SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT

Leapfrogging to Stage VI Vehicular Emission norms

THE government finally issued the long awaited gazette notification for the sharply compressed timetable for introduction of Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) emission norms for vehicles and other petroleum combustion engines, broadly conforming to the Euro VI emission norms. It had earlier released an almost identical draft of this policy in January 2016 and had given all stakeholders time to respond.

Jio's Entry: Paradigm Shift Treating Voice as Data

Make no mistake, Reliance Jio's entry into mobile data and voice services is going to cause a tectonic shift in the industry. Not because the rates for data are low; or voice is free. The Jio rates are not significantly lower than what other players are offering. Nor is it due to the PM himself “lending” his image to Jio, an Ambani product.
So why do I call this is a tectonic shift? Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio has now birthed the convergence paradigm that all voice calls should be treated as data. Everyone knew this was coming. Jio has just moved the start date forward.

Self-driving Vehicles: Coming Soon!

There is some or other news almost every day about autonomous vehicles, also popularly known as “driverless” or self-driving cars. Either some or other company is announcing ever-earlier dates when it plans to introduce autonomous vehicles into the market, or some new city or region, usually in the US or Europe, or is granting permission for trials of autonomous vehicles.

Modi Govt, FDI Policy & Pharmaceuticals

The central government’s decision to allow up to 74 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) as brownfield investment in the domestic pharmaceutical companies for their acquisition by the foreign firms through the automatic route has serious implications for the development of pharmaceutical industry and public health in India. With this change in FDI policy, the Modi government has opened up for powerful multinationals and investors the easy route of acquisition of well-established domestic pharmaceutical companies.

What is at stake ?

Gau Raksha and the War against India's Poor

THE toxic activities of gau raksha samitis that have sprung up all over the country has led to increased attack on not only Muslims but also dalits. This was the pattern in the past, and also the pattern today. Even as the protests against the Una attacks rocked the country, Bajrang Dal targeted dalits in Chikmaglur in Karnataka, the eighth such attack in the last two years. This was followed by the beating of two dalit men in Lucknow for skinning a dead cow.

Antrix Devas: A Bad Deal and a Botched Cancellation

THE Antrix Devas Agreement was entered into without thought and terminated equally badly. The country might pay a huge price – not only for the mistake of signing a bad contract, but also for not knowing how to get out of such a contract. The two tribunal awards show the danger of the 80 odd bilateral investment treaties that India has entered into under which we are already seeing a spate of disputes.

Civil Aviation Policy: Subsidise the Rich, Corporates & Foreign Companies

IT is by now clear that the settled policy framework of the Modi government is to pump in public investment for infrastructure, services, taxes and other incentives for corporates and higher income groups in the belief that this will stimulate further investment especially FDI, wealth creation and GDP growth which will in turn, hopefully and ultimately, trickle down to the less well-off or at least lead to a “feel good” factor.

Is TRAI Reversing its Order on Free Basics in the Name of Free Data?

FREE Basics, promoted by Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, rejected by TRAI in February this year, appears to have made a comeback with TRAI's new consultations paper dated May 19 on Free Data. The paper seems to imply that the problem with Free Basics was not that Facebook would be a gatekeeper for the internet, promoting some content over others, but its tying up with only one Telecom Service Provider (Telco), namely Reliance Communications. If Facebook offers this service to other Telcos as well, apparently Free Basics will then somehow become fair.

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