Anybody can play this music with enough passion–An interview with Josh Feinberg

I remember fancying myself playing musical instruments and making an impact on the audience by the sheer magical experience that music can create. Later, I found out that it needs a lifetime of dedication to reach at that level where you can weave the  magic so inherently present in the music.

I could never take music classes and never got the chance to regularly do practice, but what I found interesting is reading and knowing about musicians who have devoted their life to learning, practicing and bringing music to more people, so that they can also feel the beauty of it.

Josh Feinberg is one such young musician who has, though raised in the US, picked up an Indian musical instrument, and have given his passion to it. I have known Josh through Facebook, and missed the chance of listening to him live in Delhi when he had a concert with Alam Khan early this year. I have noticed that he likes to practice the nuances of Indian classical music–a habit that will take him higher and higher in his career, and also closer and closer to his goal.

As a gesture of my appreciation, I wanted to bring his journey to my audience and others who would like to know how a young musician feels about his music and life.

I hope you will love reading it…

Josh Feinberg

Q1. Tell us how music found you?

I started my music training at 4 with classical piano. I got interested in sitar at 15 through jazz bass, and I have loved it and devoted my life to it, ever since.

Q2. What’s the most essential thing a musician should do to become an expert in the art?

The most essential thing a musician needs to do is work hard, have an inquisitive and analytical mind, and love music.

Q3. Do you feel satisfied with what you have achieved in your career as a musician?

I am somewhat satisfied with what I have achieved so far, but I have so many more things I want to do both professionally and musically.

I want to take my music further, and I want to show the world that anybody can play this music with enough passion, discipline, love, and training.

Q4. What are the options available to a young musician to sustain his living?

It is very tough to make a living these days and music. The best thing a musician can do is teach, and keep an open mind. But the unfortunate fact is nowadays to be a professional musician is to take a vow of poverty.

Q5. How do you feel music can bring people of the world together?

Music has the ability to bring people together because it touches people’s hearts directly. That is a very powerful thing and it has the ability to create a common experience.

Q6. Apart from music, what else you like to do? 
Besides music I enjoy spending time with my wife and two children, I enjoy playing golf, and I enjoy working on my house and garden.

Q7. Share a message with our audience.
My message to your audience is that the best service they can do in the love of music is to support musicians and encourage young children to learn music. They are the future of the music and we need to train them to love and appreciate it.

Music provides a field of meeting: Interview with Suellen Primost

Being an Indian, it is rare to find the love for Cello. It’s not a regular instrument played by many in India, but there are some orchestras and bands that adopt it. Recently, some artists have started playing Indian classical music on Cello, which sounds amazing. However, my love for the deep sound of Cello was developed when I listened to this beautiful lady’s music. Yes, Suellen Primost!

Her music is rich with experience of a life-time, and I mean what I am saying. Her compositions are deep, enriching, and reflect a mood that can take you to a contemplative reverie. I have personally found her music to be so touching that it helps me in connecting with my own self.

I thought it would do good for my audience to know about her and her music, and how we together can make a difference in the world.

Suellen Primost

Photo Credit: Mark Marcaida

Little Bio of Suellen

Suellen Primost is a seasoned cellist, storyteller, arts educator, event planner and sound healer. She founded Symba Center for Multicultural Education and the Arts in Santa Fe, NM which evolved into Symba Center after her move to Oakland, CA in 2002. For 10 years, she served as Music Director for Artship Ensemble, an international theatre company based in San Francisco. Over her 40+ year career, Suellen has
developed and facilitated numerous ethnic arts programs for major museums, colleges, schools and community agencies.

Suellen has staged large community events and festivals( Jazz on the Rocks, Peacejam and The Osun Festival) and has travelled extensively throughout the world. Currently she is based in the Bay Area, USA, and performs there with diverse musical ensembles of all types. Her music can be heard at

We had an email interview with Suellen about her musical journey

Q1. Tell us how music found you?

I like the way you worded that question. Yes, music found me, stirring the very waters from which I emerged. Both my mother and father were musicians, so I was immersed in music all my life. We sang constantly, listened to jazz, classical, and show tunes, played instruments — cello, piano and clarinet, performed in musical theatre, danced at weddings and family gatherings, harmonized and took the Great American Songbook with us on many long road trips.

