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Experts discuss FDI investments in India, what more needs to be done Policy

In a bid to make India an attractive investment destination, the Indian government had taken a slew of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) measures. The Centre cleared FDIs in contract manufacturing, single brand retail, insurance and digital media, hoping to increase the FDI inflow in the country. Needless to say, the steps will improve the current growth situation in the country and usher in relief. But, as per experts there was room for more such announcements. In a bid to discuss the reforms and outline a vision on what more needs to be done, PwC in association with CNBC-TV18 held a discussion on FDI Reforms & Tax Incentives, during which experts Ramesh Abhishek, former Secretary, Department of Industry Policy & Promotion; Jayant Dasgupta, former DTO Ambassador; and Akash Gupt, Partner & Leader- Regulatory Services, PwC India spoke at length about FDI, corporate tax and job creation. Speaking about the favourable corporate climate and how much does India stand to gain, Abhishek said the FDI move will put things in perspective.  Many of these FDI changes that have been done in last few month, they were in the works for some time and last of the FDI reforms done by the government in the last few years have been done on feedback. I think the government has been responding to many of these (suggestions), and all these put together actually create a conducive environment climate,” said Abhishek.

(Money Control, Jan 13, 2020)

In a smarter India, idiot box suffers a jolt General

Television sales saw its worst ever performance in India in 2019 as the number of units sold fell in comparison to last for the first time. As per estimates by leading brands, TV sales declined over 4% last year compared to 2018. Industry executives said consumers shifted to consuming content on their smartphones and postponed upgrade of their existing television sets in urban and semi-urban areas with the popularity of over-thetop (OTT) services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar. In rural India, poor sentiments largely impacted demand, much like most other consumer goods. This fall in television sales has irked the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY), which wants to make India a production hub for televisions and the steep drop in sales suggests domestic volumes will not justify it, three industry executives said. “Ministry officials have recently flagged the issue during consultation with industry,” one of them said.  As per industry body Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association estimates, television unit sales dipped by 7% in April-September 2019 from the year ago, while industry estimates put the October-December decline at a sharp 9-10%. 

(ET, Jan 13, 2020)

Mahindra outlines its electric mobility roadmap IT

In the past decade, electric mobility has emerged as a major trend in the automotive industry, with great strides being made in terms of practicality and affordability. Mahindra, a company that has been the bellwether of electric vehicles in India, plans to accelerate its efforts in this space in the months ahead. The company recently outlined its electric mobility roadmap, including its upcoming products and technologies. Contrary to some of the other OEMs in the industry, the home-grown automaker intends to direct its concerted efforts more towards the fleet segment, rather than private buyers. Commenting on the company’s strategy, Dr Pawan Goenka, managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra, said, "Our focus is on shared mobility and not on personal mobility. And that is the priority that the Government of India has also given because that is how you will get the maximum bang from the buck in use of electric vehicles in India in terms of the impact on the environment and the impact on oil imports."

(Auto Car, Jan 11, 2020)

Samsung’s premium focus could mean exit for many employees General

Samsung, India’s biggest consumer electronics company by sales, appears to have had enough of price wars with its rivals from China. The South Korean major has seen its bottom-line trimmed lately as a fallout of the trans-peninsular rivalry, and is moving away from entry-level smartphones and televisions that have a pronounced Chinese flavour in India. An outcome of this shift in strategy is manpower redeployment, something a company spokesperson described as “realignment of resources.”  But three top trade sources said about 600 roles could disappear in sales support functions such as sales planning, market hygiene and order punching at shops, with the core sales team taking over such tasks that are often repetitive in structure.  But three top trade sources said about 600 roles could disappear in sales support functions such as sales planning, market hygiene and order punching at shops, with the core sales team taking over such tasks that are often repetitive in structure.

(ET, Jan 10, 2020)

India's lack of electronics manufacturing ecosystem is hurting Isro's space plans General

India’s space agency planned to build as well as launch 17 homegrown satellites in 2019. It, however, managed to deliver only about half due to a shortage of electronics parts. The absence of a robust homegrown electronics ecosystem is hurting the ambitious targets set by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), which has lined up more than 60 missions over the next five years.  These include building new generation communication and earth observation satellites, heavier rockets, return missions to the moon and Mars, and its first human space flight endeavour. Each of these spacecraft and rockets needs electronic components and systems, mostly imported. Over half of the electronics components on a large satellite and nearly a tenth for a rocket are imported as they need to meet stringent standards. These components should be reliable, radiation hardened and work through the mission life of a satellite, which could be as many as 15 years.  The need, therefore, for such components is only going to increase as the space agency becomes more aggressive in pursuing cutting-edge missions.

(ET, Jan 10, 2020)

Indian firms seek line of credit for telecom carriers to procure locally-made gear General

The domestic telecom equipment makers and suppliers have urged the Narendra Modi-led government to allow line of credit or soft loan to incumbent telecom operators that could encourage them to purchase locally-made network products. “There is a need to allow a domestic line of credit to telecom service providers so that electronics in networks up to 75% should be purchased within India,” Sandeep Agarwal, Chairman— Telecom Committee of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) told ETT. Early this week, the representatives of the domestic trade groups such as Telecom Equipment Promotion Council (TEPC), Telecom Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (TEMA) besides the PHD Chamber submitted the proposal to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to press their demand. “Foreign countries provide a line of credit to their manufacturers for supply of telecom equipment to India on liberal terms. Indian manufacturers find it difficult to counter this and that only promoted imports by operators, a Delhi-based group told DoT officials. “A domestic line of credit should be allowed by the Finance Ministry. A dollar saved is a dollar earned.

(ET, Jan 10, 2020)

Dixon's LED TVs capacity will be increased to 44 lakhs from 36 lakhs: Atul B Lall, MD General

Our agreement with Samsung for manufacturing LED TVs is a milestone for our company and will not hurt the relations with other brands for whom we are manufacturing", says Atul B Lall, Managing Director, Dixon Technologies (India) Limited. During an interview with Swati Khandelwal, Zee Business, Mr Lall said, “Government's steps has helped India to start its journey as the mobile manufacturing hub”. Edited Excerpts: Dixon Tech, which has been manufacturing LED televisions for Panasonic and Xioami, has signed a contract with South Korean electronics company Samsung. Let us know about it?  Customer acquisition is an important business activity at Dixon and the recently signed agreement with Samsung is a significant milestone for us. It is a continuous activity and we keep talking with numerous customers. It is difficult to name them but we are working with significant brands. We always try to serve them, our customers, with full capability and bring cost reductions and provide new products to cement our relationship with them. Thus, the company has achieved significant mileage and it is also important for every stakeholder. 


(Zee Business, Jan 10, 2020)

Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurates works on laying of submarine cables between Chennai, Andaman Nicobar Islands General

Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the Union Government will ensure participation of the common people as  stakeholders in the digital transformation that is sweeping across the country. He was speaking after inauguration of the works on laying of submarine cables from Chennai to Andaman Nicobar Islands in Chennai today. Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad said, the Central Government has transferred funds worth eight lakh crore rupees under various heads to beneficiaries through the Direct Benefit Transfer system. He said, the DBT has helped the Centre to save about 1.40 lakh crore rupees by plugging the routes of pilferage.  The Minister said, banking services will be delivered at the footsteps of the people even at far-flung areas using the vast network of Post Offices in the country combined with Information Technology.

