What does Modi’s gesture say: Jadu ki Jhappi or a plain handshake?

Is it true that Modi reserves his hugs for VVIP’s? Here are some interesting pictures that give us an insight on ‘the ones who get the hugs and the ones who don’t!’:

  • A handshake will be the best? Modi with Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan

Pictures speak more than words. Which are your favorite international leaders you want to see on Modi’s ‘Jhappi’ list and why?

Write to me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who is India’s Trump?

Who is the Trump in Indian politics?

Who is the Trump in Indian politics?

Donald Trump has shaken the US Presidential election calculations. Trump is # 1 in the polls for the Republicans and has been this whole summer. His business success, and his being aggressive on issues like immigration, trade with China and Mexico have propelled him to the top-tier of the Republican primaries. He has the ability to generate a lot of attention. 26 million Americans tuned in for the Republican Primary debate which is unheard of, and a large part of it is Trump.

On his political journey, he has also amassed a lot of critics i.e. the Latino community, women (his comments about Rosie O’Donnell) etc. I was wondering if there is someone in India who is a very successful business leader and also has the ability to say things that are on his mind. Someone who is not afraid to make enemies. It was hard as business people try not to be political, or to make political enemies. However, in my opinion, Rahul Bajaj is the Trump of India.

Before fans of Rahul Bajaj get really angry, let me clarify that there are similarities in a lot of areas but there are some differences too. Bajaj is one of the most successful business person in the country. He has been an MP and dabbles in politics, and likes to say things he likes, and does not mince words or try to be politically correct. He took on the Manmohan Singh Government and now he has reprimanded the Modi Government for the slow speed of reforms.

The industrialist and Rajya Sabha member, Bajaj is known to be an admirer of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but he did not hesitate on using strong words for the NDA government. He was quoted as saying that “NDA is losing the sheen it came with after its win in the Lok Sabha polls ” In context to the new black money bill that opened a three-month window Bajaj was not happy with this inititative and felt that the business community was getting anxious that the declaration would not guarantee protection from future prosecution.

Bajaj was also direct when it came down to the Manmohan Singh government bailing out Kingfisher Airlines, and he spoke out against any state aid to rescue the liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s expensive airlines. His argument: “I am a proud private sector man and I don’t see any logic in bailing out any private sector company either for the sake of employees or customers”. Recently, Bajaj voiced his opinion saying, “Misdirected and wrongly implemented socio-economic policies have dragged India far behind many countries like China and South Korea.” He says, “Quality has to be improved and the cost has to be brought down to create terror among competitors.”

The differences: Bajaj does not belittle his opponents or vast sections of a community like Trump tends to do. However, Bajaj is admired for saying out loud what is on the minds of a lot of businessmen, and especially Indians who are afraid of political retribution. Bajaj does not seem to care much. Do you think Bajaj resembles Trump?

Share your thoughts with me.

Sanjay Puri has been working on Indian-American issues and facilitating stronger US-India relations through USINPAC (US India Political Action Committee and AUSIB (Alliance for US India Business), two bipartisan organizations that he chairs.

Posted in In the News, Politics | Leave a comment

Does wearable technology have a future in India?


Today’s wearable technology is more than $700 million industry (Source: globenewswire.com). IDC reports that the worldwide market for wearable devices will grow to $8 Billion by 2018. Many tech experts and magazines hailed the year 2014 as the “Year of the Wearable”

How have consumers in India accepted wearables that connect, inform and protect at the same time? An Accenture survey in 2014 found that more than half of consumers (52 percent) are interested in buying wearable technologies, similar to tracking physical activity, fitness monitors that help them with managing their personal health. The survey of more than 6,000 people in six countries—Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States – showed that consumers are also interested in buying smart watches (46 percent) and Internet-connected eyeglasses (42 percent). The survey says that amongst the six countries, consumers in India are showing great interest in buying fitness monitors (80 percent), smart watches (76 percent) and Internet-enabled eyeglasses (74 percent).

There sure is an impressive count of innovative devices in the market. If jewelry is a beautiful piece of work, technology makes it point-blank ‘viable’ at the same time. Ringly is the name the company that creates jewelry and accessories, which can connect to your phone. Skully motorcycle helmets and more economical versions of the helmet can be be a hit in India where bikers risk their lives everyday owing to risky road conditions and rash riding/driving on the roads. The helmet is equipped with a heads-up display, a 180-degree rearview camera and GPS navigation, and is connected to your phone allowing voice-control etc. Biosport earbuds come with biometric sensors and you dont need to charge them. They’re able to collect fitness data, including the user’s heart rate, and feed it directly to your phone.

There are several companies making smart technology adapt to human lives with ergonomic stuff that fit the pocket and lifestyle of urban folks on the move. Companies like Google, Apple, Garmin, Xiaomi, Fitbit, Jawbone, Samsung, LG etc are busy inventing high-end devices for safety and betterment of human lives.

In the US, fitness wearables are already a big phenomenon. People are wearing health trackers all over. The idea of preventive health is slowly picking up in India and with the explosion of lifestyle diseases, I wonder if someone can look into health trackers which can measure calorie intake (Google’s new AI software can count food calories from a photo), measure sugar levels and alert about BP levels etc. The way to make health trackers successful in India given people’s sensitivity to fashion is that it can be bundled in with jewelry or other cool looking things like headphones, bands, shoes, clothes etc. that can give them health information and transmit it to the phone in case of an emergency.

Do you think India is ready for wearables? Share your thoughts with me.

Sanjay Puri has been working on Indian-American issues and facilitating stronger US-India relations through USINPAC (US India Political Action Committee and AUSIB (Alliance for US India Business), two bipartisan organizations that he chairs.

Posted in Technology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Dynastic trends in India vs. America


India has been run by a dynasty for major part of its independence. However, 2014 saw a non-dynastic candidate Narendra Modi with very humble roots connecting with young and old and gaining a massive mandate in the 2014 elections. America is also getting ready for the Presidential elections in 2016 and the stakes look high even as campaigning gets rigorous and quirkier with different political parties entering the race, and more than a dozen Republicans and a handful of Democrats announcing that they are running for their party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

I find it interesting that politics has become a family business in India, be it the Gandhi family or the Chautalas in Haryana, or Abdullahs in Kashmir, or Mulayam Singh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh etc. But the US Presidential elections has a couple of similarities with Indian politicians in terms of political dynasties. There is a chance that a showdown between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton in the US Presidential polls could be on the cards. I wonder if like in India, political power is also turning into a family business in America. While a Bush or Clinton dynasty (as President or Vice President) has been around for over 30 years (1981 to 2009) and that is not to say that if you come from a political family, you should be disqualified, in fact there are some natural advantages of being part of one. However, it should not be a system that shuts off other capable candidates as it seems to happen in India, the Karunanidhi family dominated DMK, the Gandhi’s dominated Congress and so on.

Similarly, political lineage is not uncommon in American politics. George Bush was elected as the Land Commissioner of Texas in 2014. He is the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush and nephew of President George W. Bush, who was Texas governor before he took to the White House. Similarly, in Massachusetts, Joseph Kennedy III, son of a former congressman, grandson of a former US senator and presidential candidate (Robert F Kennedy) and the offshoot of the Kennedy family, got re-elected to the US House of Representatives in 2014. As India seems to be moving towards more of a meritocracy in politics, it seems like the US might be lurching more towards a dynasty.

Political dynasties have played a role in American history, but this is also a country that elected President Obama for two successive terms.

Do you support independent political entrants or do you like dynastic candidates? Why? Write to me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment