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DoT taking a call on relief in AGR issue: Finance Minister Telecom

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is taking a call on relief to telcos in respect of the payment towards AGR dues. "Meetings have taken place. DoT is taking a call. We will have to wait for Department to take the call," she said at an event where she met PSU bank chiefs. Telecom companies chiefs -- Sunil Mittal of Airtel and Kumar Mangalam Birla of Vodafone idea have met the Minister recently seeking relief for the sector as a whole and Vodafone Idea is also seeking various measures explicitly on AGR dues related payments.

(ET, Feb 26, 2020)

Tumbling rupee to push up prices of electronic goods General

Prices of television, refrigerator and washing machine are set to go up due to steep depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, two senior industry executives said. Smartphone makers such as Xiaomi, Vivo and OnePlus plan to absorb the exchange rate impact as of now, with the industry fearing a slide in sales since prices are all set to go up due to increase in goods and services tax on smartphones to 18% from 12%. But they will factor the exchange rate in the pricing of future launches the executives said. A Xiaomi India spokesperson said the rupee depreciating against the dollar is impacting the company. “We are continuously tracking the exchange rate trend and will take a call based on where it stabilises,” the person said. The development comes just about a month after several consumer electronics and home appliances brands increased prices due to higher logistic and component sourcing cost from coronavirus-hit China. LG and Panasonic NSE 0.98 % will increase prices of their products by 2-4% while several other brands are likely to pass on the impact of rupee depreciation to consumers from next month. The rupee on Friday touched a record low of ₹74.50 against the dollar. Panasonic India CEO Manish Sharma said the company is increasing AC prices by 2-3% from next week, while other products will be hiked from next month due to the exchange rate.

(ET, Mar 16, 2020)

Samsung Galaxy M21 to Launch in India on Wednesday: Expected Price, Specifications Telecom

Samsung Galaxy M21 will be launched in India on Wednesday, the latest offering in the company's Galaxy M-series of smartphones aimed at the younger demographic. The smartphone has appeared in numerous leaks over the past few months, but last week, Samsung revealed it would launch in India on Monday, March 16. The South Korean electronics giant isn't holding a press event for the launch, but stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for the latest launch information to emerge on Wednesday, including the Samsung Galaxy M21 price in India, specifications, release date, and more. The Samsung Galaxy M21 can be expected to be priced around the Galaxy M20 (Review), which was launched in January last year starting at Rs. 10,990. The smartphone will be sold via Amazon INdia as well as the Samsung India website. Unfortunately, as we mentioned, there is no launch event for the Samsung Galaxy M21. But, do stay tuned to Gadgets 360, and we will bring you all the details you need as soon as Samsung announces them. Thus far, Samsung has teased that the Galaxy M21 will feature a vertically stacked triple rear camera setup, helmed by a 48-megapixel main camera. There is no information on the other two cameras, but one of them is most likely a wide-angle shooter while the other one might be depth sensor.

(Gadgets, Mar 16, 2020)

Mobile phones to become costlier as government hikes GST rate Telecom

Mobile phones in the Indian market could become costlier soon as the GST Council, headed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has decided to increase Goods and Services Tax (GST) on mobiles phones and allied parts from 12 percent to 18 percent. This increased GST is set to go in effect from 1st April 2020. This development comes at a time when the Indian rupee is depreciating against the US dollar. The consumer electronics market, especially the smartphone manufacturers are also facing a touch situation as the product and supply chain has been disrupted because of the coronavirus outbreak. Soon after the announcement from the GST Council, Manu Kumar Jain, Xiaomi India MD and Global Vice President, took to Twitter to oppose the move from the government. In his tweet, he said that the GST increase will crumble the smartphone industry which is already struggling with profitability. He also said that the move will force companies to increase prices which will weaken the the Make in India program. Manu Kumar Jain has requested Prime Minister and Finance Minister to reconsider this decision, at least for the devices priced under ₹15,000. Xiaomi managed to become the dominating smartphone brand in the Indian market through budget devices and a 6 percent increase in the GST fees is a major blow that could affect the potential of the world’s one of the fastest growing smartphone market. And it’s not just Xiaomi, most of the smartphone brands in India focus on the budget segment, given that India is a price conscious market. The likes of Realme, Vivo, and OPPO also managed to grow their share with budget and mid-range devices while Samsung is also doing the same with its newly revamped Galaxy A-series and the Galaxy M-series of smartphones.

(Mobigyaan, Mar 15, 2020)


GST Council in the 39th meeting held on 14th March, 2020 at New Delhi took

following decisions relating to changes in GST rates on supply of goods and services.

1.    The recommendation of the Fitment Committee for calibrating the GST rate structure to correct the inverted duty structure on various items like Mobile phones, Footwear, Textiles and Fertilizers was placed before the GST Council for discussion. The Council had a detailed discussion on the matter. Upon discussion the Council made the following recommendations:-

a.    To raise the GST rate on Mobile Phones and specified parts presently attracting 12% to 18%.

b.    To deliberate the issue of calibrating the rate in other items for removing inversion in future meetings with further consultation and examination of issue.

2.    GST rate on all types of matches (Handmade and other than Handmade) has been rationalised to 12% (from 5% on Handmade matches and 18% on other matches). This would address the classification issues. This issue was deliberated earlier in the 37th meeting and was pending for decision.

3.    To reduce GST rate on Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services in respect of aircraft from 18% to 5% with full ITC and to change the place of supply for B2B MRO services to the location of recipient. This change is likely to assist in setting up of MRO services in India. Domestic MRO will also get protection due to 5% tax paid under section

3(7) of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 on most imported goods (sent abroad for repairs) as this tax is not available as credit.

Note: It is proposed to issue notifications giving effect to these recommendations of the Council on 01st April, 2020.

