• ALL
  • Policy
  • Telecom
  • IT
  • General

Kalyon Enerji finds Chinese partner for 500 MW module fab in Turkey: General

Turkish solar company Kalyon Enerji has reportedly secured the backing of the Chinese government to help it construct a 500 MW solar module factory. Eren Engur, CEO and founder of Turkish consultancy Icarus Energy, told pv magazine Kalyon has signed a co-operation agreement with Chinese state-owned military surveillance contractor China Electronics Technology Group Corporation. The Chinese entity operates in the solar sector through its CETC Solar Energy Holdings Co Ltd unit. The planned factory will be near Ankara and is expected to begin manufacturing activities in April. Last month, the Turkish government announced it would contribute a “super incentive” of TRL1.99 billion ($333 million) towards the project. The factory construction contract was linked to a 1 GW generation capacity solar project tendered through the YEKA renewables procurement scheme and the fab was originally planned near the city of Konya, in southwestern Turkey.

(PVR Magazine, Oct 29, 2019)

After Supreme Court's order, Airtel, Vodafone Idea ready strategy Telecom

Top Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea executives spent the Diwali weekend scrambling to draft a response after the Supreme Court ordered telecom companies to pay dues that could be in excess of a cumulative Rs 1.3 lakh crore. Executives of the companies plan to meet top government officials starting today on strategies, said people with knowledge of the matter. The two carriers have less than three months to pay what could add up to more than Rs 80,000 crore in licence fees and spectrum usage charges (SUC), following the Supreme Court order broadening the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) to include non-core items. Officials said the two are combing through the judgment and planning a financial and legal plan to raise funds that will allow them to stay viable. “When the industry is under a death sentence, tomorrow looks like the least of your worries,” said Rajan Mathews, director general of lobby group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). “Certainly, 5G will be under the cloud of the ability of operators to continue their operations with any reasonable expectations of proper returns on their investment.”. He said the industry’s survival would depend on what the government did next. India’s telecom industry comprises three private companies—Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio and two PSUs— Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam. The latter two are on life support with the government announcing a plan last week to try and revive them. Given the situation, 5G trials and auctions are the furthest thing on the mind, said the people cited above.

(ET, Oct 29, 2019)

Electronics industry faces slower revenue growth: CRISIL SME tracker General

The electronics industry is expected to see revenue growth decline to 15 per cent during the current fiscal year, from 19 per cent in fiscal year 2019, mainly due to slower growth in mobile phone manufacturing and consumer electronics, which together account for 54 per cent of its revenue. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which account for nearly a third of the industry’s revenue, with a varying share in different segments, are expected to be hit hard. These units have a huge presence in the assembly of mobile phone components and provide customised offerings in other segments. These are typically clustered around electronics hubs such as Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR, which account for more than 20 per cent of the industry’s total output.  Growth in mobile phone manufacturing is expected to moderate, as players have little incentive to move up the value chain, while growth in consumer electronics is expected to be in single digits due to a demand slowdown. Government policies in the sector have either been suspended or closed. For instance, the Phased Manufacturing Programme, which aided development of the mobile segment with a roadmap for in-house manufacturing of mobile components by imposing higher basic custom duties, remained suspended as of February 1, 2019. The programme had helped SMEs move up the value chain in the past. Other policies, such as the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme and the Electronic Manufacturing Clusters Scheme, which provided capital subsidies and tax incentives, too, have stopped receiving applications. CRISIL Research believes the lack of such policy incentives will limit domestic value addition in the industry, which is characterized by short product lifecycles and high levels of obsolescence, and needs continuous investment in technology and process upgrades, as well as in research and development, to remain competitive.

(BS, Oct 28, 2019)

Consultation on TV tariffs transparent, criticism is ridiculous: RS Sharma, Trai Chief Telecom

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman RS Sharma described criticism of the consultation process on the new broadcast tariff framework, which is currently underway, as “ridiculous” and “arbitrary.” “We invited comments and counter comments; we organised an open house discussion and took every stakeholders’ view,” Sharma told ET. “A transparent process like this should not be criticised.”  The regulator is in the process of finalising its stance on the issue, he said. Sharma said the authority issued a consultation paper in August as part of this transparent process. Trai initiated a review of the new regulatory framework for the broadcasting sector on August 16. It issued a consultation paper seeking stakeholders’ responses on 30 questions covering aspects related to the new tariff order that came into force on February 1. Broadcasters questioned Trai’s intentions and priorities and timing of the review. Sharma clarified that the motive behind the consultation paper was not to review the entire framework, but iron out wrinkles. “We are looking at some aspects so as to fine-tune the framework for better transparency,” Sharma said. “Our main motive is to put the consumer in the centre. She should be empowered and allowed to exercise her option of choice. Unlike what the industry thinks, we are not against anyone. We have allowed enough freedom to broadcasters and distribution platform operators.”  He wanted to dispel misconceptions in the industry that Trai wanted consumers to pay less or that it’s only in favour of a-la-carte channels and against bouquets.

“We as regulators are not in favour or against anyone,” he said. “We want to bring transparency to the entire system. If consumers want to select all channels, they will pay more. If they select less, they will pay less. My only point is, let the consumer decide. Don’t confuse the consumer by giving false options.” Trai had alleged broadcasters have misused the flexibility on bouquet discounts to throttle market discovery of channel prices. In its consultation paper, Trai had said that broadcasters are offering bouquets at a discount of up to 70% of the sum of a-la-carte rates of pay channels constituting those groupings.

