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MeitY officially launches Schemes & Guidelines under NPE 2019 Policy

Ministry of Electronics & IT has officially launched the three key schemes under National Policy for Electronics to encourage electronics manufacturing in the country. These schemes were earlier approved by the Union cabinet and their Notifications were already under public domain. Now Ministry has come up with the Guidelines, Application forms & Names of Nodal officers for the effective implementation of these schemes. The consolidated budget outlay of the budget of these schemes is approx. INR 48000 Crores.

Please download the details form below link.

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Recent Policy Updates with respect to COVID-19 Lockdown Policy

1.    CBIC has decided to expeditiously process all pending Customs refund and drawback claims in order to provide immediate relief to the business entities, especially MSMEs, in these difficult times. This decision has been announced vide Press Note dated 8th April, 2020 and the benefits will be available till 30th April 2020. Members may download the relevant Press Note from HERE.

 

2.    Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India in its Order dated 21st April 2020 has provided waivers regarding various payment as chargeable by Ports. These payments may be Lease rentals, License Fee, Detention charges, Demurrage Charges etc. The Order has facilitated the industry through various other provisions, complete information may be referred from HERE. 

3.    CBIC has earlier issued Public Notice Nos. 21/2020 dt. 25th March 2020, 22/2020 dt. 28th March 2020 and 23/2020 dt.  30th March 2020 wherein certain relaxations were announced to the industry which were applicable till 14.04.2020. These relaxations are regarding Payment of Demurrage Charges, Late Filing of Bill of Entries, Bonds submission at Customs. Now in view of the extension of lockdown period, these relaxations are extended up to 19.04.2020. For further information, Members may download the relevant Customs Circular from HERE.

 

EPFO has issue a circular dated 15th April 2020, the circular states that: The due date for payment of contributions and administrative charges which was due for the month of March 2020  has been extended from 

15th April 2020 to 15th May 2020

. For further information, Members may download the relevant EPFO Circular from 

HERE

.


Tamil Nadu signs 17 agreements for investments of over ₹15,100 crore General

In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday inked 17 Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with companies from various countries, for investments to the tune of about ₹15,128 crore, which are expected to provide jobs for over 47,100 people. Representatives from these companies from Germany, Finland, Taiwan, France, South Korea, Japan, China, United States, Australia, England and the Netherlands exchanged signed agreements with Tamil Nadu officials, in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswamiat the Secretariat here. “I have formed a Special Investment Promotion Task Force as we fight COVID19. As a result, we have signed MOUs with 17 institutions that will bring 15128 Crores worth of investment and 47150 jobs in Tamilnadu. We will continuously work towards creating more job opportunities in TN,” Mr. Palaniswami tweeted. “We have the most skillful manpower with electricity and water in surplus and most importantly one of the top states in maintaining good law and order. I welcome all the investors to #InvestinTN We are committed to help you through the entire investment process,” he tweeted.  The investments are to be made in the manufacturing of heavy vehicles, electronics, footwear, energy and medical equipment sectors among others, an official release stated. The MoUs have been signed with: Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, Polymatech Electronics, Salcomp, Chung Jye Company Ltd & Aston Shoes Pvt Ltd, Lai Investment Manager Pvt Ltd, Mando Automotive India Pvt Ltd, Dinex, Chennai Power Generation Ltd, IGL India Transplantation Solutions Pvt Ltd, Vivid Solaire Energy Pvt Ltd, HDCI Data Centre Holdings Chennai LLP, ST Tele Media, Baettr, BYD India Pvt Ltd, TJR Precision Technology Company Ltd, Pillar Industries India Pvt Ltd and Lincoln Electric.

(The Hindu, May 28, 2020)


India pitches as alternative to MNCs rethinking sourcing plans General

India is pitching itself as an alternative Business Continuity Plan destination as multinationals rethink their sourcing plans and re-organize supply chains. Invest India and JLL have prepared a report, "Great Places for Manufacturing in India-World Class Destinations for MultiNationals" as India moves to attract foreign investments in manufacturing with the buzz around reorientation of global supply chains. The report says that India stands at the pedestal of a new growth curve of rapid industrialisation. In the COVID-19 pandemic scenario, India has projected a more resilient and diversified economy to fight the crisis and projected as a major attractive destination. "As multinationals rethink their sourcing plans and re-organize supply chains, India is one of the most viable locations for Business Continuity Plans (BCP)," the report said. India, on account of its large domestic market and low cost production base, is well-positioned to host new investments in a range of sectors, the report said. It has listed sectors like textiles and apparels, electronics and consumer appliances, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automobiles and components, capital goods, electrical machinery, footwear and leather products, chemicals and petrochemicals, food Processing, plastic products, telecom equipment.

(Outlook, May 28, 2020)


Researchers recommend mass installation of single contact-tracing app to boost COVID-19 fight General

Even as the debate over the usage of Aarogya Setu is yet to settle, a group of researchers have advocated mass installation of a single contact-tracing mobile phone application to strengthen India''s battle against COVID-19. In a study published online in the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR), conducted in the first week of April and updated on May 3, as many as 346 potential COVID-19 apps including Aarogya Setu to deal with this crisis were identified. While there were differences in state-specific information in the apps developed by states, the system architecture and many of the functionalities, including self-testing, quarantine monitoring and contact tracing, were common between these apps, researchers found.  "The current technological plurality in the absence of robust data exchange mechanisms and Centre-state coordination, can be detrimental for technology-assisted contact tracing in a heterogeneous country like India, especially once the lockdown ends and free movement of people starts," the study stated. "Overcoming this challenge requires Union and state governments to ensure mass installation of a single contact-tracing app collaboratively," it highlighted, but stressed on the need for "necessary but least intrusive" measures for disease surveillance.

(Outlook, May 28, 2020)


ETAutoSTVC: Three-step customer-friendly alternative to bring e-motorcycles in India IT

India has unique mobility needs. Unlike China, which runs electric mopeds, the people in India carry huge amounts of weight on their motorcycles, said Wicher Kist, CEO, Saietta as part of the first-ever Simulation & Testing Virtual Congress, organised by ETAuto on Wednesday. Considering that majority of the motorcycles purchased in India are in the range of 110cc, we need to find a solution to create a dielectric motorcycle with enough power that can meet the customer's needs of boosting its ability to lift, he stated. “Motorcycles lesser than 110cc will not work for India because of the prevalent road conditions, while the bigger ones will be too expensive,” Kist explained while adding that this fact alone makes India an interesting market segment to go electric. Being the largest motorcycle selling country in the world, India sells over 20 million motorcycles alone. These are light, affordable and take less space, however they are run on petrol which is a substantial polluter.

(ET, May 28, 2020)


After smartphones, Samsung consumer electronics are now available at Benow Telecom

Strengthening its online to offline (O2O) strategy to push sales amid the coronavirus pandemic, Samsung has expanded its partnership with Benow to sell its consumer electronics. The South Korean electronics initially partnered with the digital payments platform to sell its Galaxy smartphones -- Benow digital platform allows consumers to buy online from neighbourhood stores. Now, besides smartphones, customers would be able to buy Samsung products like televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. "The current O2O model that we rolled out last month has been truly successful. We are now extending O2O to new platforms with our partnership with Benow," Samsung India Senior Vice President, Consumer Electronics Business Raju Pullan said. "It will allow local retailers sell Samsung consumer electronics products online and go completely contactless, without making any upfront investment. Consumers, on the other hand, will be able to buy Samsung consumer electronics products online, from the safety and comfort of their homes, and make payments online through the method of their choice cash on delivery, credit card, debit card, easy EMI, etc - without any contact," he added.

(BS, May 28, 2020)


Airtel, NODWIN team up to accelerate e-sports growth in India Telecom

Bharti Airtel Thursday entered into a partnership with NODWIN to accelerate the growth of e-sports in India. Bharti Airtel has launched a first-of-its-kind Airtel India Esports Tour and introduced a national ranking and awarding system for Indian esports players which will take into account the players’ year-long performance across various tournaments to create a points table for all participants. “Airtel India Esports Tour will initially cover all NODWIN tournaments across gaming titles of PUBG Mobile, CS:GO, Clash of Clans, FIFA, etc,” it said in a statement. Airtel added the coverage will extend to NODWIN tournaments such as the India Premiership by NODWIN, Dreamhack India, The Northeast Cup, KO Fight Nights, and PAN Fest and will also cover NODWIN operated tournaments such as the PUBG Mobile Pro League in India. Once the annual tour has been concluded, a leaderboard across games will be presented to recognize and reward the winner at an awards show. The telco added the coverage will be broadcast on its digital platforms. The telco said that NODWIN would initially seed the e-sports tour but will aspire to be a platform where tournaments will carry equal significance, independent of the organiser. “Gaming is the next frontier of entertainment and it gives us great pleasure to announce our partnership with NODWIN to unlock the potential of e-sports in India,” Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer, Bharti Airtel said.

(ET, May 28, 2020)


Dutch e-scooter developer Etergo-es to India IT

Less than a year after Etergo announced it would be manufacturing its electric scooters in Emmen, the Amsterdam-based company has found a new home. The EV manufacturer will now reside within India’s ride-hailing company Ola. With backing from Softbank, Ola purchased Etergo, for an undisclosed amount, as it looks to expand its portfolio to include locally produced electric vehicles.   According to Ola, the company will start EV production this year with the launch of its first electric scooter penned for 2021. “The company aims to build a suite of electric and smart urban mobility solutions in India and around the world,” says Bhavish Aggarwal, founder and chairman. “The future of mobility is electric, and the post-COVID world presents an opportunity for us to accelerate the adoption of electric mobility globally.”

(Bits & Chips, May 27, 2020)


Indian Govt To Develop Video Conferencing Tool To Take On Zoom General

The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) is developing a “secure” video conferencing platform, which can be used by government officials, judiciary and public. The move by C-DoT is aimed to reduce India’s dependence on overseas platforms like Zoom, Microsoft and Google to carry out the day-to-day business operations through video conferencing. It will also incorporate all features offered by the video conferencing giant. According to an Economic Times report, the platform is “almost ready” for deployment. A source, close to the matter, also highlighted that to prevent any sort of cyber-snooping, the platform will be hosted on the government of India server for the use of government and judiciary. For public use, the video conferencing platform would launch a separate version. The platform will also have a “waiting room” feature, where people wanting to join the online meeting will be in line before they are approved by the moderator. The solution is in the lines with other indigenous solutions offered by the Indian government — contact trace app Aarogya Setu and instant messaging app Government Instant Messaging Service (GIMS).  A senior official told ET that the government is looking to offer two versions of the GIMS app, of which one will be used by the public and the other by senior officials to conduct high-level government communications. The government is developing such solutions to keep its information protected from cyberattacks and other digital threats.

