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11th Anniversary

Digitisation will make for good, transparent and honest governance, says Ravi Shankar Prasad
Source: The Financial Express; December 17, 2016

Minister for Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said “digital governance is good governance, digital governance is transparent governance and digital governance is honest governance”. He was addressing a special session at the FICCI’s 89th Annual General Meeting. Prasad said,

“The government is not a routine government, this government is transformative government, designed to make India an economic power.” With population more than 1.25 billion, India has 1.04 billion mobile phone users, of that 350 million are smart phone users with 500 billion internet users.”

“Further, backed up by initiatives like Make in India, Digital India and Startup India, the nation is at the cusp of a big transformation. With government emphasizing on electronics manufacturing sector, India has established 40 new mobile phone manufacturing centres in the last one year and with conducive policy initiatives and framework India aims to become global manufacturing hub,” he added.

He also gave examples of how citizens from remote parts of India are utilising the digital tools as epicentres of socio-economic development. Prasad said “Demonetisation is a part of a transformative programme which is aimed for stronger and more movable digital economy.” India with the aim to become the leader of digital revolution, is making a major shift towards digital payments systems,” he added.

Hyundai wins Indian Manufacturer of the Year award
Source: The Times of India; December 17, 2016

Hyundai Motor India was adjudged the "Indian Manufacturer of the Year - 2016" by Frost & Sullivan at the India Manufacturing Excellence Awards 2016.

Out of 93 entries selected for the award from an overall shortlist of 102 sites derived from an even larger base of contestants, Hyundai was adjudged the winner for this award.

Participants were put through a stringent assessment process spread across every functions, both in core and support areas, spanning over 3-4 days by expert assessors of Frost & Sullivan at the company sites, a Hyundai statement said.

"Receiving this award is a great honour for Hyundai. It validates our beliefs of excellence. We have been early adopters of making in India policy and exporting to world from India. Our products are recognised for their advanced design, quality and performance created from a world class manufacturing facility. We take pride in our world class manufacturing facilities, strong technological capability with a high degree of automation along with skilled manpower, making award winning products. I thank and appreciate Frost and Sullivan for instituting this very important platform which brings manufacturing excellence to the forefront," Y K Koo, MD & CEO, Hyundai Motor India said.

The Indian Manufacturer of the Year award was handed over by Aroop Zutshi, global president & managing partner, Frost and Sullivan.

Make in India will not happen without skill makers: Rajiv Pratap Rudy
Source: The Economic Times; December 17, 2016

Lamenting the lack of training infrastructure, Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Pratap Rudy on Saturday said without a skilled workforce, Make in India will not happen.

"We have 14 lakh painters but we don't have a single formal training centre for them. Similar is the case with plumbers, carpenters, masons etc. The ecosystem that has developed over the last 68 years needs structural change which we are struggling to do," Rudy said at a Ficci event here.

"It is important for Make in India to happen but it will not happen unless we have the makers," said Rudy harping on the need for creating infrastructure for skilling the workforce.

"The problem lies in the ecosystem that has developed over the last seven decades," he said, adding that certification was essential for establishing appropriate labour market linkages and ascertaining that the workforce is industry ready.

He also stressed on the importance of English as a language in the era of globalisation.

"A student who doesn't have a formal education for 10 years and speaks good English has a 40 per cent more employability than graduates and post graduates in this country," he said.

Enumerating the various initiatives of the Narendra Modi government to skill the workforce, Rudy emphasised the need for apprenticeship for the trainees.

A look back at how Startup India fared this year
Source: Yourstory; December 18, 2016

“You will never get an opportunity to ask questions directly. Ask and grill as much as you can,” said Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Ayog, during a TiE Global Summit panel that was made up of people from Taxation, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). We are now at the end of a year over the course of which much has been said and done about government policies like Startup India, Standup India, Digital India, and Make in India.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi made public his Startup India policy with a lot of fanfare, there were tax reforms announced and digital plans made, and SEBI decided to look at reforms and focus on startups.

During Saturday's panel, moderated by Amitabh, experts took turns to throw light on what the government has done over the year and intends to do in the coming year.

According to Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, DIPP, the government could still benefit from more learning. He said,

“There have been tax benefits, and fund of funds have been launched. We are making some tweaks so that it makes Startup India easier. We have a long way to go. It has been a great learning experience even for the government.

One Plus to manufacture 3T model phones in India next year
Source: Medianama; December 19, 2016

Chinese phone manufacturer OnePlus said that it plans to manufacture the newly announced 3T model in India from early next year to meet “growing demands”, according to this Reuters report. A spokesperson from One Plus India confirmed this development with MediaNama. This is the second such manufacturing deal from One Plus after it tied up with Foxconn to manufacture phones in Andhra Pradesh facility in October last year.

