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Google, Facebook updating website to reflect new grievance officer appointed under IT rules

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NEW DELHI: Large digital companies like Google and Facebook have begun updating their websites to reflect the appointment of the grievance officers under the new social media rules that came into effect recently.

According to government sources, large social media companies like Google, Facebook and WhatsApp have shared details with the IT Ministry as per the requirement of the new digital rules, but Twitter is still not following the norms.

The new rules require significant social media intermediaries – those with other 50 lakh users – to appoint a grievance officer, nodal officer and a chief compliance officer. These personnel are required to be resident in India.

Industry sources said Facebook and WhatsApp have already shared their compliance report with the Ministry of Electronics and IT, and that the details of the new grievance officers appointed are being updated to replace the existing information on these platforms.

Google’s ‘Contact Us’ page shows details of Joe Grier as a contact person with an address from Mountain View, US. The page also contains details on the grievance redressal mechanism for YouTube.

As per the rules, all intermediaries have to prominently publish on their website, app or both, the name of the grievance officer and his/her contact details as well as the mechanism by which a user or a victim may make a complaint.

The grievance officer will have to acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and dispose of such complaint within a period of 15 days from the date of its receipt; and receive and acknowledge any order, notice or direction issued by the authorities.

The government sources on Friday had said that Twitter is not following the norms.

Twitter has not sent details of the chief compliance officer to the IT Ministry, and shared details of a lawyer working in a law firm as a nodal contact person and grievance officer, they added.

This when the IT rules clearly require these designated officers of the significant social media platforms to be employees of the company and resident in India, they pointed out.

While Twitter did not respond to email queries on the issue, its website mentions Dharmendra Chatur as the ‘Resident Grievance Officer for India (Interim)’.

Google, Facebook and WhatsApp also did not respond to detailed email queries on the appointment of the personnel as required by the new IT rules.

The sources had earlier said that besides Google, Facebook and WhatsApp, other significant social media intermediaries like Koo, Sharechat, Telegram and LinkedIn too have shared details with the ministry as per the requirement of the IT norms.

Under the new rules, social media companies will have to take down flagged content within 36 hours, and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for nudity, pornography etc.

The Centre has said the new rules are designed to prevent abuse and misuse of platforms, and offer users a robust forum for grievance redressal.

Non-compliance with the rules would result in these platforms losing the intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.

After the new norms came into effect on May 26, the IT Ministry had turned up the heat on significant social media companies, asking them to immediately report compliance and provide details of the three key officials appointed.

The new IT rules also require significant social media intermediaries – providing services primarily in the nature of messaging – to enable identification of the “first originator” of the information that undermines the sovereignty of India, the security of the state, or public order.

The large platforms have to also publish periodic compliance reports every month mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken thereon, and the number of specific communication links or parts of information that the intermediary has removed or disabled access to in pursuance of any proactive monitoring conducted by using automated tools or other reasons.

Source: Press Trust of India

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Tata Consultancy Services to invest Rs 690 crore in Innovation Park in Kochi

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NEW DELHI: In a big boost to the Kerala government’s bid to attract investment, leading IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has agreed to invest Rs 690 crore to set up an Innovation Park in Kochi.

The state government has allotted 36.84 acres of land to TCS Ltd for setting up a unit for Electronics Hardware & IT/ITES in KINFRA Electronics Manufacturing Cluster, Kakkanad, Kochi.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed here on Friday in the presence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Industries Minister P Rajeev, an official statement said.

KINFRA Managing Director Santhosh Koshy Thomas and TCS Kerala Vice President Dinesh P Thampi signed the MoU.

TCS Ltd intends to operate a campus for Electronics Hardware & IT / ITES in an area of ??36.84 acres of land in KINFRA Electronics Manufacturing Cluster, Kakkanad, with an investment of Rs 698 crore and would accommodate nearly 10,000 employees in a phased manner, the release said.

The proposed project will be named as the TCS Innovation Park, it said.

The first phase is expected to commence operations in the financial year 2023-24, the statement said.

Once the campus becomes fully operational, it would have a capacity to cater 10,000 employees to be achieved in a phased manner, it said.

While Rs 440 crore will be invested for building the IT complex, Rs 250 crore will be allocated for related developments, official sources said.

The park will be set up in a total built up area of ??16 lakh square feet, they said. The second phase of campus development will be planned later, sources said.

Source: Press Trust of India

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Apple to bring iPhone 13 lineup to India from September 24 with prices starting at Rs 69,900

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NEW DELHI: Apple enthusiasts will be able to get their hands on the latest line-up of iPhones — iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max — with prices starting at Rs 69,900 onwards later this month.

“Customers in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, the UK, the US, and more than 30 other countries and regions will be able to pre-order iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max…availability beginning Friday, September 24,” Apple said in a statement.

Customers can get iPhone 13 Pro for Rs 1,19,900 (onwards) and iPhone 13 Pro Max for Rs 1,29,900 (onwards) from Apple’s online store, it added.

The iPhone 13 will be available for Rs 79,900, while iPhone 13 mini will be priced at Rs 69,900.

The phones will also be available through Apple Authorised Resellers and select carriers, the statement said.

“Our Pro lineup pushes the limits with our most advanced technologies for users who want the very best iPhone. Best in class performance, best in class camera experience, great durability, larger displays and incredible design. This year, we build on that in a major way,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the launch event on late Tuesday night.

The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max also include 5G with more bands for better coverage.

According to Counterpoint Research Director Tarun Pathak, Apple now has a very aggressive entry point, starting with iPhone SE 2020, going till iPhone 13 Pro Max.