(Inc 42, May 19, 2020)


India should strengthen ties with Taiwan General

As the coronavirus menace makes lives difficult and miserable for millions of ordinary people around the world, the US and China are involved in an ugly spat, over who is responsible for the carnage that threatens the welfare, well-being and lives of millions across the world. President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the Chinese are responsible for creating the virus, though nobody appears clear whether it was the creation of a research project in Wuhan on bats, which went horribly wrong, or the creation of the unhygienic conditions in Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. The seafood market reportedly sells a variety of meat products, including bats, foxes, frogs, pigs, porcupines, snakes and turtles. China denies any role in triggering the Covind-19 tragedy, which could well be true. But it faces continuing criticism from angry populations across the world, including from irate Africans, whose people faced racist attacks after the crisis broke. But the worst manifestations of hypocrisy have come from sanctimonious countries in the Islamic world, including Iran and Pakistan. Both have remained silent as Muslims continue to be ruthlessly persecuted just across their borders, in China’s Xinjiang Province. The Trump Administration, in turn, cannot absolve itself of responsibility for initially underestimating the seriousness of the issues and then playing crass and polarizing electoral politics, with the safety, security and lives, of its own citizens.

(BusinessLine, May 19, 2020)


Covid-19: India’s electronics and software exports may take a short-term hit General

India may miss the electronics and software exports forecast of $155 billion for 2020-21 as several sectors, including airline, hospitality and banking, in traditionally strong markets like the US and Europe have been severely hit by the covid-19 pandemic, Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) has said. “Keeping in mind the demand and supply disruptions caused by covid-19 both in India and in the main export markets, uncertainty related to the impact of the virus and how long the virus will be with us, we are carefully looking at the target set to reflect ground level situation," Sandeep Narula, Chairman, ESC said in the statement. Though Indian information and communication technology (ICT) companies have managed to keep operations running by encouraging employees to work remotely, exports will be adversely affected resulting in short-term losses. However, Narula feels, the sector is likely to bounce back in the long run as many global companies plan to move out of China, and India may emerge as an alternative destination. Narula said government support will be key to the revival of the ICT sector. The financial package announced by the prime minister and the special accommodation given to the MSME sector by the finance minister under the sectoral package will benefit small and mid -size companies in the ICT sector.

(LiveMint, May 18, 2020)


Retailers with less than Rs 100 cr turnover wants MSME tag General

Retailers with annual revenue of less than Rs 100 crore, comprising more than 80% of India’s overall organised retailers, have urged the government to classify them as MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) so that they can also take advantage of the Covid-19 stimulus packages. Last week, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman spelled out a raft of measures to help the ailing MSMEs, including collateral-free loans up to Rs 3 lakh crore backed by government guarantee, repayment of dues within next 45 days and change in definition of these businesses. MSME borrowers with up to Rs 25 crore outstanding and Rs 100 crore turnovers will be eligible for the emergency credit line to their businesses under the package with loans having a four-year tenor with moratorium of 12 months on the principal repayment. However, retailers with around Rs 100 crore of revenue will not be able to avail themselves of the loans as they are not classified as MSMEs. Many retailers across the country, from optical chains to large franchisee operators of global brands and standalone local business with less than Rs 100 crore of sales, have said they should also stand to benefit from the stimulus packages for the medium sized enterprises. “MSME has a very vague definition and they have to be either a manufacturer or into other services and they say retailers are not part of services,” said Akshay Jain, managing partner at Greenways, which operates four saree outlets. “We are into services and retail is a service.”

(ET, May 18, 2020)


Lockdown 4.0: E-commerce firms Flipkart, Amazon may finally resume full operations nationally General

E-commerce companies such as Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, as well as vertical etailers including Lenskart, Nykaa, and Firstcry, are expected to resume full operations from Monday after the central government removed all restrictions on online retail as part of its plan for Lockdown 4.0. These platforms were so far restricted to selling non-essential goods like smartphones and electronics in government designated green and orange zones, while being allowed to sell essential items such as food and grocery nationally. But in its latest guidelines, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that all activities, except those specifically prohibited, will be now be opened up. However, states would still take the final call on allowing businesses to function based on their local needs and situations, the guidelines added. Online sales will continue to be restricted in containment zones across the country, where only essential activities will be permitted, as per the latest MHA directives.

(ET, May 18, 2020)


Oppo Shuts Greater Noida Factory After 6 Test Covid-19 Positive, 3,000 Under Testing General

Oppo, the BBK Electronics-owned Chinese electronics manufacturer, on Monday confirmed that six workers at its smart phone plant in Greater Noida has tested positive for Covid-19. While the affected workers have been sent to necessary medical facilities, Oppo has shut its factory premises down and instructed 3,000 employees to undergo coronavirus testing. Operations will be resumed only after the facility is fully sanitised and the workers that are currently under testing return test negative for Covid-19, a company official confirmed to News18.  An Oppo India spokesperson said about the matter, "Oppo had obtained permission from the state authorities to resume production earlier this month, following the MHA directive. As an organisation that places the safety of all our employees and citizens at the forefront, we have suspended all operations at our manufacturing facility in Greater Noida and initiated Covid-19 testing for 3,000+ employees, for which results are awaited. (We) will only allow employees with negative test results to resume office following all safety protocols. We are undertaking stringent measures to keep the employees safe and disinfecting the premises."

(News 18, May 18, 2020)


Samsung's chip production up 57% in Q1 2020 IT

Samsung Electronics' chip production in the first quarter of the year increased 57.4 per cent from a year earlier despite the spread of the novel coronavirus, the company's quarterly business report showed. Samsung, the world's largest memory chip maker, produced 277.4 billion units of semiconductors in the January-March period, up from 176.2 billion units a year earlier, according to the report. Its chip factory operation rate was 100 per cent. Industry insiders said Samsung's increased production was aimed at meeting rising demand for server chips as the coronavirus pandemic boosted non-face-to-face activities. In contrast, Samsung's mobile phone and display production plunged in the first quarter, the report showed, due to factory shutdowns from the virus outbreak. Samsung produced 58.7 million handsets and 1.45 million units of display products in the first three months of 2020, down 34.4 percent and 35.5 percent from a year earlier, respectively. The operation rate for Samsung's mobile manufacturing business was only 73.3 percent in the first quarter, according to the report, down 16.2 percentage points from a year earlier, reports Yonhup news agency.

(ET, May 18, 2020)


India’s EV Component Market to Grow at 22.1% CAGR till 2030 IT

India is presently witnessing a rapid rise in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Additionally, a decline is being seen in the price of various components, which is making EVs more affordable for people. Both these factors are projected to propel the Indian electric vehicle component market at a 22.1% CAGR during 2020–2030 (forecast period); the market generated $536.1 million in revenue in 2019. The cost of the various components that go into manufacturing an electrically powered automobile is continuously reducing, as a result of economies of scale. For instance, the battery price is expected to fall by more than 30% between 2018 and 2025, thus making electric vehicles (EVs) more affordable. During the same period, a 24%, 23%, 60%, 9% 6.5%, 8.6%, 8.5%, and 21% drop is predicted in the prices of motors, controllers, electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), thermal management systems, power distribution modules (PDMs), vehicle interface control modules (VCIMs), high-voltage cables, and DC–DC converters, respectively. During the forecast period(2020-2030), the passenger car category is predicted to witness the fastest growth in the Indian electric vehicle component market, as numerous transport companies, as well as the government, are taking initiatives to increase the number of electric cars in shared mobility fleets.

(EET India, May 18, 2020)


Modi's mission self-reliance can go a long way in making India a major hub for defence manufacturing General

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s May 12 call to go ‘vocal for local’ through Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Reliant India Mission), finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a slew of measures on May 16 specific to defence production and procurement. These measures, in tandem with other policy initiatives of the past six years, have the potential to promote self-reliance and transform India into a major defence manufacturing hub. Despite its large defence R&D base and significant production capacities, India remains one of the world’s largest arms importers. Lack of clarity in policy has encouraged this dependence. The FM’s announcement of a ban on import of certain items, to be notified in consultation with the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) headed by the chief of defence staff (CDS), and indigenous manufacturing of spares that have been hitherto imported for domestic production, are expected to provide the necessary direction.

                                                                                                                           (ET, May 18, 2020)

Source: 

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/view-modis-mission-self-reliance-can-go-a-long-way-in-making-india-a-major-hub-for-defence-manufacturing/articleshow/75813584.cms


Trending stocks: Bharat Electronics shares down over 3% General

Shares of Bharat Electronics traded 3.25 per cent down in Monday's trade at 11:16AM (IST). Around 1,015,640 shares changed hands on the counter. The stock opened at Rs 71.0 and touched an intraday high and low of Rs 71.5 and Rs 65.2, respectively, in the session so far. Shares of the company of Bharat Electronics Ltd. quoted a 52-week high of Rs 122.15 and a 52-week low of Rs 56.1. Total market cap of the Bharat Electronics Ltd. stood at Rs 16203.34 crore at the time of writing this report.                                                                                                   (ET, May 18, 2020)

Source:https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/stocks/news/trending-stocksnbspbharat-electronics-shares-down-over-3nbsp/articleshow/75799416.cms


Stimulus impact: HAL, BEL, other defence-linked stocks rally up to 5% General

Shares of Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and other defence-linked companies rallied up to 10 per cent in Monday’s trade after the government announced plans to push its Make in India initiative. By 9.53 am, shares of Hindustan Aeronautics traded 5.35 per cent higher at Rs 551.50. HAL is the maker of Tejas LCA (light combat aircraft). Shares of Bharat Dynamics advanced 3.09 per cent to Rs 247 and Bharat Electronics (BEL) added 2 per cent to Rs 69.10.  BEL is the maker of Akash Missile System. State-run BEML also added 2.14 per cent to Rs 611. BEML is the maker of Tatra-based high mobility trucks for defence use. L&T (down 3.54 per cent) and Bharat ForgeNSE 1.87 % ( down 2.86 per cent), which were seen as key beneficiaries of these announcements, fell 3 per cent each in a weak market. Phillip Capital said L&T, BEL and Bharat Forge would be key beneficiaries of the increase in FDI limit in defence manufacturing under the automatic route to 74 per cent from 49 per cent. Morgan Stanley said BEL is the best way to play India’s defense indigenisation theme. 

