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Feb 4 16

An Interview with British Philanthropist – Matthew C. Martino

by lara

matthew martino

Matthew C. Martino is a British philanthropist and film executive. He is the founder of arts charity MMBF Trust and The MM Enterprise Award. We held an interview with him.


1.Tell us a little bit about your charity?

MMBF Trust, my international arts charity provides grants and scholarships to actors, filmmakers and creatives. My initial vision for the charity was to support local creatives in London and I’m honestly flattered by the work we have been able to achieve over the years.


2.Could you innumerate some of your philanthropic activities?

My core work is supporting MMBF but I also have an enterprise scheme called MM Enterprise Award which assists young people to start their own businesses and I also enjoy supporting charities close to home such as Haven House who are in Essex where I live and have also grown very fond of Bolton Lads & Girls Club. In an ideal world I would like to help everyone but I’m just not equipped to do so.


3. We hear you run an aviation academy, does this stem from a love for flying?

Yes I’ve been an #avgeek since a very young age and I remember back in Zimbabwe looking up whilst we were being driven to school and admiring the planes that where flying over us. Lets Fly Academy provides training and resources to aspiring pilots.

matthew martino

4. What about the fund you are launching on V day?

I’m launching my all new Matthew Martino Innovators Fund on the 14th of February. I wanted to launch something over Christmas but I just got too busy so I felt it was right to be giving opportunities on such an iconic day in many peoples personal lives. This MMBF Trust -funded opportunity provides 10 groups or individuals with £250 to help kick-start their creative projects. In the past MMBF Trust has funded everything from dance and film projects to music videos and photography collectives. Whatever creative field you work in, we’ll consider your application.


5. We hear you have developed an app? Lets hear about it.

Lets Fly APP, my first and foremost baby in the app development circuit. I developed the App to just add another medium of information for aspiring pilots as well as my book and Lets Fly Academy.

Dec 26 15

For their love of flying – Capt. JP Sharma, Capt. Samarth Singh

by lara
capt. samarth singh, pilot at surat airport, VASU

Capt. JP and Capt. Samarth take to the skies in a good old Cessna 172SP.

Capt. JP Sharma and Capt. Samarth Singh have both got stellar live stories to tell and an undying love for flying. Capt. JP is a retired Indian Air force – ATC officer who thought it prudent to action his passion for flying at the age of 44. He set his eyes on a CPL and from there on has amassed 5000 hours of flying experience on various kinds of aircraft. As of 2015, he is also the holder of an ATPL, the highest grade of Indian Pilot’s License one can hold.

Capt. Samarth Singh is a serial entrepreneur having been associated with various Indian startups like Resume Online Inc., Hybrid Content (India) Pvt. Ltd., Arch Ship Management LLP, Carbon Positive and (Samarth Singh Consulting) His love for flying has made him a keen hobby flier. He is a member of the Bombay Flying Club and often pairs up with Capt. JP Sharma to share the love for flying. Capt. Samarth Singh is rated for a Cessna 152, Cessna 172, Diamond DA42 and Beechcraft King Air B-200.


May 12 15

Skywest Airlines Plane Crashes at LAX. All 43 survived. #planecrash #crash

by lara

A SkyWest aircraft crash landed at Los Angeles Airport’s runway 24L at 8:30 AM on Monday morning after it reported a landing gear issue. The main landing gear of the aircraft only partially deployed requiring it to land one wheel short.

In a display of courageous and skillful flying the captain managed to save all of the 43 souls on board.

In a Sky5 news video, the aircraft is seen approaching the runway and flaring (i.e. pitching nose up) to land right after which the left wing makes contact with the runway and skids as the aircraft comes to a grinding halt. Thankfully, there was no sign of fire, just a little bit of smoke from the wing grinding the asphalt.

SkyWest is a subsidiary airline of United in the USA. The plane was on a short scheduled flight from Monorail, California to LAX. It was evacuated immediately after stopping on the runway with passengers being loaded onto airport coaches.


Mar 30 15

Indian NAVY loses its first woman officer in the line of duty

by Capt. Samarth Singh

A native of a village in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district Indian Navy Lieutenant Kiran Shekhawat lost her life in the recent Dornier aircraft crash off the coast of Goa.

Her loss has come at a time when many women’s rights groups and NGOs across the country are lobbying for a more wider role for women in the armed forces especially in combat roles.

Lieutenant Shekhawat was put to rest with full military honours at Kurthala village in Mewat, Haryana and the funeral was attended by several VIPs, politicians and personnel of the armed forces.

Lieutenant Shekhawat was an avid music lover, a fan of Enrique and had a passion for flying all along. She was assigned a flying role as an observer in the Navy tracking possible enemy vessels and threats within Indian territorial waters.