(All India Radio, Jan 09, 2020)

Here is why Mukesh Ambani is excited about offline-to-online commerce General

In August 2019, during the company’s 42nd Annual General Meeting, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries (RIL), talked about a ‘new commerce’ venture that aims to "completely transform the unorganised retail market, which accounts for 90 percent of India's retail industry". He said that Reliance’s platform will modernise even the smallest neighbourhood kirana shop to become a “future-ready digitised store".  JioMart explores the offline-to-online (O2O) model, which creates a system to entice consumers within a digital environment to make purchases of goods or services either from physical businesses or in an online setup. But, why is the man behind Jio so excited about this market? At the time, Ambani had said that “new commerce” is a massive new business opportunity worth $700 billion. Mukesh Ambani said, “The three crore merchants and kirana shop owners, who generate direct and indirect livelihoods for over 20 crore people, form the backbone of India's commerce ecosystem. These highly energetic and self-motivated entrepreneurs have suffered in recent years because of their inability to invest in technology and infrastructure.” In fact, it is not only RIL that is eyeing India’s O2O opportunity, but several startups are also bullish about this space. Despite competition from the likes of RIL, Amazon, Flipkart and others, a breed of startups have found their own niche in this space. So much so that experts are saying that it is the time for ‘Bharat’ commerce. We take a look at how 2020 looks like for retailers and startups in this space.

(Your Story, Jan 08, 2020)

Samsung India’s two top executives resign amid growing competition General

Two senior executives of Korean Giant Samsung’s India wing have put in their papers down according to the reports. Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Ranjivjit Singh who was in charge of mobile phone marketing and Sukesh Jain, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Business have resigned on Monday as per a report in The Economic Times. Singh’s responsibilities will now be managed by Aditya Babbar who will handle the mobile phone marketing. Jain’s role in the company has been taken over by Senior Director Akash Saxenaa.  The resignations come even as the company is planning its biggest tech event in February where it is said to unveil its flagships for 2020 including the all new Galaxy S11/20 series.  Samsung India had already been facing tough competition from Chinese electronics brand Guangzhou Bu Bu Gao Electronics (BBK), which holds a giant market share in Indian electronics under its four different brands including Vivo, OPPO, OnePlus and Realme.  According to a report published by the International Data Corporation (IDC) back in December, BBK gained 40 per cent market share compared to its previous 20 per cent market share. While the Korean tech giant Samsung’s share in the Indian market was estimated to be 19.1 per cent losing its hold over one of its prime smart phone markets. 

(BusinessLine, Jan 07, 2020)

Hyundai, Uber join hands to develop electric air taxis General

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

(India Today, Jan 07, 2020)

Months before Mukesh Ambani’s e-commerce entry, Amazon makes ‘enviable’ tie-up with Kishore Biyani General

Customers who have so far been swearing by Big Bazaar to buy their groceries, fashion, footwear, and other items would now be able to get it online. Kishore Biyani-led Future Group companies Future Retail — the retail arm and Future Consumer — the FMCG vertical have tied up with Amazon India. This would enable Future Retail to sell goods including groceries, general merchandise, beauty products, fashion, footwear, jewellery, watches, luggage across India. Similarly, Future Consumer brands including Tasty Treat for snacks, fabric care brand Voom, Dreamery for dairy, dry fruits label Karmiq, etc would be sold on Amazon. Big Bazaar products are also available as of now on Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s Paytm Mall. The deal with Future Group is likely to boost Amazon’s play in the Indian e-commerce market that is expected to grow to $188-billion in size by 2025 from $39 billion in 2017, according to Statista. Amazon and Flipkart are currently the largest online retailers in India with Snapdeal at a distant third even as it has shifted its focus to value-conscious buyers in India in 2017. “This creates an enviable collaboration bringing together the best of consumer insights and geographical reach from the online and offline world,” Amazon said in a statement. Future Group’s partnership with Amazon also comes probably months before the impending launch of Mukhesh Ambani’s Reliance into the e-commerce fray, thanks to Jio around 350 million customers and a network of nearly 11,000 retail stores. Reliance e-commerce foray is expected this year.

(FE, Jan 06, 2020)

IAS crunch reason for Rajeev posting General

The Bengal government did not seek the Centre’s approval before posting former Calcutta police commissioner Rajeev Kumar as the information technology and electronics principal secretary on the ground that it was facing a dearth of IAS officers, multiple officials claimed. Kumar, who is facing a CBI probe in connection with the Saradha scam, was given the posting on Thursday. A state government should seek the approval of the department of personnel and training, under the Centre, before assigning a non-IAS officer to a post reserved for the IAS. “The state had repeatedly urged the Centre to increase the sanctioned strength of IAS officers in Bengal. But the requests fell on deaf ears. This is the reason why the state was forced to place an IPS officer in a post meant for an IAS officer. If the Centre seeks a clarification, the state will cite the shortage of IAS officers here,” said a senior bureaucrat. Nabanna sources said that the Bengal government had urged the Centre earlier this year to enhance the IAS cadre strength to 400 during an allotment review meeting in Delhi that was held after five years. The Bengal government had cited development projects for the request.

(The Telegraph, Dec 30, 2019)

Digital India gets a boost IT

To promote digital payments, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said no MDR charges will be applicable on transactions through homegrown RuPay and UPI platforms beginning January 1, 2020. The department of revenue will soon notify RuPay and UPI as the prescribed mode of payment for digital transactions without any Merchant Discount Rate (MDR), she said after meeting CEOs of public sector banks here. Accordingly, all companies with a turnover of Rs 50 crore or more will be mandated by the revenue department to provide the facility of payment through RuPay Debit card and UPI QR code to their customers, she said. MDR is the cost paid by a merchant to a bank for accepting payment from their customers via digital means. The merchant discount rate is expressed in percentage of the transaction amount. “I’m happy to say that the announcement which was made in the budget will see the notification coming on January 1, 2020... those modes which are getting notified will not have charges under the MDR being levied on them,” she said. Indigenously developed digital payment medium such as RuPay and BHIM UPI will now have an edge over the payment gateway promoted by foreign companies. She said banks will also start a campaign to popularise RuPay Debit card and UPI.

(The Telegraph, Dec 29, 2019)

Mahindra Two Wheelers set to reveal its first electric scooter in Q1, CY2020 IT

Mahindra & Mahindra is learnt to be at an advanced stage of showcasing and/or launching its first electric scooter, which is understood to be based on the Mahindra Gusto scooter platform.It may be recollected that in April 2017, Autocar Professional had reported that a Gusto-based e-scooter was under development. The now-discontinued Gusto 110cc and 125cc scooter models were the most successful Mahindra models on two wheels, compared to the Duro and Rodeo. According to sources familiar with the latest developments on the new project, Mahindra's electric scooter will be revealed before Auto Expo 2020, which opens in early February. The e-scooter, for which ARAI certification is believed to have been received, is expected to be retailed at an estimated price of around Rs 80,000 in Delhi (including FAME 2 and state government subsidies). Considering that Mahindra owns two electric-scooter manufacturing companies (Mahindrda Genze in the USA and Peugeot Motocycles in France), it was a matter of time before the company, which is the forerunner of electric mobility in India, entered the e-mobility field on two wheels. The upcoming Mahindra e-scooter, which is learnt to have inputs from Mahindra Genze, is powered by a 3Kw motor and is expected to have a range of around 80 kilometres on a single charge, along with a top speed of around 55-60kph. Little else on the eco-friendly Mahindra two-wheeler is known at this stage.

