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Diposting oleh On 01.59

India's cryptocurrency exchanges face another 50 days of uncertainty

Sparks glow from broken Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins in this illustration picture, December 8, 2017. Picture taken December 8
Under fire.
1 hour ago Quartz india

The wait continues for Indian cryptocurrency exchanges.

On July 20, after a short hearing, India’s supreme court set Sept. 11 as the date for the next hearingâ€"and the pronouncement of a verdictâ€"in the cases filed by the bourses against the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

In April, the RBI came down heavily on these exchanges and traders, ordering banks to close all cryptocurrency -related accounts within three months. The deadline for that came into effect in the first week of July.

Due to the central bank’s crippling regulations, trade has been severely affected in the once booming virtual currency ecosystem of Asia’s third-largest economy. Cornered, the exchanges then dragged the RBI to the apex court. In the last hearing, bourses were hoping for some reprieve but were disappointed.

“We need to wait for about 50 more days now and every day matters as the Indian cryptocurrency ecosystem is getting affected, so we were hoping for a faster decision,” said Shivam Thakral, CEO of BuyUcoin, an Indian cryptocurrency exchange. During the boom last year in November-December, the exchanges were adding more than 100,000 customers a month; the number has now trickled down to a few thousands, according to the exchanges.

The matter is being heard by a three-judge bench of chief justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachu d.

The trial

Apart from the RBI, the Narendra Modi government, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Enforcement Directorate, and the income tax department, too, are party to the case.

“There are several government agencies interested in the matter and it is important to take into account their views on the subject. And therefore, such a delay is not unexpected,” said Pushan Dwivedi, an associate at legal firm TRA Law, which has filed the petition on behalf of several exchanges.

Dwaipayan Bhowmick, a lawyer who had in November filed a public interest litigation seeking the regulation of cryptocurrencies, told Quartz that the responses from certain government agencies including SEBI regarding their stand on cryptocurrencies needs to be filed by Aug. 20.

Earlier this month, in a response to suggestions made by the exchanges to the RBI on how the ecosystem can be regulated, the central bank stuck to its stand that i t is uncomfortable with these virtual currencies. Concerns around investor protection, the anonymity of transactions, and the cryptocurrencies’ lack of intrinsic value were the reasons it cited.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on the Modi government which is working on draft regulations for the sector that are likely to be out by September, according to a report in The New Indian Express newspaper.

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Diposting oleh On 01.22

Indian ATMs could run dryâ€"yes, again

A notice is displayed on the gate of an automated teller machine (ATM) counter which is no longer dispensing cash in Chandigarh, India, November 21, 2016.
When will it end?
3 hours ago Quartz india

India is staring at another bout of currency shortageâ€"the third time in less than two years.

Last week, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that it will introduce new Rs100 notes. These will be different in look and size from the ones currently in circulation. And that will put ATM operators across the country in a quandary as their machines will have to be recalibrated, again.

Adjusting all the 200,000-odd ATMs in India to the new notes will take around a year and cost over Rs100 crore ($14.5 million), according to industry experts. The existing Rs100 notes will not be withdrawn immediately.

“Definitely, this is likely to lead to ATMs running dry again,” Sanjeev Patel, CEO of Tata Communications Payments Solutions, which runs the Indicash network of ATMs, told Quartz.

And here’s why.

Typically, there are four cassettes in an ATM machine. Usually, one tray is filed with the Rs2,000 notes, the other two with Rs500, and one with Rs100 notes. Now, however, there will be the Rs200 notes and the new and old Rs100 notes, all of different sizes.

If a certain ATM’s settings don’t match the new notes, then that machine can’t be fully loaded. So it will run out of cash faster.

“This presents new complications because there is a discrepancy between the various denominations, sizes, and the number of trays,” said Loney Antony, managing director of Hitachi Payment Services, another firm that runs and manages ATMs. “Moreover, we haven’t even finished re-calibrating all the machines to adjust for the new Rs200 notes, so this will be another challenge and will require a great deal of planning.”

Coming within three months of a similar near-crisis, this is bound to fuel public annoyance. “Ultimately it is the common man who suffers, especially the people in rural areas and a lot of these problems can be avoided by better planning which has been ignored once again,” Patel said.

Repeat act

Over the last two years or so, India’s suffered multiple bouts of cashlessness.

In November 2016, the Narendra Modi government demonetised two high-value notes with the primary intention of curbing black money. Overnight, the amount of hard cash circulating in the economy plummeted by 86% (in value).

However, the government’s move wasn’t backed by the printing of ample new notes or timely adjustments of ATMs to the new notes’ dimensions. This resulted in an acute cash crunch and allegations that the move itself was poorly planned in general.

Over the following months, long-winding queues outside ATM counters became a familiar sight in India, worsening the problem posed by the existing shortage of such machinesâ€"on average, there is just one machine per 5,500 citizens in India, compared to other economies like Canada where there is one for every 545 citizens.

Nevertheless, as the months passed by, cash circulation returned to normal and by April 2018 it even surpassed the pre-demonetisation levels.

Then, in March-April this year, came the second cash-crunch streak in pockets of the country. The reason for this was said to be cash returning in circulation faster than the government and the RBI had expected. People also began hoarding cash, falling prey to rumours that deposits may be unsafe in banks. Also, there was the logistical problem as ATM recalibration had not yet been completed.

Meanwhile, the ATM industry is reeling under high costs and thin margins. Frequent tweaks like these only add to their woes.

“The government and the RBI need to realise that cash rules and so people need ATMs and bank branches,” said an executive with a private sector bank, requesting anonymity. “And they can’t wish cash away only because they want to. Therefore, these things need to be better planned to avoid an adverse impact on the industry.”

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Diposting oleh On 00.41

Australia has a plan to make India part of its “inner circle”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, shakes hands with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull before their delegation level meeting in New Delhi, India, Monday, April 10, 2017. Turnbull is on a four-day official visit to India. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Closer relations.
49 mins ago Quartz india

By 2060, India may be the world’s largest economy. It will certainly be the world’s most populous country. At that point, Australians will ask, “What did we do in the 2020s to build a relationship with this superpower?” They may also ask: “How did economic cooperation with India benefit both countries in the early 21st century?”

The Australian federal government’s report, An India Economic Strategy to 2035, was launched last week in Brisbane. Written by University of Queensland chancellor Peter Varghese, it is an excellent basis for reflecting on these questions and the wider issue of Australia-India cooperation.

The strategy identifies numerous sectorsâ€"health, education, and tourism, for exampleâ€"that can help enhance economic cooperation, and in which Australia has some comparative advantage. It also specifies ten Indian states as targets for collaboration based on their economic heft, commitment to reform, and relevance to the sectors in which Australia has competitive advantages.

Importantly, the strategy is ambitious. It sets itself the goal by 2035 to lift India into Australia’s top three export markets. It intends for India to become “the third largest desti nation in Asia for Australian outward investment,” and for it to be brought “into the inner circle of Australia’s strategic partnerships.”

The strategy emphasises two areas that need attention in order to meet these objectives. First, Australia needs to leverage the strengths of the Indian diaspora, which now numbers about 455,000.

The rapid growth of the Indian diaspora population can be a spur to economic cooperation. The Indian population in places like Silicon Valley drive the IT and biotech booms in India and the US. Canada is highly adept in enrolling its Indian diaspora in projects of national and international development.

Second, Australia needs to build more knowledge of India and support organisations that work on the bilateral relationship. While Australia made a pivot towards China in the last quarter of the 20th century, businesses, governments, and the public developed comparatively little knowledge about India.

The emphasis on Chin a led to a neglect of India in education, media, and the policy sphere. There is a need to rebuild public understanding of India and the institutions that can activate this understanding to achieve lasting impact. Culture and arts will be very important here, both as a sector and enablerâ€"points implicit in the strategy.

Varghese says we need to move beyond constantly drawing comparisons between India and China. “India is not the next China,” he writes. India is a distinct opportunity for engagement that merits discussion in its own terms.

The base from which Australia is working with respect to cooperation is certainly different: Australian exports to India are less than a sixth of those to China.

Two further issues will be crucial for the strategy’s successful implementation. The first concerns the relationship between growth and well-being. It is clear that the India Economic Strategy imagines enhanced cooperation not as a basis for economic growth as such, but also higher standards of living.

There is a need to reflect carefully here. We must think not only about spurring growth in the Australian and Indian economies, but also ensuring that growth is meaningful in four ways: that it addresses social and economic inequalities, creates jobs, is environmentally sustainable, and fosters opportunities to lead fulfilling social and cultural lives.

This is where the comparison between India and China is important. Since 2000, India’s economic growth has been not much more than half as effective at lifting people out of poverty as China’s economic growth. This means that for every 1% growth in GDP in China nearly twice as many people are elevated out of income poverty as in India. This partly reflects the depth of social inequalities in India.

In the context of rising concern over inequality in Australia as well, the key question is: How can international economic cooperation create growth that reduces inequalit ies, generates jobs, and protects the environment in the countries concerned? It is a question that puts Australia and India on the same side of the table.

