• Banana Farmers in Kerala Form Association; Looks to Resolve Issues Impacting the Sector

    In a first, banana farmers in Kerala have come together to constitute an association in an effort aimed at resolving issues they have been suffering for long. Veterans as well as current farmers in the banana farming sector in the state have given shape to the Banana Farmers Association (BFA). Paving the way for the formation of such an body was the Thiruvananthapuram-based Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA), which had successfully organized the first ever National Banana Festival in Kerala last year.

    It was after the National Banana Festival that the need for such an organization was thought about. CISSA had been continuing with its efforts across panchayats, and inspiring banana farmers to come together to form a common platform so that their voices also could be heard. According to Dr. C. Suresh Kumar, General Secretary, CISSA, banana cultivation is almost a household practice in Kerala. A large number of farmers with many decades of experience in banana farming had turned up for the debut meeting.

    “If banana farming survives the tests of time in the state, it is chiefly attributed to the notably large number of smallholder farmers. Though the farmers of many plantations crops have their own associations, the banana farmers have not yet had an organization of their own, political patronage or benevolence of god fathers, Dr. Suresh Kumar said.

    “Even as Kerala continue lamenting of a declining number of its farmers, the number of farmers who are into banana farming in the State seems otherwise”, he added

    CISSA's intervention was mainly aimed at plugging this gap between mainstream cultivations and banana farming. The principal objective behind such a move was to offer the much needed support to hitherto unorganized and neglected banana sector. During the last few months, a number of meetings were organized under CISSA’s initiation to openly communicate with banana farmers at the panchayat-level, which eventually led to the constitution of the Banana Farmers Association (BFA).

    Following the formation of the BFA, there was a passionate call by its inaugural office bearers to stand hand in hand for bringing back the deserving place for banana in the agro economy of Kerala.   Sreekumar, an agriculture scientist-turned-farmer, was elected the first president of the BFA.  “Currently, farmers from the vicinity of the capital district form the association’s members. We are looking to spread the message and bring more banana farmers from across Kerala into the BFA fold. The current office-bearers have voluntarily expressed their willingness to offer whatever they can for strengthening the platform”, said. Sreekumar.

    According to Sreekumar, Kerala, which has the largest banana diversity, mainly consumes the raw banana fruits. “Manifold benefits contained in the banana tree are yet to be popularized in our state. Recently, there were newspaper reports on the health benefits of consuming Vazhakoombu (the bud of banana flower) that underlines the medical significance of the plant,” he added.

    Dr. Suresh Kumar reiterated CISSA’s commitment in offering support in all possible ways to entrepreneurs who come forward to explore the huge scope of value addition in the sector. “An enthusiastic entrepreneur can tap hefty economic benefits inherent in the fruit, fiber, pseudo stem, leaves and inflorescence of banana tree,” he said.

  • Padma Shri Parassala Ponnamal , Padma Bhushan T V Gopalakrishnan to receive the first “Nishagandhi Sangeetha Puraskaram”

    Eminent classical musicians  Padma Shri Parassala B Ponnammal and Padma Bhushan Dr. T V. Gopalakrishnan have been selected for the inaugural  Nishagandhi Sangeetha Puraskaram, instituted by  Kerala Tourism to honour artists who have made outstanding contributions to music. Shri Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Cooperation and Devaswom made the announcement at a press conference here on Wednesday. The honour carries Rs 1.5 lakh, citation and memento. Nishagandhi Monsoon Ragaas, the five-day music festival organized by the Kerala Tourism Department, will be inaugurated by Hon'ble Governor of Kerala Rtd Justice Shri P. Sathasivam on   July 20, at 6.15 PM at Kanakakunnu Palace.  Minister for Tourism, Co-operation and Devaswom Shri Kadakampally Surendran will preside over the function. The inaugural session of the festival  will be attended by Dr Shashi Tharoor MP, Shri V.K Prasanth, Mayor Thiruvananthapuram, Smt Rani George IAS, Tourism Secretary, Shri P. Bala Kiran IAS, Tourism Director, Shri Palayam Rajan, Councillor, Thiruvananthapuram Corporation and  Shri V.K  Madhu; President District Panchayat.  Recipient of Padma Shri Parassala B. Ponnammal ,95, has an eventful  musical career, starting   as a budding singer with  All India Radio in 1940. She also has the distinction of being the first female student of Swathi Thirunal Music Academy here. She also stood out as the first woman singer to perform during the Navarathri Music Festival of the famed Sree Padamanabhaswamy Temple. Besides being a leading Carnatic vocalist, Ponnammal has also left a deep impression as a music scholar and teacher associated with leading institutions. Her academic career started as a teacher at the Government Cotton Hill High School and later became the first female member of the faculty at the Swati Tirunal Music College. She later served as the Principal of RLV Fine Arts College, Thrippuinithara.  An ardent classicist, the honours received by Ponnammal include Guruvayurappan  Chembai Puraskaram, Sangeetha Nataka Akademy award and Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram.  

