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Want to upgrade Royal Enfield community with new 650 cc twins: Eicher CEO

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Royal Enfield
Royale Enfield

Panaji, Dec 4: Royal Enfield, known for its iconic 350 cc Bullet, is now all set to upgrade to the next level of performance bikes — Interceptor and Continental GT — both powered by 650 cc twin engines. And the company wants country’s market for high-power motor cycles to grow.

In a candid interview with IANS here, Siddhartha Lal, the CEO and Managing Director of Eicher Motors, the mother company of Royal Enfield, said the two new motorcycles will “upgrade” the Royal Enfield community with performance-oriented features.

“Our team here… most of them are riders and we try to talk to our customers, dealers most of the time, and what we understood was that a lot of our customers were delighted with what they currently have and it’s absolutely perfect for them,” Lal said.

Eicher Motor Ltd. CEO Siddhartha Lal

Eicher Motor Ltd. CEO Siddhartha Lal

“But certainly there is a set of customers who now have been riding bikes for five-ten years and are now looking at the next level of performance… they like Royal Enfield, they like what we stand for, they like our style, but they want a bit more performance,” he said.

The Interceptor and Continental GT 650 cc twins were unveiled in Goa last month during the Royal Enfield’s ninth annual Ridermania.

Both motorcycles are powered by the all-new 650 cc, air-cooled parallel twin engines with oil cooler for enhanced performance. The fuel injected motor claims to deliver 47 PS of power at 7,100 rpm and a peak torque of 52 Nm at 4,000 rpm.

“It is really to start up with a motorcycle that, we believe, our community is interested in. We have 2.5 million customers since we started this new generation of motorcycles in 2009-2010,” he said.

He pointed out that “there is a good number here (in India), who are interested in getting to the next level of performance and that is what it is about”.

Elaborating on the need to bring 650 cc motorcycles, Lal said: “That’s obvious… company has to progress and for us the decision was (if you are making a new motorcycle) to go down or go up. Currently we have our products between 350 cc and 500 cc. We could have gone down to 250 cc or gone up above 500 cc. Or we could have gone parallel in the way we went with Himalayan (with 411 cc).”

“But we decided that we don’t want to go down where there are a lot of other players,” he said, adding: “We want to grow the market in the same way we grew the market of 350 cc, which didn’t exist before Royal Enfield.”

Lal, optimistic of growing the market for 650 cc motorcycles in India, said that in the old days it was a very small market and in the last one decade “we have grown the market”.

“We grew the market with 350 cc and 500 cc; we will do the same with the 650 cc. It doesn’t exist in India; the 650 cc market is very tiny in India, as very few motorcycles sell here and we think with the 650 cc we can grow that market,” he said.

Commenting on the export plans of the new offerings, Lal said: “Very importantly we think that this motor cycle will be absolutely spot on for markets outside of India, because the average speed, highway speed and riding speeds in markets outside of India are normally higher.”

“So we are looking for slightly higher level of performance than today. And these motorcycles will certainly help us get into the mainstream in the export market,” he said.

“In the international market we have an open field; we have people coming down from other emerging markets like Latin America and Southeast Asia,” he said.

Both new motorcycles have been engineered and fine-tuned for enhanced agility that can handle different terrain and speeds with ease while retaining the classic style. They are equipped with front and rear disc brakes with ABS, 18-inch front and rear Pirelli tyres and twin shock absorbers.

The gearbox is augmented by its “slip/assist” clutch that facilitates easy riding in traffic with a light feel and prevents wheel-hop when downshifting gears — also a first for Royal Enfield.

The chassis has been developed from the ground up by the team at Royal Enfield’s UK Technology Centre and Harris Performance.

IANS

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Tips to tackle pre-wedding blues

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As most brides-to-be aspire for a fairytale wedding, they often neglect the stress and anxiety that comes along with it. Don’t get too consumed and do take care of your mental health, experts suggest.

Shreyasi Ghosh, Content Head, The Wedding Brigade and Saket Nath Tiwari, Psychiatrist, National Mental Health Programme, Ghaziabad, have shared their thoughts on importance of mental health — whether you’re a bride-to-be with a pre-existing mental health disorder or one with a serious case of pre-wedding blues:

* Accept your condition: As in the case of every other problem, even with depression, acceptance is the first step towards getting better. Even if your first reaction to your diagnosis is denial, know that acceptance is extremely empowering. It prepares you for your next step towards recovery. Acceptance, however, does not mean resignation to your problem. It means understanding you have special needs and finding those to better equip yourself to feel calmer and happier.

