Ford, a worldwide provider of cars and trucks, is banking on a new SUV to boost its sales in India. According to The Wall Street Journal, this automotive manufacturer plans to market the EcoSport, a compact SUV, to Indian consumers in 2013.
Indian car buyers may enjoy the EcoSport for its energy-efficient options. Three versions of the SUV are available – two gasoline-powered models and one diesel-engine option – and could prove to be top choices for automotive enthusiasts throughout the country.
Will EcoSport models sell quickly in India?
In the financial year ending March 31, 2013, Ford’s automotive sales in India fell 17 percent, but the company is hoping for a significant rebound thanks in part to its EcoSport models. Because a liter of diesel is about 21 percent less than gasoline at New Delhi pumps, these vehicles could be attractive options for many cost-conscious motorists.
Additionally, several EcoSport models have turbo-charged gasoline engines for those who want to fulfill their need for speed. Meanwhile, these engines are also eco-friendly and fuel efficient, getting about 44.5 miles to a gallon.
Beginning in June, the EcoSport will be offered across India. The vehicle may significantly influence the nation’s economy, its residents and those who work in the U.S. and send money to family members back home.
Indian officials look for ways to boost struggling automotive market
Reuters reports India’s car market has struggled recently due to slower-than-expected economic growth. However, the market could improve quickly, particularly as the global economy continues to rebound from the recession of the late 2000s.
Hironori Kanayama, Honda chief executive officer, said that he is ready to invest in the Indian economy as well. In fact, Kanayama is one of several car industry leaders who expects big things from the nation’s economy over the next few years.
“Of course it’s a pity that the economy is sluggish, but it doesn’t worry us at all,” Kanayama told the news source. ”The potential is very high here. Our investment is based on such long-term projections.”
India’s large population is leading many car manufacturers to invest in the area, and these companies could provide significant support to the country’s economy. By 2020, several car industry analysts are expecting India’s automotive sales to hit 6 million.
“The entire structural story of India’s car potential still holds true, despite the current cyclical downturn,” automotive equities expert Jinesh Gandhi told the news source.
Spending time in India is ideal for travelers who want to explore the globe. Additionally, the country is a top choice for many people who want to enjoy first-rate hotels, as the nation is home to some of the world’s most popular hospitality venues.
For example, CNN notes that a regal residence in Jodhpur, called the Umaid Bhavan, is one of several that many Indian visitors are sure to appreciate. This hotel palace costs around $450 per night and features 64 luxury suites, giving travelers plenty of rooms to choose from.
The Taj Group, which manages this residence, has devoted significant resources to ensure that visitors can make the most of their vacations. As a result, travelers can enjoy a wide range of amenities and features that have helped the hotel earn global praise.
Indian palace hotels also provide glimpses into the past. The buildings are architectural masterpieces, and even though many of these structures have been updated, various international travelers make trips to them to learn more about the nation’s history and what it was like to live in the country hundreds of years ago.
“It’s as if you are stepping back in time and you can have that same experience but with air conditioning, with WiFi and [with] your Grohe shower head,” Taj Group spokesperson Raymond Bickson told the news source.
Many Indian travelers prefer metros
Recent data indicates that Indian metropolitan cities are becoming increasingly popular with overseas travelers. Hospitality Biz India reports that statistics revealed that New Delhi was the most preferred Indian destination for international visitors. Meanwhile, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram were just a few of the other spots ranked in the top 10.
India’s culture has helped it draw many tourists over the years. Several annual events make it a great destination for vacationers or simply those who live in the U.S. and send money to family members in India.
Forbes contributor Laurie Werner points out that the World Sufi Spirit Festival in Rajasthan is a memorable event that many visitors enjoy year after year. This royal festival is held in February and features soulful music, dancing and performances that help make it fun for visitors of all ages.
The festival is held over the course of several days and is a wonderful experience for those who want to get a closer look at Indian culture. By attending this festival, international travelers can make the most of their trips to India and learn more about what makes this nation unique from other countries.
In an effort to improve its sales in India, Google has released first-rate LG Nexus 4 smartphones that feature Quad 4 processors, among the fastest of their kind on the market. According to The Financial Express, these mobile devices became available to Indian consumers on May 16, 2013, and could significantly affect smartphone shoppers around the country and those who live in the U.S. and send money to family members back home.
