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Chief of Defence Staff Late Gen Bipin Rawat (Left) and Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane (Right)
The government is set to begin the process soon to appoint the next Chief of Defence Staff with Army Chief Gen MM Naravane emerging as the front-runner for the top post that fell vacant following the demise of Gen Bipin Rawat in a tragic helicopter crash.
The move by the government comes even as a number of retired military commanders said it will be prudent to appoint Gen Naravane to the top military post as he is retiring as the Chief of Army Staff in five months.
People familiar with the development on Thursday said the government will draw up a small panel comprising senior commanders from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
The panel will be finalised based on recommendations from the three services in the next two to three days and then it will be sent to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for approval.
Following the approval by the defence minister, the names will be sent for consideration by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet that will take the final decision on India's next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), those familiar with the development said.
They said the Chief Of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs Of Staff Committee (CISC) is likely to coordinate the process of drawing up the panel of prospective candidates for the post of the Chief of Defence Staff.
Explaining the process, they said the government will follow the same protocol for the appointment of the CDS that is laid down for appointing the service chiefs.
The CDS is the chairman of the powerful Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) that also comprises the three service chiefs.
It is learnt that the possibility of appointing Gen Naravane to the top post is high considering his overall performance as well as the handling of the eastern Ladakh standoff.
The Army Chief is due to retire in April. Gen Naravane is the senior-most among the three service chiefs.
IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar had taken over their respective positions on September 30 and November 30.
On January 1 last year, Gen Rawat took charge as India's first CDS with a mandate to bring in convergence in the functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force and bolster the country's overall military prowess.
Another key mandate of the CDS was to facilitate the restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through the establishment of theatre commands.
A high-level committee set up to examine the gaps in India's security system in the wake of the Kargil war in 1999 had recommended the appointment of the CDS as a single-point military adviser to the defence minister.
In the last two years, Gen Rawat carried out extensive groundwork to roll out tri-services reforms. The tenure of Gen Rawat as the CDS was till March 2023. The retirement age for the CDS is 65 years while the service chiefs have a tenure till they are 62 or for three years, whichever is earlier.
The CDS is also the Secretary of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the Defence Ministry and the Principal Advisor to the Defence Minister.
"It is highly likely that Gen Naravane is made the next Chief of Defence Staff and it will be a wise decision," said a former high-ranking military commander.
There has been a view among an influential section of the military planners that the Chief of Defence Staff should be from the Army, at least till the ambitious theaterisation process is completed under the ambitions higher defence reforms.
If Gen Naravane is appointed the CDS, then the government will also simultaneously have to look for his replacement.
In that case, Vice Chief of Army Lt Gen CP Mohanty and Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Y K Joshi will be the front-runner for the Army Chief's post, Lt Gen Mohanty and Lt Gen Joshi are from the same batch and are the senior-most commanders after Gen Naravane.
However, as Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Mohanty, with extensive experience of serving extensively, in formations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), has a much better chance of succeeding Gen Naravane if he is appointed the CDS.
The experts said it is legitimate for the government to take some time to decide on the next CDS as keeping the post vacant for a few days will not impact military preparedness or operational aspects.
"The CDS does not have an operational role. Even if the government takes little more time, it will not affect operational issues," said another former military commander on condition of anonymity.
As the CDS, Gen Rawat emphasised advancing jointness and integration across the board so as to develop trust amongst the rank and file and shape congruent perception to jointly operate among the three services.
He had consistently maintained that India's aspiration of becoming a regional power cannot rely on "borrowed strengths" and that the country will have to win its wars with 'Indian solutions'.
According to Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Woodland, there has been a significant rise in the demand of athleisure in India recently. A key factor in increase in demand can be attributed to the growing health consciousness among Indians. There is a rise in health and wellness expenditure among Indian consumers which has contributed to the segment’s growth and athleisure fits the bill since it is a combination of trendy sportswear and relaxed apparel.
As the day-to-day lives of people continue gaining pace followed by lifestyle changes, there is a strong realisation about its side effects on the health. The prevalence of diabetes amongst population aged between 20-79 increased from 9.8 percent in 2016 to 10.4 percent in 2017 making it amongst the biggest health problem in India. There has also been an increase in the overweight and obese population because of this. To overcome these, people are looking for options to balance work and health so that they could lead a fit life. This has resulted in increased number of people enrolling at fitness centres. Also, more individuals have started scheduling regular walks and jogs which has pushed the demand for sportswear. As this trend grows, people have also started consuming more sports nutrition products to maintain health and vitamins and dietary supplements to achieve overall wellbeing.
A Petit Pli garment can fit a child from about three months to three years thanks to 3D stretchable pleats. The look of the resulting garments is one part Japanese avant-garde, one part medieval armour. They can be shoved in a suitcase without wrinkling and washed in the washing machine without losing their pleats. Yasin hopes the garments can help cut down on waste and pollution, a notorious effect of the textile industry, as well as save parents money. He also hopes they will help give children a mindset of sustainability and reuse at an age when they’re just learning about the world.
Revealing the plan of action put in place for Vans, Bajaj shares, “We plan special displays for the launch, etc. and give the display enough time at the store and these are product- based displays. Just by a look one can understand what the product is about. This sense of clarity that the customer gets opens them up to know more.”
Ajoy Chawla SVP and Strategy & Business Incubation at Titan Company Limited says, “Given the rich heritage of Indian textile weaving and crafts, Taneira has chosen to celebrate sarees, handmade with love from pure and natural fabrics, handpicked from the diverse weaving clusters of India; thus, delivering an expansive and exclusive collection, all under one roof.”