Mar 24 15

Germanwings Airbus A320 goes down in the alps. 150 dead.

by lara
Copyright Stefan Slegenthaler

Copyright Stefan Slegenthaler

24th March 2015

A Germanwings Airbus A320 has crashed in the French alps. All 150 on board including flight crew and 16 school children are believed to have died in the crash. The flight was operating a scheduled Barcelona, Spain to Dusseldorf, Germany route.

It made a Mayday call shortly after reaching its cruising altitude after which it descended from 32,000 feet to 6000 feet in a span of 8 minutes. French radar lost contact with the aircraft at 10:30 AM local time.

Search and Rescue have based themselves in a small hamlet with access to an aerodrome a few miles from the crash site. The place the airplane went down is an alpine stretch known for skiing and hiking. Search and Rescue are expecting weather and snow and have said the first bodies will be airlifted only on Wednesday.

Germanwings is Lufthansa’s low cost carrier meant to compete with European low costs carriers like Ryan Air and Easy Jet. The Airbus A320 that crashed has been in service with Lufthansa since 1991. The Captain of the aircraft reported had 6000 hours of experience on this aircraft type.

This is indeed a sad day for Commercial Aviation.

Mar 20 15

Is the real estate boom in Ulwe finished? – #realestate

by lara

“The combination of rapid construction of buildings and lack of basic infrastructure often leads to stagnation.”

Ulwe has been in the news for a few years now as a real estate haven that offers promising returns on investment over the next few years. Five of the most commonly attributed reasons for possible escalation are:

  • Proposed Navi Mumbai Airport
  • Proposed Sewri – Nhava Link
  • Seawoods – Ulwe Link from Palm Beach Road
  • The SEZ in Ulwe
  • Baman Dongri Railway Station which is to be connected to the Harbour Line

As someone looking to invest in Navi Mumbai, you’ve probably heard these reasons from every broker / builder you’ve come across. However, a trip down to Ulwe, which by no means is a short drive brings up some very valid points. To start with, getting to Ulwe requires you to drive, practically the entire length of Palm Beach Road which beings you to the new NMMC Headquarters with the large Indian flag. A right at the junction and another 15 minutes brings you to a huge node of development, Ulwe.

ulwe real estate investment home

Dusty Broken road in Ulwe.

Buildings after building have been built here in the past 5 years and as of March 2015, are selling for 3500 – 5000 per square foot depending on the position of the construction. An under construction property could be picked up for peanuts, something ready to move into (which is rare) can be bought for 5000 upwards.

“Once you enter Ulwe, the first thing that strikes you is the sheer expanse of development. What also strikes you is the sheer lack of basic infrastructure like Roads, Street Lamps, Pavements, Sidewalks etc.” 

One doesn’t really need an expert to know that when rapid development occurs without the basic infrastructure in place, potential for stagnation develops.

Lets dissect each one of the five points in favour of Ulwe.

  • The airport has been rumoured to become operational ‘soon’ for the last 10 years. The proposed airport has lead to an entire township, ‘Kharghar’ to escalate leaps and bounds and now the same trick is being tried for Ulwe.
  • The proposed Sewri – Nhava link has had a similar story. It has been in planning for many years and only recently have we heard that the Japanese company contracted to build it has reportedly run into funding issues.
  • The Seawoods – Ulwe link off palm beach road is nothing but a mere shootout off Palm Beach Road which will marginally reduce the distance to Ulwe, but doesn’t really make much of an impact cost wise.
  • The SEZ in Ulwe is more of a business friendly proposition. One can argue that the jobs it creates will lead to more people settling into Ulwe, but that brings us back to the lack of basic infrastructure. Cache 22 situation, yes?
  • The Baman Dongri Railway station is by far the only tangible advantage that one can assume will become operational in a year or two.

The fact is that Ulwe has been talked about for many years now but the returns it has offered are certainly not up to the mark. Investors are having a tough time trying to resell their initial investments and the Cash-Cheque components are warped in favour of the investors. Furthermore, most of the building in Ulwe are awaiting their OC (Occupancy Certificates) before which it is illegal to occupy flats / shops.

With the lack of basic amenities, no restaurants and public sanitation, one can only hope, real infrastructure catches up with the building development in Ulwe before a genuine buyer can expect to see some real return and some real quality living in Ulwe.

Lets leave you with a few pictures of Ulwe clicked in March 2015. You be the judge. Your likes, comments and shares mean a lot to this discussion. 

ulwe real estate investment home

Ulwe Skyline and Substandard Road Infrastructure.

ulwe real estate investment home

Slum on the Street Side. Broken Road in Ulwe.

ulwe real estate investment home

Inactive Construction Site in Ulwe.

ulwe real estate investment home

Flyover Project in Ulwe.

ulwe real estate investment home

Flyover Project in Ulwe. Reliance SEZ in background.

