The Nana Nani Foundation aims to improve the quality of life of senior citizens. Dolly Mirchandani looks at how its activities are progressing
Nana-nani parks (primarily for grandparents) were conceptualised a decade back by the late Pramod Navalkar, former culture minister of Maharashtra. But the idea was successfully executed by Shhyam Singhania, the founder & managing trustee of the Nana Nani Foundation (NNF). The Foundation has already made a difference to the life of Mumbai’s senior citizens by providing them green and serene—yet vibrant—spaces where they can meet with safety and dignity. A nana-nani park is open only for those who are above the age of 60; at least one spouse has to be a senior citizen.
The first nana-nani park at Girgaum Chowpatty (Mumbai) was part of a bigger project to clean up the beach and rid it of anti-social elements and encroachments. Mr Singhania took up the beautification challenge; the park was inaugurated on 26 January 1998. It has turned into a quiet little oasis of relaxation for its members. Senior citizens can start the day with a walk around the beautiful garden and enjoy complimentary tea and free newspapers, before they go home. The popularity of these parks has been recognised now—18 such facilities have been set up all over Mumbai. However due to fund constraints, NNF is able to maintain only three parks on its own—the park at Girgaum Chowpatty along with the Aaji Aajoba Udyan and the Deendayal Upadhyay Udyan (both situated in Dadar, central Mumbai).
The facilities in these parks include yoga, exercises, laughter-therapy sessions, group discussions and related activities. Some even have space for medical check-ups, picnics and facilities for celebrating birthdays & other festivities. The Girgaum park is now developing a ‘Nakshatra Garden’, whose theme is the 27 constellations, each represented by a particular tree with a meditation spot under each of them. Meditating under the tree that represents your birth constellation is supposed to be beneficial. The project is scheduled to be completed by October 2011.
The Foundation has many projects lined up—including similar parks for senior citizens at Pune, Thane and Nashik. It is also coming up with a ‘virtual nana-nani park’, one of its most ambitious projects yet. This will help the Foundation to reach out to senior citizens via the Internet. Senior citizens will get access to these nana-nani parks via a free membership card issued by the Foundation after they provide proof of their identity, age and address. Members are also provided a medical card. A special membership card which will offer discounts at grocery stores, chemist shops, hospitals, shopping malls and tourism companies is also being planned. This project is expected to kick off in early 2012, after various strategic alliances are finalised, and after proper infrastructure is set up.
But all these activities will take some time—and effort—to be completed. According to Mr Singhania, convincing donors and raising funds is a major challenge for the Foundation. “Getting garden land approved from the (Brihanmumbai) Municipal Corporation and raising funds for development and maintenance is, indeed, the most difficult task for the Foundation.” The Foundation is always looking for volunteers and specialists who are willing to work for the elderly. NNF is also working on a legal cell for senior citizens; it has been in active touch with the heads of legal departments of various companies to carry forward this effort. Initially, NNF was privately funded by the Singhania family and companies of the Enarr group. But Dena Bank, Union Bank of India and Bank of India have come forward to aid this effort. Eureka Forbes is another supporter. NNF also raises funds through music concerts and cricket matches.
Donations to the Foundation are tax-exempt under Section 80 (G) of the Income-Tax Act. NNF has an excellent website with details telling you how to donate. You can also contact NNF if you want to volunteer in any way.
The chief economist from the ministry of steel feels that the current price movement is due to mere speculation, and raging inflation in the country may reduce demand, which in turn will arrest further rise
After hiking prices thrice in just two months, Indian steelmakers may not go in for more price hikes, as demand is seen to be subdued in the coming quarters due to high inflation in the country. Raw material prices may also witness some correction.
"There could be a slight upward movement in steel prices, but prices would not sustain due to lack of demand for the metal, as there is a speculative rise and speculative fall. There could also be pressure from rising inflation in the country,"
Dr AS Firoz, chief economist at the Economic Research Unit of the Ministry of Steel, told Moneylife.
Since January, Indian steelmakers increased their product prices thrice in the wake of surging prices of raw materials, particularly coking coal, in the international market.
Currently, long steel prices at the Ghaziabad market are hovering at around Rs27,000 a tonne. However, prices were around Rs29,000 a tonne in the last week of January.
"We are seeing very high volatility in long steel prices. Prices of long steel are falling as demand is less for the product," a senior official from the steel division of the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd (INDEX) told Moneylife (preferring anonymity).
"Whatever the price hikes we have seen, it's just because of a sharp rise in coking coal prices in the international market. The price hikes are not driven by demand. Somehow, prices may sustain till the end of this quarter as recovery from the floods in Queensland (Australia) is not cleared. From the first quarter of the next financial year, prices would surely remain under pressure," an analyst from a Mumbai-based research firm told Moneylife.
Prices of coking coal in the international market have been surging everyday as the supply from the largest coking coal-producing region-Queensland-has been disrupted due to the floods. Mining & shipments have been severely affected due to the floods in the region.
Coking coal prices have crossed the $350/tonne level in the spot market. Market experts expect that the contract prices (for the next quarter) of coking coal would be sealed at around $300 a tonne.
"Steelmakers have been caught in a crucial situation. They cannot increase prices regularly, citing surging raw material prices, as it would derail demand from their consumers," said the analyst.
