Not a drop to drink

It’s 5 am and the alarm on my mobile buzzes. “Get up quickly; it is already late. Fill two buckets with water or else you will get nothing to drink, bathe and wash,” warned my roommate.

With eyes half open, I enter the washroom, which I believe, is the world’s smallest, measuring 6 ft by 4 ft. You can hardly multitask here.
I turn on the tap and fortunately here comes the most precious liquid, its each molecule containing two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. You must be wondering why I am breaking water into particles. When I was a child, my science teacher told us that soon technology would advance and scientists would start making water in chemical labs. But years passed and nothing happened except the drought in 11 states across our country.
Back home, in Kashmir, people have hardly heard of “drought” as there is so much fresh water that you can earn foreign exchange selling it. When I first saw the Wular lake, Asia’s largest freshwater body, I could not believe my eyes, as it was so vast. Unfortunately, its condition is not same today. The government is the leading reason for its sorry state, followed by greedy locals. Last week, at my PG accommodation, I went to the kitchen to fetch some water and came to know that the water cans were yet to arrive. In Delhi, I saw this “can system” for the first time. People have to pay a mini-truck to deliver water cans every morning and if you miss it, you are out for the day and that too, clean bowled.
Surely, when a person sits and sleeps in paradise with water present in every taste, he takes it for granted and misuses it a lot. I remember drivers in my hometown using fresh water to wash their cars, mothers using it to water their kitchen gardens, municipal sweepers using fresh water to clean the road — damn it — fresh water is used in large farmlands as well and there is no reaction from the general public because they get to realise its importance only after suffering from denial


Kurkure train ready to embark on snacky trip

In a creative new marketing strategy, PepsiCo has collaborated with the Indian Railways to flag off an eight-day journey on a special train called the Kurkure Family Express. The idea is to bring families across the country together on a single platform to chat and enjoy eating snacks while travelling.

Popular TV foodshow anchors Rocky Singh and Mayur Sharma will host 40 different families in this journey across India that will leave Delhi on May 16 and cover 12 stations including Sawai Madhopur, Surat, Lokmanya Tilak Terminal (Mumbai), Pune, Tirupati, Chennai, Vijaywada, Bhubaneshwar, Chitpur (Kolkata), Mughalsarai and Kanpur Central. The train was inaugurated by actors Parineeti Chopra and Kunal Kapoor on Thursday.

The journey will entail different recipe contests where families will compete with each other to win. Four winners from the four zones (north, south, east and west) will then be sent on an all expenses paid culinary trip to Europe. Families will get the chance to be the face of the Kurkure brand and get featured on television commercials and other marketing initiatives. “Families bonding over snacks and conversations have always been at the core of Kurkure,” said Partho Chakrabarti, vice president-snacks category, PepsiCo India.

The 800 sq ft exterior, as well as interior design of the Kurkure Express has been done by selected art students across the country, through a contest to bring alive their interpretation of consumers’ love for Kurkure.

Hitachi, Johnson Controls target Rs 2,000 cr revenue

The joint venture between Johnson Controls and Hitachi is eyeing Rs 2,000 crore turnover in FY16-17. The company is targeting the Number 2 slot in the Indian market within the next five years, and aims to achieve that target using a unique eco-friendly technique in air conditioning.

The global CEO of the newly christened entity Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning, Franz Cerwinka, said on Wednesday that these energy efficient solutions would be the main impetus behind the company’s future growth strategy. “In the last six months since we formulated this joint venture, we have been making a huge progress globally. And here in India, we are breaking records for which I must credit the sizzling heat as well,” Cerwinka said.

Taking about the present market share in India, Gurmeet Singh, executive director (sales, business planning & marketing) said,“In the room AC segment, our total market share in volumes is 11 per cent which makes us a clear number three in the market today. We have around 10 per cent market share in split AC and around 22 per cent in window AC which we intend to grow by increasing the product portfolio and penetration of our distribution network in tier II and tier III towns.”

“VRF (variable refrigerant flow) is one category which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17 per cent, so we have invested in infrastructure and technology to get big growth in this segment. With 20 per cent YoY growth, and present turnover of Rs 1,700 crore, we expect to grow around Rs 2000 crore by FY16-17,” he added.

On the significance of the Indian market and how the joint venture is going to benefit consumers, Cerwinka said, “India will be the third-largest economy in the world by 2030 and it has always been a very promising and fast growing market. Post this joint venture, we have upped the ante for our business expansion plans here and are focusing on developing more advanced technologies and products that surpass others in terms of their energy efficiency.”

The company also introduced new air conditioners, claimed to be “highest” efficient currently in the Indian market. Atsushi Ohtsuka, managing director, said that, “Keeping in view our customer’s need and our I-Care philosophy, this year we have launched Kashikoi 5400i, Kashikoi 200i H&C, I-Connect and Toushi Range in the room AC segment.” He attributed the high efficiency to I-Clean Plus technology which automatically cleans the AC filter every five hours.

“Today, we have India’s best energy efficient split inverter AC range – Kashikoi 5400i. Its 1.0TR-5 Star with 5.75 ISEER and 1.5TR- 5 Star with 5.00 ISEER are the highest in the market as of date. About 36 per cent of our inverter AC range have BEE 5- star rating, which is again the highest in the industry,” he said.

Becoming a doctor

With 6.67 lakh students taking the national eligibility-cum-entrance test (NEET) on May 1, its first phase is over. Though the single all-India entrance is a welcome judgment from the Supreme Court, I have reservations about two dates for the entrance test.
I believe, whenever there are multiple exams, the chances of corruption are greater. So, the apex court has simplified the task by making MCI and CBSE monitoring authorities. I believe this is an efficient system, as the admission process will be completed by September and the classes are likely to start in October. However, if the exam is meant for making things easier then why two dates?
Now, there will be only one examination with NEET, as state exams will merge into the all-India test. Many states have expressed reservations about the system out of ignorance, despite NEET respecting both the central and state quotas.
Under the previous system, students declaring multiple domiciles had the advantage of appearing in many state medical exams. This choice was made possible because while some states gave eligibility to all those born there, others granted eligibility to all students clearing their matriculation from the state. So, NEET will trim domicile corruption at the root.
It must be noted that the new system does not interfere with the reservation process, but only makes the system accountable to a transparent selection process. While several states and minority institutes have not understood the process, the private institutes oppose the system as they are earning crores of rupees from capitation fee, which is corruption in bright light.
Though SC has not decided on PG medical entrance, it is common knowledge how seats are being sold for crores, in the absence of a proper admission system. Will the national eligibility-cum-entrance test change the system for selection of medical students? Only time will tell!