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MeitY expenditure under Digital India at Rs 3,328 cr in 2018-19 IT

Ravi Shankar Prasad  : The electronics and IT ministry's expenditure under the Digital India programme more than doubled to over Rs 3,328 crore in FY2018-19 from the previous fiscal, Parliament was informed Thursday.  "The expenditure by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) under Digital India programme was Rs 1,452.70 crore (FY2015-16), Rs 1,217.65 crore (FY2016-17), Rs 1,407.19 crore (FY2017-18) and Rs 3,328.57 crore (FY2018-19)," Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. Digital India is an umbrella programme that covers multiple projects of various ministries and government departments. "Each project has its own budgetary requirement and accordingly, project-plan has been charted out by the implementing Ministry/departments and budget details are being maintained by concerned ministries/departments and states/union territories," the minister said. Prasad said under the Digital India programme, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has effectively utilised digital technologies to transform lives of people, while ensuring digital inclusion of all the segments.  He pointed out that 123 crore (as on June 24, 2019) residents have been provided with biometric-based digital identity as compared to 61 crore in 2013-14. 

(ET, June 27, 2019)

Data storage rules out of e-commerce policy Policy

In a major change from the e-commerce policy draft, commerce minister Piyush Goyal has decided to keep data localization norms out of the final policy, leaving the proposed data protection legislation to deal with the matter. In a meeting with 25 major e-commerce players, including Amazon and Flipkart, Goyal said data protection would now be handled by the nodal ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY), which is working on a data protection bill, two industry representatives who attended the meeting said on condition of anonymity. “This is a positive development. There were conflicting provisions in the draft e-commerce policy and the Personal Data Protection Bill. To have one point of reference for data-related issues is always welcome," said one of the participants cited above. Separately, Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, who was one of the participants, said in a statement: “We appreciate the initiative of commerce minister Mr Piyush Goyal to engage in a candid, positive and progressive discussion aimed at creating a vibrant e-commerce market and Digital India. We look forward to working with the ministry and many other stakeholders to realize this growth dream."

(LiveMint, June 26, 2019)

Budget 2019: India’s Achilles heel? How Modi govt. can check rising imports of electronic goods IT

In his first term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set an ambitious target of increasing the share of manufacturing sector in the country’s GDP to 25%. He also launched his flagship initiative Make in India in September 2014 with the aim to increase the share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP to 25% by 2022 when India completes 75 years of its independence. However, the share of manufacturing in India’s GDP continued to stuck in the range of 16-17% during his first tenure. Industry has high hopes from the first budget of Modi 2.0 government to revive the sagging manufacturing sector. Modi government had announced phased manufacturing programme (PMP) in the Union budget of 2015-16 to increase the manufacturing of mobile handsets and other components in the country. In 2018 budget, then finance minister Arun Jaitley extended the tax relief to companies with a turnover of less than Rs 250 crore. The corporate tax rate was cut from 30% to 25% on these companies and the same relief was extended to new manufacturing companies without any turnover limit. However, according to industry bodies, raising import duty on cheap foreign imports, particularly from cheap Chinese imports will be much more effective way in supporting the domestic manufacturing rather than lowering the income tax on the companies below a certain threshold of income.

  (FE, June 26, 2019)

E-waste Recycling 101: Where to Donate Your Old Electronics, Phones in India General

Managing plastic waste has become a critical part of our discourse on waste management, and that’s a positive thing. However, e-waste must also enter that critical conversation as it contains heavy metals and other toxic chemicals like mercury, lead, and sulphur that pose a real danger to our environment. According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the country is expected to produce 3.3 million tonnes of e-waste containing toxic metals and chemicals by the end of 2018.

(The Better India, June 25, 2019)

India plans to offer incentives to companies moving from China General

India is weighing offering incentives to attract companies moving out of China amid its trade war with the US, a person familiar with the development said. Financial incentives such as preferential tax rates and the tax holiday provided by Vietnam to lure companies are among measures being considered, the person said, asking not to be identified as the discussion is still private. Industries identified for incentives include electronics, consumer appliances, electric vehicles, footwear and toys, according to a trade ministry document seen by Bloomberg. Economies, including Vietnam and Malaysia, have benefited from businesses trying to sidestep tariffs, while India has largely missed out on any investment gains. The trade ministry’s effort is part of a larger plan to cut reliance on imports, while boosting exports, and needs Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s approval. The trade ministry didn’t immediately respond to an email and a call seeking comment. Other measures include setting up affordable industrial zones across India’s coastline and giving preference to local manufacturers in government procurement as an incentive to win over companies looking for an alternative production base, according to the trade ministry document circulated to stakeholders.

(Livemint, June 25, 2019)

Vedanta’s $10 billion LCD project may fall flat IT

The Vedanta Group’s $10 billion project to set up India’s first plant to make flat panel displays for televisions from scratch is likely to be scrapped after failing to obtain subsidies under the government’s Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS), two senior executives said. The ministry of electronics and IT had turned down the application for subsidies because it didn’t meet conditions, they said. India currently imports TV display panels from China, Taiwan and South Korea, resulting in an estimated outflow of about $6 billion.  While the government is trying to promote localization of TV panel manufacturing under the Make in India initiative, this was the only project at an advanced sta-ge of implementation. Some other proposals for making such displays are said to be under evaluation.  TV manufacturers undertake some end-stage assembly of panels imported in the open-cell state.  Vedanta Group company Twin Star Display Technologies was expecting a 25% capital subsidy and reimbursements of duties and taxes under M-SIPS, said the executives, who were earlier attached to the project. These incentives once approved were to be available for 10 years but without them the financial viability of the country’s largest electronics manufacturing investment was called into question.

(ET, June 25, 2019)

MSMEs file 668 plaints against BSNL to recover dues General

As many as 668 complaints have been filed by the micro, small and medium businesses (MSME) against the state-controlled Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a highest for any Central public sector enterprise, to recover their outstanding, following government’s non-clearance of Rs 3,300 credit to the telco. Of the 668 grievances, only one has been resolved so far while 27 of them have been rejected, according to the MSME Samadhaan, a delayed payment monitoring system maintained by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.  The state-owned operator, which is seeing squeezed cash flow over the last few months on the back of non-availability of competitive fourth-generation or 4Gservices and stalled government-funded programs have so far not received sanction for Rs 3,300 crore worth loan from the government. In addition, BSNL had sought Rs 2,400 crore as interest on the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum and Rs 2,300 crore as excess sum taken by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) towards pension contribution from 2007 onwards which has also been dragged despite the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) intervention.

(ET, June 24, 2019)

Govt. plans Rs 15,000 cr investment for one lakh digital villages IT

The government plans to set the ball rolling for setting up 100,000 digital villages as early as next month. A proposal for Rs 15,000 crore has been prepared by CSC eGovernance Services India Ltd, which will be the nodal point for digital villages project. The main objective of digital villages (Digi Gaons) is to transform rural villages of India into smart villages through use of ICT applications, besides promotion of a self-sustainable service model for people residing in these areas. Also, a digital village will offer a one-stop service solution for rural people, through Common Service Centers (CSCs) run a by a village level entrepreneur, for services such as tele-education, telemedicine, financial services, internet connectivity and other G2C/B2C services which are easily accessible online at an affordable price. And not to mention, it will reduce the digital divide and enable rural citizens to avail all services as available to urban people.

(DNA, June 24, 2019)

Only 50% of investments in IT sector realized IT

Only about 50% of the investments committed in the Information Technology (IT) sector during the first Global Investors Meet (GIM) in 2015 has come through. Against a signed commitment for investments for Rs.10,950 crore as on June 18, 2019, the IT sector managed to bring in only ₹5,455 crore, providing employment to over 71,769 people. According to data provided by Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd (ELCOT) in response to an RTI query filed by The Hindu, during the GIM in 2015, the State government signed 17 MoUs in the IT space.Of the 17 firms, nine companies, including Zoho Group, Cognizant Technology Solutions, HCL Corporation, DLF Infocity Developers, Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd, Intel Technology India Pvt. Ltd, have started work. The MoUs were supposed to generate over two lakh jobs in Tamil Nadu. A government official said the firms that commenced work pumped in 40-60% of the investments they had promised. “They are doing it in a phased manner,” he said. The MoU inked by Wipro Limited (Rs.600 crore) is under implementation. Ditto is the case with Horizon Properties Private Limited, a group company of Raheja Corpn Private Limited (Rs.400 crore), and W.S. Electric Ltd (RMZ) (Rs.1,062 crore).

(The Hindu, June 24, 2019)

MSMEs file 668 plaints against BSNL to recover dues Telecom

As many as 668 complaints have been filed by the micro, small and medium businesses (MSME) against the state-controlled Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a highest for any Central public sector enterprise, to recover their outstanding, following government’s non-clearance of Rs 3,300 credit to the telco. Of the 668 grievances, only one has been resolved so far while 27 of them have been rejected, according to the MSME Samadhaan, a delayed payment monitoring system maintained by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.  The state-owned operator, which is seeing squeezed cash flow over the last few months on the back of non-availability of competitive fourth-generation or 4Gservices and stalled government-funded programs have so far not received sanction for Rs 3,300 crore worth loan from the government. In addition, BSNL had sought Rs 2,400 crore as interest on the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum and Rs 2,300 crore as excess sum taken by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) towards pension contribution from 2007 onwards which has also been dragged despite the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) intervention.(ET, June 24, 2019)

Huawei offers to sign 'no-backdoor' pact with India govt, telcos to underline security commitment: CEO Telecom

Huawei has offered to sign a ‘no-backdoor agreement’, which will stipulate that it will not allow any snooping on its network or handing over of data, with the Indian government and mobile phone companies and has urged its rivals such as Nokia and Ericsson from Europe to follow the same approach. “I would like to propose to the industry, no matter which country you are from, let's sign the ‘no backdoor agreements’ with our customers and the Indian government to give the commitment, confidence and trust. We encourage other vendors and OEMs (original equipment makers) to sign these pacts,” Huawei India Chief Executive Jay Chen told ET. “I am ready to sign one today.” Last month Huawei chairman Liang Hua had said his company was willing to sign ‘no spy agreements’ with governments to meet the no spy, no backdoor standard. There have been widespread concerns that the Chinese government can misuse the company’s products and equipment for surveillance and espionage, a charge the company has repeatedly denied.

(ET, June 24, 2019)

Trai seeks views on allotting 700 Mhz to railways; DoT says will cost govt. over Rs.1 lakh cr Telecom

The telecom regulator has sought stakeholder views on the pros and cons of allotting a chunk of valuable spectrum in the 700 Mhz band for free to the railwaysfor passenger safety and security applications. The government though believes such a move could potentially rob the central exchequer of an over Rs 1 lakh-crore revenue opportunity as it braces to auction these premium airwaves later this year for 4G and 5G services. The railways has urged the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to reserve a total 15 units of 700 Mhz spectrum, and initially allot 10 units free of cost, on grounds that such 4G-LTE airwaves are required for passenger security and safety in public interest. DoT, on its part, referred the matter to the telecom regulator in February, but said if the railways’ request is heeded; the residual quantum of airwaves in the 700 Mhz band could prove insufficient for 4G and 5G services, and further jack up the price of this expensive spectrum.

(ET, June 24, 2019)

Sony India expects up to 15 pc sales growth this year General

Consumer electronics major SonyIndia is eyeing sales growth of 10-15 per cent this fiscal, snapping two years of de-growth, led by its premium TV range, audio products and cameras, a top company official said. Sony India expects contribution from segments such as audio products and digital imaging to rise. The company's revenue at present is mainly led by the TV category.  "I am expecting a growth of 10 to 15 per cent this year considering all the categories. If we are able to deliver that, then we would be in a very good spot," Sony India Managing Director Sunil Nayyar told in an interview.  According to him, there is a "positivity in the market" being seen after a long time. Presently, Sony India gets around 65 per cent revenue from the TV segment, 15 per cent from audio, 10 per cent from camera and rest 10 per cent from other verticals.  "Two years back, contribution of TV was 80 per cent," he said, adding, "We are making a shift and balanced portfolio in the country, which is profitable and driving the growth of the industry." The company is quite encouraged by the sales of its premium range of TV panels and headphones (both normal and wireless) and digital imaging products.  In the TV market, Sony India is now focusing on the premium segment, which brings higher margins.  Asked whether Sony TV sales in the mass market have been impacted due to aggressive pricing and competition from new entrants, Nayyar said, "Yes, they came and the price was driven down. It definitely impacted us (in 32-inch segment)." 

(ET, June 24, 2019)

Continental Displays Futuristic Mobility Technologies And We Ride Their Electric Scooter General

Continental Automotive India showcased its technologies through an event held in Bangalore today. The event named Tech Tatva held at Continental's campus at Electronic City in Bangalore was a combined effort made by all the departments and subsidiaries of the German brand to showcase all the futuristic technologies they have been working on. The exhibition was an internal exhibition and did not involve outsiders. Continental is one of the world's leading automotive component suppliers. Continental's reach among the masses is to the extent that almost all cars out on the road would have at least one component manufactured by Continental. The German marque is essentially focused on the development and supply of electrical components and software systems as well. Major automotive brands across the world rely on Continental for their reliable ECUs, turbochargers, fuel-injection systems, electronic hardware, automotive computing systems, etc. At Tech Tatva, Continental displayed all of their technology currently being used in the market as well as those that are yet to be launched. This meant, the best automotive technologies for internal combustion engine as well as for electric vehicles were under one roof.

(DivineSpark.com, June 23, 2019)

Sony India expects up to 15% sales growth this year General

Consumer electronics major Sony India is eyeing sales growth of 10-15% this fiscal, snapping two years of de-growth, led by its premium TV range, audio products and cameras, a top company official said. Sony India expects contribution from segments such as audio products and digital imaging to rise. The company's revenue at present is mainly led by the TV category. "I am expecting a growth of 10-15% this year considering all the categories. If we are able to deliver that, then we would be in a very good spot," Sony India Managing Director Sunil Nayyar told PTI in an interview. According to him, there is a "positivity in the market" being seen after a long time. Presently, Sony India gets around 65% revenue from the TV segment, 15% from audio, 10% from camera and rest 10% from other verticals. "Two years back, contribution of TV was 80%," he said, adding, "We are making a shift and balanced portfolio in the country, which is profitable and driving the growth of the industry." The company is quite encouraged by the sales of its premium range of TV panels and headphones (both normal and wireless) and digital imaging products. In the TV market, Sony India is now focusing on the premium segment, which brings higher margins. Asked whether Sony TV sales in the mass market have been impacted due to aggressive pricing and competition from new entrants, Nayyar said, "Yes, they came and the price was driven down. It definitely impacted us (in 32-inch segment)."

(Livemint, June 23, 2019)

India and Australia could strike first lithium deal General

India and Australia are joining forces in a deal which could see Australian lithium used in the first Indian refinery to produce battery-grade material for electric cars. Neometals, an Australian company with an interest in the Mount Marion lithium mine near Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, has partnered with New Delhi’s Manikaran Power to fund a feasibility study into developing India’s first lithium refinery. The study could take 18-24 months and is expected to make an investment decision in first half of 2021. Australia has lithium reserves of an estimated 2.7 million tonnes, mostly in the state of Western Australia, near state capital Perth. Thus far, most of the nation’s lithium projects have been with Chinese and American partners and the proposed tie-up could lead to the first lithium deal between an Australian and Indian company. If the lithium project study results in a 50:50 joint venture, the Australian company would provide its skills in mining and early-stage processing of lithium ore with its Indian partner taking the lead in financing at least half the capital cost as well as securing regulatory approvals. “Neometals and Manikaran hold a common belief in the future demand for lithium driven by the electrification of transport and storage of renewable energy,” said Chris Reed, CEO of Neometals, in an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange yesterday. “Given India’s growth projections for electric vehicle and lithium battery manufacturing capacity, this opportunity to partner in India’s first domestic lithium development and potentially realize value from downstream processing [of] our off take option from Mount Marion is compelling. Manikaran has significant on-the-ground presence and commercial standing in India to assist with site location, regulations, access to finance, utilities and reagents, and is part of a group of companies with broad competencies that enhance their value proposition as partners.”

(PV Magazine, June 21, 2019)

Japan’s Fuji Electric buys Chennai-based UPS maker Consul Neowatt IT

Tokyo-headquartered Fuji Electric is set to acquire power electronics manufacturer Consul Neowatt Power Solutions in a bid to expand its power electronics systems business in India. The firm has entered into agreement with Peepul Capital Fund III and individual shareholders for the transaction. Reports indicate the transaction happened at Rs 720 crore. Consul Neowatt Power Solutions (CNPS) is a manufacturer of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems in India with its headquarters in Chennai. It was founded in 1981 and has about 810 employees. The firm supplies power electronic solutions to customers across industry verticals in manufacturing, healthcare, social infrastructure, and other segments requiring power quality solutions. The company acquired Pune-based Megatech in 2013 and merged with Neowatt in 2014. Post that, the company’s name was changed from Consul Consolidated to Consul Neowatt Power Solutions in 2014. Post the acquisition by Fuji Electric, the new company is to be named as Fuji Consul Neowatt Power Solutions in which 99.99% will be held by Fuji Electric while 0.01% will be held by Fuji Electric India.

(FE, June 21, 2019)

Longi to spend $349m on new 5 GW module fab in Taizhou General

Chinese solar manufacturer Longi Solar is set to splash another RMB2.4 billion (Rs.2,432 crore) on expanding its mono silicon module production capacity, this time in the Chinese city of Taizhou. The Shanghai-listed solar giant revealed plans to expand its annual production capacity for high efficiency modules with a new factory, warehouse and ancillary facilities to extend its existing base in the city district of Hailing. In an update to the Shanghai exchange on Saturday, Longi admitted: “The above investment in the project may cause pressure on the company’s cash flow” but the mono giant pledged to arrange all necessary funding. Longi Green Energy Technology Co Ltd said the new facilities would “gradually start production in 2020” and, more specifically, no later than six months from now and added full production would be in place no later than two years from now. The stock market update revealed Longi signed a deal a week ago with the people’s government of the district of Hailing under which the solar manufacturer would fund the new fab and own the production equipment while leasing the buildings from the local authority for 20 years before having the option of purchasing the structures or renewing the lease.

(PV Magazine, June 21, 2019)

Railway Energy tenders 140 MW hybrid project capacities General

Ministry of Railways joint venture the Railway Energy Management Company has invited bids to develop 140 MW of solar-wind hybrid generation projects. Energy generated by the project capacity, which would be connected to either the inter or intrastate transmission system, will be sold for a maximum tariff of Rs2.70/kWh. The projects that make up the capacity target can be developed anywhere in India although the energy generated will be purchased by the railway zones of Gujarat (Western Railways), Karnataka (Southwestern Railways) and Madhya Pradesh (Western Central Railways), which will enter power purchase agreements with successful bidders. The hybrid project capacity breaks down as 18 MW of solar and 52 MW of wind for Madhya Pradesh, 14 MW of solar and 41 MW of wind for Gujarat plus 3 MW of solar and 12 MW of wind for Karnataka.  The Railway Energy Management Company said bidders would have to compete for the entire capacity of a zone and may also bid for all the capacity on offer, with a bid submission deadline of July 23.Last month, under the auspices of the Indian Railway Solar Mission, Northern Railways invited bids for 133 rooftop solar systems with a capacity no larger than 10 kW and a further 677 five-kilowatt rooftop arrays for a total tender capacity of 4,715 kW.

(PV Magazine, June 21, 2019)

Five ways to safely dispose of your electronic waste General

Rapid advances in technology mean electronic devices become obsolete very quickly, often within 2 years. Rising income levels and the relative affordability of electronics allow more and more people to purchase electronic goods. Disposing of obsolete devices is a challenge because they contain lead, beryllium, brominated flame retardants, mercury, cadmium, and other deadly chemicals. When e-waste is disposed of in landfills, these chemicals can seep into the ground contaminating water used to supply homes and much else. In India, approximately 2 million tons of e-waste is generated annually of which nearly 82% comprises of personal devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and screens. Globally India is the 5th largest producer of e-waste. Annually only 1.5% of e-waste generated in India is recycled- the unorganized sector is a major culprit behind improper disposal of e-waste. If e-waste is simply stored it doesn't pose any hazard, however, when it is improperly handled and disposed of the chemicals it contains pose a serious hazard. Not only does improper handling of e-waste allow dangerous chemicals to seep into the soil and groundwater, but it also leads to wastage of base metals which can be reused. Thankfully, there are steps people can take to dispose of e-waste in an environmentally friendly manner.

(Business Today, June 20, 2019)

Adani Renewable bags 600 MW wind-solar hybrid project General

The Adani Renewable Energy Park (Gujarat) unit of Adani Green Energy Limited, has bagged 600 MW of wind-solar hybrid project capacity auctioned by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). Adani will supply electricity for Rs2.69/kWh for 25 years under a power purchase agreement and the project capacity is expected to be commissioned by 2022. “Adani Renewable Energy Park (Gujarat) Ltd (AREPGL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Adani Green Energy, had won bids for setting up 600 MW ISTS [inter-state transmission system] connected wind-solar hybrid power projects in a tender issued by SECI,” the company said yesterday in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. With the project, Adani’s portfolio of renewable generation capacity in India stands at 5.16 GW with 2.02 GW of operational projects and 3.14 GW in its development pipeline. Last month, Adani’s Gujarat unit won the bid for setting up a 250 MW wind power project auctioned by SECI while Adani Green Energy (UP) commissioned a 50 MW solar project in Uttar Pradesh. Headquartered in Ahmedabad, parent Adani Group has operational solar capacity of 1.2 GW with 810 MW under implementation. Besides PV plants in Punjab, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, the company has also set up a 1.2 GW solar cell and module manufacturing unit in Mundra, Gujarat. The company aims to install 10 GW of renewable generation capacity by 2022.