    Padma Bhushan Dr T V Gopalakrishnan 87, has an illustrious musical career spanning over several decades.  A versatile artist, he excelled both as a vocalist, mrudangam player and violinist, and accompanied leading singers at a young age. He is equally proficient in the Hindustani tradition and is a revered authority on various musical streams. Popularly known as TVG, Thrippunithura Viswanathan Gopalakrishnan started taking lesson in music at the age of four and had the rare fortune of being part of a concert by Carnatic legend Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar as a nine-year-old.  He has conducted hundreds of concerts in the country and abroad since 1949, and boasts of large fan following and disciples, cutting across boundaries. The honour will be presented to the top-notch classical musicians by Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Pinarayi Vijayan at the valedictory ceremony of Nishagandhi Mansoon Ragas Music Festival on July 24, at 6 pm at Kanakakunnu Palace. The selection was made by a committee consisting of the following eminent personalities: Sri Sreekumaran Thampi (Poet & Lyricist), Sri K Jayakumar (Retd. Chief Secretary & Lyricist),Sri Mathew T Itty (Music Director),Sri S Saundara Rajan( Professor, Sri Swati Thirunal Govt. College of Music, Thiruvananthapuram), Smt.Rani George (Secretary-Tourism) and Sri P Bala Kiran (Director-Tourism).

    The five-day music festival will bring a rare treat of classical and ethnic musical traditions of the sub- continent, featuring both vocalists and instrumentalists of various streams.The festival will commence with Bamboo Symphony by Unnikrishna Pakkanar followed by a concert by Chitravina  N Ravikiran. The venue will reverberate in the following days with performances of leading singers like Ghazal Maestro Jaswinder Singh. The artists to feature at the festival are violinist Krishnaa Ajith and the Carnatic Vocalist  Vidushi S. Sowmya on July 22nd; Carnatic Vocalist AnanthaSai A.S and Grammy Award Winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Mohana veena) and Samrat Pandit Salil Bhatt (Satwik Veena) in a duet on July 23rd. Contemporary Flute Fusion by Rajesh Cherthala and a Classical Fusion Band performance by “Shiva-The Musical Thunder”, lead by Usthad Rafiq Khan (Sitar)on July 24th will mark the end of this year’s Nishagandhi Monsoon Ragaas  Music Festival. The Tourism Minister also added "along with the Monsoon Ragas, Champions Boat League (CBL)  organised by the Tourism Department from  August 10th to November 1st is  expected to boost  foot fall of foreign tourists  this year."

    Tourism Secretary Smt Rani George and Tourism Director Shri P Bala Kiran were also present at the press conference.

    Apart from promoting art and culture by organizing events like Nishagandhi music festival, Kerala Tourism has also made bold initiatives in women empowerment through its Responsible Tourism Mission, earning international attention and recognition. An ethnic restaurant at Kumarakom launched as a women empowerment initiative under the RT Mission fetched the Gold Award of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) for 2019. Kerala Tourism’s website and marketing campaign also received PATA Gold awards.

  • KSUM a beacon for rest of India’s incubators: ISBA Meet

    Top functionaries of startup incubators converged here today, as the three-day ISBA Conference got off to a start with the mission of bringing together incubators from across the country.

    Kerala Governor Justice (retd) P Sathasivam will inaugurate the July 17-19 event, which is to hold the last two days of its proceedings at Kanjirappally in Kottayam district. The delegates will engage themselves in disseminating, discussing and sharing ideas, besides best practices and experiences to make India a noteworthy product startup nation.

    Kerala Startup Mission started as an Incubator named Technopark Technology Business Incubator and have scaled to be the state nodal agency to develop the technology startups in the state. “Incubators across the country have a lot to learn from the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM)”, pointed out Dr K Suresh Kumar, president of ISBA (Indian Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Parks and Business Incubator Association).

    The deliberations, which will continue on Thursday and Friday at Amal Jyothi College of Engineering at Koovappally off Kanjirappally, would take the mission forward by discussing new initiatives that can be undertaken. The event also strives to ensure a closer interaction with the Ministry of Science & Technology and other government departments.

    At the ISBA Pre-conference in Kochi today, KSUM Chief Executive Officer Dr. Saji Gopinath said investment possibilities pose the foremost challenge for incubators. “We need to find ways to bring in investments,” he noted in his opening address. “That should be the main point of discussion at this conference.”