"LG Electronics is pleased to partner [with] Google on the release of the Nexus 4 in India," LG Electronics India managing director Soon Kwon told the news source.
The new Nexus 4 smartphones could be attractive for Indian consumers
With its recent releases, Google could boost its profits and extend its reach throughout India. The new Nexus 4 smartphones are available at retailers in Delhi, Mumbai, Thane, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Ahmedabad, and these shops may find large groups of patrons attracted to the mobile devices' myriad features.
Each Nexus 4 smartphone supports both 2G and 3G networks, and the gadgets have near field communication technology that enables users to make purchases or transfer data from their phones. Additionally, these smartphones have built-in cameras that allow users to snap photographs or complete video calls.
More smartphones will become available in India
Google is not the only smartphone manufacturer that is making its mark in India. The Economic Times reports that Panasonic also launched new smartphones in India in May 2013, the first time this company has unveiled devices to the country's consumers in more than half a decade.
Panasonic officials noted that the smartphone manufacturer is increasing its investments in its electronics sector, which may help it extend its global presence over the next few years. With its latest gadgets, Panasonic may study the devices' sales to see how they will respond before releasing them globally.
The Panasonic smartphones could help this electronics manufacturer make headway against Apple and Samsung, the two companies that currently dominate India's smartphone market. Panasonic's devices, Android phones, have 5-inch high-definition LCD screens, 8-megapixel rear cameras and other features that could make them popular choices for many Indian consumers.
If more smartphone manufacturers search for ways to extend their reach, these firms could look to Indian consumers for support. Meanwhile, smartphone buyers around the country could have plenty of options to choose from, and the nation's economy could benefit as well.
Smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly important throughout India, particularly for those who live outside the country and send money to family members back home. The ability to interact with one another is vital, and many state-of-the-art gadgets are significantly affecting various Indian citizens. Mobile devices can make it easier for Indian residents to connect with family members and friends across great distances, and new gadgets may lead more people to invest in first-rate devices over the next few years.
NDTV Gadgets notes that electronics manufacturer ZTE will release numerous mobile devices in India this year, which could affect many of the nation's citizens. This company is focusing on premium tablets and affordable smartphones that could help it boost its profits in India.
"With our foray into the open handset market in India, we want to become a dominant player here," ZTE India chief executive officer Xu Dejun told the news source.
Many Indian business owners could purchase tablets soon
The corporate world moves quickly, and Indian business operators are just some of the professionals who are looking to keep pace. By investing in tablets, these company leaders could help their firms grow exponentially in short periods of time.
In AMI-Partners' 2013 India SMB Mobility Landscape, Opportunity Assessment & Outlook, researchers found that more small and medium-sized Indian businesses could use tablets to manage everyday tasks in the near future. Data revealed that roughly 67 percent of these Indian companies intend to purchase at least one tablet over the next 12 months.
The study also showed that many company officials want tablets because the mobile devices provide immediate and long-term value. These gadgets allow business administrators to stay up to date on their regular operations, which may allow them to become more productive and efficient.
AMI-Partners official Dev Chakravarty said that Apple has produced an operating system that many Indian tablet users have enjoyed as well. The Apple OS has helped this electronics manufacturer become a market leader among Indian business owners, and researchers noted that about 40 percent of Indian companies that plan to purchase tablets in the next year intend to buy iPads.
Additionally, many Indian business leaders are making informed decisions before buying tablets, considering myriad factors to make the best investments for their firms.
"Research reveals the major factors that these companies consider before purchasing a tablet include: processor speed, high-speed wireless broadband capability, reliability of service and support, built-in security capabilities, extended battery life and overall brand image," Chakravarty said.
Tablets are also being used to promote good health
In May 2013, the Safe Water Network announced an initiative to share water safety information in some of India's rural communities. Network officials are using tablets to provide information to Indian residents, which may help more citizens understand the importance of safe water.
"In the midst of technology's growing reach, the [tablet] campaign is an innovative program that will make people aware about water safety," initiative spokesperson Dr. Aidan Cronin said.
By using tablets, Indian community members can quickly find out exactly where clean water is located. Because safe water is crucial for cooking and drinking, those who can easily access it could benefit.