(PV Magazine, June 20, 2019)

750 MW Rajasthan tender attracts low bids of Rs 2.5/kWh General

The latest 750 MW solar auction for Rajasthan saw state-owned power generator NTPC, Mahindra Susten, Hero Future Energies and Azure Power making lowest bids of Rs2.5/kWh each. The four developers bid for a cumulative capacity of 710 MW in the reverse auction conducted by Solar Energy Corporation of India. Hero Future Energies bid for 250 MW, Mahindra Susten 200 MW, NTPC 160 MW and Azure Power Maple 100 MW at tariffs of Rs2.5/kWh each, reported PTI. The previous 750 MW solar auction in the state attracted the lowest bid of Rs2.48/kWh from Acme Solar, the developer which equaled the nation’s record low tariff of Rs2.44 in July last year. That benchmark had been set in May 2017, in a SECI auction for capacity at the Bhadla Solar Park. Rajasthan has an installed solar capacity of approximately 3 GW and a development pipeline of around 1.5 GW. The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has estimated the state has the potential to host 142 GW of solar capacity, the highest level in India. The low levels of tariffs stem from Rajasthan’s potential for solar power generation. Highest irradiation in the country and easy availability of wasteland make the state the ideal place for setting up solar projects.

(PV Magazine, June 20, 2019)

Auto cos look to pare EV HR costs by reskilling General

Automobile sales may be falling, but the demand for skilled professionals in the electric vehicles (EV) sector is rising. The likes of Tata Motors NSE 0.09 %, Maruti Suzuki NSE -0.27 %, Mahindra & Mahindra and Continental India are feeling the pinch. These companies — gearing up to meet demand for EVs — are building a talent pool by aggressively reskilling existing workforce and by training fresh graduates.  Only 30,000 EV experts are currently employed across companies in the sector, with recruitment and staffing firms Xpheno and Team Lease Services pegging the shortage at about 40%. “Many parallel projects that have kicked off at the same time have placed a sudden demand on this niche talent pool, leading to some unmet demand for good talent in the EV space,” said Shailesh Chandra, president, electric mobility business and corporate strategy, Tata Motors.  The EV industry needs people with know-how from multiple disciplines including power electronics, mechanical, electro-chemistry and embedded software. “EV research and development being a technology of interdisciplinary sciences, there is a pertinent challenge to acquire talent in the domains,” said Rajeshwar Tripathi, chief people officer, Mahindra & Mahindra. 

(ET, June 15, 2019)

India has the potential to be a 1 trillion-dollar digital economy - Ravi Shankar Prasad IT

India needs a 'New Regulatory Framework' for the digital world, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad 'Minister of Law and Justice', 'Communications' and 'Electronics and IT' said while addressing industry leaders at the second national council meeting of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Elaborating further he informed that laws like the Indian IT law as well as the data protection law need to be upgraded. His ministry has finalized the data protection law which will soon be taken to the cabinet and parliament for approval.  Speaking on the importance of data, he said that many consider data as the 'new oil'. Emphasizing the importance of data security, he said India generates a lot of data and data sovereignty will not be negotiable. While some data mobility is important, we need to have reciprocity. We will keep data availability, utility, innovation, localization and security in sync'. The minister said that areas of data availability, data innovation, its security and utility are increasingly becoming important. Elaborating further he said areas as varied as child health and nutrition and financial services have high degree of data. Importance and utility. Outlining the government's stance, he said those who seek to indulge in data commerce need to follow the rules of the game set by the government.

(BS, June 15, 2019)

Xiaomi component supplier, Holitech, to invest $200 mn in country over 3 years Telecom

Expanding its manufacturing base in India, Xiaomi on Saturday announced that Holitech Technology, a global component supplier, has inaugurated its first component manufacturing plant in India. Holitech Technology has established its operations in Greater Noida and was first invited by Xiaomi in Q1 2018 to investigate local manufacturing opportunities during its ‘Supplier Investment Summit’. Holitech Technology is to invest nearly $200 million over three years in the country and would manufacture Compact Camera Modules (CCM), Capacitive Touch Screen modules (CTP), Thin Film Transistors (TFT), Flexible Printed Circuits (FPC), and fingerprint modules, locally. The local manufacturing plant is ready and would commence production within Q3, 2019 and it aims to generate 6,000 jobs in three years. The component manufacturing plant is spread across four factories and spans over 25,000 sq m in Greater Noida and will start mass production with a capacity of over 300 million components annually. The plant also boasts of class 1000 and class 100 clean rooms, an industry first. A clean room is a contained space where provisions are made to reduce particulate contamination and control other environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity and pressure.

(BusinessLine, June 15, 2019)

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology finalizes Data Protection Bill IT

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has finalized the much-anticipated Personal Data Protection Bill, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday. The next required step is a Cabinet approval before the Bill goes to the Parliament. "We have finalized the data protection law. I will take it to the Cabinet. We have had 3-4 rounds of consultation," Prasad said while addressing the CII's National Council meeting.  Emphasizing on data security and the country's hold over its data, the Minister said: "India will uphold its data sovereignty. It will not be negotiable. India is a huge country producing a lot of data." Prasad acknowledged that "some degree of data movement was important in the digital world", but noted that it would be based upon reciprocity and understanding. The draft Personal Data Protection Bill, submitted to the government by the Justice B. N. Krishna Committee in July last year, sets out how the personal data of individuals should be processed by the government and private entities incorporated in India and abroad. Prasad said that along with data security, the focus should also be on data availability, utility, innovation and localization. He also emphasized on the need for data anonymity. Giving an analogy, Prasad, who also holds the telecom and law portfolios, said: "To have due research in a particular financial area, we must have objective data, but the occupant and owners of that data must be kept out of public gaze."

(India TV, June 14, 2019)

Dream or nightmare? Why India should postpone its electric vehicle plans for ten years IT

Most discussions on electric vehicles (EVs) focus on benefits and sidestep serious questions. For example, do we know if a faster adoption of EVs would be in India’s interest? Is the currently used EV technology robust enough? Will EVs make us dependent on China? Answers are straightforward. We just need to look at the most critical part of an EV – the battery. What the internal combustion engine is to a patrol car, the battery is to EV. Currently, all EVs use lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). It is the limitations of LIBs that will prevent widespread adoption of EVs. LIBs are expensive and do not support long-distance travel. Worse, raw materials needed to make LIBs are in short supply. Let us understand the seriousness of the issue. The battery used in a typical EV is a massive 500 kg pack consisting of hundreds of large lithium-ion cells that use metals like lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese. Each metal serves a useful purpose. For example, lithium generates a flow of electrons and helps charge the battery. Cobalt prevents battery overheating. The problem is the world does not have enough of lithium or cobalt reserves needed to replace current automobiles with EVs.

(TOI, June 13, 2019)

Modi govt pursuing bold strategies for universal Internet access by 2022: Ajit Pai Telecom

India is pursuing bold strategies to achieve the ambitious goal of universal Internet access by 2022, a top American official has said, highlighting the challenges in building broadband networks in rural areas. "I commend Prime Minister Modi and the Indian government for their ambitious goals of universal Internet access by 2022 and fixed broadband access to 50 per cent of households by 2022," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said at the India Ideas summit of US-India Business Council here on Wednesday. "To meet these targets, they're pursuing bold strategies such as installing two million public Wi-Fi hotspots in rural areas and redesigning and expanding the Universal Service Obligation Fund," he said.  Pai said despite the good news, millions of Indians and Americans still live in rural areas where there is currently no case for the private sector alone to build broadband networks. 

(ET, June 13, 2019).

Telecom dept, telcos conduct raids across Delhi-NCR to take down illegal mobile signal repeaters Telecom

Indian telecom operators and the telecom department conducted raids on several locations across Delhi to take down illegal mobile signal repeaters installed by individuals. With this exercise in Delhi, 32 illegal repeaters were removed and 46 notices were given to remove the identified ones with immediate effect. According to a statement by the COAI, the DoT along with the authorities have served notices and may impose heavy fines on owners of several premises. Raids were also conducted in Karol Bagh where such illegal equipment is being sold, according to an official statement. The department may also decide to impose heavy penalties on sellers of this illegal equipment. Recently, on the request of the COAI, several e-commerce players stopped the sale of such illegal network boosters on their platforms. These locations included both residential and commercial establishments in Laxmi Nagar, Paharganj, Greater Kailash, Inderpuri, Adarsh Nagar, Model Town, Patel Nagar, South Extension, Chandni Chowk, Rohini, Sant Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Rajouri Garden, Civil Lines, Ashok Vihar and Rajendra Nagar. The identified locations also include NCR region, i.e. Gurugram and Noida.  COAI said that illegal mobile signal repeaters have become a major nuisance and are one of the biggest reasons for customers facing network issues like call drops and low data speeds. 

(ET, June 13, 2019)

DoT may prohibit BSNL from LWE-II connectivity program Telecom

The Department of Telecom(DoT) is expected to prohibit state-controlled Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in the ambitious Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) - II program, despite telco's lowest proposal and completion of the earlier phase in record time.  "The specifications of BSNL proposal are very different from the Cabinet-approved proposal for LWE-II and hence cost of BSNL proposal cannot be used for benchmarking the bid document," according to a telecom department note, seen by ETT said. The fourth-largest telco has submitted a proposal to deploy 4.072 towers, at a cost nearly 40% lower than the originally conceived but the note prepared by the department's finance branch, apparently overlooked it, saying, "BSNL proposal will entail a lower grade of service with deficiencies." However, BSNL has led the previous leg or LWE-I to deploy 2,500 mobile towers to boost telephony in the Red Corridor, with completing the initiative in a lesser time than anticipated in 2016.

(ET, June 13, 2019)

Commerce Minister reviews Free trade pacts General

Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has reviewed India’s free trade agreements (FTAs) with partner countries such as Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka and the 10-member ASEAN to identify problem areas for the Indian industry and the opportunities they could offer.  “The Minister reviewed in details the impact of the existing FTAs on the Indian industry and the extent to which the partner countries had gained from it. The idea was to explore if there are ways in which concerns of the Indian industry could be addressed and what should negotiators look out for in future pacts,” a government official told BusinessLine. While the BJP-led government did not sign any new FTA in its first stint in the last five years, Indian industry has been complaining about the ones signed in the past as they gave access to products from competing countries to Indian markets at preferential interest rates. Indian exporters, on the other hand, have not been able to utilise the FTAs well because of lack of awareness, complicated rules of origin requirements and other technical issues.

(BusinessLine, June 12, 2019)

Vodafone Idea, Airtel in talks with Samsung for 4G and 5G amid uncertainty over Huawei's future Telecom

Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtelhave initiated separate exploratory talks with Korean telecom gear maker Samsung for supplying equipment for their respective 4Gand futuristic 5G networks even as uncertainty looms over the future of Huawei in India, after a US ban on the Chinese vendor. Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India don't want to get stuck with just two vendors — Ericsson and Nokia — in case of a ban on Huawei, as there could be demand and supply issues as well in such an eventuality, a person familiar with the strategy of one of the two telecom companies said. "They want to keep their options open with Samsung. ZTE is there but the telcos wouldn’t want to go big with it...telcos want to diversify when it comes to vendors," the person said. A second person said that Samsung is already getting “feelers” from telcos in India for both 4G and 5G technologies. “There are feelers on 5G. But, there are many steps required, including trials in India since commercial deployment has some time to start in the country. Even on 4G, Samsung is getting feelers from the two telcos”.

(ET, June 12, 2019)

India remains second largest region of internet users in the world: Mary Meeker report Telecom

India has the second largest internet user base in the world constituting 12% of the total 3.8 billion global user base, where China has the largest internet user base making 21% of the total base, according to the Mary Meeker’s 2019 internet trends report. Previously, India had beaten United States to become the second largest market of internet users. As per the latest report, United States remains at the third spot constituting 8% of the global internet user base. Moreover, Asia Pacific region leads with 53% of the global internet users coming from the region. However, the internet penetration in the region is 48% which is significantly lower than that of North America and Europe, 89% and 78% respectively.

(ET, June 12, 2019)

Racing towards sustainable solutions General

Artemis, an assembled-in-Mumbai electric racing car, that can attain speeds from 0 to 100 kmph in four seconds flat, was unveiled by students of K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering on Monday. Created by a group of 60 engineering students, who are a part of the Orion Racing India (ORI) team, Artemis, will represent India at the Formula Race Car Student Competition to be held at Hockenheimring, Germany from August 5 to 11. The race is hosting 120 teams from across the world this year and aims at challenging team members to go the extra step by building, manufacturing and considering the economic aspects of the automotive industry.  Of the total five teams from India, ORI and D.J. Sanghvi College of Engineering are the only two from Mumbai. The latter is participating in the combustion engine category. Others include, IIT-Delhi with its electric racing car, Shrimati Kashibai Navalur College of Engineering, Pune, IIT-Madras and Vellore Institute of Technology for the combustible engine power racing cars. Team Orion has been representing Mumbai and has won several competitions nationwide and globally since 2006 with their combustion engine cars. Artemis, an electrical single-seater vehicle can go up to 35 kms in a single charge. The team, comprising of engineering students from different streams, manufactured the entire electrical vehicle from scratch to go the eco-friendly way over the last 15 months.

(The Hindu, June 11, 2019)

Asus targets 15-20% slice of consumer-notebook pie General

Taiwan-based gadget-maker Asus is targeting 15-20 per cent market share in the overall consumer notebook segment by the end of this calendar year. The company on Tuesday added two models to its affordable Vivo Book laptops, one of which was launched in partnership with Flipkart. “In terms of overall consumer notebooks’ share, we are at 11.9 per cent in India as per Microsoft data,” said Leon Yu, Regional Head, India and South Asia, Asus. Laptops from the Vivo Book series broadly fall under the ‘thin and light’ segment.’ “In thin and light, we are the number one brand in India. Currently, we are at around 25 per cent (market share) in the segment. Our target is to reach 40 per cent by end of 2019,” Yu said. These figures are for across the thin and light segment, spanning budget laptops to premium models. “Earlier, thin and light was considered a very premium segment. Last year, we were the first brand to introduce thin and light under Rs. 30,000,” Yu added .Adarsh K Menon, Vice-President- electronics, private labels, and furniture at Flipkart, said that the e-commerce company has worked closely with Asus for the new Vivo Book. “Because we sit on such a treasure trove of real-time customer information and preferences, we are able to work with partners like Asus and share that information with them and participate in the product design process,” Menon said.

(BusinessLine, June 11, 2019)

Made-in-India tag for Flipkart brands General

Walmart-owned Flipkart has moved a substantial proportion of its manufacturing and sourcing for in-house brands from China and Malaysia to India over the past year, helping to cut costs and comply with the government’s Make in India initiative. That’s helped Flipkart reduce prices of private label products sold across 300 categories on its platform. “About two years back, almost 100% of our electronics came from China,” said Adarsh Menon, head of private label business at Flipkart. “Today, that number would be less than 50%. When we launched our furniture brand, the entire range was sourced from Malaysia--now that’s down to less than 50%.”  Flipkart’s private brands include MarQ, Perfect Homes, Billion and SmartBuy, which contribute about 8% to the company’s overall sales, sources said. According to Menon, much of the electronics and consumer durables, textiles, most high-end Android TVs, air conditioners, washing machines and smaller appliances are now being sourced from India. As much as 50-60% accessories also get sourced from India. This comes as the Indian government has been able to convince global electronics manufacturers to set up shop in the country. Through higher import tariffs on smartphones and other high-value electronics, India has been able to get tech giants such as Apple to locally manufacture its iPhones here with partners such as Foxconn and Wistron.

(ET, June 10, 2019)

Made-in-India tag for Flipkart brands IT

Walmart-owned Flipkart has moved a substantial proportion of its manufacturing and sourcing for inhouse brands from China and Malaysia to India over the past year, helping to cut costs and comply with the government’s Make in India initiative. That’s helped Flipkart reduce prices of private label products sold across 300 categories on its platform.  “About two years back, almost 100% of our electronics came from China,” said Adarsh Menon, head of private label business at Flipkart. “Today, that number would be less than 50%. When we launched our furniture brand, the entire range was sourced from Malaysia — now that’s down to less than 50%.”  Flipkart’s private brands include MarQ, Perfect Homes, Billion and Smart-Buy, which contribute about 8% to the company’s overall sales, sources said. According to Menon, much of the electronics and consumer durables, textiles, most high-end Android TVs, air conditioners, washing machines and smaller appliances are now being sourced from India. As much as 50-60% accessories also get sourced from India. This comes as the Indian government has been able to convince global electronics manufacturers.

  (ET, June 10, 2019)

Two-wheeler makers term EV switchover by 2025 as ‘impractical IT

After industry bodies CII and SIAM reacted to the anticipated government plan of ensuring faster adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) by suggesting 100% EVs for sale of three-wheelers by 2023 and two-wheelers below 150 cc by 2025, vehicle manufacturers such as TVS Motor Company and Bajaj Auto have now termed the plan as 'unrealistic' and 'impractical'.  TVS Motor and Bajaj Auto are both planning to launch electric two-wheelers later in FY20. In an official statement, Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Motor Company said: “Automakers are supportive of the overall goal of introducing EVs and easing consumers into electric mobility. As a result we have been doing serious development work to ensure we can offer a mass market EV product that delivers on safety and high performance. This is necessary to co-opt consumers into making a switch, so it’s driven by consumer willingness and, therefore, adopted easily and widely. The supporting infrastructure for charging also needs to be as robust as conventional fuel options."

(LiveMint, June 10, 2019)

India is in 'satyug' under Modi government: Vedanta Chairman General

Anil Agarwal, the scrap metal dealer turned billionaire metals tycoon, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi should tap underground resources, grant autonomy to public sector firms and banks and extend up to Rs 2 lakh loan to all Aadhaar card holders to eradicate poverty and create jobs. India, he says, is in 'satyug' under the Modi government where coteries have been demolished and only performance recognized.  In an interview to PTI, the ebullient billionaire said district collectors should be made business development managers to develop tourism and industry while monuments, forts and beaches should be made autonomous to generate revenue and employment.  "Indian story is the story of the famous movie 'Mother India' where the farmer would grow 100 quintals of food grain but 80 quintals would be taken away by the moneylender. The same is the case with India where we spend 50% of our revenues on imports. Then there are interest payments (on debt), leaving almost nothing," he said.

(DNA, June 09, 2019)

Harman sees India emerging as one of its top 5 markets in a decade General

Harman, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, sees India emerging as its top five markets globally over the next decade, said Dinesh C Paliwal, the company’s president and chief executive. The company is bullish on its next phase of growth and is expanding beyond car audio and infotainment to connected car solutions. One of the world’s largest manufacturers of car audio, infotainment systems and connected car solutions, the company is working closely with global carmakers in India as well as home-grown automakers. Harman plans to supply advanced telematic solutions and futuristic cloud -based technologies for upcoming models. “We are now growing into a big family of telematic solutions, cyber solutions and cloud platform,” Paliwal told Business Standard, adding that he sees electronic content per car going up substantially even as car volumes may not grow at a brisk pace in India and outside owing to the structural changes. Harman, the owner of JBL and Harman Kardon brands, among others, counts BMW, Harley Davidson and Daimler as its key customers for its connected car technologies.

(BS, June 06, 2019)

Harman Expanding Automotive Electronics Business in India General

Harman International Industries, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, held a ceremony on June 3 (local time) to celebrate the expansion of an auto parts manufacturing facility at its factory in Chakan of India with the attendance of local government officials. Founded in 2014, the plant produces a variety of solutions for connected cars including automotive infotainment devices. Harman will invest about 60 billion won to expand the plant’s production lines from the current two to six by 2021.  Harman plans to increase the production volume of digital convenience units (DCUs) and telematics control units (TCUs), which were jointly developed with Samsung Electronics, 12-fold from the current 20,000 units a year in three years. The company is also planning to double the number of employees that currently stands at about 800 during the period.  "This expansion will enable us to offer customized electronic car parts solutions to global automakers including Suzuki, Daimler, Volkswagen, Tata and Fiat Chrysler," the company said. Samsung Electronics has been aggressively expanding its Indian business. Samsung Display signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build a mobile phone display manufacturing plant by April next year. It will soon fix the scale of its investment. Samsung SDI is also brooding over the size of its investment to build a smartphone battery manufacturing plant.

(Business Standard, June 05, 2019)

Mahindra Electric in talks with global players to supply electric vehicle powertrains IT

Mahindra Electric is in talks with global automotive manufacturers to supply electric vehicle powertrains, according to a top company official. The company, a part of the Mahindra Group, will start supplies of such electric vehicle parts to group firm Ssangyong Motor, by early 2021. "Mahindra is investing on aggregates (for electric vehicles) which is the battery packs, motor transmission and power electronics. It is an industry at a very nascent stage, we have already said we will be happy to supply those parts to anybody, any original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in India or abroad," Mahindra Electric CEO Mahesh Babu said. The group has announced Rs 1,000 crore investment in the next three years, increasing the capacity to over 70,000 units per annum from the current 15,000 units. Moreover, it is also setting up a state-of-the-art global R&D centre at Bangaluru for battery, motors, power electronics with investments of up to Rs 400 crore, he said, adding it would be operational in the next 18-20 months.