The contract with Foxconn was however discontinued earlier this year, according to the report. The company however did not mention the reason behind this move Interestingly, in this month Foxconn had temporarily laid off 25% of its employees on paid leave due to demonetization and severe crash crunch. Vikas Agrawal, General Manager of One Plus India was quoted as saying that production is slated to start in India be next quarter. According to IDC, One Plus is ranked as the 3rd largest vendor of premium phones in India after Samsung and Oppo.

The company does not disclose One Plus shipments in India but has however mentioned that over 7% of its shipments in 2014 were to India. This was the same time when it unveiled its first flagship device One Plus One. Currently the company sells One Plus devices in India through an exclusive partnership with Amazon, but recently Flipkart also started listing One Plus devices (much to the amusement of OnePlus founder Carl Pei).

Mobile manufacturing falls 40% as note ban spells wrong number for industry
Source: Hindustan Times; December 19, 2016

At a time when the government is looking to push digital payments, the production of mobile phones in India is down by at least 40%.

The ban on circulation of banknotes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 has hit the industry hard, with handset manufacturers, including Foxconn, Flextronics and GDN-Wistron, may have been looking to cut jobs or sending employees on leave.

“Contract manufacturers are seeing a 40% slump in production, with consumers putting off purchases, which is killing demand,” an industry executive told HT on the condition of anonymity. “The situation is so bad that they might have to take tougher decisions regarding employees,” he added.

Foxconn, which makes iPhones for Apple, has asked 1,700 employees out of its 8,000-strong workforce in the country to go on paid leave. The company accounts for nearly 50% of all smartphones assembled in India, and makes devices for companies such as Nokia, Xiaomi, Oppo and Gionee, among others.

Flextronics manufactures phones for Lenovo, Motorola, Huawei and Honor, while GDN-Wistron produces handsets for LG, HTC, Oppo and Zen Mobiles.

Both Flextronics and GDN-Wistron did not respond to HT’s requests for comments on the layoffs.

“The situation is set to become worse, especially for companies that manufacture feature phones, budget and mid-segment smartphones,” said the executive quoted above.

Make in India Initiative for Defense: The Story So Far
Source: Defence Aviation Post; December 19, 2016

Even as the private sector players in the defence sector await announcements on big ticket projects under the government’s Make in India initiative announced in September 2014, the Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre informed the Lok Sabha that so far, 116 Industrial Licenses have been issued for manufacture of various licensable defence items to Indian companies.

The expenditure on purchase of defence equipment for the three services in the last two years and current financial year from the foreign vendors and Indian vendors is given below:……..

In a written reply in Lok Sabha last week, Bhamre said the Government has received suggestions from Indian industry chambers for reviewing certain clauses of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016.

These suggestions include reduction in time from Request for Information (RFI) to procurement, assessment of combined financial and technical bids of the partners in consortium, Government to bear the development and prototype cost of the equipment offered in case of retraction of Request for Proposal (RFP), Purchase price preference for higher indigenous content, providing price indexation for Long Term Contracts due to high cost of capital and inflation vis-à-vis foreign original equipment manufacturer (OEM), fixing of timeline for inspection etc.

All such suggestions are examined and considered by the Government while reviewing the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), which is a continuous exercise.

Japanese electronic brand Akai re-enters Indian market
Source: Times of India; December 20, 2016

Japanese consumer brand Akai has re-entered the Indian market and has tied up with a local Indian electronics distributor to begin sales.

The company, which enjoyed sizeable operations here in the late nineties through its range of televisions and home theatres, will be retailed by the Paras Group that has brought the license rights for the Indian market.

Paras Group has a turnover of around Rs 600 crore as it is a key distributor for companies such as Sony, LG, Nikon and Daikin. "We intend to sell TVs, home theatre, washing machines, air purifiers and ACs under the Akai brand. We believe that Akai has a good brand recall here," said Anurag Sharma, director of Hometech Digital, which is part of the Paras Group.

The company will be sourcing product kits from Taiwan and China and assembling them locally in the country. Sharma added, "The high-end products are being fully imported."

Handset makers propose lower duties on mobile components made in India
Source: BGR; December 21, 2016

In a bid to boost the Make in India campaign initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, handset makers have asked the government to bring down the duties on mobile components. The manufacturers have proposed that the upcoming Union Budget to bring components such as the keypad, USB cable, mic and receiver, and die-cut parts under the differential duty regime offered for devices made in India. The regime would make such components and manufacturing of metal and plastic sub-components attract lower duties.

The industry is also seeking duties to be imposed if the same components are being imported by manufacturers similar to the higher duties imposed on mobile phones, chargers, batteries and headsets.