Meanwhile, the increased use of technology around India may also have far-flung effects on the nation. If more Indian residents depend on tablets regularly, these people could invest in top-notch mobile devices that allow them to access a wealth of information. Quality gadgets could even help the country's economy expand, as more mobile device manufacturers may consider supplying Indian consumers with a vast array of products.
With a population of more than 1.24 billion people, India remains a world power, and the nation could increase its investments in the global economy over the next few decades. According to Reuters, several World Bank officials stated that India is expected to be among the biggest investors in the international economy by 2030.
If India invests in developing countries, it could noticeably increase its revenue in a short period of time. The news source notes that India could earn around 7 percent for every dollar it invests in these nations, and the additional funds may help Indian residents and those who work in the U.S. and send money back home.
However, World Bank spokesperson Maurizio Bussolo said that plenty of work lies ahead before a complete global economic recovery can occur. While Indian officials may invest in smaller nations, it could take time for these administrators to see significant profits.
"In terms of our projections, we see the increased importance of developing countries," Bussolo told the news source. "But behind that, there is a lot of work to do, and very little time."
The Indian economy could expand in 2013
Indian Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told NDTV that he expects 2013 to be a pivotal year for the Indian economy. Because the nation's officials have taken numerous steps to bolster the country's economy, Ahluwalia stated that India may see a notable revenue increase in the immediate future.
"Absolutely no doubt that  is going to be a turnaround year," Ahluwalia told the news source. "I think if we do 6 [percent revenue growth] this year, people will be certain that we can do 7 [percent] and 8 [percent] after that."
India's declining inflation rate is one of several signs that the country's economy may be rebounding from the economic downturn of the late 2000s. While the recession negatively affected many countries, India's inflation rate recently fell below 5 percent. Ahluwalia said that this figure could reach 3 or 4 percent as India continues its economic recovery, which may have significant effects on business operators and residents around the country.
Meanwhile, Ahluwalia also recognized that more investors could devote resources to India, especially if the nation shows new signs of economic progress. As the country's fiscal situation improves, investors may find a wealth of opportunities in the country that could quickly deliver substantial rewards.
While many Indian athletes are drawn to cricket, badminton is quickly gaining momentum nationwide. In fact, an Indian athletic apparel distributor recently noted that badminton could overtake cricket as the country's most-popular sport.
According to Sportskeeda, Navendu Jain, a spokesperson with an Adidas distributor in India, said that badminton is becoming increasingly popular with large groups of Indian residents and those who work in the U.S. and send money to family members and friends in the country. If various sporting goods suppliers highlight badminton products throughout India, more people could become interested in this sport.
"Badminton has the ability to surpass cricket and football in India," Jain told the news source. "But that is some distance away."
A new badminton league could help build an Indian fan base
Those who want to watch live badminton could have plenty of opportunities in India over the next few years. Al Jazeera reports that a new professional Indian badminton league was recently launched and could lead many younger athletes to start playing the sport.
As part of the league, franchises have been set up in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Lucknow and Hyderabad. Additionally, Indian badminton teams intend to take steps to help attract some of the world's top players.
"The popularity of badminton has not translated into success in terms of tournaments, but we will change that," Ashish Chadha, chief executive of sports management firm Sporty Solutionz, told the news source.
More badminton activities available to younger Indian citizens
To date, badminton has already made quite a racket among Indian adolescents. The sport is played in many parks around the country, and the new badminton league could make it even more popular for both kids and adults.
"There are some 150 badminton academies in New Delhi alone. In Hyderabad, there are some 5,000 [athletes] playing competitively," Chadha told the news source. "These figures give an idea of the potential for the sport."
Badminton could also play an important role in India's economy down the line. If more players are drawn to the sport, various marketing opportunities could become available to Indian companies and other businesses across the globe. Meanwhile, Indian residents could spend money on tickets to watch badminton games played by some of the world's top players at sports venues around the country, which may enable companies throughout the nation to noticeably improve their profits.
The global recession of the late 2000s has been tough on many countries, including India. Fortunately, Indian residents have recently received a substantial economic boost from their gold and silver imports.
According to Reuters, India's gold and silver imports rose 138 percent between April 2012 and April 2013. Meanwhile, world gold and silver prices recently fell, which may significantly impact India's economy in the near future.
"The surge in gold imports in April could have been due to frontloading of demand given the fall in gold prices, but this demand will come off in the next few months," India economist Siddhartha Sanyal told the news source.