(BS, June 05, 2019)

On Piyush Goyal table: Key challenges in foreign trade, disputes in WTOWHILE General

WTOWHILE the decision by the United States to end preferential trade status for India from June 5 calls for urgent attention, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal’s larger challenge will be to address the reverses faced by India during the last 12 months on both bilateral and multilateral fronts over alleged protectionism.  On May 14, Japan complained to the WTO against import duties imposed by India over the last 24 months on a wide range of electronic products such as mobile phones and components, and integrated circuits. Soon afterward, China and Thailand expressed interest in joining consultations in the case filed by Japan. Singapore, Canada, and Chinese Taipei are learnt to have sought to join, too. Much of this played out when the general elections were under way in India, and the new government is learnt to be taking stock of the widening impact of these trade challenges. In early April, the European Union, which oversees trade policy for the 28-member bloc, had separately launched a WTO dispute against India over import duties levied on electronic products.

(Indian Express, June 03, 2019)

Indian Crypto currency Regulation Is ready, Official confirms General

After more than one year of analysis and deliberation, the report containing the recommended regulatory framework for crypto currency in India is now ready to be submitted to the finance minister, according to local media. The new finance secretary, former Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Subhash Chandra Garg, reportedly confirmed its readiness at an event hosted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India on Thursday. “On the crypto currency regulation, Garg said the report is ready,” PTI reported, further quoting the finance secretary as saying.  Garg heads an inter-ministerial committee instituted to study all aspects of crypto currency and draft the country’s crypto regulation. Included on the committee are representatives from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India, and the Central Board of Direct Taxes. This draft regulation was supposed to be ready in July last year. “We are fairly close to developing a kind of template which we think might be in the best interest of our country. We have prepared a draft which we intend to discuss with the committee members in the first week of July [2018],” Garg  explained in an interview at the time. However, no crypto regulation has been announced and the Ministry of Finance told Lok Sabha in December last year that “the department is pursuing the matter with due caution,” noting that “It is difficult to state a specific timeline to come up with clear recommendations.” The government subsequently shared with the Supreme Court in February that the report containing the recommendations for India’s crypto regulation is in the final stages of deliberation.

(Bitcoin News, June 03, 2019)

Digital India & BPO policy 2.0 on anvil Policy

The government's ambitious projects including Digital India and Bharat Net will get a major boost with Ravi Shankar Prasad taking charge of both communications and electronics and IT ministry on Monday. Digital India 2.0 and the next phase of BPO (business process outsourcing) policy in rural and far-flung areas is already being developed by the ministry of electronics and IT.There have been some delays and many coordination issues between the implementing body of Bharat Net, which falls under communications (telecom) ministry and Common Service Centers, which comes under the domain of electronics and IT ministry, according to senior officials.  CSCs provide last-mile connectivity from gram panchayats till where optical fibre of Bharat Net reaches. Bharat Net is one of the ambitious programmes of the previous government to provide internet connectivity in the rural hinterlands. About 1.5 lakh gram panchayats have already been connected through optical fibre but not all have lit up as there are last mile issues. In the previous government, Prasad was handling electronics and IT ministry. Now, with the same minister at the helm of both the ministries, the coordination issues are expected to resolve at a faster pace. Though Prasad was given the charge of both ministries in 2014, later Manoj Sinha was made telecom minister when the issue of call drops was at the peak.

(DNA, June 02, 2019)

New Town plan to recycle e-waste General

The New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) will up cycle e-waste collected from the township and Sector V and make them fit for reuse in an attempt to prevent accumulation of hazardous materials at dumping sites. “Old smartphones, personal computers and other electronic gadgets will be collected from residents and offices. These will be repaired and restored so they can be used once more,” an NKDA official said. “The ones that cannot be repaired will be used to make various household items, including decorative pieces. ”The repaired and refurbished items will be put on display at the NKDA corner for up cycled goods at Eco Park, in New Town, in order to encourage people not to throw away their electronic gadgets with other household waste. People can buy them at a fraction of the market rates from the counter.  Metro had on May 19 reported about the counter that has been set up near Eco Park’s gate No. 4 to encourage people to segregate household waste and dispose them in a scientific manner. Debashis Sen, the NKDA chairman and additional chief secretary of information technology, electronics and e-governance, said the move would not only benefit the environment but would also provide an opportunity to the people to buy cellphones and computers at affordable rates.

(The Teleraph, May 29, 2019)

Zero Complaints Came Up After Lok Sabha Polls, Claims Expert Behind EVMs General

Even as the world marvels at how India conducts its elections, a humble contributor to its success is a robust yet low-cost innovation - the Electronic Voting Machine or EVM - which empowers its 900-million Indian electorate. This mind-boggling number is nearly double the entire population of the USA, the world's oldest democracy. There is no doubt one unqualified winner of the elections, highly vilified but a winner no doubt that stands head and shoulders higher than even Prime Minister Narendra Modi! This candidate spoke in a baritone but polled a record 613 million votes and got one hundred percent success, beating the National Democratic Alliance by a whopping nearly fifty percent higher strike rate. You guessed it right, it is the humble Electronic Voting Machine or EVM. According to data released by the Election Commission of India, as many as 61.3 crore voters exercised their franchise in the 2019 polls -the highest till date in any election conducted across the world. The EVM was belittled by almost all opposition parties for some reason or another and highest court of the country kept hearing petitions against the indigenously made machines even as polling was ongoing. But, in the end, the over 1.12 million EVMs performed marvellously, and post-elections, not even a single complaint has been registered against them. Proven well beyond doubt to be tamper-proof and hack-resistant, even the worst losers in the 2019 polls have not blamed this tool.

(NDTV, May 28, 2019)

Like mobiles, PCs made in India should meet local and global demand: Intel IT

In 2007, Intel shelved plans to set up a microchip manufacturing unit in India due to the country’s bureaucracy. But in 2019, it finds India a good place to manufacture, albeit not through a multi-billion semiconductor fab but by helping local companies boost electronics manufacturing. In a conversation with BusinessLine,  Prakash Mallya, Vice-President and Managing Director, Intel India, Sales and Marketing Group spoke about how Intel is trying to boost PC manufacturing in India and what the government could do to encourage local manufacturing. Excerpts: What we’ve done in the last two years is, we have gone through the manufacturing landscape and built supply chain ecosystem or match-made them with some of our global partners to ensure that they are going up the value chain of building a new product. Case in point is Coconics, which is a unique,public and private joint venture that are different entities and it is part of Government of Kerala’s initiative. It is private sector majority owned, and their objective is to build locally manufactured PCs. So this is a great example where we have asset and enabled the local ecosystem to serve the local market needs. I would agree that our policy needs to be conducive towards local manufacturing in a different manner in every sector. I feel that we need to make the factories that are manufacturing PCs or any of the other components in electronics, being not only efficient for the country but efficient globally, so that you can cater to the demand not only within the county but outside, and you can compete with best of the factories located in any part of the world.

(BusinessLine, May 28, 2019)

Oppo leads Apple, Samsung in race to win over youngsters in India Telecom

Apple and Samsung, the flag bearers of innovation in the consumer technology space for years, may be losing the trust of young Indian consumers to a Chinese rival. Oppo Mobile India, the local subsidiary of China’s BBK Electronics, has emerged as the most-preferred innovative handset brand in the premium segment, as per an independent study conducted by the analyst firm Cyber Media Research (CMR). Conducted among consumers, born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, in the survey, Oppo scored 78 per cent. While Samsung, at the second spot, scored 74 per cent, Apple stood at the third spot with a 71 per cent score.  The findings are surprising, to say the least, given that Oppo does not feature among the most-selling premium smartphone brands in the country. While Samsung now tops the chart, in terms of volume of premium devices shipped, Chinese brand OnePlus is the second-largest player in the Rs 25,000-to-Rs 50,000 price band, followed by Apple. However, the young consumers said that Oppo’s constant focus on camera prowess and its long-lasting batteries remained at the top of their mind. According to Prabhu Ram, head-industry intelligence group, CMR, innovations introduced by Oppo in selfie cameras at an early stage that, along with Vivo, transformed the smartphone market in India and helped it gain consumers’ attention. “The Gen Z clearly identifies with Oppo as an innovation trailblazer that offers a premium experience to them, with industry-leading innovations, whether it be in camera or battery charging,” he said.

(BS, May 28, 2019)

India, Japan, Sri Lanka move to counter China General

India has decided to join hands with Japan and Sri Lanka to expand the port in Colombo as part of efforts to balance Chinese inroads into the neighborhood. This marks one of the government’s first foreign policy moves following its reelection. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s proposed trip to India for Narendra Modi’s inauguration this week is seen as a boost in this regard with the three countries planning to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the near future, ET has learnt. The trilateral project’s goals are to increase Colombo port’s container volume and increase transportation in and around South Asia, according to persons aware of the matter. The deal comes as China has been using its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects to increase its influence in the region. India and Japan are also eyeing joint development of the Trincomalee port in eastern Sri Lanka. India along with Japan aspires to pursue a Free and Open Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean strategy. The trilateral project’s goals are to increase Colombo port’s container volume and increase transportation in and around South Asia, according to persons aware of the matter. The deal comes as China has been using its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects to increase its influence in the region. India and Japan are also eyeing joint development of the Trincomalee port in eastern Sri Lanka. India along with Japan aspires to pursue a Free and Open Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean strategy.  

(ET, May 27, 2019)

Finance Ministry starts consultation with investors to launch global ETF General

The Finance Ministry has started consultation with global investors for launching CPSE-scrip based Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) in overseas market in the current fiscal, a government official has said. The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) will start developing the index for the ETF based on investors' feedback about demand of sector specific stocks. "We are eyeing large overseas pension funds for investments into the overseas ETF. We will soon appoint fund managers for developing the new ETF. Global roadshows have seen good investor interest in ETF route for investments into CPSEs," the official said.  The government currently has two exchange-traded funds — CPSE ETF and Bharat-22 ETF — listed on domestic exchanges. ETFs function like a mutual fund scheme and have underlying assets of government-owned companies. Bharat-22 ETF, which was launched in 2017-18, has 16 central public sector enterprises covering six sectors, 3 public sector banks and 3 private sector companies where the government holds minority stake.

(LiveMint, Apr 28, 2019)

TS moots India’s first Blockchain District in a draft policy Policy

Making a giant leap towards realising its dream of becoming the national blockchain capital, Telangana has released a draft blockchain policy, conceptualising India’s first ‘Blockchain District’—‘a physical area within Hyderabad aimed at creating the world’s best blockchain technology ecosystem’. This ‘Blockchain District’ will not only house all the major blockchain companies, but also a massive incubator for startups, and a facility for promoting research, innovation and industry collaboration. The draft, released by the Information Technology, Electronics and Communications (IT E&C) department, says that the focus will remain on adoption of Blockchain in sectors such as banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), pharmaceuticals and healthcare, government institutions and departments, and logistics and supply chains. It is also planning on doling out incentives such as access to investments, subsidies, tax credits, and so on, to attract enterprises, SMEs and startups. The incentives include 25 per cent subsidy on lease rentals up to `5 lakh per annum for the first three years of operations, and so on. For startups with revenues less than `5 crore, the State government will be reimbursing a 100 per cent of State Goods and Services Tax (SGST ) for the first three years. It also proposes a grant of `10 lakh for 10 blockchain startups every year for the next three years.

(Indian Express, May 26, 2019)

FICCI chief: India should cut interest rates to help exporters take advantage of US-China trade war General

India should cut interest rates further and adopt consistent policies for the export of agricultural produce to enable Indian exporters to take advantage of the current US-China trade war, industry body Ficci's President Sandip Somany said Saturday. Currently on a business trip to China, Somany also said the NDA government in its second term should focus on getting big ticket investments from China, specially in the capital goods sector, and motivate Chinese machinery manufacturers to set up plants in India. The bruising US-China trade war, under which both countries have slapped billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on each other's exports, offers a big opportunity for some category of Indian exports to make a dent in both the US and Chinese markets, Somany told PTI here. Somany, who is the vice chairman and managing director of HSIL Limited, the second largest glass manufacturer India, also met the Indian Ambassador to China Vikram Misri and the Secretary of China's Boao Forum for Asia, Li Baodong. If the US-China trade war continues, it offers good opportunities for Indian exports in certain areas, he said

(Today, May 25, 2019)

Cybercrimes, Cyber Laws in India & Electronic Evidence General

A one-way awareness and training programme on ‘Cybercrimes, Cyber Laws in India & Electronic Evidence’ was held at NEILIT, Meriema, Kohima on May 24.  Organized under the aegis of the Nagaland State Legal Services Authority (NSLSA) in collaboration with Alliance Law Office, New Delhi and National Institute of Electronics & Information Technology, Nagaland, the training was conducted with resource persons from Supreme Court judges and cyber lawyers, New Delhi- Advocate Manish Manocha, Supreme Court of India and Advocate Meena Bhandari, Supreme Court  Reema Bhandari, opening the training session remarked that the cyber space which is like an open book need to be taken cognizance of as internet and technology is “spinning at a very high speed, while the wheels of justice against cybercrimes is seen to be lacking far behind the evolution and by the time laws or policies are implemented, it will become outdated.” She therefore called for reactive and proactive approach towards this. 

(Morug Express, May 25, 2019)

Strategy in the works to woo companies looking to exit China General

India has prepared a strategy to gain market access in China for its farm and pharmaceutical exports and attract foreign companies looking to shift out their manufacturing bases from there in the wake of the trade war between the US and China.  The commerce department’s strategy paper, aimed at reducing India’s trade deficit with its neighbour, proposes a detailed sector-wise strategy for import substitution in electronics, telecom, electrical equipment and pharmaceuticals, which form the bulk of the country’s purchases from China. India’s trade deficit with China stood at a record $63.04 billion in FY18. The strategy paper, prepared by the department, was submitted to commerce and   industry minister Suresh Prabhu.   After taking charge as minister in September 2017, Prabhu has personally guided strategies to reduce the trade deficit with China. The core of the idea was increasing exports to China and reducing imports by substituting inbound shipments with local manufacturing. 

(ET, May 25, 2019)

This week in Auto: Hyundai Venue debuts in India; Car launches become Friday movie releases of the week General

In 2008, the world waited with bated breath to catch a glimpse of Ratan Tata's Rs 1 lakh car - the Nano. Tata's brainchild had cast a spell not only on car enthusiasts but also rival carmakers. No one knew what the car looked like and excitement was such that Tata Motors did not need to advertise the mini car. This, however, was a decade ago. The excitement around Nano that happened then, has now become a weekly affair, with car launches happening like Friday movie releases. These days, companies face cut-throat competition and never-ending marketing cycles. Today's weekly wrap dwells on this point further with several examples. Here is a list of the important headlines in the auto space this week: The Gixxer SF 250 sealed Suzuki's entry into the quarter-litre space. While not their first bike in this engine class, the earlier outing - Inazuma was naked, where the SF 250 is a fully faired sports bike. The bike takes on a new design language in India. The overall theme is sharp with the large headline flowing in nicely with the rest of the fairing. That itself is fairly proportionate to the rest of the bike. It features a split seat set up with low clip-on handlebars and an even lower windscreen.

(Maoneycontrol.com, May 25, 2019)

Smaller rivals may gain in India at Huawei’s cost General

Huawei’s expected troubles due to US sanctions could open a window of opportunity for rival debutants Realme and Oppo to get a toehold in India’s premium smartphone market, analysts said.  Oppo is making a second attempt at cracking the premium smartphone segment — those costing over Rs 30,000 — with the launch of its new premium series Reno. Realme will enter the space towards the latter part of the year.  Market experts say Huawei may be forced to pull out devices with Android readying to snap ties with the Chinese smartphone maker. Oppo and Realme could well exploit the gap and growing competition in the segment dominated by Samsung, OnePlus and Apple so far. The premium smartphone segment itself is expected to almost double by Decemberend to 10% of the overall market, said Counterpoint Research. 

(ET, May 25, 2019)

Defence modernization: Government priority needs to be on Make in India General

A comprehensive defeat of the Congress has established that its ‘Rafale scam’ charge did not stick and was a non-issue as far as the electorate was concerned. However, the vigour with which it was raised over the past year had a strong impact on the bureaucracy, whic cautious note when it came to taking calls on modernisation and promotion of the Make in India policy. The decisive mandate the BJP has got again now needs to free up the private industry phobia that the Rafale scam allegations triggered. The Make in India in defence initiative, which the BJP has mentioned prominently in its manifesto for 2019, needs to be anchored firmly around the private sector. A good foundation is in place—initially driven by former defence minister Manohar Parrikar—with the strategic partnership model as well as well-defined policies on treating Indian companies first for all defence and strategic requirements. What has been missing are the work orders that will truly kick-start the sector and drive jobs.  

(ET, May 25, 2019)

Amber Enterprises India Ltd - Financial Results for the quarter and year ended 31 March 2019 General

This has reference to our letter dated 15 May 2019, regarding captioned subject. The Board, at its meeting held over 24 May 2019, approved audited (standalone + consolidated) financial statements of Company and its subsidiaries as per INDAS for quarter & year ended 31 March 2019. We are enclosing audited financial statements (standalone and consolidated) for quarter & year ended 31 March 2019 and auditors report with unmodified opinion on financial statements.  Additionally, the Board also considered and approved to discontinue the operations of its wholly owned subsidiary i.e. Appserve Appliance Private Limited, as there are no major developments and activities done in preceding financial year 2018 -19. Further, as per SEBI (LODR) (Amendment) Regulations, 2018 dated 9 May 2018, we wish to inform that IL JIN Electronics (India) Private Limited (IL JIN) has become a material subsidiary of Amber Enterprises India Limited.

(Hindu BusinessLine, May 24, 2019)

Enhance exports, cut import dependence from China for balance trade: Commerce Ministry's strategy paper General

A commerce ministry's strategy paper has outlined steps like pushing exports, cutting import dependence and attracting foreign firms which are looking at shifting manufacturing bases from China with a view to reduce trade imbalance with the neighboring country.  The strategy paper, prepared by the ministry, was submitted to Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu.  Steps taken by Prabhu has already resulted in narrowing trade deficit (difference between imports and exports) with China to USD 53.56 billion in 2018-19 from USD 63 billion in the previous financial year.  To push export to China, the paper suggested suitable export incentives.  "Efforts would be made to support exporters by pursuing tariff reduction through RCEP (proposed mega trade agreement) and by providing suitable export incentives to adequately substitute the existing MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme) scheme," it said.  It said the ministry needs to vigorously pursue for greater market access for agriculture and dairy products, and pharmaceuticals.  The paper said Indian pharmaceutical firms face regulatory hurdles such as prolonged and unpredictable timelines for drug registration, demand for submission of detailed clinical trial data and requirement for revealing the drug formulation process at the time of filing for registration. 

(ET, May 24, 2019)

Hardware-based Security - Trusted Partner for Connected World IT

India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), the premier industry body for the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) industry in the country, and Rambus Chip Technology - a world leader of hardware security IPs - presents a technical seminar on 'Insights to Hardware Security - Threats and Solutions' in Bangalore, India on Thursday, May 23, 2019. The seminar aims to help technical and management personnel in automotive, defense, and other industries understand the serious threats presented by side-channel attacks and fault injection vulnerabilities. In addition to technical presentations, live and video demonstrations of hardware vulnerabilities will be shown including SPA and DPA attacks on hardware implementations of cryptographic algorithms, and a fault injection attack on the secure boot of an automotive instrument cluster. Solutions against these attacks, including DPA-resistant silicon cores and software libraries, secure embedded root-of-trust solutions, and key management and provisioning for embedded security will be presented.

Speaking about the Seminar, K. Krishna Moorthy, Corporate Vice President and Managing Director of Rambus India Design Center, said, "Rambus is a world leader in Hardware Security and provides trusted digital secure solutions. Side-channel attacks through power line leaks and other sources of system generated noise foot prints have weakened HW systems. Differential Power Analysis (DPA) patented by Rambus and associated hardening techniques innovated by Rambus today protects assets worldwide today. We also enable Root of Trust (RoT) Secure Cores Inside Processor Cores or SoC's. Hardware level security is of utmost importance in today's connected world. Secure Key provisioning dynamically is the associated technology Rambus pioneered to supplement is ROT Cores. The Seminar would share insights about the solutions available to keep your data protected at the hardware level." 

(BS, May 22, 2019)

EVMs are absolutely fool proof: Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer General

Amid a slew of allegations by the opposition about the reliability of EVMs, Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh has said that the machines are "absolutely fool-proof" and fulfills all "transparency and administrative protocols".  Singh said the EVM is "robust by design" and there is no way the machine can be tampered with.  "There is no way that the machine can be tampered with, manipulated or hacked into because it does not have connectivity with the outside world. It does not have internet, wi-fi or Bluetooth connectivity. This means you cannot access the mind of the machine. It has a onetime programmable chip," Singh told PTI.   The Aam Aadmi Party Monday asked the Election Commission to provide additional security at a counting centre in South Delhi, alleging that political opponents plan to manipulate EVMs ahead of the announcement of poll results on May 23.  The letter by AAP's South Delhi candidate and spokesperson Raghav Chadha said that "he has strong reasons to believe that the political adversaries will attempt to open the strong rooms and manipulate or replace the machines as a handful of such incidents have been seen in the past".  Singh said the machines are manufactured by Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics Limited NSE 1.29 % (BEL), which are the PSUs with highest security protocols and are programmed there.