Dec 23 14

NPS, the Indian answer to Social Security!

by Capt. Samarth Singh

10481922_900743299944205_3322028448771900140_nGovernment of India introduced the National Pension System (NPS) for new employees of Central Government (except for the Armed Forces), joining Government service on or after January 1, 2004. NPS is regulated by Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority  (PFRDA). The PFRDA Act was passed on 19th September, 2013 and the same was notified on 1st February, 2014. NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited (NSDL e-Gov) has been functionaing as a Central Recordkeeping Agency which provides for the core infrastructure for the NPS and is critical for its successful operationalization. The scheme, open to all Indian citizens above the age of 18 is aimed and ideally suited for the youth and middle-age alike. Like any other investment, the NPS works best if one starts planning early for their retirement.

The objective of the NPS is to offer structured retirement benefits to the masses while inculcating a habit of regular savings among them. NPS is a cost effective and transparent platform wherein contributions are invested in various pension fund schemes opted by you as a subscriber. The NPS Trust, monitored by PFRDA, ensures that proper checks and balances are inbuilt within the schemes. You can access your account details online and check your fund value on a day to day basis.

NPS offer two options – Tier I and Tier II. A Tier 1 account is non-withdrawable and is meant to save for post-retirement. Tier 1 accounts are designated as Exempt-Exempt-Taxed (only the amount withdrawn as lump sum is taxed) from a taxation standpoint. A Tier 2 account is a simple voluntary savings scheme which can be withdrawn anytime upon a subscribers required but does not entail any tax benefits.

The process of setting up an NPS account is very simple. You need to apply for a PRAN or Permanent Retirement Account Number with any of the 37,000 touch points called Point of Presence Service Providers (POP-SP). Once allotted, your PRAN does not change irrespective of change of jobs, location or tax status.

For more on the National Pension Scheme, visit

Nov 30 14

Book Review – A Pluperfect Gift

by Capt. Samarth Singh

A Pluperfect Gift_final_coverA Pluperfect Gift by author Shalabh Bansal is a special read for more than a few reasons. It is a unique narration of Samar and Arisha’s love story and their journey through the formative years of their relationship right through to a very touching outcome. The reader’s perspective and state-of-mind however, places the outcome at various different and relative emotional conclusions. There’s no doubting the fact that different readers will interpret and connect with the climax differently.

The author’s roots are glaringly stark throughout this book with the simplicity and the humility of the settings. This is a read that doesn’t paint lavish pictures to appeal to one’s emotions, rather keeps it simple, sweet and manages to squeeze a tear or two every few chapters. While it is a work of fiction, its hard to miss the many references to everyday happenings. Whether or not they were or are a part of the author’s life is a guessing game, but rest assured, practically every reader will end up connecting to the story line at some point or the other.

A Pluperfect Gift, or a ‘better than perfect’ gift is an emotional book, deep and meaningful, not very long and split into crisp chapters which makes this the perfect travel and/or weekend read.

Jul 18 14

POC for White Knights

by Capt. Samarth Singh

Company Brief: 

Recruitment as a service may be commonplace but competence in recruitment, the real knack to source quality manpower is a skill one doesn’t come by very often. White Knights with its strong corporate ties to the $10 million Pragati Group was put together in 2011. In a relatively short duration, White Knights has managed to clock over 2000 deployments having been associated with some leading corporates.

As partners in your success, we make it our business to understand your operation and your manpower needs. From there we take on the entire recruitment process from profiling the job to hunting for prospectives to testing them throughly and passing them on to you for deployment. By doing this, we not only blindly hunt for manpower, but are capable of objectively discussing  and analysing your requirement thereby opening up the possibility of healthy downsizing which saves you both, time and money.

Our responsibility doesn’t end at just offering you the right set of candidates. As an organisation, White Knights makes it a point to conduct regular internal audits to ensure our process is in line, and up-to-date with our client’s best interest.

Temporary Staffing: 

The need for emergencies lead to the advent of the temporary staffing format of recruitment. However, of late, temporary staffing has been utilised by companies looking to deploy a team on a project based job for a predetermined duration. White Knights offers you the flexibility of both temporary and permanent staffing while keeping quality intact.

Contracts and Package planning: 

Outsourcing your recruitment requirements to White Knights allows you to outsource practically all your staffing based concerns right from planning a candidates package, incentives to other contract based receivables. Simply put, the convincing process which is managing to get you the best bang for the buck is our responsibility!


