Having attracted the most investments in 2016, Karnataka is already a favorite with investors but blessed with rich minerals and abundant skilled manpower, there is still a lot of untapped potential.

The year 2016 was a landmark one for Karnataka. As per the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), during the year the proposed investments in the state saw a massive five-fold jump from Rs 31,668 crore ($4.8bn) in 2015 to Rs 1,54,173 crore ($23bn).

There is a need to energise Doordarshan (DD) to become the voice of a new India, writes India Inc. founder and CEO Manoj Ladwa.

India’s Information & Broadcasting Ministry is, arguably, the most anachronistic symbol of a bygone age in Indian politics, administration and society. A country that justifiably prides itself on being the world’s largest democracy has no business having a government department and a bloated bureaucracy that regulates and supervises the dissemination of information to its citizens and the world at large.

Following the nomination of Venkaiah Naidu as the BJP’s vice-presidential candidate, his baton at the I&B ministry has been passed onto Smriti Irani, a feisty politician and former actress who many of India’s younger generation consider their icon. Irani takes on the role as an “additional charge” to the Textiles Ministry, which for India is a hugely important and strategic industry, especially in the Modi government’s quest for more job creation.

In an ideal world, Irani’s brief should have been simple: shut down this archaic department that reeks of a Soviet-era mindset. But unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. So, her remit should be to reform the department and pull it, screaming and protesting, into the brave new India of the 21st century.

Want to know what’s wrong with Indian media? Switch on any news channel between 6 pm and 10 pm. All you’ll get are gladiatorial contests masquerading as “debates” on topics that are, more often than not, of little relevance to the viewer. To maintain their ratings and to make the programmes entertaining, channels carefully invite speakers known for their controversial views or some who openly spew venom on their rivals. The resulting shouting matches provide a great spectacle and generate a lot of heat but end up leaving the viewer none the wiser about the topic under discussion.

What can the I&B minister do, you may ask, since these are privately owned channels that are free to telecast whatever they want.

The answer lies in reforming the state-owned Doordarshan (DD), which has a bouquet of channels that still enjoys a greater reach across India than all the private broadcasters combined. But urban audiences, whom broadcasters chase because they bring in the advertising big bucks, have mostly given up watching DD.

Why? Because DD’s current affairs channels have over years been considered nothing more than the propaganda arm of the government in power in New Delhi. And it has been decades since a general entertainment programme on DD has topped the popularity charts. The reasons aren’t hard to find. Nepotism and corruption in awarding programming contracts have ensured that the best producers and directors of television programmes prefer to deal with private channels.

Irani can make a big impact if she can bring a big broom to this stinky stable and clean up the mess created by decades of political interference.

If she can bring balance and edginess to DD’s current affairs programmes and professionalise the general entertainment channels, the state-run broadcaster will once again begin to attract viewers. And given DD’s reach, this will almost certainly exert pressure on the private channels to improve the quality of their fare.

Since India’s TV channels are largely self-regulated, pressure from a proactive and genuinely public service DD will almost certainly force its private counterparts to fall in line.

It’s a shame that India still doesn’t have any global platform to project its soft power around the world – on the lines of a BBC, or even Al Jazeera (despite its recent controversies).

A reformed, edgy and professional DD can fill this void by becoming the voice of the Global Indian, which is now heard with respect in capitals and boardrooms around the world. It will unleash India’s creative talent and, over time, can emerge as a global platform for the dissemination of an alternative world view. Irani would do well to also harness the hugely successful talent pool of media professionals from the diaspora in this mission.

Irani’s end game must remain the closure of her new charge. But her roadmap for getting there, we hope, will pass by some of the milestones on our wish list.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

The impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is set to shake up India’s property markets.



The Indian real estate market was just beginning to steady itself from the impact of demonetization in November last year by clocking in smart sales in February, March and May nation-wide. However, the dual impact of GST implementation and the Real Estate Regulation Act (RERA) in July, has got the industry extremely worried.

Ramesh Awtaney heads the iSON Group, Africa’s largest technology and BPO specialist with a presence in 29 countries, including India. The businessman, who is passionate about replicating the Digital India model in Africa, shares his views on the emerging trends in IT/ BPO space in India, Africa and globally, Donald Trump’s impact on the industry and iSON’s growth journey.

What is your analysis of the Digital India programme?

The Digital India programme has picked up remarkable pace over the last few years. As an NRI with significant business interests in digital, telecom, and innovation, I view the Digital India initiative from two critical aspects – broadband connectivity and applications. Connectivity has improved a great extent thanks to the roll out of LTE and 4G networks. In what would be the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity project using optical fibre, the Government of India is connecting 250,000 village panchayats through its high speed digital highway, Bharat Net. India’s state-owned telecom company BSNL is replacing 30-year old exchanges through Next Generation Network (NGN), an IP based technology to manage all types of services like voice, data, multimedia and other packet-switched communication services.

The Smart Cities Mission of the Government of India is one of the most challenging and ambitious urban development agenda, writes an urban infrastructure enthusiast.

The objective to develop 100 Smart Cities over five years is a laudable commitment towards urban transformation. The mission is launched at a time when India’s urbanisation is growing faster than the rest of the world.

With a million people entering the job market every month, India’s economy desperately needs to find a way to make space for them.

The morning of September 17, 2015, India woke up to a curious headline: PhD holders among 2.3 million applicants for peon jobs in UP. The response to 368 vacancies for peons in the most populous state of the country had been a record of sorts. The minimum qualification for the post was no more than school education and bicycle riding skills.

The immediate impact of demonetisation will mean a slower pace of job creation but, overall, there is some good news in store for the New Year.

How long will the current phase of jobless growth in India, which began during the UPA II regime continue? And when will the Narendra Modi government’s flagship schemes such as Make in India, Start-up India, etc., start generating jobs – which, for many Indians, remains the true touchstone of the achcche din (good times) promised by the Prime Minister in the run-up to the 2014 general elections?

Kartik Kilachand, the CEO & co-founder of Magnus Gyan, is a serial entrepreneur with a focus on India-US initiatives. More recently, he moved to being a social impact entrepreneur – leveraging technology for providing skills training for under-privileged youth to create employment opportunities. He tells ‘India Investment Journal’ about his journey so far and the motivation behind his serial entrepreneurship.

I have been an entrepreneur nearly all my life, except for the first five years after my graduate studies at University of California, Berkeley, when I cut my teeth at GE HQ in New York. All my ventures have been India-US driven – products and services from India sold primarily to the US market place.

An ethical hacker flags up opportunities in the field of cyber security for ‘India Investment Journal’ and explains why global companies should be looking towards India for this crucial sector.

As we all know, Brexit or the June 23 referendum whereby British citizens voted to exit the European Union, had far reaching implications across several fronts. Cyber security is just one of them. It churned global markets, impacting currencies, instigating the British pound to fall to its lowest level in years.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan is the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, a state described as the heartland of India. ‘India Investment Journal’ caught up with him during a recent visit to London to lure UK investors and tourists to his state. Here are some highlights from the discussion.