    Dr Suresh Kumar pointed out that Kochi’s electronic hardware incubator Maker Village and Fab Lab that encourages printed electronics provide “great atmosphere” for startups to groom in this city. “I am sure the participants at ISBACON 2019 will have a fruitful time,” he added about the conference that gives a common platform to incubation managers, government officials, startups, domain experts and other ecosystem stakeholders such as investors, venture capitals and corporates.

    The ISBA Pre-conference chiefly discussed three subjects across as many sessions. A master class on ‘Business Incubation Basics and Operational Nuances for New and Early Stage Incubators’ was led by Prasad M Menon, CEO of Mumbai Centre for Incubation and Business Acceleration, and Technology Business Incubator (NIT Kozhikode) Manager Preethi M.

    Another master class, on Seed Fund Management, was addressed by Prasad Shetty, Manager of Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIT-Bombay); Shruti Devasthali, Manager of Pune-based Venture Centre India; and Mr Vipul Patel, VP, Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (IIM-Ahmedabad).

    A third master class, on Setting up Fab Labs and Maker Spaces, was led by Gaurang Shetty, CEO, Research Innovation Incubation Design Lab; Pavan Kumar Gupta, Director, Art Lab Foundation (Bengaluru); and Aditi Gupta, Managing Partner, Design Thinkers Group.

    Maker Village organised a show of its innovative products at the venue. Its CEO, Prasad B Nair, addressed the gathering.

    The first annual ISBA conference was held in 2007. The event has since been held in various cities with the basic objective being to promote incubation in and around these regions and also provide an opportunity for the local incubator members to showcase their products to the participants of the conference. The conferences are invariably of international nature, attracting both incubators and experts from several countries. It presents an opportunity to showcase the achievements and capabilities of Indian technology business incubation to the outside world

  • Sahapedia Bags PATA Grand Award 2019 for its India Heritage Walks Project

    Sahapedia has earned yet another top international honour, winning the coveted Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Grand Award 2019 for organising heritage walks across the country.

    ‘The India Heritage Walks project aims to make culture tourism more holistic and inclusive,’ PATA said in an announcement. The Bangkok-based establishment works to promote the responsible development of travel and tourism.

    Sahapedia is among just four organisations to win PATA’s Grand Award, and the only one to win in the ‘Heritage and Culture’ category.

    The PATA Grand Awards are presented to outstanding entries in four principal categories: Marketing, Education and Training, Environment, and Heritage and Culture.

    The awards will be presented on September 19 at Nur-Sultan (Astana) in Kazakhstan during the PATA Travel Mart 2019. This year’s awards attracted 197 entries from 78 organisations and individuals worldwide.

    Sahapedia has expressed great delight over this achievement. The heritage walks have been part of ‘our attempts to democratise access to local history and culture, giving people opportunities to discover the hidden gems linked to the cultural heritage of a place, town or city,’ said Vaibhav Chauhan, Secretary, Sahapedia and Director, India Heritage Walks. ‘It is good to be recognised for our efforts. We would like to extend our gratitude towards our partners and collaborators across the country who have supported us in working towards our vision.

    In 2018, Sahapedia won the highly acclaimed PATA Gold Award for its maiden edition of the India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF).

    PATA, in its release yesterday, noted that the purpose of Sahapedia’s heritage walks was to generate interest among travellers as well as the local population to discover India’s cities, its people and the stories of their colonies, ruins, mainstays and migrants.

    ‘These efforts have also been directed towards groups for whom engagement programmes in heritage tourism are commonly unavailable, such as children, persons with disabilities and those from economically underprivileged backgrounds,’ it pointed out.

    Sahapedia launched the India Heritage Walks project in November 2016, and has, so far, conducted experiences in over 60 cities across India, covering varied aspects of cultural and natural heritage. ‘Ranging from walks exploring markets, monuments and museums to natural landscapes and regional cuisine, India Heritage Walks are curated thematically, making it an ideal resource for travellers and heritage enthusiasts as well,’ the PATA release added.

    Sahapedia’s India Heritage Walks project has been supported by the TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) Foundation and the Axis Bank Foundation.

    Sahapedia (https://www.sahapedia.org/) provides open access to articles, videos, interviews and images on a wide range of matters related to the arts, culture and histories of the Indian subcontinent. The portal was launched in summer 2016.

    ENDS

  • Kerala Tourism wins three PATA Gold awards

    Women empowerment Initiative of the Responsible Tourism Mission, especially its Ethnic Food Restaurant at Kumarakom, received international recognition with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) conferring its prestigious Gold Awards on the Kerala Tourism, which also bagged two other awards.