Corona Virus may further dwindle Chinese electronics goods import to India IT

China's share in the import of electronics and IT hardware goods to India have slid below 40% of the total share for the second consecutive fiscal despite clocking over 55% between 2015-16 and 2017-18 and the Covid-19 outbreak in the neighbouring country country could further dwindle due to disruption in the supply chain. These concerns have been shared by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) with Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology with the former saying that the impact would depend on the "severity and persistence" of Covid 19 Covid-19 or coronavirus. The panel has suggested that the high  on Chinese import in the sector is still too high and the government should look at broad-basing sources. Reports suggest that the worst in China -- where the epicenter of Covid-19, Wuhan, is located -- is over in terms of the spread of virus even as World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it a pandemic due to its spread across the globe. The Parliamentary panel headed by senior Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had asked the Ministry whether the Covid-19 outbreak in China could affect the availability of electronics goods in India and what steps were taken to prevent any possible scarcity of electronics goods in India owing to the manufacturing slowdown in China.

DHNS, Mar 14, (2020)

Walmart to name Sameer Aggarwal CEO of India unit Telecom

Walmart India is elevating Sameer Aggarwal as head of its India operations in April, replacing Krish Iyer, the veteran who has been at the helm in the country for more than six years, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Iyer, currently president and CEO of Walmart India, will move to an advisory role within the company as his contract with the US giant is set to expire only next year, two people said. A Walmart India spokesperson declined to comment on the changes.  This is the third promotion for Aggarwal since he was hired in April 2018 as chief strategy and administrative officer at Walmart India. He previously worked at Yum! Brands in Thailand and UK retailer Sainsbury's in London. Aggarwal was promoted to deputy CEO of Walmart India, which operates 28 Best Price cash-and-carry stores, in January. Walmart also owns Flipkart, India's biggest online retailing platform.

(ET, Mar 13, 2020)

Samsung launches ‘Funbelievable’ series of TVs, price starts at Rs 12,990 General

South Korean tech giant, Samsung, has launched its new Funbelievable series of smart and non-smart TVs in India. The new TV line-up brings two different options --32-inch and 43-inch Smart TV variants. The company claims the TVs come packed with features that will change the way consumers experience entertainment. However, the most interesting thing about TVs is their price point which is sure to be of concern to other smart TV makers in the country. The company has announced that the TV line-up will start retail at Rs 12,999. With the new TVs, Samsung not only promises superior craftsmanship that its competitors, but also features that are well above the price point it have been launched at. Talking about the specifics, the company hasn’t revealed too much detail about the specifications of the TVs, but it has revealed that the TV features such a dedicated Personal Computer Mode, Content Guide, Music System, Internet browsing capabilities and more. At Samsung, meaningful innovations and a customer-centric approach are a part of our DNA.

(India Today, Mar 13, 2020)

Covid-19 outbreak: Supply in parts, delays in full General

Supplies of parts for cars, smartphones, televisions and home appliances and some finished electronic items may be further delayed by a few days after the government ordered screening of all cargo vessels coming from the 12 worst-affected Covid-19 countries outside Indian ports to ensure that members of the crew were not infected with the virus. A March 9 note by the Port Health Organisation (PHO) said that cargo vessels coming from China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Nepal and Italy "will be screened and declared 'suspect' or 'healthy' by the PHO." ET has reviewed the PHO notice. The note said healthy vessel will be given health clearance for port operations and suspected vessel will be cleared by PHO as per the ministry of health and family welfare guidelines for Covid-19. Industry executives said this may further delay the shipping time to factory gates in India by 3-5 days, depending on the time taken for assessment of the cargo vessel by Indian authorities, leading to further production loss. Suspected vessels will be quarantined for at least 14 days as per the protocol for Covid-19 treatment, they said.

(ET, Mar 12, 2020)

After-hours with the boss: Manish Sharma General

With a career spanning more than two decades, Manish Sharma has worked with several electronics companies, including LG Hotline, Samsung India and Haier India, holding positions in many departments, from operations to business development. In his current role, Sharma, 48, an engineering graduate, is overseeing the development of Panasonic in India and South Asia. He also serves as the executive officer of Panasonic Corp. and is the co-chair of FICCI Electronics & White Goods Manufacturing Committee. Antiques never fail to get my attention. They are a reflection of heritage and values that have been passed down for generations, building priceless memories. On a personal level, rediscovering and reinventing myself to stay relevant. I have been thinking about how can I future-proof my firm and my team and give talented individuals the opportunities I got, which got me where I am today. I try to practice “proactive collaboration" in my professional and personal life. This not only helps you learn different perspectives but also teaches a lot about teamwork. For me, three attributes that people should possess that are critical for the success of an organization are ambition, humility and resilience.

(LiveMint, Mar 12, 2020)

Ultraviolette Automotive On Busting The ‘Slow And Boring’ Myth Around Electric Bikes IT

India is home to an estimated 60 Mn micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs, and the sector has been called the backbone of the Indian economy, thanks to its cumulative contribution to the GDP. Yet, when it comes to credit access, only 10%-12% of MSME players bank on organised sources of credit, leaving the rest to fend for themselves in the wild world of unorganised lending.  This is an opportunity that Indian MSME lending players in the digital domain are eyeing for a long time now. Players like Aye Finance, LenDenClub, NeoGrowth, InCred Finance, Capital Float among others are using their tech-enabled platform to solve the ever-growing credit gap for MSMEs, and small and medium businesses. Together, these platforms have lent billions of dollars in loans to lakhs of MSMEs so far, but the SME lending market is far from saturated, as startups are targeting niches within the sector. Another player growing rapidly in this segment is U Gro.   Mumbai-based U Gro Capital (formerly known as Chokhani Securities) is a BSE-listed, technology-focused, small business lending platform. Founded by Shachindra Nath in July 2018, U Gro is looking to address the capital needs of small businesses by providing customised loan solutions, which it claims is a $300 Bn market that is yet to be fully tapped by lending players.