(ET, May 18, 2020)


Stimulus Package by Finance Minister dated 13th May 2020 Policy

MSME’s related announcements

1. 20% top-up loan, to outstanding loan (as on 29.02.2020) Collateral Free Automatic Loan for MSME. Those MSME having Loan upto 25cr and turnover upto 100cr will be covered in this scheme. 100% Central Govt. Guaranteed. This loan will be for 4 Yrs with a Moratorium of 12 Months.

2. 20,000Cr will be infused as Subordinate Debt for stressed MSME thru CGTSME Trust.

3. There is a Fund of Fund to be created. Rs 50,000cr will be infused as equity to standard MSME. Will help them to expand their capacities.

4. Definition of MSME changed. Investment Limit which defines a SME is changed. Now Turnover criteria is also introduced. Different between manufacturing and service SME is removed. Micro Units- Investment limit increased to 1Cr from 20Lakh. And Turnover can be upto 5Cr. Other changes are also done. For Medium Enterprise the limit increased to 10 Cr Investment and turnover 50Cr. 20Cr and 100Cr

5. Tenders upto 200Cr relating to Govt procurement will not be Global Tenders any more. MSME will get big benefit out of it

6. All Central Govt outstanding will be cleared within 45 Days by Govt Help of all MSME.

EPF Related announcements:

7. EPF Payment was paid by Govt for Mar, April and May now Extended by another 3 Months. 12%+12% will be paid by Govt of India.

8. Contribution reduced from 12% to 10% for those organisation having more than 100 employee is done now.

NBFC related announcements:

9. NBFC, MFI, HFC-Step-1- Special 30,000cr Liquidity window will be given. Govt will buy debt papers of these institutions even if investment grade. These will be fully guaranteed by govt of India.

10. NBFC Step-2- To Give 45,000cr Liquidity to NBFC. First 20% Loss will be born by Govt of India. Even unrated papers will get money under this scheme.

Discoms & Contractors related:

11. Discom not able to pay the power generation Companies. 90,000cr Special fund created to pay all outstanding of Power Generation Companies. PFC and REC will give this money

12. Contractors - Month extension will be given to all Govt contractors of Railways, Roads, Other departments. Govt Agencies will partially release Bank Guarantees to the extent of work completed. A Big Step.

13. Covid19 can be treated as act of God. Using the Force Major Clause the project registration will be extended by 6 Month automatically. Completion dates of existing projects to be extended automatically by 6 Months by Govt authorities.

Direct Tax related:

14. Non Salaried TDS and TCS rates will be reduced by 25% (from existing Level rates). This will be effective from tomorrow and will remain till 31-03-2021.

15. All Pending Refunds will be issued immediately to all to 5 Lakhs.

16. The ITR filing Dates for Assessment Year 2020-21 has been extended to 30th Nov 2020 and Tax Audit Date has been extended to 31st October 2020.


DR VK SARASWAT CALLS UPON DRDO TO FOCUS ON BIOLOGICAL DEFENCE PROGRAM General

The entire country is currently battling the Corona virus. NITI Aayog member and former Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) chief V K Saraswat said on Monday that the DRDO must “revive work on a bio (logical)-defence program”. Speaking at a video conference on National Technology Day, Saraswat called on the DRDO to provide “more focus” on its six laboratories that work on life sciences. Dr. V.K. In his address, Saraswat congratulated DRDO for its outstanding work during the first 45 days of the fight against COVID-19. He said that in this fight, the country has strengthened the infrastructure of science and technology. They advised DRDO to pay more attention to the biological lab. They said the bio-defence program should be restarted. He emphasised the development of more robotic devices in which DRDO specialises.  Rajnath Singh, on the other hand, said that DRDO has developed more than 50 products in the last 3-4 months through its continuous efforts to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. These include bio suits, sanitiser dispensers, PPE kits etc. 

(Indian Defence News, May 12, 2020)


ANTI-DUMPING DUTY ON TWO DOZEN CHINESE IMPORTS MAY BE EXTENDED: REPORT General

The move was aimed at protecting domestic manufacturers from a flood of these Chinese goods once the current duty-protection regime ends, the report said. Vitamin E, solar cells, USB drives and steel are among the goods on which duty may be extended. In the case of Sodium-Citrate, another import from China, the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) last week recommended an extension of the anti-dumping duty. The duty protection period on the product ends May 19.Duties on the 25 goods end at different times during this year. The DGTR, which comes under the commerce ministry, conducts investigations into complaints filed by the domestic industry, alleging dumping of goods. Anti-dumping duties are tariffs levied by a government on certain imported items, which it believes are priced below fair-market value. This is done to ensure that companies do not undercut local businesses by flooding domestic markets with cheaply priced goods.

(Indian defence News, May 12, 2020)


Big opportunity for India General

One of the key fallouts of the Covid-19 crisis is that several big investors across multiple sectors are having a rethink over their presence in China, with some even thinking of exiting the country and looking to relocate elsewhere. India has a major opportunity waiting to be tapped. The dependence on China is something that every manufacturing company is definitely reviewing and revisiting. For instance, Japan and South and Korea have already given enough indications about the possibility of their companies moving away from China. Textiles, electronics, pharmaceuticals and life sciences are among the sectors that could throw up big opportunities. Keeping this trend in view, Telangana Information Technology Minister KT Rama Rao has made the right pitch to attract investments into the State, which has an ideal ecosystem for these industries to flourish. This is the result of a string of pro-active industrial policies undertaken by the State government to attract big players. Post-pandemic, several global companies would be keen to reduce their dependence on China for supply chains and manufacturing and look to diversify their operations. If India can capitalise on this opportunity, the ‘Make in India’ programme can see a big acceleration. Already, countries like Vietnam are offering a compelling alternative to China in terms of electronics manufacturing. It remains to be seen how quickly India’s policymakers can move to address some of the issues that the companies face when they set up operations in India.

(Telengana Today, May 12, 2020)


Companies welcome government’s PLI-scheme, but work still to be done General

The Indian government’s new production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for mobile manufacturers has been well received by the industry, but there’s work left to be done. The scheme is meant to encourage companies to export products from the country and ramp up manufacturing here. The companies have reacted “very positively" and the scheme could help meet the targets set in the National Policy on Electronics 2019 (NPE 2019).  All major companies are already in India, producing 97% of India’s domestic requirement. Only the component base has to come to India, which is not necessarily about shifting but of setting up additional capacities. This is the most appropriate time for setting up capacities in India. At the moment, the industry mostly gets semi knocked down (SKD) units of phones into the country and assembles them here, claiming duty benefits. However, the new PLI-scheme is amongst the first steps by the government that will allow completely knocked down (CKD) units to be brought here, spurring the growth of component manufacturing for mobile phones.

(LiveMint, May 11, 2020)


No-cost EMIs on electric cycles coming soon: Go Zero to focus on online sales IT

Electric bicycles will be in great demand. Post Covid-19 (if at all there is a phase), almost everyone has predicted that electric mobility will witness a rise. Not only this, but those who have their offices really close to their homes will also prefer taking electric cycles. Go Zero, a UK-based company entered the Indian cycling scene a couple of years ago. Express Drives had a conversation with Ankit Kumar, CEO of Go Zero Mobility. We asked him various questions, the one about coronavirus affecting business, cycle deliveries and the works. Here is an excerpt of the discussion. We have kept our focus on “Make Fit” approach and all our campaigns are around becoming an aid for consumers to adopt a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. We aim to focus on the same through online retailing and offline channel sales. We are preparing grounds to enable prime delivery in order to fulfill the orders within 1-2 days in specific territories.

(FE, May 11, 2020)


Vizag gas leak: LG Polymers' India journey is riddled with controversy General

LG Polymers India, the company that owns and operates the chemical plant in Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) from where poisonous gas leaked on Thursday killing several locals, is no stranger to controversies. Set up in December 1996, weeks before Korean major LG Electronics entered India, the plant has been at the centre of legal battles since its association with the $23 billion LGChem. Originally set up as Hindustan Polymers in 1961, the manufacturing unit landed up in liquor major UB Group’s McDowell’s lap in 1978. As South Korea’s LG Group geared up to establish its footprint in India’s consumer durables space in the mid-1990, it acquired the plant under a share transfer deal against its Rs 100 crore investment in the plant. Acquiring the polymer business was crucial for LG. The brand that became the leading consumer appliances player in the country had to keep costs in check and protect its technology. A lack of adequately skilled workforce at the time forced new entrants like LG to keep all key component manufacturing in-house.

(BS, May 08, 2020)


Costly labour to burn hole in India Inc books General

India Inc and hundreds of small and medium businesses across the country are grappling with surging labour costs as workforce shortage intensifies and wages are increased to keep migrants from leaving for villages. Business leaders and corporate executives told ET that the problem is already evident in sectors such as construction, consumer goods and ecommerce, and may hit the major manufacturing sectors once these resume full-scale operations after the lockdown ends. Wages for ecommerce delivery and warehouse staff have increased 50-100% so far, and though the situation has normalised, there has been no across-the-board improvement, said executives. Flipkart and Amazon are shouldering wage increases of 75-100% while Grofers said it was paying 25-50% more. “Depending on location and function, payouts are 25-50% higher than pre-Covid days,” Grofers CEO Albinder Dhindsa said. He said that while the availability of workers has improved, the e-grocer is continuing to pay hazard pay (hardship allowance) and higher wages.

(ET, May 08, 2020)


How India can replace China as a global manufacturing hub post-COVID including auto sector IT

In 2010, China overtook the US to emerge as the world’s largest manufacturing sector. However, the rise of China as the world’s factory began way back in the 1980s initially as a producer of low-end products which gradually rose to become a manufacturing hub of everything under the sun – from drugs to electronic gadgets. According to estimates of the UN Statistics Division, China accounted for 28 percent of global manufacturing output in 2018[1]. Yet, the Coronavirus epidemic is beginning to change this in many ways. The supply shock created by a Chinese shutdown has prompted global firms to look for new manufacturing centres as a part of a risk hedging strategy for the future. Several industries have realized the drawbacks of being excessively dependent on manufacturing on a single country and are looking to expand the geographic spread of their facilities. This presents a moment of opportunity for India which can reap rich dividends by creating a manufacturing-friendly environment and offering lucrative deals to global players for setting up units in India. Reports have indicated that a large number of companies have already initiated talks with Indian authorities seeking to pursue production plans in this country in sectors such as electronics, medical devices and textiles, among others[2]. India needs to capitalize on this opportunity and present itself as a viable alternative manufacturing destination.

