a total investment of Rs 700 crore are set to go on stream in the next few months and 23 projects totalling Rs 5456. 48 crore within a year. Apart from these, 61 projects are in the final stages of processing, ShriJayarajan pointed out.
    The key legislations that have significantly improved the investment friendly atmosphere in the state included the Kerala Investment Promotion and Facilitation Act 2018, the Kerala Micro Small Medium Enterprises Facilitation Act 2019 and the Kerala Single Window Boards and Industrial Township Area Development (amendment) Act, 2019. 
    These reform-oriented legislative initiatives have ushered in a transparent and time and cost-saving investment climate. The amendments have done away with several unnecessarily harsh rules, the Minister said.  
    Simplification of rules pertaining to land registration, building permits, pollution control measures and power and water connections has greatly enhanced the Ease of Doing Business in the state, said Dr Ellangovan. 
    As many as seven acts and 10 rules have been amended while enacting the Kerala  Investment Promotion Facilitation Act 2018, based on which the Government has created an e-platform that enables investors to submit proposals in a Common Application Form and secure approvals through an online clearance mechanism, Dr Ellangovan said. 
    The procedures of pollution control board in giving clearance to projects having an investment of uptoRs 10crore have been simplified under MSME Facilitations Act 2019.
    Fast clearance centres have been set up to ensure that all required approvals are provided within 30 days. The Single Window Clearance mechanism has been entrusted with powers to facilitate clearances from various departments for investment proposals, he said. 
    Reforms in the MSME sector has substantially contributed to the economic development of the state.  They seek to channelize Kerala’ s energies  as a state with high social development index and skilled human resources for  entrepreneurial activities, especially in the startup ecosystem.
    The Government has also introduced a policy to support start-ups by purchasing their products and services, besides facilitating financial grants to scale up and market them.   
    Key sectors identified for promotion include transit-oriented logistics development, electronics and high-tech sectors, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing industries, waterways development and food and spices processing units.
     

STARLUX Airlines Deploys IBS Software’s iCargo Platform to Manage All Cargo Business Functions from Launch

STARLUX Airlines, Taiwan’s newest luxury carrier, has deployed IBS Software’s iCargo platform to manage business and operational functions for its entire cargo business. The iCargo management platform was implemented ahead of STARLUX Airlines’ launch in January 2020, which saw maiden flights to Macau, Penang and Da Nang with three A321neo aircraft. Although Covid-19 has significantly impacted flights, STARLUX’s cargo operations have been ramping up quickly during this difficult time.  

After a rigorous evaluation process, STARLUX Airlines chose IBS Software’s iCargo SaaS-based cargo platform to provide a single, unified platform for all critical functions. iCargo now manages all aspects of STARLUX’s cargo business, including sales, airline operations, US customs, mail, Unit Load Device, cashiering, claims, cargo and mail revenue accounting, portal services, data warehousing and business intelligence modules. 

“We chose the industry-leading iCargo management platform to achieve our goal of providing the best and seamless cargo service to our customers,” said Glenn Chai, CEO, STARLUX Airlines. “So far, iCargo has proved itself to be well worth the investment. It is an advanced digital solution featuring advanced and user-friendly functions. STARLUX is very glad to have made the right choice.” 

“We were proud to have been selected as a launch partner for STARLUX Airlines, our first iCargo customer in Taiwan. As a startup airline, STARLUX had strict timelines for implementation and regulatory requirements, and extremely high expectations for the technology and its support of their business model. In IBS Software they found a partner with deep expertise, total commitment to driving business value, and a strong delivery track record. We’re thrilled to welcome STARLUX to the iCargo family and to continue our partnership as the airline continues to thrive,” said Ashok Rajan, Head of Cargo & Logistics Solutions, IBS Software.

STARLUX plans to expand its network with additional A321neo aircraft scheduled for delivery, plus wide-body A350 XWB aircraft. iCargo is fully enabled to support this future growth and continue to empower STARLUX to deliver on its brand promise to customers. 

Over the last 24 months demand for iCargo has gained significant momentum around the world, with 18 implementations going live over this period – including eight new customers.

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The Indian travel trade is coming back in full force at ReCONNECT, the virtual travel show

The virtual B2B travel trade exhibition is the best online gateway to India’s travel markets 
As the travel and tourism industry gears up to restart operations globally, Fairfest Media, organisers of India’s leading travel tradeshows TTF, OTM & BLTM, have launched ReCONNECT 2020, a virtual B2B travel trade exhibition that will take place on the 18th of September.ReCONNECT is the most awaited opportunity for the global travel community to rekindle relations with the Indian travel trade and buyers, and reboot their businesses. The virtual event will bring together over 3000+ travel industry professionals in a cutting- edge digital platform for networking in the post-pandemic world.

Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and Kenya Tourism Board have joined the event as Premium Partner Countries. Singapore Tourism Board has come onboard as the Feature Country. Frankfurt Tourism, Visit Brussels and Zagreb Tourist Board will also be present as Feature Destinations for the first time. Spain Tourism is the Official Partner of ReCONNECT.

International destinations like Azerbaijan, Belgium, Croatia, Ethiopia, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Singapore, Thailand, Zimbabwe and many others will be represented at the event. While helloGTXis the event’s Travel Technology Partner, OneAboveis its DMC Partner. 

Amongst Indian destinations, Gujarat Tourism will be present as the Premium Partner State and many others are expected to join. ReCONNECT is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India, which is also setting up a virtual booth.