(Inc 42, Mar 12, 2020)

IIT Mumbai makes glasses substrates for 5G devices, consumer electronics General

Ø  Researchers in IIT Bombay have achieved a breakthrough in making glass substrates that have significant advantages over the conventional silicon substrates in applications such as 5G devices. Substrates are the base on which a thin film of a material (like Silicon oxide) is coated on which circuits are etched. Typically, substrates have been made of Silicon, for many advantages — it doesn’t expand much on heating, making it easy to coat stuff on it. However, the micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) industry has been toying with other material for substrates — and glass has been high up on the list. Glass substrates (technically, fused silica, which is a pure form of glass without any metallic impurities) are much cheaper — one estimate has it that it is 80 per cent cheaper than Silicon substrates. But nothing in the world comes without a flipside. Glass is brittle and for technical reasons, not so easy to fabricate. Professor Pradeep Dixit of IIT Bombay and his team have used additive manufacturing technology (aka 3D printing) to address this problem. In a research project supported by a ₹1.45-crore grant from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, under the government of India’s IMPRINT initiative (which stands for Impact Research Innovation and Technology), Prof Dixit have developed a low-cost technique for manufacturing fused silica and other non-conducting hard materials using ‘electrochemical discharge machining method’.

(BusinessLine, Mar 12, 2020)

Private Cars must be part of EV Policy push IT

Deepak Rajagopal/Amol Phadke When it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), we face two choices. One is to view them as still costly for India, and so we must wait and watch while our cities choke and we cede the competitive edge, as we did with electronics, which is India’s second-largest and fastest growing category of imports. The alternative is to see EVs as an opportunity to pursue a new green industrial policy that can reinvigorate the auto sector, reduce dependence on imports and the cost of mobility, and above all, make our cities more liveable. The good news is that both the ₹10,000-crore Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric vehicles Phase-II (FAME-II) scheme, adopted last year, as well as the minimal GST on EVs are aligned with the latter view. The FAME-II was also spot on in prioritising EVs for public buses and two- and three-wheelers ahead of private cars, as the former offer better socio-economic returns on public investment. Having said that, one cannot ignore private cars, for their stock is set to grow and they contribute significantly greater person-kilometre pollution relative to buses and two- and three-wheelers. Recognising the burden of additional subsidies, the rest of the discussion lays out the case for a strong binding mandate on automakers requiring that zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) — including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCV) — comprise, say, at least 20 per cent of the annual car sales well before the end of the decade.

(BusinessLine, Mar 11, 2020)

In a major boost to electronic giants, SEZs clear local sourcing test General

In a major boost to consumer electronic giants like Apple and Xiaomi, the government has relaxed the local sourcing norms. Issuing a clarification, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) on Wednesday said, foreign retailers can now meet their local sourcing requirements by buying goods produced in units based in Special Economic Zones (SEZs). While 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) is allowed in single-brand retail, if the foreign investment exceeds 51 per cent, the 30 per cent mandatory local sourcing norm kicks in. “As regards, sourcing of goods from units located in SEZs in India, it may be clarified that sourcing of goods from such units would qualify as sourcing from India for the purpose of 30 per cent mandatory sourcing from India for proposals involving FDI beyond 51 per cent, subject to SEZ Act, 2005,” DPIIT said in the clarification. This is seen as a move to further entice original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), especially for the mobile phone industry. Taiwanese OEMs such as Wistron and Foxconn, who supply to tech giant Apple are expected to benefit. Electronics major Apple that is willing to set up its flagship Apple Stores here, has long been struggling to meet the local sourcing norms. With its key manufacturing partners – Foxconn & Wistron – having their India facilities located in SEZs, the relaxation will boost its fortunes. Currently, it procures iPhone XR from Foxconn’s Tamil Nadu plant, while Wistron assembles iPhone 7 from Bengaluru

(Business Standard, Feb 27, 2020)

IT Act needs rejig to keep up with times: Ravi Shankar Prasad Telecom

The government will revamp the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said. The rejig will include new provisions – including ones to check rising cybercrime and frauds in digital payment – that reflect changes in technology adoption in the country over the last 20 years. When the Act was first drafted, platforms such as the Unified Payments Interface or the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) did not exist. Mobile phones and social media were also not very popular, Prasad said. An expert committee will be constituted to suggest a new framework, he said, adding that inputs will be sought from the industry and experts. A thinking is going on in the department to revisit the IT Act… it has been in place for the last 20 years and the IT ecosystem has developed beyond recognition (in that time),” said Prasad.

(ET, Feb 27, 2020)

Vodafone Idea asks DoT for 15 years to pay AGR dues Telecom

Vodafone Idea has called on the government to allow it to pay adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues over 15 years. The telecom company has also asked for a tax refund, cuts in licence fees and spectrum usage charges (SUC) and the establishment of a floor for tariffs among measures to help remain viable. In a letter to the Department of Telecommunications, the finance ministry and Niti Ayog, the telco, which has over 300 million subscribers, said it needs help from the government to stay in business. The letter was sent a day ahead of a meeting of Digital Communications Commission (DCC) – the highest decision-making body of DoT – which may discuss some steps on providing relief to stressed telcos such as Vodafone Idea. In its letter, the operator sought a goods and services tax (GST) refund of Rs 8,000 crore, which can be adjusted against its AGR dues, and the option of paying the remaining amount in a staggered manner — over 15 years — after an initial moratorium of three years.

(ET, Feb 27, 2020)

Apple to open first retail store in India next year, Tim Cook says Telecom

Apple Inc will open its first physical retail store in India in 2021, Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Wednesday. Responding to a question from a shareholder at Apple's annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino, California about the company's plans for India, Cook said Apple would start selling its products online in the country this year and will open its first Apple-branded store there next year. "We needed to get approval from the government to go in there ourselves" rather than with a domestic partner, Cook said. "I don't want somebody else to run the brand for us."

