In Mum­bai, Dead In­dus­trial Hubs Turn Assem­bly Line for Star­tups

Of­fer new ven­tures great value for money due to low rent, lo­ca­tion

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Jochelle.Men­donca @times­group.com

Mum­bai: An old four-floor build­ing with large godown-like rooms and a slow-mov­ing goods el­e­va­tor, the Tan­tia-Jo­gani In­dus­trial Es­tate in mid­town Mum­bai may not be any­one’s idea of a snazzy startup of­fice lo­ca­tion. But, next to flex-print­ing firms and mak­ers of tex­turised yarn are star­tups such as the e-com­merce firm The Souled Store and gourmet food kit provider iChef.

In a city where garages are con­spic­u­ous by their ab­sence, such old man­u­fac­tur­ing estates are draw­ing en­trepreneurs look­ing for af­ford­able of­fice spa­ces. “The main rea­son we went there was cost. Rents in more pop­u­lar lo­ca­tions for star­tups weren’t fit­ting in our bud­get,” The Souled Store’s co-founder Aditya Sharma told ET.

Key Patan­jali pa­trons in­clud­ing of­fice bear­ers Prashanth-ji and Acharya Balkr­ishna also ad­dressed the stu­dents be­fore they went to the Patan­jali Swadeshi Prod­ucts Fa­cil­ity, its cow farm and the Acharya Ku­lam. The stu­dents were also taken for a visit to Par­marth Nike­tan Ashram and Har ki Pauri dur­ing the trip. ICCR se­nior pro­gramme di­rec­tor Padam Tal­war told ET that there was no par­tic­u­lar rea­son for pick­ing Patan­jali Yogpeeth as host for the stu­dent tour.

“This is not re­ally for sen­si­ti­sa­tion to In­dian cul­ture but as a study tour or just like hol­i­days. We have not cho­sen Patan­jali Yogpeeth. They are of­fer­ing cer­tain fa­cil­i­ties with­out any in­ter­est and charges, so maybe it was in­volved. There is no par­tic­u­lar rea­son. It’s more a vol­un­tary thing mainly be­cause yoga is com­ing up in a big way,” Tal­war told ET.

Ramdev’s or­gan­i­sa­tion is emerg­ing as one of the largest man­u­fac­tur­ers of consumer goods in In­dia un­der the Patan­jali brand. He’s also courted con­tro­versy with state­ments re­garded by some as be­ing di­vi­sive.

ICCR’s top of­fi­cials didn’t re­spond to queries.

In its Con­fer­ence on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion in In­dia for For­eign Stu­dents held on March 21 and 22, ICCR said: “To in­tro­duce for­eign stu­dents with In­dian cul­ture and her­itage, ICCR par­tic­i­pated in a camp for the ben­e­fit of for­eign stu­dents or­gan­ised by Hindu Her­itage Foun­da­tion at Harid­war and Rishikesh.”

At its con­fer­ence, ICCR em­pha­sised the need for hand­hold­ing for­eign stu­dents through their stay in In­dia and also in­tro­duc­ing them to In­dian cul­ture and her­itage in keep­ing with the larger aim of de­vel­op­ing so­cial and cul­tural en­gage­ment with all na­tions.

Jaideep Arya, chief cen­tral co­or­di­na­tor of the Patan­jali Yogpeeth Trust, con­firmed to ET that ICCR had sent for­eign stu­dents for a camp in Harid­war.

“Yes, we did host for­eign stu­dents from ICCR. We of­ten do that. We have ear­lier also hosted for­eign stu­dents from Ger­many, Tan­za­nia and Italy,” Arya told ET.

ICCR is in the process of step­ping up ef­forts to draw for­eign schol­ars to In­dia, a move that got added im­pe­tus when Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi an­nounced at the In­dia-Africa sum­mit in Oc­to­ber 2015 that the num­ber of schol­ar­ships to for­eign stu­dents would be in­creased to 50,000. ICCR or­gan­ises reg­u­lar sum­mer and win­ter camps for scho- lar­ship hold­ers as well as for those who fund their own stud­ies in In­dia to ac­quaint them with his­tor­i­cal, cul­tural and other places of in­ter­est. As per the ICCR web­site, dur­ing the sum­mer months, it ar­ranges tours to hill sta­tions such as Ku­luManali, Ud­haga­man­dalam (Ooty), Shimla etc. and in win­ter to sea­side re­sorts such as Goa and Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram.

In a Fe­bru­ary 16 cir­cu­lar, ICCR said a four-day tour of Harid­war and Rishiskesh would be or­gan­ised “to in­tro­duce for­eign stu­dents to In­dian cul­ture.” The cir­cu­lar said the coun­cil would con­sid­er­ably sub­sidise the trip and a for­eign stu­dent on ICCR schol­ar­ship would be re­quired to pay no more than Rs1,000 per day while for self-fi­nanc­ing stu­dents it would be Rs 1,500 per day.

Nearly 500 for­eign stu­dents were taken to Ma­ha­rash­tra, Goa and Ker­ala on sim­i­lar win­ter camps by ICCR be­tween Novem­ber 2015 and Jan­uary 2016 and an­other 500 were ex­pected to be hosted in the sum­mer camps.

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