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Mobile internet services suspended in entire Kashmir; security beefed up

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NEW DELHI: Kashmir remained on edge on Sunday as authorities stepped up security deployment at vital installations and sensitive areas amid heightened terror threat and flare up of hostilities with Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC).

Mobile internet services were suspended across the Valley as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order, police said.

After the Jammu and Kashmir administration curtailed the Amarnath Yatra and asked pilgrims and tourists to leave the valley at the earliest on Friday, anxious residents continue to throng markets to stock on essentials and serpentine queues have been visible outside shops and fuel stations.

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, the mentor of Jammu and Kashmir state teams who was in Srinagar to oversee the trials for the U-16 (Vijay Merchant Trophy) and U-19 (Cooch Behar Trophy) squads, has left Srinagar, along with the young players.

“We have for the time being postponed the second phase of junior team trials…since there has been a government advisory, I had a meeting with Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association…Accordingly, it was decided that boys need to be sent back home,” Pathan told PTI.

Various educational institutions also directed their students to vacate hostels.

Additional paramilitary forces, which arrived here last week, have been deployed across the city and in other vulnerable areas of Kashmir Valley, the officials said.

The strength of the security personnel has been increased around vital installations such as the civil secretariat, police headquarters, airport and various central government establishments in the city, they said.

Barricades have been erected on many arterial roads, including the entry and exit points to Srinagar, the summer capital of the state.

Riot control vehicles have also been kept on standby in some areas where apprehension of law and order disturbances is more, the officials added.

In Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with top security officials on Sunday and is believed to have discussed the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

The hour-long meeting was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other senior officials.

The meeting came amidst fresh skirmishes between security forces of India and Pakistan along the border with the Army foiling an attack by BAT on a forward post along the Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector, killing five to seven intruders.

The Indian Army has asked its Pakistani counterparts to approach them by raising white flags and take possession of bodies which are lying on the Indian side of the LoC.

The BAT generally comprises special forces personnel of the Pakistani Army and terrorists.

A civilian woman was killed in cross-LoC shelling in Gurez sector of Kashmir last week, while ceasefire violations by Pakistan were reported from several other areas of Kashmir close to the LoC.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor S P Malik has dismissed speculations that the Centre might be planning to do away with Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives exclusive rights to the state’s residents in government jobs and land.

Political parties in J-K had expressed apprehensions about such action after the Centre deployed additional troops and curtailed the Amarnath Yatra.

The National Conference (NC) held a meeting of its Political Affairs Committee (PAC) where they expressed concern over the “uncertain and uptight” situation in Jammu and Kashmir. A spokesman said the party would fight any infringement upon the special constitutional position of the state. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has called an all-party meeting at her residence on Sunday evening to discuss the situation.

Malik has urged political delegations led by National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba to tell their supporters to maintain calm and not to believe “exaggerated rumours” being circulated in the Valley.

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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