    The advertisement campaign of the Kerala Tourism - Come Out and Play - and the Kerala Tourism Website -www.keralatourism.org also bagged PATA Gold awards in their respective categories. While the ad campaign was run by the Stark Communications, the Kerala Tourism website has been designed and maintained by Invis Multimedia.

    Out of the 15,500 Responsible Tourism Mission initiatives, 13,500 units are led by women.The awards were announced at Bangkok today. Founded in 1951, PATA is a not-for-profit membership association that acts as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region.

  • Singapore Tourism Board and stakeholders strengthen their ties with in-market travel trade across eight cities

    Since the start of the year, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has embarked on a series of collaborative and creative initiatives to attract and welcome diverse travellers from key metropolitan and secondary Indian cities to Singapore. In its latest initiative, it has organised an eight-city roadshow, together with close to 45 Singapore tourism stakeholders, in Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, Madurai,  Kolkata, Rajkot, Guwahati, Nagpur and Jalandhar.
    Themed “Growing Connections, Achieving Together”, the trade engagement roadshows will serve to deepen the STB’s and tourism stakeholders’ existing partnerships and foster new ones with the local travel trade fraternity. The STB will present latest developments in the Singapore tourism scene and update the trade on exciting, new offerings, like Passion Tours, Jewel Changi Airport, Rainforest Lumina, and upcoming events like Singapore Food Festival and Great Singapore Sale in July, Grand Prix Season Singapore in September and Deepavali Celebrations in November.
    The roadshows will include key stakeholders from Singapore representing hotels, airlines, integrated resorts, attractions, Destination Management Companies (DMC) and cruise operators. The delegation will be led by the Singapore Tourism Board’s Mr. G.B Srithar, Regional Director, India, Middle East &South Asia and Mr. Adrian Kong, Area Director, India &South Asia – Mumbai.
    Singapore received 1.44 million visitors last year from India, crossing the one million visitor mark for the fourth time in a row. India also continued as the third largest visitor source market for Singapore and retained its position as the top source market for cruise travel.
    While speaking about STB’s efforts to showcase Singapore as a destination of choice among Indian travellers, GB Srithar said, “India is a very important source market for Singapore and the STB has been steadfastly engaging travellers through travel trade and media partnerships and various marketing initiatives. Last year, India retained its position as the third largest source market for Singapore in terms of Visitor Arrivals. We are looking forward to working closely with both Indian and Singaporean travel trade partners to continue the momentum and entice more Indian travellers to come and experience Singapore’s diverse offerings catering to the different passion points of travellers.”
    2018 was an eventful year for STB in the Indian market. It promoted the destination brand “Passion Made Possible” vigorously and presented Singapore’s diverse offerings to audiences across India. It embarked on several creative consumer engagement initiatives like the first-ever English music video collaboration by an international tourism agency in India with Vh1, marketing partnerships with high consumer-touch brands Paytm and Ola and a music promotional association with Maestro Ilaiyaraaja targeting the South Indian market. The board also undertook intensive travel trade outreach efforts across 21 cities to connect with travel intermediaries promoting Singapore holidays.
    In 2019, STB continues to look beyond travel trade and tactical promotions in India and foray into collaborations with brands and influencers. It partnered successfully, for a second time, with St+art India Foundation to present the Singapore Weekender, an arts festival in New Delhi and concluded a seven webisode series with Tripoto, a social travel platform.
    During the roadshows, Scoot, Silk Air and Singapore Airlines will be announcing special fares for the Indian travellers to travel to Singapore. The fares will be for a promotional period from 8 to 31 July 2019, which can be booked directly on either the airline websites or mobile app.

  • Dr Shashi Tharoor launches Story of My Scalpel

    Doctors have direct exposure to the pains and challenges of the society than any other segment, Dr Shashi Tharoor, MP said here today.  

    “Other than politician, no other segment has more of a direct exposure to the pains and challenges of the society,” he said after launching the memoir ‘Story of My Scalpel’, authored by reputed surgeon Dr KP Haridas. 

    “A scalpel is as good as the surgeon. It is the story of how this veteran of medical profession in Thiruvananthapuram has used the scalpel that brings great satisfaction,” Dr Tharoor said.

    He complimented Dr Haridas, Founder Chairman of Lords Hospital here for recording his insightful journey for the benefit of all.

    Dr Tharoor released the book by handing over the first copy to Shri George Onakkoor, noted writer. 

    Lauding Dr Haridas, he said, “Inspite of having an illustrious career in different parts of the world, he chose Kerala as his work zone. To Dr Haridas, the patient is the Lord.”