My father, known as “Uncle Meyer,” would pick up young children each morning to take them to my parents’ nursery school in NJ, signaling his arrival with a station wagon horn that bleeped out, ”Yankee Doodle.” My mom would play piano at the nursery and we would sing our little hearts out.

Q2. What’s the most essential thing a musician should do to become an expert in the art?

For me, to be an expert in the art of music is akin to being an expert in the art of life. When I think of music, I think of a conversation. A good conversation involves listening, deeply, thoughtfully, picking up on nuances, cadences, moods, tone colors, pitch, body language, rhythms.
It is helpful to remember that music is born out of silence. Leaving silence, leaving space in conversations, allows for an easy ebb and flow of ideas; space adds poignancy to what words, notes or ideas are voiced; space engages listeners and invites them into the conversation; space provides oases of respite for receiving and processing what has been uttered or implied, musically or verbally.

By practicing deep listening, one develops a heightened sense of how these conversational aspects meaningfully relate. Awareness grows, tools for authentic, articulate expression and artistry are honed, and one’s musical sensitivity and expertise deepen over time.

Q3. Do you feel satisfied with what you have achieved in your career as a musician?

I do. I feel like my music provides a field of meeting. Rumi says, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” In that universal field, we bow to one another. There are no political, social or ideological divisions. In that field, we lie down and allow our souls to be bathed in sound, to align with the One Sound, to the heartbeat, which brings us Home.

Q4. What are the options available to a young musician to sustain his living?

The options are many. Find your tribe. Find those who resonate with you. Support one another, inspire one another. Take creative risks. Trust in all possibility. Be open to interdisciplinary collaborations of every type. Draw from all the arts. Give voice through your music to things that truly matter to you. Use it to support causes. Use it to carry the dying into the next world. Use it to welcome in the new souls. Use it to heal. Take your music into unusual venues. Share it with children. Travel with it. Open your guitar case. You will never lack for a meal.

Q5. How do you feel music can bring people of the world together?

Music is an international language that people all over the world can understand. Music resonates at the deepest levels and can attune all hearts and minds that are open to her gifts. Music provides grace and comfort. It can evoke joy. Music gives voice to life, to the pain, the passion, the beauty, the dreams, the mystery, the longings and fulfillments. Music is, for me, the ultimate expression of our shared humanity as a global family. Music is the essence of Spirit.

Q6. Apart from music, what else do you like to do?

My irrepressible love of beauty, desire to share and be of service also takes expression in calligraphy, photography, storytelling, teaching, gardening, hosting guests, cooking, facilitating arts workshops and planning community events that allow people to celebrate the many unique ways people of all backgrounds and cultures express their creativity.

Q7. Share a message with our audience.

Life is about reciprocity, giving back. It keeps the energy growing and flowing, and creates a cosmic pool from which all can drink and take what is needed to sustain and enhance their lives and the lives of others.

This is my message: Find what you truly love, fearlessly follow your passion and do it with all your heart.

“Let the beauty we love be what we do…” Rumi

What Yoga means to you: An interview with Raechal Levin

Coming from India, I know a lot of people who are into Yoga as a physical practice. Right from our childhood, we hear commoners talking about various kinds of yogasanas and practices. However, children in India, as they grow playing and learning on the streets, are hardly motivated to explore the ancient science that can help them tune their day-to-day life.

But, of course, when somebody from outside India is practicing Yoga with such zeal and dedication, we are curious to know what lies therein. So, picking that as a clue, I thought that I will talk to few people who are into Yoga, to know what it feels like and what motivates them to keep doing it.

Here is one of those conversations with Raechal Levin, who says she has become aware of the consequences of the choices she makes in life, which I feel is the biggest gain from Yoga.

I hope you will enjoy reading what she has to say.

Raechal Levin

Q1. How you first got into Yoga?