(ET, Oct 28, 2019)

Wish to become an entrepreneur in India? Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl says the best time is now General

“There is no better time to be an entrepreneur in India (than now),” thinks Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl. He voiced this thought at this year’s MeitY Startup Summit, which is an initiative by the Ministry of Electronics and Information. “I started my company more than ten years ago. And in the last 10 years, I have seen the tectonic plates of entrepreneurship change almost every year or two,” Bahl said. He attributes these rapid changes in the startup ecosystem to four key reasons.  - The explosion of data because of 4G: A number of businesses that he had seen or entrepreneurs he had met pursuing those businesses pre-2016 were not seeing traction despite their best efforts. “Entrepreneurs were working very hard but it was just not showing any progress. The same entrepreneurs, same business models has started working in the past two - three years. That goes to show the compounding effects of connectivity,” Bahl said.  Payments: “It has significantly increased the access to various types of software products and services for consumers across the country because now payments have become cheaper,” he said. Availability of capital: The fact that aspiring entrepreneurs can raise large amounts of money in lieu of a small amount of equity is helping. It’s helping to fuel the ecosystem. And lastly, the talent is focused on building businesses like never before. “Doing a startup is the preferred.

(ET, Oct 23, 2019)

Will another Committee bring clarity to India’s AI strategy General

India is travelling toward a path where both the private and public divisions are unified in their duty to advance and upscale artificial intelligence. In the past, we have seen that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and the NITI Aayog have separately framed national strategy reports on AI. Different calls taken by different legislative units have prompted confounding policies, bringing about an undeniable peril of confusing execution on the part of the government. To remedy the situation, the government has created yet another committee.  As indicated by a media report, the four-member panel, framed in October 2019, will be led by the principal scientific advisor to the union government- K Vijay Raghavan, alongside secretary in the department of science and technology, CEO of NITI Aayog and secretary of MeitY. The committee will work on removing any duplication of tasks between MeitY and NITI Aayog in the field of artificial intelligence policy. Specific roles will be specified to expedite the execution of the AI policy. 

(Analytics India, Oct 23, 2019)

2019 Taiwan-India Industrial Collaboration Summit held in Taipei on October 17 General

The 2019 Taiwan-India Industrial Collaboration Summit was held in Taipei, Taiwan on the 17th October. Minister Shen from Ministry of Economic Affair stated there are 55 electronics industries in Taiwan, gradually forming a Taiwanese electronic supply chain settlement in central and southern India. India has become a Taiwanese business layout. Important stronghold. The Industrial Bureau pointed out that the government is assisting Taiwanese manufacturers to enter the Indian water market. In the future, India will become an emerging electronics manufacturing base. The strategy will cooperate with India to train talents in the electronics industry. The Taiwan-India Industry Chain Summit Forum has more than 250 Taiwanese officials and academic representatives. Minister Shen also stated that in 2018, Taiwanese businessmen invested 360 million U.S. dollars in India, setting a record high, while the bilateral trade volume between Taiwan and India grew year by year. At present, there are 55 Taiwanese electronics industries, which are located in the south-central India and become the Taiwanese electronics supply chain. The products include mobile phones, Netcom equipment, industrial computers, etc. The Taiwan electronics industry will be an important boost to the "Made in India" policy. Under the impact of the US trade war, the global electronic supply chain began to shift. India has become a new manufacturing base for electronic parts supply chain, including important Taiwanese companies such as Wistron, Hon Hai and Zhengyi. In recent years, it has strengthened its ability to produce electronic products in India. In southern India, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and other places, Taiwan's electronics industry corridors have formed, and more than 20 Taiwanese electronics or automobile-related industries have entered.

(Asia One, Oct 23, 2019)

How MeitY startup Summit sparked New Energy for India Innovators IT

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, initiated the MeitY Startup India Summit this week. The event brought together many industry leaders, government officials, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists under one roof to discuss how regulators can boost the startup ecosystem in the country.  During the inauguration, Prasad said that the Digital India programme is finding worldwide reverberation. He added that the “digital hunger” across the country should be tapped, and instructed the officials to digitally map entrepreneurs and innovators in rural India.  “Innovation ought to be utilised to change rural India and make roads for those in small towns and Tier II and Tier III urban areas,” said Prasad during the event. He likewise propelled a software products library which will go about as a single-window point to examine Indian software product database. The Minister said that Digital India ought to turn into a reference point for inclusion, healthcare training and entrepreneurship. Here are the other key takeaways from Startup India: Talking about how utilizing innovations like artificial intelligence would catalyze the financial development of India, Union Minister Prasad unveiled the MeitY Startup Hub (MSH). The hub is viewed as a stage forward towards uniting key partners and new businesses under one rooftop. Further, they will work with specialists to catch feasible procedures to bring the focal point of funding and government around their methods and systems. The platform will use and bring startup mediation program to the software technology parks of India (STPI). They are intended to advance business enterprise and make a supporting system for STPI CoEs in technologies, including digital payments and fintech, blockchain, IoT, artificial intelligence, etc.

(Analytics India, Oct 23, 2019)

Apple starts selling iPhone XR assembled in Foxconn's Chennai unit Telecom

Apple has finally started selling its top-end iPhone model iPhone XR, launched last year near Chennai, through the unit of Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn. The development comes at a time when growing tension in US-China trade ties is forcing companies to explore alternative manufacturing sites in order to derisk operations. While there has been considerable speculation that manufacturing locally might reduce the cost of production and bring down prices, an expert said since this is only an assembly unit and the components are still being imported, costs will not come down significantly. Josh Foulger, managing director, Foxconn India and Apple spokesperson did not offer any comment. Sources said Foxconn, which already makes mobile phones for Xiaomi, has invested over Rs 2,500 crore in Tamil Nadu for manufacturing electronic products, including mobile phones at Sriperumbudur near Chennai. Apple started assembling iPhone SE in 2017 and iPhone 6S in 2018 at Taiwanese firm Wistron's Bengaluru plant and early this year it started manufacturing iPhone 7 at the Foxconn unit. iPhone SE is no longer assembled in India, but the other two models continue to be. The news comes as a big boost for Tamil Nadu, once the global hub of erstwhile mobile phone major Nokia, whose feature phones were manufactured in Sriperumbudur. The SEZ, which also had various component makers including Foxconn, ran into trouble after the Income Tax Department slapped a demand of Rs 21,000 crore on Nokia, the main unit in the zone. The tax dispute, along with sale of its global mobile phone business to Microsoft, forced Nokia to suspend operations at the factory. Around 8,000 direct employees, of whom about 60 per cent were women, and 21,000 indirect employees lost their jobs.

