Next telecom spectrum auction in 2-3 months: Prasad

May 20, 2016 0

New Delhi–The next round of telecom spectrum auction, which is expected to mop up a whopping Rs.560,000 crore ($83 billion) will take place in another two-three months, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here on Friday.

Ravi Shankar Prasad

Ravi Shankar Prasad

“We have cleared spectrum trading and sharing. Therefore, issues regarding spectrum have been addressed. In the coming two-three months, 2,000 MHz of spectrum will be auctioned,” Prasad said in his address at the 9th Telecom India Summit organised by Assocham.

Earlier, industry stakeholders were expecting the auction – entailing bidding for bands 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz – to take place in June.

The minister reiterated that telecom service providers (TSP) need to improve the quality of its services and the customers should be happy.

“The telecom operators should provide good service and quality service to the people. I only want people to be satisfied,” he said.

On Bharti Airtel, a day after the apex court waived call drop penalties from the service providers on May 11, announcing a 25 percent more stringent voluntary call drop benchmark, Prasad said: “Customers should be happy… I don’t understand self regulation!”

“It is in your interest to give quality services to the customers. Quest for quality services will always rise,” he told the telecom firms. (IANS)

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Apple is in India for next thousand years: Tim Cook

May 20, 2016 0

New Delhi– “I am looking at India holistically and we are here for the next thousand years,” Apple CEO Tim Cook asserted on Friday as the 55-year-old chief of Cupertino-based tech giant entered the final leg of his highly “encrypted” four-day India tour and was slated to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

Tim Cook

Tim Cook

In an interview given to the news channel NDTV, Cook said: “India is much more strategic. We are thinking about a really long innings in the country. We are here for next thousand years. We are not making the most but the best. We will never make a product that we are not proud of.”

“Apple has a bright future for retail in India. We will sell pre-owned phones with new warranty. We want India to have best Apple products,” he stressed, adding that he instantly feels like he belongs here in India.

Asked about China, Cook said: “India is different than China,” adding that the announcements about Apps development facility in Bengaluru and Maps Development Centre in Hyderabad were just the beginning.

At an event in the capital, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “I complement Apple chief executive for a public commitment of one thousand years in India. We are ready to work together.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook at an Apple store in Gurgaon on May 20, 2016. (Photo: IANS)

Apple CEO Tim Cook at an Apple store in Gurgaon on May 20, 2016. (Photo: IANS)

Cook later met Sunil Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, one of India’s leading telecommunication companies which was the first to launch 4G in India and is set to offer it countrywide.

It is learnt from sources that almost their meeting at Airtel’s office lasted an hour and top officials of Airtel including Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO (India & South Asia) were also present.

Kavin Mittal, founder and CEO of hike messenger, also made a presentation to Cook.

“You will see a reliable signal quality after 4G which is critical for India’s progress,” Cook had earlier told NDTV.

According to a recent report by global investment advisory CLSA, India’s 3G and 4G subscribers have tripled to 120 million in 24 months but as affordability increases, the market will expand to 300 million by March 2018.

These 300 million subscribers will account for 60 percent of sector revenues. Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, the only operators with pan-India 4G spectrum in 2,300 MHz, will lead this opportunity.

“We are also planning to bring Apple Pay to India,” Cook also told NDTV. Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service that lets users make payments through Apple devices.

“There is nothing like having customers telling neighbours you should buy Apple products. Word of mouth is the best marketing,” he observed.

Cook arrived in New Delhi after watching an Indian Premier League (IPL) match in Kanpur on Thursday and fell in love with the game. “Found cricket unbelievably exciting. I’m totally hooked on it,” he said.

Cook began the Delhi leg of his visit with a call at his corporate office where he was greeted by Apple India employees.

Apple CEO Tim Cook at an Apple store in Gurgaon on May 20, 2016. (Photo: IANS)

Apple CEO Tim Cook at an Apple store in Gurgaon on May 20, 2016. (Photo: IANS)

Defying the scorching heat, Cook visited an Apple store situated at DLF Galleria, Gurgaon. “I went to one store in the morning and I was very happy what I had seen there,” he told the TV channel.

On the second day of his India visit, he inaugurated the tech giant’s map development centre in Hyderabad and visited a women’s college.

For the map development centre, Apple has partnered with Noida-based RMSI, a leading IT services player that offers GIS, analytics and software services.

Cook also revealed plans for an iOS app design and development facility in Bengaluru a day earlier.

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Green chillies of Uttar Pradesh hot sellers worldwide

May 19, 2016 0

Lucknow– They are ‘hot’ by all standards and they are much in demand. Green chillies from Uttar Pradesh are reportedly flying off the shelves in European supermarkets.