(AutoCar, Dec 28, 2019)

Budget 2020: What India’s EV Industry Wants Nirmala Sitharaman To Address General

With a slew of initiatives be it the launch of Phase 2 of FAME scheme, the country-wide prohibition of single-use plastics, or India’s announcement of increasing the renewables from 175 GW to 450 GW at the recent UN Climate Action Summit, India has undoubtedly listed the going green among its priority tasks. Its commitment to adopting electric vehicles will be on display during the Union Budget 2020 as the EV industry awaits policy decisions that will impact the future of mobility in India. In fact, during the Union Budget 2019 in July, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced lowering the GST on EVs from 12% to 5%, which already had a big impact on the industry. She had stated, In conjugation with the Phase 2 of FAME scheme, Sitharaman had also announced another scheme which aimed to set up mega-manufacturing plants in sunrise and advanced technology areas such as semiconductor fabrication,  solar photovoltaic cells, lithium-ion storage batteries etc. Under the scheme, the manufacturers will also be liable to receive tax exemptions. Meanwhile, Phase 2 of FAME scheme with a total outlay of INR 10K Cr, over a period of three years,  was commenced on April 1, 2019. Phase 1 of FAME was launched on 1st April 2015, with a total fund of INR 895 Cr and ended on March 31, 2019. However, in an independent evaluation report, it was observed that while the relatively increased awareness, is in itself a notable achievement, the overall outcomes of key parameters of fuel-saving and CO2 reduction are significantly below the target for FAME and that it did not help encourage manufacturers to produce EVs.

(Inc42, Dec 27, 2019)

Israel keen to support growth of Indian semi-conductor industry General

With a growing demand in electronics and manufacturing in India and limited domestic manufacturing, semiconductor chips will soon become a significant import item for India. A local semiconductor manufacturing industry can support the development and manufacturing of sensors required for India specific Internet of Things (IoT) products, especially in the domains of agriculture, healthcare, smart cities, safety and waste management. The report estimates establishing such an industry would witness a pay back of 6.3X in terms of economic impact; 4X in employment and help develop a high-tech ecosystem in the country. An Indian semiconductor fabrication facility can offset semiconductor imports of US$ 8 billion over the projection period and have a further multiplier impact of US$ 15 billion on the Indian economy. An Indian semiconductor fabrication facility would enable India to join a handful of nations with such capacity. This was among key items on the agenda of Indo-Israeli forum held in Tel Aviv last week. In fact Ambassador Ron Malka, Ambassador of Israel to India, and Ambassador Sanjeev Singla, Ambassador of India to Israel, officially released a report on “Feasibility Study of Semiconductor Fabrication Facility in India” during the 12th India Israel Forum in Tel Aviv. 

(ET, Dec 27, 2019)

Government plans higher duty sops to lure phone companies to Make in India General

The government is considering a proposal to sweeten export incentive scheme for smartphone manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Vivo and Oppo by offering 6% duty credit scrips, replacing the current 4% scrip, two people aware of the development said. The government has set an ambitious target to increase smartphone exports from the country to $110 billion by 2025 from $3 billion now. Duty credit scrip is a certificate with certain monetary value that can be utilized for payment of customs duty. “The industry had sought up to 8% (duty credit slip) but the government is considering a 6% replacement for the MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme),” a senior government official told ET. Another person said the government is also working on tightening the eligibility criteria to ensure the new scheme is offered only to those targeted manufacturers who develop their supply chain and ecosystem in India and make the country an export hub. The criterion being deliberated on include employment generated, investment made, average selling price of phones, and production, the person said. “Since it (the new scheme) has to be WTO (World Trade Organisation) compliant, the policy cannot directly provide subsidy for exports and that criterion is being narrowed down.”

(ET, Dec 24, 2019)

By 2030, India will have over 90 million people skilled in AI, block chain, cyber security: NASSCOM IT

India will become the largest workforce in the world by 2030 with over 90 million people up skilling themselves in futuristic technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Block chain, Cyber security among others, according to a report by NASSCOM. Indian IT industry body said that with technology giants investing over INR 10 billion per year to address the reskilling/ up skilling requirements of their employees given the magnitude of the challenges, more people are expected to be a part of the industry. The Indian government had announced an initiative called ‘Future Skills’ last year in Hyderabad to reskill the IT industry workforce in emerging technologies and job roles prompting the Ministry of Electronics and IT and NASSCOM to also help reskill/ up skill over 200,000 IT employees leveraging the Future Skills platform. The Future Skills platform currently offers reskilling/ up skilling in 10 emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security, Block chain, etc. across 70 new job roles and 155 new skills. Union Minister for Electronics and IT Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad today approved the expansion of the Future Skills initiative to industry professionals across different segments, higher education students and government officials, with the goal to train 400,000 professionals in next three years. This expanded digital platform would be called Future Skills PRIME (Programme for Reskilling/ Up  skilling of IT Manpower for Employability). “In the digital world trained workforce will become India’s biggest competitive advantage. The Government is committed to working with the IT Industry and NASSCOM to create India Digital Talent Stack that will propel India into a leadership position in the digital world,” Prasad said. Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM, said, “It is phenomenal to see the Government taking on such a huge initiative and recognizing the imperative of skilling in our industry today. The common objective we share is to showcase India as the global hub for talent development in emerging technologies as well as globally recognized process structures. I am confident that such an initiative will significantly contribute to building a future-ready workforce and accelerate the technology sector in achieving its skilling targets for the country.”

(IBS Intelligence, Dec 24, 2019)

Bhubaneswar Electropreneur park to incubate 50 start-ups in five years General

The Electropreneur park in Bhubaneswar would incubate 50 start-ups in five years with thrust on verticals like energy, process control & industrial automation and education. The ecosystem is also envisaged to support innovation in electronics system design & manufacturing (ESDM) pertaining to agriculture, disaster management, healthcare and Smart City applications. Jitendra Chaddah, chairman, Indian Electronics & Semiconductor Association (IESA) said, "The consumption of electronics in India is growing at a rapid pace. The market is estimated to touch $400 billion in the next four to five years. The Electropreneur Park in Bhubaneswar can play a very critical role in meeting the demand-supply gap”. The Electropreneur park in Bhubaneswar being set up by the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) in collaboration with the department of electronics & IT, Odisha government is the first ESDM incubation centre in eastern India. It is also the second Electropreneur Park in the country after the one set up within Delhi University. International Institute for Information Technology (IIIT) is the knowledge & academic partner whereas IESA has been designated the implementation partner for industry connect, mentoring support and outreach.