Ans: I was first introduced to yoga 11 years ago, when I was gifted a prenatal yoga DVD. I practiced consistently throughout the next few years during both of my pregnancies, but the demands of motherhood changed my focus from physical fitness to my children’s health and well being! It wasn’t until a few years ago that I really got back into the practice, and it was not the physical aspects of practice that beckoned, but the mental and emotional benefits of meditation practice in movement.

Q2. What kind of change Yoga has brought to your life?

Ans: Yoga has changed basically every aspect of my life, mostly because I was and continue to stay open and receptive to the practice and aware of changes that would be beneficial for me to make. I quit smoking, I eat healthier, I lost weight, I am aware of the consequences of the choices I make. My yoga practice continues to mold my choices in life, mostly because of the awareness that have developed through the practice, physically, mentally, emotionally. I guess I am slightly obsessive when it comes to my practice; I needed to dive deeper so I took a teacher training, and continue to explore the depths of myself, through the study and practice of teaching yoga.

Q3. How much time one should devote daily to practice?

Ans: I think the amount of time that you should dedicate to your practice varies from person to person… Everyone is unique and so their practice is bound to be just as unique.  Obviously, if you have an intense physical practice it might be unwise to practice daily as you could easily burn out, especially if you are practicing hot yoga, like so many tend to do here in the West. If your practice is mostly meditative it also will depend on the time you have available. Mostly, it’s a question of what will serve you best. Obviously, a busy working mother will not have the convenience of taking two hours out of her day to sit in stillness, but she is the one who would probably benefit most, from taking time to rest, and clear her mind. I recommend spending as much time as you can easily spare out of your day. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours!

Q4. Does it make sense to learn Yoga from online resources and other similar material?

Ans: I believe it is beneficial to explore all avenues of learning when it comes to learning about yoga, be it books or blogs or whatever else; but I highly recommend finding a teacher or guru, that resonates with you, so that you have someone you can trust to bounce ideas and questions off. A good teacher can teach you more about yourself than any book or article especially as they become more familiar with your practice!

Q5. Is there a particular age from which one should start Yoga?

Ans: As far as age goes, I feel any age is appropriate! We are all practicing yoga from the time we become aware of our existence, whether we are aware of it or not… Yoga is an opportunity to go inside and explore the subtlties of our own unique experience. Who’s to say the 3 year old in their down dog is any less present than the 30 something practicing their forearm stand, or Kapalabhati Pranayam?

Q6. What’s the potential of earning a livelihood from Yoga?

Ans: I doubt you will get rich doing it, but the benefits of teaching yoga are innumerable. To do what you love, to reach out and pardon the pun, touch someone, to serve the world and offer your truth. To me this is worth more than any paycheck. That being said, I know many instructors, even in this oversaturated yoga teacher epicenter of the world, who are getting by just fine on their teaching salary.

Q7. A simple reason to do yoga!

Ans: It just feels good!

Physically, if it’s all you do, you will stretch and strengthen your body; the same is true about your mind, and your heart! And you might just learn something about yourself!

Authentication solution providers’ association commemorates 16 years of protecting brands worldwide

ASPAAuthentication Solution Providers’ Association (ASPA), the world’s only self-regulated and non-profit organization representing the interests of the entire authentication solutions industry, has completed 16 years. Formed on 1 December 1998 as HoMAI, it was re-launched in 2014 under the ASPA brand name to represent the transformation of products and services offered by its existing member companies. ASPA aims to become the singular voice of the authentication solution providers in Asia and around the world, and works closely with global authorities such as International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), Counterfeit Intelligence Bureau (CIB) and Interpol, as well as industry bodies in India such as FICCI CASCADE, CII, ASSOCHAM and Indian Institute of Packaging.

Mr. Manoj Kochar, President, Authentication Solution Providers’ Association, said,

“The last 16 years have been immensely enriching and successful for all our members. Adherence to the highest level of quality and ethical standards enshrined in the ASPA Code of Conduct has helped ASPA earn the trust of the industry and emerge as a strong voice in the hologram industry. We now strive to achieve the same for the entire ecosystem of authentication providers. We are totally committed to promoting adoption of ISO 12931 that lays down performance criteria for authentication solutions used to combat counterfeiting of material goods. From time to time, ASPA also plays a pivotal role in the development of security management standards to address specific requirements of its members and the wider authentication industry. I am excited that within just months of our re-launch, we have been receiving a tremendous response from industry leaders who want to join ASPA.”