ReCONNECT’s stunning virtual platform allows ease of doing business where destinations can e-meet with their buyers and media to rebuild confidence and re-energise travel. Using the AI-powered Smart Matchmaking tool, sellers can connect with the most relevant buyers for digital networking. Virtual brand promotion, video conferencing and screen sharing are all a part of ReCONNECT. Over 2,000 buyers have registered for the virtual event. 

That’s not all. The event’s Conference Programme is bringing together the best minds of travel & tourism experts from India, Asia and beyond for exclusive knowledge sessions. Leaders from Lonely Planet India, SAP Concur, Travelstop, Thomas Cook have already confirmed. Others are expected to join soon. 

ReCONNECT has the esteemed support of TAAI, OTOAI, FAITH, ADTOI, MTOA, IATTE, Skal International, GTAA, TOSG, TAAN, VTA, ATAA, TAAS, TAG, TTAUP, HHTDN, EHTTOA, SIGTOA, TTAA and others. 

The virtual event is all set to provide the long-awaited restart to the Indian travel trade community and their global partners. Visit the website by clicking here to learn more about ReCONNECT, brought to you by OTM, BLTM and TTF

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Kerala State Single Window Clearances Board - Fast tracking industrial approvals

 Fast-tracking the investment procedures  within a 30-day deadline, Kerala Government has cleared 29 industrial projects having an investment of Rs. 3,604.70 crore under the Kerala State Single Window Clearance Board (KSSWCB) in the last four years.

Constituted under the Kerala Industrial Single Window Clearance Boards and Industrial Township Area Development Act, 1999, KSSWCB was originally empowered to give go-ahead to  any industrial project with an investment layout of Rs. 15 crore and above within 45 days by facilitating clearances from various Government Departments. 

This Act was amended by the Kerala Investment Promotion and Facilitation Act, 2018, which reduced the deadline for giving clearances from 45 to 30 days.

KSSWCB, chaired by the Chief Secretary, has held 12 meetings since June 2016.

“Kerala has considerably improved the Ease of Doing Business, through a string of reform-oriented legislations. These, calibrated with the Government’s policy initiatives, have helped the state attract investments in a range of highly promising sectors”, said Shri S Harikishore IAS, Managing Director, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC).

The projects that received clearances during the period included expansion of the factory unit for manufacturing tyres of M/s PTL Enterprises Limited ( Rs. 250 crore), construction of 1500-bed multi-Specialty hospital of M/s Believer’s Church Medical College Hospital ( (Rs. 539 crore), expansion of  hospital by M/s KIMS Health care Management (Rs. 210 crore), setting up of a commercial project by Prestige Group with cost (Rs. 750 crore) and expansion of hospital by M/s Lakeshore Hospital and Research Centre Limited  (Rs. 363.50 crore).

It is envisaged that 34,786 employment opportunities have been created by these projects, which covered sectors such as Healthcare, Hospitality, Food processing, Mining, Manufacturing and Textiles. 

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Kerala bags ‘Top Performer’ honour in States’ Startup Ranking 2019

Kerala has bagged the “Top Performer” honour for developing a strong  startup ecosystem for the second consecutive year in the annual States’ Startup Ranking 2019, announced by the Government of India on Friday, recognizing the state as a leader across all pillars of startup ecosystem.
While four states were adjudged as the Top performers last year there are only two states to receive the honour this year, neighbouring Karnataka being the other.
The ranking was declared in the presence of Hon’ble Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal; Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Civil Aviation, Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri; and Hon’ble Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Shri Som Parkash.
The States’ Startup Ranking Framework 2019, prepared by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, recognized Electronics and Information Technology Department of Government of Kerala as an institutional leader, regulatory change champion, procurement leader, incubation hub, seeding innovation leader, and scaling innovations leader.
Kerala has taken several exemplary initiatives in establishing institutional support for women-led startups, including pre-incubation support, special subsidies and seed funding.
Initiatives like robust venture funding mechanism for startups are being implemented through the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), the nodal agency for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.
It was noted on the occasion that “Kerala and Karnataka have displayed visionary leadership and taken strategic initiatives to strengthen innovative entrepreneurship of the ecosystem . These states have exhibited unwavering commitment to the growth of start-up ecosystem by taking dedicated and focussed initiatives across all pillars of start-ups ranking exercise.”
It also recognised Dr Saji Gopinath, CEO Kerala Startup Mission and Shri Ashok Kurian Panjikaran, Head, Business Development of KSUM, as “Startup Champions of the State.”
Dr Saji Gopinath said : "This recognition for the second consecutive year will encourage more young entrepreneurs to make use of the robust startup ecosystem  in the state."
The States’ Startup Ranking Framework 2019 was done across seven specific dimensions: Institutional Support, Easing Compliances, Relaxation in Public Procurement norms, Incubation Support, Seed Funding Support, Venture Funding Support, and Awareness and Outreach.
The key objective of the exercise is capacity building, and to further the spirit of entrepreneurship in the Indian Startup Ecosystem.The ‘State/UT Startup Ranking Framework’ 2019 is spread across seven areas of intervention with a total of 30 action points, as compared to the 38 action points in the Previous Year State Ranking Framework. The framework provides the guidelines to support implementation of action points along with good practices against each action point.
The State Ranking Framework aims to evaluate States/UTs in a balanced and transparent manner and has thus made documentary evidence of compliance on action points by the State/UT Government a pre- requisite for collection of feedback. Scoring was then done on the basis of the feedback received.

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