(FE, May 07, 2020)


Economic recovery could take one year for India Inc General

Despite lifting the national lockdown in phases, Indian companies expect the economic recovery to take about a year because of the lasting impact on businesses, a survey of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) showed. The survey found that 44.7% of respondents expect companies to take six to 12 months for a recovery. The Indian government recently relaxed curbs to allow businesses to resume gradually across the country. The government had announced a total of 733 zones in the country, divided into red, orange and green, based on the number of infections in an area and the doubling rates of the disease. Red zones are the worst affected and around 130 fall in this category, followed by 284 orange zones that are less affected and 319 green zones, which are nearly disease-free. “Aggressive measures are required to ensure that an industrial district moves from red to orange and green within 21 days," said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, CII, adding that the cost of preventive measures, such as repeated sanitization or testing, and providing protective gear to ease towards infection-free zones, will be less than the cost of shutting down business for a long period in certain high-performing districts.

(LiveMint, May 03, 2020)


E-comm cos geared up for shipping non-essentials but sales may be hit as large mkts in red zone General

E-commerce companies are geared up to start shipping non-essential items to customers in orange and green zones from Monday, but sales could be impacted as metros and many large cities are in red zones. Various cities like Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Pune have been classified under red zones. According to industry executives, e-commerce companies like Amazon India and Walmart-backed Flipkart have been engaging closely with sellers to help them prepare for starting shipment of non-essential products as the third phase of lockdown comes into effect. On Friday, the home ministry had announced a two-week extension of lockdown but said there would be certain relaxations for orange and green zones. Under the latest rules, e-commerce activities in red zones, which cover large cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad are permitted only for essential goods during the third phase of lockdown that ends on May 17. A senior industry executive, who did not wish to be named, said states including Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have also notified their guidelines for online commerce platforms that are similar to those issued by the Centre. The executive said e-commerce companies that follow the marketplace model (like Amazon India, Flipkart and Snapdeal) could face some challenge as many of their sellers are either located or have their warehouses in red zones.

(India TV, May 03, 2020


Lockdown 3.0: Amazon, Flipkart to deliver mobile phones, electronic items in orange, green zones from May 4 General

Online e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart will be able to deliver items such as mobile phones and other electronic items as the nation enters the third phase of lockdown from May 4, reported jagran.com. But, the delivery of items will be applicable for people residing in green and orange zones. In red zones, e-commerce can only deliver essential supplies. The government on Friday extended the lockdown for two more weeks till May 17 to combat COVID-19 across the country. As of now, the e-commerce is only allowed to deliver essential items in the lockdown period but after new guidelines from the centre, customers would be able to order some non-essential items like cellphones, electronic items in orange (fewer cases of COVID-19), and green zones (no cases). The government of India has classified districts across India in red, orange, green and containment zones. Millions of small and medium businesses and traders will now be able to jump start their businesses and livelihoods across their workforce," said an Amazon spokesperson as quoted by livemint.com. Most of the metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Chennai have been declared red zones. This means e-commerce companies cannot get back to normal in cities that drive maximum traffic.

(Jagran English, May 03, 2020)


IT Hardware Company expect to resume partial production this week, 100% next month IT

Electronics manufacturers expect to resume partial production this week and full capacity by end of next month if there is no change in guidelines from the government, according to senior company officials. The central and some state governments have issued notification to allow manufacturing of IT hardware, including mobile phones, and even allowing movement of staff with some restriction from May 4. Most of the companies, who did not wish to be named, were waiting for order from local authorities in Uttar Pradesh before making announcement on starting manufacturing. Uttar Pradesh accounts for more than 60 per cent of total mobile phones produced in the country. According to industry sources, if companies located in Greater Noida, which falls in red zone, get permission to resume manufacturing then most of the mobile phone companies, including Vivo, Oppo and others, will be able to start operations at 30-40 per cent of their capacity by the end of next week. "Home Ministry order has been very clear on movement of goods..

(Outlook, May 03, 2020)


Suzuki’s new e-scooter to launch in India IT

Suzuki Motorcycle India might introduce an all-new e-scooter on the market soon. Focused on ease of use and cost-effectiveness, patent images of the made-in-India e-scooter have been leaked online. Various reports state that it would be launched by mid-2021 but the present state of affairs brought about by COVID-19 might affect this proposed timeline. Rumours regarding the e-scooter have been circulating on the internet for about a year but this is the first time anyone has received an idea of its basic design. At least in its patent format, the internals is as simple as they can get. By employing tubular and square-section components for the chassis, input costs can be cut down by a good extent. Furthermore, a simpler design is analogous to shorter production times. Suzuki apparently plans to launch it in potential markets across Europe and Asia. From the looks of it, Suzuki’s upcoming e-scooter seems perfect for both personal and fleet use (such as smart mobility services).

(RushLane, May 03, 2020)


Ministry of Electronics & IT lists start-ups for securing Work from Home environment General

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India along with DSCI (Data Security Council of India) and National Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security Technology Development and Entrepreneurship has officially announced the list of Indian Start-ups for securing Work from Home Environment. The list includes:  WiJungle is an Indian cyber security company that develops and markets a unified network security gateway to organizations across 25+ countries worldwide. The company serves government and private giants across industry verticals like hospitality, healthcare, education, retail, défense, and transportation, among others. The platform helps in network data leak prevention along with malware protection, cloud sandboxing & zero-day protection. Additionally, it lets users impose granular access control to network resources. It also provides users VPN: SSL & IPsec, Hub& spokes, multi-layer auth, and split tunneling features for a more secure connection, the company mentioned in its official release.

(Business Line, May 02, 2020)


Amazon business hit most in India over ban on delivery of non-essential goods General

E-commerce giant Amazon said that among all its global operations, its businesses in India have been the most severely impacted. There has been a drastic cut in Amazon’s offerings in India, where the e-tailer is currently selling only groceries, due to the government advisory prohibiting online marketplaces from selling non-essential goods. “I think the biggest impact internationally has been in India where, of course, similar to all companies in the country, we are now only delivering essential goods such as grocery. "So that has cut back a lot on our offerings and we will further expand when the Indian government announces that we are allowed to resume operations. Hence, we are in a bit of a holding pattern except for grocery in India,” Brian T Olsavsky, senior vice-president and chief financial officer, Amazon, told investors during an earnings call.  According to Forrester Research, online retail sales in India stood at $35 billion in 2019, with non-essential categories including consumer electronics, fashion, smart phones and large appliances comprising a chunk of the sales..The share of groceries in the overall online retail in India during 2019 stood at just $2 billion. With the government permitting the brick-and-mortar stores to sell non-essential goods in selected areas, sources said that stakeholders in India’s e-commerce industry have approached the authorities seeking permission for sale of goods other than groceries.

(The Indian Express, May 02, 2020)


India’s gross expenditure in R&D tripled in last 10 years General

India’s gross expenditure in R&D has tripled between 2008 & 2018 driven mainly by Govt sector and scientific publications have risen placing the country internationally among the top few. This is as per the R&D Statistics and Indicators 2019-20 based on the national S&T survey 2018 brought out by the National Science and Technology Management Information (NSTMIS), Department of Science and Technology (DST). “The report on R&D indicators for the nation is an extraordinarily important document for the evidence-based policymaking and planning in higher education, R&D activities and support, intellectual property, and industrial competitiveness. While it is heartening to see substantial progress in the basic indicators of R&D strengths such as the global leadership in the number of scientific publications, there are also areas of concern that need strengthening,” said Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary,DST.

(India CSR, May 01, 2020)


Govt launches e-retail chain for rural India General

The government has launched a village-level online retail chain to facilitate the supply of essentials through outlets that are taking orders online and offline and carrying out home deliveries.  Under the initiative, the government’s digital Seva portal Common Service Centers Scheme (CSCs), which reaches over 60 crore people through its around 3.8 lakh outlets, is leading the effort and private individuals under the guidance of the ministry of electronics and IT will run the outlets.  “These are like Amazon and Flipkart, but for the rural folk. We started with the initiative about three weeks ago and have already onboarded about 2,000 CSC centers that are catering to nearly 12,000 villages,” a TOI report quoted CSC CEO Dinesh Tyagi as saying. While the customer’s order supplies online through an app provided to village-level entrepreneurs (VLEs), the VLEs can also take offline orders and will ensure delivery of the goods within a period of a few hours to at most a day. 

(Entrackr, Apr 29, 2020)


Industry seeks 6% production linked incentive for electronics manufacturing General

The Manufacturers Association of Information Technology (MAIT) has sought a 6% production linked incentive (PLI) for all electronics categories to “attract the migrating ships of manufacturing leaving China to India’s shores". The industry body made the recommendation in a meeting with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Wednesday. The body asked for the electronics sector to be categorised as a priority sector, with a “Central National Policy, including land clearances, labour laws, taxation, licenses, incentives" to be put in place. It believes this will give India the ability to be as agile as countries like China and Vietnam with respect to manufacturing of products. The government had come up with a ₹41,000 crore PLI scheme for domestic manufacturing of mobile phones on April 1. But it seems the industry wants this to be extended to all kinds of manufacturing. The government’s current scheme does involve 4-6% incentive on incremental sales of goods manufactured in India, according to reports.

(LiveMint, Apr 29, 2020)


Distrust against China could work to India’s advantage: Ravi Shankar Prasad General

The general distrust against China following the COVID-19 outbreak could be an opportunity for India’s state governments to try and attract investments into the electronics manufacturing sectors, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Monday. In his conference with state IT ministers, Prasad said that states should be “proactive” when such as opportunity comes, as there will “anger against China”. “That opportunity for India is going to come. We have already announced many incentives and I would like that the states play a crucial role by attracting such investments,” Prasad added. Though electronic products from any country would be subject to security audit, the same would be more intense for Chinese products, the Electronics and IT Minister said. “We are not against any country … we are only pro-India. We are committed to India and will take measures to create opportunities for India. As regards security initiative are concerned … any product coming from any country, particularly China, we expect proper security audit and verification.”