(BS, Dec 23, 2019)

Govt. sets aside Rs 426 cr to reskill 4 lakh IT staffers in emerging tech IT

The government has expanded a programme to reskill the IT industry workforce in emerging technologies, with a target to train 4,00,000 professionals in the next three years. The government has earmarked Rs 426 crore for the programme. Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday that, in a digital world, a trained workforce will become India’s biggest competitive advantage, and that the government was committed to working with the IT Industry and industry group Nasscom to create India Digital Talent Stack. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the Future Skills Initiative in 2018. Since then, the Ministry of Electronics and IT and Nasscom have worked with the IT industry to reskill and up skill over 2,00,000 IT employees, leveraging the Future Skills platform. The platform currently offers skilling in 10 emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cyber security and blockchain across 70 new job roles and 155 new skills. By 2030, India will have more than 90 million people joining the workforce due to its existing demographic dividend, according to a government statement.  Indian IT giants have been investing over Rs 1,000 crore every year to address the reskilling/upskilling requirements of their employees, given the magnitude of the challenges, it added. “The common objective we share is to showcase India as the global hub for talent development in emerging technologies as well as globally recognised process structures,” said Debjani Ghosh, president, Nasscom.

(ET, Dec 19, 2019)

Budget wish list: Electronics and tech industry urges FM to raise MEIS rate IT

The electronics and technology industry is batting for reinstating the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) rate from the current 2 per cent to boost electronics exports from India. Industry bodies and companies discussed the issue with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday, at a meeting held to understand their budget expectations. "Our main ask from the government is to restore MEIS. It is a very important incentive scheme for global value chains," said Pankaj Mohindroo, India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) chairman. Hardware industry body MAIT's Chief Executive Officer George Paul, who was also present at the meeting with the FM, said, "Exports by the electronics industry will be highly dampened and have a negative impact on investments in this sector. Electronics exports will be hit hardest without MEIS. Reinstating the MEIS is the need of the hour for continued exports." Introduced in 2015 under the Foreign Trade Policy, the mega MEIS was created out of a merger of five existing reward schemes. It incentivizes merchandise exports of more than 8,000 items now and is the biggest of its kind. Exporters earn duty credits at fixed rates of 2 per cent, 3 per cent, and 5 per cent, depending upon the product and country. According to ICEA earlier this year, handset exports in the current fiscal have crossed Rs 7,000 crore after total exports of Rs 11,200 crore in 2018-19. The current directive by Ministry of Commerce to reduce the MEIS from 4 per cent to 2 per cent is not in sync with the goals set in the National Policy for Electronics, 2019, to export 100 million handsets worth $110 billion every year by 2025...The mobile handset manufacturing industry has been interacting with the government on this issue and was awaiting an increase in the export incentive to 8 per cent to make India globally competitive and become a manufacturing hub," the Internet and Mobile Association of India said in a statement on Monday. As per IAMAI research, India today stands at a cost disability of 8-10 per cent compared to Vietnam and 18-20 per cent against China in electronics manufacturing. The disabilities arise out of multiple factors like higher cost of money, cost of land, corporate tax structure, lack of value chain infrastructure to name a few.

(BS, Dec 17, 2019)

Making Delhi A Solar City General

With an average 50 KW solar power plant, one can save up to 72 tonnes of CO2 emissions entering the atmosphere, which is equivalent to planting 1500 trees. Solar power is not only environment-friendly but one of the very few secure investment options available in today’s declining economy to get an assured return. Installing solar not only reduces electricity bills but if you produce more electricity than your own consumption, that completely turns the table and you move from being a standard energy consumer to an energy producer. On top of all these financial and economic benefits, solar gives consumers an opportunity to contribute towards national development, feeling pride as they do their bit to ensure India meets its global and internal clean energy commitments, helping cities and states meet their climate change, air pollution and energy security targets. Currently, Delhites are witnessing the worst environmental disaster and air pollution of our time. The obvious solution lies in joint city and regional actions. Air pollution is not only a winter problem and not solely caused by crop residue burning but by increasing electricity demand, and the burning of coal in neighboring states’ thermal power plants. Citizens definitely need to accelerate their demands and hold governments accountable for their actions on a number of air pollution sources. We need their solutions, and a quicker response, by accelerating solar rooftop adoption to leave a clean and breathable environment for future generations. We must all join hands to stop Delhi from becoming a city of masks and work to create a solar city that guides other cities and nations towards a sustainable and climate resilient future for all.

(PV Magazine, Nov 29, 2019)

The Indian government is working on a national blockchain strategy Policy

The Indian government is working on a national blockchain strategy in order to expand the technology’s adoption in the country. As the India Times reported on Nov. 27, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said that it recognizes the potential of blockchain technology and the need for the development of a shared infrastructure to carry out related use cases. The Ministry added that it is working on the “National Level Blockchain Framework.”

The Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Communications and Electronics and IT, Sanjay Dhotre, noted blockchain’s capability and potential in sectors such as governance, banking, finance and cybersecurity, among others. Cointelegraph previously reported that the Indian state of Tamil Nadu was working on a state-level policy for blockchain technology and artificial intelligence. Tamil Nadu’s blockchain and AI policies are expected to establish ground rules on how the state government can apply the emerging technologies for service delivery and solving governance issues.

Earlier this year, the Southern Indian state of Telangana also released a draft blockchain policy initiative, which aimed to establish an ecosystem for blockchain startups and research institutes. The initiative reportedly has a particular focus on projects working to develop blockchain applications for the banking and financial sector, pharmaceuticals, logistics and solutions for government sectors. India’s government is set to embrace blockchain through the adoption of a national strategy focused on the emerging technology. Sanjay Dhotre, minister of state for electronics and information technology in the government of India, today said that a “National Level Blockchain Framework is being prepared” considering the technology’s potential and different use cases. The minister went on to say that blockchain is “one of the important research areas” with potential applications in areas such as governance, banking, finance, and cybersecurity. To that end, the country's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has also supported a blockchain project, dubbed “Distributed Centre of Excellence in Blockchain Technology,” in an association with other government agencies, including the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/indian-government-to-issue-national-blockchain-strategy:

Samsung India to hire over 1,200 engineering graduates for R&D General

Samsung on Wednesday said it will hire around 1,200 engineering graduates this year from India's premier institutions, such as IITs, NITs and IISc, for its research and development (R&D) centres in the country. The company plans to hire engineers for its R&D centres in Bengaluru, Noida and Delhi, and these employees will work on domains such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, image processing, cloud, internet of things, recognition systems, data analysis, OnDevice AI, mobile communications, networks, and user interface and user experience. Samsung will hire students from multiple streams including computer science, electronics and communications, electrical engineering, mathematics and computing, instrumentation and information technology, the company said in a statement. "This year, we plan to hire over 1,200 engineers and have already extended 340 PPOs (pre-placement offers) to engineers at IITs and other top institutions," Samsung India Head (Human Resources) Sameer Wadhawan said. PPOs are made in advance and the student joins the company after the completion of his or her course. Samsung, which had previously announced that it will hire 2,500 engineers by 2020, has already on boarded 1,000 engineers each in 2017 and 2018.