(BS, Oct 22, 2019)

Electronic goods shine even as global slowdown hits demand, exports soar IT

Even as slowdown takes a toll on global demand and domestic production, electronic goods have given a reason to cheer for India. Beating the 6.57 per cent contraction in the overall merchandise exports in September, exports of electronic goods have substantially outperformed. The electronic goods exports grew with the highest pace of 33.1 per cent on-year in September, according to the Department of Commerce. The momentum of electronic goods exports from India is not new now as it is exponentially surging since FY18. The electronics industry is among the largest and fastest-growing manufacturing industries globally, with production estimated at $ 2.9 trillion in 2018, says RBI. In the past two years, the exports of equipment with electronic integrated circuits and micro assemblies have grown at 94.9 per cent in FY18 and 162.5 per cent in FY19. The Narendra Modi-led government has been consistently rolling out measures to boost the production of electronic goods including mobile handsets under the flagship schemes such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’.

(FE, Oct 17, 2019)

Electric vehicle market in India: Evolution, challenges and solutions IT

The global automotive industry is on the verge of disruption. Four technology-driven trends — electrification, shared mobility, connectivity, and autonomous driving—are leading the automotive industry to this disruption. These trends will shift markets and revenue pools, change mobility behaviour and build new avenues for competition and cooperation. The Indian automotive industry has started to experience these effects of the global disruption. Out of the four emerging trends, Electrification is of importance and might significantly impact auto OEMs and auto component manufacturers. India has big plans for the emerging Electric Vehicles and its technologies in the country. It has announced (and later modified some) ultimatums for the next decade. India has great expectations of achieving a high level of penetration in e-mobility by 2030. The reason is not very surprising; the alarming levels of pollution indices which keep on rising and the colossal dollars the country must pay for annual crude oil imports. In December 2017, New Delhi was in a state of red alert and came close to Beijing in terms of pollution toxicity, such are the pollution indices in India. If India successfully manages to achieve this target by 2030, it could save about 1 Giga Tonne of emissions.

(Express Drives, Oct 17, 2019)

MG Motor India partners’ eChargeBays to set home charging infrastructure for Electric Vehicles IT

MG Motor India on Wednesday said it has partnered with eChargeBays, a Delhi-based start-up, for setting up home charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs). The partnership comes ahead of the company’s launch of the its electric SUV, MG ZS EV, in December 2019. As part of the partnership, MG will send experts to identify the best way in which MG ZS EV buyers can install an EV charger at home, the company said in a statement. Commenting on the collaboration, MG Motor India President & Managing Director Rajeev Chaba said, “our latest association is aimed at supporting the government’s EV vision by providing a viable residential EV charging infrastructure.” It also highlights MG’s commitment towards going the extra mile and delivering a convenient ownership experience for its EV customers, he added. MG’s partnership with eChargeBays is the latest in a series of alliances with EV charging players aimed at creating a robust charging infrastructure in the country. The company has already partnered with Fortum and Delta Electronics India for the fast charging and slow charging segments, respectively. Rajesh Singh, Founder & CEO, eChargeBays, said most prospective EV buyers are hesitant on account of the limited charging infrastructure available.

(Press Trust of India, Oct 16, 2019)

China's Honor to enter India's smart TV market; to take on Xiaomi General

Chinese handset maker Honor will foray into India’s smart TV market in the first quarter of 2020 and will launch competitive products to take on the likes of Xiaomi, Lenovo-Motorola and TCL.Charles Peng, Honor India President told ET that the company will price its products competitively for the Indian market, and will also launch a slew of smart devices like speakers. “We are going to partner with leading e-commerce players for our TV.”  At the ongoing India Mobile Congress 2019, Huawei’s sub-brand Honor unveiled its flagship TV, called 'Honor Vision' smart screen, which is equipped with a 55-inch 4K HDR display with 94 per cent screen-to-body ratio. It is also the world's first smart screen to carry Huawei's self-developed Harmony OS. A number of traditional handset players like One Plus and Motorola-Lenovo recently entered India's TV market in an attempt to gain a foothold amid competition from older brands such as Samsung, LG and Sony Market leader Xiaomi has taken the pole position in the online smart TV segment within a few quarters of its entry.

(ET Oct 15, 2019)

New resolution professional of Videocon seeks EoIs for 13 companies under IBC General

The newly-appointed resolution professional (RP) for the Videocon group has sought expressions of interest (EoI) for 13 group companies undergoing resolution using the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), according to a document seeking bids. This comes after the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on 8 August approved consolidation of the separate resolution processes and approved the change of RP on 25 September. The committee of creditors (CoC) led by State Bank of India (SBI) voted with a majority of 93.5% to appoint Abhijit Guhathakurta as the new RP, replacing Mahendra Khandelwal. “Pursuant to the provisions of the IBC and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons) Regulations, 2016, as amended and the NCLT Order, interested and eligible prospective resolution applicants are invited to submit expression of interest for submission of resolution plan for the consolidated corporate debtors," the document said.   Among the twenty lenders to these companies are Allahabad Bank, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Bank of Baroda, United Bank of India and Canara Bank. Prior to the consolidation, claims of financial creditors of Videocon Industries stood at ₹59,451.87 crore, as on 12 November, 2018 and has not been updated since. State Bank of India’s (SBI) claims were at ₹11,175.25 crore, IDBI Bank ( ₹9,561.67 crore), Central Bank of India ( ₹5,066.77 crore). Claims of financial creditors Videocon Telecommunication Ltd, another group entity, was at ₹26,673.81 crore, with SBI being the largest claimant at ₹4,605.15 crore, as on 12 November, 2018.

