Dalelorenzo's GDI Blog
27Apr/210

Unlocking manufacturing growth in India

Manufacturing in India particularly in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises( MSMEs) is often associated with lower productivity, character, occupational state and safety and environmental performance. The window of opportunity for second best is in constant decline, particularly in current season with indeterminate and stagnating marketplaces due to COVID-1 9 pandemic and the accompanied economic downturn.As workplaces and procedures need revision to break the orders of infection transmission , now is the right time to' clean out’ plants and workplaces to free up the infinite, substances, gear and acting age that are not contributing to customer value. Swachh Udyog: to enable regenerated manufacturing emergence based on excellence and invention, that contributes to lettuce and inclusive economic recovery and self-reliance, as envisioned in Atmanirbhar Bharat.India successfully achieved the creation of a well-established and competitive manufacturing locate over the past few decades. According to UNIDO data, in areas of Manufacturing Value Added( MVA) in 2018, India ranked 6th in the world ($ 473 billion ), just behind the big-hearted five of China, USA, Japan, Germany and South Korea. India’s manufacturing is roughly equal to the compounded manufacturing of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines, the principal manufacturing economies in South East Asia, and simply over five-fold the compounded manufacturing of Bangladesh and Pakistan. The technological intricacy of manufacturing in India, as measured by the share of medium and high technology manufacturing subsectors of 42.9%, is on par with the very best of Asian and world-wide middle-income countries. Chemicals and gasolines creating, nutrient and beverages and textile are the most important sectors and collectively contribute 44.5% of manufacturing value, 37.4% of manufacturing jobs and 46.3% of manufacturing export earnings.However, past success is no guarantee for future manufacturing performance in a rapidly changing world. The universally agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustained economic development, in particular its Sustained economic development Goal 9( SDG9) on manufacture, infrastructure and invention, calls for contributions of industry and business. Specifically, manufacturing needs to improve its sustainability and inclusiveness. India currently grades 77 th among the 128 graded countries globally in UNIDO’s SDG 9 manufacture index that combines data on absolute and relative immensity of the manufacturing sector and its employ, carbon footprint and technological complexity.India’s SDG 9 manufacture ranking is held back chiefly by the smaller relative contribution of manufacturing to the economy at large and the higher energy and resource intensity of manufacturing. Manufacturing share in the economy in India stood in 2019 at simply 16.9%, exclusively about half the contribution in China( 31.2%) and, likewise, significantly less than in other comparator countries like Thailand( 27.7% ), Indonesia( 21.6%) and Bangladesh( 21.1% ). In its seeing for a$ 5 trillion economy by 2023, the Government targets a manufacturing contribution of some 20%. This involves a double-dealing of the size of the manufacturing sector over the 5-year interval 2019 -2 023. This is only possible with strong domestic and international demand, and the ability of Indian firms to compete on layout, functionality, aspect, reliability and price, whilst also revealing social and environmental performance to achieve and outstrip compliance requirements.Excellence can be the only hallmark of manufacturing in the brand-new India. FICCI recently released the results of its inspection of manufacturing excellence, focusing on shopfloor procedures, human resources and digital capabilities. Fellowships that include excellence are the firstly to identify opportunities and predict change, and hence change faster in rapidly changing business and market environments. From experience, firms borrowing manufacturing excellence may expect 25 -4 0% productivity increase, 20 -3 0% improvement of equipment efficiency, 20 -3 0% reduction of material loss and 40 -6 0% reduction of customer grumbles, on a timescale of 1.5 -2 times. 62% of survey respondents claimed to have structured manufacturing greatnes programmes, yet further prompting discovered relatively higher uptake of basic approachings, like 5S( up to 90% ), and significantly lower uptake of very advanced rules, like price torrent mapping and Poka Yoka( simply 30% ). 1 in 3 respondents invested in manufacturing talents growing. Predictive maintenance is a focus for 1 in 3 respondents, more merely 1 in 5 manufactures use of relevant sensors, digital implements and Internet of Things.UNIDO approaches constructing excellence from three complementary slants, to future proof manufacturing growth by making manufacturing cells efficient and effective, with grown-up, exhibit located and adaptive management.First,( reserve) productivity, aims to create the maximum production with minimum and always declining inputs of materials, vigour, chemicals and water. This provokes a virtuous circle: formerly assets are exerted more effectively, less is still being squandered into the environment( effluents, emissions and waste) and working conditions improve, which increases productivity and improves employee retention. Industrial energy efficiency is a case in point. Working with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, UNIDO supported energy management cadres in 12 MSME collections, dealing five sectors: dairy, ceramic, foundry, brass and paw tools. During 2017 -2 020, these once subscribed 345 components to implement 603 vitality measurements, that annually save 10,850 tonnes of oil equivalent worth 59 Crores for a cumulative asset of merely 90 Crores. In the skin browning and makes area, proven clean engineerings cater 20 -3 0% reductions in specific effluent generation and chemicals and water use.Second, manufacturing effectiveness, also known as lean manufacturing, ensures a focus on customer value and eliminating all that does not contribute thereto. It modifies the manufacturing paradigm from input-pushed to demand-driven, contributing to customer value at all the stages. This can start simple, by adopting a visual factory that has clearly differentiated workflows through neat workstations, so that every divergence immediately catches the eye. Standardizing and improving operational procedures attains every manufacturing task easier to perform and gashes defaults. In a joint strategy with Automotive Components Manufacturers Association, UNIDO corroborates tier 2 and 3 small and medium component manufacturers to adopt lean and clean rehearses, through upskilling of shopfloor workers and directors and counsellor support. Most recently, six SAME DEUTZ suppliers in Tamil Nadu ended its work programme, which collectively saved them 42 lakhs annually, increased absenteeism by 15%, machine disturbances by 30% and lead time by 18%. Through a similar programme, 5 suppliers to Tata Machine in Pantnagar, saved collectively 1.88 crores yearly, whilst also abbreviating absenteeism by average of 31% and client complaints regarding 89% on average.The third greatnes factor is maturity which relates to firm level capability to monitor and oversee manufacturing. Maturity may be interpreted as the unit’s ability to successively say, understand, prophesy and accommodate manufacturing processes for optimal business outcomes. Maturity is greatly enabled by digital technologies, including sensors, machine connectivity( including Internet of Things ), large-scale data analytics and machine learning, and surely the transition to Advanced Digital Production or Industry 4.0. Conglomerates with better creation and technological sciences capabilities welfare most from digital technologies, pointing to the need to invest in the skills of the future, which include analytical and problem-solving abilities, team working and communication, combined with ICT skills. UNIDO’s research found that India is well poised to benefit from digitalization of manufacturing. Several large-scale makes have set up world class Industry 4.0 manufacturing locates, including for example Nokia in Chennai. The challenge remains to find customized mixtures for a majority of the members of creators, through digital improvements of their existing system or deployment of extending digital technologies in innovative fabricated products. Through its Facility for Low Carbon Technology Deployment, UNIDO is supporting home grown innovations utilizing industrial IoT to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing.The onset of COVID-1 9 pandemic has put in place the spotlight on workplaces as potential infection hot spot that require substantive change to work together productively in a safe and hygienic style. Manufacturing cells have the option to turn this essential into a brand-new opportunity for recovery, rejuvenation and increment based on the principles and traditions of manufacturing excellence, starting with cleaning out plants- Swachh Udyog .( The scribe is India Representative and Head of Regional Office of the United Commonwealth Industrial Development Organization( UNIDO) in India)

Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com

27Apr/210

View: Can Covid shift our politics?

The dreaded second ripple of the coronavirus has created a national emergency. You’d think it would have united our republic, but India remains terribly divided. A easy trouble of injecting our beings becomes the subject of political football. While aam admi clambers helplessly from hospital to hospital in search of oxygen, a bunked, a ventilator, our registered political party react like prehistoric tribes, defending ballots as though they are clashes for extinction. They don’t even share a common vocabulary to empathise in this Age of Hatred.A strange political drama uncovered in four numbers last week. The background was a sudden realisation that India, the world’s largest producer and trader of vaccines, faced a life-and-death dearth of Covid vaccine. The nation hadn’t contracted in advance , nor offered a price that would have incentivised vaccine makers to build sufficient capacity. It hadn’t learnt from past mistakes.In the first month of Covid, the administration has already curtailed testing to state laboratories. The illnes was spreading, government laboratories couldn’t cope, India was frequently cited for testing outage. Realising its misunderstanding, the government liberalised. It allowed in the private sector and testing took off via numerous competitive works, including dwelling his mission to skilled professionals, is supervised by an excellent app.This lesson was forgotten in the vaccination programme. Early on, the territory "shouldve been" trusted private hospices, inhabitant associations, companies and NGOs to implement a energetic vaccination curriculum via dual pricing- free inoculation for the poorest of the poor at authority hospitals and a market price at private hospitals, where people are willing to pay for healthcare. Vaccine makes would thus have recovered lost profit from supplying to the state.The first act of the drama opened on April 18 when former PM Manmohan Singh wrote a sensible letter to PM Narendra Modi, proposing ways to ramp up the vaccination program. His plan included targeting immediate line-ups backed by funds to vaccine makes; earmarking the importing of inoculations cleared by believable permissions abroad without vowing on Indian contests; and returning the states greater afford and freedom to decide whom to vaccinate.In the second act, Singh’s well-meaning letter elicited an uncharacteristic rant from the Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, who alleged the Congress of contributing to the second Covid brandish by establishing irresponsible hesitancy of the public against the inoculation in some Congress-ruled territory. He said that he believes that while dishonor the vaccines publicly, Congress chairwomen “took their quantities in private, quietly”. Whatever the truth, this was not the place or the way to say it.The third act in the drama was Centre’s striking announcement on April 19 of a major change in the vaccination policy. Given the relentless upsurge in infections, the government intensified its vaccination curriculum; reversing its earlier programme, it liberalised its posture to the private sector, countenancing half the inoculations to be sold at market price, and making greater flexibility to the states. Many of Singh’s suggestions, once under evaluation for weeks, was already in the new strategy.In the fourth ordinance vaccine producers answered immediately, predicting rapid additions in capacity, introducing down dramatically the time to vaccinate India’s population. Rahul Gandhi criticized their own policies for “no free inoculations for 18 -4 5 year olds, middlemen brought in without price controls”. Sonia Gandhi expression it “brazen profiteering from misery”. The programme went off a vigorous debate in the media. The pall came down on the theatre when Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee accused Modi for manufacturing the second Covid billow to triumph the Bengal election.What exercises can we draw from this theatre? Harsh Vardhan is a soft-spoken, likeable subject. His disparaging reply to Singh points to a deeper ailment in the polity. Democracy accepts inconsistencies and difference but under the basic rules of cooperation. Today, there is such violence, hatred among foes, it’s an uncivil war. Mamata’s bizarre remark stimulates smell only if you believe the Bengal election is a battle for extinguishing. Until recently, politicians didn’t think of election routs as permanent; the loser went on to fight the next election.A second instruction: India’s politicians is likely to be subdivided the republic but they remain united in an unwarranted sect in the capacity of the state. They doubt other citizens, private enterprises, private NGOs. Had they relied society and the market, the initial testing and vaccinating programmes would have been more sensible. Instead they trusted the bureaucracy, which has given them down in the second wave. It could have simply co-opted the army, set up mega Covid centres in stadia, and avoided the panic and the misfortune. Congress’s response to the vaccine strategy was, of course, typically statist in its ignorance and disregard for the private sector.Three, those who belief India is no longer free, ought to have witnessed last week’s exuberant debate on the vaccine policy. It is not simply Congress, but analysi came in abundance from economists, policy wonks, and of course, the polemical Indian vanished berserk on social media. These are not signeds of an unfree country.Four, Harsh Vardhan’s unfortunate reply was also defensive. Because BJP has long been the object of condescension by the old society, it hides deep feeling. Congress has been in power so long, it has an instinctive creed in its own superiority. With noblesse pressure, it considers BJP contemptuously as the nouveau riche.The end result is a faultline defined by a lack of reciprocal respect. Eradicating contempt is a bit like save the lives of a flunking wedlock. But when the commonwealth is at stake, it is the people who suffer. And indeed, they are suffering in these shocking Covid hours in an Age of Hatred.Bestselling generator Gurcharan Das is a onetime CEO of Procter& Gamble India.

Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com

14Apr/210

Electrode price rise brightens outlook for HEG

ET Intelligence Group: HEG and Graphite India, top electrode makes in the world, are expected to benefit from a sharp rise in the electrode costs due to tight supply in China. The electrodes are used for steel production. In the previous sword rally, the two stocks gained around 20 -3 0 terms within two years. With clean product gaining significance, especially in China, steel business are rapidly changing their capabilities from blast furnace to electric arc furnace( EAF ), which requires electrodes. This augurs well for the two listed Indian manufacturers.After a lacklustre veer in 2020, electrode costs have gained 10 -1 5% in the past two weeks. Electrodes are used in the EAF method of sword product which is less polluting than the conventional blast furnace method. China’s commitment to lower its carbon emissions has led to shutting down of blast furnace abilities amid rising prominence of EAF. Graphtech, the world’s largest graphite electrode producer, said in the latest earnings call that it expected premiums to shoot up crisply in the latter half of 2021. EAF currently organizes practically 15% of the full amounts of the global sword production. During the previous sword cycles/second between 2015 and 2018, the average electrode price rose by more than 10 meters while even further it has less than halved from the peak.The two Indian companies posted loss in the first nine months of FY2 1 due to lower average realization, lower creation and stock-take write off. But, they pictured a consistent sequential rise in the operating perimeter due to improving ability utilization.In the March quarter, specialists expect 5-10% decline in revenues of the two companies. But, they are likely to report net profits compared with losses a year ago. In addition, with improved outlook for the sector, FY22 is expected to be better than the previous fiscal year.At the heyday of the previous round, HEG and Graphite India had reported net profit of Rs 3,050 crore and Rs 3,500 crore. For FY22, advisers expect profits of Rs 900 crore and Rs 1050 crore in that order.Over the past month, the stocks of HEG and Graphite India has been achieved in 25% and 12% respectively. At Monday’s closing of Rs 2,045.6 for HEG and Rs 583.5 for Graphite India, the one-year forward price-earnings variou works out to be nine and 11 respectively.Each of the companies is obligation free. With greater earnings visibility opened conglomerate premiums and higher sword necessitate, they are expected to report a turnaround in fiscals in this fiscal.

Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com

1Apr/210

Covid created haves and have nots: Uday Kotak

Uday Kotak, MD& CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank, in gossip with Nikunj Dalmia of ET NOW at the Times Network India Economic Conclave 2021. During the last India Economic Conclave( IEC ), you had said that India needs banks but it needs few PSU banks, it needs adaptation of fintech and it needs consolidation in the sector. I guess you knew what was happening because that indeed is happening one year after our interaction? I do believe that India has built very serious progress in this pandemic age and actually comprehended the opportunity of what we need to do. Therefore the financial sector is in for a major change. The government’s move of testing out with two public sphere banks is first of its nature and this combined with the fact that over experience you will have four or five massive state owned banks and private sector companies banks and at the same time opening up competition in the sector is the right way to go. At the same time, we need to be clear that in the last one year, Covid has changed our lives in the field of technology and financial services by a multiplier of five. What ought to have been otherwise taken us five years is happening in one year. That is what we are going to be ready for. During the course of 2020 every time we interacted with you on many meetings your words were: “India Inc has been hit. It is like a ship which is now trapped in obscure waters.” Is the challenging occasion behind us? Has the ship reached the shore? Covid has created a new list of what I call as haves and has not been able to. The people who have had access to capital are in the category of haves and that is primarily the organised area or corporations which have access to public marketplaces as also private equity and the have nots are the ones who did not have access to capital. There is a exceedingly stark difference between the haves and the have nots, based on access to capital. Therefore, even if you are from a emphasized sector, if you have access to capital you are in good shape. If you do not have access to capital, you are in a tougher rank and that is the difference which we have witness happen in front of us. That is as a result of stunning pour of fund and liquidity globally and in India as well. That has enabled equity capital to rescue most of the organised area. The expansive treatise from India Inc is one of highest-ever perimeters, strongest requirement visibility and high-pitched confidence. A years ago, there was fear, gloom and doom on the Street. How does one differentiate the kind of indications which we are getting from India Inc .? Are these permanent or are there spurts of ask like carbohydrate rushing? One year ago we did not know what made us, we had no idea of the contours of the Covid impact. Today one year later, we seem to understand the virus a little better though it continues to mutate. At the same time, there is greater optimism on the possibility of vaccination of a lot of our parties though I think it is going to take a few months more for us to get to a more pleasant plaza. At the same time, we have started being able to deal with this virus in terms of our lives, what we can do, what we cannot do. We have adapted our life to the brand-new reality. All these are the pluses and that is one of the reasons why business and industry feels they are in a better place than what it was one year ago. Having said that, things will need to be better administered on the virus and vaccination moving forward but we have to be careful of a mindset of self-complacency. The virus has not gone one year later. It is still around and we feel more comfy with it. But the virus is mutating and therefore I is necessarily be looking with hope because we are seeing a reformed world-wide. But I stop my ward up. I would not lower my picket too soon and make this more a marathon rather than a sprint.

Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com

30Mar/210

Good economics makes for good politics: Goyal

Times Network India Economic Conclave 2021 --Piyush Goyal, Railways Minister, says that India’s resilience can be seen in every tread of life and going forward, India will be a solid pillar on which world fiscal resuscitation and swelling will happen. Edited excerpts: Navika Kumar: In June last year, you said that the govt was continuing a close watch on Chinese speculations. Are you continuing the same or has the disengagement process too entailed a change of our stand on investments from China? Piyush Goyal: I don't think that the two things were connected in any way instantly. The effort was to make sure that beneficial investment comes into India, where money can be very clearly identified. It was to be fully aware of the source of coin coming in the country, the kind of companies that are investing since some of such investments were also accompanied to armed work or possession, I think it was in the tactical interest of India to know exactly where the money comes from.When you are dealing with opaque economies, it is very important to be careful and to keep a watchful eye. However, if you are dealing with very transparent financial markets, like those in Europe, UK or in the US, Canada, Australia, information systems themselves are so robust and translucent that you need not worry about them.Navika Kumar: Has India been able to reap the advantage of the growing wariness of the world vis-a-vis China. Was India being seen as an alternative destination to China by the world? Piyush Goyal: I believe we should move beyond the narrative of becoming an alternative to another country. We should look at the positive narrative that we are trying to set of being the primary spouse of business, businesses and countries around the world. India, presented its democracy, rule of law and multilateral date is looked at, as a trusted partner and almost all supply series today are looking at countries which are resilient, countries which are honest in their businesses and administers, where the legal rules dominates so that they have honest system of doing business. The significant reforms that India has undertaken in the last year specially, and in the last few years are clearly promotion position India as the primary focus of investments from around the world. The current aatmanirbhar bharat curriculum includes a lot more to that narrative, specially the facts of the case that for the first time, India is trying to prepare domestic industry in terms of quality, productivity, cost efficiency competitiveness. So, we believe that on our own merits, on the merits of the case of the capabilities of our young contemporary, knowledge that India own, natural resources, I think it is the merit of India that will stimulate us not a counterpoint to some other country but the primary destination that businesses and countries will look to engage with.Navika Kumar: How is it that countries around the world like Bangladesh--has China as its largest transactions partner, and not India, when you say that India has immense relation with countries that it shares margins with? Piyush Goyal: Well, clearly Prime Minister Modi has had a continuous commitment and outreach with all our neighbours. If you can recall, in the very first swearing-in ceremony in 2014, Prime Minister Modi had invited all the heads of state of SAARC countries to participate in the ceremony. It was a big message given out and ever since then we have been working relentlessly to build up stronger relations with all our neighbouring countries. I fantasize the effort that was required to develop more competitiveness wreaks more evaluate to the products and services that we can offer to our neighbours, the process has been ongoing and it has helped us expand our trade with countries like Bangladesh and I am confident, that going forward, we will be in a position to overtake China in their booking with Bangladesh. Navika Kumar: How are we going to end this entire year in terms of FDI and has the pandemic had any impact on it? How are we looking at the next monetary as far as FDI is concerned? Piyush Goyal: For FDI, it will be record year despite Covid and the fact that all international statistics have shown that foreign investments across the world are going to significantly fall in current months, in fact in 2020 it precipitated significantly from previous status. India was amongst the rare countries which understood expansion in FDI in most recently completed fiscal year 2021. India caters a very good investment destination, a large market of 135 crore Indians aspiring for a better quality of life and an enabling environment in which investors are enjoying both good returns on their financing, large market and thus too facilitating India in its development objectives therefore, in terms of FDI, I have absolutely no doubt it will be a record year. I would like to share one other data point which will be heartening to note; in the Indian Railways, we have lost out vastly on passenger traffic due to Covid, but in areas of freight, which is a very important element in evaluate the financial revitalization, you will be delighted to note that since September 2020 - Feb 2021, for the last six months, we have seen the highest loading in the history of Indian Railways, every month from September to February. After March, we will definitely be outperforming last year’s loading in areas of freight.Navika Kumar: Is that a by-product of the high-pitched petroleum expenditures and somehow abruptly as if with a magical wand come to a standstill and then begin to decline during elections? Piyush Goyal: The world is the rise in petrol or diesel costs is a very recent phenomenon. I am talking about the growing which started picking up from September, so clearly there is no linkage between the two.Navika Kumar: Are you saying that politics is no longer your schedule as far as financials is concerned or is financials always the purposes of the politics? Piyush Goyal: If I recall correctly, I have said this before that there always was a notion in India that good fiscals does not make for good politics. I contemplate Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, as you are all aware, is today India’s longest helping chairwoman in a high constitutional predicament in areas of being chief minister and prime minister for over 19 times. For all those years, he has consistently proven that good financials reaches for good politics likewise. The people of India are smart-alecky, the person or persons of India understand what is good for them, they see the intention of the leader, fidelity of purpose, construe his commitment, construe his hard work to offset India once again regain that lost glory and therefore good financials with a good intent is necessarily make for good politics and we have no doubt that many decisions which may seem difficult to implement initially, which may face a lot of fight in the initial months or years, will ultimately appeal to the people when they realise the good that they can get out of our decisions.

Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com

28Mar/210

India Inc rethinks plans to reopen offices

A sudden spike in Covid-1 9 lawsuits with various governments watching a second wave of infections is nudging India Inc to reconsider the number of employees wreaking from offices.Many fellowships had started returning works gradually back to power. But now, as a cautionary measurement, drive from residence will continue for most of them till either there is a respite in cases, or a large part of the population gets the vaccine shots. Hires had also become distrustful of returning to work because of the new wave of infections.Employers are taking a neighbourhood approach in deciding the number of employees who need to work from department, depending on the Covid cases in that municipal or region.Companies like the Piramal Group and Titan Manufacture have reduced the number of works operating from roles to a naked minimum in Maharashtra. Others like Deloitte, Oracle and Myntra are going to continue with almost all employees working from home.“With the recent rise in Covid cases, we have proactively reduced the number of employees coming into the Mumbai departments, from 30% to an absolute naked minimum, ” said Vikram Bector, director and chief HR officer at Piramal. In Mumbai, the group has asked most employees to work from residence till April 5. In the past week, Titan has also cut down on the number of hires labor from departments in Maharashtra. "We are taking a call on the number of hires coming to the office based on the number of cases in that region. The number of hires coming to office in any region may be modified depending on the number of Covid cases." primary HR officer Raj Narayan said.The Piramal Group has offices in 30 countries, and each country has its own policies and regulations over the pandemic.“A single programme at the corporate level is not feasible for an entity like ours. Instead, we have chosen to decentralise this process and brought in more autonomy to such decision making, ” Bector said.The group is also covering the cost of vaccination for its employees and their dependents.Apollo Tyres is not planning to increase the number of works coming to office, said its president, Sunam Sarkar. “We have appreciated a successful implementation of a blended working prototype and feel no pres to increase this percentage simply to have beings back in the place, ” said Sarkar.In the IT industry, “back to bureau for a majority is unlikely to happen before July-August according to our conversations with member companies”, said Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice president of the National Association of Software and Service Companies. Most corporations are closely monitoring the pace of vaccination drive in the country, she said.SAP Labs India has opened departments from February 15 for 10% of employees. It intends to go slow in increasing role residence while monitoring the Covid occurrences a spokesperson said.All employees at Oracle in India other than those in essential services are continuing to work from dwelling until further notice.A Tata Steel spokesperson said the company is “continuously monitoring the situation and revisiting the safety and health protocols to address the new threats”.

Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com

18Mar/210

NFTs are all the rage right now. Here’s why

Good morning, If you have any interest in technology, and -- this is just a wild guess -- you probably do, you may have come across the acronym NFT this past week. We at ETtech certainly did. We decided to look into what NFTs are, what all the hype is all about, and whether they're only a extend cult or the foundation of something absolutely revolutionary.Grab your coffee and settle in.NFTs: digital toys or much more? Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are hotter than a barbeque in May right now.Here's what they are, and why the world has gone NFT-crazy in the past two weeks.Fungible( adjective ): Replaceable by another analogous component; mutually interchangeable.For all their differences, that Rs 100 greenback in your pocket and a single Bitcoin token( importance around Rs 35 lakh as of writing) share one important thing. They are no different from any other Rs 100 note or bitcoin. They were designed, as all currencies are, to be mutually interchangeable.NFTs, on the other hand, are a class of crypto resources in which each item, or token, is entirely unique. This spawns them pointless as a currency, but quite useful for other things.Such as? Well, forming digital art, for one.And because this is shiny new technology, and we're human beings, and this is the internet, NFTs first moved mainstream as -- you suspected it -- cats.Created in October 2017, Cryptokitties is a virtual play that allows participates to adopt, grow and market virtual cats.From its website: "CryptoKitties is one of the world's firstly blockchain tournaments. 'Blockchain' is the technology that clears things like Bitcoin possible. While CryptoKitties isn't a digital currency, it does give the same security: each CryptoKitty is one-of-a-kind and 100% owned by you. It cannot be replicated, taken away, or destroyed."So that's it? Virtual felines? Not relatively. A batch has happened since, especially in the past two weeks, during which NFTs have turned from the nichiest of niche quests into a straight-up world-wide obsession.The Big Bang: On February 15, 2021, the venerable Christies, founded in 1766, became the first major auction house to announce plans to sell a purely digital piece of art -- an NFT created by digital artist Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple.Called Dailies -- The First 5000, it comprises, as the honour recommends, 5,000 individual personas created every day from 2007 to 2021 and posted on Beeple's Instagram.If you think that's absurd, do this.An hour after the auction began on Thursday, the price jump-start from $100 to$ 1 million. Alex Rotter, Christie's head of 20 th and 21 st century artwork, was understandably quite elicited, writing: " #Beeple extends the road. It's all happening" on Instagram.As we write this, the starting rate is a cool $2.4 million, with 121 orders. The auction ends 12 daylights from now on March 11. Cryptokitty's all grown up.But are NFTs really the latest fad, we hear you ask? They could be.For one, most NFTs currently exist on a single blockchain - Ethereum.And because humans gonna human, their consume is for now mainly restricted to creating and selling digital toys. Multi-million dollar trinkets, but bangles nonetheless.It can also be tricky and time-consuming , not to mention energy-intensive, to develop decentralised applications for NFTs.There are also teething concerns, more technical to go into here, around the protocols used to create them.That said, they could very well be the next big thing. Truly big. Not for cats and chuckles, or a digitally encoded form of this epic LeBron James dunk( which sold for $ 208,000 on Monday ), but for more sober and practical uses.Such as? The most obvious use of unique, hack-proof virtual tokens is collecting all kinds of data, private and public -- from your birth certification and health data to arrive records and much, much more.More importantly, they could one day revolutionise the route we create and implement agreements to exchange money, shares, belonging, or virtually any asset through smart-alecky contracts. These digital contracts could one day do away with the need for a third-party arbitrator, such as a court, and instead use a computer program on the blockchain to confirm that the conditions have been met.Now that would be revolutionary. - Zaheer MerchantLet's move on to other large-hearted developings of the week, and there were plentyINDIA'S NEW DIGITAL MEDIA RULESOn Thursday, India apprise new regulations that call for sweeping changes in the way social media scaffolds, word portals and streaming services are regulated. This could result in messaging apps "losing ones" biggest selling spot for millions of users in India, in the form of end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp said it is currently evaluating "all options", said the app remains committed to offering consumers end-to-end encryption on its platform.The brand-new guidelines too call for self-regulation by streaming scaffolds while expanding the definition of digital media. News portals are now mandated to follow same norms that determine traditional media publishers, such as newspapers and television news channels. 8123913 0THE NUE RACEThe opportunity to build an NPCI rival is attracting proposals from stakeholders arraying from tech monsters to local upstarts and domestic conglomerates.Reliance Industries is eyeing a licence in tie-up with Google and Facebook while the Tata Group has taken over State Bank of India's bid that was earlier flagged by the Finance Ministry on account of potential competition risk. Tatas will now co-promote the consortium with HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Airtel, MasterCard and PayU. Also in the conflict is Amazon in partnership with ICICI Bank and Axis Bank and a Paytm-Ola-IndusInd Bank combine.Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India extended the work deadline on Friday from February 26 to March 31 in view of the pandemic.DEALS IN THE WORKSDream1 1 parent Dream Sports is in talks with a control of investors including Abu Dhabi's Alpha Wave Incubation for a fresh round for financing, three people in the know told ET. The round is expected to be in the range of $ 300 million, valuing the house at around$ 4 billion.Fintech startup Razorpay has held discussions with its existing investor Singapore's sovereign investment funds GIC and others to raise $150 -2 00 million in a financing round that could see its valuation roughly doubled to$ 2 billion in less than six monthsReliance Industries' Jio Platforms is finalising an investment of up to $ 200 million in domestic venture capital fund Kalaari Capital, distributed according to two beings in the know of the matter. The Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate has closed a $100 -million dose, with an additional commitment of $100 million slated for later, said another person aware of the group's designs. 8123911 1Grofers is very likely to make its public marketplace introduction through a consolidation with New York-based Cantor Fitzgerald's blank-check firm, roots told ET. The online grocer is expected to raise between $400 million and $500 million through a NASDAQ listing in May, at a valuation of more than$ 1 billion. Private equity Carlyle Group has emerged as the sole bidder to acquire Blackstone Group-owned Mphasis, in what would be the largest buyout in the Indian IT industry, said numerou people involved in the deal. Blackstone's 56.12% stake in Mphasis is valued at Rs 17,280 crore, based on the IT firm’s grocery cap of Rs 30,791.82 crore at the close of trade on Friday. 8123910 0OTHER BIG STORIES BY OUR REPORTERSThe tide seems to be turning on pandemic's 'Work from Goa' trendOnly 30% of those from the tech roundabout who moved to Goa during the pandemic may consider staying back for long. It could imply that they were choosing a better quality of life over better vocation prospects.Many Indian techies get paid in crypto, say it's faster and easierInternational crypto fellowships are hiring technologists and back-end makes in India as contractors and compensating them in cryptocurrencies to accelerate their adoption and bypass regional taxes and ordinances considering cross-border payments.Snap plans to take its India localisation strategy to the worldSnapchat chief executive Evan Spiegel said that Stories has become the largest revenue stream for the company, despite substantial competitive pressure.Indian fintech lenders grab turf from China as Google begins app clean-upMost domestic fintech lenders that ET spoke with said that their business rose 20 -4 0% month-on-month since December, when the crackdown started.

Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com

9Mar/210

Why India must make Google, FB pay for content

As the world’s largest democracy, as its second-largest online market, as a soon-to-become fastest growing major economy, India should have taken the lead on moving Google and Facebook- two alarmingly prevailing world super-monopolies- repay a fair share of earnings they perform from domestically produced news content on the internet.Even more so because, first, India’s government has demonstrated it is perfectly willing to take on Big Tech on numerou other figureheads and, second, it has made atmanirbharata( self-reliance) its economic program mantra. A gigantic democracy with growing internet market power run by a government that champions regional enterprise and can get tough on world participates is just about the excellent candidate to be a key player in this fight.But it was Australia that made the lead-in. A rule that’s almost certain to be passed by its parliament will impose payment indebtedness on Big Tech. And Australian PM Scott Morrison was entirely right to call for a global alliance of democracies to construct Google and Facebook pay much more for word material they profit from.Some other democracies have made a few stairs or half paces. Led by France, European countries have started determining rules and launched investigations. Discussions on remedial activity are collecting momentum in the US. So far, there’s nothing in India. Even though , nothing could be clearer than the example for realizing Big Tech spit up more fund to democratic India’s news content publishers. Let’s explain it simply, site by detail: Plausible, fact-checked news is a bedrock of republic. This should be self-evident. Imagine waking up one morning and finding out that tweets, posts and internet videos by just about anyone , none of whom has a reputation to protect or responsibility to adhere to or is bound by laws, is your ONLY source of story. How will our republic exist that? It can’t.Producing credible report takes fund, a lot of fund. Reporters have to be trained and paid. A big report gathering infrastructure has to be paid for.The internet has become a major distribution channel for word, like it has for so many other things. But two companies dominate internet traffic for word. Around 80% of external traffic to story websites is carried by Google and Facebook. Also, news is a big source of traffic for internet behemoths. Around 40% of trending queries in Google are news related.Now, because Google and Facebook dominate internet traffic, they take away a huge share of advertising revenue- between 70% to 80%- that comes from digital consumption of story. As digital dispensation of news stretches, and therefore, income from other distribution representations comes down, the current internet model for bulletin leaves fewer and less revenue for publishers.Remember, while this is happening, the cost of producing plausible news is not coming down. So, story publishers has become more and more constricted over time.So, what happens? Domestic, reputable publishers who have painstakingly constructed a report symbol over decades start challenging an unsustainable business model. As the country’s news industry flinches, the dissemination of information regarding plausible word comes under threat. And then we face the prospect of a republic where bulletin is what trolls on Twitter say it is.Now think of a situation where Google and Facebook are by law or regulation obliged to pay a bazaar share of earnings from digital delivery of story. This is what will happen 😀 omestic bulletin manufacture, vital to India’s democracy, is financially viable. Because its revenues from digital news distribution increase.Hundreds of thousands of jobs in the news industry are saved over time in a country where increasing the proportion of white collar employment is a critical goal of public policy.The government comes more tax revenue because it is far easier to collect tax from the domestic news industry than from multinational tech companies.This is the proposition Australia’s proposed law is based on. Its government wants the information publishing business to be financially viable because it knows Australian democracy needs a viable Australian news media. That’s why France and the UK, Germany and Spain have started taking on Big Tech. And this is why India’s government must act, too.And India has one advantage as a late starter. It has been noted that concerted government war can unbend global super-monopolies. In Australia, Google is inducing is working with individual publishers. Facebook, after a inessential blackout of news, is seeking to renegotiate. And modifications of the Australian statute are a tower threat both tech beings now face across democracies.India can- and must- start acting on its own version of a statute or an appropriate set of the rules of procedure. And once it does, because of its current busines size and future market potential, there’s no way Google and Facebook can simply discount what’s being done here.How can the government start the process? There are currently several options. The Competition Commission of India can start a suo motu investigation. Or the information and broadcasting ministry can be the agency that kickstarts the process. For example, it can call for, say, a 45 -day consultation period asking for inputs from all stakeholders. And then placed a time frame for drafting a bill, as Australia did.Some professionals hint the government can down the line set up a new digital busines to tackle all complex issues, including those involving news publishing, arising out of dominance of Big Tech. Others intimate looking at the Copyright Act for options on imposing licensing cost for content, roughly the itinerary France has taken.Therefore, there’s plenty the government can do, and do swiftly. The world environment has finally turned. Big Tech is on notice in other republics for destroying the viability of independent journalism. It must be on notice in India, too. An atmanirbhar India needs an atmanirbhar news industry.

Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com

8Mar/210

View: Why IAS needs to change to IES in spirit

In an singular( probably the first for any Indian PM) lecture in Parliament, PM Modi commented on what the IAS, or even the part civil service employees parish, could do better. Solely, he mentioned four things -- a) a need to change the negative attitudes of disdain, distrust and cynicism towards the private sector and profit-making entities, b) questioned why babus need to run everything( from fertiliser bushes to airlines, c) emphasised private sector organizations as a necessary and equal stakeholder in the country’s progress, d) asked where will India contact if the entire country is handed back in the hands of babus? Affirmations like these recommend a major displacement in how the top leadership of the country speculates, which incidentally also mirrors the thinking of millions of India’s youth. Progress, specially the “$ 5 trillion GDP goal” kind of progress, is absolutely impossible without a thriving private sector. And more, our babus has not been able to progressed as fast to fit in with the new economic goals of India. In fact,' babu’ has now become a mildly injurious text -- suggesting person old-fashioned, who creates red-tape, retards things down and enjoys harassing others with their power.The civil services community does need to take some responsibility. Nonetheless, putting the part blamed on them would neither solve anything nor will it be completely fair.There are several reasons why the IAS( and the other civil servants) are the way they are, which we need to understand if we truly want to fix things.The single biggest reason for a sub-optimal civil service is a wholly outdated and warped performance measurement structure, which incentivises the status-quo. A civil servant is never reinforced for making a big positive change. They are, nonetheless, penalised if things go wrong.Let’s say an IAS officer feels the current website of the public service he works for is terrible. A private house should be hired to re-do it. What’s the incentive to get this done? Why not just wait( or coast) in your job for three years, until the next posting and advertisement, which is essentially guaranteed if no feathers are ruffled. Now, if he were to hire a brand-new private firm, there would be a) a ton of additional part getting favors b) someone could allege bribes were made, or perhaps bribes are actually made at some elevation, c) the website may not turn out as huge or may take longer and d) you would be bothering other' coasting’ colleagues who hate you now for creating additional work, rather than just waiting it out until the next publicity. Best case, even though they are an astonishing brand-new website is made, the public interests, but the IAS person who did it all comes nothing for it. What would a typical polouse do with such trade-offs? Well , nothing. Coast, wait, publicity, posting, repeat.The problem is India as a country cannot afford to coast and wait. For while the IAS gets a promotion for coasting, India as a whole merely comes left behind. India won’t rise unless we work fast, hard-boiled, become innovative, improve things and appoint organisations that allow us to do all that.In this aspect of warped incentives, it’s not the civil servant’s fault. He or she has been told, don’t rock the boat. Ever. If the government wants to change this, the incentive arrangements of the IAS and other civil services must be overhauled.However, while systemic changes are needed, there is something the civil servants’ community needs to change too. Fact is, the system may be wrong, but civil servants haven’t exactly screamed for big change. Once they get through the insanely competitive exam, there seems to be a fondness for the current system more. Coasting could become comfortable after all. Then there’s the power, the idea that a billionaire will come home tonight and fold hands to get something -- it could get quite addictive. There’s too an acute disconnect with technology, especially amongst the older major detectives. Tech can alter governance, specified those in in-charge know the power of it. The numerous sluggish sarkaari websites tell you not many in the government know about UIs( user interface) or determining websites from the point of view of the user , not the government department itself.Some of these aspects can be fixed( modify attitudes, shape tech improve obligatory ), and need to be as they are slowing India down horribly. It is breeding chum capitalism. It is keeping us in the India of 1980 s, where a sarkari mai-baap earmarked you to do business. As the PM said, durations have changed. Civil slaves have to not just administer, but too enable progress. That’s why, it is probably better if we change the IAS to IES. From Indian Administrative Work to Indian Enabling Service , not only in name, but also in spirit.Chetan Bhagat is a bestselling author and a popular newspaper columnist.

Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com