(ET, Nov 27, 2019)

India Puts Cartosat-3 into Orbit; Touches 310 Foreign Satellite Launch Mark General

On Wednesday, November 27, India successfully placed into orbit its own earth observation satellite Cartosat-3 and 13 American nano satellites in textbook style. In the process, India crossed the milestone of putting into orbit 300 foreign satellites. By putting the 13 American nano satellites into orbit, India till date has launched a total of 310 foreign satellites for a fee. "Extremely happy to declare PSLV-C47 precisely injected Cartosat-3 and 13 customer satellites in their desired orbit. Cartosat-3 is India's highest resolution civilian spacecraft that ISRO has built so far," ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said. He said ISRO has planned 13 missions during this fiscal -- six launch vehicle missions and 7 satellite missions before March 2020. At about 9.28 a.m. the rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-XL (PSLV-XL) standing around 44.4 metres tall and weighing about 320 ton with a one-way ticket hurtled itself towards the skies ferrying Cartosat-3. Sharing the ride with Cartosat-3 were 13 nano satellites from the USA for an undisclosed fee to be paid to NewSpace India Ltd -- the new commercial arm of ISRO. With the fierce orange flame at its tail further brightening up the morning skies, the rocket slowly gathered speed and went up and up, enthralling the people at the rocket port while the rocket's engine noise like a rolling thunder added to the thrill. About 17 minutes into the flight, the rocket ejected Cartosat-3 into an orbit of 509 km at an inclination of 97.5 degrees.

(TOI, Nov 27, 2019)

MG partners with Exicom to recycle ZS EV batteries IT

MG Motor India – which is all set to launch its first electric vehicle, the ZS EV SUV – is partnering with Exicom Tele-Systems for second-life use of ZS EV batteries. Under the partnership, Exicom plans to re-deploy MG ZS EV batteries at the end of their useful life in the car and put them through a controlled process of evaluation, disassembly and repackaging to design custom battery packs for non-automotive applications. The new partnership with Exicom is aimed at dispelling reservations around the disposal of used EV batteries. The automaker says the reuse of discarded EV battery packs will reduce the dependence on the limited resources. These battery packs can be used in a host of non-automotive applications such as home inverters, commercial and industrial UPS, and renewable energy storage. Speaking on the partnership, Rajeev Chaba, president and MD, MG Motor India, said, “Over the past few months, we have worked towards creating the right ecosystem for our customers, ahead of the launch of the ZS EV, including charging infrastructure and busting common myths around EVs. Another question which people have is ‘what happens to the EV battery after the product lifecycle ends. Our latest partnership focuses on second-life applications for used EV battery packs, to ensure environment-friendly battery disposal, which will only serve to bolster the country’s progress towards this critical objective.” Anant Nahata, MD, Exicom Tele-Systems said, “We are extremely delighted to associate with MG which is focused on harnessing the EV ecosystem in India. Making electric mobility mainstream is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities we face. E-mobility also represents an important opportunity to overhaul our energy infrastructure and make necessary investments in renewables and new grid technologies.”

(Autocar, Nov 26, 2019)

OnePlus data breach: Cyber law expert says non-reporting of breach to CERT-IN an offence Telecom

Chinese handset maker OnePlus has said it is working with relevant authorities to further investigate the system breach, which resulted in unauthorized access to certain information of users such as names, contact numbers, email and shipping addresses. In a statement to ET, India’s leading premium segment smartphone player, however, said “all payment information, passwords, and accounts are safe”. “OnePlus has notified impacted users that we have discovered that some of their order information was accessed by an unauthorized party. We took immediate steps to stop the intruder and reinforce security. Before making this public, we informed our impacted users by email,” the company said. It added that it will work to prevent such incidents in the future. Vikas Agarwal, general manager at OnePlus India, told ET the company is in the process of shifting its data to Amazon Web Services (AWS) India servers from Singapore. He, however, did not offer comments if Indian authorities have been informed about the breach or the quantum of users affected in India. Cyber law expert Pavan Duggal said once the company finds a cyber-security breach, it is mandated under the Indian law to report such breach to CERT-IN, India’s nodal agency for cyber security.

(ET, Nov 26, 2019)

iPhone-maker Foxconn awaits clarity on RoDTEP scheme; may extend capabilities to make ecosystem devices in India Telecom

iPhone maker Foxconn said that it may look at extending its manufacturing capabilities to make more ecosystem devices in India for domestic and global needs and is currently awaiting clarity from the government on the Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme, which will allow the company to drive ‘mobile plus’ capacity. “Foxconn makes anything and within reason, we will look at all possible opportunities to support our customers. Foxconn committed to making in India has been very consistent. We will continue to look at evaluating various options as we move forward,” Foxconn India MD and country head Josh Foulger, told ET. Foulger said that the next 36 months will be crucial for the country in terms of technology with the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and Artificial Intelligence. “Mobile phones and all ecosystem products will be propelled by 5G.” On the proposed RoDTEP scheme, he said that the government is proactively seeking inputs from the industry, and Foxconn has already provided its inputs through the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association of India (ICEA), which represents major players like Apple and Xiaomi.

(ET, Nov 25, 2019)

Salcomp to revive defunct Nokia handset factory: Ravi Shankar Prasad Telecom

The world's largest mobile phone charger maker Salcomp will revive the defunct factory of Nokia, located in the special economic zone in Sriperumbudur near Chennai, telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Monday. The Finnish company which is one of the leading suppliers to Apple, will begin next financial year. It will invest Rs 2,000 crore over the next five years. "Salcomp , the world's largest manufacturer and supplier of Apple has taken over the entire Nokia facility, it is going to start from March 2020," Prasad said. "This big SEZ of Nokia which was closed for 10 years will now start again. 10, 000 will get direct jobs and 50,000 indirect jobs," Prasad added. He added 70% products will be exported including to China which lead to a lot of value addition. The minister added that Apple has started manufacturing the iPhone XR, through contract manufacturer Foxconn in Chennai, which is now being sold in the Indian market. "Welcome to Apple and expand your manufacturing in India," the minister said. "India will have the most favourable regime to become a big centre for mobile manufacturing," he said. While emphasizing on the results on the National Policy on Electronics which came into effect in February this year, the minister added that exports of mobile phones from India has risen from $200 million in 2017-18, to $1.6 bn in 2018-19. Exports this year 2019-20 will be $1.6 billion from mobile phones and $1.6 billion from electronic components.

(ET, Nov 25, 2019)

Indian telecom carriers likely to push back 5G rollouts to 2025 Telecom

The Indian telecom carriers are expected to push back the ambitious fifth generation or 5G network deployments by at least five years on the back of exorbitant pricing, insufficient spectrum, and unavailability of newer bands, according to an industry group. “We will push out 5G for at least five years. That's the operator perspective,” Rajan S Mathews, director-general of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) told ETT, and added that first, there was a pricing problem, and now the quantum issue has surfaced leading to a delay in 5G commercial rollouts. Delhi-based COAI represents incumbents— Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea as well as gear makers such as Huawei, Ericsson, Cisco and Ciena. “Pricing originally started off as a problem for the industry. With the Rs 492 crore for 1 MHz, most operators said it was not a viable proposition given the debt and international prices,” Mathews said. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended radio waves in the block of 20 MHz, and for a purchase of 100 Mhz of volume, an operator would need to pay at least Rs 50,000 crore.