(ET, Feb 27, 2020)

Coronavirus clouds Apple's timeline for new iPhones Telecom

Travel restrictions to China because of the coronavirus have come just as Apple Inc's engineers usually jet off to Asia to perfect the production of this fall's new iPhones, former employees and supply chain experts told Reuters. High-volume manufacturing is not scheduled until summer, but the first months of the year are when Apple irons out assembly processes with partners such as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co's Foxconn, two former Apple employees said. "They probably have one assembly line they're trying things out on," said one of the former employees who asked not to be named discussing production matters. "Are Apple's engineers with the Foxconn engineers? If they are, they're probably making progress. But if they're not, if they're quarantined, that could be bad." While Apple uses other contract manufacturers such as Wistron Corp to make some iPhones, Taiwan's Foxconn tends to handle the introduction of new models because its capabilities are the most advanced, supply chain experts said. Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics maker, delayed reopening key iPhone factories in Shenzhen and Zhengzhou after the Lunar New Year holiday but hopes to resume half of its Chinese production by the end of February.

(ET, Feb 27, 2020)

Don’t rush to buy 5G phone, there’s no network yet Telecom

The race to 5G has been expected to reach its fruition in 2020. India isn’t ready but smartphone makers are, with the first two 5G phones in India being launched this week. What does a 5G phone really mean for you? Mint takes a look.  Realme and iQoo are the first companies to launch 5G-ready smartphones in India. Interestingly, both the companies are owned by BBK Electronics of China. The smartphones, Realme x50 Pro and iQoo 3, start at ₹37,999 and ₹36,999, respectively. Realme had started off as a sub-brand of Oppo and later became independent, while iQoo is a sub-brand of Vivo now. Oppo and Vivo are also owned by BBK Electronics. All three—Oppo, Vivo and Realme—rank among the top five smartphone sellers in India at present, according to market research firm Counterpoint Research.  Absolutely not. India doesn’t have 5G networks and won’t have them at least before the next year. Union telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said in September that the government planned to begin 5G spectrum auctions by the end of this year or early next year. Even if we assume that telecom service providers are ready to buy spectrum and then spend a few more months on final tests, it’s unlikely that 5G networks will be live in India before mid-2021. So, the fact that a phone supports 5G networks shouldn’t factor into your buying decision right now, especially if you have to pay a premium for it.

(Live Mint, Feb 27, 2020)

Govt plans ‘RAISE 2020’ AI Summit in April, consults Intel, AWS, IBM, CII, FICCI; Startup challenge opens General

The Government of India (GoI) has announced the event ‘RAISE 2020 – Responsible AI for Social Empowerment’ to be held from on 11 & 12 April in New Delhi. RAISE 2020 is India’s first artificial intelligence (AI) summit to be organized by the Government in partnership with industry & academia, and will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The summit will be a global meeting of minds to exchange ideas and charter a course to use AI for social empowerment, inclusion and transformation in key areas like healthcare, agriculture, education and smart mobility amongst other sectors. Ahead of the summit, MeitY organized a consultation with industry representatives to bring in synergies within India’s artificial intelligence landscape.  The consultation was chaired by Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and other members of the Ministry, along with Abhishek Singh, President and CEO, National e-Governance Division (NeGD) from the Government. Apart from the Government, Industry associations including FICCI, CII, ASSOCHAM & NASSCOM and corporates, viz. Intel, AWS, KPMG, IBM, Oracle and AI startups, amongst others, participated in the consultation. Speaking on the occasion, Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, MeitY, said, “We are extremely delighted to announce the first-of-its-kind, two-day summit ‘Responsible AI for Social Empowerment 2020’. In our opinion, a data-rich environment like India has the potential to be the world’s leading AI laboratory which can eventually transform lives globally. AI technology is a powerful tool that can be used to create a positive impact in the Indian context, further becoming the AI destination for the world.”

(Indus Dictum, Feb 26, 2020)

Coronavirus takes a toll on Indian businesses -- pharma, electronics and other industries stare at uncertainty General

In a move to dispel the fear and uncertainty among India's industry representatives, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced last week, that the Centre was working toward devising contingency measures to counteract the effect that the COVID-19 global outbreak could have on the Indian economy. The finance minister was addressing a meeting that included representatives from the textiles, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electronics, information technology hardware, paint, fertilizer, telecom, mobile manufacturing, oil, shipping, tourism, medical and solar industries among others.  The Indian economy is already ailing, as it contends with a swelling fiscal deficit, rising inflation, a slump in demand, and poor wage growth that has already seen international rating agencies and bodies like Moody's and the International Monetary Fund, revise their growth projections for the country in the coming year. However, India's reliance on Chinese raw material and intermediate goods imports makes it hugely vulnerable to severe supply disruptions if China is unable to contain the Coronavirus, and kickstart its manufacturing sectors. 

(Times Now, Feb 26, 2020)

Sansung Mobile crowned as India's most desired brand: TRA Telecom

Samsung Mobile is the most desired brand in India followed by Apple iPhone, according to a report released by TRA Research on Wednesday. This is the fourth time Samsung Mobile has been crowned the most desired brand after it topped the list in 2013, 2015 and 2018.Further, the diversified brand of Samsung features at third rank in the consumer electronics category. Sony TV, the general entertainment channel, has entered the top 10 brands for the first time and is placed fourth. Automobile major Maruti Suzuki took the fifth spot followed by technology major Dell in the sixth rank. Indian brands dominate the top 100 of India's Most Desired list featuring 42 brands, followed by 15 American, 12 Japanese and 11 South Korean brands. 6 German brands also feature of which three luxury car brands dominate the list. 4 UK brands make it to top 100, and and the three Chinese brands which are included in the list are from the mobile phone category," the report said.