(LIveMint, Oct 14, 2019)

RCEP members to sort out issues hindering trade agreement by Oct 22 General

A ten-day work programme has been prepared by the 16-nation RCEP grouping, which is negotiating a mega free trade agreement, to sort out pending 14 issues by October 22 that are hindering the conclusion of talks, sources said. These 14 points, which are yet to be resolved, were shared on October 12 during the ninth ministerial meet in Bangkok.  Among these points, six are specific to India and that includes data related matters under e-commerce; auto trigger concept which can be used to stop sudden surge in imports; change in base year from 2014 to 2019; and tariff differential under which India has to limit the number of goods over which it would offer different duty rates to the member countries. The other issues include ratchet mechanism, under which a nation cannot go back on the commitments made under the agreement. The RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) agreement is being negotiated among 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and their six trade partners -- Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.

(BS, Oct 14, 2019)

Bosch’s battery tech prevents electric shocks in the event of a crash General

With more and more electric cars on the road, many drivers are increasingly uncertain about what they should or should not do in the event of a collision. Electric motors also present rescue crews with new challenges. In fact, like any other vehicle, electric vehicles are equipped with safety features for such events. For example, Bosch says its semiconductors help prevent the risk of electric shock after an accident. Specially designed microchips deactivate the vehicle’s power circuits in a fraction of a second. This enables rescue crews to set to work immediately and ensures that first responders and the vehicle’s occupants remain safe. “Our semiconductor technology plays a vital role in the safety of hybrid and electric vehicles,” says Jens Fabrowsky, member of the executive management of Bosch’s Automotive Electronics division. Bosch supplies vehicle manufacturers with semiconductor chips for incorporation in special systems that safely disconnect the battery in the event of a collision. “Faced with the growing number of electric vehicles that could potentially be involved in collisions, such systems are absolutely essential if we are to fulfil our mission of helping and rescuing victims of road accidents as rapidly and safely as possible,” adds Karl-Heinz Knorr, vice-president of the German Firefighters Association (DFV). For a lot of people, damaged cables as the result of an accident are a cause for concern: the current from the battery could leak into the metal bodywork of a hybrid or all-electric car. After all, these batteries are designed to deliver a voltage of 400 to 800 volts. But they can rest assured, says Bosch, whose semiconductor chips ensure that the high-voltage battery is automatically disconnected, so that nobody at the scene of the accident – vehicle occupants, rescue crews, first responders – comes into contact with current-carrying components.

(Autocar, Oct 13, 2019)

India Proposes Data Localisation at RCEP Citing Security Reasons General

Amid the ongoing negotiations of the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement, India has proposed to locate computing facilities inside the country for security and protect national interests.  According to a media report, India said that only where it is a matter of legitimate public policy objective or necessary for protecting “security interests or national interests,” the participating countries may prevent the cross-border transfer of most pieces of information by electronic means, including personal information. In the financial services chapter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreement in Vietnam, India agreed that financial services companies will be allowed to move and store data of Indians abroad last month. Yet on Friday, India came up with the new proposal to locate computing facilities inside the country on the ASEAN Package. While New Delhi supported data localisation, 14 members of the 16-country RCEP, including ASEAN, opposed data localisation. India’s proposal for data localisation is crucial as one of the April 2018 notifications of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) mandated system providers to ensure that the entire data relating to payment systems operated by them are stored in a system only in India. Furthermore, RBI clarified that a copy of domestic data can be stored abroad in the case of cross-border transactions.  In yesterday’s proposal, India also said, “no party shall have recourse to dispute settlement for any matter relating to electronic commerce arising under any of the chapters/ any provision in this agreement”.

(Inc 4, Oct 12, 2019)

Philips eyes over 50% growth in India audio biz next year General

Consumer electronics major Philips on Friday said it expects to see its audio business in India grow by over 50 per cent next year as it expands its portfolio and brings in more 'Made for India' products. Last year, Taiwan-based TPV Technology had received the rights for Philips' TV range as well as audio products for the Indian market that includes aspects like manufacturing, marketing and sales. "While we are resolving a lot of the old issues but at the same time in the last six months, we have managed to expand our retail presence and our audio products are present in almost 30,000-35,000 outlets...We expect to grow by more than 50 per cent within the audio segment next year," Arun Menon, Country Business Head Philips Television and Audio, TPV Technology said. This will be driven by categories like earphones, headphones, sound bars and wireless in general, he said adding that the company is looking at growth rates of 25-26 per cent this year. Menon noted that the audio market in the country is dominated by unbranded products. He estimated that while the market opportunity is well over USD 1 billion in size, around 30 per cent of this is branded players. "About 3 years ago, audio products were all about home audio like sound bars and that category was also almost stagnant. However, with increase in mobility, there has been a strong shift towards earphones, headphones and wireless products," he explained.

(ET, Oct 11, 2019)

India Could Establish Itself As A Leader For The Region In Energy Storage General

US energy storage major AES Corporation recently installed India's first grid scale energy storage unit with Tata Power. Andres Gluski, President and CEO of this Fortune 500 company, talks to Business Today's Anilesh S. Mahajan about the global energy storage market and how India - with its ambitious solar energy and electric vehicle plans - can gain from the latest trends.  The time for the energy storage technology has come. The price is a critical part of this equation across the world. In the last five years, it has come down by about 70 per cent and, with this, we are already seeing the market taking off. Globally, five years ago, a total of 200 MW energy storage (grid connected) was installed. Last year, the figure reached 4 GW. This is a factor of 20. Some markets are much more advanced and some are laggards, but there is no dispute that this technology is fundamental to the grid of the future.

Smartphone makers, electronics companies to offer exta margins to retailers Telecom

Consumer electronics and smartphone makers will give retailers huge margins during the Diwali-Navratri season to boost sales, according to a report in The Economic Times. Top brands such as Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and Xiaomi have increased the festive season trade margin this year, executives told the publication.  Brands have passed on 4-6 percentage points of extra margin to retailers starting from Ganesh Chaturthi, the chief at a major retailer told the paper. The extra margin offered is usually 2-3 percent. The margins are likely to translate into discounts, which will help push sales amid the backdrop of weak consumer sentiment. Consumer confidence has been low lately due to fears of an economic slowdown. Consumer confidence slipped to 95.7 in July from 97.3 in May and 104.6 in March, according to a Reserve Bank of India survey. Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.

Chinese  smartphone makers ringing in more investments into India Telecom

Chinese phone makers that have tasted blood with deep discounts, flashy ads and online offers in India are thirsting for more, as record shipments and rising price points prompt them to pump up investments. Smartphones have stood out as one of the rare bright spots in India’s economy that has seen cooling demand for automobiles and fast moving consumer goods in a prolonged slowdown. And Chinese firms are cashing in. As of June-end, out of the top five smartphone sellers in India, four are headquartered in China—Xiaomi (28.3%), Vivo (15.1%), Oppo (9.7%) and Realme (7.7%). South Korea’s Samsung has a 25.3% share of the Indian market. Market leader Xiaomi, which had one manufacturing unit in India in 2015, now operates seven facilities. Last year, the company also hosted global component suppliers for a three-day tour of Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh to explore investment opportunities and to set up a local components ecosystem.

(LiveMint, Aug 29, 2019)

No slowdown in B2B segment; govt orders have revived: LG General

Korean consumer electronics major LG Electronics said there is no slowdown in institutional sales in India and the stalled government projects during the election have revived boosting prospects for its business-to-business (B2B) sales in the country. LG Electronics India senior director (B2B) R. Zutshi said there is not much slowdown in B2B orders and government purchases, which had slowed down between March to June due to general election, has started to pick up now. “Retail and corporate sectors are digitising and new workspaces are getting created where there is huge scope for B2B products,” he said. Zutshi said areas like flexible office space and airport modernisation will boost B2B business since LG is a major supplier for such projects and also has a memorandum of understanding with the Airports Authority of India. “We have a healthy order book,” he said.  LG India, which has a dominating market share in home appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines and is the second largest brand in television, is now targeting 30% growth in the B2B business in India this calendar y .. 

(ET, Aug 28, 2019)

Government looks to develop electronics component manufacturing base in India: MeiTY Secy Telecom

The government is now working on policies to develop electronic components manufacturing base in the country and encourage exports, secretary in the Ministry of Electronics and IT Ajay Prakash Sawhney said.  "From near assembly, we are right now moving in that direction seriously with policies to bringing sub-assemblies..., component manufacturing in India," Sawhney said at the Digital Governance Tech Summit. Once printed circuit board (PCB or the motherboard) assembly takes off in India, it will not only cater to the mobile phone segment, but also other major electronic devices, he added. The last five years, the MeiTY secretary said, witnessed a resurgence of manufacturing in India, starting with assembling of mobile phones. "From around 6 crore mobile phones that were being assembled in 2014-15, we closed the last financial year with assembly of 29 crore mobile phones within the country. Our entire consumption for the country is about 33-34 crore a year," Sawhney said.

(ET, Aug 28, 2019)

West Bengal could get 1.7 GW of solar but coal will reign for at least 30 years General

A state minister on Saturday revealed West Bengal could be in line for 1.7 GW of new solar generation capacity under two project proposals. Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, minister-in-charge of the state’s Department of Power and Non-conventional Energy Sources, made the announcement at the tenth Energy Enclave event, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industries in Kolkata. “West Bengal has received [a] proposal from a private investor for an 800 MW solar power project with an investment of Rs3,000 crore,” said Chattopadhyay, adding: “The state is also collaborating with Japan for a 900 MW renewable power project.” The minister also hinted at a policy of mandating compulsory electric vehicle charging stations at shopping malls and housing complexes. Elsewhere at the event, NS Nigam, secretary of transport and managing director of the West Bengal Transport Corporation said: “Keeping in mind affordability and [the] mobility of commuters, the government is in the process of introducing a total of 80 electric buses in Kolkata, of which 40 have been launched and 20 more would be done in the next months to come.”  he roll out of green energy corridors and planning of an improved electricity transmission network are under way, Prakash Mhaske, chairman of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) told the event, which had as its theme ‘Unwinding [the] power sector: Achieving quality with digitization, technology, reliability and efficiency’. However, in a sobering special address, NTPC chairman and managing director Gurdeep Singh said coal use “cannot be wished away” in the next three decades and the challenge would be to keep the highly polluting fossil fuel “clean”. Singh said artificial intelligence and digitization could help towards that ambition, presumably thus prolonging the burning of coal for 30 years.

(PV Magazine, Aug 26, 2019)

Jharkhand reissues 2 MW canal solar tender after six-month interval General

After attracting only one bidder for a 2 MW, grid-connected canal solar project auction that closed in February, the Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA) has reissued the tender. The estimated Rs15.06 crore contract will include design, engineering, procurement, supply, construction and commissioning of the project on the canal at Sikidiri village, as well as operations and maintenance for a decade. No maximum price has been set for the energy generated by the project and the successful developer will have six months to complete installation. Interested developers have until September 11 to register bids. JREDA said the second attempt to attract bidders had been delayed by national elections in April and May. The state agency was last week forced to extend a deadline for bidders to manage installation of 11,000 solar street lights. The deadline for that tender – for the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the lights as well as a five-year maintenance contract – was put back from last Monday until September 4.

(PV Magazine, Aug 26, 2019)

North Korea launches short-range missiles again, complicating US attempts for talks General

North Korea fired what appear to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast on Saturday, the South Korean military said, the latest in a series of launches in recent weeks. A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the two missiles North Korea had fired appeared to be similar to launches in recent weeks. Saturday’s launch, the seventh by North Korea since U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at the inter-Korean border in June, have complicated attempts to restart talks between U.S. and North Korean negotiators over the future of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. The two leaders agreed to restart working-level negotiations in June, but since then the United States has so far been unsuccessful in attempts to get talks going. U.S. envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun was in Seoul this week to discuss ways to get negotiations back on track.