    Speaking on the occasion, Dr Haridas who has been honoured by Lord Swaraj Paul for Lifetime Achievement Awardee in British Parliament in 2014 said, “Surgery is a blend of art and science. A surgeon is primarily born in the mind with passion for the work and compassion for the patient.

    “The selection process for medical education in the country is totally inadequate with only 30 per cent genuinely interested, creating a shortage of skilled and committed doctors,” added Dr Haridas who has five decades of experience as a surgeon.

    Mr KR Jyothilal, Principal Secretary, Department of Transport, Devaswom; Dr Thomas Mathew, Principal, Trivandrum Medical College; Dr Madhu Mohan, Former Head of Surgery, Trivandrum Medical College; Dr Devin Prabhakar, Director, Divya Prabha Eye Hospital Director and Shri Harish Haridas, Executive Director, Lords Hospital were among the speakers.

    The 185-page memoir is an expression of the surgeon’s personality together with evolution of surgery and his evolution as a surgeon. It also addresses Dr Haridas’ larger concerns regarding the current state of public healthcare in the country

  • Kerala Tourism to tap culinary skills of women to enliven stay of visitors

    Kerala’s heritage-preserving Responsible Tourism initiative has drawn up an ambitious project to tap the culinary skills of women at the grass roots, especially housewives, to dish out the distinct flavours of the state’s ethnic cuisine to visitors.

    The scheme, ‘Experience Ethnic Cuisine”, aims at gainfully engaging  up to 50,000  home-makers across the state in three years, by roping in them as key stakeholders in the hospitality sector.

    The project, which can set a major trend in the state’s tourism sector and empower women substantially, was announced by Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran in the State Legislative Assembly recently.

    The registration to enrol the participants for scheme has begun, on getting the approval of the State Tourism Working Group for the project.

    Those who are interested in joining the network can contact the State Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission at the Directorate of Tourism here or the respective District RT Mission offices before July 25. Recognised home-stays can also join the scheme. The details are available at rt@keralatourism.org. For related queries send mail to ‘rt@keralatourism.org’.

    To begin with, a network of 2000 households, where women prepare and serve traditional meals and delicacies, will be created.

    Before taking them on board, RT Mission Co-ordinators in the respective areas will visit each household to assess the facilities at its disposal. Following this, a one-day orientation programme will be conducted for the selected home-makers at the district level, where they will be briefed on how to mobilise the capital,  basic facilities required and other preparations needed to be part of the venture. They will also be trained in the use basic Information Technology tools to connect with tourists.

    It is estimated that a two-member family, where one can fully engage in cooking, will be able to prepare and serve typical Kerala dishes for 30 people a day.

    Personal details of each member of the chain, including the location, photograph and the mobile phone number, will be posted on Kerala Tourism’s website and Mobile App.

    The RT Mission will develop and market Kerala’s Ethnic Cuisine network as a distinct brand.

    To start with, the initiative is expected to create at least 8000 direct and indirect jobs. In subsequent phases, it will be able to fruitfully engage 30,000 to 50,000 people.

    The scheme is also a major women empowerment initiative besides bringing benefit to the entire spectrum of society including farmers, artisans, vegetable cultivators, dairy farmers and poultry owners.

  • Metro MSME Awards 2019 presented

    Presentation of Metro MSME Awards 2019 and a Seminar organized by Metro Mart, Trivandrum in association with MSME Development Institute, National Small Industries Corporation and Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce & Industry were held at Mascot Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram 4 PM on July 10th, 2019. The seminar was inaugurated by Shri.G.Sudhakaran, Minister for PWD.

    Shri.M.M.Mani, Minister for Electricity, Shri. Kadannapally Ramachandran, Minister for Ports were present the Awards. The Awards were presented by the Ministers. MSME Deputy Director Kathreenamma Sebastian, TCCI President S.N.Raghuchandran Nair, Metro Mart Managing Director Siji Nair and many dignitaries were present on the occasion.

    The second edition of Metro MSME Awards and Seminar were organized as a part of the activities undertaken by Metro Mart for encouraging MSME ventures. Through the Awards, Metro Mart took up the social responsibility of honouring the personalities who have made an imprint in the various arenas of the industrial segment.

    Inaugurating the programme, Minister M.M.Mani assured that the government and KSEB would do everything possible to encourage small and medium industries. He said that even in the present tight power situation, KSEB has been adopting a very friendly approach to small scale entrepreneurs. Minister G.Sudhakaran outlined the importance given by the state government in making the government procedures more friendly to entrepreneurs who venture out into industrial activities in Kerala. He also underlined the necessity of a change in the attitude of officials and employees from their feudal mind and bourgeoise approach. Minister Kadannapally Ramachandran said that once Vizhinjam port becomes functional, Kerala’s industrial scenario would register a significant progress.

