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Prime Minister of India interacts with Startups

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NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Startups today via video conferencing. The Startups gave presentations to the Prime Minister on six themes viz. Growing from Roots; Nudging the DNA; From Local to Global; Technology of Future; Building Champions in Manufacturing; and Sustainable Development.

More than 150 startups were divided into six working groups for the purpose of these presentations. For each theme, there were presentations by two Startup representatives, who spoke on behalf of all the startups selected for that particular theme.

During their presentation, the startup representatives thanked the Prime Minister for the opportunity to provide such a platform to share their ideas, and praised his vision and support to the startup ecosystem. They shared ideas and inputs on a variety of sectors and areas including robust data collection mechanism in agriculture; making India preferred agri business hub; boosting healthcare through use of technology; tackling issue of mental health; promoting travel and tourism through innovations like virtual tours; ed-tech and job identification; space sector; connecting offline retail market with digital commerce; increasing manufacturing efficiency; defence exports; promoting green sustainable products and sustainable means of transport, among others.

Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Ashwini Vaisnaw, Sarbananda Sonowal,Parshottam Rupala, G. Kishan Reddy, Pashupati Kumar Paras, Dr Jitendra Singh, Som Parkash were among those present on the occasion.

Speaking after the presentations, the Prime Minister said that organization of this Start Up India Innovation week is all the more important in this year of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav as the role of the Start Ups will be critical when Indian freedom reaches its centenary year. “I congratulate all the start-ups of the country, all the innovative youth, who are raising the flag of India in the world of start-ups. For this culture of start-ups to reach the far-flung parts of the country, it has been decided to celebrate January 16 as National Start-up Day”, the Prime Minister announced.

Recalling the concept of the current decade as the ‘techade’ of India, the Prime Minister listed three important aspects of the massive changes that the government is making in this decade to strengthen the innovation, entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem. First, to liberate entrepreneurship and innovation from the web of government processes, bureaucratic silos. Second, creating an institutional mechanism to promote innovation. And third, handholding of young innovators and young enterprises.

He listed programmes like Startup India and Standup India as part of the efforts. Measures like removing problems of ‘angel tax’, simplification of tax procedure, arranging for government funding, allowing self certification of 9 labour and 3 environment laws and removal of more than 25 thousand compliances have taken the process further. Startup runway on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) platform is facilitating the provision of startup services to the government.

The Prime Minister said the Government’s effort is to institutionalize innovation in the country by creating attraction for innovation among students since childhood. More than 9000 Atal Tinkering Labs are giving children a chance to innovate in schools and work on new ideas. He added that whether it is new drone rules, or new space policy, the priority of the government is to provide opportunities for innovation to as many youth as possible. Our government has simplified the rules related to IPR registration too, he added.

The Prime Minister noted the exponential rise in the indicators of innovation. He said that in the year 2013-14, 4000 patents were approved, last year, more than 28 thousand patents were granted. In the year 2013-14, where about 70000 trademarks were registered, in 2020-21 more than 2.5 lakh trademarks have been registered. In the year 2013-14, where only 4000 copyrights were granted, last year their number has crossed 16000. The Prime Minister pointed out that India’s campaign for innovation has resulted in improvement of India’s ranking in Global innovation index where India stood at 81 rank but now India stands at 46 rank in the index.

Shri Modi informed that startups of India are working with 55 separate industries and the number of startups has increased from less than 500 five years ago to more than 60 thousand today.

The Prime Minister said “Our Start-ups are changing the rules of the game. That’s why I believe Start-ups are going to be the backbone of new India.” The Prime Minister noted that last year, 42 unicorns came up in the country. These companies worth thousands of crores of rupees are the hallmark of self-reliant and self-confident India. “Today India is rapidly moving towards hitting the century of the unicorns. I believe the golden era of India’s start-ups is starting now”, he added.

The Prime Minister underlined the role of empowerment by entrepreneurship in addressing the problems of development and regional-gender disparities. He mentioned that today, there is at least one startup in each of the 625 districts of the country and more than half of the startups are from tier 2 and tier 3 cities. These are converting ideas from ordinary poor families into businesses and lakhs of young Indians are getting employment.

Shri Narendra Modi singled out India’s diversity as a key strength and keystone of India’s global identity. He said that Indian unicorns and startups are the messenger of this diversity. The Prime Minister said start-ups from India can easily reach other countries of the world. So “don’t just keep your dreams local, make them global. Remember this mantra- let’s Innovate for India, innovate from India”, he exhorted the innovators.