“However, we believe that it’s the iPhone 12 series that is likely to gain traction in India and take on the baton from iPhone 11, that until last quarter captured around 60 per cent of the overall iPhone sales. Apple is likely to capture a 2.4 per cent share in the coming Q4 2021 and will end the year as its highest ever crossing 4 million shipments,” he added.

Pathak noted that the share of the new iPhone within overall Apple sales during the launch quarter increases year-on-year and this year too, it will be the same – driven by iPhone 13.

Apple continues to go aggressive on trade-ins as well, he added.

“We think that iPhone 12 too will benefit from the price cut the most, even better than iPhone 11, and is likely to be the best seller for the festive season. This will also help the premium to reach a record share of the overall smartphone market in India with Apple likely to lead in the launch quarter,” Pathak said.

India is among the key growth drivers for Apple. Strong double-digit growth in markets like India and Latin America had helped the iPhone maker report double-digit revenue growth at USD 81.4 billion – a new record for the June quarter.

The company does not provide country-specific numbers.

Apple, which competes with players like Samsung and OnePlus in the premium smartphone segment, has been aggressively ramping up its presence in the Indian market.

In the past, Apple has talked about plans of setting up brick-and-mortar outlets in India in addition to its online store.

India is among the biggest smartphone markets globally and logging strong growth rates. Smartphone shipment in India grew by 82 per cent in the June 2021 quarter from the year-ago period to over 33 million units. The premium segment – although small – has been growing at a strong pace.

Devices priced under Rs 15,000 account for a significant volume share of the Indian market. Xiaomi (including POCO) accounted for a 28.4 per cent share of June quarter shipments, followed by Samsung (17.7 per cent), Vivo (15.1 per cent), Realme (14.6 per cent) and Oppo (10.4 per cent), as per data from research firm Counterpoint.

According to Apple India’s website, iPhone 13 Pro (128GB) will be priced at Rs 1,19,900; 256GB at Rs 1,29,900; 512 GB at Rs 1,49,900; and 1TB at Rs 1,69,900.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max (128GB) will be priced at Rs 1,29,900; 256GB at Rs 1,39,900; 512 GB at Rs 1,59,900; and 1TB at Rs 1,79,900.

The iPhone 13 mini will be priced between Rs 69,900 to Rs 99,900 for 128GB, 256GB and 512GB variants, while iPhone 13 will be available at Rs 79,900-1,09,900 for 128GB, 256GB and 512GB models.

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max make up our most pro-iPhone lineup ever with the biggest advancement for our camera system, the best battery life ever in an iPhone, and the fastest performance of any smartphone, setting a new standard for iPhone and enabling incredible experiences never before possible, Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Greg Joswiak said.

The new pro camera system offers even more pro photography capabilities like improved telephoto zoom, macro photography, photographic styles, cinematic mode, as well as ProRes and Dolby vision video, he added.

“The Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion is our best display ever; it intelligently responds to the content on your screen, offers fantastic graphics performance, and is perfect for any viewing experience, he said.

Apple has also introduced the new iPad (9th generation), featuring an A13 Bionic chip that packs even more performance and capability into the most popular iPad, all while retaining its all-day battery life.

The new iPad features a 10.2-inch Retina display with True Tone, a 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with centre stage, support for Apple Pencil (1st generation) and Smart Keyboard, iPad OS 15, and twice the storage of the previous generation (starts with 64GB of storage).

The new iPad, priced at Rs 30,900 onwards, is available to order from Apple’s website and will be available in stores from September 24.

iPad has never been more essential for working, learning, and communicating, and we’re excited to bring one of the biggest updates ever to our most popular iPad.

With the powerful A13 Bionic, more engaging video calls with Centre Stage, and double the storage, the new iPad delivers advanced capabilities, versatility, and simplicity at an incredible value, Joswiak said.

A new iPad mini – with an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display – will be available from September 24 and priced at Rs 46,900 onwards.

Apple Watch Series 7, featuring a re-engineered Always-On Retina display – will be available later this year.

Source: Press Trust of India

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India allows 100 per cent FDI through automatic route in telecom reforms

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NEW DELHI: In big bang reforms, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a relief package for the telecom sector that includes a four-year moratorium on payment of statutory dues by telecom companies as well as allowing 100 per cent foreign investment through the automatic route.

Briefing reporters on the decisions taken by the Cabinet, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said nine structural reforms for the telecom sector were approved.

The definition of AGR, which had been a major reason for the stress in the sector, has been rationalised by excluding non-telecom revenue of telecom companies.

AGR refers to revenues that are considered for payment of statutory dues.

The minister said that 100 per cent FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in telecom via the automatic route was approved by the Cabinet.

Among the measures approved were a four-year moratorium on unpaid dues, AGR and spectrum dues, he said.

These measures are expected to ease the cash flow issues being faced by some players in the industry.

“The package announced by the Government aims to usher in structural reforms by infusing investor confidence and provide flexibility to telecom operators with respect to spectrum sharing, surrendering spectrum usage rights etc. One of the key announcements is allowing 100% FDI in the sector which was limited only to 49% from the automatic route. The other significant announcement is to have certainty for auctions in the sector which are slated to be conducted mostly in the last quarter of a financial year. These measure will certainly provide better planning by operators,” Akshat Jain, Partner, J Sagar Associates,

He further added that however, the liability to pay AGR dues continues. The deferment for AGR dues cannot be construed as waiver since the package only envisages a moratorium of four years on such AGR dues from 1st October 2021 (appointed date) with the interest and penalties accruing for such deferral. On other issues such as spectrum payments, bank guarantees etc., the relief appears to be prospective in nature. While this will temporarily provide some relief, it does not essentially alleviate the already bleeding balance sheets of the telecom operators since the dues will ultimately have to be paid with interest. It will be interesting to see whether these measures promote competition in the sector and achieve the desired objectives.

 

With Press Trust of India

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