    The seminar consisted of presentation of a paper on the ‘Role of MSME Sector in India’s Economy’ by Kathreenamma Sebastian and another paper on ‘Green Mobility through Electric Vehicles’ by N.Vijayagopalan, Executive Editor, Executive Knowledge Lines.

  • Metro MSME Seminar and Awards 2019 on July 10th

    Presentation of Metro MSME Awards 2019 and Seminar being organized by Metro Mart, Trivandrum in association with MSME Development Institute, National Small Industries Corporation and Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce & Industry will be held at 4 PM on July 10th, 2019 at Hotel Muscat, Thiruvananthapuram. The programme presided over by V.S.Shivakumar MLA will be inaugurated by M.M.Mani, Minister for Electricity. Kadannapally Ramachandran, Minister for Ports will present the Awards. MSME Depty Director Kathreenamma Sebastian, NSIC Deputy Manager Surya Bhushan, TCCI President S.N.Raghuchandran Nair, SKHF Secretary Manoj Babu and Metro Mart Managing Director Siji Nair will participate in the programme.

     

    The MSME Seminar and celebrations are conducted as a part of the activities undertaken by Metro Mart for encouraging MSME ventures. There will be a seminar covering various topics. Through the Metro MSME Awards, Metro Mart is taking up the social responsibility of honouring the personalities who have made an imprint in the industrial segment. Entrepreneurial activities are the mainstay of our economy and hence they need to be encouraged tremendously. Kerala’s good connectivity, communication network, available rich human resources and relatively better industrial infrastructure are factors favourable for the growth of the MSME sector, which is playing a key role in the industrialization of backward rural centres and in the social and economic progress of Kerala.

     

    The seminar will be on the ‘Role of MSME Sector in India’s Economy’, on which Kathreenamma Sebastian and Surya Bhushan will present papers. N.Vijayagopalan, Executive Editor, Executive Knowledge Lines will present a paper on ‘Green Mobility through Electric Vehicles’.  

     

    The press meet was attended by Metro Mart Managing Director Siji Nair, N.Vijayagopalan and Nijith Raj.

Padma Shri Parassala Ponnamal , Padma Bhushan T V Gopalakrishnan to receive the first “Nishagandhi Sangeetha Puraskaram”

Eminent classical musicians  Padma Shri Parassala B Ponnammal and Padma Bhushan Dr. T V. Gopalakrishnan have been selected for the inaugural  Nishagandhi Sangeetha Puraskaram, instituted by  Kerala Tourism to honour artists who have made outstanding contributions to music. Shri Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Cooperation and Devaswom made the announcement at a press conference here on Wednesday. The honour carries Rs 1.5 lakh, citation and memento. Nishagandhi Monsoon Ragaas, the five-day music festival organized by the Kerala Tourism Department, will be inaugurated by Hon'ble Governor of Kerala Rtd Justice Shri P. Sathasivam on   July 20, at 6.15 PM at Kanakakunnu Palace.  Minister for Tourism, Co-operation and Devaswom Shri Kadakampally Surendran will preside over the function. The inaugural session of the festival  will be attended by Dr Shashi Tharoor MP, Shri V.K Prasanth, Mayor Thiruvananthapuram, Smt Rani George IAS, Tourism Secretary, Shri P. Bala Kiran IAS, Tourism Director, Shri Palayam Rajan, Councillor, Thiruvananthapuram Corporation and  Shri V.K  Madhu; President District Panchayat.  Recipient of Padma Shri Parassala B. Ponnammal ,95, has an eventful  musical career, starting   as a budding singer with  All India Radio in 1940. She also has the distinction of being the first female student of Swathi Thirunal Music Academy here. She also stood out as the first woman singer to perform during the Navarathri Music Festival of the famed Sree Padamanabhaswamy Temple. Besides being a leading Carnatic vocalist, Ponnammal has also left a deep impression as a music scholar and teacher associated with leading institutions. Her academic career started as a teacher at the Government Cotton Hill High School and later became the first female member of the faculty at the Swati Tirunal Music College. She later served as the Principal of RLV Fine Arts College, Thrippuinithara.  An ardent classicist, the honours received by Ponnammal include Guruvayurappan  Chembai Puraskaram, Sangeetha Nataka Akademy award and Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram.  

