Paani Foundation establishes training programme to make Maharasthra drought-free

Each year, drought afflicts thousands of villages in Maharashtra. In 2015, the situation was so grim that the government had to provide drinking water through the railways to several villages.

Photo Caption (From L-R): Satyajit Bhatkal, CEO, Paani Foundation; Kiran Rao, Founder, Paani Foundation and Dr. Avinash Pol, Project Director, Paani Foundation.

In early 2016, a not-for-profit company called Paani Foundation was set up by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao to work towards creating a drought-free Maharashtra. The Foundation is run by the core team members of the Satyamev Jayate TV show, according to a statement issued by the Foundation. The key difference in Paani Foundation’s approach is its belief that the only solution for the existing water crisis is a people’s movement. If people are convinced, motivated and trained, the Foundation believes that they themselves will have the power and ability to solve their water problems.

With this in mind, Paani Foundation has designed a training programme to teachpeople the science of watershed management and to develop their leadership skills. To bring people together and encourage them to apply their learnings from the training, the Foundation also organises the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup competition annually. The Satyamev Jayate Water Cup is essentially a competition between villages to see which village can do the maximum water conservation work in the period of the competition. Every village in the selected talukas is eligible to participate.

In 2016, the 3 talukas of Ambajogai, Koregaon and Warudwere chosen to participate in the competition.116 villages from these talukas took part, and through mass voluntary work or Shramdan done in the searing heat of April and May, an annual water storage capacity of 1,368 crore litres of water was created in just 45 days. Velu village from Koregaon taluka in Satara district received the first prize of Rs. 50 lakhs from the Honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri. Devendra Fadnavis at a grand awards ceremony held in Mumbai last year. A documentary film titled ‘The Battle against Drought’ chronicles the journey of Water Cup 2016 and was released at the awards ceremony. The information of the journey of Paani foundation & Satyamev Jayate Water Cup was shared by Mr. Satyajit Bhatkal, CEO, Paani Foundation at a press conference held in Pune. Dr. Avinash Pol, Project Director, Paani Foundation and Kiran Rao, Founder, Paani Foundation were also present on the occasion.

The success of the pilot edition of the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup 2016 encouraged the Paani Foundation team to scale up its efforts from 3 to 30 talukas in 2017. Over 1,300 villages took part in the competition this year and between 8th April and 22nd May lakh of villagers came together to do outstanding water conservation work. To pay tribute to these Water Heroes and honour the winners, Paani Foundation will present the Satyamev Jayate

Water Cup 2017 Awards on Sunday, 6thAugust at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, Balewadi, Pune.

The Chief Guest for the event is the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis. Aamir Khan, the co-founder of Paani Foundation and several leading lights from the field of business and arts will be present to salute these villagers.The top three villages will get a cash prize of Rs. 50 lakh, Rs. 30 lakh and Rs. 20 lakh respectively. In addition, the top village from each taluka will get a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh. Please do join us as we celebrate the villagers’ achievements, and be a part of this journey to make our state water-abundant.

List of 30 Talukas from 13 Districts where Satyamev Jayate Water Cup 2017 was organised:

· Ambajogai, Kaij and Dharur talukas in Beed district

· Bhoom, Paranda and Kalamb talukas in Osmanabad district

· Ausa and Nilanga talukas in Latur district

· Phulambri and Khultabad talukas in Aurangabad district

· Koregaon, Man and Khatav talukas in Satara district

· Khanapur, Atpadi and Jath talukas in Sangli district

· Purandar and Indapur talukas in Pune district

· Sangola and Uttar Solapur talukas in Solapur district

· Barshitakli, Patur and Akot talukas in Akola district

· Ralegaon, Kalamb and Umarkhed talukas in Yavatmal district

· Warud and Dharni talukas in Amravati district

· Karanjataluka in Washim district

· Arvitaluka in Wardha district


Ease of doing business index: Maharashtra has humongous potential

Maharashtra has the potential to emerge as a high ranking state on the ease of doing business index. Mukesh Aghi, President, US-India Business Council (USIBC) said.