(FE, Aug 24, 2019)

Pakistan continues to remain on the Enhanced blacklist of FATF General

Ahead of the October meeting, in a major setback, Pakistan has failed to meet the standards set by Asia Pacific Group (APG) of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and has to remain on the grey list. The APG which is which is a global watchdog for terror funding and money laundering has now put the neighboring country in the Enhanced Expedited Follow Up List (Blacklist) as it was unable to comply with the standards set by the body. In a seven-hour meeting spread over two days in Canberra, Australia, out of the 40 compliance parameters of terror financing and money laundering, Pakistan was non-compliant on just 32. The APG has firmly put Pakistan in the dock. It has adjudged Pakistan being non-compliant on 32 of the 40 compliance parameters and 10 out of the 11 effectiveness parameters. On 11 effectiveness parameters of terror financing and money laundering, Pakistan was adjudged as low on 10. The official said despite its efforts, Pakistan could not convince the 41-member plenary to upgrade it on any parameter. According to officials, with the October meeting just a month later, Pakistan which has been letting terrorists use its soil for terror attacks has to now focus on FATF’s 27 point action plan if it was to get off the blacklist. “The listing of Pakistan by the Asia Pacific group in the FATF will tantamount to vindication that Pakistan has definitely involved in money laundering and terror financing activities and could lead to them being blacklisted by the FATF in its October meeting in Paris. Instead of fighting and controlling terrorists Pakistan has only taken proforma action against major terrorists through fake FIRs but this will eventually hurt them irreparably. It has failed on almost all parameters. This could endanger the IMF bailout package,” says Ambassador Anil Trigunayat.

FE, Aug 23, 2019)

Cerebra undertakes 15,00,000 KGs of EPR commitment of SAMSUNG as it's EPR client for the FY 2019-20 General

Cerebra Integrated Technologies Limited is pleased to announce that it has undertook part of SAMSUNG India Electronics Limited's (SEIL) EPR commitment for the current fiscal year (FY 2019-20) as its major client as a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO). Cerebra has undertaken a commitment of collecting and recycling Consumer Electrical & Electronics Waste (CEEW - TVs, Refrigerators and Washing Machines) target of 15,00,000 KGs after obtaining its recycling licence capacity enhancement to 20,000 MTs/Annum from Karnataka State Pollution Control Board for Cerebra's E Waste recycling facility at Narsapura. Cerebra has been entrusted by Samsung this fiscal year with a higher task of 15000 metric tons and creating awareness amongst consumers for giving the end of life products for recycling. Cerebra will collect end of life Samsung products back from the consumer to recycle at Cerebra's recycling plant at Narasapura, Kolar District near Bangalore. Cerebra Integrated Technologies Limited has geared up by having dedicated PRO collection centers as approved by Samsung (SEIL) in Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad regions. These offices will serve as dedicated collection centres for mainly Samsung (SEIL). With the existing network of channel partners in South India, Cerebra is geared to complete the collection target of 15000 tons within the stipulated time.

(Equity Bulls, Aug 17, 2019)

Emflux One, India’s first electric superbike, on the track to be launched in 2020 IT

Emflux Motors caught everyone's attention at the 2018 Auto Expo. The EV start-up based out Bangalore made a big announcement that they were making India's first electric superbike and it will be in the market in 2019. The Emflux One, the concept showcased, promised a lot in terms of design as well as specs. After all, 200kmph, 200km range and 0-100kmph in 3s were specs unheard of in the Indian EV space. Not only this, the 71hp/84Nm from a liquid-cooled induction motor along with a 169kg kerb weight was enough to get all of us salivating. The price tag though stayed a bit steep and at Rs 6 lakh for an EV in 2018, well...you know what I mean. Fast forward to the present and we got in touch with Emflux Motors to see what has changed and if the new EV favourable rules will work for them or not. First things first. The most important question is when is the Emflux One going to be launched. The company says that they are progressing well in terms of all the technologies developed in-house, unfortunately, lack of investment is making things a bit slow for us. The launch of the motorcycle should be by the end of 2020 and will be in phases, however the Emflux One will be available for limited numbers to create a brand image in the market. There is another mid-performance motorcycle, the Emflux Model Two, that is being designed for higher volume manufacturing and sales. The latter may take a bit longer and can be expected by 2021.

(FE, Aug 16, 2019)

Vikram Sarabhai founder of ISRO 100th Birthday: All you need to know General

Vikram Sarabhai was a great scientist and institutional builder who had established several institutions in various fields. One of his greatest achievements is the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). In 1947, he came back to India from Cambridge and persuaded the charitable trust that is controlled by his family and friends near his home in Ahmedabad. He established Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad on 11 November, 1947 which was the first laboratory of independent India. He came to India when India got its independence and so, he felt the need for better scientific facilities. For this, he established The Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad in November 1947.  The founding director of PRL is K.R Ramanathan, an atmospheric scientist. Under his guidance the institute became the leading organisation of cosmic rays and space sciences. He is the founding director of Indian institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad. In 1961, with the help of businessman Kasturbhai Lalbhai he set up an institute of learning. He played a crucial role in establishing the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology University (CEPT University) in Ahmedabad in 1962. University offers courses for undergraduate and postgraduate programs in subjects like architecture, planning and technology. He established the Nehru Foundation for Development in 1965 which focus on the current problems of society and individual development.