In the past one year, around 40 mobile manufacturing units have been set up in India, resulting in generation of more than 40,000 jobs. “India imports electronic goods of over Rs 3 lakh crore. By 2020 government aims to bring down import to zero,” Minister of State for IT and Law P P Choudhary said at the time of announcing The Electropreneur Park which is an incubation centre in Delhi and set up with government funds of around Rs 21 crore to support incubation of up to 50 companies. Set up in collaboration with academia and industry represented by Indian Electronics and Semiconductor Association, the Park focuses on creation of intellectual property rights and product development to increase domestic manufacturing of electronics items.

Apple seeks incentives for manufacturing in India
Source: Business Standard; December 21, 2016

Apple Inc is discussing with the Indian government the possibility of manufacturing its products in the country, according to two senior government officials, as the company seeks to grow its sales and presence in the South Asian nation. In a letter to the government last month, the firm outlined its plans and sought financial incentives to move ahead, the officials told The Wall Street Journal. Senior trade ministry authorities in recent weeks met to discuss the matter. An Apple spokesperson didn’t respond to requests for comment. Making goods such as iPhones locally would allow Apple to open its own stores in India, helping build its brand in a country where it has just a tiny slice — less than five per cent — of a booming smartphone market. India’s smartphone market is next year expected to overtake that of the US as the world’s second-largest behind China, according to research firm IDC. For years, sales in China fuelled Apple’s expansion, but now growth there is slowing. “Apple wants to emulate its China model in India,” said one of the officials with direct knowledge of the matter. “The company wants financial incentives, which the concerned government departments are looking into,” the official said.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said in May that the company had no plans to set up a factory in India, though the Indian government later said Cook discussed the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when they met in New Delhi.

The impacts of innovative and disruptive technologies on aerospace and defense manufacturing
Source: Aerospace Manufacturing & Design; December 21, 2016

Without question, if you are an Aerospace and Defense manufacturer, in order to transform and grow your business you need an understanding of the impacts of innovative and disruptive technologies. You are probably dealing with the effects of an ever-increasing velocity of change in the industry. Customers are demanding more from you whether it takes the form of managing more complex product requirements, ever-shrinking lead times, or simply the need to be "always on" 24/7/365. Supply chains are becoming more global – sourcing material from one country, managing cross-border logistics, and ensuring quality is maintained opens you to significant risk at each stage. Now, combine that with significant global change, an aging workforce, and the speed of technology innovation, it is no doubt you are left wondering what to do and how to make sense of it all.

Attend this webinar Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017 at 2 pm EST to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of how significant innovative and disruptive technologies will affect your daily operations, what steps you can take today to understand and react to them, and how you can balance the hype of emerging disruptive technologies, to gain the greatest benefits and how best to transform your business and be better prepared for future growth.

IISC can make your WIFI 1,000 times faster
Source: Bangalore Mirror; December 21, 2016

Communication technology has leapfrogged into 2022, thanks to a bunch of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science. What it means, in layman terms, is that pretty soon your WiFi can work at mind-boggling speeds, up to 1,000 times faster than what it is capable of right now.

The trick lies in graphene-based transistors which consume ultralow power. Transistors are semiconductor devices used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. They work by using electrons to control electricity. Transistors are made of silicon, a chemical element found in sand.

The team of IISc researchers employed a game-changing approach and used graphene, a derivative of graphite, instead. Since the transistor consumes very less power, it doesn’t heat up easily thus allowing faster clock speed (in the Terra Hertz range).

The implications of the research are huge: not only does it allow faster communications (“The data that we receive from Mars in months can be downloaded in a few hours with Terra Hertz link, says Prof Mayanka Shrivastava, the lead researcher), it will also help detect terrorists and criminals in a discreet way.

“THz radiation can non-invasively detect if someone is carrying a metallic object like a weapon or a plastic explosive under the clothes, without penetrating the skin.

IT company Happiest Minds eyes acquisition in IoT space
Source: The Hindu Business line; December 21, 2016

Having grown organically during the first four years of operation, Bengaluru-based IT company Happiest Minds is now considering acquisition of one or two smaller entities, a top official of the company said.

The company, according to its Executive Chairman Ashok Soota, “is in active dialogue on two-three fronts”.

“It will be in synergy with our line of business, but in one of the newer areas. We are focusing on the Internet of Things (IoT) in a strong way,” he said, without divulging too much on the proposed acquisition.

When persisted if Happiest Minds is in talks with an Indian IT firm or a foreign company, Soota said: “It could be a mix (in the sense) the promoters are not here. One of the two companies that we are actively looking to acquire is a US-based entity; either way – here or there – the market is abroad, so to that extent they are globally oriented.”

He further said about 70 per cent of his company's business is from the US, around 20 per cent from the UK and Europe and 10 per cent from India.