It’s not just the succulent mangoes of the state, its green chillies too are now wowing people abroad and exporters here are smiling all the way to the bank.

chilliesTime was when green chillies from Uttar Pradesh were sent on a “trial basis” to some European and Arab nations. But now exporters are receiving orders from other regions too.

With orders for the chillies pouring in thick and fast, exporters are busy packaging consignments for markets in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and England.

“We buy these chillies straight from the farmers and then clean, grade and package them for export,” Ramanand Barai, managing director of Khushi International, a Mumbai-based export house, told IANS.

Chillies of various varieties — soldier, Gomti, 917 and divya jyoti — are purchased from places like Kursi Road, Dewa and Malihabad, and then packed at Rehman Kheda here before being sent to Amausi airport for shipment. “The daily pick is of about two tonnes,” a market-watcher said.

With international, especially European, standards on food quality and safety increasingly becoming stricter, adequate care has been taken to ensure that all parameters, including bio-safety and use of pesticide, are within the prescribed limits.

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Mamata, Jaya likely to help NDA in economic reforms: India Inc

May 19, 2016 0
Mamta Banerjee

Mamta Banerjee

New Delhi–Welcoming the assembly election results, industry chambers said here on Thursday said the results in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and Kerala will help the Narendra Modi government to speed up economic reforms.

“Prime Minister Modi who will now be able to speed up economic reforms with the help of non-Congress friendly parties like AIADMK and even Trinamool Congress,” the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) President Sunil Kanoria said in a statement.

“The NDA government will certainly find it easier to deal with Trinamool Congress and AIADMK in the Rajya Sabha for passage of crucial bills, mainly the long-pending and the most important, GST (Goods and Services Tax),” Kanoria added.

The decisive leadership of the two women chief ministers have played a key role in the victories of their parties, he said.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) said the strong voter turnout and clear majority in each of these states points towards a highly positive trend.

“We hope that this mandate will help further the development agenda in these states, with good governance and policy reforms taking centrestage. This will restore investor confidence and help attract greater investments and create more employment opportunities,” Ficci president Harshavardhan Neotia said in a statement.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said that the election victory of TMC sets the tone for faster economic reforms in West Bengal.

“West Bengal can play a key role in introducing GST, a game-changer for the Indian economy,” T.V. Narendran, Chairman, CII Eastern Region said in a statement.

“This landmark victory of AIADMK in Tamil Nadu strongly demonstrates the popular support for her proactive and inclusive governance in the last 5 years,” Ramesh Datla, Chairman, CII Southern Region, said in a statement.

Assocham also congratulated the BJP President Amit Shah for a decisive victory in Assam.

“BJP’s victory in Assam opens a new political chapter in the north-eastern states, which are expected to be asking for more of development to meet rising aspirations of their people,” Kanoria said.

“The Assam mandate reflec’s people’s aspirations for better governance and faster development. It also reaffirms faith in the Prime Minister’s development agenda and economic growth plans,” Sandipan Chakravortty, Chairman, CII North East Council, said in a statement.

In Kerala, the message is clearly anti-incumbency, marked by allegations of various scams in the Congress-led UDF, Kanoria added.

Congratulating the LDF for its victory in Kerala, Ramesh Datla, Chairman, CII Southern Region, said, “CII looks forward in forging a strong partnership with the government towards achieving a robust socio-economic growth, which is sustainable and inclusive.”

CII also congratulated the Indian National Congress (INC) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) alliance for a resounding victory in Puducherry. (IANS)

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To bring in a system of performance audit: Gadkari

May 16, 2016 0

New Delhi–Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said that he intends to bring in a strong system of performance audit and accountability for the road construction industry.

The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Gadkari spoke at the highways sector stakeholders meet here.

Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari

The minister appraised the industry stakeholders of the many policy changes have been brought in to streamline procedures and ease out roadblocks like land acquisition, environment clearances and paucity of funds.

According to the minister, the road transport sector has immense potential, given the high traffic density and adequate availability of resources.

Besides, Gadkari launched three information technology (IT) platforms of the road transport and highways ministry.

The minister further said that technological initiatives have been brought in like satellite-based road asset management system, use of concrete for road construction and electronic toll collection, among others.

“All these are aimed at making the road building procedure faster, more transparent and more efficient, and all officials and other stakeholders should make maximum use of the innovations relevant to their areas of operation,” Gadkari was quoted in a ministry statement as saying. (IANS)


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India unveils new, modern intellectual property protection

May 13, 2016 0

New Delhi–India has unveiled a new National Intellectual Property Rights Policy to safeguard commercial interests arising from creativity — like music, books, industrial drawings, software and even drugs and pharmaceuticals.

IT industry body Nasscom welcomed the policy.