ASPA also announced that it has successfully completed the review and due diligence and has inducted four new member companies. Two of these are full members and include Manipal Technologies and Kevin Metpack Pvt Ltd.

With its production facilities in Manipal, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, and development center in Gurgaon, Manipal Tech provides wide ranging authentication solutions to a varied range of industry verticals such as banking, telecom, education, publishing, consumer goods and retail, financial services etc. Delhi-based KEVIN METPACK, which has manufacturing facilities in Gujarat, is a fully-integrated flexible packaging manufacturer with a 10,000 TPA strong converting capacity, that offers comprehensive integrated and secure flexible packaging solutionsfor processed foods, FMCG products etc.

The other two, namely Monotech Systems Limited and Creed Engineers Pvt. Ltd. are associate members. Both these companies are providers of associated machines and technologies to authentication solution providers.

ASPA invites membership from security hologram producers, state printing works, commercial high security printers, issuers of passport, ID and travel documents, suppliers of security substrates, and security features such as biometrics, identity card manufacturers and personalizers, suppliers and integrators of ID document projects such as passports, vehicle registration plate manufacturers, bar code and RFID solution providers, as well as any other authentication solution providers and suppliers to authentication solution providers. Its members already protect more than 10,000 brands worldwide. Last year, ASPA was instrumental in bringing the coveted global Holography Conference to India. ASPA recently partnered and exhibited at Smart Card Expo 2014, Label Expo India 2014 and is participating at The Holography Conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

Canada based Ryerson Futures Inc. & Chokhani Group to launch $15 Million Fund in India

Ryerson Futures Inc. and the Chokhani Group are launching a fund of up to USD $15 Million (Rs. 82.5 croresapprox) to invest in early stage technology businesses connected to Zone Startups India. The fund will seek to invest between $50,000 (Rs. 27,50,000 approx) and $500,000 (Rs. 2,75,00,000 approx) in 10-15 start-upsevery year.

“We have been active making early stage investments, and have seen tremendous interest in the market to also participate as well,” says Anil Chokhani.  “Partnering with an existing accelerator allows us to leverage the benefits of a formalized program.”

This fund will make investments in highly scalable technology startups who are part of the Zone Startups India accelerator, and also will seek to find new startups to bring in to the program.  The fund will be raising capital from both Corporates and other high net worth individuals.

“We are seeing many great startups come through Zone Startups India, (our Accelerator Program in Mumbai); launching a fund to help rapidly advance these startups is a logical next step now that we have been able to establish a strong network in India with our partners,” says Matt Saunders, President of Ryerson Futures Inc.  “Teaming up with Anil and Kirshna Chockhani increases the size of our network and amount of capital that we can invest to scale innovative technology companies.”

Interview with Laura Sullivan–a Grammy Award winner and a gem of a person

10580947_10152748609393714_1819068666683950438_oIt’s rare when I read an email interview and come to find such a touching statement at the end of it: ‘I intend to always keep my family as top priority.

I have almost never seen an internationally acclaimed artist being so gracefully declaring their preference–family is often something that is ignored if you are pursuing your career or craft zealously. With success comes the hard reality of having lesser time for your family. But here’s somebody whom I found uniquely careful about choosing their priorities.

Yes, my dear readers, I am talking about one of the finest piano players on earth, Laura Sullivan. Her pleasant demeanor will draw you to her. Let’s read what she has to say about some questions that I asked from her:


Q1. Tell us how music found you?

I was blessed to grow up in a family where music was appreciated and created with playful energy. Our instruments at home were used like toys and playing them was done with joy, rather than as a chore or as a requirement or demand.

Q2. What’s the most essential thing a musician should do to become an expert in the art?

Become obsessed with your craft. Tap in to your passion to the point where you never want to put your instrument down and crave to pick it up again when you do set it down. It’s also important to understand our genre and to be focused. It’s hard to do every style well and so better to focus on a style of music and develop or our own unique sound.