(The Indian Express, Apr 29, 2020)


After Zoom, research finds Microsoft Teams vulnerable to cyber attacks IT

After reports of Zoom meetings being hacked into, researchers have now found Microsoft Teams, the video conferencing platform of Microsoft, vulnerable to cyber attacks. Cyber criminals are turning their sights on video conferencing tools as the next major way to target unsuspecting users and enterprises. As more and more business is conducted from remote locations, attackers are focusing on exploiting key technologies, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, that companies and their employees depend on to stay connected. “We found that by leveraging a subdomain takeover vulnerability in Microsoft Teams, attackers could have used a malicious GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) to scrape user’s data and ultimately take over an organization’s entire roster of Teams accounts," CyberArk Labs said in a blog post. CyberArk worked with Microsoft Security Research Center after finding the account takeover vulnerability and a fix was quickly issued.Since users wouldn’t have to share it, rather just view the GIF to be impacted, vulnerabilities like these have the ability to spread automatically. This vulnerability would have affected every user who uses the Teams desktop or web browser version.

(LiveMint, Apr 28, 2020)


IT sector revenue growth may hit decadal low due to COVID-19: Crisil IT

an impact on profitability owing to narrowing of margins due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a report said on Friday. The companies will lose out on new deals, which will compromise future revenues, and also face reverses on the existing ones, which may be renegotiated as their overseas clients face difficulties due to the lockdowns, domestic rating agency Crisil said in the report. The $97 billion IT sector is one of the largest service exporters and helps the economy also by supporting over 40 lakh jobs if the IT-enabled services are also included.Major companies including Infosys and Wipro have earlier this month discontinued the practice of giving yearly guidances, while TCS hinted at pain during the first two quarters of the year.  "Typically, new deals get finalised between March and May, but this time around, most clients will focus on mitigating emerging business risks and defer discretionary IT spend, while letting existing contracts continue," Crisil's senior director Anuj Sethi said. Crisil said that revenue growth for the industry will decline to a decadal low of 0-2%.

(LiveMint, Apr 28, 2020)


Lockdown: Cyber security demands grow amid shortage of skilled professionals IT

The growing wave of cyber-attacks targeting individuals and organisations during lockdown has led to an increase in demand for skilled cyber security professionals. Before the covid-19 outbreak, cyber security demands were 10% of the total IT requirements. During lockdown they have gone up to 15%. Once the lockdown lifts, it is expected to go up to 20%, according to TeamLease Services, India’s leading staffing company. Persistence market research also suggests that cyber security market is poised to grow exponentially, fuelled largely by remote working requirements during the pandemic. “In such a scenario, cyber security assumes a rather more critical role. It is widely expected that during and after the pandemic, the demand for cyber security professionals would go up as the attack surface would immensely widen and organizations would need to further beef up their cyber security posture," said Rama Vedashree, chief executive, Data Security Council of India. Cyber criminals have unleashed a wave of ransomware and phishing attacks targeting organisations and individuals. The shortage of skilled professionals in cyber security has exacerbated the problem. “Even before the pandemic there was big gap in supply and demand. We were finding it difficult to fulfil the requirements. On an average 13% of our demands were related to cyber security and we were able to fulfil only 7% of them," rues Sunil C, head- specialized staffing, TeamLease Digital.

(LiveMint, Apr 28, 2020)


Nokia secures Rs 7,500 crore deal from Bharti Airtel to deploy 4G network solution Telecom

Telecom gear maker Nokia has bagged around Rs 7,500-crore deal from Bharti Airtel to deploy 4G network solution across nine circles, that will help boost network capacity and customer experience. Bharti Airtel announced a multi-year agreement to deploy Nokia's Single Radio Access Network (SRAN) solution across nine circles in India, helping Airtel to enhance the network capacity of its networks, in particular 4G, and improve customer experience. According to sources the deal size is around Rs 7,500 crore. "The rollout, which will also lay the foundation for providing 5G connectivity in the future, will see approximately 300,000 radio units deployed across several spectrum bands, including 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2100 Mhz and 2300 Mhz, and is expected to be completed by 2022," Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

(Business Today, Apr 28, 2020)


IT gadgets should also be dubbed ‘essentials’ as 1000s now work from home’ General

Ever since the lockdown was announced, demand for IT and electronics goods has grown due to scores of employees working from home. However, with Ritchie Street, the hub of electronic gadgets closed, techies and traders have urged the government to include them in the essential sector as well. Several IT employees have been posting in online social platforms seeking help to get their mobile phones and laptops fixed.“I wanted to buy an internet router for a wi-fi connection at home for my laptop but haven’t been able to get one,” said T Praveen, who works for an IT company in the city. He further added that as companies have made thousands work from home, IT gadgets and the stores that sell them should also be classified as ‘essentials’. 

(Indian Express, April 27, 2020)


IT companies likely to see weakest revenue growth in a decade IT

Information technology (IT) companies may see their weakest revenue growth in a decade as clients cut down discretionary spending and demand slows down across sectors. The current uncertainty and a possibly bleak outlook are evident as both Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd have refrained from providing revenue growth guidance for FY21 and the June quarter, citing lack of visibility due to the impact of covid-19. Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. has also withdrawn its full-year revenue growth guidance of 2-4% in constant currency terms. According to rating agency Crisil, revenue pressure in the IT services industry will intensify in 2020-21 due to the impact of covid-19, “crimping growth to a decadal low of 0-2%, surpassing even the earlier low of ~4% registered in fiscal 2018." This is as per its analysis of 15 large IT firms, accounting for almost 70% of the IT service sector’s revenues. 

(Live Mint, Apr 27, 2020)


Vivo overtakes Samsung in Indian smart phone sales Telecom

Vivo shipped more smart phones in India than Samsung for the first time ever last quarter, according to data from Canalys. The company’s sales to vendors nearly doubled year-on-year to 6.7 million units, almost 20 percent of the market, securing it second place behind Xiaomi’s 10.3 million units and 31-percent share. Samsung’s shipments slid 14 percent to 6.3 million units, making it the third-biggest brand ahead of Realme and Oppo. Overall, the Indian market grew 12 percent year-on-year despite the country going into lockdown in late March. It’s worth pointing out that Vivo is a BBK Electronics brand alongside Realme and Oppo. If the sales of all three were combined, the huge Chinese conglomerate — which also owns OnePlus — would easily take the number one spot with more than 40 percent market share. Canalys analyst Madhumita Chaudhary, however, calls Vivo’s victory “bittersweet.”

(The verge, Apr 27, 2020)


Blue-collar workforce at startups takes a big hit as business volumes fall General

Several startups over the past few weeks have laid off their contractual workforce after business volumes were impacted, mostly due to logistics and operational restrictions placed by the lockdown due to covid-19. The current covid-19 crisis has impacted close to 60% of the total contractual staff workforce in India, across segments of telecom, retail, real estate, electronics manufacturing, and hospitality, said experts. This has put major stress on India’s blue-collar economy which has been left without any employment. Among startups, food tech unicorn Swiggy laid off nearly 500 people, mostly contractual cloud kitchen staff, and B2B commerce firm Udaan laid off over 2000 contractual workers on Friday among others. Others such as Meesho, Oyo, Bounce and VOGO have also furloughed or let go of their staff go, as business continues to be impacted. Due to a slowdown in business activity, pressure has mounted on staffing firms which receive revenues from firms for assisting and providing contractual staff. “We should remember that if employers don’t survive, there are not going to be jobs after the lockdown. It is important to note that capital doesn’t pay salaries, but customers do (via sales revenues). Even without usual revenues, many companies have decided to pay the current month's salaries, even for those contract workers who are getting laid off, considering rationalization," said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive vice-president, TeamLease, a human resource and staffing services provider.

(LiveMint, Apr 26, 2020)


India’s renewable energy subsidies fell 35% in three years General

India’s renewable energy subsidies fell 35% from FY17 to FY19, while its oil and gas subsidies increased by 65%–according to a new study  by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). The report finds subsidies to renewable energy went from a high of Rs 15,313 crore in FY2017 to Rs 9,930 crore in FY2019. At the same time, government subsidies for oil and gas went up from Rs 40,762 crore in FY2017 to Rs 67,679 crore in FY2019. How the government tackles the COVID-19 crisis and economic recovery will be crucial to determining future trends in the energy sector, experts said in the report.  The study emphasises that the health and economic crisis caused by Covid-19 will influence subsidy expenditure. The crash in world oil prices and the government’s economic stimulus packages will be key factors shaping the energy sector in the upcoming months. “Rising oil prices and initiatives to promote clean cooking were the main drivers of growing support to fossil fuels since FY2017,” said study co-author Vibhuti Garg of IISD.

(PV Magazine, Apr 24, 2020)


NTPC 23 MW solar project: Bidding extended for inverter-transformer package General

The bidding deadline for supply of the inverter-transformer package for NTPC’s 23 MW Solapur project in Maharashtra has been extended by a month.The revised deadline—originally set for April 29—is now May 29. The scope of work includes design, engineering, manufacturing, supply, type testing, and supervision of installation and commissioning of the inverter-transformer package. The converter-duty inverter-transformer must have minimum cumulative capacity of 23 MVA—having high voltage capacity of 11 kV with individual size as per specification—and must be capable of operating in continuous mode at 50 degrees centigrade temperature.  To be eligible, the bidder should  have  designed, manufactured and supplied grid-connected inverter-transformers of 11 kV or higher voltage class for cumulative capacity of 18 MVA or above, out of which at least one such supply order, for a single plant, should be of 5 MVA or above capacity. The reference plant for which solar inverter transformers of 5 MVA or above capacity (consisting of one or more) were supplied, must have been in successful operation for at least six months prior to the date of techno-commercial bid opening.