(LiveMint, Feb 26, 2020)

Top government officials urge Trai to fix floor tariffs soon Telecom

Officials at the highest levels of the government have nudged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to expedite fixing of a floor of tariffs, a move considered crucial by all operators for restoring the long-term viability of the telecom sector. “The regulator is being pushed to soon come out with a floor price, once the consultation completes this month,” a senior government official told ET. Prodded by the sector and the government to come up with a floor price, a reluctant Trai in December floated a consultation paper to fix a floor price for voice and data services on telecom networks. It, however, warned that such an exercise has historically been termed ‘market distorting’ by economists. It also called the move “anti-consumer”. The deadline for filing comments and counter comments has been extended till February 28 and March 13, respectively. Telcos like Bharti Airtel have said that average revenue per user (ARPU) needs to go up initially to Rs 200, and eventually to Rs 300, for which a floor price was needed. Telcos and experts say setting a floor price is expected to hasten revenue recovery at the sector, thus giving confidence to lenders and investors of the sector’s viability, say experts.

(ET, Feb 25, 2020)

Airtel calls for relook at net neutrality rules with 5G; telcos urge light touch TMP rules Telecom

Telecom carriers and content/technology companies have sparred over tighter enforcement of net neutrality rules, with the likes of Bharti Airtel calling on the government to reorient its position about the open internet with the advent of 5G, and urged application of net neutrality rules on content providers such as Netflix. In their submissions to the telecom regulator on contours of reasonable internet traffic management practices, content players and technology companies backed an independent and powerful multi-stakeholder body (MSB) that can work closely with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in monitoring the application of net neutrality regulations. Telcos, by contrast, want light touch regulation, with Reliance Jio Infocomm backing Bharti Airtel in saying there’s no real need to establish an MSB as net neutrality rules are part of licensing conditions enforced by DoT. “A one size fits all approach has become obsolete in the 5G context, and the policy on net neutrality needs to be reconsidered and aligned with the principles and standards of 5G,” Airtel said in its submissions to Trai.

(ET, Feb 24, 2020)

Realme to launch 5G phones across price points: Madhav Sheth, India CEO Telecom

Chinese handset maker Realme said that it is planning to launch 5G smartphones across price points for the Indian market, having launched India's first commercial 5G smartphone, 'X50 Pro 5G', starting from Rs 37,999. "There's a vision to bring 5G at all price points. We will also launch the most affordable 5G later on. There's a vision to it. We are still looking to working on it. There are more chipsets for 5G, but for the first phone, we wanted to start with the flagship chipset to offer the best experience," Realme's vice president and India CEO Madhav Sheth told ET. Sheth said that the handset maker isn't aiming for volumes with its latest 5G phone, rather will look at getting feedback from tech-savvy customers. "We want all tech enthusiasts to experience the chipset capability. We are not expecting volumes. The segment is just 3% of the overall smartphone market," he added. iQOO, formerly a sub-brand of Vivo, will also launch its first 5G smartphone this week in Mumbai, which will be available commercially within this week.

(ET, Feb 24, 2020)

U.S. firm Hughes fears Indian closure, bank disruptions over unpaid fees – letter General

U.S. satellite broadband provider Hughes Network Systems may have to shut its Indian operations due to unpaid levies owed to the government, which could put thousands of banking services at risk, a company letter seen by Reuters showed. India's Supreme Court late last year ordered a number of telecom companies, including Hughes and larger firms like Vodafone, to pay billions of dollars owed to the government. Hughes' India unit provides services to defence, education and banking sectors in the country and told India's telecoms minister in a letter dated Feb. 20 that it faces bankruptcy as it can't pay the 6 billion rupees ($84 million) it owes.  The closure of the company could disrupt connectivity at more than 70,000 banking locations and many critical satellite networks in the Indian navy, army and railways, Hughes' India President Partho Banerjee said in the letter, which was seen by Reuters. "We are facing a huge demand ... which by no means is serviceable by us and is in fact pushing our company towards bankruptcy & closure," Banerjee wrote in the letter.

(ET, Feb 24, 2020)

Electronics industry fears supply disruptions, production cuts, price rise due to Coronavirus General

With the Coronavirus in China showing no sign of abating, and parts of the country being stranded under quarantine, India’s electronics industry is fearing supply disruptions, production curtailment, as well as a negative impact on prices, revenue, product launches and local manufacturing. If the situation prolongs, the industry is bound to take a hit by March, said experts. The Indian electronics industry, which relies heavily on China ― the world’s second-largest economy ― for components, sub-assemblies and even full products, is gripped with a sense of foreboding about the impact of the novel coronavirus. Companies and industry bodies that BusinessLine spoke to said that alternate countries for these supplies or any other solution seems unlikely to transpire. They said they are assessing the situation and mulling what can be done.

(BusinessLine, Feb 13, 2020)

Consumer durables’ sales growth in 2019 best since demonetization General

Sales growth of refrigerators, ACs and washing machines in 2019 was the best since demonetisation, signalling a revival in discretionary purchases and kindling hopes that the economy is on the mend. Volume sales in the overall consumer electronics and major domestic appliances market grew 9% year-on-year in 2019 against 1% in 2018 and 4% in 2017, as per data released by GfK India. Industry executives attributed the revival largely to pentup demand. Panasonic India CEO Manish Sharma said green shoots of consumption revival are visible now, with growth improving quarter-on-quarter. “Products such as ACs, refrigerators, washing machines and smartphones have become necessities,” he said. Brian Bade, CEO at India’s largest smartphone and electronics retailer Reliance Digital, said there is improvement in consumer sentiment. “Average billing size has gone up, as has same-store growth,” he said. Smartphone sales growth in 2019 took a marginal beating over 2018, but it was still better than 2016 and 2017, GfK data showed. Industry executives attributed this to lack of compelling product innovation in smartphones. At the same time, television sales in 2019 declined 2% due to a shift towards audio-visual consumption over smartphones.

