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Breaking barriers, building futures: BRICS CCI WE's 4th Annual Summit highlights women's achievements

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New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) With the emphasis on women-led development in India’s G-20 Presidency and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of fostering inclusivity and driving positive change, BRICS CCI WE, the women’s empowerment vertical of the BRICS Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hosted its fourth Annual Summit and Felicitations 2024 on the theme ‘The Changing Narrative: Women Development to Women-led Development’.

BRICS CCI WE also unveiled a report, ‘New Era of BRICS: Horizons in Tech and Business for Women Empowerment’, with special emphasis on the technology and entrepreneurship landscape for women across the BRICS countries.

The vertical also hosted the convocation of the first batch of women participants in the BRICS CCI WE Global Women Leadership Programme at the Summit.

The summit was graced by diplomats from the Embassies of Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa, Iran, Cuba, Costa Rica, Chile, Belarus, Gambia, Angola, Chad, Comoros, and Venezuela, among others.

Sonal Mansingh, Padma Vibhushan awardee and Member of Rajya Sabha, was the chief guest at the Summit.

Shazia Ilmi, national spokesperson of the BJP’ Swati Singh, former Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Women and Child Welfare, Government of Uttar Pradesh; Sanjay Bhattacharyya (Retd.), former BRICS Sherpa and Secretary to Government of India; and Ajay Chaudhary (IPS), Special Commissioner of Police in charge of Special Police Unit for Women & Children and Special Police Unit for North-East Region, also addressed the gathering.

In her welcome address, Ruby Sinha, President, BRICS CCI WE, said, “The transition from women’s development to women-led development signifies not just a change in narrative, but a commitment to empower half of our population. Women are no longer viewed as passive recipients of aid, but as active agents of change, capable of leading and shaping their own development and that of their communities.”

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Chief guest Sonal Mansingh said in her address, “Women’s leadership is indispensable in building a more equitable and prosperous society. The Summit catalyses amplifying women’s voices and ensuring their active participation in all spheres of life.”

The Summit also honored extraordinary women who have made significant contributions to the advancement of women’s development.

Poonam Dhillon, actor, entrepreneur and politician, was felicitated with the BRICS CCI WE Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement award for her illustrious career, which not only enriched the entertainment industry, but also paved the way for women’s empowerment and leadership in diverse sectors.

Poonam Dhillon said, “Empowering women is not just a moral imperative, but also a strategic necessity for sustainable development. By championing women-led initiatives, we can unlock untapped potential and pave the way for a more inclusive future.”

Raimati Ghiuria, Queen of Millets from Odisha, Meenakshi Gopinath, Founder and Director of WISCOMP (Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace), and Latika Bhandari, taekwondo athlete, were felicitated as BRICS CCI WE Women Icon Trailblazers.

B.B.L. Madhukar, Director General, BRICS CCI, said, “The fourth Annual Summit and Felicitations of BRICS CCI WE marks another milestone in our journey towards promoting women-led development. By harnessing the collective expertise and resources of the BRICS nations, we can create a more inclusive and equitable world for future generations.”

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In her speech, Shazia Ilmi said, “Women’s empowerment is at the heart of our collective progress. Through concerted efforts and policy interventions, we can create an enabling environment where every woman has the opportunity to fulfil her aspirations and contribute to the society.”

Sameep Shastri, Vice Chairman, BRICS CCI, said in his address, “The Summit underscores the importance of women’s empowerment in shaping the narrative of development. As we strive for progress, it is imperative to create opportunities and support mechanisms that enable women to thrive as leaders and change-makers.”

Sanjay Bhattacharyya (Retd.), Former BRICS Sherpa and Secretary to Government of India, stated, “The BRICS CCI WE Annual Summit underscores the significance of women’s leadership in driving socio-economic progress and fostering inclusive growth. Through collaborative efforts, we can harness the potential of women entrepreneurs and leaders to build a better future for all.”

Ajay Chaudhary (IPS) said, “Ensuring the safety and security of women is paramount for their empowerment. By strengthening the law enforcement mechanisms and promoting gender-sensitive policies, we can safeguard women’s rights and dignity.”

The Summit also recognised the achievements of emerging women entrepreneurs, both within and outside the BRICS CCI network, such as Niti Batra, Director of Joy Travels Pvt. Ltd., Amrita V. Chowdhury, Director of Gaia Smart Cities Solutions Pvt. Ltd., N.J. Anitha, Vice-President of SNJ Breweries Pvt. Ltd., and Renu Sharma, CEO of Rajwarah Jewellers, for their exemplary contributions to entrepreneurship and innovation, fostering economic growth and empowerment.

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The Summit was also attended by Ashok Kr Singh, Vice Chairman, BRICS CCI, Ruhail Ranjan, Director Finance, Shabana Nasim, Chief Patron, BRICS CCI WE, Ansh Virmani, Country Director, BRICS CCI-UAE Chapter, Ankita Sachdeva, Joint Director, BRICS CCI, and members of the governing body and members of the Chamber.