(ET, May 21, 2019)

Enter The Dragon: China's SAIC to cause disruption in Indian automobile industry General

After conquering the country's smartphone and electronics devices market, China Inc. has set its sight on India's lucrative automobile sector, where one of its largest manufacturers SAIC will compete for space. Even though, Chinese firms have been present in India's auto sector, their presence till now was only concentrated in areas of public transport and commercial vehicles. However, SAIC Motor Corporation, which had revenue of USD 129 billion in 2018, intends to change all that.  Accordingly, the automobile manufacturer which is one of China's largest carmakers and ranked 41st in the Fortune 500 list of companies will enter the Indian market by June through its fully-owned British subsidiary MG (Morris Garages) Motors India. It will offer, India's first internet-enabled Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) Hector priced at Rs 15-20 lakh. Overall, the company aims to launch four vehicles during the next 18 months.

(BS, May 21, 2019)

Finance Commission meets Ministry of Electronics and IT IT

The Fifteenth Finance Commission headed by Chairman N.K. Singh on Tuesday held a meeting with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on “Harnessing India’s Digital Opportunity”.  A detailed presentation on this was made by the Secretary, MeitY, Shri Ajay Prakash Sawhney. The Ministry held in its presentation that the world economy was getting increasingly digital, and it detailed the disruptive potential of digital technology which is accelerating transition   Elaborating on the digital profile of India, the Commission was briefed by Ministry that India was standing on the verge of a trillion dollar digital opportunity. It was stressed that large scale digital transformation is possible, however India can and must prepare for it. In its Memorandum to the Commission, MeitY has made some specific suggestions, such that the Digital India programme requires unprecedented IT capability for States/ UTs to achieve its objectives and transforms India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The continuation of the ICT infrastructure and capacity building schemes is vital for States/ UTs to build ICT capability towards the implementation of the ‘Digital India’ programme. It has asked for allocation of funds for these projects. As the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) is not a Centrally Sponsored Scheme any more, the Ministry has asked for separate funds for the NeGP Scheme. It has proposed continuous Union support for funding under CSS the implementation of the core ICT infrastructure such as State Data Centres (SDC), State Wide Area Network (SWAN), State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG), e-Districts etc.

(SME Times, May 21, 2019)

SECI tenders 2 MW solar project for army posts in Jammu & Kashmir General

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has invited bids for development of 2 MW solar PV power projects—1 MW each for Siachen and Partapur army posts—in Leh region of Jammu & Kashmir. The projects are to be developed on ‘build, own operate’ basis.  Project selection would be technology agnostic, which means crystalline silicon, thin film or CPV technology—with or without trackers—can be used.  At Siachen base camp, the project shall be connected to the existing 11 KV distribution network already set up by Indian Army.  The project at Partapur base camp shall be interconnected with another 11 KV distribution network, which comes under the developer’s scope of work.For both the projects, the Indian Army shall enter into power purchase agreement separately for a period of 25 years. Commissioning period is 18 months from the effective date of the PPA. The projects would be awarded through reverse auction. Bidders must quote a single tariff for the projects applied for, which shall be applicable for the PPA period. The bids must be accompanied with bank guarantee of Rs 700,000 for Siachen project and Rs 900,000 for Partapur project. On selection, the developers are required to submit performance bank guarantee of Rs 20 lakh per MW within 21 days of the issuance of Letter of Award or before signing of the PPA, whichever is earlier.

(PV Magazine, May 21, 2019)

1.2 GW hybrid tender gets only two bidders yet again General

The latest tranche of Solar Energy Corporation of India’s wind-solar hybrid tender for 1.2 GW has prompted response from only two bidders. Adani Green Energy (600 MW) and ReNew Power (300 MW) made techno-commercial bids for a combined capacity of 900 MW, leaving the tender undersubscribed by 300 MW. The tender had stipulated ceiling tariff of Rs 2.70/kWh and capacity utilization factor of 30%, which were deemed unviable for most of the developers—reported daily newspaper and website Economic Times while sharing the details. Terming the ceiling tariff of Rs 2.70 as too tight, Vinay Rustagi, managing director of renewable energy Consultancy Bridge To India told ET: “In most recent auctions, the winning wind bids were around Rs 2.80 plus per unit and solar bids at Rs 2.55. So Rs 2.70 per unit is a tight tariff because most of the capacity in these hybrid projects will be wind based.” In wind projects the CUF is usually 35% at the best sites and for solar it is about 21%. The high level of CUF specified in the hybrid tender—at 30%—meant most of the capacity will have to be wind based, Rustagi added.

(PV Magazine, May 21, 2019)

India sets tone in Geneva as COP meetings adopt amendments to restrict e-waste dumping on developing countries General

The potential “dumping” of e-waste in India under the guise of reuse and repair, along with including the entry of mixed, contaminated plastic waste in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) category were the two issues where India intervened at the triple COP (Conference of the Parties) meetings which ended earlier this month. The meetings involved conferences of the parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and were held in Geneva between April 29 and May 10 on the theme ‘Clean Planet, Healthy People: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste’. Over 180 countries participated in the meetings. A delegation of officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC), agriculture, chemicals, and electronics and information technology participated in the meeting. “Among the major decisions was on the trans boundary movement of e-waste. Waste from developed countries is sent to    developing countries under the guise of reuse and repair. There is no accountability on the exporting country to take these back,” a senior MOEFCC official said.

(Indian Express, May 20, 2019)

Flash Electronics files patent case against Royal Enfield in US court General

Flash Electronics India Ltd, a New Delhi Based automobile component manufacturer, has filed a law suit against country’s largest premium motorcycle manufacturer, Royal Enfield, in the US regarding a patent infringement of a component known as regulator-rectifier. Flash will subsequently file similar law suits against the motorcycle manufacturer in the Europe and Asia-Pacific, including India. A regulator-rectifier is a component that efficiently converts the AC (Alternating Current) voltage produced in motorcycle engines into DC (Direct Current) voltage to charge batteries, power headlights, light up instrument panel, thus driving the motorcycle’s electrical systems. Flash Electronics was granted patent for the device by authorities in the US and in European countries like Germany, France, Italy, UK, Spain and others.

(LiveMint, May 20, 2019)

India’s second biggest fund house busy lapping up stocks that are down 45-72% General

ICICI Prudential Asset Management, the country’s second-largest money manager by assets, was busy all through April lapping up beaten down stocks, when the BSE benchmark Sensex advanced around 1 per cent.  The fund house increased exposure to select stocks such as Vodafone Idea, Lakshmi Vilas Bank NSE 4.94 %, Avanti Feeds, Bharat Electronics NSE 8.59 % and NBCC that have plunged 45-72 per cent since January 2018.  S Naren, ED and CIO, ICICI Prudential AMC said, “The market currently is fairly priced. The strategy in such market condition is to adopt a stock-specific approach. There are several pockets of opportunities across sectors and market capitalisations, where scrips are available at attractive valuations.”  Power, auto ancillaries, metal and telecom looks attractive to Naren.  Vodafone Idea recently concluded a Rs 25,000 crore rights issue, which was oversubscribed nearly 1.08 times. Ace Mutual Fund data base showed ICICI Prudential was holding 46 crore Vodafone Idea shares as of April 30 against 8.77 crore a month earlier, hinting that the fund house subscribed to the rights issue. 

(ET, May 17, 2019)

India to benefit from US-China trade war, say experts General

The ongoing trade war between the US and Chinawill help India tap export opportunities in both the countries in areas such as garments, agriculture, automobile and machinery, according to trade experts. Professor at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) Rakesh Mohan Joshi said the US has broadly targeted intermediate components from China, particularly machinery and electronics, whereas China is targeting American automotive and agricultural products including Soybean.  "These areas offer huge opportunities for India. Strong opportunity is unfolding for India in apparel and readymade garments as after China, India is the only country in the world to match the scale of operations and integrate its supply chain for global customers," Joshi said. He added that India needs to make use of this opportunity to significantly enhance its exports especially in information and communications technology (ICT) and the automotive sector. "To effectively harness the emerging opportunities, India needs a carefully crafted strategy and its meticulous implementation at the grass-roots level," he said.

(LiveMint,May 16, 2019)

Amazon Global Selling Program Targets $5 Billion in E-commerce Exports from India General

With more than 50,000 Indian MSMEs as part of Amazon Global Selling, which was launched in India in 2015, the program has already exceeded $1 Billion in exports so far from India. At the launch of the second edition of Amazon Exports Digest, Amazon today announced that its Global Selling program has now achieved the significant milestone of crossing $1 billion in e-commerce exports sales from India in just three years since its launch in the country! Launched with just a few hundred sellers in May 2015, more than 50,000 Indian exporters are now part of the Amazon Global Selling program, selling over 140M ‘Made in India’ products to Amazon customers across the globe through its marketplaces worldwide such as Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, etc. “Six years ago, we started operating in India with a vision to enable every motivated Indian seller to reach customers across India and every country in the world. Amazon launched the Global Selling program in India four years ago, aligning with this vision. The program has scaled up extensively since then and has reached a cumulative $1 billion annualized from India. This program is helping government’s vision on exports, encouraging ‘Made in India’ products go global and enabling over 50,000 Indian MSMEs to reach the doorstep of 300MM+ global customers without leaving their homes. Over the next five years ‘India to Global’ has the potential to become huge and Amazon is confident that the Global Selling program will hit the $5 billion mark by 2023 fueling the growth of lakhs of Indian manufacturers, exporters and small enterprises.” said Amit Agarwal, Senior Vice President and Country Head, Amazon India.

(Orissadiary.com, May 16, 2019)

Panasonic Forays into India’s EV Industry; Launches New EV Charging Service IT

Indian arm of the Japanese electronics company, Panasonic has announced its foray in the electric vehicles (EV) industry in India with the launch of its EV charging service, Nymbus on Wednesday (May 15).  The charging service is reportedly a combination of physical and virtual components. These components include charging stations, swap stations, on board charges, telematics systems along with cloud services, analytics, intuitive dashboard, and artificial intelligence to deliver a one-stop solution, according to Panasonic. Talking about the insight behind launching Nymbus, Atul Arya, Head Energy Systems Division, Panasonic India said, “In the (EV) ecosystem, we saw that three and two-wheeler mobility will be the biggest players in India.”  Panasonic has reportedly partnered with EV three wheeler manufacturing company SmartE and an electric scooter sharing service qQuick, for the first phase of its service deployment. Under this partnership, the Japanese company is said to deploy Nymbus on 150 SmartE’s electric three-wheelers and on 25 qQuick two-wheelers. These deployments will be carried out in Delhi NCR region. The company also reportedly plans to expand its Nymbus in Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai and Amaravati over the next three years and further to 25 more Indian cities in the next five years with a target of reaching approximately 1 Mn vehicles, according to Arya.“In the next three years, the addressable market for us (stationary storage such as batteries and mobility) will be about INR 5K Cr. Three years from now, we should be targeting revenue of INR 700 Cr out of this (the whole market),” Manish Sharma, president and CEO of Panasonic India told Mint.

(Inc 42, May 16, 2019)

Delta 12V and 48V 600W PMC Series with IEC/en/UL 62368-1 Approvals General

Delta Electronics is extending the popular 600W PMC series of panel mount power supply with output voltage 12V and 48V, namely, PMC-12V600W1BA and PMC-48V600W1BA. The products come with universal AC input at 85Vac to 264Vac and have built-in active PFC circuit. Both models also have feature Power Boost of 200% (peak load 12V 100A, 48V 25A) for 3 seconds, included the built-in fan speed control and fan lock protections. The products are certified with IEC/EN/UL 62368-1 approval that will replace IEC/EN/UL 60950-1 for ITE which expires on December 20, 2020. EMI according to EN 55011 (Industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio-frequency equipment) and EMS according to EN 61000-6-2 (Immunity for industrial environments).  Delta, founded in 1971, is a global leader in power and thermal management solutions and a major player in several product segments such as industrial automation, displays, and networking. Its mission statement, “To provide innovative, clean and energy-efficient solutions for a better tomorrow,” focuses on addressing key environmental issues such as global climate change. As an energy-saving solutions provider with core competencies in power electronics and innovative research and development, Delta's business domains include Power Electronics, Automation, and Infrastructure. Delta has 163 sales offices, 64 R&D centres, and 39 manufacturing facilities worldwide. Throughout its history, Delta has received many global awards and recognition for its business achievements, innovative technologies and dedication to corporate social responsibility. Since 2011, Delta has been selected as a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability™ World Index (DJSI World) for 7 consecutive years. In 2017, Delta was selected by CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) for its Climate Change Leadership Level for the 2nd consecutive year.

(Businesswire India, May 13, 2019)

Govt. reworking strategic sale procedure for CPSEs General

The finance ministry is reworking strategic sale procedure to ensure outright sale of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) within 4 months of issuance of documents to potential investors, a move aimed at ensuring speedier conclusion of the entire process, an official said. However, for CPSEs like Air India, which are relatively bigger in size, the timeline for completion of strategic sale is likely to be fixed at 6 months from the date of issuance of Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) about the company. Currently, there is no set timeline for concluding strategic sale of a state-owned company and the entire process, in some cases, drags on for months, if not years. "The strategic sale policy is already in place, but the procedure needs to be streamlined so that the sale process is completed within 3-4 months' time. The thinking is that if a process cannot be completed in 4 months then it should be abandoned," an official told PTI. Facing a daunting task of meeting the ₹90,000 crore disinvestment target in the current fiscal, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) will focus on outright sale of selected CPSEs, which have been pending for long. NITI Aayog has already identified 35 profitable and loss-making CPSEs which can go in for strategic sale.

(Livemint, May 12, 2019)

RP tech India Opens 50 E-Waste Collection Centers Pan India General

In a bid to tackle the growing menace of E-Waste, RP tech India, Country’s only value-added distributor has commenced 50 e-waste Collection points across the country. The Company has collaborated with Reteck Envirotech Pvt. Ltd., one of the largest authorized e-waste recyclers, to recycle end of life electronics and accessories collected from end users. The Company has urged people to handover electronics to these collection points for safe disposal. The issue of e-waste pollution has become a grave concern in India with the drastic surge in electronics and gadgets. The industry estimates state that India stands at the 5th place with over 2 million ton of e-waste production annually. According to the report of ASSOCHAM, the e-waste generation in India would reach 5.2 MT per annum by 2020 from 1.8 MT per annum in 2016. E-waste pollution causes toxic emissions and poses several serious health hazards to the environment. The recycling of e-waste is largely in the hands of the unorganized sector, which do not implement scientific recycling methods, causing serious threat to workers (mostly women and children) handling this waste on a daily basis. Talking the cognizance of this serious issue, the Government in 2017, introduced the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) under e-waste (Management) Rules 2016, which is mandatory for every producer of electrical and electronic equipment. The objective of EPR is to make producers and manufacturers accountable for the recycling of e-waste in an environmentally friendly manner. RP tech India is committed towards the Green initiative and duly comply with the EPR norms.

(Technuter, May 10, 2019)

India keeps out Chinese gear-makers from 5G trials on security concerns Telecom

India will keep out Chinese vendors from its 5G trials expected to start next month, though this may be reviewed later, said officials. A telecom ministry panel has recommended spectrum tests for telecom firms that wish to bring in this next generation network technology. 5G networks are the next generation of mobile internet connectivity, offering faster speeds and more reliable connections. Analysts expect 5G network to help power a surge in use of Internet of Things technology enabling smartphones to be used to connect and run most electronic devices. Officials said the ministry has recommended 5G spectrum tests for Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio initially for three months, which can be scaled up to one year in case they need more time for network stabilisation. These firms will be using three equipment vendors: Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson, they said. The allocations are expected to be done within the next fortnight, so that trials can start from June. Officials said at a later stage, they could give Huawei an opportunity to test its 5G equipments. India imports telecom gear worth about $22 billion annually, much of which is from Chinese firms such as ZTE, Huawei, Dongfang and Cosco. Electronics are the third top import item for India.

(Indian Express, May 10, 2019)

IIT-B researchers develop ‘Made in India’ microprocessor General

Engineers from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) have developed a microprocessor called AJIT, the first to be conceptualized, designed, developed and manufactured in India. The innovation, which has brought industry, academia and the government together, could reduce the country’s dependence on imports. The project was funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and IIT Bombay. Powai Labs, a Mumbai-based company, has invested in the venture, and will own, market and support the product.  Prof. Madhav Desai of the electrical engineering department and his team of nine researchers from IIT Bombay designed and developed the processor entirely at the institute. In a sense, the researchers have built the first proof of concept, Prof. Desai told The Hindu. “It is out of the laboratory, but not on the road yet. We are refining it. If successful, it will be mass produced.”  India’s electronics market is expected to reach $400 billion by 2020. Most of the electronic devices we use are imported; only a quarter of the devices are produced in the country.

(The Hindu, May 09, 2019)

Karbonn to relaunch Sansui brand in India Telecom

Home-grown mobile phone maker Karbonn Mobiles has acquired the brand licence of Japanese consumer electronics brand Sansui for the Indian market, marking its entry into the television and white goods segment and mirroring the strategy of its domestic peers Micromax and Intex, who have been squeezed out of the mobile phone market by Chinese players, said two industry executives.  The licensing arrangement with Karbonn Mobiles’ holding company Jaina India is for five years and the Sansui brand will be relaunched in the country in July with products in categories such as LED television, home audio, refrigerator, washing machine, split air-conditioner and small kitchen appliances, the executives told ET on condition of anonymity. The Sansui brand was earlier licensed to Videocon for 17 years but after the expiry of the licence in 2018 post Diwali, the owners of Sansui — Hong Kong-listed Nimble Holdings Company — did not want to renew the licence owing to the financial crisis at Videocon.  Emails sent to Jaina Group MD Pardeep Jain and Nimble Holdings did not elicit any response till press time on Tuesday. Karbonn Mobiles will sell Sansui through bricks-and-mortar stores and Flipkart, pricing the products on a par  with Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and TCL, said the executives cited earlier. They said the company also had plans to set up a plant for manufacturing of televisions and appliances at an outlay of Rs 300 crore, although initially the products would be contract manufactured in India. 

(ET, May 08, 2019)

New factory-focused solar tender reportedly in the offing General

With domestic solar manufacturing in the doldrums and India’s first manufacturing-linked PV tender having been met with a tepid response, the nation is mulling a new procurement exercise to develop an industrial base for solar – this time with no generation capacity element attached. Business news service Bloomberg has reported plans are being considered in India for a solar cell and module manufacturing tender which would include a financial incentive. The news comes as the world’s biggest democratic elections continued to unfold, with polling completed in 424 of India’s 542 Lok Sabha constituencies on Monday. India has around 3 GW of annual solar cell production capacity and 9 GW of module capacity – figures eclipsed by some individual businesses in China – and in February the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs provided Rs8,580 crore of viability gap funding to enable government-owned companies to establish 12 GW of solar capacity with costlier Indian-made products. An attempt by the government to staunch the flow of solar imports by applying a 25% safeguarding duty on them appears to have done little to help the expansion of domestic solar manufacturing. With the domestic production sector supplying just 15% of India’s solar equipment needs, the nation continues to import almost 90% of its PV modules. Chinese imports make up almost 89% of India’s total solar needs with Singapore a distant second, followed by Taiwan. India also imports solar products from Malaysia, Canada, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

(PV Magazine, May 08, 2019)

Rooftop solar needs greater push to reach 2022 target: IEEFA General

Rooftop solar is the fastest growing renewable energy sub-sector in India but installations must rapidly accelerate if the nation is to meet its ambitious renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022—according to a new briefing by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). Notably, while India’s installed solar capacity has grown fourfold to 28 GW in less than three years, the country has achieved only 10% of its ‘40 GW by 2022’ rooftop solar target. IEEFA estimates that, for the next three years, solar rooftop installs will grow at 50% annually, reaching a cumulative 13 GW of installed capacity by FY 2021-22—well short of the 40 GW target despite the impressive growth. Regulatory uncertainty is slowing the pace of rooftop solar installations, even as “there has been significant investment in preparing the regulatory framework, up skilling the workforce for small scale deployments, and in educating the market.” The IEEFA briefing note, titled Vast Potential of Rooftop Solar In India, highlights further steps that the government can take to increase installations. “Policy certainty and more financial subsidies would incentive the market, as would support for domestic manufacturing and simplifying the net metering application process,” according to Tim Buckley, co-author of the briefing note and IEEFA’s director of energy finance studies.

(PV Magazine, May 08, 2019)

IEA warning against stagnation of renewables General

Last year saw 180 GW of renewable energy generation capacity installed worldwide, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Although the figure is impressive, and matched the amount added in 2017, the IEA has pointed out it was the first time the volume of new renewables had not risen year on year since 2001 and was not enough to keep the world on track to achieve the objectives defined in the Paris climate change agreement. In fact, the world saw a 1.7% rise in energy related CO² emissions last year, said the agency.  According to the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario, at least 300 GW of new renewable energy capacity is required per year up to 2030 to keep the Paris goals within reach. Adding 180 GW annually, said the agency, will provide barely 60% of the new clean energy capacity required. Among the competing clean energy technologies, solar power again dominated, with 97 GW of new generation capacity added, similar to the amount of PV installed in 2017. In 2018, China was the world’s leading nation for new renewable energy capacity, with some 77 GW of generation assets added – 45% of the global total. However the much publicized decision of the Chinese government to rein in public solar subsidies prompted an 18% decline in PV figures, with 44 GW of new solar capacity installed, versus a record 53 GW in 2017.