(PV Magazine, Apr 24, 2020)


Global supergrid vs. regional supergrids General

The techno-economic benefits of a globally interconnected world would be lower than those provided by interconnections at the national and subnational level. This is the main conclusion of On the Techno-economic Benefits of a Global Energy Interconnection, a new paper published by a group of researchers that includes Christian Breyer, professor of solar economy at Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). According to the study, a globally interconnected grid could offer a levelized cost of electricity of €52.50/MWh, which is 4% lower than what could be expected with an isolated global energy system. Moreover, a similar energy system would require 4% less installed capacity than a conventional one. Solar and wind, of course, would play a central role in a globally interconnected world. “The achieved cost level of about €20-25/MWh and €25-30/MWh for solar PV and wind energy, respectively, at very good sites, brings both technologies to the forefront as a major source of energy in the 21st century,” the researchers said. However, they believe that techno-economic analysis alone may not be sufficient to assess the advantages and disadvantages of both options. They argued that a more holistic approach will be necessary

(PV Magazine, Apr 24, 2020)


EV sales jump 20% in FY20; electric scooters sold most in India IT

Sale of electric vehicles in India grew by 20 per cent at 156,000 units in fiscal 2020 led largely by two-wheelers that form bulk of the nascent industry. Electric two-wheelers sales stood at 152,000 units during the fiscal registering a 20.7 per cent growth over last year. Electric cars accounted for 3,400 units a marginal decline from 3600 units of last year while bus sales were 600 units against 400 units in 2018-19. Sale of electric vehicles in India grew by 20 per cent at 156,000 units in fiscal 2020 led largely by two-wheelers that form bulk of the nascent industry. Electric two-wheelers sales stood at 152,000 units during the fiscal registering a 20.7 per cent growth over last year. Electric cars accounted for 3,400 units a marginal decline from 3600 units of last year while bus sales were 600 units against 400 units in 2018-19. These figures do not include e-rickshaws that largely form the unorganised part of the sector. Industry body Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicle estimated the number of e-rickshaw sales during the year at around 90,000 units. The corresponding figures of the e-ricks sold in the previous year have not been documented, it said.

(Business Today, Apr 20, 2020)


Recent Government announcements wrt CoVID-19 Lockdown Policy

In the light of Corona Virus Outbreak Government has announced several relief measures for the Industry. ELCINA has tried to compile these announcements on the basis of their categories such as Direct Taxes, Indirect Taxes, DGFT&Corporate Affairs related issues. The announcements of relief measures as by various state Governments are also mentioned below.

1.    Direct Taxes: (Announced on 24 MAR 2020)

a.    Extension of last date of filing of original as well as revised income-tax returns for the FY 2018-19 (AY 2019-20) to  30thJune,2020.

b.    Extension of Aadhaar-PAN linking date to 30thJune,2020.

c.    The date for making various investment/payment for claiming deduction under Chapter-VIA-B of IT Act which  includes Section 80C (LIC, PPF, NSC  etc.), 80D(Mediclaim), 80G (Donations), etc. has been extended to 30thJune, 2020. Hence the investment/payment can be made up to 30.06.2020 for claiming the deduction under these sections for FY 2019-20.

d.    The date for making investment/construction/purchase for claiming roll over benefit/deduction in respect of capital gains under sections 54 to 54GB of the IT Act has also been extended to 30thJune 2020. Therefore, the investment/ construction/ purchase made up to 30.06.2020 shall be eligible for claiming deduction from capital gains arising during FY2019-20.

e.    The date for commencement of operation for the SEZ units for claiming deduction under deduction 10AA of the IT Act has also extended to 30.06.2020 for the units which received necessary approval by31.03.2020.

f.     The date for passing of order or issuance of notice by the authorities under various direct taxes&BenamiLaw has also been extended to30.06.2020.

g.    It has provided that reduced rate of interest of 9% shall be charged for non-payment of Income-tax (e.g. advance tax, TDS, TCS) Equalization Levy, Securities Transaction Tax (STT), Commodities Transaction Tax (CTT) which are due for payment from 20.03.2020 to 29.06.2020 if they are paid by 30.06.2020. Further, no penalty/ prosecution shall be initiated for thesenon-payments.

h.    Under Vivadse VishwasScheme, the date has also been extended up to 30.06.2020. Hence, declaration and payment under the Scheme can be made up to 30.06.2020 without additional payment.

 

2.    Indirect Taxes:(Announced on 24 MAR 2020)

A.   GST

a.    Those having aggregate annual turnover less than Rs. 5 Crore Last date can file GSTR-3B due in March, April and May 2020 by the last week of June, 2020. No interest, late fee, and penalty to be charged.

Ø Others can file returns due in March, April and May 2020 by last week of June 2020 but the same would attract reduced rate of interest @9 % per annum from 15 days.

 

b.    after due date (current interest rate is 18 % per annum). No late fee and penalty to be charged, if complied before till 30th June 2020.

c.    Date for opting for composition scheme is extended till the last week of June, 2020. Further, the last date for making payments for the quarter ending 31st March, 2020 and filing of return for 2019-20 by the composition dealers will be extended till the last week of June, 2020.

d.    Date for filing GST annual returns of FY 18-19, which is due on 31st March, 2020 is extended till the last week of June 2020.

e.    Due date for issue of notice, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing of return, statements, applications, reports, any other documents, time limit for any compliance under the GST laws where the time limit is expiring between 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020.

f.     Necessary legal circulars and legislative amendments to give effect to the aforesaid GST relief shall follow with the approval of GST Council.

B.   Customs

a.    24X7 Custom clearance till end of 30th June, 2020

b.    Due date for issue of notice, notification, approval order, sanction order, filing of appeal, furnishing applications, reports, any other documents etc., time limit for any compliance under the Customs Act and other allied Laws where the time limit is expiring between 20th March 2020 to 29th June 2020 shall be extended to 30th June 2020.

c.    Wherever the last date for filing of appeal, refund applications etc., under the Customs Act, 1962 and rules made thereunder is from 20thMarch 2020 to 29thJune 2020, the same has been extended to30thJune2020.

C.   Others:

d.    Wherever the last date for filing of appeal etc., relating  to Service Tax is from 20thMarch 2020 to 29thJune 2020, the same has been extended to30thJune2020

e.    The date for making payment to avail of the benefit under SabkaVishwasLegal Dispute Resolution Scheme 2019 has been extended to 30th June 2020 thus giving more time to taxpayers toget their disputesresolved.

f.     Last date of furnishing of the Central Excise returns due in March, April andMay 2020 has been extended to 30th June,2020.

g.    Wherever the last date for filing of appeal, refund applications etc., under the Central Excise Act,1944andrules made thereunder is from 20th March 2020 to 29thJune 2020, the same has been extended to 30thJune2020.

 

3.    DGFT announcements:(Announced on 1st April 2020)

a.    DGFT has extended the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 and the Hand book of Procedure 2015-2020 from 31.3.2020 to  31.3.2021. A copy of Notification 57 dated 31st March 2020 and Public Notice 67 dated 31st March, 2020 are available on DGFT website www.dgft.gov.in.

b.    The extension by implication means continuation of all schemes in the Foreign Trade Policy like MEIS (except for Garment and Made-ups which are eligible for RoSCTL/RoDTEP benefit), Advance Authorisation, DFIA , EPCG, EOU , Deemed Export etc till 31st March 2021. However, for SEIS the rates for 2019-2020 will be notified separately and decision on continuation of scheme for services rendered beyond 1st April 2020 will be notified separately.

c.    For Advance Authorisation, where validity of authorization or Export Obligation period is expiring between 1st Feb to 31st July 2020, the period of validity or Export Obligation  is automatically extended by six months  from the date of expiry.

d.    For DFIA Authorisation, where validity of authorization is expiring between 1st Feb to 31st July 2020, the period of validity is automatically extended by six months from the date of expiry.

e.    For EPCG Authorisation, where validity of authorization is expiring between 1st Feb to 31st July 2020, the period of validity is automatically extended by six months from the date of expiry .

f.     For MEIS shipment with Let Export Order date falling between 1st Feb -31st May 2019, the applications can be filed within 15 months as against the normal time limit of 12 months.

g.    On the basis of EPCES submission all LOP/LOI issued to EOU/EHTP /STP/BTP expiring on or after 1st March 2020 are deemed to be valid till 31.12.2020.  For SEZs, SEZ Division of Department of Commerce has already issued directions to DC vide their OM dated 30.3.2020.

h.    EOU/SEZs who have renewed or newly applied for RCMC of EPCES during 20th to 31st March 2020, the same will be approved and available in its online RCMC Portal till normalcy. On the request of EPCES, DGFT has also issued Trade Notice No. 60 dated 31.3.2020 directing RAs not to insist for RCMC till September 2020.

 

4.    Corporate Affairs:(Announced on 24 MAR 2020)

a.    No additional fees shall be charged for late filing during a moratorium period from 01st April to 30th September 2020, in respect of any document, return, statement etc., required to be filed in the MCA-21 Registry, irrespective of its due date, which will not only reduce the compliance burden, including financial burden of companies/ LLPs at large, but also enable long-standing non-compliant companies/ LLPs to make a ‘fresh start’;

b.    The mandatory requirement of holding meetings of the Board of the companies within prescribed interval provided in the Companies Act (120 days), 2013, shall be extended by a period of 60 days till next two quarters i.e., till 30th September;

c.    Applicability of Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2020 shall be made applicable from the financial year 2020-2021 instead of from 2019-2020 notified earlier. This will significantly ease the burden on companies &their auditors for the year 2019-20.

d.    As per Schedule 4 to the Companies Act, 2013, Independent Directors are required to hold at least one meeting without the attendance of Non-independent directors and members of management. For the year 2019-20, if the IDs of a company have not been able to hold even one meeting, the same shall not be viewed as a violation.

e.    Requirement to create a Deposit reserve of 20% of deposits maturing during the financial year 2020-21 before 30th April 2020 shall be allowed to be complied with till 30th June 2020.

f.     Requirement to invest 15% of debentures maturing during a particular year in specified instruments before 30th April 2020, may be done so before 30th June 2020.

g.    Newly incorporated companies are required to file a declaration for Commencement of Business within 6 months of incorporation. An additional time of 6 more months shall be allowed.

h.    Non-compliance of minimum residency in India for a period of at least 182 days by at least one director of every company, under Section 149 of the Companies Act, shall not be treated as a violation.

i.      Due to the emerging financial distress faced by most companies on account of the large-scale economic distress caused by COVID 19, it has been decided to raise the threshold of default under section 4 of the IBC 2016 to Rs 1 crore (from the existing threshold of Rs 1 lakh). This will by and large prevent triggering of insolvency proceedings against MSMEs. If the current situation continues beyond 30th of April 2020, we may consider suspending section 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC 2016 for a period of 6 months so as to stop companies at large from being forced into insolvency proceedings in such force majeure causes of default.