The eminent panelists engaged in insightful discussions on the theme of women-led development in India and elucidated on the pillars of women-led development, including education, enterprise, financial literacy, and leadership mentoring.

These included Kalpana Sharma, Former Additional Secretary to Lok Sabha, and Senior Advisor – BRICS CCI; Kanta Singh, Deputy Country Representative, UN Women India; Anuradha Agrawal, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR); Gauri Jauhar, Executive Director, Energy Transition & Cleantech Consulting, S&P Global Commodity Insights; Ankit Jhamb, Honorary Advisor, BRICS CCI; Shweta Punj, Deputy Editor, Moneycontrol.com and Co-founder, Whypoll; Gaurav Choudhury, Co-founder and CEO at Earshot Media; Anita Makkar, Founder Principal, The HDFC School; Shormishtha Ghosh, Governing Body Member, BRICS CCI; Amrita V. Chowdhury, Director, Gaia Smart Cities Solutions Pvt. Ltd.; and Semenushkova Ekaterina, Founder, Atlas Social and Cultural Relations Development Centre.

The fourth Annual Summit of BRICS CCI WE concluded with a renewed commitment to advancing women’s leadership and catalysing inclusive development globally.

–IANS

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India’s growth momentum to continue in April-March quarter of 2024-25: FinMin report

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New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) The Indian economy closed the financial year 2023-24 strongly despite strong external headwinds, and early indications suggest that the growth momentum will continue during the current April-June quarter of 2024-25, according to a Finance Ministry report released on Friday.

“The emerging robust trends in key high-frequency indicators of growth like GST collections, e-way bills, electronic toll collections, sale of vehicles, purchasing managers’ indices, and the value and number of digital transactions attest to the growing strength of the economy,” the Finance Ministry said in its monthly economic review for April.

The industrial and service sectors of the Indian economy are performing well, backed by brisk domestic demand and partially by tentative external demand. This can benefit India’s manufacturing firms as part of the China Plus One strategy.

The EXIM Bank of India has forecast that merchandise exports will post a double-digit growth in Q1 of FY25, the report pointed out.

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The report expects domestic manufacturing to receive stronger export orders due to improved economic activity and consumer sentiment in Europe and a steady US economy. It cites an uptick in India’s exports in April to support the point.

It admits that geopolitical tensions and volatility in global commodity prices, especially of petroleum products, present substantial challenges. “Nonetheless, the expectation is that the macro-economic buffers will help the Indian economy navigate these challenges reasonably smoothly,” the report added.

Factors like the ongoing recovery in the hotel and tourism industry, increased credit flow to transport and real estate segments, policy support, and robust investments in physical and digital infrastructure and logistics will help the services sector. The strong export growth in April 2024 indicates that the momentum in services trade has been carried forward into FY25, it said.

On the inflation front, the report cites the good rabi harvest of wheat and the prediction of a normal Southwest Monsoon as factors that will lead to higher food production and easing of price pressures during 2024-25. The RBI has forecast a 4.9 per cent retail inflation for FY25’s first quarter.

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According to the report, Government initiatives to stabilise the prices of essential food items, including their open market sale, stock monitoring and trade policy measures are helping to stabilise food prices.

“The positive indications in the farm sector should help India firewall against any adverse pressures that may arise from geopolitical tensions and global commodity prices. Likewise, the strong macro-economic buffers of India should help the real sectors of the economy navigate the external headwinds smoothly and continue the growth momentum of the previous year,” the report added.

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RBI fines Hero FinCorp for breach of norms

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Mumbai, May 24 (IANS) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty of Rs 3,10,000 on Hero FinCorp Limited for breach of norms related to the fair practices code for NBFCs.

An RBI inspection has revealed that Hero FinCorp did not convey the terms and conditions of loans in writing to the borrowers in the vernacular language understood by them.

The statutory inspection of the company was conducted by RBI with reference to its financial position as on March 31, 2023.

Based on supervisory findings of non-compliance with RBI directions and related correspondence in that regard, a notice was issued to the company advising it to show cause as to why penalty should not be imposed on it for its failure to comply with the directions.

After considering the company’s reply to the notice, oral submissions made during the personal hearing and examination of additional submissions made by it, the RBI found, inter alia, that the charge against the company was sustained, warranting imposition of monetary penalty.

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The RBI also said: “This action is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the company with its customers.”

–IANS

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India's forex reserves soar to lifetime high of $648.7 billion

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Mumbai, May 24 (IANS) India’s foreign exchange reserves surged by $4.55 billion to touch a new lifetime high of 648.7 billion mark during the week ended May 17, according to the latest data released by the RBI on Friday.

This is the third consecutive week during which the country’s forex kitty has expanded which augurs well for the macroeconomic fundamentals of the economy as an ample supply of dollars helps to strengthen the rupee.

The country’s forex reserves had increased by $2.56 billion to $644.15 billion during the week ended May 10 and had recorded $3.66 billion rise for the week ended May 3.