* Talk to people you trust: Remember when you were little and thought there was a monster under your bed? You would tell your parents. After every bad breakup, you would call up your best friend and share. Just like that, you need to share your mental health struggles with a few trusted loved ones. There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to this at all. If you are stressed about wedding planning, if you are struggling with daily anxiety or are just generally unwell, your loved ones deserve to know so that they can help you.

* Confide in your partner: Remember, this is a person who has promised to be with you in sickness and in health — and mental health counts as well. If you’re going to share a life together, you owe it to him/her to explain your condition. You can always trust your spouse to understand your condition, offer you unconditional emotional support and love you nonetheless. Trust us, your relationship will be all the better for it.

* Understand your triggers: Maybe it’s the stress of wedding planning, maybe it’s the dread of speaking to nosey, disapproving relatives, maybe it’s the shock of wedding expenses or the struggles to fit into your bridal lehenga — you need to understand your anxiety triggers. It’s a long and arduous process but it can help you identify the warning signs and minimise, if not totally avoid, a breakdown or a relapse. Remember, the 6-month countdown to your wedding is pretty challenging.

* Find a safe space: It can be your best friend’s house, a trusted relative’s place, your therapist’s chair, a spa retreat or simply a walk in the park…safe spaces help you distance yourself from depression triggers and cope with anxiety attacks in a relatively stress-free environment. When planning a wedding with long-term mental health issues, you must identify your safe spaces where you can retreat to for a much-needed break, every time you feel a depressive phase or an anxiety attack coming along.

* Take self-care days: Much ridiculed as a millennial whim but actually proven to be very effective in tackling depression, self-care days give you a break and lets you unwind a little. Take a few days off from work and/or wedding planning, go for a short holiday, treat yourself to some tender, love, care with spa, facials, massages, spend some time with your furry friends, meet a friend for some heart-to-heart, try a social media detox, go for a long run or nap the whole day — the ideas are endless. You just need to find what works best for you.

* Seek medical help: Dear brides-to-be, if all measures fail, never ever feel scared or ashamed to see a psychiatrist for treatment and medication, just like you’d see a doctor for any other health disorder. Remember, the sooner you start treating your health issues the higher are the chances of you feeling better.

* Know that nothing is perfect and it’s okay: There are so much societal pressures of perfection on new brides that it is not surprising a lot of them suffer from major wedding anxieties. The problem is even worse for brides with pre-existing medical problems. Remember it is your wedding, an opportunity to create some of the happiest memories of your lifetime. Try not to ruin it in the pursuit of perfection. At the end of the day, your husband-to-be, your family and friends will love you despite everything and will make sure your wedding is a beautiful day to remember. So sit back and enjoy the ride without stressing out over every little detail.

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Kids with family support more likely to stand up to bullying

There is a lot of research on bullying, but very little on the extent to which family factors affect whether bystanders will intervene if they see bullying

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INDIAN-MOM

New York, Nov 13 : Young people with good family relationships are more likely to intervene when they witness bullying or other aggressive behaviour at school and to step in if they see victims planning to retaliate, suggests new research.

The findings, published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, found that kids who were already excluded, or discriminated against by peers or teachers, were less likely to stand up for victims of bullying.

“There is a lot of research on bullying, but very little on the extent to which family factors affect whether bystanders will intervene if they see bullying,” said study lead author Kelly Lynn Mulvey, Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University in the US.

Peer interventions are very effective at stopping bullying and preventing future aggressive behaviours. However, these interventions are fairly rare, according to Mulvey.

For the study, the team examined 450 sixth grade students and 446 ninth grade students who completed a survey aimed at collecting data on their relationships with family, peers and teachers.

They were also given six scenarios, each of which dealt with a specific aggressive act — physical aggression, cyberbullying, social exclusion, or rejection by a group, intimate partner violence, social aggression, such as teasing or mean-spirited gossip, and exclusion by a former friend.

For each scenario, students were asked to rate the aggressive act on a six-point scale, from “really not OK” (1) to “really OK” (6). Students used the same scale to judge the acceptability of intervening.

The results showed that the stronger a student reported ‘good family management,’ or positive family relationships, the more likely a student was to deem aggressive behaviour and retaliation unacceptable, and the more likely they were to intervene in either case.