Demand for India's gold is increasing around the world
Gold is a hot commodity worldwide, and Indian residents and those who work in the U.S. and send money to family members back home could be affected by its fluctuating value.
In April 2013, India's imports increased 10.9 percent on a year-over-year basis, thanks in part to the high demand for gold. While the price of gold fell in April, it has steadily increased since that time, a trend that may continue as the Indian economy continues to improve.
Additionally, the demand for gold could create new opportunities for Indian retailers. If more consumers request gold products, more jobs could become available, which may help create new employment opportunities across India.
Indian online retailers are selling gold and silver
The Indian Express points out that Bullion India recently launched an online platform to sell gold and silver to consumers. This merchant intends to supply large quantities of gold and silver at low prices and is even offering various delivery options to customers around the globe.
"Bullion India is the best platform through which retail customers can own gold and silver bars in small denominations at the lowest prices," Bullion India executive director Ketan Kothari told the news source.
With Bullion India, customers can enjoy gold bars that comply with international standards and are safely stored at all times. A professional security agency ensures that gold and silver is protected, and Bullion India also offers full insurance to clients.
As the global economy improves, more consumers could show interest in India's gold and silver sector. By offering these products to customers, Indian residents may receive significant profits that could help the nation for extended periods of time.
One of India's most accomplished and successful actors was recently honored for his career in the film industry, bringing entertainment to millions of people for more than half a century.
Pran Krishan Sikand, better known to fans of his and the movie business in general as "Pran," is the 2012 recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. What the lifetime achievement award is to the Oscars, the Saheb Phake is to India and Bollywood.
Anupam Kher, a contemporary of Pran's and Bollywood legend – featured in U.S. films including "Silver Linings Playbook and "Bend It Like Beckham," congratulated the 93-year-old movie icon via Twitter.
"Delighted that Pran Saab is finally given the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award," said Kher, according to the Times of India. "Sir, in my mind I congratulated you 20 years back."
Also offering salutations through the social media provider was director Madhur Bhandarkar.
"Congratulations Pran saab for the Dadasaheb Phalke award – this is much deserved," said Bhandarkar, the newspaper reports. "This award is mainly for the varied kind of roles he played right from menacing to extremely positive characters, which he brought alive on the silver screen."
Those who transfer money to India have likely provided their family members with the ability to see Pran in action at some point over the years. Known for portraying the role of the villain or antagonist, the 93-year-old has been in more than 400 movies, most of which have been shown only in India. He's had a lot of time to pursue these title rolls, entering the movie business in his early 30s.
Routine portrayal of 'bad guy' role came later
Pran wasn't cast in the antagonist's role throughout his career, however. For seven straight years, he mainly served as the hero. But by the time the 1950s rolled around, Bollywood experts say that he truly found his niche, portraying villainous characters with a great deal of authenticity.
The Times of India points out that Pran is best known for five movies in particular, those being "Zaneer," "Don," "Madhumati," "Ziddi," as well as "Ram Aur Shyam."
As talented and well-suited for the film industry Pran may have been, it wasn't the line of work he set out to do. In a recent feature published by The Hindu, Pran didn't want to work in front of the camera, but rather behind the lens as a professional photographer. But by happenstance, at one point in his twenties he was window shopping outside a paan shop when a film writer, Wali Mohammad Wali, approached him. Feeling that he had a knack for acting, Wali had him perform in a movie he was working on the time called "Yamala Jat."
As with many actors, Pran didn't make it to the big time immediately after his first role. His career went through a variety of starts and stops but once he played the lead role in the film "Ziddi" in 1948 he shortly thereafter became a household name and was able to find work on a regular basis.
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is a highly revered distinction that a Bollywood celebrity is given every year by the Government of India. Since 1969, a prominent personality has been bestowed with this honorific as a symbol of the country's appreciation for their life of work bringing entertainment to the Indian public. Last year, actor Soumitra Chatteree was given the award and director K. Balachander received it in 2010. In the 43 years that it's been awarded, it's usually gone to either an actor or director, but there have been singers and lyricists who've been formally recognized by Indian officials.
Several Indian leaders are evaluating the benefits of U.S. natural gas exports. According to The Economic Times, India invested roughly $4 billion in the American oil and shale gas sectors between 2008 and 2012, and a few Indian administrators are examining U.S. natural gas exports' potential impact on the nation's economy.