India’s foreign exchange reserves had earlier touched a lifetime high of $648.562 billion in April after which they had declined for three weeks in a row by $10.6 billion as the RBI actively intervened in the market to buy dollars to stabilise the rupee.

An increase in the foreign exchange reserves gives the RBI more headroom to stabilise the rupee when it turns volatile.

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This is because the RBI intervenes in the spot and forward currency markets by releasing more dollars to prevent the rupee from going into a free fall.

Conversely, a declining forex kitty leaves the RBI less space to intervene in the market to prop up the rupee.

India’s forex reserves, including the central bank’s forward holdings, can now cover more than 11 months of imports, which is a two-year high.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das recently referred to the record foreign exchange reserves as a reflection of the strength of the Indian economy.

“It is our prime focus to build a strong buffer in the form of a substantial quantum of forex reserves which will help us when the cycle turns,” he remarked while unveiling the first monetary policy review of the current financial year that began on April 1.

–IANS

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At 'Illness to Wellness' awareness session, experts warn undetected thyroid diseases can lead to major health complications

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New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) The ASSOCHAM CSR Council, under the Illness to Wellness initiative, hosted a panel discussion on the eve of World Thyroid Day titled ‘Thyroid Matters: In Health & Disease’ with the primary goal of increasing awareness about thyroid diseases and the need to encourage early treatment of thyroid dysfunctions.

The panel comprised Dr. (Prof.) Chandrakant Sambhaji Pandav, Member, National Council on POSHAN Abhiyan and Former Head, Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi; Dr. Subhash K Wangnoo, Senior Consultant – Endocrinologist & Diabetologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi; and Dr. Mudit Sabharwal, Consultant Diabetes & Endocrinology, Fortis La Femme Multi Specialty Hospital and Director and Consultant, Diabetologist, Dharma Diabetes and Metabolic Clinics, Delhi & NCR.

The session was moderated by Dr. Rajesh Kesari, Founder and Director, Total Care Control, Delhi-NCR, and EC Member, RSSDI.

Dr. Pandav explained the importance of awareness in tackling the rise in thyroid diseases. He also mentioned that adequately iodised salt is needed to stave off thyroid diseases.

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“Without awareness, you cannot move forward. Awareness is necessary to ensure early detection of thyroid diseases and can prevent major ailments. Historically, iodine deficiency has been a major cause of thyroid disorders. Although iodization programmes have reduced goiter prevalence, iodine deficiency still exists in some regions,” he said.

Anil Rajput, Chairperson, ASSOCHAM National CSR Council, said: “The increase in the prevalence of thyroid-related health issues warrants heightened awareness and pro-active measures to be put in place with a greater sense of urgency to effectively address this challenge of significant proportions.

“Thyroid ailments affect both men and women with the latter reporting a higher incidence necessitating the need for gender-sensitive approaches to be looked at in greater detail. On World Thyroid Day, it is important to galvanise public awareness about thyroid disorders across all age groups and I am confident that together we can empower individuals, families, and communities to effectively address thyroid ailments and move towards a healthier and more resilient nation.”

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Talking about the symptoms, Dr. Sabharwal said there are two types of thyroid disorders — Hypothyroidism (symptoms include- fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, cold intolerance) and Hyperthyroidism (symptoms include weight loss, heat intolerance, increased appetite)

“A simple exercise like Surya Namaskar can help control/prevent hyperthyroidism. After Covid-19, we have seen a rise in cases of hyperthyroidism. We must remember that cholesterol and diabetes are also linked to thyroid, therefore, people should ensure a healthy lifestyle to prevent health issues like thyroid ailments,” he said.

Dr. Wangnoo said unexpected weakness, postpartum depression in women, and lethargy are signs of thyroid dysfunction to watch out for.

“Thyroid does a lot of work to help metabolise and maintain blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate. Pregnant women also need to be very careful. Postpartum depression is something that women are vulnerable to due to thyroid issues. The intelligence quotient in babies may be affected if there is late detection,” he said.

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–IANS

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Adani Ports to join Sensex from June 24 after BSE rejig

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Mumbai, May 24 (IANS) Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will be included in the S&P BSE Sensex from June 24.

The BSE benchmark will drop from the index on the same day.

The Asia Index Pvt. Ltd. on Friday announced the reconstitution results for its indices, effective from June 24.

The Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone stock was down 1.83 per cent on Friday at Rs 1,416.90 per share.

An IIFL Alternative Research report said earlier this week that Adani Enterprises is expected to replace Wipro in the benchmark Sensex.

On Friday, positive action was seen in the Adani Group stocks. The Adani Enterprises stock was almost flat at Rs 3,381 apiece on the BSE, while Adani Green Energy shares went up by 1.8 per cent, Adani Total Gas increased by 2.5 per cent, and Adani Energy Solutions rose by 0.50 per cent.

Indian stock indices traded in a sideways range on Friday. At close, Sensex was at 75,410, down 7 points, while Nifty was at 22,957, down nearly 10 points.

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–IANS

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