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India must become cashless by 2025, says Amitabh Kant

India must aim to become a cashless and paper-less society by 2025, otherwise it will be difficult to reduce costs of transactions, said Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog. Kant showed a positive future of non-cash payment modes in the country at a one-day conference organised by observer research foundation (ORF), titled ‘digital payments: inclusion, growth and opportunities&rs

India’s biggest telecom spectrum auction begins

India`s mega auction of telecom spectrum kicked off on Saturday with operators vying for a total of 2,354.55 MHz across seven bands, towards which a reserve price of Rs 5.66 lakh crore has been fixed. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Reliance Jio, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Tata Teleservices are participating in the auction from which the government

Reliance Jio: The coming data revolution

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani’s speech at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) left a billion telecom subscribers salivating. On September 1, he announced that Reliance Jio customers will never be charged for mobile telephony and they will have access to mobile 4G internet at dirt cheap prices. Not just that, Reliance Jio would

In Punjab, getting a driving licence will now be easier

Thirty-year-old Prince Bagla from Hoshiarpur in Punjab couldn’t contain his excitement when he received his driving licence on the very day he had applied for it. He didn’t have to go through the routine drill of approaching an agent, paying bribes to officials and endlessly waiting for days to receive the licence. “It was simple. I filled and submitted the form; took the test

Yes Bank launches its UPI services

Yes Bank on Wednesday has launched its unified payments interface (UPI) services by partnering with 50 businesses to enable easy fund transfer and move towards a cashless economy.   The UPI framework developed the national payments corporation of India (NPCI) with the reserve bank of India (RBI), will enable low cost, high volume, electronic payments straight from th

Time to walk the talk

A policy or a law has no utility unless it is implemented. Thanks to the sluggish execution, the national cyber security policy (NCSP), aimed at building a secure and resilient cyber space to ensure economic stability and strengthen national security, has been reduced to a mere 10-page government document. Unveiled on July 2, 2013 by the UPA government, the plan to strengthen cyber secu

Betting big on cloud in India

Teresa Carlson once helped Microsoft in devising strategy for the US government. Now at Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary, she looks after state, local, central and regional governments, educational institutions and NGOs, and acts as an advisor to the firm on global policy issues. In an interaction with Pratap Vikram Singh, she talks about Amazon’s evolution and its In

India’s opaque mobile phone companies

Facing a loss pegged at  Rs 12,488 crore by the CAG due to under-reporting of revenue by telecom service providers, the department of telecommunications (DoT) has initiated phase-wise process of recovery. The department has sent a demand notice of Rs 100 crore each to six telecom operators – Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone, Idea, Tata and Aircel – to reclaim the initi

Going slow and (un)steady

 For the past six months, the usual workflow in the gram panchayats of Fatehpur district, Uttar Pradesh, has been disrupted. After the December 2015 panchayat elections in Fatehpur, the gram panchayats are yet to begin work on karya yojana (work plan) as discussed in the gram sabha (village meeting). The pradhans are introduced to a new system this time, which is said to be disrupting thei

Smoke signals from TRAI for harried mobile users

Chandigarh-based Surinder Verma carries two SIM cards, of Vodafone and Airtel, but that hasn’t helped as  he continues to face connectivity problems from both the networks. When Verma called the Airtel complaint centre, he was told that Airtel shares mobile towers with Idea in his area, and that he needs to speak to the Idea authorities. When he called Vodafone, he got the same res

Mega spectrum auction: What it means for you

The union cabinet headed by prime minister Narendra Modi has approved the sale of all available spectrum. The move apart from adding lakhs of crores to the government’s coffers is also being regarded as a solution to the ever increasing problem of call drop. Over 2,000 MHz spectrum will be made available for auction across seven bands – 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MH

A short history of right to privacy

From the time of birth till the time of death, and even beyond, we all are being tracked. Even a harmless tweet or a ‘like’ on Facebook can give away crucial data such as location of home and workplace. Privacy has become the quintessential issue of our times, but it continues to be violated every day. Privacy is supreme human right inherently given by the nature, yet its status as

Big Brothers will keep watching you

Five long years and several revisions later, the right to privacy bill is now wedged tightly between the department of personnel and training (DoPT) and the department of electronics and information technology (DeitY). The government does not seem to be in a mood to formulate a comprehensive law on privacy with provisions for data protection, physical and bodily privacy as well as safeguards ag

Hello, are you listening?

Have you ever wondered why the call metre on your mobile screen doesn’t stop even after you have lost the voice of the other person during a call? You may pointlessly repeat ‘Hello? Are you listening?’ several times, but the metre continues to run until you disconnect. In the last two years the call drop – sudden disconnect of a call over a mobile network primarily due t

E-Classes: An IIT in every classroom...

The Indian education system is dogged by poor pupil-to-teacher ratio (PTR). Although the Right to Education (RTE) Act recommends one teacher per 35 students at the secondary level, states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh accommodate almost 60 students in a classroom. In higher education, it is around one teacher per 23 students as against one teacher per 15 students in undergraduate colleges and on

Cabinet approves biggest spectrum auction

The mega spectrum auction plan, which was recommended by the department of telecommunications (DoT), was approved by the cabinet today. This is the biggest spectrum auction which is estimated to fetch about Rs 5.66 lakh crore. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the cabinet has also approved all suggestions made by the DoT and TRAI. The approved auction will have spectr

e-Bazaar comes to the village

Think e-commerce and the first thing that comes to mind is convenience, discounts, and of course a number of websites. But what escapes the mind is the crucial service that this kind of platform is providing to the nation. It serves as a social bridge connecting rural India with urban India. Like a thread, it ties the digital divide in the country.   Vineet Pandey

Sin in SIM: Dial F for fraud

Vijay Aggarwal, a 32-year-old businessman from Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh city, last year received a call from an unknown person who introduced himself as an agent from Birla Sun Life Insurance. Vijay was told that he had got a bonus of Rs 75,000 on his policy, and to redeem it, he was asked to deposit Rs 14,000 in a bank account. He deposited the money, but didn’t receive any bonus. I

Mapping the road to maximum government

Whenever The Economist, the international magazine, publishes a map of India or south Asia, showing parts of Kashmir as ‘disputed territory’, officials sit down and on each and every copy meant for distribution in India they put a stamp mark saying the map is incorrect. The exercise has been followed so religiously that in 2012 the magazine accused India of being more intolerant on

Most telecom operators fail to meet call drop threshold: TRAI

Most telecom service providers failed to meet the call drop rate threshold of less than two percent in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR). This was revealed in an independent test drive report released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released on June 01. Service providers like Reliance communication and Vodafone met the call drop rate threshold.

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