(PV Magazine, May 08, 2019)

India has overly restrictive market barriers General

While the U.S. is India’s largest export destination, India is only the 13th largest for the U.S. due to “overly restrictive market access barriers,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Tuesday. “India is already the world’s third largest economy, and by 2030, it will become the world’s largest consumer market because of the rapid growth of the middle class,” Mr. Ross said, while speaking at the Trade Winds conference organized in the national capital. “Yet, today, India is only the U.S.’s 13th largest export market, due to overly restrictive market access barriers,” he added. “Meanwhile, the U.S. is India’s largest export market, accounting for something like 20% of the total. There is a real imbalance.” Mr. Ross went on to say that while American technology and expertise can play an important role to meet India’s developmental needs, U.S. companies faced significant market access barriers in India. “These include both tariff and non-tariff barriers, as well as multiple practices and regulations that disadvantage foreign companies,” he said. “India’s average applied tariff rate of 13.8% and that remains the highest of any major world economy. The very highest.” “It has, for example, a 60% tariff on automobiles; it has a 50% on motorcycles; and 150% on alcoholic beverages,” Mr. Ross added, highlighting a stress point U.S. President Donald Trump had mentioned several times. “These are not justified percentages. They are way too high.” The U.S. Commerce Secretary said that the U.S. was working with the Indian government and the private sector to address the market access issues through the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue, and the recently re-convened U.S.-India CEO Forum.

(The Hindu, May 07, 2019)

India may reject US demand for outright ban on Huawei Telecom

Pointing out countries such as the UK and Germany that are "pushing back" the US pressure on barring Huawei from 5G network deployments, India may join these developed countries in rejecting Washington’s insistence of an outright ban on the Chinese network equipment maker despite real security concerns. “We are seeing that the UK has decided to use Huawei equipment in some non-core areas, also, Germany is pushing back on the US pressure, since it is unfair to deprive telcos of end-to-end technology at a lower cost which the Chinese company offers,” a senior government official told ET. Another official said that there were security concerns in using Chinese equipment, but added that each country needs to address this issue in “a carefully structured and customized method, thus selectively crafting its strategy rather than completely banning of Huawei equipment. It could become a trade-off between not allowing a newer technology versus security concerns.” Huawei, on its part, feels confident that the company will, along with rest of the industry, be allowed to participate in the 5G trials but expects a decision only after the ongoing general elections, results of which are slated for May 23, is over. Stakeholders are currently awaiting allotment of 5G trial spectrum from the Indian government. Huawei competes mainly with European vendors Nokia and Ericsson besides Chinese rival ZTE for the global telecom gear contracts.

(ET, May 07, 2019)

Army to induct 460 Russian-origin tanks to add muscle on Pakistan front General

The Indian Army will induct an additional 464 Russian-origin upgraded T-90 'Bhishma' main-battle tanks at a cost of Rs 13,448 crore in the 2022-2026 time frame to bolster its "shock and awe" capabilities on the western front, even as Pakistan is also discussing a deal with Russia for acquiring about 360 such tanks.  Defence ministry sources on Monday said the "indent" to produce the 464 T-90 tanks would soon be placed on the Avadi Heavy Vehicle Factory (HVF) under the Ordnance Factory Board after the cabinet committee on security cleared the licence acquisition from Russia over a month ago.  The Army already has around 1,070 T-90 tanks as well as 124 'Arjun' and 2,400 older T-72 tanks in its 67 armored regiments. After the first 657 T-90 tanks were imported for Rs 8,525 crore from Russia from 2001 onwards, another 1,000 are being progressively licenced and produced by HVF with Russian kits. "There has been some delay in the indent for the remaining 464 tanks, which will also have night-fighting capabilities. Once it is done, the first 64 tanks should be delivered in 30-41 months,"  said a source. 

The move comes at a time when the 1.3-million strong Army is also re-formatting its entire war-fighting machinery and the "Cold Start" or "Pro-Active Strategy", which envisages fast mobilisation to strike hard across the border with multiple offensive thrusts, as was reported earlier by TOI.  This task will primarily be carried out by restructured and agile integrated battle groups (IBGs) centred around the T-90S tanks, along with a mix of infantry, artillery, air defence, signals and engineers, backed by attack helicopters. The Army's new Land Warfare Doctrine itself notes that the "response along the western front will be sharp and swift, with the aim to destroy the adversary's centre of gravity and secure spatial gains". 

(ET, May 07, 2019)

Westway Electronics eyes Rs 1,000 crore turnover over three years General

Westway Electronics Ltd, the maker of India’s first colour television, is targeting a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore over the next three years. The consumer electronics company, which is present predominantly in north India, is on an expansion drive and hopes to have a footprint across south and east India over the next 2-3 years. “Currently, our turnover is about Rs 143 crore, but with aggressive expansion in south and east India, we hope to increase our sales and revenue,” said Sumit Maini, Director, Westway Electronics. He added that the company was ramping up its production capacity, anticipating higher sales, from the current 2.5 lakh units at its plant in Noida to 5 lakh units. The additional capacity will come from its upcoming plant in Noida that will be operational by 2020. Westway is an original equipment manufacturer that makes TVs, washing machines, refrigerators and other goods. Televisions are its mainstay, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of the product mix, and sells them under its brand—Weston. The competition is fierce in the television segment, from both, existing players and even new entrants like Xiaomi, which is holding the pole position within a year of its launch. “We have an affordable product range (priced between Rs. 8,000 and Rs 50,000) and the latest technology that will drive sales,” said Maini.

(Indian Express, May 07, 2019)

Foxconn's Terry Gou wants to be peacemaker between US, China and Taiwan Telecom

The chairman of Apple supplier Foxconn said on Monday he told U.S. President Donald Trump that he wanted to be the peacemaker between the United States, China and self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own. Billionaire Terry Gou, who said last month he would run for president of Taiwan in 2020, met Trump last week to discuss the status of the Taiwan Company’s planned investment in Wisconsin. Using Taiwan's official name, Gou also said Beijing needed to acknowledge the existence of the "Republic of China". Beijing regards the island as a breakaway province, part of "one China", and has not renounced the use of force to bring it under its control. The United States acknowledges that China takes the position that there is one China and Taiwan is part of it. But it also Taiwan's biggest ally and arms supplier and is duty-bound by legislation to help the island defend itself.

(ET, May 06, 2019)

Amazon beefs up cloud business, data centre infrastructure in India Telecom

Amazon is beefing up its data centre infrastructure and cloud services business in India as the clamour around data localisation grows louder every day. The Seattle-headquartered company has infused around Rs 1,380 crore into its local data centre arm, Amazon Data Services India (ADSIPL), documents sourced from business intelligence platform Paper.vc showed. Apart from its online retail business, Amazon operates ADSIPL and Amazon Internet Services (AISPL). The latter undertakes the resale and marketing of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in India and directly competes with its Chinese rival Alibaba's cloud services business. Cloud services platforms such as AWS offer data storage, computing power and other functionalities to startups, large businesses and government organizations for a fee. The recent fund infusion could help Amazon take on the dual responsibilities of strengthening its data centre infrastructure and compete against the growing clout of Alibaba Cloud in the Asia-Pacific region, including India. "My bet is on Amazon seeing a massive opportunity that only it can effectively leverage with the new data localization norms in India. One can expect to see new data centre locations coming up alongside India-specific localization solutions," said Paper.vc founder Vivek Durai. An Amazon India spokesperson did not reply to an email from TOI.

(ET, May 06, 2019)

Indian Navy's submarine 'Vela' of Project 75 launched General

The Navy on Monday launched the Scorpene-class submarine Vela, the fourth of six underwater warships being built in India with French collaboration, with an aim to boost Indian capability to defend and secure the strategic sea lanes.  The Vela submarine will undergo a number of tests conducted by the Navy before it is commissioned in the defence fleet, an official said.  Defence production secretary Ajay Kumar's wife Veena Ajay Kumar launched the submarine at Mazagon Dockyard in Mumbai.  The state-owned Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited has entered into a contract for construction and transfer of technology for six Scorpene-class subs with French collaborator Ms Naval Group (formerly DCNS). INS Vela is the fourth in that series.  The fifth Scorpene-class submarine will be launched soon, an MDL official said.  Before Vela, MDL launched Kalvari, Khanderi, Karanj submarines. While Kalvari has been commissioned, the others are at various levels of trials and tests.  INS Vela was first commissioned on August 31, 1973 in the Indian Naval Service and continued to serve for 37 years. It was the country's oldest submarine when it was decommissioned on June 25, 2010, MDL said in a statement. 

ET, May 06, 2019)

Amazon Strengthens India Data Centre Business With Fresh $198 Mn Infusion IT

Tech giant Amazon is strengthening its data centre business in India by reinforcing Amazon Data Services India (ADSI) with an INR 1,380 Cr ($198.2 Mn) investment, according to documents seen by business intelligence platform Paper.vc. Amazon’s investment in its data centre services comes at a time when the Indian government has been taking a tough stand on data localisation and urging international companies to move their data centres to India. Incorporated in India in 2016, Amazon Data Services provides data storage, data protection solutions and operations that pertain to computer hardware and software that deal with data storage. According to an ET report, this deal wills not only help the company strengthen its data centre infrastructure in the country but it will also help it compete against the growing popularity of Alibaba Cloud in the Asia-Pacific region including India. Prior to this, Amazon had invested about $214 Mn (INR 1,381 Cr) in its data services unit, Amazon Data Services India in 2016.

(Inc 4, May 08, 2019)

GRSE to build eight ASWSWCs for Indian Navy General

The public sector Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE) has been awarded a Rs 6,311 crore contract to build eight anti-submarine warfare shallow water craft for the Indian Navy, a statement from India’s defence ministry said on Monday. The contract was signed by Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager (Maritime Systems) Ravi Kant on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and S S Dogra, Director (Finance), on behalf of GRSE, in New Delhi. The request for proposals was issued by the Indian Navy to defence public sector unit shipyards and other Indian private shipyards in April 2014, with GRSE emerging as the successful bidder for design, construction and supply of the eight craft, the statement said. These craft are designed for a deep displacement of 750 tons, speed of 25 knots and complement of 57 and capable of full-scale subsurface surveillance of coastal waters besides coordinated anti-submarine warfare operations with aircraft, the statement said. “In addition, the vessels shall have the capability to interdict or destroy sub surface targets in coastal waters. These can also be deployed for search and Rescue by day and night in coastal areas," the statement said.

(Defence News, Apr 30, 2019)

Russia sends new S-400 missiles to China to replace those damaged in 2017 General

Russia has sent several dozens of new S-400 Triumf missiles to China in place of those damaged in 2017 on a ship that got into a storm, a military-diplomatic source told TASS on Tuesday. "At the start of April, several dozens of new S-400 missiles were sent by maritime transport from the Baltic to China to replace those damaged in a storm in the English Channel," the source said. 0sap Rosoboron export refused to provide any comments on this matter.

(Defence News, Apr 30, 2019)

Army invokes emergency powers for missile deal General

The Army is in the process of procuring Spike-LR Anti-Tank Missiles from Israel and Igla-S Very Short Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORAD) from Russia through a set of new financial powers for emergency procurements sanctioned by the Defence Ministry earlier this month, Defence sources said. “Under the latest emergency financial powers, armed forces have been given a free hand to procure equipment worth up to ₹300 crore on a priority basis. The Request For Proposal (RFP) for the two deals have been issued and negotiations are ongoing,” the source said. Entirely new systems not in use can also be procured under the new powers, the source stated. Tenders for both deals had gone through regular procurement process earlier. While the Spike tender was cancelled during the cost negotiation phase, the deal for Igla, after repeated delays, is in the cost negotiation phase. However, given the questions that were raised in the earlier deals, clarity is needed on the modalities for purchase through the emergency route.

(Defence News, Apr 30, 2019)

Opportunities in the Indian Defence Market, 2019 - ResearchAndMarkets.com General

India's defence sector has been growing at a modest pace for the past few years. Modernisation of the armed forces and indigenisation of manufacturing have emerged as focus areas. The segment is receiving the much-needed push under the Make in India programme. The concept of import substitution is being gradually accepted by stakeholders. This is an opportune time to embark upon a new phase of self-reliance in the sector by manufacturing technologically advanced equipment within India. Defence production in India is gradually heading towards private sector participation. Between 2015-16 and 2018-19 (April-October), out of a total 188 contracts, 121 contracts have been signed with Indian vendors including DPSUs/PSUs/OFB and private vendors for capital procurement of defence equipment. The equipment to be procured includes Helicopters, Naval vessels, radars, ballistic helmets, artillery guns, simulators, missiles, bulletproof jackets, electronic fuzes and ammunition. DPP 2018 is a step towards creating an industry-friendly structure to facilitate better contract negotiations and improve the pace of contract awards. Breakthroughs like Make procedure, strategic partnership (SP) model, liberalisation of FDI norms and creation of a level-playing to private industry have been introduced. However, the strategic partnership (SP) policy has several shortcomings which might create barriers in realising the goals.

(Yahoofinance, Apr 29, 2019)

Quikr acquires Zefo for Rs 200 crore in offline push General

Quikr, the e-classifieds and transactions marketplace, has acquired online pre-owned goods seller startup Zefo in a Rs  200-crore, stock-and-cash deal as it looks to ramp up the business in the segment. The deal comes as the Bengaluru-based company, valued at $1.6 billion, is looking at an aggressive offline expansion with plans to open 200-300 franchisee stores across the country over six-nine months. “In the last 18 months, we have found the right way to grow this category — a mix of pure consumer-to-consumer and where we also sell products which we have a possession of. It is a high-margin space and we have been seeing 100% year-on-year growth,” said Quikr founder and CEO Pranay Chulet. Some of the major segments in the refurbished category for Quikr include smartphones, electronics and furniture — already accounting for about 15% of revenues. Quikr said that the pre-owned products market in India is expected to reach $12-15 billion by 2020. The refurbished goods are sold under the Quikr Bazaar vertical and with quality control under Quikr Assured label, with Zefo its first acquisition in the space.

(TNN, April 26, 2019)

South Korea advances industrial ties with India and US General

South Korea has held separate talks with India and the US to strengthen its defence industrial and technological alliances with the two countries. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) in Seoul said the talks were held on 24 April in New Delhi and on South Korea’s southern Jeju Island respectively. DAPA said the one-day seminar in India was aimed at “stimulating defence exports” to India and supporting defence industrial partnerships between the two countries. DAPA said that during the event two defence memoranda of understanding (MOUs) were signed. The first featured an undertaking by South Korean firm LIG Nex1, which specialises in electronics and missiles, and Indian company Adani Defence Systems and Technologies to collaborate on marketing and production activities in support of sales to the Indian military.

(Jane’s 360, April 26, 2019)

LG launches Best Shop in Warangal General

LG Electronics has opened the exciting BEST SHOP at Nakkalagutta in the city on Thursday. Designed to meet the current demands of the retail environment in the country, this new store has been inaugurated by Managing Director (MD) Kim Ki Wan. Speaking on the occasion, Kim Ki Wan, MD  of the LG Electronics India, said, “It has been our endeavor to create a store that would not only stand out, but also showcase the values of LG brand. Our retail strategy is to be where our customers are, instead of being present in the conventional electronics markets. LG BEST SHOP has been conceptualized as the ultimate retailing experience that synchronizes with the international image of innovation, quality and excellence.”  P.Sudheer, K.Shashi Kiran Rao,  K.Sridhar Branch Manager of LG Electronics India, and Aleem Ahmed were present.

(Telangana Today, April 25, 2019)

Policy - New Delhi’s views on China’s Belt and Road Initiative is bad for India’s private sector General

Various reports indicate that this time again New Delhi has decided to skip Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit taking place between April 25 and 27 in Beijing. Close to 40 heads of states or governments are attending the meeting. These include all 10 ASEAN nations, most Central Asians, Russia, Egypt, Italy, Portugal, Pakistan, Switzerland and the UAE among others. Many others are participating at ministerial or official levels. Instead of developing a coherent Indian strategy to deal with the Chinese BRI challenge, just not attending a meeting even at a lower level shows a lack of understanding and preparedness. Negative official narrative about the BRI may also influence Indian private sector not developing strategies to take advantage from emerging opportunities in the neighborhood. Once the governmentally-driven geopolitical phase of hard infrastructure is over, private companies will take over. If by then Chinese, European or ASEAN companies have taken over major operations, it will be too late Indian companies to enter.

(Moneycontrol Contributor, April 24, 2019)

TCL Electronics announces partnership with Eros Now to offer unmatched online content streaming General

nderlining its commitment to delivering an unmatched home entertainment experience to its customers, TCL Electronics has joined hands with Eros Now, the cutting-edge digital over-the-top (OTT) South Asian entertainment platform by Eros International Plc, a Global Indian Entertainment Company. As part of the partnership, TCL has deep linked Eros Now’s extensive library of HD-quality content comprising Bollywood movies, premium original shows, and music videos on the TCL content platform. Eros Now is a leading subscription-based video-on-demand entertainment platform and has a content library that offers unmatched quality, quantity, and diversity to South Asian audiences. With more than 12,000 digital titles across multiple genres, categories, and languages on the platform, the Eros Now partnership further expands the depth of high-quality content choices seamlessly available to TCL customers across India. The association also enables TCL customers to enjoy an extra month of free Eros Now premium subscription, on top of the 14-day free trial period. Speaking on the partnership, Hongwei Li, the General Manager of Falcon Technology at TCL Electronics said, “At TCL, we want to enable an immersive, end-to-end entertainment experience for our customers across India. Partnering with a leading domain player like Eros Now, with an extensive array of high-quality content offerings, is aimed at furthering that vision. The HD-ready content on the Eros Now platform will perfectly complement the state-of-the-art audio/visual technology integrated into our range of innovative offerings and will add greater value to the ownership and entertainment experience of TCL customers in India.”

(CIOL, April 23, 2019)

China's TCL Electronics forays in India with a new blend of home appliances General

China's TCL Electronics is foraying into home appliances this week in India after consolidating its position as one of the leading brands in television space. The company will roll out AC, washing machine, refrigerator and sound bar to strengthen its position in the Indian market.  TCL India country manager Mike Chen said India is home to a growing number of tech-savvy and digital users that demand more from the products that they use.  "Driven to make life intelligent through our products ranges, we are going to launch a range of innovative and affordable home appliances for our Indian consumers. At TCL, it has been our endeavor to follow an India-first approach, as reflected in our brand promotion strategy or the launch of our first-ever factory in India," said Chen. TCL had recently announced its partnership with Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Delhi Capitals as a sponsor. In December last year, TCL had inaugurated its TV panel factory - TCL Industry Park in Tirupati marking the brand’s first manufacturing unit outside of China. This will not only allow TCL to provide Indian-centric products at competitive prices but also create over 8,000 jobs.

(ET, April 22, 2019)

State focuses of alternative electronics hubs IT

The state government is laying emphasis on developing alternative hubs for the manufacture of electronic equipment, ranging from mobiles, drones, solar and other components. "We have developed three Electronic Manufacturing Clusters (EMCs) at Naihati, Falta and Sonarpur. The lands for all these EMCs are ready for allotment. Apart from mobile manufacturing, we are welcoming solar, drones, robotics and LCD TVs in these clusters as well," a senior official of the state Information Technology & Electronics department said.  Additional Chief Secretary of IT&E Debashis Sen recently visited the EMC at Naihati situated on 70 acres of land and took stock of the services on offer. "The facilities in this park have been developed by WEBEL. A site office will come up soon. We are expecting a lot of electronic units here as the place has its locational advantage. It is an hour-long drive from the city and is very close to the industrial park of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation," the official added.

(Millennium Post, Apr 22, 2019)

Samsung Launches New SpaceMax™ Series Side-by-Side Refrigerator in India IT

Ø  Samsung India has launched its new SpaceMax™ Series Side-by-Side Refrigerator lineup that will be available in two-door and three-door options. Samsung is the market leader in the Side-by-Side Refrigerator category with over 50% market share. The new refrigerator lineup comes with unique features. SpaceMax™ technology lets you store more food without increasing external dimensions or compromising on energy efficiency. The refrigerator also has a sleek and seamless counter-depth design that will fit perfectly with the dimensions of the consumers’ existing appliances and cabinetry to create a harmonious kitchen interior and comes with an all-around cooling system that makes sure food is fresh wherever it is stored in the fridge. “Samsung continues to bring delight to the consumers through innovative technology solutions in the refrigerator space. Being an industry leader, we are excited to bring the all-new SpaceMax™ Series Side-by-Side refrigerators that are designed to change the way consumers store food. These refrigerators are highly energy efficient and durable, ensuring longer-lasting performance,” said Saurav Katyal, Director, Consumer Electronics Business, Samsung India.

(Samsung Newsroom India, Apr 22, 2019)

Mobile phones, consumer electronics lift Reliance Retail General

India’s largest retailer Reliance Retail’s cellphone and consumer electronics retailing business crossed the $5-billion revenue mark in the year to March, underscoring the breadth of its market presence. Sales in these two categories — which account for about a third of the total — through Reliance Digital and Reliance Jio stores more than doubled to Rs 39,170 crore in FY19 from Rs 15,154 crore in FY18, according to the company’s investor presentation made to analysts. Reliance attributed the growth to having the largest network of stores and enjoying a first-mover advantage in many cities. New brand introductions in mobile phones and air care (air conditioners, air purifiers and air coolers), such as Lloyd and Godrej, helped the retailer outpace market growth rates across key categories. The contribution of smartphones and consumer electronics retailing increased to 30% of total sales in FY19 compared with 21.9% in the year earlier, as per the presentation. The connectivity business, which includes Reliance Jio Infocomm subscriptions and recharges, was the largest at 33.5% (Rs 43,739 crore) of total retail sales and grocery was third at 17.9% (Rs 23,371 crore), the company said.