Padma Bhushan Dr T V Gopalakrishnan 87, has an illustrious musical career spanning over several decades.  A versatile artist, he excelled both as a vocalist, mrudangam player and violinist, and accompanied leading singers at a young age. He is equally proficient in the Hindustani tradition and is a revered authority on various musical streams. Popularly known as TVG, Thrippunithura Viswanathan Gopalakrishnan started taking lesson in music at the age of four and had the rare fortune of being part of a concert by Carnatic legend Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar as a nine-year-old.  He has conducted hundreds of concerts in the country and abroad since 1949, and boasts of large fan following and disciples, cutting across boundaries. The honour will be presented to the top-notch classical musicians by Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Pinarayi Vijayan at the valedictory ceremony of Nishagandhi Mansoon Ragas Music Festival on July 24, at 6 pm at Kanakakunnu Palace. The selection was made by a committee consisting of the following eminent personalities: Sri Sreekumaran Thampi (Poet & Lyricist), Sri K Jayakumar (Retd. Chief Secretary & Lyricist),Sri Mathew T Itty (Music Director),Sri S Saundara Rajan( Professor, Sri Swati Thirunal Govt. College of Music, Thiruvananthapuram), Smt.Rani George (Secretary-Tourism) and Sri P Bala Kiran (Director-Tourism).

The five-day music festival will bring a rare treat of classical and ethnic musical traditions of the sub- continent, featuring both vocalists and instrumentalists of various streams.The festival will commence with Bamboo Symphony by Unnikrishna Pakkanar followed by a concert by Chitravina  N Ravikiran. The venue will reverberate in the following days with performances of leading singers like Ghazal Maestro Jaswinder Singh. The artists to feature at the festival are violinist Krishnaa Ajith and the Carnatic Vocalist  Vidushi S. Sowmya on July 22nd; Carnatic Vocalist AnanthaSai A.S and Grammy Award Winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Mohana veena) and Samrat Pandit Salil Bhatt (Satwik Veena) in a duet on July 23rd. Contemporary Flute Fusion by Rajesh Cherthala and a Classical Fusion Band performance by “Shiva-The Musical Thunder”, lead by Usthad Rafiq Khan (Sitar)on July 24th will mark the end of this year’s Nishagandhi Monsoon Ragaas  Music Festival. The Tourism Minister also added "along with the Monsoon Ragas, Champions Boat League (CBL)  organised by the Tourism Department from  August 10th to November 1st is  expected to boost  foot fall of foreign tourists  this year."

Tourism Secretary Smt Rani George and Tourism Director Shri P Bala Kiran were also present at the press conference.

Apart from promoting art and culture by organizing events like Nishagandhi music festival, Kerala Tourism has also made bold initiatives in women empowerment through its Responsible Tourism Mission, earning international attention and recognition. An ethnic restaurant at Kumarakom launched as a women empowerment initiative under the RT Mission fetched the Gold Award of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) for 2019. Kerala Tourism’s website and marketing campaign also received PATA Gold awards.

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KSUM a beacon for rest of India’s incubators: ISBA Meet

Top functionaries of startup incubators converged here today, as the three-day ISBA Conference got off to a start with the mission of bringing together incubators from across the country.

Kerala Governor Justice (retd) P Sathasivam will inaugurate the July 17-19 event, which is to hold the last two days of its proceedings at Kanjirappally in Kottayam district. The delegates will engage themselves in disseminating, discussing and sharing ideas, besides best practices and experiences to make India a noteworthy product startup nation.

Kerala Startup Mission started as an Incubator named Technopark Technology Business Incubator and have scaled to be the state nodal agency to develop the technology startups in the state. “Incubators across the country have a lot to learn from the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM)”, pointed out Dr K Suresh Kumar, president of ISBA (Indian Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Parks and Business Incubator Association).

The deliberations, which will continue on Thursday and Friday at Amal Jyothi College of Engineering at Koovappally off Kanjirappally, would take the mission forward by discussing new initiatives that can be undertaken. The event also strives to ensure a closer interaction with the Ministry of Science & Technology and other government departments.

At the ISBA Pre-conference in Kochi today, KSUM Chief Executive Officer Dr. Saji Gopinath said investment possibilities pose the foremost challenge for incubators. “We need to find ways to bring in investments,” he noted in his opening address. “That should be the main point of discussion at this conference.”

Dr Suresh Kumar pointed out that Kochi’s electronic hardware incubator Maker Village and Fab Lab that encourages printed electronics provide “great atmosphere” for startups to groom in this city. “I am sure the participants at ISBACON 2019 will have a fruitful time,” he added about the conference that gives a common platform to incubation managers, government officials, startups, domain experts and other ecosystem stakeholders such as investors, venture capitals and corporates.