(ET, Feb 13, 2020)

How the outbreak of Coronavirus will hit the global business hard General

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China is causing a global alarm. So far, the death toll in China has risen to 909 and almost 40,185 people have been declared affected (which may not be the true number). Coronavirus cases have been detected in other countries, including in India. The consequences of the outbreak for China’s economy, its authoritarian leadership, the global economy and for India deserve examination. Given China’s massive global economic footprint, the millions of Chinese that travel abroad for business or as tourists and its reverse, the numerous Chinese students in the West, the thousands of foreign companies operating in China, and the sizeable expatriate population in the country, the impact of the epidemic is beginning to be felt, without a crisis point being reached as yet. The Chinese economy has been hit, with reports about massive closure of outlets of Starbucks, McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Ikea stores, Uniqlo shops, Disneyland parks and cinemas affecting consumption. With several countries suspending flights to China (including Air India) and from China, cancelling e-visas for the Chinese by India, six of eight airlines in Africa stopping flights, Russia closing its border in the east and only Aeroflot allowed to fly to China, with domestic travel groups in China prohibited, the travel industry has taken a blow.

(Daily, Feb 11, 2020)

India welcomes high skilled electronics manufacturing : FM IT

The the Centre has planned a very large canvas for electronics manufacturing, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a recent post-Budget meet here with industrialists, scholars and journalists. Responding to a query from BusinessLine, she said: “We are supportive of companies starting high-skilled component manufacturing in the country.” Currently, while companies conduct large-scale manufacturing of smartphones and electronic devices in the country, most of it is assembly-oriented, and not focussed on core components and R&D. The Budget has proposed a new scheme to promote the manufacturing of smartphones, electronic devices and semiconductors.However, the implementation of the scheme will hinge on how companies are incentivised to begin manufacturing in the country. Industrialists and economists voiced their concerns about the Budget to Sitharaman and the panel of secretaries. Expressing the worries of high networth individuals over the burden of dividend distribution tax shifting to investors, Motilal Oswal, MD of Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said ‘high-level’ shareholders could pay tax at the rate of 43 per cent under the new regime, which was worrisome.

(BusinessLine, Feb 11, 2020)

India’s lithium-ion battery imports increase fourfold in two years General

The number of lithium-ion batteries imported by India quadrupled to 713 million in the last fiscal year, from 175 million in 2016-17. In terms of value, imports more than tripled to $1.23 billion (Rs8,777 crore) in 2018-19 from $384 million two years earlier. During the first eight months of this fiscal year – from April to the end of November – lithium battery imports touched 450 million units, worth $929 million, according to science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan, in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. The minister said the 175 million lithium battery imports recorded in 2016-17 rose to 313 million the following fiscal year, with the latter figure worth $727 million.China, Hong Kong and Vietnam were the leading sources of imports. China exported $773 million worth of lithium-ion batteries to India in the last fiscal year, according to Ministry of Commerce figures, with Hong Kong and Vietnam shipping $267 million and $114 million worth of product, respectively.

(PV Magazine, Feb 10, 2020)

Xiaomi pips Samsung to become India's number 1 handset brand Telecom

Chinese phonemaker Xiaomi has become India’s number one handset brand for the first time, including smartphones and featurephones, replacing Korea’s Samsung which had been holding the position for several years, as per October-December data of IDC.  For the fourth quarter, Xiaomi topped the market with a 16% share, trailed by Samsung and Reliance Retail, which sells the JioPhone, IDC said. It didn’t give the figures for the No. 2 and 3 players. Xiaomi India head and global vice president Manu Jain told ET that Xiaomi smartphones will be enough to surpass Samsung and Reliance Retail’s feature phones and smartphones put together. Xiaomi also emerged as the market leader registering annual shipments of 43.6 million units in 2019, the highest ever smartphone shipments made by any brand in a year, with a growth of 9.2% on year, IDC said. Samsung, on the other hand fell 2.8% on-year, leaving it with a market share of 20.3% versus Xiaomi’s 28.6%, for 2019.

(ET, Feb 08, 2020

Mobile retailers decide to boycott Samsung in India Telecom

In a bold crusade against Korean phonemaker Samsung, brick-and-mortar mobile retailers have decided to boycott the sale of Samsung devices for three business days pan-India. "We will be showing our protest through digital posts, covering Samsung branding with a black cloth on in our stores, and not doing business with Samsung distributors for three days," Arvinder Khurana, President of AIMRA told ET. Khurana also added that despite several communications sent to country heads of Samsung in the last five years, "they have not had the time to meet AIMRA leaders" and have neither acknowledged nor replied to emails sent by the offline retailer community. AIMRA, along with other trader associations have been campaigning to end exclusive deal between phone brands and e-commerce platforms, deep discounting and cash back offers. Post multiple grievances submitted to mobile manufacturers, Vivo, Oppo and Realme have assured their retail partners that they will simultaneously launch products, variants at the same price across channels.

(ET, Feb 08, 2020)

Adjudication: Windlab to bear costs of delays at Kennedy solar-wind-battery park General

ASX-listed renewables developer Windlab will be the sole party to bear the costs of delays at the Kennedy Energy Park, Australia’s first project on a major grid to combine wind, solar and battery technologies. Under an adjudication decision that is likely to raise concerns among other projects plagued by grid delays, the EPC contractor – a joint venture between Danish Vestas Wind Systems and U.S. Quanta Services – is not requested to pay any delay liquidated damages and indemnity costs. Pursuant to the adjudication determination under Queensland Building Industry Fairness, Windlab will have to pay the contractor $949,740 in milestone payments previously withheld, and a further $6.6 million in variation claims and delay costs. The adjudicator has also reversed Kennedy’s previously invoiced liquidated damaged and indemnity costs to the EPC contractor and denied payment of $19,615,375 of the EPC contractor’s claims. “Such a determination is not a final determination of the parties’ rights but rather an interim payment decision and is currently under review for enforceability,” Windlab said in a statement to the ASX. Namely, the adjudication is the initial phase of the dispute resolution under the Queensland laws which were established for contractors to enforce outstanding payments.

