Friday, 30 October 2015

Shri Ashank Desai on “Digitise Or Else………?”

‘The pace at which digitization is impacting the world, every business – big or small, in service or manufacturing sector, in developed country or developing country will soon be affected’ said Shri Ashank Desai, Founder and Former Chairman of MASTEK Ltd., a global IT solutions Company recently while addressing the members of Rotary Club of Bombay West at Mumbai.

He went on to say that global giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Pandora, Netflix understood the importance of digitization and implemented it with a right strategy to be part of the Trillion Dollar Club today, whereas several yesteryear industry leaders like Nokia, Yahoo, MySpace, HMV, Blockbuster have either gone bankrupt or have seen stagnancy in their business numbers as they have lagged behind in digitization. 

Every business or profession must look at the ‘Tools of Digitization’ which include Social Media, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, 3-D Printing, etc.  and use combinations thereof to achieve their individual digitization goals. 

Shri Desai warned about the side effects of digitization like privacy issue, cyber security, cyber terrorism and creation of digital have-nots segment for inclusive growth.  However, these risks should not deter businesses and professions from digitization – rather the digitization strategy should have in-built risk containment mechanisms to achieve success.  His final words of advice were to be up-to-date on digital technology and applications, not to under-estimate pace of change, take ownership and have a digital strategy in place before experimenting and taking baby steps.

Shri Ashank Desai is widely recognized as an industry veteran, and he is one of the founder members & past Chairman of NASSCOM. He is a former President of Asian Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO), an Association of 20 countries in this region. For past many years he has been involved with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) Executive Committees at National & Regional levels.  Recently, Shri Desai was one of the eight IT professionals to have been felicitated by the Prime Minster Shri Narendra Modi for his contribution to NASSCOM & IT Industry for the last 25 years.

-Report by Aslam Merchant, President Elect (2016-17), Rotary Club of Bombay West

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Special Postal Cover released honouring Rotary’s service in Polio Eradication from India

The Government of India through the Indian Postal Department recognized Rotary’s service in making India Polio-free by release of Special Postal Cover on the eve of World Polio Day – an honour which Rotary fully deserves according to Smt. Rajashree Birla who was the Chief Guest at the event organized at the Rotary Service Centre in Juhu, Mumbai by India National PolioPlus Committee of Rotary International and Rotary Club of Bombay West to celebrate ‘Four Years of Polio-free India’.

Speaking at the function, Smt. Birla paid rich tributes to the members of Rotary in India for having so dedicatedly worked towards the mission and successfully eradicated the dreaded disease from our country. She urged Rotary to continue to work with the same spirit to keep India polio-free while at the same time look at supporting the Government’s National Immunization Programme in their respective neighbourhoods.  So far, Smt.Rajashree Birla and Aditya Birla Group have donated over USD 9 mn to the Rotary Foundation’s Polio Fund, which shows her deep commitment to the cause.

Shri Hamid Patel, Senior Superintendent of Post – Mumbai South, Shri Ashok Mahajan, Past Rotary International Director, Shri Deepak Kapur, Chairman, India National PolioPlus Committee of Rotary International, Shri Subhash Kulkarni, District Governor of Rotary District 3140 and Shri Aslam Merchant, President (2016-17) of Rotary Club of Bombay West also graced the occasion with several officials from Government Health Services, IndiaPost, WHO, UNICEF and Rotary Clubs spread across Mumbai and Thane District.

This event comes at an important time in the fight to eradicate polio, which would be only the second human disease to be eradicated, after smallpox. In September, the World Health Organization declared Africa’s last polio-endemic country, Nigeria, polio-free, leaving only two countries which have never stopped the virus: Pakistan and Afghanistan.  In 1988, when Rotary and its partners committed to eradicating the disease, polio paralyzed more than 350,000 children per year in 125 countries – or, more than 1,000 per day. Since that time, the number of polio cases has been reduced by 99.9%, with less than 50 cases in two countries to date in 2015.

Rotary has contributed more than US$1.4 billion to ending polio. Funds contributed to Rotary are tripled thanks to a 2:1 match by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rotary is joined in the fight to end polio by its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership that also includes the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

RCBW Service Excellence Award for the year 2015-16 to Mr. Harakhchand Savla

The Rotary Club of Bombay West presented a citation to Mr. Harakhchand Savla who aptly represents the conscience of a city like Mumbai, reaching out the really needy. Championing the cause of poor cancer patients and their relatives at the Tata Memorial Hospital thirty years ago, Mr. Savla began helping them with food and medicines, spending from his own modest income. His efforts have since grown into an organisation called the Jeevan Jyot Cancer Relief and Care Trust and is run by a significant contingent of trained, full time workers and dedicated volunteers.

As on date, Jeevan Jyot is instrumental in serving more than 600 free meals daily to poor cancer patients at the Tata Memorial Hospital, the J.J. Hospital and the St. George’s Hospital in Mumbai. It also runs a free toy library for young cancer patients and provides subsidised medicines to needy patients. In addition, it also offers more than 30 value added services in related areas.

Devoting his energies towards this cause relentlessly, Mr. Savla and Jeevan Jyot has reached more than half a million cancer patients in Mumbai and his efforts never slow down or mellow. His belief in the fact that while the success of a business enterprise may be measured by the magnitude of the profit it earns, the touchstone for a service endeavour needs to be assessed by the quantum of gratitude it earns from the humanity it serves.

In recognition of his service to cancer patients in particular and to humanity in general, the Rotary Club of Bombay West proudly conferred upon him The Service Excellence Award for the year 2015-16 on the evening of the 07th October 2015. Mr. Savla spoke a few words to the audience present, his humility, strength and conviction coming out very clearly in the simple words that he spoke. Most of us present felt humbled to be in the company of such a rare and modest person.