Jun 10 14

Content for PCS Tech

by lara

About Us: 

A Top Ranking IT Solutions Company : 

PCS Tech, since its inception in 1983 has built a global footprint for itself with 22 offices strategically spread across the world. At PCS Tech, our business is innovation driven wherein we assess, understand and improve our client’s business and the processes within with simple and workable technology based solutions. Our solutions not only improve client side productivity but endeavour to do so at a very affordable price point, both development and maintenance wise.

Focus on Customer Delight

Innovation with technology and the changes the solutions lead to have a way of simplifying mundane, rather difficult to manage tasks. At PCS Tech, we make it our priority to identify redundant areas in our client’s business process and make them fun to deal with using our solutions.  We have achieved significant results keeping our services ‘Customer Delight’ centric and testimony of this lies in our pool of Fortune 500 clients who have chosen us time and again.

Partnering with Global Leaders

In keeping with our goal to be a well rounded technology firm thats up to speed with current standards, we at PCS Technology feel it imperative to build strategic alliances with industry leaders. This helps us offer a more matured service pool while improving geographical reach as well.


Vision & Mission:


It is our Vision at PCS Tech to emerge as one of the top 5 information technology service providers in the world, a company that focusses on unique solutions and services while staying competitive and offering continuous improvements on an on-going basis. While offering market leading solutions, it is our intention to continue to stay a knowledge and learning oriented organisation, to expand our abilities by empowering and education our human resource pool, the new generation human essence of PCS Tech.

Mission: Building Commitment | Recognition 

Our mission as a team is to focus on small steps that win over our client’s confidence and nurture faith. Our solutions and services are strong, intertwined with our values make for an ideal model of commitment. PCS Tech has in the past and continues to strive at bagging key accolades and awards that add value to our services and strengthen our position to achieve our Vision.


Key Differentiators:

PCS Tech is focussed on solutions and services relating to information technology. That is a job we take very seriously and all of our efforts are essentially aimed at improving our influence and effectiveness in this area of business. Since 1983 with over 32 years of experience we have emerged as India’s 3rd largest IT service provider. Having been listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange in 1998 we boast of over 1000+ satisfied customers. PCS Tech is backed with the coveted ISO 9001:2008 quality certification. Our overseas presence in the US, Europe, Australia and the Middle East along with an extensive service network of 450+ locations in India make us unmatched in our service reach potential.



Apart from the various formal measures the management of PCS Tech believes in, within the quality sphere, we constantly arrange refresher courses and short training modules for employees to keep in sync with advancements. The management of PCS Tech believes in nurturing team spirit among staff and tackling client side requirements while keeping in mind a wider perspective (project wise). Our ISO 9001:2008 certification compels us to undertake regular internal and periodic external audits to ensure processes are being followed as per published manuals and SOPs.



Infrastructure Management Services (IMS): 

Remote Support Center:

The IT Infrastructural requirements that today’s business demands can be overwhelming. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that troubleshooting is far more essential to master than the process itself. Our Remote Support Centre is based on the Detect, Interpret, Notify and Perform principle. The single point service desk is capable of handling work orders and all customers are given a single point of contact for their troubleshooting or service related needs. Customers are given an easy-to-understand user interface cum dashboard which tells them the overall health of services provided including reporting of problem areas. (Map not included in content) 

Workplace Support:

Consider a workplace with several hundred nodes / computers speaking to each other over a local network. There are many ways to achieve this framework, all differently poised for different applications and uses. PCS Tech focuses on end user requirements by assessing your technology needs and determining what is best for your organisation. We assess your workplace IT framework, identify problem areas and endeavour to eliminate them with more intelligent and better planned IT infrastructures. Our Workplace Support solution ultimately saves a lot in terms of money and time and ensures minimum downtime which boosts productivity.

Data Center Services: 

A Data Center requires accessibility, redundancy, security and a bullet proof user interface to make retrieval and storage as simple as possible. Companies are increasingly getting into decentralising their data off individual employee systems and moving it to a more secure, easily manageable location. At PCS Tech, we have had extensive experience in designing and maintaining data centres for some fairly large companies. These data centres have not only simplified the data access process but also improved equipment life owing to decentralising of data access load and reduced data theft owing to stringent security measures both physically and over the network.

Managed Maintenance Services:

Our equipment maintenance service is aimed at reducing the confusion and mismanagement that arises from dealing with multiple vendors. Furthermore, it cuts down instances of hardware and software piracy given that PCS tech deals only with OEM Hardware and Software.

Since we are empowered at one end only to handle all your IT real estate, our maintenance service enables us to pre-empt possible issues and troubleshoot the same before time and productivity is lost.

Our well spread network of service centres across 180 locations ensures we are never inaccessible during an emergency. PCS Tech’s Managed Maintenance services allows our customers to concentrate on their core business while leaving all their Hardware and Software service issues to us.