Detailed notifications/circulars in this regard shall be issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs separately.

Central Government Circulars/Orders:

Srl.

Ministry / Dept

Order/ Date

Order summary

Link for attachment

1

MHA

No 40-3/2020-DM-I (A)

Govt. off India Orders Complete Lockdown for a period of 21 Days starting from 25th March 2020

https://mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/PR_NationalLockdown_26032020_0.pdf

2

MHA

No 40-3/2020-DM-I (A)

Govt. off India issues revised/consolidated Guidelines providing relief regarding movement of Goods without any distinction between Essential and Non- essential

https://mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/PR_ConsolidatedGuidelinesofMHA_28032020_0.pdf

3

Min. of Finance

NA (24th March?)

Hon’ble FM announced various relief measures for the industry with  respect to regulatory & Compliance matters

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1607942

4

DGFT

31st March 20

FTP 2015-20 and all its provisions will be applicable till 31 march 2021 as against 31March 2020. MEIS Benefits has been extended by one more year.

https://dgft.gov.in/sites/default/files/Notification%2057%20eng%20signed%20and%20scanned%201.pdf

 

5

Min. of Civil Aviation

F. No. AV 2901214112020, 1April 20

Demurrage charges will be reduced by 50% till 16th April 20v

Rajasthan Electricity & Water Bills CM press note Relief package 02-04-2020.pdf

 

6

Min. of Shipping

29thMarch 20

Shipping lines are advised not to impose any container detention charge on import shipments from 25th March, 20 to 7th April, 20

Rajasthan Electricity & Water Bills CM press note Relief package 02-04-2020.pdf

 

7

DGFT

Helpline

26th March 2020

Helpdesk has been operationalized by DGFT for export/import related issues being faced in the current situation. All issues related to Department of Commerce/DGFT may be forwarded at dgftedi@nic.in

https://pib.gov.in/Pressreleaseshare.aspx?PRID=1608341

8

DPIIT

Helpline

28th march 2020

DPIIT has setup helpline for manufacturer, transporter, distributor, wholesaler or e-commerce companies which are facing any ground level difficulties in transport and distribution of goods or mobilization of resources. Grievances can be emailed to "controlroom-dpiit@gov.in" or may call @ (011-23062487).

https://www.deccanherald.com/national/covid-19-dpiit-to-monitor-real-time-status-of-transport-delivery-of-essential-commodities-817768.html

9

SIDBI

26th March 20

MSEs engaged in manufacturing of hand sanitizers, masks, gloves, head gear, body suits, shoe-covers, ventilators, goggles, testing labs etc. can avail loans up to Rs. 50 lakh at a fixed interest rate of 5 per cent for a loan repayment tenure of 5 years. These are collateral free loans and may be sanctioned within 48 hours of applying and submission of documents.

https://www.sidbi.in/en

10

Min. of Labour

20thMarch20

Ministry of Labour order regarding Wage Cut of employees due to CoVID-19 outbreak

Link: Min. of Shipping reg Demurrage charges

 

11

Min. of Finance

3rd April 20

Requirement of Bonds has been waived  with a view to expedite Customs clearance of goods and for maintaining balance between Customs control and facilitation of legitimate trade

Link-Cus.Circular 17_2020_03042020.pdf

STATE GOVT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Srl.

State

Order/Date

Order summary

Link for attachment

1

Uttar Pradesh

1st April20

Waiver of Fixed Charges on Electricity Bills for Industrial Units

4-UPPCL on fixed Charges

 

2

Uttar Pradesh

157/2020-CX-3, dt. 29March20

Partial Opening of All Manufacturing Units in UP while maintain Social distancing

5-UP gov order for Openingup of Industries 03-29-2020

3

Karnataka

24 March20

Implementation MHA order dated 24March20

6-Karnataka

4

Punjab

29 March 20

Permission of Partial Opening up of Industry & Transport

7-Punjab Govt.

5

Rajasthan

2 April20

Relief regarding Electricity & Water Bills of Industrial Units & Farmers

8-  Rajasthan Electricity & Water Bills CM press note Relief package 02-04-2020.pdf

www.elcina.com

email: ashish@elcina.com


Lockdown 2.0: Telcos won't need major overhaul for on-ground services, says COAI Telecom

The telecom sector does not foresee any major changes required for on-ground approvals to carry out services during the extended phase of lockdown, industry body COAI said on Tuesday. "Any issues that may crop up will be discussed with the Dapartment of Telecom (DoT) for expeditious resolution," Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) Director General Rajan Mathews said. Asked if he anticipated job losses in the sector in coming weeks, Mathews said, "at present, our members have not indicated to us any plans to reduce headcount." On whether the industry would extend benefits that had been announced recently for low-income prepaid users, such as validity extension and talktime credit, Mathews said, "no decision has been made on what the industry expects to do on that front during the next quarantine period. As soon as any decision is made, members will let us know".

(Business Today, Apr 14, 2020)


Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea seek subsidy for additional benefits to prepaid users Telecom

Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have suggested the sector regulator that the government should provide funds to offer more benefits to prepaid subscribers if needed since telecom connectivity has become an essential service in the wake of current nationwide lockdown. In a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) secretary Sunil K Gupta dated April 8, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that if the regulator or the government feels a need to provide further benefit, then it should be provided in the form of a subsidy to the telecom sector like many other essential services. COAI represents Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea. Such a move, according to the Delhi-based group could be adequately compensated from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) in which more than Rs 51,500 crore is being lying unutilised. USOF is a pool formed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to bridge the digital divide. In separate letters to telecom companies, Trai blamed them for selectively extending the validity of prepaid users during the Covid-19 lockdown, saying many 2G prepaid users across the country still remain without connectivity and were unable to recharge.

(ET, Apr 09, 2020)


India's mean mobile download speed declines in March: Ookla Telecom

India's mean mobile download speed saw a dip from 11.83 Mbps in February to 10.15 Mbps in March 2020, while mean download speeds on fixed broadband have also decreased from 39.65 Mbps in February to 35.98 Mbps in March, Ookla said on Thursday. The mean fixed broadband speed in India has been declining since the beginning of 2020 - from 41.48 Mbps in January to 35.98 Mbps in March, a drop by 5.5 Mbps. "When networks are under usage strain like they are in this unprecedented time of lockdown in India due to COVID-19, it is natural that they experience some level of slowdown," said Doug Suttles, CEO of Ookla. "It is important to note that while the internet itself should handle elevated usage, there may be impacts to speed as people continue to move their daily activities increasingly online. While the core of the internet remains stable, some ISP networks may struggle to keep up,” he added. As of March, the Index ranks India at 130 spot for mobile, 2 spots down compared to February 2020. India also dropped two spots on fixed broadband and is now ranked 71st globally in that category.

(ET, Apr 09, 2020)


Covid-19: Electronics sector may have to rewire ops after curbs end General

Electronics companies have a steep road ahead even after the covid-19 related lockdown comes to an end. Factories may struggle to ramp up production with daily wage labourers and workers migrating back to their villages because of the lack of income during the lockdown. “Even in China, it took them two to three weeks to return to normal operations," said Arjun Bajaj, director of Videotex International Pvt. Ltd, a television manufacturer. Companies will take at least 15-20 days to get things back up to speed, he said. Many in the industry are worried about the possibility of labour shortage once things open up, according to Bajaj.  Workers and daily wage labourers in cities recently set out for their hometowns in droves with factories and other businesses coming to a halt. The government eventually barred them from crossing borders, but many had left town before the borders were sealed. Worker migration isn’t an “acute challenge" for the industry, but it will take “about four weeks for 80% normalcy to be achieved" once work resumes, according to Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman of the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA).

(ET, Apr 08, 2020)


The lion must roar General

At the start of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, several Indian companies were extremely concerned as factories began to shut down across swathes of China’s industrial heartland and Indian imports from Chinese companies were growing at a fast pace. Indian imports included not just smartphones or consumer electronics, as most suspect, but everything — from toys to batteries and even fuel-injectors, needed to meet the new stricter BS-VI emission norms for vehicles. Then, of course, there was the worry surrounding the pharmaceutical industry as most of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), required for key drugs, came from China. Indian drug-makers import around 70 per cent of their total bulk drug requirements from China. As supply chains broke, Indian companies began to worry. So even those firms, which until now made ‘Make in India’ a huge success with their export-orientation, were left dependent on Chinese parts, ones that might be small in size and value but were critical. The aftermath of the pandemic will force large economies across the world to realise the fact that while such dependence is a result of a globalised world, so much reliance on China may not be a good thing. Ergo, the US asking India for supply of hydroxychloroquine instead of China is a result of just that. Can Indian policy-makers and diplomats leverage India’s position as a reliable and democratic nation to promote ‘Make in India’ once the world recovers from the pandemic? One certainly hopes so.

(The Pioneer, Apr 08, 2020)


Covid 19: Foxconn’s Sales Down by 7.7 Per cent in March 2020 Telecom

Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) has witnessed a downfall in its sales during March 2020. A report published in the Reuters pointed out that Foxconn’s sales were down by 7.7 per cent during the month. The company had also reported a fall in its profit figures during last three months of 2019. Citing Covid 19 pandemic, Foxconn had reported 23.7 per cent fall in its profit figures. Company’s annual revenue figures for the last fiscal stood at T$347.7 billion (approximately $11.50 billion). These figures, in comparison to 2018 fiscal, were down by almost T$ 29 billion. It is to be noted here that Foxconn is one of the largest conntract manufacturing partner of Apple. In fact, Foxconn is counted as one among the largest contract manufacturers in the world. The China-headquartered company has told its investors that it can still get 5G smartphones ready for launch before the end of 2020. Foxconn cited Covid 19 outbreak and restrictions laid by governments around the world as reasons behind the slowdown. Interestingly, much of Apple’s 5G iPhone launch, at the moment, depends on Foxconn’s capability to manufacture and suply these. Apple’s competitiors, including Samsung, have already launched 5G smartphones in global markets. Another report published by South China Morning Post pointed out that Foxconn has raised signing bonuses to attract new workers. Foxconn had to delay manufacturing plans as thousands of contract workers were unable to join its facilities due to Coronavirus outbreak.