"If the situation improves soon, coking coal prices would come down and it may pull down prices the steel," added the analyst from the Mumbai firm.
On the anticipation of rising prices, many dealers and buyers have piled up their inventories. Now as demand is not so impressive, buyers would be prefer to reduce the inventories, rather than buying new stocks in the months to come.
Marketers and the media are investing heavily in the Cricket World Cup and the IPL which is billed as the third largest televised event
At the onset of summer in India, businesses are busy readying themselves to celebrate an early monsoon. The forecast suggests a heavy storm that should result in a flood of eyeballs which promises an avalanche of sales.
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is barely a few days away. But even before a ball has been bowled, there is a pitched battle going on among business groups vying for the attention of a captive audience. It's estimated that over one billion viewers will witness the sporting spectacle from their homes in different parts of the globe, which makes it the third largest televised event. A similar number of viewers are expected to watch the fourth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that follows soon after the Cricket World Cup. It's an unparalleled season for the media and marketers who are aiming to do thousands of crores of business in the three-month period.
Agencies are rubbing their hands with glee, designing optimal packages for clients, to garner and retain attention through the mega cricket carnival. Amid the euphoria, caution is usually the last virtue. Even by conservative estimates, it is expected that Indian and international businesses will fork out a whopping Rs750 crore to bring their brands to bear on the sub-conscious of the fanatic cricket fans as they remain glued to the action.
The protagonists in this campaign are 13 major sponsors of the World Cup-Pepsi, Hero Honda, Sony India, Nokia, Reliance Mobile, LG, Reebok, Emirates, Pantaloon, Maruti Suzuki, Philips, Yahoo and Castrol. There will be myriad other organisations, the support cast, who will either hop onto the bandwagon or simply run an ambush trick to score some cheeky singles on the cheap. The stadia sponsors of the World Cup-Reliance Communications, LG, PepsiCo, Reebok, Hero Honda, Emirates, Yahoo, Castrol and Money Gram-are reported to have doled out Rs1,200 crore for in-stadia advertising.
The event will be broadcast on the ESPN-STAR platform with 49 matches played between 19th February and 2nd April. Yahoo is operating the official website for the event and there will be many others that will dedicate their websites to deliver content over the internet and through mobile phones across the world. It is believed that a 10-second spot would cost anywhere between Rs400,000 and Rs500,000 depending on the scale and volume of the advertising package.
Castrol's Giriraj Bagri reeled off interesting numbers. "92% of Indian males are involved with cricket in some form or other, and it is a favoured pastime for 48% of the Indian population," he said. The lubricants maker is expected to spend upto 30% of its annual advertising budget during the Cricket World Cup.
Adding an interesting dimension to the tale, is the fourth edition of the IPL that will run from 8th April to 22nd May, taking off almost as soon as the World Cup ends. The IPL is a prime media property today, returning TRPs in excess of 5. In contrast the World Cup matches are expected to be rated in the region of 2.5, with the semi-finals and finals clocking a higher rating. It is no wonder then that a 10-second spot on the IPL costs advertisers over Rs550,000. A staggering Rs1,000 crore will likely exchange hands in this season's 10-team event that will have 74 matches.
Set Max has exclusive rights for the IPL broadcast. Rohit Gupta, head of sales at Set Max, averred, "We have already sold 75% of our inventory. We have signed on 10 sponsors for the matches and another six for Extra Innings," the wrapper show before and after the action. The key sponsors for the IPL are Pepsi, LG, Hyundai, Vodafone, Cadbury, Videocon, Godrej, Tata Photon and Havells. And some of them have paid out more than what the sponsors of the World Cup have.
The primary reason for a greater interest in the IPL lies in the T20 format that appeals to a broader audience, especially in India. With the entire match over in just three hours, it has turned into a family pop-corn event, unlike the 50-over format that attracts a predominantly male audience.
Spot sales have been relatively slower for the World Cup, with media buyers choosing to play watchfully. Of course a great deal will depend on how well India does in the early stages. A successful campaign for the Indian team could queer the pitch for the mega event, but in the interim it is advantage IPL. The annual jamboree is estimated to draw ad-spend in the region of Rs1,000 crore, a 20-25% jump over that for the World Cup.
The Indian team has been in good form and this augurs well for media houses that have already bought space. Sachin Tendulkar will take a bow from limited overs internationals at the end of this tournament, and India's presence in the knock-out stages could see a spike in prices for at least the matches in which the team features.
Irrespective of the choice of event, this season of cricket promises to turn into a summer of delight for advertising agencies, media buyers and corporate kingpins, as they navigate through the tricky maze of opportunity and promise-with wallet in hand, a prayer on the lips and hope in their eyes. Advertisers will do well to hedge long and buy now rather than wait for the frenzy that will certainly follow with each Indian victory.
For the insatiable fans, advertisements will be an unwelcome intrusion between overs and wickets. But it is an inevitable commercial drill that will be thrust upon the unsuspecting lot at uniform intervals. The hapless viewer can only hope that the advertisements do not begin even before the over has been completed.
(The writer is a business consultant to large clients on financial processes, process re-engineering and improvement.)