(Jagran, Aug 12, 2019)

Make-in-India: Need a brand-new policy to curb imports IT

If Prime minister Narendra Modi doesn’t take corrective action fast, his plan to reduce import-dependence in electronics—mobile phones, in particular—will go the way of the oil sector where, despite the ambitious targets to raise self-sufficiency, this has fallen in the last five years. Indeed, in a business-as-usual scenario, mobile phones alone could become India’s second-largest imports in another 5-6 years. The problem is the phased-manufacturing-program (PMP) Modi came up with to push domestic manufacturing simply didn’t work. PMP put an import duty on mobile phones, but reduced this to zero on various components to push domestic value addition; so, in the first phase, import duties were zero on chargers/adapters and then this was extended to battery packs and then headphones etc. Yet, domestic value addition is just 15-18% and, in fact, the 2019 phase of PMP had to be put on hold as the domestic industry wasn’t ready.  A possible reason for low value addition, according to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is that, in response to higher import duties, Chinese component-makers lowered prices so as to keep the post-import-duty component price the same; since Chinese phone firms in India have captured most of the market, the margins they sacrifice on components exported to India are made up by the margins on the phones they sell here.

(FE, Aug 12, 2019)

Govt steps to safeguard e-shoppers may hit cos General

The department of consumer affairs is proposing a slew of measures to protect the interest of online shoppers, which may have an impact on operations of e-commerce players across e-tail, online travel and food delivery. The proposals include disclosing terms of contract between the merchant and the marketplace and details of the merchant like contacta, to make them accountable for delivery of fake goods. E-commerce entities are also not allowed to influence prices. The notification comes even as government is considering the draft e-commerce policy, which is expected to be implemented next year, while this policy could take shape sooner. The department of consumer affairs has issued a notification and is open for consultation until September 16. “These rules can be implemented under the Consumer Protection Act 1986 or the new Consumer Protection Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha, independent of the e-commerce policy and can be fine-tuned once the e-commerce policy is finalized as the enforcement of the policy anyway will lie with the respective domain ministries,” said  Sachin Taparia of Local Circles. While several proposals in the notification like protection of consumer data and influencing prices are a repeat from draft e-commerce policy, there are some new measures being proposed as well. These include disclosure of non-commercial terms regarding refund, warranty and delivery between an e-commerce platform and merchant to “enable consumers to make informed decisions”. E-commerce platforms will also have a secondary liability if they have vouched for authenticity of goods and give refunds within 14 days, besides providing contact details of ‘Grievance Officer’

(ET, Aug 06, 2019)

Government wants feedback on draft Ecomm guidelines: Telecom

The government is seeking feedback on draft guidelines that seek to protect consumers who shop online. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs introduced the draft ecommerce guidelines for consumer protection in a notification on Friday. The proposed rules are aimed at curbing the sale of counterfeit goods, streamlining returns and refunds, and delineating the liabilities of sellers and online marketplaces. The draft guidelines are “principles for ecommerce business for preventing fraud, unfair trade practices and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of consumers,” the ministry said on its website. The ministry has sought comments from stakeholders and the deadline for submitting is September 16. “We are evaluating the draft guidelines…and we look forward to participating in the deliberations to help finalize an operating framework,” a spokesperson for ecommerce marketplace Snapdeal said. Under the proposed rules, only entities registered in India will be able to carry out ecommerce businesses, a likely roadblock for cross border ecommerce websites, especially Chinese owned ones. It also makes it mandatory for ecommerce marketplaces to display the legal name, address, website, email address and other contact details of sellers, something ecommerce marketplaces have not complied with so far. It also reiterates that ecommerce entities will not be allowed to influence prices of products sold on their websites directly or indirectly, something that has already been a part of FDI rules for ecommerce.

(ET, Aug 06, 2019

Companies cut down production and imports of TV sets by 20% General

Consumer electronics companies in India including Sony, Panasonic and BPL have cut down on their local production or imports of television sets by as much as 20% ahead of the big shopping season, as slow sales in recent months have caused a pile up of inventory. These companies have slowed production since June-July as television sales remained flat with even the cricket World Cup failing to boost demand, three senior industry executives said. The companies are saddled with stocks that they had built up expecting strong sales during the ICC World Cup that ended on July 14, the executives said. While the industry hopes demand for TVs to improve in the festive period starting next month, it is also closely tracking sales of home appliances like washing machine. Washing machine sales, which usually peak during monsoon, were dull last month. If sales don’t revive in August, the segment too would likely see production cuts, the executives said. “The demand for TV continues to be sluggish. July was another slow month post weak demand during the World Cup. We have cut TV production by 10-15%,” said Panasonic India chief executive Manish Sharma.

(ET, Aug 06, 2019)

Govt steps to safeguard e-shoppers may hit cos General

The department of consumer affairs is proposing a slew of measures to protect the interest of online shoppers, which may have an impact on operations of e-commerce players across e-tail, online travel and food delivery. The proposals include disclosing terms of contract between the merchant and the marketplace and details of the merchant like contacta, to make them accountable for delivery of fake goods. E-commerce entities are also not allowed to influence prices. The notification comes even as government is considering the draft e-commerce policy, which is expected to be implemented next year, while this policy could take shape sooner. The department of consumer affairs has issued a notification and is open for consultation until September 16. “These rules can be implemented under the Consumer Protection Act 1986 or the new Consumer Protection Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha, independent of the e-commerce policy and can be fine-tuned once the e-commerce policy is finalized as the enforcement of the policy anyway will lie with the respective domain ministries,” said  Sachin Taparia of Local Circles. While several proposals in the notification like protection of consumer data and influencing prices are a repeat from draft e-commerce policy, there are some new measures being proposed as well. These include disclosure of non-commercial terms regarding refund, warranty and delivery between an e-commerce platform and merchant to “enable consumers to make informed decisions”. E-commerce platforms will also have a secondary liability if they have vouched for authenticity of goods and give refunds within 14 days, besides providing contact details of ‘Grievance Officer’

(ET, Aug 06, 2019)

Indian customers against use of technology to track buying patterns: Verint survey General

As many as 77 per cent of Indian consumers in a recent survey believe that organisations collect too much data about them and 74 per cent were against the use of technology tools to assess their buying patterns. A survey conducted by Verint Systems across 18 countries and 34,000 consumers highlighted how an 'always on' era has led to explosion of unstructured data from digital channels of customer engagement. In India, more than 2000 consumers who have access to a digital platform took part in the research to reveal their assessment on issues like how customers perceive data privacy, their readiness to accept data breach, and use of technology to analyse customers' buying patterns, a Verint statement said. As per the findings, nearly 77 per cent of the Indian respondents agreed that organisations collect too much data about them and 74 per cent of the Indian respondents said it is "creepy" to use technology to analyse their buying patterns and preferences, the statement noted.  "Out of the 18 surveyed countries, Indian customers take lead as 73 per cent of the respondents voted in favour of actively avoiding brands that use technology to analyse and track their buying/engagement patterns," it added. 

