Evening digest: India to overtake US internet user base by next month

GN Bureau | November 17, 2015

#US   #internet user   #National Digital Literacy Mission   #NDLM   #Tamilnadu   #Chennai   #NDRF   #AMRUT plan   #Chittoor Mayor   #CJI Balakrishnan   #renewal mining leases   #Goa   #gold import   #higher VAT   #jet fuel   #Swiss envoy   #Haryana  

India will have the second largest number of internet users worldwide, overtaking US by December 2015. The internet user base in India will end 50% higher compared to a year ago, by end 2015, that is 402 million users, ahead of US and behind China's 600 million users. According to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB, the number of Internet users in India is expected to reach 402 million by December 2015, registering a growth of 49% over 2014.

While Internet in India took more than a decade to move from 10 million to 100 million and three years from 100 to 200 million, it took only a year to move from 300 to 400 million users. Clearly, Internet is mainstream in India today, said IAMAI in a statement. The large internet users base is definitely a good news for the overall growth of the digital industry, e-commerce and internet startups.

Govt to impart digital literacy training to 52.5 lakh by 2016
The government has advanced the deadline for making 52.5 lakh people digitally literate, under National Digital Literacy Mission, by a year to 2016 than end of 2017 fixed earlier. "We target to make 52.5 lakh people digitally literate by 2017 under National Digital Literacy Mission. Now, we are looking at meeting this target by 2016," said Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, Department of Electronics and IT, at a Nasscom event.The Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA) or National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) Scheme has been formulated to impart IT training to 52.5 lakh persons, including Anganwadi and ASHA workers and authorised ration dealers in all states/UTs across the country so that the non-IT literate citizens are trained to become IT literate. Kumar said over 1 lakh common service centres are imparting digital training under government's mission to make every member of family digitally literate by 2020.

Rains ease in Tamil Nadu but Chennai still flooded
After Sunday’s torrential downpour that submerged many parts of Chennai and its suburbs, the rain eased off on Monday to the relief of thousands of residents, who are still marooned and living without electricity, water and food.

The Army and Air Force have been deployed for rescuing stranded citizens in the Kancheepuram district, where torrential rains have left residents marooned, even as rain water inundated a large part of suburban Tambaram locality. Personnel from the Madras 4 Regiment of the Indian Army have been pressed into service at Mudichur in Kacheepuram on the request of the district administration even as Air Force has conducted sorties to rescue citizens, Defence officials said. IAF helicopters from the Air Force station at Tambaram carried out six sorties and evacuated 22 persons last night they said, adding that food packets and water were air dropped.

 The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) 10th Battalion has deputed ten teams to Tamil Nadu and the flood affected districts in Andhra Pradesh. The force evacuated more than 1,000 people trapped in flood waters.

NDRF which was pressed into the flood ravaged areas in Chennai, Nellore and Chittoor are rescuing the people in villages and were helping the victims by giving first aid, supplying food packets to the flood victims in rehabilitation shelters.

Rs 242 crore AMRUT plan to address water logging in 25 cities
Taking steps to tackle the problem of water logging, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha and Mizoram propose to invest Rs 242 crore in construction of storm water drains for discharging flood waters in 25 cities in these states. The works would be undertaken under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) action plans for 2015-16, according to a UD Ministry statement. Central assistance to the extent of 50 per cent of project costs will be extended to cities with a population of below 10 lakhs each and one-third of project cost if the population is above ten lakhs. Many metro cities including Delhi, Mumbai and now Chennai have been faced with the problem of water logging following heavy rains.

Chittoor Mayor Katari Anuradha, husband murdered in office
Chittoor Mayor Katari Anuradha and her husband Katari Mohan, a senior TDP leader, were brutally murdered at the Mayor chamber's office and the adjoining council hall, when a gang of three persons attacked the couple with knives and pistols. Anuradha received severe knife injuries and bullet injuries in the head. She died on the spot while her husband Katari Mohan, taken to the Christian Medical College Hospital at Vellore, succumbed to injuries. Katani Mohan is the prime accused in the attempt to murder on former Chittoor MLA CK Jayachandra Reddy alias CK Babu. A decade ago, CK Babu escaped in the attack, while two of his gunmen were killed.