(ET, Nov 25, 2019)

Over 92,000 employees of BSNL, MTNL opt for VRS scheme Telecom

Over 92,000 employees of state-run BSNL and MTNL have so far opted for the recently announced VRS scheme, according to a government source. The source said the scheme and the strong response it has generated marks the biggest milestone in the history of these state-owned corporations. Over 92,000 employees of BSNL and MTNL have opted for the scheme so far, the source added. Nearly one lakh BSNL employees are eligible for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) out of its total staff strength of about 1.50 lakh. The effective date of voluntary retirement under the present scheme is January 31, 2020.  The 'BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme - 2019', that was rolled out recently, will remain open till December 3. BSNL is looking at savings of about Rs 7,000 crore in wage bill, if 70,000-80,000 personnel opt for the scheme. According to the plan, all regular and permanent employees of BSNL including those on deputation to other organisations or posted outside the corporation on deputation basis, who attended the age of 50 years or above are eligible to seek voluntary retirement under the scheme. The amount of ex-gratia for any eligible employee will be equal to 35 days salary for each completed year of service and 25 days salary for every year of service left until superannuation.

(ET, Nov 25, 2019)

BBK Electronics revenue shows demand intact for Chinese handsets Telecom

High sales growth of China’s leading smartphone group BBK Electronics in the Indian market in the first half of this fiscal suggests that the economic slowdown has had no impact on smartphone consumption or nor was there any shift in Indian consumers’ preference for Chinese handsets. BBK’s two leading brands - Oppo and Vivo have doubled their combined India revenue between April and September this year to Rs 34,500 crore, according to their latest regulatory filings. These two brands are now within touching distance of their Rs 38,726 crore combined sales in 2018-19 when they had grown business by 67% over FY18. Both brands have reduced losses in first half of this fiscal. BBK's two other brands, premium OnePlus and online-focussed realme, too have continued to gain revenue.  Realme India told ET its revenue from sales of handsets is accrued under books of Oppo India which produces and sells its products, though developed by realme. Oppo did not respond to a query sent on this. Realme India has separately filed regulatory disclosure indicating it will achieve Rs 723 crore sales in current fiscal from services. Samsung and Xiaomi are yet to file their financials for 2018-19 and current fiscal.

(ET, Nov 21, 2019)

Indian Railways eyes 500 MW rooftop solar by 2021-22 General

Indian Railways—the nation’s largest electricity consumer, with 2.4% of total consumption, and the third largest high-speed diesel user, with 2.6 billion liters consumed annually—plans to install 500 MW rooftop solar plants by 2021-22. Of the targeted capacity, so far 95.67 MW has already been put up on various Railway buildings, including 835 Railway stations, while 248.46 MW capacity is under various stages of execution. This information was shared by Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal, recently in Lok Sabha. In terms of zone-wise installation, South Western Railway leads with 132 numbers of stations provided with solar panels, followed by East Central Railway (105) and North Western Railway (104). “Solar panels will be installed in other stations depending upon site availability and feasibility,” shared Goyal. “Tenders for 248.46 MW capacity have been awarded by Railway Energy Management Company Limited and are under different stages of execution. This will cover the rooftops of Railway station platforms shelters and various other Railway buildings,” he added. Of the 248.46 MW upcoming capacity, South Central Railway will account for the maximum at 33.14 MW, followed by South Eastern Railway (24.94 MW) and Northern Railway (23.63 MW).

(PV Magazine, Nov 21, 2019)

DVC tenders 50 MW grid-connected solar in Jharkhand General

State-run power producer Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) has invited bids to set up 50 MWp (AC) of grid-connected solar plant capacity in Jharkhand—a state that is lagging woefully in the transition to renewable energy with around 38 MW of solar generation capacity towards its 2020 target of 2.65 GW. The plant—to be developed in design-build-operate-transfer mode—shall come up at the power producer’s Panchet project in Dhanbad district. It must be designed for annual capacity utilization factor of minimum 19%. DVC shall sign a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the selected developer, which must commission the plant within 12 months of signing the PPA. Bidders are required to quote a fixed levellised tariff for the entire PPA period. The project along with all its assets shall be transferred to DVC after completion of the entire PPA period. However, if any need arises to dismantle the project after 25 years, DVC will charge Rs 0.02/ KWh of power generated on monthly basis as security deposit.

(PV Magazine, Nov 21, 2019)

Government tells Lok Sabha about Pegasus attack IT

He Centre, on Wednesday, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha said it has taken note of reports that emerged in October of a spyware/malware called Pegasus’ having affected some WhatsApp users globally. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Broadcasting said that 121 WhatsApp users had been impacted in India. The ministry was replying to a question raised by AIMIM MPs Asaduddin Owaisi and Imtiaz Jaleel". According to WhatsApp, this spyware was developed by an Israel-based company NSO Group and that it had developed and used Pegasus spyware in an attempt to reach mobile phones of a possible number of 1400 users globally that includes 121 users from India," the ministry informed the Lower House of the Parliament. The Centre dismissed allegations that government agencies were behind the snooping. "Some statements have appeared, based on reports in media, regarding this. These attempts to malign the Government of India for the reported breach are completely misleading. The government is committed to protecting the fundamental rights of citizens, including the right to privacy," the written reply read.

(India Today, Nov 20, 2019)

Samsung may switch on TV production in India General

Samsung India is bringing back television production to India after a year with the government scrapping import duty on the biggest component open cell panel, or displays, said people with knowledge of the matter. The South Korean electronics company is about to sign a deal with homegrown contract manufacturer Dixon Technologies to manufacture television sets up to 55 inches in screen size, they said. These account for more than 85% of the Indian market. The company is evaluating options with other contract manufacturers to further expand local TV production in India, they added. Samsung, the largest television brand in India, is also evaluating whether it can restart the television line in its Chennai plant that was shut in October last year after the government imposed duty on open cell television panels. The company had then started importing finished television sets from its plant in Vietnam through the free trade agreement (FTA) route. In September, the Centre had scrapped the 5% import duty on open cell panels. The display accounts for almost 65-70% of the production cost of LED televisions. There are currently no domestic manufacturers of television panels even though the government has been trying to push local production of this component.

(ET, Nov 20, 2019)

India appeals against WTO panel's ruling on export promotion measures General

India on Tuesday appealed against a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel's ruling that had recommended withdrawal of its key export subsidy schemes, including the one for special economic zones in the next 90-180 days. India filed an appeal before the organization’s Appellate Body. On October 31, the WTO had ruled that export subsidy programmes-Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), Export Oriented Units Scheme and sector specific schemes, including Electronics Hardware Technology Parks Scheme and Bio-Technology Parks Scheme; Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme; and Duty-Free Imports for Exporters Scheme- violated provisions of the trade body’s norms.  Appeals cannot re-open factual findings made by the panel but when a decision is challenged by an appeal by the member-country concerned, it cannot come into effect. Each appeal is heard by three members of an Appellate Body comprising persons of recognised authority and unaffiliated with any government. Generally, the Appellate Body has up to three months to conclude its report. 

(ET, Nov 19, 2019)

MG Motor and Fortum install first EV fast charging station in Gurugram: Fourth in Delhi NCR IT

Morris Garages (MG) Motor India in partnership with Fortum Charge & Drive India have unveiled the first 50 kW DC charging station at MG’s flagship dealership in Gurugram. The Finland based company has announced that the station is now operational for public use, an announcement which comes ahead of the launch of MG’s second model introduction, and its first electric model launch in India – the MG ZS EV. The launch of the ZS EV is scheduled to take place in December 2019. As a part of the tie-up with Fortum, MG has installed four 50 kW DC fast charging public stations in Delhi NCR, located in South Delhi, West Delhi, Noida and Gurugram. Six stations have already been installed at MG dealers in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. The locations of the charging stations can be found by registering with Fortum Charge & Drive India through its Mobile App.