(Electronics B2B.com, Apr 08, 2020)


Retailers and e-commerce firms hire more, expand home delivery for business after lockdown General

India’s leading retailers, e-commerce firms and restaurants said they are bracing up for a surge in home deliveries and online sales for next six months since consumers are unlikely to step out of their homes for shopping in fear of catching the Covid-19 virus. This includes fresh hiring of delivery personnel, training existing store staff for e-commerce business and building more warehouses. Walmart-owned Flipkart is undertaking fresh hiring of 4,000 people, SpencerNSE -0.87 %'s Retail 1,000, two senior industry executives said. Reliance Retail and Arvind Fashion are building their processes for a surge in e-commerce and phone orders, and training manpower for that.  Mobile phone retail body, All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) has asked all the 1.5 lakh cellphone stores across India to be ready for post Covid-19 lockdown by grooming manpower for home demonstration and sales of smartphones, its president Arvinder Khurana said. Consumer electronics retailers like Vijay Sales, Kohinoor and Great Eastern Retail too are preparing accordingly which includes creating e-commerce portals, retraining existing staff, video-call demonstrations and phone booking.

(ET, Apr 07, 2020)


5G spectrum auction likely to be delayed in India amid COVID-19 pandemic: Report Telecom

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to push spectrum auctions to October-December quarter of the current fiscal due to the Covid-19 or coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown in the country, Telegraph India reported on Monday.  The auctions, including the 5G airwaves, were previously scheduled to be held in the June quarter. A new schedule could be announced later this month, the publication said citing its sources who added that the ‘earliest possible date’ of 5G rollout for 5G network is likely to be 2021-22. The government is planning to sell 8303.05 MHz of 4G and 5G spectrum which will raise approximately Rs 5.23 lakh crore even after selling the airwaves at their base price. Axis Capital, in its latest report, had also suggested that India's 5G auctions were unlikely to be held before August 2020 after DoT was forced to postpone the sale scheduled for April 2020 because of the sector's financial difficulties. 5G spectrum auction has been pushed forward in many countries due to COVID-19 related concerns. In India, delayed 5G auction will defer 5G related capex and may hit Sterlite Tech and Tejas Network, the brokerage said.

(ET, Apr 06, 2020)


Samsung Electronics Beats First-Quarter Estimates, Braces for Bigger Blow From Coronavirus General

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Tuesday its first-quarter operating profit likely managed to rise slightly from a slump a year earlier, as solid chip sales helped cushion the blow from the coronavirus pandemic on smartphones and TVs. The global leader in semiconductors is benefiting from higher demand for chips from laptop makers and data centres amid the coronavirus-driven shift to working from home.  But at the same time the South Korean tech giant is also expecting a bigger hit to its mobile and consumer electronics sales in the current quarter as the novel coronavirus sweeps through Europe and the United States - key markets for its premium smart phones and TVs. Samsung said operating profit was expected to be 6.4 trillion won ($5.2 billion) in the quarter ended March, compared with 6.2 trillion won a year ago and the 6.2 trillion won estimate from analysts according to Refinitiv Smart Estimate. Revenue likely rose 5% to 55 trillion won from a year ago, in line with the 55.6 trillion won estimate.Samsung Electronics shares were up 1.6% in morning trade, compared to a 1.3% rise of the broader market.

(The New York Times, Apr 06, 2020)


Key Schemes Announced under National Policy on Electronics 2019 for all round Development of Electronics Manufacturing Sector Policy

 

Electronics Manufacturing has been declared as one of the focus sectors for development in India and we have been one of the world's fastest growing electronics manufacturing hubs. With supportive policies and favourable eco-system the sector has grown rapidly over the past 4-5 years at a CAGR of approximately 25% from USD 29 Bn in 2014-15 reaching USD 70 Billion in 2018-19, against total demand of US$ 127 Bn. India’s share in global electronics manufacturing has grown almost 2.5 times in 6 years i.e. from 1.3% in 2012 to 3.0% in 2018 while Exports of electronic goods have also increased substantially from USD 6.4 Bn in 2017-18 to USD 8.8 Bn in 2018-19. While all segments have grown, the bright spot has been that India emerged as the second largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world in 2018. The production of mobile phones in the country has gone up 8 times in last 4 years i.e. from USD 3 Bn in 2014-15 to USD 24 Bn in 2018-19 and majority of the domestic demand is being met through domestic production. Other segments which have shown remarkable double digit growth are Automotive/Industrial Electronics, LED Lighting, Defence Electronics and Consumer Electronics which includes a wide variety of products. The National Policy on Electronics 2019 (NPE 2019) was announced last year, as a successor to the NPE 2012, to accelerate the growth of Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector and position India as one of the global hubs. This policy seeks to provide incentives to investments in the electronics sector to expand and diversify electronics manufacturing into sectors like medical, automobile, EVs, defense, components and in emerging domains such as 5G, IoT, Artificial Intelligence and more. The underlying objective is to enhance domestic value addition, R&D, Innovation and encourage exports. Accordingly, the Government announced 3 key Schemes under NPE 2019 on 20th March 2020 which are aimed at incentivizing large-scale manufacturing, developing a robust supply chain ecosystem and building new manufacturing clusters in the country. The three Schemes above, PLI, SPECS and EMC 2.0 together constitute the foundation of NPE 2019 and are together expected to enable large scale electronics manufacturing, a domestic supply chain ecosystem of components and state-of-the-art infrastructure and common facilities for large anchor units and their supply chain partners. It will contribute significantly to achieving a USD 1 Trillion digital economy and a USD 5 Trillion GDP by 2025. These Schemes will also leapfrog India towards a US$ 400 Bn ESDM Industry, higher value addition moving us from assembly to real manufacturing and overcome the 8-10% disability faced by manufacturers.

Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing:

  • •The scheme is proposes to offer a production linked incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in mobile phone manufacturing and specified electronic components, including Assembly, Testing, Marking and Packaging (ATMP) units. 
  • •Provides for a 4% to 6% incentive on incremental sales (over base year) of goods manufactured in India which are covered under the target segments, for a period of 5 years  
  • •Target Segments: Mobile Phones and Specified Electronic Components  
  • •Government has budgeted an amount upto INR 40,951 Cr which can be be disbursed over a period of 5 years  
  • •The Scheme aims to increase domestic value addition for mobile phones from the current 20% to an impressive 35% - 40% by 2025 which requires huge investments in the mobile manufacturing value chain. The PLI Scheme also has an ambitious target of creation of total employment (direct and indirect) of approximately 8,00,000 jobs.

Scheme for Promotion of manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS):

•SPECS will strengthen the domestic manufacturing ecosystem for electronic components and semiconductors by incentivizing investments in these segments 

•The Scheme will provide an incentive of 25% on capital expenditure pertaining to plant, machinery, equipment, associated utilities and technology, including R&D for the identified list of components, semiconductors, ATMP Units, specialized sub-assemblies and Capital Goods.  

•Government has earmarked an outlay of INR 3,285 Cr which can be awarded over a period of 8 years  

•The scheme focuses on high value added manufacturing, the lack of which hampers the design, development and assembly of the downstream value chain of electronic products  

•The scheme will be applicable to investments in new units and expansion of capacity/ modernization and diversification of existing units.  

•Duration of the Scheme for receiving applications is 3 years from the date of its notification. The incentives will be available for investment made within 5 years from the date of acknowledgement of application.  

•It is envisaged that SPECS will create around 600,000 (direct and indirect) jobs.

Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters Scheme (EMC 2.0):

•The EMC 2.0 Scheme is a successor to the EMC Scheme of 2012 with the objective to support setting up of world class infrastructure for electronics manufacturing (with minimum area of 200 acre Clusters) along with industry specific facilities like Common Facility Centers, Ready Built Factory Sheds / Plug and Play facilities, Social Infrastructure etc.  

•Will provide 50% of project cost as grant subject to a ceiling of INR 70 crore for every 100 acres of land for common infrastructure development  

•EMC 2.0 also provides for Common Facility Centre (CFC) with financial assistance of upto 75% of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs.75 crore. 

•Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMCs) will require confirmed participation and investment from Anchor Units which must occupy atleast 20% of the allocable area with supporting/ancillary units for encouraging development of supply chain and ecosystem for the electronics industry.  

•Government has earmarked a budgetary outlay of Rs. 3,762.25 crore for this scheme over a period of 8 years. The scheme is expected to create around 10 Lakh (direct and indirect) jobs.

ELCINA is actively supporting its members and provide guidance to industry members who are keen to avail benefits under these Schemes. www.elcina.com; info@elcina.com


Firms get serious about social distancing to halt virus spread General

Employers across the country are finding new ways to implement social distancing measures at the workplace. These include reducing the number of employees coming to work, asking employees to work from home wherever possible, cordoning off common access areas within offices, restricting the entry of visitors, and using video conferencing facilities. With regard to factory workers, companies said they were following basic precautions such as sanitization and giving leave to employees who show any symptoms of the disease. The local arm of Japanese electronics company Panasonic has cordoned off public spaces, such as gyms and crèches, at its offices across India. It is also encouraging its office-based employees to work from home to reduce the number of people at its offices. It has advised against unnecessary travel and encouraged employees to attend meetings online. The company has 13,000 employees in India, including the staff at its plants.

(LiveMint, 18 Mar 2020)


Hyundai, Uber join hands to develop electric air taxis General

South Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai Motor Company today entered into a partnership with US ride-hailing giant Uber to produce electric air taxis. Hyundai also unveiled a new full-scale concept PAV (personal air vehicle), developed jointly with Uber, at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show 2020. Hyundai is the first automotive company to join the Uber Elevate initiative. Under the partnership, Hyundai will produce and deploy the air vehicles and Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation and customer interfaces through an aerial rideshare network. The two entities are also collaborating on infrastructure concepts to support their take-off and landing. The concept PAV -- S-A1 -- is an eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft designed for aerial ridesharing purposes. The S-A1 will seat five people, including the pilot, and have a cruising speed of 290 kmph, with a flying trip up to 100 km. The cruising altitude of the air vehicle will be around 1,000-2,000 feet above the ground. Being a completely electric air vehicle, the S-A1 will utilise distributed electric propulsion, powering multiple rotors and propellers around the airframe to increase safety by decreasing any single point of failure. During peak hours, it will require about five

(India Today, Jan 07, 2020)