         Rtn Dr. Usha Jayachandran

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Swachh Vidyalaya – A Cleanliness Competition for Schools

In line with the Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan launched on 2nd Oct 2014, Rotary Club of Bombay West in association with Surajba Public Charitable Trust (a family trust of Past President Rtn.Dr.Mohanbhai Patel, Ex-Sheriff of Bombay), launched Swachh Vidyalaya, Swachh Bharat – a competition amongst identified schools in western suburbs of Mumbai in Nov 2014. Ms.Samapti Patel, Director-Youth Services, with support from officials from Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Rotarians, rotary anns, rotaractors, interactors and their moderators, made several visits to these schools from initiation of the project till August 2015 with a view to creating awareness about expected levels of cleanliness and sanitation facilities, availability of safe drinking water and importance of personal hygiene amongst students.

A 3-member jury (Shri Dattaram Karanje, Officer from MCGM H/Ward, Ms.Archana Sharma, a social activist and Ms.Rita Shroff, member of Inner Wheel Club of Bombay West who has been closely associated with Child Reach Organization) visited all the participating schools in the month of September this year to ascertain the winners amongst them.  Results of the competition was announced at the first Smt.Chandaben Mohanbhai Patel Rotary Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar ceremony held at the Club’s Rotary Service Centre, Juhu Tara Road, Santacruz West on Thursday, October 01, 2015 with Dr.Mohanbhai Patel as the Chief Guest.  The event was attended by principals, teachers and select students from the participating schools. 

The winners were :

·         First Prize of Rs.51000/- was shared by Taraben Master High School, Santacruz West Municipal Primary School and Guru Harkishan High School
·         Second Prize of Rs.30000/- was shared by M.M.Pupils High School, Brihan Mumbai Municipal Khotwadi School and Rotary KDN Shruti School
·         Third Prize of Rs.21000/- was shared by Bandra Hindu Association High School, Manekji Gazdhar Primary High School and Rose Manor School

Ms.Archana Sharma, before announcing the winners, also gave her impressions of the schools she visited while judging for the competition and gave some valuable suggestions to the school management for improving their scores on cleanliness.

Addressing the audience, Dr.Mohanbhai Patel stressed the importance of inculcating cleanliness and personal hygiene habits among youngsters as they alone can influence elders in the families to bring about the much needed change.  

Earlier, President of Rotary Club of Bombay West, Rtn.Shirish Rege gave incidents from the life of Mahatma Gandhi to impress upon the students how important was ‘swachhta’ for the Father of the Nation and that every citizen of India should taken upon this responsibility to transform India into ‘Swachh Bharat’ by 2nd October 2019 when nation would be celebrating his 150th birth anniversary.  

Mahesh Bhupati, Ace International Tennis Player at RCBW

The guest for the regular club meeting on 30th September 2015 was tennis legend, Shri Mahesh Bhupati.  President Shirish Rege welcomed him with a bouquet of flowers and after his opening remarks, Shri Bhupati requested the panel of interviewers led by Past President Chandramohan Saigal to shoot questions which he answered with flair and poise. The other interviewers were Rahul Kejriwal (son of Past President Rtn.Krishna Kejriwal and Rohan Samant (son of Rtn.Nilesh Samant).  The synopsis of the interactions with the interviewers as well as the members of the club was as under:

Mahesh Bhupati lived his father’s dream of becoming an ace tennis player…. Shri C.G.Krishna Bhupati’s tennis career was cut-short due to an serious injury to his hand in an accident. Coming from a humble middle class background, Mahesh started playing Tennis as young as 3 yrs old. What Mahesh’s describes as a career forced upon him from a very young age, he had to practice long hours and for quite some time they lived in Muscat where Tennis has very little presence. He would spend hours hitting against the wall. He was pulled out of his school, as the school did not allow enough time for tennis practice. All holidays had to be in places where there were tennis courts so he could continue with his practice.

His father took him to play in the US when he was 11 yrs old and then to Wimbledon when he was 16, where he saw Boris Becker play live. That was a big influence on him and how he would see tennis in the years to come. Boris was his growing up years role model as well. The constant practice and hard word coupled with his family backing got him today to where he is.

52 Doubles Titles
Carrier Ranking = 1 (1999)
F (1999, 2009, 2011)
W (1999, 2001)
W (1999)
W (2002)

According to Mahesh, Roger Federer is the best ever tennis player the sport has ever produced. He says that man is a magician on the court. The things he can do with his racquet is stupendous. When asked who is the best Serve and Volley player ever, He said that the Records would indicate that Pete Sampras is the best, but he feels that Stefan Edberg had the best talent in that style of game play. Unfortunately according to Mahesh, that style of game is coming back very soon as technology with not allow it. There is a 100% difference in the racquets between now and 10 years back.

India does not have the coaches for the children to make it big in tennis. We have the courts, but the rest of the tutoring in terms of diet, proper technique and mental conditional is far from desired. Mahesh said something very interesting that for mixed doubles he has never practised with his partner before a tournament.

Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
W (2006, 2009)
W (1997, 2012)
W (2002, 2005)
W (1999, 2005)

Finally he mentioned that it’s going to be a long time before India produced its first ever Major Slam Winner. He is almost retired and now runs his academy and has started the ITPL, which he thinks has great potential going forward. He said after Cricket, tennis is the most popular sport in India but still very short on funding. All players have to fund themselves and he is endorsing some very good players and helping them gather funding including sending them for training to the US, to fulfil their and India’s Tennis dream.

Mahesh is currently married to Actress Lara Dutta and has a three year old daughter.  Earlier, Mahesh was introduced by Past President Uday Chande.

-Report by Mr.Rahul Krishna Kejriwal