(ET, April 20, 2019)

ETtech Top 5: India's social media scrutiny, IT firms under cyber-attack & more IT

Social media, content, and gaming apps are grappling for a way to deal with heightened regulatory scrutiny as Indian courts step in to stem the flood of so-called objectionable content on these platforms, in one of the world’s fastest growing internet markets. Content companies such as Facebook, Google-owned YouTube as well as Chinese apps such as TikTok and Bigo Live are expected to face even more regulatory scrutiny in the future. TikTok and Bigo Live have been accused of allowing sexually explicit content to be beamed on their platform. TikTok was banned earlier this week and is currently not available for download on Apple's App Store or Google Play Store. RBI's draft framework to enable regulatory sandbox (RS) for fintech innovation has been well-received by a majority of fintech players, even as some have suggested a few tweaks in order to make it even more comprehensive. The regulators should also have opened the sandbox for established companies as well and not just startups since it would have widened the scope of innovations, said Mandar Agashe, founder of Pune-based Sarvatra Technology. He said a lot of fintech companies would have benefited from these findings./Fintech firms also raised concerns on the restrictions of not letting crypto and initial coin offering (ICO) startups to participate in the regulatory sandbox, claiming that RBI's stand against crypto currency technology is "not well informed.

(ET, Apr 20, 2019)

Reliance Retail's cellphone, consumer electronics sale doubles; boosts revenue IT

India's largest retailer Reliance Retail's mobile phones and consumer electronics have boosted the retail business and crossed the $5-billion revenue mark in March 2019 augmenting its market presence. The retail giant credited its growth to having the largest network of stores and having attained the first mover advantage in many cities. Reportedly, new brand introductions in cellphones and air care equipments (air conditioners, air purifiers and air coolers) such as Lloyd and Godrej helped the retailer outgrow market rates across key categories. According to the company's investor presentation made to analysts, "Sales in these two categories - which account for about a third of the total- through Reliance Digital and Reliance Jio stores more than doubled to Rs 39,170 crore in FY19 from Rs 15,154 crore in FY18". As per tracker Counterpoint Research, Jio Phone has made Reliance the largest brand in the category of feature phones and the overall cellphone market, as of 2018. The sales of Jio Phone has contributed to the revenue generation of the retailer, The Economic Times quoted an industry executive as saying.

(Business Today, April 20, 2019)

50% local sourcing likely for companies to book EV ride under FAME-II General

The government will insist that electric vehicle makers source at least 50% of their components locally if they want to avail of its incentive programme and bid for its orders, even as it looks to promote local manufacturing and discourage imports.  An inter-ministerial steering committee led by Niti Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant has decided that only companies that meet the 50% localization threshold will be eligible for the incentives that will be available under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) scheme to boost electric mobility as well as the ‘Make in India’ initiative.  “Government will not use taxpayers’ money to subsidies imports but will push for 50% localization content as we want to promote local manufacturing,” Kant told ET.  The steering committee, which held its first meeting on April 1, has finalized the mission’s approach to make domestic industry competitive at the global level. 

(ET, April 19 2019)

Major display issues bug Samsung’s Galaxy Fold phone Telecom

Ahead of its public release scheduled for April 26, U.S.-based tech reviewers who were testing the $2,000 worth ‘Galaxy Fold’ encountered and reported major display and screen-related issues within just two days of using the phone. Tech reviewers from renowned media brands like The Verge and CNBC noted issues like screen flickering, display distortion and unexplainable buldges bugging the industry-first device, ABC News reported on Thursday. Subtitling the review “Yikes”, The Verge said that the flaws were “distressing to be discovered just two days after receiving the review unit”. “A review unit given to CNBC by Samsung is completely unusable after just two days of use,” the report quoted CNBC reviewer Todd Haselton as saying. Defending its devices just days before its roll-out, a Samsung spokesperson assured that the South-Korean giant would “thoroughly inspect” the units. “A limited number of early ‘Galaxy Fold’ samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter,” the ABC News report quoted a Samsung spokesperson as saying.

(The Hindu, Apr 19, 2019)

Retail, Telecom to Support RIL’s Journey on Bourses Telecom

The muted earnings growth from Reliance Industries’ core energy vertical in the quarter ended March may narrow the performance gap between the company’s stock and the Nifty 50 index. The Reliance stock has outperformed the Nifty by 15% in the past three months and contributed to about 25% of the index’s gains. Profit in the quarter was better than the Bloomberg consensus estimate, but the quality of earnings may weigh on investor sentiment as it was driven by higher other income and lower tax rates. The company’s capital expenditure was almost Rs 1.32 lakh crore in FY19 as it continued to invest in Reliance Jio Infocomm, its digital business unit, and Reliance Retail, its organised retail venture. As a result, the company’s debt increased by over 30% to Rs 2.87 lakh crore at the end of FY19.

(ET, April 19 2019)

Recycling of e-waste in India and its potential General

Electronic waste (e-waste) typically includes discarded computer monitors, motherboards, mobile phones and chargers, compact discs, headphones, television sets, air conditioners and refrigerators. According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2017, India generates about 2 million tonnes (MT) of e-waste annually and ranks fifth among e-waste producing countries, after the US, China, Japan and Germany. In 2016-17, India treated only 0.036 MT of its e-waste. About 95 per cent of India’s e-waste is recycled in the informal sector and in a crude manner. A report on e-waste presented by the United Nations (UN) in World Economic Forum on January 24, 2019 points out that the waste stream reached 48.5 MT in 2018 and the figure is expected to double if nothing changes. Only 20 per cent of global e-waste is recycled. The UN report indicates that due to poor extraction techniques, the total recovery rate of cobalt (the metal which is in great demand for laptop, smart phone and electric car batteries) from e-waste is only 30 per cent. The report cites that one recycler in China already produces more cobalt (by recycling) than what the country mines in one year. Recycled metals are also 2 to 10 times more energy-efficient than metals smelted from virgin ore. The report suggests that lowering the amount of electronics entering the waste stream and improving end-of-life handling are essential for building a more circular economy, where waste is reduced, resources are conserved and are fed back into the supply chain for new products.

(Down to Earth, April 17, 2019)

India Electronics and Semiconductor Association appoint Intel's Jitendra Chaddah as its Chairman General

Industry body India Electronics and Semiconductor Association Monday said it has appointed Jitendra Chaddah as its chairman. Chaddah, Intel India senior director for operations and strategy, has over two decades of industry experience. "I feel extremely honored for taking up the position of IESA chairman at a time when the Indian electronics and semiconductor industry is poised for exponential growth," Chaddah said in a statement.  IESA also appointed Satya Gupta, co-founder and CEO SenzOpt Technologies India as the new Vice Chairman and Veerappan V, co-founder and director, Tessolve Semiconductor as the new Treasurer.

(Business Today, Apr 16, 2019)

Panasonic India eyeing 20% share in full-frame mirror less camera segment in a year IT

Consumer electronic major Panasonic India is aiming to garner around 20 per cent market share in the full-frame mirror less camera segment with sale of around Rs 100 crore within a year, a top company official said. The company, which forayed into the full-frame mirror less camera segment Monday, extending its portfolio of imaging business, expects rising demand for better image quality from business segments such as wedding, advertising, fashion to help it capture the market share.  "The potential of the DSLR market is around Rs 2,000 crore in our country in which the full-frame camera range is around 25 per cent, which is roughly around Rs 500 crore to 600 crore," Panasonic India President and CEO Manish Sharma told. He further added: "Utilising this, we are expecting a revenue of around Rs 100 crore with 20 per cent market share in the full-frame mirror less camera market within the first year."  A mirror less camera does not require a reflex mirror, unlike DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras. A full-frame mirror less camera uses digital sensor of large 35 mm format, as by high-end DSLR cameras.

(ETRail.com, April 16, 2019

Qualcomm and Apple Drop All Litigation Worldwide IT

Qualcomm and Apple have announced an agreement to dismiss all ongoing litigations, including with Apple's contract manufacturers, between the two companies worldwide.  The deal would result in a massive cash windfall for Qualcomm and put Apple on a faster path to 5G for iPhones.  The companies have reached a global patent license agreement and a chipset supply agreement, Apple said in a statement on late Tuesday.  "The settlement includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm. The companies also have reached a six-year license agreement, effective as of April 1, 2019, including a two-year option to extend, and a multi-year chipset supply agreement," said the Cupertino-based iPhone maker. The Apple-Qualcomm agreement was reached after chip-maker Intel decided to exit the 5G smartphone modem business and complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, Internet of Things devices and other data-centric devices. 

(ET, April 18, 2019)

Revolt plans 3 all-electric bikes for India General

It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride for electric-vehicle manufacturers in India, what with the government's recently announced FAME II scheme seeing changes. The policy – announced with a humongous budget of around Rs 10,000 crore and incorporating tough localisation levels for OEMs – has seen constant debate in the corridors of power and the India automotive industry. On April 4, 2019 Gurgaon-based Revolt Intellicorp, promoted by Rahul Sharma, co-founder of the giant consumer electronics company, Micromax, made an ambitious announcement that the company would launch the country's first AI-powered electric motorcycle by June 2019. However, no details about the company's plans, motorcycle design or specifications were revealed. What is known is that Revolt Intellicorp has a manufacturing capacity in Manesar, Haryana, spread across 10,000 sq ft and a production capacity of around 1.2 lakh units in Phase 1 of the project. Sharma has disclosed that the company's R&D team has been working on the project for nearly two years, now. The AI-enabled, LTE-connected motorcycle, which will be equipped with a 4G SIM card, will have a top speed limited to 85kph, which is likely to be increased to 100kph later, with a range of around 150km. While the motor and batteries are imported, the BMS (Battery Management System) and the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) are an in-house design. Furthermore, the eco-friendly motorcycle will also have a battery swapping system.

(Autocar India, April 15, 2019)

Recycling e-waste: ‘CPCB’s competence must be raised’ General

India is one of the biggest producers of electronic waste in the world. In 2016, the Centre notified E-waste (Management) Rules and one of its highlights was the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). It means the manufacturers of electric and electronic equipment must facilitate their collection and return it to authorized dismantlers or recyclers. However, even two-and-a-half years after the law was passed, there is little evidence that it is being implemented. Down To Earth spoke to Swedish academic Thomas Lindquist, who is credited with introducing the concept of EPR and is visiting India to understand the waste management practices post EPR implementation here. Excerpts of the interview: It is in many ways fantastic to see what has happened. The last time I had mainly spent time here when all of this was just ideas or aspirations, but now the country is starting to do something. So that’s really a good feeling. India has the same experience as many other countries and it’s that the practice is not that easy. When it comes to e-waste, I think there are number of issues India could have dealt with, but either no one was able to see it or they were not prepared for it. We need more supervision. I am not saying it has to be perfect. I haven’t seen perfect, but it has to be good. To begin with, India has 19 PROs (producer responsibility organizations, which are hired for collection) today and you need to really see what they are doing to create a level playing field. If you allow a few of them to not follow general rules or do not do a good job, then it will be really difficult for other ambitious ones. This will lead us to what we call a race to the bottom, where to exist you have to make shortcuts.

(Down to Earth, Apr 05, 2019)

Panasonic eyes 10 pc market share of online AC sales with brand Sanyo General

Consumer electronics maker Panasonic Thursday introduced residential air conditioners under its online brand Sanyo and expects to corner around 10 per cent market share in the e-commerce segment, said a top company official. Panasonic is also considering introducing brand Sanyo in appliances category after LED and ACs.  "Our intention is to command 10 per cent market share in the overall online AC market place this year and in the inverter segment of AC, we are aiming 15 per cent market share," Panasonic India President and CEO Manish Sharma told. The online AC market in India is estimated to be around 4 lakh units, which is 12-15 per cent of the total AC market, he added. "Under brand Sanyo, we would be selling only inverter range of ACs and not the traditional fixed speed, which is now an outgoing technology," Sharma, who is also Vice President of Appliances Company, Panasonic Corporation, added.  When asked if brand Panasonic and Sanyo would compete each other in the segment, he said value proposition for both brands are different.  "Brand Sanyo would be below Panasonic, value for money brand...it would be an exclusive online brand with features and affordable price for consumers," he said. Panasonic has introduced Sanyo Inverter AC range in five models, which would be available on Amazon. Earlier, Panasonic had introduced TV panels under brand Sanyo in India. 

(ET, Apr 05, 2019)

E-waste sector will create half million jobs in India by 2025: IFC General

The electronic waste sector will create 4.5 lakh direct jobs by 2025 and another 1.8 lakh jobs in the allied sectors of transportation and manufacturing, International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, said. The IFC, which has been working in the e-waste sector since 2012, said under a programme launched by it in 2017, over 4,000 metric tons of e-waste has been collected from citizens and corporations and recycled responsibly under the programme launched by it in 2017, over 4,000 metric tons of e-waste has been collected from citizens and corporations and recycled responsibly under the programme. Praising the IFC at the conference on 'E-Waste Management in India: The Way Forward', Environment Ministry official Sonu Singh said the government was happy to see the commitment from the IFC in helping the sector grow in a responsible manner. "The e-waste sector has significant potential to contribute to the country's economy and generate employment. The electrical and electronics industry has been cooperating with the government and has shown considerable initiative for handling e-waste responsibly.  "If the responsibility is shared between the government, producers, and consumers of e-waste, then efficient management of e-waste can be successfully achieved in India. We are happy to see the commitment from IFC in helping the sector grow in a responsible manner,” said Singh, Joint Director, Hazardous Substances Management Division, the Ministry of Environment. 

(ET, Apr 03, 2019)

Government Bodies float tenders for 500 EV charging stations IT

Government bodies like Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited (REIL) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has floated tender for over 500 electric vehicle charging stations in the last two months. The announcements came just after the government notified Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) scheme in India on February 29. The scheme proposed for establishment of 2,700 charging station in metros, other million-plus cities and smart cities. Delhi-based government body EESL has invited bid to set-up 200 fast chargers in Delhi and Andhra Pradesh. The bidder will have to give three years of on-site warranty and annual maintenance contract. Moreover, it will be also responsible for the finding location, supply and installation.  Similarly, a public sector enterprise, Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited (REIL), had floated a tender to put 270 electric vehicle charging points across various locations in the country. Out of the 270 chargers, 70 normal AC chargers, 170 DC fast chargers, and 30 DC fast chargers will be installed in cities like Ranchi, Bengaluru, Goa, Shimla, Hyderabad, Agra as well as on the Delhi-Jaipur-Agra and Mumbai-Pune highways. The bidder will have to undertake the annual maintenance services for a period of five years. 

(ET, Apr 03, 2019)

Micromax Founder Rahul Sharma to Venture into Electric Mobility Space Telecom

When one thinks of Micromax, the first thing that comes to mind is smartphones. Micromax also manufactures and sells tablets, air conditioners, LED TVs, laptops, power bands and sound bars. It's safe to say then that Indian company has most of the angles covered as far as electronics are concerned. However, Micromax has now decided to venture into the mobility space and hence provide personal mobility solutions. The company says that Rahul Sharma's next entrepreneurial venture will transform the mobility industry and will also be for the greater good of the environment. This is also because of the specific nature of mobility space the Indian electronics giant is planning to enter - the e-mobility space. We'll have more details on this development after tomorrow's announcement by Micromax Informatics. Micromax had started selling mobile phones back in 2008. In 2015, Micromax had vaulted past Samsung Electronics to become India's leading smartphone brand. According to a media report, the company had the policy to identify with all sections of society. The company is believed to have broken the norm by producing products which matched the fit and finish of international rivals. Micromax is also known to have made mobile phones with unique features like dual/SIM standby, 30-day battery backup, universal remote controls and more.

(News18, Apr 03, 2019)

Tender Issued for 1.7 MW of Solar with Battery Energy Storage in Andaman and Nicobar General

There has been a steady uptick in solar plus storage tenders in India lately. The Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited (REIL), a public-sector enterprise operating in the electronics, information technology, and renewable energy segment, is the latest government agency to issue a tender to set up 1.7 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects with battery energy storage system (BESS) in Andaman and Nicobar islands. This is an engineering procurement construction (EPC) tender, and the bid-submission deadline is May 4, 2019. A pre-bid meeting will be held on April 10, 2019. Bidders are required to pay bid security of ₹5 million (~$0.072 million). The projects will be developed on a turnkey basis. The scope of work includes the design, engineering, procurement, supply, packing, forwarding, transportation, unloading, storage at the site, site development, construction, erection, installation of equipment, testing and commissioning along with the associated transmission system. A 1 MW solar PV project with 0.5 MW/0.5 MWh (at the point of coupling) BESS will be set up in Havelock Island while another 0.7 MW solar PV project with 0.5 MW/0.5 MWh (at the point of coupling) BESS will be set up in Neil Island. The successful bidder will need to provide ten years of operation and maintenance services. The selected contractor will also have to install and set up the communication infrastructure to provide telemetry data to the state load dispatch center (SLDC). The bidder needs to also install and set up an ‘Energy Forecasting System’ to forecast the energy generation by the project at both of the locations on the island. The successful bidder will have to run the project for one year after commissioning for performance demonstration for the final acceptance. After that, the 10-year operation and maintenance contract will begin.

(Mercom India, Apr 03, 2019)

Mendy LED Smart TV launched under Make in India General

Mendy Electronics and Communications LLP, the first television company which has worked under the ‘Make in India’ initiative to bring the Indian screens for Indian users. The range of exciting LED Smart TVs in India will be unveiled at Pacific Mall, Tagore Garden on March 31st 2019 by the well-known B-town actor Randeep Hooda. He will be there to unbox the unlimited new range of smart LEDs including 32 inches, 40 inches and 55 inches in the unbelievable prices. Mendy would bring ease and comfort for the future users and will provide door to door services across India majorly 18000 pin codes for free installations and services. The products being launched are well blend with Internet and interactive Web 2.0 features which enables the users to browse internet, stream music/ videos, access various internet streaming applications such as Youtube, Amazon Prime and Netflix added to that it also consists of voice search, built in Wifi, Google play. Speaking on the initiative, Vinay Chadha, Designated Partner said “With the name itself, Mendy which means perfection and we believe this would be a perfect product for all the Indian living rooms. This will bring revolution in the electronic industry with a Made in India Television which is served to Indians only. We wish to provide TV screens in every corner of the country in various sizes but pocket friendly prices. This would not only be giving fully HD screens to the users but will open more job opportunities for the coming generation and this will be a small attempt by team Mendyunder Made in India initiative in making Indian society more progressive.” Essentially, Mendy is attempting to break the shackles and want to give Indian users their personalized TV screens which will bring umpteen channels with full-fledged content delivery platform in the unseen and unheard price range.

(FreePress Journal, Apr 03, 2019)

India launches first electronic intelligence-gathering satellite IT

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched the first electronic reconnaissance satellite developed by the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to detect enemy radar and gather communications intelligence. Launched on 1 April from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota aboard the indigenously designed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C45 (PSLV-C45), the 436 kg Electro-Magnetic Intelligence Satellite (EMISAT) was placed into a 748 km sun-synchronous polar orbit about 17 minutes after lift-off, officials said. The ISRO’s Telemetry Tracking and Command Network in Bangalore is expected to bring the satellite to its final operational configuration, according to the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB). Official sources told Jane’s on 2 April that EMISAT’s payload was designed by the DRDO’s Defence Electronics Research Laboratory in Hyderabad as part of Project Kautilya, while the ISRO built the satellite’s body. The entire development project was completed in eight years and is modelled on Satellite with ARgos and ALtiKa (SARAL): a co-operative altimetry technology venture for oceanographic studies between the ISRO and France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES). Industry sources said the EMISAT is a derivative of the ISRO’s Indian Mini Satellite-2 (IMS-2) series of electronic intelligence satellites, which has a maximum launch weight of 450 kg and a payload of no more than 200 kg.

(HS Jane's 360, Apr 02, 2019 )

Apple Starts iPhone 7 Manufacture In India Telecom

Giving an impetus to its India manufacturing plans, Apple has started the assembling of iPhone 7 at its supplier Wistron's facility in Bengaluru. Taiwanese industrial major Wistron already assembles iPhone 6S in the country. "We are proud to be producing iPhone 7 in Bengaluru for our local customers furthering our long-term commitment in India," Apple told IANS on Tuesday. The assembling of iPhone 7 began last month. Mr Wistron, which last year announced plans to invest Rs. 3,000 crore in the Narasupra industrial sector in Karnataka's Kolar district, started Apple operations with assembling low-end iPhone SE and later iPhone 6S. According to Wistron India head Gururaj A, the company would set up an iPhone making unit in the 43 acres of land allotted to it, with employment potential of over 10,000 people. The new Wistron facility is also set to manufacture a wider range of Apple's devices.  Apple is slowly but steadily strategizing its plans to make deeper inroads in a country where over 450 million people use smartphones, and assembling iPhone 7 is another step towards gaining more ground. According to Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research, the Indian electronics market is growing fast and has gained a significant advantage on some of the competing countries. "I think to start with, it makes sense for Apple to localize assembling of models that have the potential to scale up and then slowly expands it to entire portfolio," Mr Pathak told IANS.

(NDTV, Apr 02, 2019)

In a first, Apple starts iPhone 7 production in India Telecom

Giving an impetus to its India manufacturing plans, Apple has started the assembling of iPhone 7 at its supplier Wistron's facility in Bengaluru. Taiwanese industrial major Wistron already assembles iPhone 6S in the country. "We are proud to be producing iPhone 7 in Bengaluru for our local customers furthering our long-term commitment in India," an Apple spokesperson told IANS on Tuesday. The assembling of iPhone 7 began last month. Wistron, which announced last year plans to invest Rs 3,000 crore in the Narasupra industrial sector in Karnataka's Kolar district, started Apple operations with assembling low-end iPhone SE and later iPhone 6S. According to Wistron India head Gururaj A, the company would set up an iPhone making unit in the 43 acres of land allotted to it, with employment potential of over 10,000 people. The new Wistron facility is also set to manufacture a wider range of Apple's devices. Apple is slowly but steadily strategising its plans to make deeper inroads in a country where over 450 million people use smartphones, and assembling iPhone 7 is another step towards gaining more ground.