“The study tells us that both home and school factors are important for recognising bullying behaviour as inappropriate and taking steps to intervene. It highlights the value of positive school environments and good teachers, and the importance of family support, when it comes to addressing bullying,” Mulvey noted.

IANS

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India’s higher education system needs drastic changes to address tech-induced challenges

Further, India’s GER for the male population is 26.3 per cent and 25.4 per cent for females. The GER also varies across different social groups — 21.8 per cent for the Scheduled Castes and 15.9 per cent for the Scheduled Tribes.

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As the world stands on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, powered by a wide range of new technology breakthroughs such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), advanced robotics, Internet of Things IoT), Cloud computing and 3D printing, major changes are expected in the labour market globally.

There will be reduced demand for middle-skilled workers doing repetitive tasks and increased demand for more highly-skilled workers — and also low-skilled workers doing non-routine work. While many developed countries, such as the US and Japan, as also several European economies, are already experiencing this polarisation, the labour market is also hollowing out in many developing countries, although at a rate slower than the developed world.

In the case of India, this polarisation can be seen in the organised manufacturing sector, where the share of high-skilled occupations in total manufacturing employment increased by more than three percentage points, while the share of middle-skilled jobs decreased by 6.3 percentage points from 1993-94 to 2011-12. Looking at the impact of technological progress on various manufacturing industries, the capital-intensive industries, such as automobile manufacturers, have a greater probability of adopting advanced automation and robotic technologies, compared to labour-intensive manufacturing industries such as textile, apparel, leather and footwear, and paper manufacturers.

Further, in the services sector, particularly in the IT sector, e-commerce, banking and financial services and health care services, there is a huge potential for automation technologies, which would increase the demand for skilled workers and reduce the demand for middle-skilled workers.

However, in India, over 80 per cent of the working population is engaged in low-skilled jobs in the unorganised sector. These low-skilled workers aspire to join the middle-skilled workforce in the organised sector to raise themselves from poverty. However, the changing nature of work due to technology advancements in the organised sector prevents their upward labour mobility and any improvement in their incomes.

Addressing these challenges requires reforms in India’s higher education system. The institutes of higher learning should shun dated teaching methodologies and redesign the course curriculum by understanding key market transitions amidst the technological advancements. This would enable the country to create a workforce which could be placed in the positions demanded by the companies in the digital era and thus bridge the skill gap in the labour market.

However, looking at the current state of higher education in India, one can see that it is not just the quality of the system which needs to be improved. There is also much to be done in terms of the number of students enrolled in the institutes of higher learning. The Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in tertiary education in India is 26.9 per cent, which is lower than that of China (48.4 per cent), Indonesia (27.9 per cent) and the Philippines (35.3 per cent), among others.

Further, India’s GER for the male population is 26.3 per cent and 25.4 per cent for females. The GER also varies across different social groups — 21.8 per cent for the Scheduled Castes and 15.9 per cent for the Scheduled Tribes.

There are also wide variations in the number of colleges for higher education across different states in India, with the lowest number of seven colleges in Bihar for every 0.1 million of eligible population to 51 in Telangana and Karnataka. The top eight states in terms of highest number of colleges are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh, which have 28 or more colleges per 0.1 million of the population. The disparity in the distribution of the colleges is also seen across different districts in these states, with the top 50 districts having about 32.6 per cent of the colleges.

In addition to the inequalities existing in the access to institutions for higher education, another issue is that a majority of the students are enrolled in undergraduate level programmes, compared to the Masters and the Doctoral programmes. Moreover, at the undergraduate level, there is a low pass-out rate — out of 2,90,16,350 students enrolled at undergraduate level, only 6,419,639 passed-out in 2017.

It is imperative for the country to address these issues given that the Indian system of higher education faces multiple challenges of low gross enrollment in its colleges and universities, with predominance of students settling on undergraduate studies, along with various socio-economic inequalities existing in access to higher learning. Further, emphasis must be placed on increasing the number of students who pass out of the colleges/universities, along with increasing enrollment numbers.

The technology-induced skill gap which the Indian economy is facing across different sectors is bound to widen with the current higher education system. Change has to be brought from outside the existing constructs. Improvement in the teaching methodology from the traditional lecture courses, accreditation of online courses, along with redesigning the course curriculum to be more industry relevant are some of the ways the technology-led changes in the labour market can be dealt with.

(Amit Kapoor is chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at [email protected] and tweets @kautiliya. Deepti Mathur, senior researcher at large, Institute for Competitiveness has contributed to the article)

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