The Prime Minister suggested many areas where the startup ecosystem can play a major role. He said that extra space on the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan can be used for EV charging infrastructure. Similarly, areas like defence manufacturing, chip manufacturing offer many possibilities. He dwelled on the drone sector and said that many investors have been investing in drone startups after the new drone policy. Army, Navy and Air Force have given 500 crore rupee worth orders to drone startups. In urban planning, the Prime Minister touched upon ‘walk to work concepts’, integrated industrial estates and smart mobility as potential areas.

The Prime Minister remarked that the millennials today are the cornerstone of both the prosperity of their families and the self-reliance of the nation. ‘From rural economy to Industry 4.0, both our needs and our potential are limitless. Investment on research and development related to future technology is the priority of the government today”, he said.

Referring to the future prospects, the Prime Minister said that as of now only half of our population is online, therefore future possibilities are immense and he appealed to the start- ups to move towards villages also. “Whether it is mobile internet, broadband connectivity or physical connectivity, aspirations of villages are rising and rural and semi-urban areas are waiting for a new wave of expansion”, he said.

The Prime Minister told the startups that this is a new era of innovation i.e. ideas, industry and investment and their labor, enterprise, wealth creation and job creation should be for India. “I am standing with you, the government is with you and the entire country is standing with you”, he concluded.

Mobile Phones

India seeks to block Chinese firms from sub-Rs 12,000 phone market: Report

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NEW DELHI: India seeks to restrict Chinese smartphone makers from selling devices cheaper than Rs 12,000 ($150) to kickstart its faltering domestic industry, dealing a blow to brands including Xiaomi Corp.

The move is aimed at pushing Chinese giants out of the lower segment of the world’s second-biggest mobile market, according to people familiar with the matter. It coincides with mounting concern about high-volume brands like Realme and Transsion undercutting local manufacturers, they said, asking not to be identified discussing a sensitive matter.

Exclusion from India’s entry-level market would hurt Xiaomi and its peers, which in recent years have increasingly relied on India to drive growth while their home market endures a series of Covid-19 lockdowns that crippled consumption. Smartphones under $150 contributed to a third of India’s sales volume for the quarter through June 2022, with Chinese companies accounting for up to 80% of those shipments, according to market tracker Counterpoint.

Xiaomi’s shares extended losses in the final minutes of trading in Hong Kong on Monday. It slid 3.6%, extending their decline this year to more than 35%. It’s unclear whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government will announce any policies or use informal channels to convey its preference to Chinese companies, the people said.

“Xiaomi smartphone shipments may fall by 11-14% a year, or 20-25 million units, with sales decreasing by 4-5%, we calculate, if India enacts a ban on China-made mobile phones retailing under $150. It accounts for 25% of the segment in India, which is Xiaomi’s most important overseas market, with 66% of its smartphones priced under $150,” according to IDC’s analysts.

New Delhi has already subjected Chinese firms operating in the country, such as Xiaomi and rivals Oppo and Vivo, to close scrutiny of their finances, which has led to tax demands and money laundering allegations. The government has previously employed unofficial means to ban Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. telecom equipment. While there’s no official policy prohibiting Chinese networking gear, wireless carriers are encouraged to purchase alternatives.

The move shouldn’t affect Apple Inc. or Samsung Electronics Co., which price their phones higher. Representatives from Xiaomi, Realme and Transsion didn’t respond to requests for comment. Spokespeople from India’s technology ministry also didn’t respond to Bloomberg News inquiries.

India amped up pressure on Chinese firms in the summer of 2020 after more than a dozen Indian soldiers died following a clash between the two nuclear-armed neighbors on a disputed Himalayan border. It has since banned more than 300 apps, including Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat and ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok, as relations between the two countries fray.

Homegrown companies such as Lava and MicroMax comprised just under half of India’s smartphone sales before new entrants from the neighboring country disrupted the market with cheap and feature-rich devices.

Chinese smartphone players now sell the vast majority of devices in India, but their market dominance has not been “on the basis of free and fair competition”, MoS IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar told Business Standard last week. Recurring annual losses posted by most Chinese handset makers in India, despite their leading position, add to criticism of unfair competition.

In private, the government continues to ask Chinese executives to build local supply chains, distribution networks and export from India, suggesting New Delhi still very much wants their investment, the people said.

Source: Bloomberg

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Airtel to commence 5G Deployment from August 2022

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel, India’s premier communications solutions provider, today announced that it has signed 5G network agreements with Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung to commence 5G deployment in August 2022.

Airtel has had a long-standing relationship for connectivity and Pan-India managed services with Ericsson and Nokia while the partnership with Samsung will begin this year onwards. The 5G partnerships follow closely on the heels of spectrum auctions conducted by the Department of Telecom in India, where Airtel bid for and acquired 19867.8 MHZ spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz frequency

Speaking about the agreements, Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, Airtel said, “We are delighted to announce that Airtel will commence roll out of 5G services in August. Our network agreements are finalized and Airtel will work with the best technology partners from across the world to deliver the full benefits of 5G connectivity to our consumers. India’s transition into a digital economy will be led by telecom and 5G presents a game-changing opportunity to drive the digital transformation of industries, enterprises and the socio-economic development of India.”