Govt finds nothing in former CJI Balakrishnan's benami case
The government on Tuesday gave a clean chit to former chief justice KG Balakrishnan in a case connected to ‘benami’ property transactions involving his relatives. The case was filed by NGO Common Cause. Appearing in the supreme court, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said enquiries against former CJI sets a dangerous precedent. The court, however, was convinced. A bench led by justice Dipak Misra said if “persons earning Rs. 100 buy properties worth Rs. 10 lakh, the source of the money should be investigated.” Rohatgi said the income tax investigation has turned up with nothing. “We cannot do anymore,” the AG submitted.

SC issues notice against renewal of mining leases in Goa
The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Goa government and several mining lessees in the state after the non-profit Goa Foundation questioned the renewal of 89 mining leases. A bench comprising justices JS Khehar and R Banumathi said it would hear the case on 9 December. It will be listed for final hearing on the day. The Goa government and the miners are required to file their responses in the case by December 1. Goa Foundation says that Goa’s policy to renew leases did not conform to the law established by the apex court for optimally utilizing natural resources.

BJP fields over 500 Muslim candidates for Gujarat local polls
The BJP may have faced criticism for stoking communal sentiments following party chief Amit Shah infamous remark that crackers will be burst in Pakistan if BJP loses in Bihar. In its so-called Hindutva laboratory, however, the saffron party has fielded a record 500-plus Muslim candidates — out of total 8,434 — for the local body polls. Congress has given tickets to about 800 Muslims.   Muslims comprise a little over 9 per cent of the total population of Gujarat, according to 2011 Census data. Recent delimitation has altered caste and community equations in Gujarat.

Trade deficit down due to low gold import
India's trade deficit narrowed in October to its lowest since March, largely due to low gold imports and a faint pickup in non-oil exports (particularly textiles and pharmaceuticals). Meanwhile, non-oil-non-gold imports (NONG) rose further although the pace of sequential growth softened a tad. Interestingly, the recent improvement in NONG imports is skewed more towards consumer goods like transport equipment and electronics, than investment related project goods or machine tools, reflecting the mix in India's growth recovery.

Delhi imposes higher VAT on jet fuel
The New Delhi government has increased value added tax or VAT on jet fuel uplift to 25% from 20%, a move that will offset a small fraction of the benefits that airlines have been enjoying thanks to lower fuel prices. The tax is only levied on fuel uplifts for domestic flights. Delhi is India's busiest airport. At current levels fuel is expected to account for around 30%-35% of an Indian carrier's costs, compared to 45% last year, according to industry data.

Maggi ban sent disturbing message to investors: Swiss envoy
The ban on Maggi noodles sent out a "disturbing message" to Switzerland's enterprises, raising questions about the implementation of India's regulatory framework, Swiss Ambassador Linus von Castelmur said today. Magg is manufactured by Swiss multinational Nestle through its Indian subsidiary. It was back on the shelves from November 9 with the Bombay High Court lifting the ban imposed by food safety regulators. It was banned for allegedly containing lead beyond the permissible limit. When asked about Maggi ban, Castelmur said: "That was a kind of disturbing message for Swiss enterprises, who are long invested in India and who plan to invest in India."

Haryana records high paddy arrival at 53 lakh mt
Haryana saw more than 52.92 lakh metric tonnes (mt) of paddy arrival in the grain market until yesterday during the current kharif season as against about 40.09 lakh mt during the same period last year. Of the total arrival, government procurement agencies have purchased more than 42.03 lakh mt while millers and dealers have gone for over 10.89 lakh mt.



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