The ISBA Pre-conference chiefly discussed three subjects across as many sessions. A master class on ‘Business Incubation Basics and Operational Nuances for New and Early Stage Incubators’ was led by Prasad M Menon, CEO of Mumbai Centre for Incubation and Business Acceleration, and Technology Business Incubator (NIT Kozhikode) Manager Preethi M.

Another master class, on Seed Fund Management, was addressed by Prasad Shetty, Manager of Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIT-Bombay); Shruti Devasthali, Manager of Pune-based Venture Centre India; and Mr Vipul Patel, VP, Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (IIM-Ahmedabad).

A third master class, on Setting up Fab Labs and Maker Spaces, was led by Gaurang Shetty, CEO, Research Innovation Incubation Design Lab; Pavan Kumar Gupta, Director, Art Lab Foundation (Bengaluru); and Aditi Gupta, Managing Partner, Design Thinkers Group.

Maker Village organised a show of its innovative products at the venue. Its CEO, Prasad B Nair, addressed the gathering.

The first annual ISBA conference was held in 2007. The event has since been held in various cities with the basic objective being to promote incubation in and around these regions and also provide an opportunity for the local incubator members to showcase their products to the participants of the conference. The conferences are invariably of international nature, attracting both incubators and experts from several countries. It presents an opportunity to showcase the achievements and capabilities of Indian technology business incubation to the outside world

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Sahapedia Bags PATA Grand Award 2019 for its India Heritage Walks Project

Sahapedia has earned yet another top international honour, winning the coveted Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Grand Award 2019 for organising heritage walks across the country.

‘The India Heritage Walks project aims to make culture tourism more holistic and inclusive,’ PATA said in an announcement. The Bangkok-based establishment works to promote the responsible development of travel and tourism.

Sahapedia is among just four organisations to win PATA’s Grand Award, and the only one to win in the ‘Heritage and Culture’ category.

The PATA Grand Awards are presented to outstanding entries in four principal categories: Marketing, Education and Training, Environment, and Heritage and Culture.

The awards will be presented on September 19 at Nur-Sultan (Astana) in Kazakhstan during the PATA Travel Mart 2019. This year’s awards attracted 197 entries from 78 organisations and individuals worldwide.

Sahapedia has expressed great delight over this achievement. The heritage walks have been part of ‘our attempts to democratise access to local history and culture, giving people opportunities to discover the hidden gems linked to the cultural heritage of a place, town or city,’ said Vaibhav Chauhan, Secretary, Sahapedia and Director, India Heritage Walks. ‘It is good to be recognised for our efforts. We would like to extend our gratitude towards our partners and collaborators across the country who have supported us in working towards our vision.

In 2018, Sahapedia won the highly acclaimed PATA Gold Award for its maiden edition of the India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF).

PATA, in its release yesterday, noted that the purpose of Sahapedia’s heritage walks was to generate interest among travellers as well as the local population to discover India’s cities, its people and the stories of their colonies, ruins, mainstays and migrants.

‘These efforts have also been directed towards groups for whom engagement programmes in heritage tourism are commonly unavailable, such as children, persons with disabilities and those from economically underprivileged backgrounds,’ it pointed out.

Sahapedia launched the India Heritage Walks project in November 2016, and has, so far, conducted experiences in over 60 cities across India, covering varied aspects of cultural and natural heritage. ‘Ranging from walks exploring markets, monuments and museums to natural landscapes and regional cuisine, India Heritage Walks are curated thematically, making it an ideal resource for travellers and heritage enthusiasts as well,’ the PATA release added.

Sahapedia’s India Heritage Walks project has been supported by the TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) Foundation and the Axis Bank Foundation.

Sahapedia (https://www.sahapedia.org/) provides open access to articles, videos, interviews and images on a wide range of matters related to the arts, culture and histories of the Indian subcontinent. The portal was launched in summer 2016.

ENDS

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Kerala Tourism wins three PATA Gold awards

Women empowerment Initiative of the Responsible Tourism Mission, especially its Ethnic Food Restaurant at Kumarakom, received international recognition with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) conferring its prestigious Gold Awards on the Kerala Tourism, which also bagged two other awards.

The advertisement campaign of the Kerala Tourism - Come Out and Play - and the Kerala Tourism Website -www.keralatourism.org also bagged PATA Gold awards in their respective categories. While the ad campaign was run by the Stark Communications, the Kerala Tourism website has been designed and maintained by Invis Multimedia.

Out of the 15,500 Responsible Tourism Mission initiatives, 13,500 units are led by women.The awards were announced at Bangkok today. Founded in 1951, PATA is a not-for-profit membership association that acts as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region.

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