The country, in the process, also wants to meet its global obligation towards protecting innovation, while also placing it at the core of industrial progress. The new policy will serve as a vision document to ensure synergies between the statute and institutional mechanisms.

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

“When there are new inventions, when there is growth in trade, commerce, industry, an intellectual property rights regime must be there for protection,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday, a day after the cabinet gave its nod to the proposal.

“We have a robust trademark law in place that deals with commercial identity of products. The one underlying principle is a person should sell products under his own identity and name — stealing identity should not be possible,” he added.

“If you steal somebody’s identity and piggy-back on it, it’s called commercial theft,” he said, but assured intervention when needed.

“We need this so that medicine costs don’t get affected. Patents may give rise to a monopolistic situation. Hence a balancing act is needed.”

He said unlike earlier where copyright was accorded to only books and publications, the recast regime will cover films, music and industrial drawings. A host of laws will also be streamlined — on semi-conductors, designs, geographical indications, trademarks and patents.

A strong regime on the subject was among India’s commitment to the World Trade Organization under the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) agreement. At the same time the new policy also has flexibilities to protect its developmental concerns, an official statement said.

On one hand it seeks to foster creativity and promote entrepreneurship, and on the other, wants to enhance access to healthcare, food security and environmental protection, among other sectors of vital social, economic and technological importance, the statement added.

“These objectives are sought to be achieved through detailed action points,” the statement said.

“The action by different ministries and departments shall be monitored by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, which shall be the nodal department to coordinate, guide and oversee implementation and future development of intellectual property in India.”

Jaitley also said that by 2017, the time taken for trademark registrations, “which takes very long, sometimes years”, would come down to one month.

Protection of intellectual property has been an assurance which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been giving to the global investor. “I am personally convinced and want to assure you that India is committed to protect Intellectual Property Rights of all innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Noted intellectual property rights expert, Pravin Anand of law firm Anand and Anand told IANS that he was pleased to see a huge change in India’s approach in this area in the past two years. “One of the most powerful things being done in 50 years is on intellectual property rights.”

The new policy lays down seven objectives:

– Create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits

– Stimulate Indians to generate material for intellectual property protection

– Have strong, effective laws, balance the individual and national interests

– Have a modern and service-oriented administration

– Create value from protected innovations through commercialisation

– Strengthen enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms

– Promote capacity building through human resources, institutions training and research.

Welcoming the policy, Nasscom said it “applauds it for encompassing the entire value chain spanning across IPR awareness, generation, legislative framework, administration, commercialization, enforcement and adjudication and human capital, comprehensively covering all aspects of the domain”.

“The Policy has reformed the current administration by making Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion the nodal point. The proposed Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) to be constituted under the aegis of DIPP, would be an important connection with the inventors and innovators,” it said in a statement.

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Bankruptcy code will aid investors: US-India Business Council

May 12, 2016 0

Washington– The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, passed by parliament on Wednesday, will improve the ease of doing business in India for both domestic and global investors, the US-India Business Council (USIBC) said in a statement here.

“The Bill is another feather in the cap of the government’s drive to improve the ease of doing business for both domestic and global investors,” said council president Mukesh Aghi.

Mukesh Aghi

Mukesh Aghi

“The passage of this Bill will establish an entrepreneur-friendly legal bankruptcy framework for speedy, efficient and consistent resolution of insolvencies for companies and individuals,” he said.

The USIBC will welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the guest of honour for its 41st Annual Leadership Summit here on June 7 at the gathering of senior Indian and American leaders from the public and private sectors, the statement added.

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday gave its approval to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015, following its passage through the Lok Sabha last week.

The Insolvency Bill proposes to enact a single bankruptcy code and set deadlines for processing insolvency cases, thereby cutting down the time it takes to wind up a company or recover dues from a defaulter. It has proposed a timeline of 180 days, extendable by 90 more days, to resolve bankruptcy cases.

The code will provide a specialised resolution mechanism to deal with bankruptcy situations in banks, insurance companies and financial sector entities.

The code is quite a positive reform for India’s financial sector, especially for state-run banks heavily burdened with stressed assets, as it will give creditors a legal path for recovering their dues in a time-bound way, Japanese financial services firm Nomura said in a report last week.

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Six Indian startups shortlisted for Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Program

May 12, 2016 0

New Delhi–Internet behemoth Google on Thursday announced it has shortlisted six Indian startups under the Google Launchpad Accelerator Program for mentorship at its headquarters in Silicon Valley, California.

Taskbob, Programming Hub, ShareChat, RedCarpet, PlaySimple Games and Magic Pin are the six startups which will start the programme on June 13, 2016.

Google“The six month long mentorship programme for mid to late stage start-ups will include $50,000 in equity-free funding, a two-week all-expenses paid bootcamp at Google headquarters, six months of ongoing mentorship and access to Google’s full suite of Launchpad initiatives and connections and product credits including Google Cloud and other products,” said a Google statement.