(PV Magazine, Feb 08, 2020

Delta Electronics India Displays State-Of-The-Art EV Charging Solutions to Strengthen the EV Ecosystem in India IT

Business Wire India Delta Electronics India, a leading Power and Energy management company, displayed diversified cutting-edge technology with a portfolio of energy-efficient EV Charging Solutions at Auto Expo 2020, one of the world’s premier auto shows. Speaking on the occasion Mr. Niranjan S Nayak, Business Head, Delta Electronics India said, "India is gearing up rapidly for the adoption of electric vehicles and Delta, being an enabler and catalyst in India''s EV evolution, is priming to strengthen the EV Charging Infrastructure. As a leading player we are uniquely positioned to offer complete end-to-end solutions with both on-board and off-board chargers. Our energy-efficient, compact, and extremely robust solutions for onboard chargers (DC-DC Converters & Powertrain) give us a distinctive advantage because of our global expertise. We have been partnering with major automobile giants in India for EV Charging Solutions and constantly focusing on developing EV Charging Infrastructure to support GOI''s ‘E-Mobility Mission.’ We are establishing our new plant in Krishnagiri for domestic production as well as for export along with our new R&D center in Bengaluru that is a testimony of our commitment for GOI “Make in India” initiative. This reinforces the company''s contribution to facilitate investment, foster innovation, enhance skills development and build best in the class manufacturing infrastructure units in the country with a vision of Powering Green India." Mr. Akshaye Barbuddhe, Business Head, EV Charging Solutions, Delta Electronics India remarked,

(Outlook, Feb 07, 2020)

This upcoming C-Band spectrum could be the secret weapon for 5G in the US : FCC Telecom

Chairman Ajit Pai has given the talking points of the commission's plan for its auction of a portion of the C-band — the 4Ghz to 8GHz radio frequencies used mostly for consumer satellite transmissions — for general (read: mostly 5G broadband) use. The FCC wants to auction off the bottom 280MHz (the 3.7 - 4.2Ghz range) of the C-band and reserve 20Mhz of the band above that threshold for further needs. Both the FCC and current satellite operators say this will still leave enough spectrums for the operators to provide the same level of service that we have today. But like most things about wireless, there are some extra complications to work out — and of course, fees.

(Androidcentral, Feb 07, 2020)

Solar racking innovations on the show floor at Intersolar San Diego General

Vertical racking by Next2Sun: In order to install bifacial solar modules vertically, thicker metal posts are sunk into the ground, with framing that holds the modules above ground. This racking scheme is meant to be installed in between rows of crops, or as a fencing structure. The company claims bifacial modules make the production values acceptable, and in places with a high albedo (or during snow events), production becomes respectable. A new type of floating solar: Sun Rise E&T Corporation brought these flexible HDPE (high-density polyethylene) pipes from its fish farm experience into the floating solar industry.The modules are deployed in sub-sections of two rows of eight to allow for flexibility. The tubes can be deployed on land once they are filled up with water or sand. The company’s website suggests that it has installed 84 MW in Asia utilizing this racking product.

(PV Magazine, Feb 07, 2020)

Decoding the Adani-Total solar deal General

Partnership with French major Total will boost Adani’s balance sheet and provide the confidence to carry out its contracted pipeline which remains strong with around 500 MW of solar PV under construction in India and about 200 MW operational and in pipeline in Australia, according to Wood Mackenzie analysts. The investment comes at a time when access to capital has become difficult for renewable independent power producers (IPPs) amid issues like payment delays from utilities and power purchase agreement renegotiation.  Decoding the Adani-Total deal, Woodmac analyst Rishab Shrestha said: “In India, payment delays from utilities to renewable IPPs and renegotiation of tariffs have worsened and made access to capital difficult. Domestic capital now comes at a premium. Adani sells more than 500 MW of solar power to TANGEDCO [Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited]. The utility has had a history of delay and discounted payments and poses a risk.

PV Magazine, Feb 07, 2020)

Coronavirus concerns: India Inc in a cold sweat as lockdown in China continues General

The coronavirus outbreak is giving industry the jitters, especially sectors dependent on Chinese imports such as consumer electronics, automobiles and pharmaceuticals. Seafood and spices exports are also vulnerable as Beijing absorbs a big chunk of the $10-billion these shipments bring in every year.  Industry officials say trade has already been affected and unless Chinese supplies bounce back quickly, it would lead to scarcity and higher prices in a few weeks. Looking for alternatives to China is time-consuming and costly. Prices of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs have skyrocketed, and mobile handsets and consumer electronics could be next. Paracetamol prices have increased from Rs 260-360 per kg. Nimesulide has more than doubled to Rs 1,100 from Rs 450. Azithromycin, used for bacterial infections, and montelukast, for treatment of respiratory infections, have shot up by about 30%. “As of now we are OK,” said Kedar Upadhye, global CFO at Cipla Ltd.