(TimesNow, Apr 02, 2019)

Bharat Electronics in the clock for ‘compromising’ confidential IAF project, favouring one vendor, BEL’s internal inquiry report reveals General

Defence public sector undertaking Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) is under the scanner for allegedly compromising national security by awarding a highly sensitive air command and control contract of the Indian Air Force to an ill-equipped and newly formed private design firm in 2011. The project was worth Rs 7,900 crore. An internal inquiry report of BEL has exposed massive irregularities in the way the contracts were awarded and how the Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) was implemented at 10 locations across the country. IACCS is an automated command and control system for air defence operations that integrates all ground-based and airborne sensors. BEL is the executing agency for the highly-sensitive project. BEL's internal investigation report — exclusively reviewed by Firstpost — also highlighted a conflict of interest of a BEL officer, who was instrumental in the hiring of a private vendor to put together the Preliminary Project Report (PPR) of the coded system, in joining the same private company after retirement. The report also suggested that the investigative team looking into the irregularities was not provided with crucial project documents allegedly to bury the scam.

(FirstPost, Apr 02, 2019)

Huawei set to launch P30 series in India next week General

Chinese telecommunications and consumer electronics manufacturer Huawei is set to launch its flagship P30 series in India early next week. Huawei earlier unveiled the P30 and P30 Pro smartphones equipped with advanced camera system in Paris on March 26. Along with these phones, Huawei is also likely to launch the P30 Lite in India, industry sources told IANS on Tuesday. Huawei P30 Pro is the first smartphone to have a 5x periscope-like optical zoom and four cameras on the back. The four rear-camera system on P30 Pro has 20MP ultra-wide, 40MP wide-angle, 8MP 5X telephoto and a ToF (time-of-flight) depth-sensing lens. Huawei P30 has a "SuperSensing" 40MP Leica triple camera setup -- 8MP telephoto, 16MP ultra-wide and 40MP wide-angle lens. Both handsets come with a 32MP selfie camera. Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro will be powered by the Kirin 980 SoC and will run Android Pie with an EMUI 9.1 custom skin on top. Powered by the Kirin 710 SoC, Huawei P30 Lite also has a triple camera set up at the rear.

(HansIndia, Apr 02, 2019)

India: The National Policy On Software Products 2019 Policy

The Union Cabinet on February 28, 2019 has approved the National Policy on Software Products to develop India as a Software Product Nation and aims to formulate several schemes, initiatives, projects and measures for the development of Software products sector in the country and also, to position India as a hub for software products development. The drive behind this policy is to accelerate the growth of entire spectrum of IT industry in the country. The preamble of the Policy states that according to NASSCOM the Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services (IT-ITES) industry is generating an estimated revenue of around USD 168 billion, including export of USD 126 billion on an annual basis, which is around 8% contribution to India's GDP. The industry is also one of the largest organised sector employers, generating nearly 14 million direct and indirect jobs. It is further estimated that the industry can contribute up to 350 billion USD accounting to 10 percent of India's GDP by 2025. The policy talks about the positive aspects of developing the software product industry and in order to keep pace with the advancement of technology globally, higher level of innovations are required for leveraging new and emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Block Chain etc. to the maximum advantage across sectors of the economy. The "National Policy on Software Product" (NPSP) is the first significant step towards achieving this goal. The objective behind the policy is to create a software product hub in the Country driven by innovation, improved commercialization, sustainable Intellectual property (IP), promoting technology start-ups and specialized skill sets, for development of the sector, based on ICT.

(Mondaq, Apr 01, 2019)

New e-commerce policy - Indian retailers seek to override the fallout Policy

The advent of e-commerce in India 'smartly' altered the shopping habits of Indian netizens. Anything and everything - from groceries to apparel to electronics etc. – is now just a click away. For a while, it appeared that 'couch potato shopping' was gaining prominence and disrupting the entire brick-and-mortar business. It now emerges that this has not really happened. Despite causing disruptions, the 'e-commerce effect' was not enough to have a significant and lasting impact on the conventional retail formats. For a while, online giants like Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart were basking in the rising success of the effervescent Indian e-commerce business arena. They were maneuvering strategies to penetrate deeper into newer markets by way of discounts for their customers. And then, the Government pulled out a wild card - and thereby threw a major spanner in the works - with the new e-commerce policy.  It came as a shock for the affected entities, including consumers who were buried deep in the world of cash-backs and deep discounts. However, thanks to the new policy, traditional retailers now had a more level playing field and could gain a significant share of their brick-and-mortar stores.

(BBN Times, Apr 01, 2019)

India’s much-hated e-commerce policy is doing what companies could not in years Policy

A government policy that was seen as a death knell for several Indian e-commerce companies is instead proving to be a big boon for the sector. The cash burn of e-commerce players in India is expected to decline to 12% this year as compared to 15% in 2018, consulting firm Redseer said in a report on March 31. By 2023 it is expected to come down to 5%. This is mostly thanks to the new e-commerce policy announced last December by the government, barring online retailers from offering deep discounts, Redseer said. Cash burn is the share of a company’s sales that it spends to finance overheads, before generating positive cash flows from its business. Over the past decade, it has led to online players piling up huge losses.

(Quartz India, Apr 01, 2019)

India’s leap in space: the significance of the first Indian anti-satellite test General

Prior to the televised 10-minute address in Hindi shortly after noon on March 27 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, few had expected that he would be announcing the beginning of a new space age for India. The Diplomat reports. Continue reading original article.  Modi declared that India had conducted an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test, lauded the scientific establishment, emphasized that this was a measure for national security without contravening any international law, and assured that the step wasn’t aimed toward any specific state. The exercise, dubbed as “Mission Shakti,” involved the use of a direct ascent hit-to-kill, where a missile from Earth, without any explosive warhead, destroys the targeted satellite upon impact through kinetic energy alone. The Indian space program marks a half-century of operation this year, as the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the sixth largest in the world, was established in 1969.

(Military Aerospace, Apr 01, 2019)

Startup Policy Rundown: Nagaland’s Startup Policy, Aadhaar Ordinance, Software Product Policy and more Policy

With the General Election set to occur in the next 60 days; the 16th Lok Sabha has been dissolved. The last session of the Parliament which concluded on February 13 saw the lapse of at least 22 Bills passed by Lok Sabha. The Bills could not be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. Among the Bills was also the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019 which the government has now implemented through the ordinance route after the Cabinet’s approval. The anticipated draft Bill that was not introduced in the 16th Lok Sabha was Personal Data Protection Bill 2018. However, the major policy changes since then be it, in RBI data-related circular, Aadhaar Amendment, TRAI circular and now draft ecommerce policy by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has consistently in line with the draft PDP Bill, asking data fiduciaries of their domain areas to store Indian users’ data in India/ India only, depending upon the criticality of data. In addition to data privacy measures, the draft ecommerce policy also restricts ecommerce marketplaces from offering unlimited discounts and disallows ownership in vendors. Walmart which expects a $1.5 Bn loss from Flipkart this year expects another $280 Mn loss due to these regulatory measures. However, the executive vice president and CFO Brett Biggs said the company has already made adjustments regarding FDI policy and is ready to move forward.

(Inc 42, Mar 09, 2019)

India needs to increase its scientific output: Prof Anurag Kumar General

Citing the fewer researchers and research publications in India compared to US and China, Professor Anurag Kumar, director of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore said, “There is a need to substantially increase the scientific output of the country.” While speaking at the 15th graduation day of university departments of Anna University, he said, “For India’s progress as an advanced technological nation, it is essential to have science-driven innovation, leading to world-class techniques, products and services.”  “As a result of the small population of researchers, certain areas like quantum computing get overlooked and most other areas have a very small number of researchers working on them,” he said adding that India has only 2 lakh researchers and scientists while China is having 15 lakh scientists for an equal population like us and 13 lakh scientists in the US, with a one fourth population of India. He urged the scientists, engineers and government to have a very long-term vision and tenacity to see it through. “If India can create its own solutions and products, we will be less dependent on imports,” he observed.  “Projections indicate over five years annual electronics consumption will increase to US$400 billion with India having to import $300 billion of electronics, almost five times the bill for oil imports,” he pointed out.

(Deccan Chronicle, Mar 09, 2019)

Cabinet clears Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage mission for phased manufacturing of EV batteries IT

Finally, the writing's on the wall. The Union Cabinet, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has come forward with a planned electric vehicle (EV) strategy. The government is planning to set up a National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage to bring clean and connected technologies that can usher in an era of shared and sustainable EV infrastructure in the country. Apart from this, the government, which aims to have the country EV-ready by 2024, has introduced the Phased Manufacturing Programme (PMP) to set up integrated battery Giga plants in India to supply batteries for electric vehicles. According to a startup in the EV infrastructure space: “The government wants to localise EV production, and stop being dependent on global markets for battery packs and modules.” The government plans to have battery module and pack assembly plants ready by 2019-20, and an integrated cell manufacturing plant by 2021-22. These plants will be set up to export modules to countries that have EV programmes in the future.Reports suggest that there are several ministries getting together for this mission, which will be chaired by the CEO of NITI Aayog, and secretaries from the energy, transport and international trade departments. There will be a total of eight ministries getting together for this project.According to the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), the market for energy storage would be 300 GWh by 2018-25. Electric vehicle companies such as Magenta, Strom, Sun Mobility, Ather, Tork, and Ultraviolette are going to benefit from this as they are betting big on Lithium Ion batteries.

(Yours Story Mar 08, 2019)

India Leases Mothballed Russian Nuclear Submarine For $3 Billion General

India inked a deal to lease a mothballed nuclear-powered Akula-1 class submarine from Russia for over $3 billion (INR 21,000 crore) on Thursday. The submarine hulls will be mothballed at the Zvezdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk and would undergo a deep refit and rebuild, to be fitted with Indian sensors, operation room electronics, and communication equipment before being delivered to India in or before 2025.  The contract also includes sustenance and spares support for 10 years, as well as training and technical infrastructure for its operations, sources were quoted by TOI as saying Thursday. An Indian naval delegation led by Inspector General (Nuclear Safety) Vice Admiral Soonil V Bhokare had conducted an inspection of two Akula-2 class submarines, the Bratsk and the Samara in December 2018. The new submarine will replace INS Chakra Akula-class submarine that lacks long-range missiles. It was taken on a 10-year lease from Russia in April 2012 for $900 million in January 2004. “INS Chakra’s existing lease will be extended till at least 2025 through another contract till the new submarine, which will be bigger and more advanced than it, becomes operational,” said a source. The stealth-capable INS Chakra is equipped with cruise missiles and can be deployed for ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) missions. But the submarine is not meant for "deterrence patrol," that is, carrying out a patrol aimed at deterring enemies from attacking India with nuclear weapons.

(DefenceQWorld.net, Mar 08, 2019)


The recent clearance from the Indian Army and the defence ministry for the production of 114 ‘Dhanush’ artillery guns is the latest fillip to India’s indigenous gun manufacturing industry.The guns, deemed the ‘Desi Bofors’, will form part of a trio of artillery weapons, along with the K9 Vajra and the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), that will be manufactured in the country. While the Dhanush guns will be manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), making them the first indigenously-produced long-range artillery gun, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had last year cleared the production of 100 K9 Vajras and 150 ATAGS at a cost of Rs 3,365 crore.  The K9 Vajras are being produced by Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and South Korea’s Hanwha Tech Win (HTW) under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, while the ATAGS is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), with one prototype being made in partnership with Tata Power (Strategic Engineering Division) and the other with Bharat Forge. Once fully inducted, the three guns are expected to boost the artillery power of the Indian Army after a lull of nearly 31 years since the Bofors guns were inducted. The Bofors guns were controversially the last piece of artillery imported by India.

(Indian Defence News, Mar 08, 2019)


India’s defence sector seems to be picking itself up from a slump if the third quarter’s results are any indication, with the Street’s apprehensions about the growth and margin pressure on defence firms now reversing. To be sure, the recent financial performance of defence public sector undertakings (PSUs) has been encouraging. As against a mere two per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth in sales in the June quarter, financial results of eight PSUs in the defence sector show an aggregate 12 per cent spurt in sales in the third quarter. In the subsequent quarters too, analysts say, the trend looks favourable backed by a healthy order book providing revenue visibility and increasing emphasis on execution in the light of recent geopolitical uncertainty. With most companies expanding capacities in the recent past with the hope of increasing project sizes at home and opportunities overseas, the next few quarters are also expected to see higher earnings growth. Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), one of the prominent PSUs in the sector, has reported a whopping 116 per cent sales growth during the third quarter due to approval of its finished inventory which allowed the company to book more revenue. The Mini-Ratna defence PSU is also set to launch its 99th and 100th warship in March and April this year, respectively.

(Indian Defence News, Mar 08, 2019)


Amid the ongoing tension with Pakistan, India on Thursday signed a $3.3 billion deal with Russia for leasing the third nuclear-powered Akula class attack submarine. An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) was signed between the two countries in New Delhi. The submarine, to be called Chakra -3, will be delivered in 2025 for a 10-year period. It will be prepared out of one of the several Akula class submarine hulls available at the Zvedochka shipyard in Severodvinsk after extensive re-fit process. India at the moment operates Chakra-2 whose 10-year lease ending in 2022.  This is the second major India-Russia defence project finalised this month. A new facility to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles is coming up in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. INS Chakra is a nuclear-powered submarine and unlike INS Arihant, the other nuclear submarine in Indian navy fleet, it does not have a strategic weapon. The Navy is all set to induct its second French Scorpene submarine -- Khanderi -- next month. The first submarine in this class -- INS Kalvari -- is already under operation. The Navy will get four more boats in the coming years. The Navy has 14 conventional submarines apart from a nuclear attack and nuclear ballistic missile submarine.

(Indian Defence News, Mar 08, 2019)


India will expand the scope and range of its strategic partnerships, if not create alliances, with both France and Russia. Future Indo-Russian co-operation could include Moscow’s assistance in developing India’s nuclear submarine fleet. India’s future co-operation with France could include joint maritime military exercises. India’s strategic alliance with France could also provide New Delhi with access to French military bases in the Indo-Pacific. As India is trying to expand its region of influence in the Indo-Pacific and beyond, both France and Russia offer it the opportunity to form strategic bilateral partnerships, if not explicit alliances. As India and Russia try to establish their positions in the international system, they will revisit or reset their existing bilateral relationship and will expand the range and scope of it. It is true to state that India and Russia are natural strategic partners and allies. Bilateral ties with Russia are a key pillar of India’s strategic outlook on the world. India sees Russia as a steady and all-weather friend that has played a significant role in its economic development and security. Since the signing of the “Declaration on the India Russia Strategic Partnership” in October 2000 (during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India), India-Russia ties have acquired a new dimension in terms of style and quality, with increased political and strategic co-operation and enhanced security, trade and economic ties.

(Indian Defence News, Mar 08, 2019)

We aim to create Googles and Facebooks from India: Ravi Shankar Prasad IT

The new software products policy is aimed at developing Facebooks and Googles from India with government backing through funding, procurement and creating intellectual property rights, information and technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. Speaking to ET’s Anandita Singh Mankotia and Romit Guha, Prasad said the National Policy on Electronics will boost local manufacturing not just for India but also for the export market, with the focus on designing in India. Edited excerpts: India is known for its software services. We want it to become a big hub for products. We are going to nurture 10,000 startups in technology products, out of which 1,000 will be in tier-2 and tier-3 towns. We intend to have direct employment for 3.5 million people by 2025. We wish to build a cluster base which will have the value chain, everything from incubation to marketing to software product development. Most interesting is up-scaling of 10 lakh IT professionals. One lakh schools and colleges students and 10,000 professionals for software products. We aim to create Googles and Facebooks from India. 

(ET, Mar 07, 2019)

UK ban on Huawei's 5G to cost millions of pounds, says Vodafone Telecom

Vodafone said any move by Britain to bar equipment made by China's Huawei from all parts of new 5G networks would cost it hundreds of millions of pounds and "very significantly" slow down the deployment of the new technology. The United States has asked allies not to use Huawei's technology because it could be a vehicle for Chinese spy operations, an accusation denied by the company. Vodafone said last month it had paused the use of Huawei components in its core networks in Europe until governments had assessed the risks. The group's UK chief technology officer Scott Petty said on Thursday that Huawei radio equipment was used in nearly a third of the company's 18,000 UK base stations - a part of the network it gauged to be very low risk. It would also be part of the foundation for 5G technology.

(ET, Mar 07, 2019)

Vodafone bringing 5G in 19 UK cities by end of 2019 Telecom

Vodafone will offer 5G in 19 cities across the UK by year's end, the carrier said Thursday. Vodafone is keen to preserve its lead in 5G, after activating the UK's first 5G network in Salford, Greater Manchester, in October. The company has now extended coverage to Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool and is currently preparing equipment in Birmingham, Glasgow and London. 5G, the next generation of mobile network technology, promises to boost data speeds to up to 10 times what we're currently used to, as well as making connections more stable and offering more bandwidth for other technologies such as virtual reality, autonomous vehicles and the internet of things. Even though the first 5G networks were switched on last year, it's only been in the last couple of weeks that 5G has truly become a reality. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and Samsung's Unpacked event in San Francisco, the first few phones that can connect to 5G networks were unveiled. The race to be first to 5G hasn't been as aggressive in the UK as in the US and South Korea, But over the past year or so, two of the UK's big four operators have significantly stepped up their game. In December at a Qualcomm summit in Hawaii, carrier EE announced it would bring 5G connectivity to 16 UK cities in 2019. Vodafone previously announced it would launch 5G in seven cities this year. But in a bid to outdo EE, Vodafone on Thursday added another 12 to its list: Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.

(C-Net, Mar 07, 2019)

Telecom department reshuffles officers to fast-track connectivity programs Telecom

The department of telecom (DoT) has reconstituted the group of officers assigned to operationalize some of the ambitious mobile connectivity programs such as mega BharatNet-II, Wi-Fi pilots, Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-II and Northeast, including strategic areas along Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh. In an internal notification dated March 5, seen by ETT, the department has assigned BharatNet deployment, Wi-Fi pilot initiatives and other common service centers or CSC-related projects to joint administrator Ranjan Ghosh who was earlier responsible for the provision of mobile services in Northeast region. The Narendra Modi government has concluded BharatNet-I in December 2018, making as many as 1.25 lakh gram panchayats or village blocks connected with optic fiber-based network, capable to offer high-speed Internet services for the delivery of citizen-centric public services.

(ET, Mar 07, 2019)

LG Electronics wants govt. to incentivise local TV manufacturing General

LG Electronics, the country’s second-largest consumer electronics firm, has voiced concerns on the lack of enough incentives to expand local television manufacturing. Umesh Dhal, chief relationship officer, LG Electronics India, said local manufacturing can be made attractive by “abolishing customs duty on panels and open cells till manufacturing ecosystem for same is ready in India”. He also said the government should incentivise manufacturers for local production. The statement comes at a time when the country’s largest consumer durable firm Samsung India is negotiating hard with the government. The firm has moved its TV production to Vietnam and is seeking additional sops to restart manufacturing here. The tussle between the government and manufacturers began last year, when a Customs duty on open cells was revised to 5 per cent. A 7.5 per cent duty on panels was also levied. Dhal also said the goods and services tax (GST) rate on TV sets should be brought down, “as it is more of an educative device”.

(BS, Mar 07, 2019)

One Nation, one card, here’s how to get & use the new Pan-India mobility card IT

If paying for different purchases in different mediums stresses you out, the ‘One Nation, One Card’ might just be the good news you were waiting for. Citizens can use the inter-operable transport card to pay for their bus travel, toll taxes, parking charges, retail shopping and even withdraw money. Speaking to the Hindustan Times, Durga Shanker Mishra, the secretary to the Ministry of Urban Affairs, said, “It is a matter of pride that this card, based on National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) standards is compliant with the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The gate and reader prototype has been made by government-owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). All Debit/Credit Cards will be NCMC compliant.”   The One Nation One Card is India’s first indigenously developed payment ecosystem. The initiative is supported by the Automatic Fare Collection Gate called ‘Swaagat’ and an open Loop Automatic Fare Collection System called ‘Sweekar.’ Both Swaagat and Sweekar have been developed in India. The One Nation One Card can be compared to a RuPay debit/credit card issued by your bank. Along with a swipe-to-pay option, the transport ecosystem card will also be contactless, allowing quick payment options like your metro smart card.

(The Better India, Mar 06, 2019)

Samsung President on India visit for launch of latest Galaxy S10 series Telecom

The President and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics DJ Koh will be visiting India to unveil the latest edition of the tenth iteration of its flagship Galaxy device series in the country on March 6, 2019. Koh, who earlier visited India six months ago to launch another flagship device – Samsung Galaxy Note9, has stated immense admiration for the country’s culture, cuisine and entertainment. India currently ranks the highest in the world in terms of volume shipments for Samsung and is a crucial market for the company’s growth. The South Korean electronics giant is also likely to showcase all the three variants of the Galaxy S10 series including Galaxy S10, S10+, S10e and its entire wearables line up.