Q3. Do you feel music should be taught to kids as a must-have subject in school?

Yes. I believe all people to be naturally musical. It is a privilege to learn to create music and one I feel that every child deserves.

Q4. What are the options available to a young musician to sustain his living?

Teaching is a viable and honorable option, and one that can be a supplement to performing and selling or licensing one’s own compositions and recordings. Music for games and other media is a growing market and one I would recommend young people explore.

Q5. How do you feel music can bring people of the world together?

Music is our common language, and upon hearing it emotions are elicited that are common to all humanity. Music can open our hearts like nothing else can. Through this, we can understand and feel in our hearts, bodies and minds our connection as people.

Q6. Apart from music, what else you like to do?

Spend time with my family. I intend to always keep my family as top priority.

Q7. Share a message with our audience.

Let us lift each other up with love, compassion and music.

Museum Prado Madrid Paintings

Deemed as one of the most popularly thronged art galleries of the globe, Museum Prado Madrid is a feast to art lovers. The scintillating display of world’s stupendous artistic achievements classified under several categories makes this museum that a visitor to Madrid cannot miss out. Talking of paintings, the top highlights of the museum include the masterpieces of European artists like Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens, and Bosch in addition to an array of epoch making Italian and Flemish artists. What makes the paintings section of the museum daunting is the voluminous collection of much envied masterpieces of myriad variety that will bestow a highly fulfilling, rich and breathtaking experience to the lovers of painting. The paintings collection of Museo del Prado is around 7000 out of which only about 1500 are on display today. However, these classic pieces serve as a sort of window to peep into the grandeur achievement of different schools of European paintings.

Spanish painting

Talking of Spanish paintings, Museo del Prado is proud to house the largest and the top highlights belonging to this school. The total number of displays under this category number about 4,800 and contain pieces that date back from Romanesque period stretching till the 19th-century. Some of the masterpieces in this segment have been accomplished by renowned artists including Bartolomé Bermejo, Pedro Berruguete, Sánchez Coello, El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, Murillo, Alonso Cano, Velázquez, Goya, Vicente López, Fortuny, Carlos de Haes, the Madrazo, Rosales and Sorolla. However, the collection predominantly highlights two highly famed artists namely Velázquez and Goya. We find about 50 accomplishments by Velazquez, a sizeable number culled out from the Spanish Royal Collection. With a voluminous number of this great artist displayed here, the fact remains that understanding Velázquez’s works is impossible without a visit to this museum. The next highlight is the Goya collection numbering about 140. This personage was in the service of the Spanish royal family for a long time. However, from the royal collection of this artist, only a few are available here. The makers of the museum have taken many pains to acquire a collection of Goya’s works to project him on par with Velázquez. One of the notable pieces of Goya here is The Family of Charles IV.

Italian painting

The next value addition to the museum’s paintings segment is made by Italian paintings numbering over 1,000. A considerable chunk of this class is from the Italian royal collections. Till very late in the 19th century, the 14th and 15th century Italian paintings of the royal collection did not receive much recognition. Therefore, the number of pieces under this topic is scarcely limited. When we move on to the 15th century accomplishments, we come across the works of Fra Angelico, Mantegna, Antonello da Messina and Botticelli that offer a fulfilling experience. Emanating again from the royal collection, there is a good number of examples from the 16th-century paintings. Among the various schools that have contributed to this group, perhaps Venetian Schools lead in number and quality. Titan is the representative artist of this group with about 40 accomplishments of this renowned personage on display. We too find some exceptional works of Veronese, Tintoretto and the Bassano. A much heralded collection of Raphael is among the top highlights besides the works of Correggio and Parmigianino belonging to the Parma School, Sebastiano del Piombo representing the Roman School and Andrea del Sarto from Florentine. There is a large group of collections from the 17th- and 18th-century Italian paintings with a big number from the royal collection. Also, the paintings of Luca Giordano, Corrado Giaquinto and Giambattista Tiepolo will impress anyone.