The primary target audience of the brand is predominantly women over 30 years of age who choose to wear sarees and Indian dress wear. The secondary target audience is women below 30 years of age who seek Indian wear for important occasions in their lives including weddings, work occasions, festivals, etc.
“The increasing percentage of working women and their demand for fashionable work wear along with time constraints have made them more loyal to online shopping. Also, reasonable prices offered by e-commerce sites attract them to keep changing their wardrobes for all occasions,” explains Deepa Sureka, CEO, Taanz Fashions.
Sportswear continues to grow strongly due to the rise in healthy living and increased popularity amongst women who work out. The acceptance and introduction of casual wear at work contributed positively to sales. Influenced from the upcoming international sport events and professional leagues that are drawing crowds are further contributing growth. Athletes and celebrities are also drawn to this trend as they partner and start their own athleisure clothing lines. Riding on this growth, companies such as Adidas, Puma and Nike have continued to maintain their dominance in the Indian market, however, low barriers to entry has resulted in new players entering the market thus, further intensifying competition.The top sportswear companies such as Adidas, Puma and Nike are already present in this space
Manohar Kamath, CXO and Head, Myntra Fashion Brands, says, “We are extremely delighted to announce the addition of Sztori to our portfolio of private brands. Plus size clothing is in great demand and it was time we offered something substantial in the category, opening up more avenues and possibilities for our customers.”
Commenting on the launch, Puneet Kumar Malik, CEO, Innerwear Business – Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. said, “Van Heusen Innerwear has established a strong presence across the country through its premium and innovative range of innerwear and athleisure. Our product offerings have always received a phenomenal response from consumers across the country. This has propelled us to tap into the rapidly growing women’s wear segment that is witnessing 15 percent YoY growth. West is an important market for us and with the launch of Van Heusen Woman Innerwear and Athleisure range in Mumbai, we intend to deliver best-in-class products that are high on innovation and style.”
Traditionally, women were not actively involved in sports or any other physical activity due to their singular role of being a homemaker to support the family. However, this has been changed as more women are stepping outside their house for work and education. This has resulted in more women thinking about maintaining holistic wellbeing and scheduling workouts to take care of their health. Earlier women were not very keen to join fitness centres due to the notion that working out with weights could make a woman muscular. However, with social media and increased awareness created by fitness centres there has been a decline in this thought, resulting in increased enrolment from women.
“As per a 2015 report by the Indiaretailing Bureau, the size of the Indian luxury industry, which encompasses bespoke tailoring, is approximately US$ 5.3 billion, with a nearly 20–25 per cent contribution from apparel (US$ 950–1300 million). Presently valued at US$ 360 million, the market for bespoke clothing is growing at an impressive 15–20 percent,” says Tejinder Singh.
Over a period of time, the demand for customised suits has rapidly increased. The ready-to-wear apparel industry which was flourished during the 2000s has now been challenged by bespoke tailoring. It has been currently noticed that the customised suit segment is growing at a high rate, and its share is expected to increase in the next five years.
Commenting on the appointment Tom O’Neill, Chairman, said: “I am pleased to welcome Giorgio to Clarks as our new CEO. He brings a wealth of experience including a deep understanding of the footwear market. He will work together with interim CEO Stella David to ensure a smooth transition over the coming weeks, after which Stella will return to her previous role as non-executive director. I would like to thank Stella for stepping in as interim CEO at a challenging time for Clarks and for her tireless and engaging leadership in the role.”
Biba has always been the symbol of fusion and classic design with modern silhouettes. Siddharth Bindra maintains that his brand always brings new collections, having varied modern cuts and drapes in vibrant hues and comfortable fabrics like poly cotton and classic linen. The collections are rich in design having unique and intricate beautiful prints and details. With great quality in fabric and wide variety of designs, Biba succeeds in off ering the best of quality and range.
India’s footwear production accounts for approximately 9 percent of the global annual production of 22 billion pairs as compared to China which produces over 60 percent. Key production centres in the country include Kanpur and Agra in Uttar Pradesh; Ranipet, Vaniyambadi and Ambur in Tamil Nadu. The sector is fragmented and close to 75 percent production comes from the unorganised sector including very small, small and medium enterprises.
The brand offers good quality products at accessible prices in the casual and sports lifestyle’ segments. The collection ranges from Rs 3,299 to Rs 3,999 and is now available at exclusive brand outlets and select leading footwear stores across India. Mufti is now looking at beefing up the distribution of its footwear collection in 500+ locations comprising MBOs, stand-alone stores and existing network of retailers in the coming year.Another renowned knitwear brand which stepped into the men’s footwear category last year was Duke with the launch of Step Ahead, a premium lifestyle footwear collection for men.
Through Be Indi, Deepa Sureka focuses on fashion oriented products that are price conscious. “We are focused on innovating style by rendering variety of silhouettes in various prints and textured fabrics. These rich fabrics and prints are designed by our in-house textile designers and we get these fabrics manufactured. The cost is also controlled by our in-house fabrication,” she says.
Siddharth Bindra explains this saying that with the sudden expansion that can be observed in India’s e-commerce market, most women prefer to shop online since it saves them time and all the hassle of travelling in traffic and braving crowds in shopping malls. Also, through e-commerce, women get to compare, view and choose from a large variety of competitors, designs and styles. Discounts, easy buying, friendly payment structures and return policies have been the chief drivers for this growth in the online women’s wear segment.