Speaking at the meeting between the group of US Industry executives from USIBC and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis recently, Aghi said: “The Council’s member firms have been encouraged by the ease of doing business in the State and many of the companies have significant investments in Maharasthra. Therefore, appropriate and timely policy measures are critical. We look forward to anticipating in it’s investment opportunities that will not only promote entrepreneurship but also inclusive growth, positioning Maharathra as a model state both in India and globally.”


While engaging with senior business executives on key topics that had dominated the bilateral commercial relationship in recent months, the Chief Minister, Fadnavis said: “We have addressed areas such as Maharashtra’scomparative edge as an investment destination, regulatory reform initiatives that have been undertaken by the Government to promote ease of doing business in Maharashtra and cultural dialogues that can enhance the bilateral relations between India and the US.”

Emphasising the investment opportunities that are available in Maharashtra, the CM said: “The Government has taken a variety of measures to promote ease of doing business in the state. We want to be viewed as a top destination for both domestic as well as international investments. Maharashtra is eagerly waiting the formation of joint ventures in critical projects such as Delhi – Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Smart Cities and in sectors such as Manufacturing, Agriculture, Aviation, Engineering and IT. What is more, our Government is also committed to providing a boost to both Make in India and Make in Maharasthra campaigns, provide business to both medium and small enterprises and create much needed jobs. We invite investors from the US to be part of Maharasthra’s growth story.”

While speaking on the occasion, Ashok Vasudevan, Chairman and CEO, Preferred Brands International, the manufacturer and marketer of the natural foods brand, Tasty Bite, said: Tasty Bite has been operating in Maharasthra since early ’90s and has become one of India’s largest exporter of prepared foods. Maharasthra has been remarkably resilient due to its diversified base of industry that includes energy, agriculture, food processing, entertainment, engineering, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and financial services. The infrastructure, a mature workforce, a series of business-friendly administrations over the last few decades makes it an attractive FDI destination.”

According to a media statement, other companies and senior leaders from every major sector of business included Monsanto, Taj Hotels, HSBC, Caterpillar, Cargill, Johnson and Johnson, KPMG, Baker & McKenzie, Citi, New Silk Route and Pfizer.

Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council is the premier business advocacy organization, comprised of more than 300 top-tier U.S. and Indian companies advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. USIBC is the largest bilateral trade association in the United States, with liaison presence in New York, Silicon Valley, and New Delhi.

Priyanka Khurana Goyal walks the ramp for cancer patients

On a buzzing Sunday evening at the National Sports Centre of India, the who’s who of Mumbai, gathered together for a Fashion show organised by celebrity designers Shaina NC and Manish Malhotra.

Priyanka Khurana Goyal and Yogesh Lakhani walking the ramp

Priyanka Khurana Goyal and Yoghesh Lakani.

A starry line-up of Mumbai’s socialites walked the ramp at the soiree planned in support of the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA). Shining among them was Priyanka Khurana Goyal, Winner of the Mrs. India Queen of Substance 2015.

Priyanka Khurana Goyal with her Crown

Speaking on the occasion Priyanka said: “It is the responsibility of every corporate, every organization and especially the privileged to give back to the society that has created them. It is definitely a commendable initiative by Shaina NC and Manish Malhotra to create awareness about CPAA to raise funds and to become the torchbearer for others to follow.”

Priyanka Khurana Goyal with Niranjan Hiranandani

Priyanka Khurana Goyal with Niranjan Hiranandani.

Two of the cancer survivors also walked the ramp – this is really inspirational and gives immense hope to other patients who are currently fighting this deadly disease.

Priyanka Khurana Goyal

Gracing the evening with their presence as Chief Guests were Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Actor Aamir Khan.

Priyanka with Devendra Darda, Niranjan Hiranandani, Dharmesh Jain and Mickey Mehta

Devendra Fadnavis open new Volkswagen plant and engine testing facility at Chakan

Devendra Fadnavis, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, yesterday formally opened the Volkswagen engine assembly plant and a self-contained engine testing facility at its Chakan plant in Pune.