Google India program manager Paul Ravindranath said, “Access to good mentoring and advice at early to mid-stage has been a big gap which we are looking to fill. In our experience many startups struggle with UX, building scalable architectures and go to market strategy.”

He said the Launchpad Accelerator Program brings together mentors and experts from Google and outside to help the startups see success.

Mumbai-based Taskbob offers a range of home services, while Programming Hub, also from the same city provides an app to learn as many as 15 programming languages like Python, HTML, C and others.

ShareChat from Bengaluru is a social networking chat platform in Indian languages, which enables sharing videos, jokes, songs, images and others.

PlaySimple Games, also from Bengaluru, empowers a user to build simple and fun social games, the statement said.

While Delhi-based startup RedCarpet gives instant credit for online purchases to be paid by in installments.

MagicPin, another startup up from the national capital, enables users to discover local merchants and transact with them, it also provides a platform to offline merchants and shows their promotions and loyalty programs in real time.

As part of the second class of Launchpad Accelerator Program, the six startups will join 18 others from Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico.

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India moving to be world leader in scientific research

May 12, 2016 0

New Delhi–President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday asserted that India is moving towards becoming the world leader in the field of scientific research.

“India is enviably placed among the top five nations in the field of space exploration. It is gradually inching towards becoming the leader in the field of scientific research,” Mukherjee said in his address at the National Technology Day celebrations.

Pranab Mukherjee

Pranab Mukherjee

He congratulated the entire community of Indian space scientists for their unique “Made in India” accomplishments.

“ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its 35th flight recently, successfully launched a 1,425 kg satellite into the orbit. This was the seventh and the final satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System enabling us to enter an exclusive club of nations,” added the president.

He also emphasized that India must not rest on its laurels as the recent achievements should propel the country to further upgrade the existing technologies.

“With rapid changes occurring in science education and research, only those countries having a technological edge will emerge successful in the fiercely competitive global market,” Mukherjee said.

The president asserted that innovation is the antidote to stagnation.

“The youth of our country are brimming with ideas and enterprise. They are harnessing technology to find solutions to day-to-day problems of the common man,” he said insisting, “Ingenuity aided by technology can bring substantial welfare benefits.”

“With an estimated 4,300 start-ups, India is the third largest start-up eco-system in the world today. A central feature in this ‘start-up movement’ is the greater involvement of our youth,” Mukherjee said.

“In fact, 72 percent of the start-up founders in India are below the age of 35 years. The combined might of this talented breed of new-age entrepreneurs is there to be tapped,” added the President.(IANS)

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Deadline for TiE ScaleUp is May 20

May 11, 2016 0

CAMBRIDGE, MA—TiE-Boston is now accepting applications for its TiE ScaleUp program, which creates a new model for entrepreneurs looking to grow their business beyond seed financing. The deadline for filing an application is May 20.

Satish Tadikonda (Photo: INDIA New England)

Satish Tadikonda (Photo: INDIA New England)

TiE ScaleUp works closely with select companies and mentor them to refine their business model, obtain access to capital and tap into a peer network for ongoing support.

Satish Tadikonda, an entrepreneur and TiE-Boston charter member, said the TiE ScaleUp program started in 2015 and has been very successful.  Fourteen companies have already graduated from this program.

Tadikonda, who has been one of the main organizers of this program at TiE-Boston, said that many companies fail even after getting early seed stage capital.

“They need to learn how to refine their pitch and think through their future financing needs,” Tadikonda told INDIA New England News. “We made an assumption that after starting a company and raising the seed capital, the entrepreneur has passed the early test and now needs focused mentoring, and that is what we provide at TiE ScaleUp.”

He said a number of experts from various business disciplines and entrepreneurs come together and create an intense five-month program. The next TiE ScaleUp program starts in June. The deadline for application is May 20. For more information, visit

TiE ScaleUp begins the program with an initial pitch to venture capitalists and angel investors, and then taps into Boston’s academics and subject matter experts to deliver a curriculum tailored to the challenges faced by companies looking to scale.

The five-month program also includes mentorship, access to funding sources and executive roundtables, culminating with a Demo Day to leaders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, according to the organization’s website.

The companies which have been part of this program include Antera, ArtLifting, Biena, Birdzi, DropWise, Energysage, QMedic, Repsly, RueBaRue, Spot, Streetscan, VocalID, Zakipoint Health, and ZyPit.

The program consist of 10 workshops, 800 hours of mentorship over five month, 2 invite-only demo days with over 100 investors from top venture capital firms and angel groups from New England, 6-plus new investor connections per company, and five sessions of peer-to-peer learning through CEO roundtables.

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