(ET, Feb 06, 2020)

RailTel signs MoU with BEL for cooperation in cloud services, IoT , e-governance IT

RailTel Corporation of India Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding with defence PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) for cooperation in the field of cloud services, IoT , e-governance, smart cities, networks for defence projects, mission critical communication systems for domestic and international markets, according to a statement from the telecom service provider on Thursday. The MoU was signed in the presence of BEL CMD M V Gowtama and Puneet Chawla CMD, RailTel. BEL, a Navaratna PSU under the Ministry of Defense, is a multi-product, multi-technology company with nine manufacturing units across the country and primarily manufactures advanced electronic products for the Indian Armed Forces. The MoU was signed at the DefExpo which is underway in Lucknow. PTI ASG ASG SMN SMN

(Outlook, Feb 06, 2020)

There is Not a Lot for the EV Sector in Budget 2020 IT

Budget 2020 has failed to meet the expectations of the electric vehicle (EV) segment of the country. The segment’s stakeholders were expecting more measures from the government to promote electric mobility in cities. Despite the government’s constant stress on a cleaner and greener environment, the Union Budget had very little to put smiles on the faces of EV enthusiasts, and not many incentives were announced to drive the demand of EVs. As per the Union Budget announcement, imported EVs are going to get costlier with the government increasing the customs duty on various kinds of such vehicles as the government pushes for local production. The government has allocated ₹6.93 billion (~$96.8 million) for the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-India) program for the financial year 2020-21. To promote easy adoption of EVs, the government has increased the number of EVs to be supported for the fiscal year 2020-21 through demand incentives for electric buses to 5,000 as compared to 1,650 announced in the last budget. The demand incentives for electric four-wheelers has been increased to 3,000 as compared to 1,650 in the previous budget. Demand incentives on electric three-wheelers has been decreased to 15,000 from 16,500, and demand incentives on electric two-wheelers has been increased to 40,000 from 33,000.

(Mercom India, Feb 05, 2020)

Generate lands more than $1 billion for renewable infrastructure General

Generate has landed more than $1 billion in new funding to grow its fleet of renewable infrastructure projects. New investors include Australian Super, QIC, Railways Pension and AP2 of Sweden, according to a release. Richard Kauffman, former New York state energy chief and current chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, has been named chair of the board, and Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun, has joined the board, along with Australian Super’s Derek Chu and QIC’s Ross Israel. Generate builds, owns, operates, and finances sustainable infrastructure for industry and municipalities, working with more than 25 development partners to serve hundreds of companies, schools, cities and non-profits throughout North America. Founded in 2014, Generate has built more than $1 billion in sustainable infrastructure assets across the energy, waste, water and transport markets using battery storage; solar; energy efficiency; electric vehicles; fuel cells; wastewater treatment; distributed desalination; and organic waste management.

(PV Magazine, Feb 05, 2020)

Italian PV panels sent for recycling were instead smuggled to Syria and Africa General

Italy’s Carabinieri Command for the Protection of the Environment has seized a €4 million waste treatment plant near Catania, in Sicily, on suspicion panels sent there for recycling were smuggled on to African and Middle Eastern markets. The Ministry of the Environment has announced thousands of panels sent for recycling from solar plants in Italy were instead re-badged with false labels and exported to new markets. The racket was uncovered by the carabinieri’s Operation BlackSun. “About 60 tons of solar panels were also found on which investigations will be conducted to verify the regularity of the storage, treatment and recovery operations,” the ministry added.  The owner of the recycling plant, whose name was not released, was arrested on January 23 on an arrest warrant issued by the investigating magistrate of the Perugia court on charges of being one of the main perpetrators of a criminal association aimed at illicit cross-border trafficking of waste, money laundering, counterfeiting, alteration or use of trademarks and other illegal conduct, the Italian government said. The carabinieri said counterfeited panels were smuggled to Senegal, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Turkey and even Syria.

(PV Magazine, Feb 05, 2020)

Government Might Infuse Rs. 45,000 Crore To Electronics Manufacturing: Report General

The government has been taking many steps to make India a manufacturing hub for smartphone makers. Now, it has been reported that the centre is reportedly planning to invest Rs. 45,000 crore, so that smartphone maker like Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo can set up their supply chains in India. In fact, a note has already been floated in all ministries, reports Economic Times. The report reveals that the government has divided the amount into two parts and Rs. 41,000 crore will be given to those companies who are based on a bonus scheme. Whereas, Rs. 4,000 crore to those who have reimbursement scheme. "The government expects the PLI scheme to generate over two lakh jobs, exports of over Rs. 5 lakh crore and direct tax revenue of close to Rs. 5,000 crore, over a period of five years," the official was quoted by the newspaper.It is worth mentioning that the government is also trying that the upcoming policy should be under WTO norms. The main reason behind this investment is to attract Foxconn, Huawei, Vivo, Oppo, and Samsung so that they can make a huge investment in the country. 

(Gizbot, Feb 04, 2020)

Coronavirus outbreak: Auto expo, travel sector impacted General

The deadly coronavirus has cast a shadow on India''s flagship motor show Auto Expo, while other sectors including travel and electronics manufacturing are keeping a close watch to avoid any possible impact of it on their businesses. Automobile industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Tuesday said all Chinese companies participating at the expo have confirmed that their exhibit area would be manned by their Indian employees.  In addition, auto component makers body ACMA said Chinese participants at the components show of Auto Expo are unable to travel to India due to the outbreak of coronavirus in China, even as around 30 companies from there have confirmed that their stand would be managed by their Indian counterparts in their absence.  Meanwhile, restrictions on travel between China and India has impacted bookings and the travel industry is cautiously watching the situation, players said on Tuesday. India on Sunday announced temporary suspension of e-visa facility for Chinese Travelers and foreigners residing in the neighbouring country and issued a fresh advisory saying anyone with travel history to China since January 15 can be quarantined.  “With travel to mainland China and even Hong Kong severely restricted for days, the travel bookings had taken a massive hit,” MakeMyTrip co-founder and CEO Rajesh Magow said.  With the mobile industry importing an estimated Rs 95,000 crore worth of components annually, a portion of which comes from China, handset manufacturers are waiting to see if the shuttered factories of suppliers reopen next week.

(Outlook, Feb 04, 2020)

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)