(FE, Nov 19, 2019)

Bengaluru’s tech prowess to drive India’s $1 trillion digital economy: experts IT

Bengaluru’s technological prowess will play a crucial role in making India achieve $1 trillion in digital economy, experts said at the ongoing Bengaluru Tech Summit.The digital economy growth target is in the backdrop of a February report from the ministry of electronics & information technology and McKinsey which stated that India can create over $1 trillion of economic value from the digital economy in 2025, with half the opportunity originating in new digital ecosystems. “In terms of technology, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics should be mapped with every sector to solve day-to-day problems like water pollution and air pollution," Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon Ltd said. Given that human capital is the most important catalyst in driving the digital economy, Shaw said that Biocon is creating a globally competitive biotech talent in India through the Biocon Academy which leverages the industry experience of Biocon and subject expertise of international education partners.

(LiveMint, Nov 18, 2019)

China’s Vivo evaluating exports from India; sets up a new manufacturing unit in Greater Noida Telecom

Chinese handset maker Vivo is evaluating the prospects of starting exports from its Indian facilities, having kicked off a new unit in Greater Noida under the first phase of its broader Rs 7500 crore investment plan for India. “We are open to that [exports] and are waiting for the right time. Exploring the possibility of it is an ongoing thing. We didn't have the capacity for domestic need and the focus is to increase capacity for the same,” Nipun Marya, Director-Brand Strategy of Vivo India told ET. “Rs 7500 crore investment will be made over a longer time frame,” he said. He, however, didn’t share the exact timeframe for the investment.  With the new facility, the brand will now be able to produce 33.4 million devices annually, up from 25 million previously, generating 2000 new jobs to locals in the state. With the new manufacturing facility located at WTC Tech zone, Greater Noida, the BBK Electronic-owned company now provides employment in manufacturing to 10,000 people, and plans to provide 5000 new jobs under the phase two of manufacturing expansion, which will start soon.

(ET, Nov 07, 2019)

BSNL rolls out VRS scheme; expects 70,000-80,000 employees to avail it Telecom

Within days of government approving a relief package for the ailing corporation, state-owned BSNL has rolled out a voluntary retirement scheme for its employees, and said it expects 70,000-80,000 personnel to opt for it leading to savings of about Rs 7,000 crore in wage bill. BSNL Chairman and Managing Director P K Purwar told PTI that the scheme will be open between November 4 and December 3, and that instructions have already been given to field units to inform employees about the VRS offering. In all, nearly one lakh BSNL employees are eligible for the VRS out of its total staff strength of 1.50 lakh.  "This is the best VRS given by the government and BSNL employees should see it in a positive frame of mind," Purwar said. He said the corporation expects 70,000-80,000 employees to opt for the scheme, and added that saving in wage bill is expected to be about Rs 7,000 crore with those numbers. According to `BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme - 2019' all regular and permanent employees of BSNL including those on deputation to other organisation or posted outside BSNL on deputation basis, who attended the age of 50 years or above are eligible to seek voluntary retirement under the scheme. The amount of ex-gratia for any eligible employee will be equal to 35 days salary for each completed year of service and 25 days salary for every year of service left until superannuation.

(ET, Nov 07, 2019)

Won’t accept attempt to create data monopoly: Ravi Shankar Prasad Telecom

India will not accept any attempt to create monopoly on data by a few companies or countries, and “data imperialism”, Union law and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said. “In India, we view privacy seriously and informational privacy is also integral to that. It means a person must have control over his data and its commercial usage,” Prasad told a Commonwealth Law Ministers Conference in Colombo on Wednesday. His comment comes at a time when a major WhatsApp data-protection failure and privacy breach has spurred public outrage and debate over data protection in the country. Prasad said the government plans to soon introduce the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 in Parliament after public consultations. Any data protection law should be “technology agnostic, must be based upon element of free consent, no abuse of consent beyond the permissible limits, requisite data protection authorities, and a fair mechanism for data processing”, he said. “Equally there is a need to balance innovation (and) enterprise in data, but with due regard to privacy.”

(ET, Nov 07, 2019)

Oppo, Vivo sales jump 67% in FY19 Telecom

Chinese  smartphone makers, Oppo and Vivo continued their scorching pace of growth in the Indian market in FY19, with both the brands together pushing parent BBK Electronics Corp’s India revenue near the Rs 40,000 crore milestone in their fifth year of operation. As per latest filings made by Oppo and Vivo, the combined sales of these two brands grew by 67% to Rs 38,726 crore in the fiscal ending March 2019 on a relatively higher base. On a standalone basis, Oppo’s sales went up by 80% at Rs 21,524.6 crore, while Vivo grew by 54% at Rs 17,201.79 crore in 2018-19. BBK Electronics also owns OnePlus and Realme smartphone brands whose India sales for FY19 are still not available. In 2017-18, their combined revenue was Rs 23,148 crore whereby BBK Electronics had become the second largest smartphone maker in India marginally ahead of ace rival Xiaomi which was at Rs 23,060 crore.  However, BBK Electronics is still not making money in India with both Oppo and Vivo yet to break even. As per the filings, combined losses of Oppo and Vivo went up in FY19 by 47% to Rs 707 crore. While Oppo’s net losses went up by 93% to ₹688 crore in last fiscal, Vivo managed to reduce net losses to ₹19.1 crore from ₹124.3 crore. In contrast, Xiaomi and Samsung were profitable in FY18.

(ET, Nov 07, 2019)

Infosys to hire more freshers, targets $150 million in cost savings Telecom

Infosys is looking to cut costs by $100-$150 million this financial year, as it hires freshers to reduce employee costs and rejigs roles for middle and senior management, a top company executive said at an analyst meet. The company’s margins have dropped significantly under CEO Salil Parekh, as it boosted investments to drive growth. The company is, however, now looking at greater cost savings, since a major chunk of its investments has been completed. “There are 21 tracks we are looking at for cost-optimisation. We are targeting $100-$150 million in cost savings as the year goes on,” chief financial officer Nilanjan Roy said on Wednesday. Roy said the firm was focused on improving the bottom-end of its pyramid, which had become more barrel-shaped, by hiring freshers. It was also looking to recreate the pyramid onsite through fresher hiring, he added. Infosys has hired 1,700 freshers in the US and Europe in the past year. Roy said the company would move to an asset-lite model for new infrastructure.

(ET, Nov 07, 2019)

Xiaomi confirms plans to enter Japan in 2020 Telecom

Wang Xiang, head of Xiaomi's international operations, disclosed the company is set to enter Japan next year with high-performance smartphones offering at lower prices. Wang said Xiaomi eventually hopes to partner with wireless carriers, the main distributors for phones in Japan, though he did not mention any specific names, Nikkei Asian Review reported on Tuesday. Initially the products will be available exclusively through the company's own sales channels, including online.  During the interactive media session, Wang also tried address data-privacy concerns surrounding Chinese companies. "We cooperate with Google. We have a track record of respecting personal data protection rules in Europe, and we'll do the same in Japan", he said. Additionally, Xiaomi is also set to make its debut in Sweden soon. The smartphone player will hold an event in central Stockholm, Sweden, on November 13, which will kick off at 1 p.m. (local time).