Choice of multiple partners will enable Airtel to roll out 5G services spanning ultra-high-speeds, low latency and large data handling capabilities, which will enable a superior user experience and allow the pursuit of new, innovative use cases with enterprise and industry customers.

Speaking about the agreement, Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, said: “We look forward to supporting Bharti Airtel with its deployment of 5G in India. With Ericsson’s unrivalled, global 5G deployment experience, we will help Bharti Airtel deliver the full benefits of 5G to Indian consumers and enterprises, while seamlessly evolving the Bharti network from 4G to 5G. 5G will enable India to realize its Digital India vision and foster inclusive development of the country.”

The multi-year deal will see Nokia provide equipment from its market-leading AirScale portfolio along with solutions and services for network management, deployment, planning and optimization services to ensure the best end-user experiences.

Speaking about the partnership, Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO of Nokia said, “This landmark deal reinforces our long-standing partnership with Bharti Airtel. We are delighted that they have chosen Nokia’s best-in-class AirScale baseband and radio portfolio to deliver superior 5G performance in one of the world’s largest networks. I look forward to our continued successful long-term collaboration in this vital and dynamic market.”

Airtel will also bring in South Korean Major Samsung as a network partner to deploy #Airtel5G. This is the first time that both companies will work together.

Speaking about the partnership, Paul (Kyungwhoon) Cheun, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics said, “5G will have a powerful impact on India’s consumers and businesses—taking mobile experiences to a new level, introducing a gamut of enhanced capabilities and expanding what is possible. As a global leader in 5G, Samsung is excited to embark on this 5G journey with Airtel to deliver innovative solutions that will help advance India’s entrepreneurial spirit and open up a new paradigm for the country.”

Over the past year, Airtel has led the industry and spearheaded 5G technology in India testing several use cases with multiple partners at many locations. From demonstrating India’s first 5G experience over a live 4G network in Hyderabad to India’s first rural 5G trial to the first cloud gaming experience on 5G to the successful deployment of India’s first captive private network on the trial spectrum, Airtel has created and nurtured a vibrant ecosystem of partners and start-ups to support faster adoption of next-generation technologies.

 

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Ericsson gets 5G contract from Airtel

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel, India’s premier communications solutions provider, today announced that it has awarded its first 5G contract in the country to Ericsson, with deployment to get underway in August 2022.

Ericsson is Airtel’s long-standing connectivity partner and pan-India managed services provider, with a partnership spanning more than 25 years and covering every generation of mobile communications. The latest 5G partnership follows the close of 5G spectrum auctions in India on July 26.

Gopal Vittal, MD and Chief Executive Officer, Airtel, says: “As our trusted, long-term technology partner, we are delighted to award our first 5G contract to Ericsson for 5G deployment in India.

“5G presents a game-changing opportunity to drive the digital transformation of industries, enterprises and the socio-economic development of India. With our 5G network, we aim to deliver the full benefits of 5G connectivity, fuel India’s journey towards a digital economy and strengthen the country’s position on the world stage.”

Airtel will deploy power-efficient 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) products and solutions from the Ericsson Radio System and Ericsson microwave mobile transport solutions. Ericsson will be providing 5G connectivity in 12 circles for Bharti Airtel.

In addition to an enhanced user experience for Airtel customers – spanning ultra-high-speeds, low latency and large data handling capabilities – Ericsson 5G network products and solutions will also enable Bharti Airtel to pursue new, innovative use cases with its enterprise and industry customers.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, says: “We look forward to supporting Bharti Airtel with its deployment of 5G in India. With Ericsson’s unrivaled, global 5G deployment experience, we will help Bharti Airtel deliver the full benefits of 5G to Indian consumers and enterprises, while seamlessly evolving the Bharti network from 4G to 5G. 5G will enable India to realize its Digital India vision and foster inclusive development of the country.”

With 125 live networks in 55 countries to date, and around 50 percent of the world’s 5G traffic outside China now carried over Ericsson’s radio networks, the company is at the forefront of 5G around the world. Ericsson is independently recognized as a 5G industry leader, having recently topped the Frost Radar™: Global 5G Network Infrastructure Market ranking for second year in a row. The company was also named a Leader in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers report by Gartner.

From setting up the very first switch in India, in 1903, to providing connectivity across 2G, 3G, 4G – and now 5G – Ericsson continues to play a pivotal role in powering virtually every facet of telecommunications in the country.

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