Nirupama Rao, Indian ambassador to the U.S., is one of several Indian leaders who is advocating for U.S. natural gas exports to go to India in the near future. Rao said that a partnership between India and the U.S. could significantly benefit Indian residents and those who hold jobs in the U.S. and send money back to their families in India.
"As shale gas has become economically viable to produce, the U.S. has emerged as one of the world's most important gas-producing countries," Rao told the news source.
U.S. Energy Information Administration and Department of Energy estimates show that U.S. natural gas production may exceed domestic consumption by 2020. Rao points out that India's use of U.S. natural gas exports could help her country's residents reduce their electricity expenses and deliver a substantial boost to the local economy.
"This scenario opens up the possibility of the export of liquefied natural gas cargoes from the U.S. to other energy scarce countries, including India, where there is significant untapped potential for natural gas demand in all end use segments," Rao told the news source.
A "win-win" opportunity for India and the U.S.
Shale gas production growth over the next few years could benefit India and the U.S. In fact, Rao notes that U.S. natural gas exports to India may provide a "win-win" opportunity for both countries.
Job creation is a major initiative for Indian officials, and Rao states that a new partnership between India and the U.S. would represent a significant achievement. The Hindustan Times reports that India has already made significant investments in liquefaction terminals, which could help the Indian economy improve.
Petronet, India's largest natural gas importer, recently signed an agreement that could affect Indian and U.S. citizens. UPI notes that Houston's United LNG agreed to supply 4 million tons of liquefied natural gas to Petronet annually for the next 20 years.
Indian leaders said that the nation's demand for liquefied natural gas is growing at an annual rate of 5.6 percent. The recent partnership between Petronet and United LNG could help India keep pace with its liquefied natural gas needs, and Indian officials will continue to explore their options as well.
While it may be several miles away, a major cultural event is being planned in one of the world's largest and most-populous countries that immigrants may want their families to be aware of the next time they send money to them and speak with them online or over the phone.
Between May 20 and May 26, Kolkata will convene a gathering that's sure to be enjoyed by all who attend. As noted by the Times of India, the week-long event – which will take place at the Indian Institute of Management – has the potential to be one of the biggest functions ever to take place in India, as several well-known figures will be in attendance to celebrate India's history and culture.
The chief sponsor of the event is the Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Among Youth, more commonly known as SPIC MACAY. The paper points out that among the attractions that visitors will see include major names in the world of classical music, such as classical vocalist Girija Devi santoor player Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma as well as Pandi Ajoy Chakraborty, who is also a classical singer.
So significant is this event, that India's president, Pranab Mukherjee, will be in attendance and will inaugurate the gathering on its opening night. In addition, close to 1,500 delegates from all across the country will gather as well.
Swami Vivekananda's 150 birthday to be celebrated
Not only will the cultural convention pay recognition to contemporary cultures and practices of Indian life but a large focus will be put on historical figures as well who have come to define Indian society, traditions and customs. One of whom is Swami Vivekananda. This would be his 150th birthday were the leader still alive today.
Hinduism is one of the most common religions and philosophies in India and Vivekananda is given credit for introducing the faith to other parts of the world through his teachings and speeches. Nine years before his death, Vivekananda visited Chicago and gave a stirring speech at a global meeting, called the Parliament of the World Religions. This is believed to be the place in which Hinduism became more widely known.
Though Vivekananda may be an unfamiliar name to people who have always lived in the U.S., the Indian leader made an impression on many different aspects of life, not solely in the religious framework. For example, one of the most common types of exercise among both men and women is yoga. Biographers of Vivekananda say that the West's enthusiasm for the mediation-centered form of exercise is largely due to his sphere of influence.
SPIC MACAY has released a program that visitors can download if they plan on attending the event or if they're curious about some of the activities that will be taking place there over the week-long period. They've also provided a framework of what the typical day will be like there. For example, events begin bright and early at 3:45 am and close down at 10:15 pm sharp. Between these hours, activities will include intensives, speeches, dinner, movement time and concerts.
India plays a significant role in today's society in a variety of respects. For example it is the world's tenth-largest economy from a standpoint of gross domestic product and is also the second-largest country in terms of population. It's estimated that more than 1.2 billion people live in the Republic of India – the country's more official name – second only to China.