(ET, Nov 06, 2019)

Gujarat solar capacity just shy of 2.7 GW General

Confirmation of the rapid rise of Gujarati solar has come with the news the state now boasts 2.69 GW of solar capacity – 405 MW of it rooftop PV. The figure has been published on the website of the Gujarat Energy Development Agency, which revealed 169 MW of ground mounted generation capacity and 78.4 MW of grid connected rooftop solar was added from April to October. The latest figures illustrate startling progress from the 170 kW of rooftop PV that was all the solar capacity recorded in the state in 2008-09. Gujarat saw strong solar figures in September, when 25 MW of ground-mounted capacity and 5.3 MW of rooftop PV came online, before dipping last month to just 303 kW of new ground mounted installations and 2,464 kW of rooftops. May was the most productive month for new ground-mounted solar capacity in the current fiscal year, with 52.82 MW coming online. New rooftop arrays topped out in April, when 19.425 MW of generation capacity was added. Diving into the figures for the last two fiscal years shows capacity from new larger installations more than doubling between 2017-18 (264 MW of new projects) and the last full year (620 MW). Over the same period, rooftop capacity additions showed much slower growth, from 117 MW in 2017-18 to 172 MW last year. Gujarat chief secretary JN Singh said this week the state is aiming for 30 GW of renewables capacity by 2022. Starting from a base of 2.7 GW of solar and 7.2 GW of wind, that marks a 6 GW raising of the stakes since January, when the state announced an intent to invest Rs1 lakh crore over three years to add 10 GW of solar and 5 GW of wind generation.

(PV Magazine, Nov 06, 2019)

Samsung says to shut down U.S. CPU research division General

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 005930.KS said on Tuesday it will shut down a CPU research division at one of its U.S. facilities, a move that analysts said dimmed prospects for the tech giant's Exynos-branded mobile chips. Exynos mobile processor chips are considered a hallmark of the South Korean firm's attempts to reduce its reliance on memory chips and increase sales of logic chips that are used to power mobile devices and autonomous vehicles. But the proprietary chips, which are found in Samsung's flagship Galaxy series smartphones and compete against Qualcomm Inc's QCOM.O marquee mobile processors, have struggled to find external customers. The decision to shut down the division, which will make some 300 jobs redundant, point to challenges Samsung faces in promoting Exynos chips, analysts said. "(Exynos) chips are not really used anywhere else and continue to lose ground in the mobile processor market, raising concerns about the company's competitiveness," said Park Sung-soon, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities.

(Nasdaq, Nov 05, 2019)

DC-MSME to engage CPSEs for establishing 20 Technology Centres across India IT

The Office of Development Commissioner, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises wants to rope in a Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) for establishment of technology centers across India. DC MSME is planning to establish as many as 20 TCs across India at an approximate cost of Rs 3600 crores. In this context, Office of Development Commissioner (MSME), Ministry of MSME, Government of India intends to engage the services of a CPSE as Project Management Consultant (PMC) for planning, design & monitoring of civil infrastructure, procurement of machines, contract management and providing implementation & monitoring support in establishment of 20 Technology Centres across India.  Currently there are 18 operational Technology Centres. 10 are for the tooling industry and 8 are for other industries such as ESDM (electronics system design and manufacturing), glass, footwear, and fragrance and flavour and sports. The Ministry of MSME established 18 Technology Centres (TCs) earlier known as Tool Rooms (10 Nos) and Technology Development Centres (8 Nos) spread across the country. TCs’ primary focus is to support industries particularly MSMEs in the country through - Access to advanced manufacturing technologies; Skilling manpower by offering opportunities for technical skill development to the youth at varying levels ranging from school dropouts to graduate engineers and Providing technical and business advisory support to MSME entrepreneurs. (KNN Bureau).

(KNN, Nov 05, 2019)

India to see M&A deals worth $52 bn in 2019 Telecom

India is expected to see M&A deals of over USD 52 billion in 2019 as mergers and acquisitions in the country are expected to remain stable despite global headwinds, according to a new report by Baker McKenzie. "Despite the global headwinds, India M&A is expected to remain stable in the next few years, with private investments reviving against the backdrop of a more favourable business environment," it said. The firm's fifth annual Global Transactions Forecast, jointly released with Oxford Economics, predicts India's GDP will grow by close to 7 per cent through 2019-2022, ahead of the global GDP average growth rate of 2.8 per cent for the same period. In IPOs, total proceeds (which will be predominantly from domestic IPOs) is forecasted to dip from USD 3.4 billion in 2019 to USD 2.7 billion in 2020, before picking up again in 2021 to USD 4.3 billion. India M&A to remain stable despite a slowdown, it said. "India deal making activity is expected to revert to the 'normal' level in 2019, with total M&A reaching USD 52.1 billion."

(ET, Nov 05, 2019)

Away From China, Flex Commits $500 Mn Investment for India General

The US-based electrical and electronics component manufacturer Flex on Monday (November 4) announced that it is planning to expand its business from China to other geographies, including India. According to the TOI report, the company has made up its mind to invest about $500 Mn (over INR 3500 Cr) to increase its manufacturing capabilities in India, and also increasing its exports from India to other markets. In the report, a Flex senior exec said the company’s president Richard Hopkins met with a group of Indian ministers including communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday last week and discussed the opportunities for the company, to shift its production out of China. The decision comes at a time when the China-US trade war continues to affect US-based companies in China, and vice versa. The move taken by Flex is no surprise. And, this trade war, in a way, is attracting global manufacturers to look at countries like India, Malaysia and Vietnam and others, to further expand their business. Additionally, a lot of experts believe that India has to take a quick decision and come up with a policy to compete with Vietnam and Malaysia in a bid to position itself as a global manufacturing hub. However, during their last meeting with the ministry, in October, Flex had stated it would leave India for Malaysia and requested the government to come up with suitable incentives to attract electronics component manufacturers.

(Inc 4, Nov 04, 2019)

Software Technology Parks of India to create around 15,000 direct jobs IT

Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) is aiming to create around 15,000 direct jobs through North East BPO Promotion Scheme (NEBPS). STPI is an organization under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India. A budget of Rs 50 crore has been allocated to incentivize the establishment of 5000 seats in respect of BPO/ITES operations in the region.  This scheme aims at creating an ecosystem in the North East that will unleash development in the region. It will provide a platform to the youth of North East and curtail the migration from the region. Further, the scheme would facilitate investment and attract industry players to explore the opportunities in the area. Dr. Omkar Rai, Director General, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) said, “Considering the geographical location of the northeastern states, the provision of employment for the youth of the region would boost the economy and propel them towards the mainstream. The government is trying to infuse development in the region. The scheme would have a domino impact as it will create an enabling environment through the creation of an ecosystem, provide jobs and bring investment in the area.

(ET, Nov 04, 2019)

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.

BT- 06-09-2019

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.

Money Control : 04-09-2019