Flemish painting

Museo del Prado has on display about 1,000 masterpieces from the Flemish Paintings with a major number of them from the royal collection. The most interesting segment of this class is the 15th- and 16th-century works. Felipe II had adoration for in the earlier Flemish Primitive paintings and therefore, he had gathered a number of accomplishments by some of the leading artists of this school like Rogier van der Weyden to Bosch and Patinir. In the royal court, Anthonis Mor made a significant contribution. Aprt from these works, the paintings of Jan van Eyck and Hugo van der Goes have got a good representation here. Some of the most striking works in Flemish Paintings are those of Rubens and there are about 90 of them. The museum also displays the works of Jan “Velvet” Brughel, Paul de Vos and David Teniers.

French painting

A visitor to Museo del Prado is enthralled by about 300 works of the French School of Painting ensuing from the Spanish royal collection. The array of works represents works from the 16th to 19th centuries with the top highlights belonging to the accomplishments of the 17th- and 18th- centuries. The notable works are those of Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorraine. Royal collectors of the Bourbon dynasty had a fancy from the works of French Art and they gathered some interesting paintings of Watteau, Coypel and Rigaud.

German painting

We do not find many works from the German School of paintings in the museum. With a number of them hailing from the royal collections, there are some classic pieces from the works of Albrecht Dürer, who was considered as one of the leaders in the German School of Painting. The notable ones are those of Carlos III’s court painter Anton Rafael Mengs. From the 16th century, we find four impressive works of Dürer comprising a Self-portrait, Adam, Eve, and the painting of an Unidentified Man, which were all gathered by Felipe IV. However, the top highlights are the striking panels by Hans Baldung Grien, Harmony, and The Ages of Man and Death. There are also two accomplishments by Lucas Cranach the Elder titled Hunt made in honor of Carlos V at Torgau Castle and the other one made in honor of Ferdinand I, Roman King, at Torgau Castle. The major number of the 18th century German paintings is mastered by Mengs. This renowned painter has made some classic court pieces of the Spanish, Neapolitan and Tuscan court.

Dutch painting

The Museo del Prado has displayed about 200 paintings belonging to the 17th-century Dutch School. We can have an idea of the different straits of this school though the disappointment is due to the absence of works by Vermeer and Frans Hals. Some impressive pieces in this section were done by Rembrandt’s Judith, Matthias Stomer and Solomon de Bray. Highlights in this section include The Incredulity of Saint Thomas and Judith and Holofernes and the still lifes by the leading artists of the Haarlem School namely Pieter Claesz, Willem Claesz Heda and Jan Davidsz de Heem. We too find the works of Philips Wouwerman and Adriaen van Otade besides those of Jan Both, Herman van Swanevelt and Jacob van Ruisdael. Gabriel Metsu’s Dead Cockerel is a representative piece of animal painting, the striking genre of the Dutch painting.

British painting

Prado has a scarce number of British paintings and we can understand this from the political conflicts between Spain and England that lasted for over four centuries. Though not many, there are some masterpieces under this segment, which were acquired in the 20th century, with a major number of them accomplished in the late 18th century by artists like Reynolds, Gainsborough, Romney and Hoppner. The top highlights are those of Thomas Lawrence likethe portraits of John Fane and Miss Martha Carr. We too find three striking works of David Roberts namely The Torre de Oro, Seville, The Castle of Alcalá de Guadaira and The Interior of the Mosque, Cordoba.

USIBC Takes US-India Smart Cities Initiative Forward

USIBC takes next step to develop Smart Cities in follow-up to Modi-Obama September Joint Statement
The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) announced it has concluded its weeklong mission in India with the U.S.-India Smart Cities Conclave on Saturday. Senior Cabinet-level officials from the Government of India welcomed U.S. industry leaders to address concerns and promote ideas to advance the goal of developing Allahabad, Ajmer and Visakhapatnam into smart cities as articulated in the joint statement between President Obama and Prime Minister Modi earlier this year.


Smart Cities are the integration of information technology, telecommunications, urban planning, smart infrastructure and operations in an environment geared to maximize the quality of life for a city’s population.


Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu commented, “Smart Cities planned in India should reflect Indian culture and should not be a copy of any one model. There are a lot of opportunities for private-public partnerships in the area of smart-city development and the government is looking forward to involving everyone in these projects. Smart Cities in India will be people-centric and will aim at making life comfortable for all citizens.”


The conclave is the first of many events resulting from USIBC Chairman and MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga’s delegation meetings with ministry officials in June. Panels addressed the issues of economic development and financial viability of proposed projects.


“The Council and its member companies look to play an integral role in India’s commitment to build 100 Smart Cities across the nation and particularly in the three projects identified in September,” said USIBC (Acting) President Diane Farrell. “Smart Cities are sophisticated systems designed to simplify everyday life and USIBC has graciously accepted the invitation to visit the three cities.”


Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal noted that these Smart Cities “need to reflect a revolution and evolution of ideas.” Additional key government officials included Secretary, DIPP, Ministry of Commerce and Industry Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Shankar Aggarwal and Joint Secretary for Finance, Sharmila Chavaly and key U.S. Government officials.


A consortium of experienced industry leaders from USIBC member companies including, IBM, Cisco, Waste Management, Dow, GE and United Technologies Corporation discussed the role that industry will play as India develops Ajmer, Allahabad, and Visakhapatnam into Smart Cities and establishes sustainable economies and healthy communities.


The Conclave comes at the culmination of key business and government interactions throughout the week for the Council; including the India-U.S. Technology Summit, the very successful meeting of the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group, and ahead of the Trade Policy Forum, reconvening after a four-year hiatus.

Best small business to start

Life is filled with special occasions. Special occasions bring people opportunities to greet their near and dear ones. One of the most effective and economical way of greeting people is with greeting cards. Setting up a greetings card shop can perhaps make one of the most lucrative businesses. You need to understand the likings and preferences of people. There are a number of readymade cards available from wholesale dealers and printers. You can source the greeting cards from them and display them in a neat way in your own shop. To start with, you can begin your venture in a little space. There are a number of ways in which you can further add more value to the cards you purchase. You may use some colorful ribbons, bead works, jewel enhancements and can further decorate the cards in myriad ways that will attract more number of people to your shop.

Cards are filled with sentiments. The messages contained in cards are highly powerful mediums to reach out the hearts of the recipients. People who gift the cards would like to see that their cards carry powerful custom messages neatly written with a calligraphic handwriting. Therefore, you may also offer to write out the message for the buyers if they prefer. You just need to tell them that such custom message services are available with you. If you are good in content making, you can also suggest them with the custom message that will suit their requirements. Thus, in the greeting cards business, you can add your painting sense, craft making talents, content writing skills and handwriting skills. Once people come to know that your cards carry more custom aspects and value added advantages, they will come to you and also refer you to others. You can charge them depending on the services you provide. In this way, greeting cards shop can make a lucrative business for small entrepreneurs.

Best small businesses in India

There are different kinds of rentals for varied needs of people. You can start a rental shop in several sectors. One of the most popular rentals shop is renting out cooking utensils and event needs. Cooking for big events require large utensils that people do not use every day. Therefore, the only way to get them is through renting out from utensil renting shops. The basic requirements for a utensil renting shop can be procured with little investment. You just need to invest the major part in buying the most popularly used kind of utensils from large scale manufacturers or wholesale suppliers. You can set up the renting outlet in a small space. Once you make a humble beginning, you can develop it eventually to great proportions.

In addition to cooking utensils, you can also include ready-made canopies to cover the event areas, tarpaulins, decorative festoons, hangings, background draperies and others. Once you set up your renting unit with the basic kind of items, you can expand your venture as you like in the long run. To run the renting business you need to know a few things. You need to take some advance from the people who rent out things from your shop. You need to make a proper inventory of the things that you supply and obtain their signature against the list of items supplied. It is always advisable to have your own transport arrangements to transport the goods to and from the event venue. However, to begin with, you can make some contractual arrangements with rental transport vehicles. You may also collect the transport charges along with the rental charges. Once you supply quality materials and good looking decorative items, people will come back to your for their recurring needs besides referring you to others too. Thus you have an opportunity to develop your business to phenomenal heights.

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