The German car maker has invested Rs.240 crore in establishing the new plant, which corroborates its commitment towards India, said a press statement. The plant has come up on a total floor space of 3,450 square meters within the premises of its existing factory. It took only just 11 months for VW to complete the work of the new plant, much of the efforts and expertise coming from its facilities in Salzgitter in Germany and Polkowice, Poland, noted the statement. The new facility at Pune is likely to provide employment to over 260 persons and more human resources would be absorbed at the manufacturing facilities of its vendors across the country, who will supply key components for the production of engines. The new employees who were inducted for the engine production plant got hands-on training at VW’s Polkowice facility as well as through Profi-rooms, established at the Pune manufacturing facility.

VW is serious about maintaining its global standards at all its facilities in India as well. As part of achieving its goal, each and every engine is undergoing rigorous tests before it is released for assembly into the car. The most modern testing facility has a gamut of equipment such as a cold test station, a hot test bench and an engine dynamometer, apart from an extensive test laboratory.


When it reaches critical mass, the Engine Assembly Plant will have a capacity to assemble in exccess of 98,000 engines a year in a three shift system. The 1.5L TDI engine will be produced for two different power levels – 90 PS and 105 PS peak power.

Fadnavis said: “Volkswagen is one of the top car manufacturers in the world and they have brought their German Engineering to India. I am glad to see that the company is committed to their production operations in Chakan in Pune and is investing further for increasing manufacturing here even in difficult market situations. It is really encouraging to see that Volkswagen is creating so many jobs in this industrial belt.”

Subhash Desai, Minister for Industries, Government of Maharashtra, said: “We are delighted to see the export activities undertaken by Volkswagen India. These are a clear proof that India and the workforce here are capable to deliver first-class products across the world.”

Mahesh Kodumudi, Chief Representative, Volkswagen Group India and President and Managing Director, Volkswagen India Private Limited, pointed out: “The new Engine Assembly Plant including the Engine Testing Facility is our very first in India and emphasizes our commitment to offer technology that is best suited to the requirements of the local market. The 1.5-litre TDI engine was specially developed for the Indian needs and is now being assembled locally too. With this step, we take an important step towards achieving our long term goal of increasing local content.” He further added, “Through the local development and local assembly of engines, we are committed to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government. We are also creating more job opportunities and supplier development in and around Chakan – something that we have been committed to since we first set up the Volkswagen Plant here in 2009.”

The latest investment by Volkswagen India in the Chakan Plant takes the company’s total investment to almost 710 million euro. The manufacturing facility started its operations in March 2009 and has rolled out over 450,000 cars for the Indian market as well as over 32 export markets across three continents. Currently, the Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Vento and ŠKODA Rapid are being manufactured here. The Pune Plant operates with a total manpower of approximately 3200 employees (Direct and Indirect).

With its headquarters in Pune, Maharashtra, the Volkswagen Group is represented by five passenger car brands in India: Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, ŠKODA, and Volkswagen. The Volkswagen Group has been present in India for the last 14 years and began its India journey with the entry of the ŠKODA brand in 2001. The Audi brand and Volkswagen brand entered India in 2007, while Porsche brand and Lamborghini brand followed in 2012. Each brand has its own character and operates as an independent entity in the market. Volkswagen Group India has over 25 models in India and 262 dealerships and is operating through two plants – Pune and Aurangabad. The Pune Plant has a manufacturing capacity of 130,000 cars per year (in current two-shift system) and is currently manufacturing Volkswagen Polo and Vento and ŠKODA Rapid. The Aurangabad Plant caters to various premium and luxury models of Audi, ŠKODA and Volkswagen sold in India and has an annual capacity of approximately 89,000. Volkswagen Group India is a part of Volkswagen AG, which is globally represented by 12 brands – Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, Porsche, Scania, SEAT, ŠKODA, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge), MAN and Volkswagen Passenger Cars.