(The Statesman, Mar 06, 2019)

ICICI-Videocon case: NuPower-Matrix Group deal on ED's focus General

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has extended its probe to find out if there was an illegal fund trail between Mauritius-based Firstland Holdings and NuPower Renewables Pvt Ltd owned by Deepak Kochhar, husband of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, in a multi-crore money laundering case. The case is related to the alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in the sanction of a Rs 1,875 crore loan disbursed by ICICI bank to the Videocon Group during 2009 and 2011.The ED got clues about an illegal transaction running to crores of rupees routed through Firstland to NuPower, an official requesting anonymity told IANS.  Firstland is owned by Nishkant Kanodia, the chairman of Matrix Group and son-in-law of Essar Group co-founder Ravi Ruia.  The ED learnt about the suspected transactions when Kanodia was questioned on Sunday and Monday. The questioning of Chanda Kochhar, her husband and Videocon Group MD Venugopal Dhoot during the last five days in Mumbai have also given leads to the agency regarding these transactions. "There is money transaction in crores (of rupees) to NuPower from different companies owned by Dhoot and Kanodia's Firstland. But the transaction was done through a web of companies. We have to establish the link," said the official. The ED has learnt that NuPower got investments of Rs 3,250 crore from Firstland and that the process started in December 2010.

(IndiaTV, Mar 05, 2019)

Chinese invasion of Indian Industry General

It’s been a huge coup for Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. Chinese firm TCL, which is looking to expand its presence in the Indian market hugely, has selected Naidu’s showpiece electronics hub at Tirupati to make a ₹2,200-crore investment in two plants that will turn out mobile phones and television screens. TCL grew 120 per cent in the last year and has major plans for the Indian market. Cut to Delhi where Taiwanese company KYMCO has just picked up an undisclosed stake in an ambitious electric two-wheeler start-up Twenty Two Motors. KYMCO brings with it a new, lightweight 5 kg battery that can be swapped quickly. Twenty Two is now looking at setting up charging infrastructure at 2-km intervals in six Indian cities where vehicle-owners can stop and change these lightweight batteries. Strictly speaking, KYMCO isn’t a Chinese company but the investment in India has come from its Hangzhou-based fund. Says Parveen Kharb, Twenty Two’s co-founder: “India’s the fastest-growing market in the world for two-wheelers so they saw it as a very attractive place to be.”

(Hindu BusinessLine, Mar 05, 2019)

Bharat Electronics launches SWAGAT – Automatic Fare Collection Gating System General

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a defence public sector undertaking, presented SWAGAT the Automatic Fare Collection Gating System. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the system on Monday as part of the inaugural of Phase I of the Ahmedabad Metro. SWAGAT is an initiative steered by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) in collaboration with BEL and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) with the support of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) and State Bank of India (SBI). SWAGAT is compliant with the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) ecosystem for hassle-free commute across India. It is in keeping with the spirit of Make in India, Digital India and Skill India. The fare collection system is the first indigenous system and the first ever outside the developed world. It can operate across all cities and all modes of transport to make ‘One Nation – One Card’ a reality. It has also received EMVCo certification by FIME Lab, France. “This technology is a huge step towards a cashless, digital India. This fully indigenous and interoperable System consists of: National Common Mobility Card, Automatic Fare Collection System and Validation Terminal,” said the company release.

(BusinessLIne, Mar 05, 2019)

Firms scramble to reply to draft ecommerce policy within a week Policy

US technology companies and Indian startups are working overtime to put together a response within a week to the government’s proposed ecommerce policy, which is being touted as a digital economy policy that will have far-reaching impact on the country’s technology ambitions. The policy deals with contentious subjects such as data dominance, data sovereignty and abuse of market power by big technology companies. The proponents of the policy argue that India needs to protect its data to make it available for Indian startups while the opposing camp sees the policy as protectionist that will stifle innovation, foreign capital flow and hurt consumer choice. “This policy is not about only ecommerce, there is social media, cloud and everything in between,” said Nikhil Narendran, Partner at Trilegal. “It’s a huge hit on consumer choice. It’s like an internet blockade.”  The policy proposes that all ecommerce websites selling to Indian consumers and apps available for downloading in India have a registered business entity here. These technology companies must provide government access to source code, algorithms of AI systems and are barred from sharing of sensitive data of Indian users with third party entities, even with consent. The last date for response to the draft policy is March 9.  To ensure that India’s. data is used for the country’s development, and Indian citizens and companies get the economic benefits from the monetization of data, the policy proposes that antitrust regime must take into account the network effect — a phenomenon wherein increased numbers of people or participants improve the value of a goods or service. 

(ET, Mar 04, 2019)

Electric vehicles to get cheaper by up to Rs 2.5 lakh General

Electric vehicles will get cheaper by Rs 20,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh, following the government’s goahead to Niti Aayog’s proposal to give purchase rebate as incentive to buyers.  The move will help reduce India’s dependence on imported fuel and bring down pollution levels in the country.  The Union cabinet had on Thursday approved incentive of Rs 10,000 per KWH for purchase of e-vehicles directly linked to battery size under the FAME II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicle) scheme. This will spell a saving of Rs 20,000-40,000 for two-wheelers fitted with battery of 2-4 kwh, rs 50,000-100,000 for three-wheelers (5-10 kwh) and Rs 1.5-2.5 lakh for four-wheelers (15-25 kwh battery). ET had reported on February 14 that the government was considering the option of offering purchase rebate linked to battery size and vehicle type.  The move is part of the government’s twin strategies to promote manufacturing as well as sales of EVs in India to create enough size and scale for the industry as the government aims to ensure EVs account for 15% of total vehicle sales in the country. 

(ET, Mar 02, 2019)

Green Companies continue to bid aggressively for solar projects General

Renewable energy firms are continuing with aggressive bids for solar projects, with the winners in the latest auction including Finland’s Fortum and US-based Acme quoting a tariff of Rs 2.48 per unit.  Palimarwar Solar House also quoted the same tariff to win 40 MW, while Acme Solar won 250 MW of the 750 MW auctioned by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). Fortum won 250 MW, while UPC won 100 MW. Sumant Sinha-led ReNew Power won 110 MW at Rs 2.49 per unit.   In this non-solar park auction, projects have to be built in Rajasthan within 18 months. This tariff is lower than the auction conducted by SECI earlier this week where the lowest winning tariff was Rs 2.55 per unit. “This is a Rajasthan specific tender, so everyone knows Rajasthan is going to buy the power. There is a PPA certainty,” said Vinay Rustagi, managing director of solar Consultancy Bridge to India. “In the previous auction, since it was an ISTS one, SECI has to finalise which states will buy the power and then you can end up with the lowly rated states,” he said. Since the state is identified beforehand here, there is more comfort on availability of land and transmission, and this has driven down the tariff, Rustagi added. 

(ET, Mar 02, 2019)

Tesla on a cost cutting drive moves $35K Model 3 to online stores for sale General

Tesla is shifting all of its sales from stores to the internet, saying the move is needed to cut costs so it can sell the mass-market Model 3 for a starting price of $35,000.  The Palo Alto, California, company announced the change Thursday and said it's now taking orders for the $35,000 car, which CEO Elon Musk has said is essential to Tesla's survival.  ``It's 2019,'' Musk told reporters. ``People want to buy online.''  Musk also backed off of earlier guidance that the company would be profitable in all future quarters. Because of the moves, it will lose money in the first quarter and ``likely'' be profitable in the second, he said.  The electric-car and solar-panel company will close many of its stores, but leave some open as galleries or ``information centers'' in high-traffic areas. Musk didn't give a number of stores that will be closed or employees who will be laid off. ``That isn't today's topic,'' he said.

(ET, Mar 02, 2019) 

IEW 2019 Closes on a High Note as Electronics Industry Bets High on IoT General

The much anticipated third and final day of India Electronics Week 2019 commenced with highly insightful seminars and workshops. In the last three days, participants of the expo came across some ground-breaking innovations, valuable insights from industry experts, hands-on technical know-how from workshops and the opportunity to connect with all kinds of industry players under one roof. The IoT was a key area of discussion throughout the event as exhibitors showcased how prolific and pervasive the technology has become today. The event also saw the coming together of manufacturing machinery creators who are bringing forth compact desktop machineries and rapid prototyping capabilities that will require substantially less upfront investment from businesses. This year IEW witnessed how the electronics industry is all set to gain the most from the IoT. Associations and enablers of the ESDM and IoT community came together to recognize and address the real-life challenges that need to be solved on priority in the ecosystem. Players from various solution and services background shared their thoughts on how each kind of business in playing a part in the IoT environment today.

(BusinessWire India, Mar 01, 2019)

We’re sending a message that we must be paid for services: Ericsson CEO Telecom

Ericsson’s successful legal action against Reliance Communications NSE -0.83 % (RCom) over unpaid bills showed the Swedish gear maker’s determination to ensure that service providers get what’s due to them. “We were sending a strong message that if we are providing services, we should get paid,” CEO Börje Ekholm said. “If we just fold over, it has implications for others that maybe we don’t need to pay these guys because they will not do anything anyway. We are satisfied that that Indian courts look at it this way as well.”  On February 20, India’s Supreme Court upheld a contempt petition filed by Ericsson against RCom chairman Anil Ambani for not paying the Swedish company, despite having the money to do so. The court threatened to send the businessman to jail for three months if he didn’t cough up what was owed in four weeks.  Ekholm however said it wasn’t time to break out the “champagne” as it hasn’t received the remaining. `453 crore from the Indian telco. He told ET that he had “never been through anything like it.” Ericsson has already got the Rs 118 crore that RCom had previously deposited with the top court. Since the amount to be paid has been calculated at Rs 571crore, along with interest, the amount due in four weeks is Rs 453 crore. RCom has said it will abide by the ruling. Its operational creditor Ericsson had filed three contempt pleas to press for its dues. 

(ET, Mar 01, 2019)

Indian Economy Based On Sound Fundamentals, Will Soon Reach $5 Trillion: PM Modi General

Ø  : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the Indian economy is based on sound fundamentals and will in the near future double in size to $5 trillion, as he had sold the country as a "land of opportunities" to investors in South Korea. "No other large economy in the world is growing at over 7 per cent year after year," he said at the India-ROK Business Symposium here during his visit to the Republic of Korea. Over 600 Korean companies such as Hyundai, Samsung and LG Electronics are already invested in India and the Prime Minister said "we aspire to welcome many more."  "And, (car maker) Kia is soon to join this club," he added. To ease business visits, India since October last year is giving Korean nationals visa on arrival, he said. "The fundamentals of our economy are sound. We are well set to become a 5 trillion dollar economy in the near future," he said. Modi said hard policy decisions such as the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and opening up of more sectors has helped India jump 65 places on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business ranking to the 77th position. "And, we are determined to move into the top 50 next year," he said. "We are one of the most open countries for foreign direct investment today. More than 90 per cent of our sectors are now on automatic route for approval. As a result of this and the confidence in India, we have received FDI worth over $250 billion over the past four years."  India, the world's sixth largest economy at $ 2.5 trillion, is changing from being agriculture-dominated to an economy led by industry and services and one that is globally inter-linked which rolls out red carpet instead of red tape, the Prime Minister said.

(Businessworld, Feb 27, 2019)

Centre for Good Governance wins Digital India Award General

Centre for Good Governance (CGG), Hyderabad won the “Platinum” Digital India Award 2018 under “Outstanding Digital Initiative by a Local Body" category at Digital India Awards for its "Citizen Centric Integrated Services to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC)". The award was given by the Union Minister for Electronics & IT and Law & Justice, Dr. Ravi  Shankar Prasad at Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi recently. CGG competed with 600 participating nominations and bagged this title.  The e Digital India Programme is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digital society and knowledge economy. The e digital India vision provides intensified impetus for further momentum and progress of digital-governance and would promote inclusive growth that covers electronic services, products, devices, manufacturing and job opportunities.

(Hans India, Feb 27, 2019)

National Electronics Policy 2019 to boost manufacturing drive exports Policy

Industry experts believe that the National Electronic Policy 2019, passed last week by the Union Cabinet, can provide an impetus to Make in India (MII) and its efforts to become a global hub for Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM), apart from making electronics sector more competitive. “The policy offers significant support for the electronics sector. It is export focussed and aims to take Indian electronic manufacturing to the next level. As a rising economy, and the world’s largest market for mobile phones, India sadly does not have a competitive electronics sector. This policy aims at ensuring Indian manufacturing in the electronics sector gets its rightful place,” Lloyd Mathias, senior technology executive and former Asia Marketing Head of HP, told BusinessLine. The last electronic policy was unveiled 2012. The new policy targets $400 billion turnover by 2025 from domestic manufacturing, setting up cluster for the entire value chain and employing over 1 crore people directly or otherwise to achieve a growth rate of 32 per cent.

(BusinessLine, Feb 26, 2019)

India may gain from trade war General

After Donald Trump took over the rein of governance in the US, it has started imposing higher import duty on imports coming from the rest of the world. Other countries have also followed the suit and are increasing import tariffs. In this manner, a trade war has started in the world. According to the recent report of the United Nations, India is among some select countries which are going to benefit greatly from the current trade war. The report says that although this trade war will lead to a significant reduction in global trade, India’s exports may grow by 3.5 percent. Although foreign trade remained almost free during the early period of history, i.e. the tariffs or other restrictions on imports coming from other countries were minimal. But later on Governments started imposing heavy import duties coming from other countries and sometimes it took the shape of competitive exercise. Basic idea of imposing tariffs on goods coming from other countries used to be protection of domestic industry from foreign competition. In the meantime, foreign trade theories propounded an understanding developed between economists that if all the nations of the world remove tariffs and non tariff barriers and walk on the path of free trade, then all the countries will benefit because people will get cheaper goods. Countries will achieve the efficiencies in production according to their comparative advantage. Though, there was no flaw in these theories per se, if followed honestly, however problem started when the theory was used by the benefit of a few against interests of many others. For instance, by using this argument of free trade, British Government was able to impose cheaper machine made goods, against the interests of our small artisans and industries. Our industry decayed and dependence on agriculture increased. Economists named it de-industrialization. We can say that the industrialization of India ended due to free trade. Under the pressure of nationalist leaders in the freedom struggle, the foreign Government was forced to impose tariff on goods coming from England, what was termed as discriminatory tariff, and that was the time when modern textile, sugar, cement and paper industries started getting established.

(Daily Excelsior.com, Feb 25, 2019)

Rafael wins $30m Indian Air Force communications deal General

Israeli defense electronics company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.has handed its first order for production of hundreds of advanced communications systems, for the Indian Air Force, to its new ARC subsidiary in India. The order amounts to $30 million. The subsidiary will employ hundreds of workers in Hyderabad in southern India. The system is based on information that Rafael will transfer to India under an agreement signed with the Indian authorities in 2017. Rafael's innovative BNet communications systems, which are classified as software, were adapted to the operational requirements of the Indian Air Force. Rafael told "Globes" today that these systems will supplement the advanced radio capabilities of Indian warplanes, while substantially extending their activity, without being detected by the enemy's systems. In addition to production of these systems, the contract signed by Rafael also includes maintaining the systems and assistance given by Rafael to Indian Air Force personnel. The first production order by Rafael to its subsidiary was made in the framework of a festive event during the prestigious Euro-India defense exhibition in Bangalore in recent days. Rafael CEO Maj. Gen. (res.) Yoav Har-Even said that ARC's activity reflected the important ties between Rafael and India through other companies operating there.

(Globes, Feb 24, 2019)

BMC bags silver medal for digital initiative IT

The BrihanmumbaMunicipal Corporation (BMC) has been awarded the Central government’s silver medal for ‘Outstanding Digital Initiative by a Local Body’ in the Digital India Awards held on Friday. In another win, Washington’s Library of Congress has asked for a copy of the BMC’s coffee table book on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. The Digital India Awards 2018 were organised by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology at New Delhi’s India Habitat Centre.  The awards recognise initiatives of ministries, departments, institutions which have made significant contributions towards implementation of e-Governance and shown an innovative approach to achieve administrative efficiency and transparency, according to the website. The Outstanding Digital Initiative by Local Body award focuses on providing exemplary information quality and extent of services by assessing the service maturity level, service catalogue, transparency, cost effectiveness and efficiency enhancement in terms of service delivery. Entries are assessed on the level of convenience or empowerment provided to the citizen through the initiative. The BMC was awarded the second prize in this category. The award was handed over by Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad and received by Shashi Bala, Head of BMC’s Business Development Cell and Information Technology Director Arun Joglekar.

(The Hindu, Feb 23, 2019)

National Electronics Policy Unveiled: Targets Rs 26 Lakh Crore Make In India Revenue, 100 Crore Mobile Manufactures By 2025 Policy

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday (19 February) approved the National Electronics Policy 2019 which aims to achieve a turnover of Rs 2,600,000 crores ($400 billion) by 2025 via the domestic electronics manufacturing ecosystem. It envisages setting up a cluster of the entire value chain and generate over 1 crore directly or indirect jobs to achieve a growth rate of 32 per cent. The Policy aims to catapult India as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) by incentivizing and building capabilities in the country for developing core components, including chipsets, and creating an environment for the industry to compete globally. Unveiling the new policy, Ravi Shankar Prasad, IT minister, said in a briefing "We aim to target Rs 26,00,000 crores ($400 billion) turnover by 2025 and are targeting a growth rate of 32 per cent from the current 26.7 per cent globally in five years. With the new policy, the electronic manufacturing sector alone will provide employment to about 1 crore people". By creating an enabling ecosystem for globally competitive ESDM sector and promotion of domestic manufacturing and export in the entire value-chain of ESDM, the policy sets an ambitious production target of 100 crore mobile handsets by 2025, valued at approximately Rs 1,300,000 crore .

(Swarajya, Feb 21, 2019)

India should become a data analytics hub: Ravi Shankar Prasad IT

Union Minister for Electronics & IT Ravi Shankar Prasad,said India should become a data analytics hub on the back of the huge amount of data that Indians are producing. “India has all the potential to become a centre of data analysis. The huge data 1.3 billion Indians are producing. It is a great opportunity,” said Prasad after releasing a report on India’s trillion dollar digital economy at the Nasscom event here. He said the report is not just about digital inclusion but also an opportunity to do business in India. The report stated that India can create up to $1 trillion of economic value from the digital economy in 2025, with half of the opportunity originating in new digital ecosystems that can spring up in diverse sectors of the economy. Currently, India’s digital economy generates about $200 billion of economic value annually largely from existing digital ecosystem comprising of information technology and business process management (IT-BPM), digital communication services (including telecom), e-commerce, domestic electronics manufacturing, digital payments, and direct subsidy transfers. The existing digital ecosystem could contribute up to $500 billion of economic value, but the potential economic value for India could be as much as double that amount — almost $1 trillion— if digital technologies are used to unlock productivity, savings, and efficiency across more diverse sectors such as agriculture, education, energy, financial services, government services, healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, trade, and transportation.  The report stated that India has the second-largest number of instant messaging service users worldwide, behind China, and the most social media users, and Aadhaar, India’s unique digital identity programme, covers more than 1.2 billion people, the largest system of its type globally.

(ET, Feb 21, 2019)

U.S.-China Trade War to Spark Manufacturing Spin-Off in India? General

Global electronics contract manufacturers are planning substantial investment in India with a total of around $1 billion over the next five years to expand their production facilities in India. Taiwan-based Wistron and Foxconn have applied to the government to invest around $700 million and $350 million respectively. This comes under an incentive package that can give these companies benefits of $140 million and $70 million respectively, according to a report in the Economic Times. Wistron is likely to begin manufacturing iPhone 8 in the country while Foxconn plans to support higher levels of manufacturing for existing clients such as Xiaomi and Nokia phones. And, these are just big ticket investments. There are several, particularly in the mobile space right from Samsung and Xiaomi to smaller and lesser known brands which have started on the investment road to manufacturing. Interestingly, there are currently 240 companies in India which are making electronic products and about half of them (127 companies) are manufacturing mobile phones with Noida and Greater Noida in northern India emerging as a mobile phone manufacturing hub, having 57 factories alone.

(ET, Feb 20, 2019)

India has potential to become $1 trillion digital economy by 2025: Report General

India can create up to $1 trillion of economic value from the digital economy in 2025, with half of the opportunity originating in new digital ecosystems, a recent study by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and McKinsey & Co has found. The report, titled "India's Trillion-Dollar Digital Opportunity" was released in Mumbai by the Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad, at the ongoing Nasscom Technology and Leadership Forum. The study finds that India is among the top three global economies in terms of number of digital consumers. The report said India had 560 million internet subscriptions in 2018, up from 238.71 million in 2013, making it the second-largest internet subscriptions market in the world.  India also has the second-fastest growth rate of digital adoption in the comparison set, which considered 17 mature and emerging digital economies including Brazil, China, Indonesia, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, and the United States. India’s digital index score, measured on digital foundation, digital reach and digital value, moved from 17 in 2014 to 32 in 2017 (on a scale of 0 to 100), the second-fastest rise after Indonesia.

(BS, Feb 20, 2019)

EV Charging Stations In India: EVI Technologies To Install 20,000 Electric Vehicle Charging Location IT

Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in India will soon grow in number by a good margin. EVI Technologies aims to set up 20,000 charging stations at key locations across the country, within the next one-and-a-half years. The company will invest Rs 100 crore in the project in a bid to promote electric mobility. EVI Technologies, incubated at the Electropreneur Park (funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), has tied up with BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd to install 3000 EV charging stations in Delhi alone. The charging stations will require an investment of Rs 15,000-20,000 per head and BSES will charge a tariff of Rs 5 per unit of electric power. Rupesh Kumar, CEO of EVI Technologies shared, "We have a target to create a network of around 20,000 EV chargers in the next one and a half years. This will include home and public charging stations. It will be around Rs 100 crore. We are tying up with some finance partners, who are already providing finance for the leasing model. We are already in discussion with some of them."

(DriveSpark, Feb 18, 2019)