(ET, Aug 05, 2019)

Paytm Payment Gateway has launched bulk payment facilities General

Paytm Payment Gateway which is owned by One97 Communications has launched bulk payments facilities for its merchant partners, using which they can send payments to multiple bank accounts at one go thereby catering to payment requirements for vendors, employees, suppliers, partners and others. This is part of the Noida headquartered company’s plans to expand its scope of operations for partner businesses. The solution will be enabled with modules such as beneficiary management, validation services and bulk disbursement among others, said the company in a note. The company will provide a payment gateway dashboard from where merchants can transfer funds across various destinations like bank accounts, UPI and wallets. “There is a large number of regular payments made by businesses (both B2B and B2C) such as salaries, reimbursements, incentives, instant refunds, prize money for winning games, vendor payments, meal benefits and others,” said Puneet Jain, vice president, Paytm Payment Gateway.

(ET, Aug 05, 2019)

Metro Cash & Carry partner’s ePay Later to digitise kirana stores General

Wholesale retailer Metro Cash & Carry on Monday announced partnership with fintech startup ePayLater to help kirana shops digitise their business using smartphones. As part of its next phase of kirana digitisation program, Metro in association with ePayLater has co-created a mobile application 'Digital Shop' to digitise kirana shops' business operation instantly without any additional investment, a joint statement said. Through this app, kirana shop owners can digitally track their daily and monthly sales, manage inventory, place orders with Metro and also pay digitally, it added. "The Digital Shop initiative is aligned with Government of India's impetus to digitize small retailers and shopkeepers, and aim to help facilitate a more level-playing field for these small and independent businesses for their continued success," Metro Cash & Carry India MD & CEO Arvind Mediratta said. The app will also provide analytics to kirana owners such as inventory consumption patterns and the fast and slow-moving products that will optimise kirana's product mix and eventually help in improving their revenues and margins, the statement said. Metro Cash & Carry entered the Indian market in 2003 and currently operates 27 wholesale distribution centres. Globally, it operates in 26 countries with over 760 wholesale markets and employs about 105,000 people. 

(ET, Aug 05, 2019)

Indian customers against use of technology to track buying patterns - Verint survey General

As many as 77 per cent of Indian consumers in a recent survey believe that organisations collect too much data about them and 74 per cent were against the use of technology tools to assess their buying patterns. A survey conducted by Verint Systems across 18 countries and 34,000 consumers highlighted how an 'always on' era has led to explosion of unstructured data from digital channels of customer engagement. In India, more than 2000 consumers who have access to a digital platform took part in the research to reveal their assessment on issues like how customers perceive data privacy, their readiness to accept data breach, and use of technology to analyse customers' buying patterns, a Verint statement said. As per the findings, nearly 77 per cent of the Indian respondents agreed that organisations collect too much data about them and 74 per cent of the Indian respondents said it is "creepy" to use technology to analyse their buying patterns and preferences, the statement noted.  "Out of the 18 surveyed countries, Indian customers take lead as 73 per cent of the respondents voted in favour of actively avoiding brands that use technology to analyse and track their buying/engagement patterns," it added. 

(ET, Aug 05, 2019)

Hewlett Packard Enterprise to invest $500 million for India growth General

Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) will invest $500 million in India over the next five years to grow its operations and begin manufacturing in the country. HPE said it would begin building a high-tech extension to its campus in Mahadevapura, in Bengaluru, that will be able to house more than 10,000 employees as well as state-ofthe-art R&D facilities.  “India is one of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world, and our investments will further develop the country as a critical market for HPE’s global business, as well as benefit our customers, partners, employees and the citizens of India,” said Antonio Neri, president and CEO of HPE and a member of the US-India CEO Forum. The company said it would start manufacturing Aruba’s portfolio of mobility and IoT solutions in India before year-end. In the budget, the government said it was looking to boost electronics manufacturing and said it would launch a scheme to invite global companies to set up mega manufacturing plants.  “It is great assurance that a global giant like Hewlett Packard Enterprise is making big investments in India, both in manufacturing as well as research and development,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister for communication, electronics & IT. “It shows the rising confidence of global investors in India's growing electronics manufacturing sector and success of Digital India.” 

(ET, July 25, 2019)

Govt. may bring separate policy for electronics to boost FDI Policy

In a move that may be a boost for hi-tech companies like Apple, Samsung, etc., the government is likely to formulate a separate policy for electronics to attract higher foreign direct investment (FDI) and make the country an export hub. This means electronics will not form part of the easing of the 30% local sourcing norms for single-brand retail, about which finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke in the Budget. For all practical purposes, no mandatory local sourcing norms may apply for electronics companies which make manufacturing bases in the country for export purposes. Analysts said sectors other than electronics may be clubbed together as single-brand retail and the new, eased 30% sourcing norms would apply to them.  “Electronics has an issue of imports. It is the third-largest category that eats up into our forex,” said Ankur Bisen, senior vice-president at Technopak Advisors. Bisen said the government should also mull extending the three-year period exemption, currently provided to companies undertaking retail trading of products having state-of-the-art technology, for sourcing products domestically. A move to this effect will give such companies more time to develop their factories and network of vendors in India.

(FE, July 16, 2019)

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)

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)

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)

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)