“Our domestic business is expected to touch 12 per cent. We are also eyeing the Australian market and West Asia. Our business from these two new geographies could account for 5 per cent of our business,” he added.

Trifecta Capital invests Rs 220cr so far, backs 17 startups
Source: ET Tech; December 22, 2016

Trifecta Capital has closed three deals, including venture debt transactions with home interior design venture Livspace, ready-to-eat meals provider Chef's Basket and drone manufacturing startup ideaForge, taking its total capital commitments to Rs 220 crore since inception.

The Gurugram-based speciality finance firm, which has raised over Rs 200 crore till date, and is targeting a final corpus of Rs 500 crore for its first fund, has committed about Rs 35 crore across the latest additions to its portfolio, which also includes startups, such as, Hyderabad-based kidney care clinic chain NephroPlus, express surface logistics firm Rivigo and messaging platform Helpchat.

Trifecta Capital, which was founded by founded by former Canaan Partners India managing director Rahul Khanna and former Accenture senior executive Nilesh Kothari, has backed about 17 companies till date.

“If you look at the quality of our portfolio, a large portion of it comprises of category leaders, or have helped define categories...The acceptance (of venture debt) has certainly gone up, and we've made a concerted effort to educate the market, “Khanna told ET.

According to the managing partner, the venture debt firm expects to deploy between Rs 60 crore- 75 crore by the end of March 2017.

Govt to promote cyber security courses as it pushes for a safe digital economy
Source: Hindustan Time; December 22, 2016

The government’s push for a less-cash economy might offer better career prospects for those aspiring to become cyber security experts.

Union minister of information technology and law, Ravi Shankar Prasad, has instructed the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) to start cyber security courses for students.

This is part of a slew of measures taken by the IT ministry to prepare for the challenges likely to come up as the country moves towards a cashless economy.

The NIELIT, an autonomous scientific society under the ministry, is engaged in capacity building in IT and communications.

“In the coming five years, we propose to bring up 1.14 lakh qualified professionals who will be involved in creating cyber security awareness campaigns,” Prasad told HT.

The incidents of cyber security breaches in the country as reported to the computer emergency response team- India (CERT-In) — which engages in 24x7 monitoring of internet traffic in the country — have ranged between 45,000 and 50,000 every year since 2014.

After the recall of high-value notes on November 8, the government has given a big push to digital transactions, bringing focus to its safety aspects.

Prasad said the standardisation testing and quality certification (STQC) would offer testing facility to those who are in the business of distributing money.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), for instance, is in the process of developing an Android-based Aadhaar-enabled payment system. The app will be certified by the STQC.

Acer pulls out of the world's second largest smartphone market
Source: Android Authority; December 22, 2016

We should’ve seen this coming, to be honest. India has surpassed the US to become the second largest smartphone market in in the world, and that’s why so many manufacturers have been flocking to the country. The competition has increased dramatically, and without a proper grasp of the particularities of the Indian market, you’re bound to be forced out of the playing field. And that’s exactly what happened to Acer.

India has over a billion people, and the use of smartphones among those people is increasing at a rapid rate. 4G is finally replacing 3G, and as the demand for affordable smartphones skyrockets, especially among the nation’s youths, major manufacturers have been rushing to get in on the action. However, when you have electronics giants battling to remain pertinent, it’s inevitable that some will be pushed out of the game.

Acer’s presence in India may have a relatively long history – after all, the company started selling smartphones there six years ago – but the Taiwanese company has announced that it will be pulling out of the Indian market, at least for now. With Chinese OEMs dominating the market, even big names like Samsung and Apple seem to be struggling to stay competitive. And given Acer’s range of products (or the lack thereof), closing its businesses in India may make sense.

Software Technology Parks of India's drive to promote cashless transactions
Source: Times of India; December 22, 2016

In the wake of demonetisation, the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) under the ministry of electronics and information technology recently organised a training programme at various IT companies as well as in Dadha area in Bhubaneswar to teach people the usage of different cashless transactions.

The STPI officers of Bhubaneswar branch highlighted how it is possible by leveraging technology to carry out business transactions digitally and benefits of the cashless transactions to the participants.

"In its mission of promoting digital payments through cashless transactions, Centre has initiated numerous activities recently. Synchronising this vision, STPI has taken up massive campaign to contribute to the flagship campaign Digital India and ensure that there is an accelerated transition to a cashless economy," said an STPI officer.

"We conducted the training programme at various IT companies like TCS, Tech Mahindra and STPI Incubates and reached out to common people in Dadha area. So far around 500 beneficiaries have been trained for adopting different cashless transaction mechanisms, like UPI, USSD, RuPay cards and Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS)," the officer said.

STPI-Bhubaneswar has an ambitious plan for carrying out massive drive to train the citizens on cashless transactions in coming days, he added.

Compiled by IESA Research

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