A second issue concerns the term “navigation,” which is in the title of the strategy. As the Danish anthropologist Professor Henrik Vigh has pointed out, navigation is a great metaphor. It connotes plotting and re-plotting a course on a moving plane. The complexity of that plane in this case calls to mind the six degrees of motion of a boat: pitch, roll, yaw, sway, heave, and surge. The strategy’s recommendations and ideas are excellent, and can be re-calibrated as India and Australia pitch, heave, and yaw.

The India Economic Strategy is an exciting document written with confidence and ambition. It provides a foundation for reflecting on economic cooperation and striving for meaningful growth.

Craig Jeffrey, director and CEO of the Australia India Institute; professor of Development Geography, Unive rsity of Melbourne. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. We welcome your comments at ideas.india@qz.com.

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Diposting oleh On 23.30

The phone maker that introduced Android to India is fading away

A new HTC Android-based smartphone Sensation is displayed during a news conference for the launch of the product in Taipei May 27, 2011. The mobile phone which was launched on Friday, features a 4.3 inch display screen and is priced at NT20,900 or ($725). REUTERS/Pichi Chuang (TAIWAN - Tags: SCI TECH BUSINESS) - GM1E75R18WT01
A little too quiet.
2 hours ago Quartz india

Android may rule 90% of the Indian smartphone market today, but the firm that introduced Indians to the operating system a decade ago has almost disappeared.

Last week, Taiwane se firm HTC reportedly laid off around 80 of its employees in the world’s second-largest smartphone market. This included top executives like country head Faisal Siddiqui, sales head Vijay Balachandran, and product head R Nayyar. Among the 10 employees it retained are chief financial officer Rajeev Tayal.

“It has been an amazing journey we’ve taken to arrive here. We have an incredibly bright future ahead,” the company said in a statement. “It will require us, as an organisation, to be resilient and completely focused on the tasks at hand.”

HTC said it will invest in India “in the right segments and at the right time.” Besides mobile phones, the company will continue to dabble in virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence technologies in India.

However, experts believe HTC may not have what it takes to survive in the overcrowded market.

How HTC failed

HTC debuted in India in 2009 with its Android-based Magic h andset. At the time, the brand was seen as a tough competitor for incumbents Apple and Nokia, among others.

Over the years, Android smartphones became a favourite among Indians. HTC garnered many loyalists in the processâ€"it had the third-highest brand recall among Indian consumers, according to a February 2017 report by consulting and advisory firm CyberMedia Research.

But it could not cope with the subsequent flood of new entrants, and over the last year alone it lost much sheen. By the end of March 2018, HTC’s market share in India had come to almost nil, data from Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research show.

In the affordable sub-$150 category, Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo now dominate, having toppled even the long-standing leader, Samsung. In the premium segment, the growing popularity of OnePlus and Apple’s attempts to woo Indians by lowering prices are driving HTC out.

†œHTC was a classic user-experience phone for HTC lovers. But the reach of such customers is limited,” said Sanchit Vir Gogia, founder and CEO of research and advisory firm Greyhound Research. “You can’t expect great numbers when a company like Vivo is selling out in the market.”

Too silent for too long

Experts blame the company’s next-to-nonexistent marketing play for its failure.

“The India market is very dynamic and very competitive now. So if you want to be in India, you have to be aggressive,” said Jaipal Singh, senior analyst at market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) India. “Xiaomi is very aggressive. Oppo and Vivo are going all out to market their devices. (But) HTC has not been able to read the market. It has remained silent for a very long time. We haven’t heard much about its campaigns.”

In addition, HTC has not had much success selling through brick-and-mortar stores, the mainstay for sal es in small towns and villages. A number of smartphone brands have developed strong offline sales strategies, which include partnering with local retailers, setting up service centres, and even opening up experience stores.

“We haven’t heard about it (HTC) coming loudly to retailers and putting across big sales and discounts,” said Singh.

Even its distributors are allegedly miffed. HTC has apparently not paid off dues or compensated them for unsold stocks. The company said it is exploring legal options to determine its course of action.

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Diposting oleh On 19.36

India Shortchanges Its Banks

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Diposting oleh On 19.01

Truckers' strike costs India Rs10,000 crore in 3 days

Truckers' strike costs India Rs10,000 crore in 3 daysSomit SenThe losses due to the all-India transporters’ strike crossed Rs 2,000 crore in Maharashtra as lakhs of trucks stayed off the road for the third consecutive day on Sunday. The nationwide losses due to the strike was pegged at Rs 10,000 crore. The Centre is likely to intervene on Monday and has called transporters for talks in a bid to end the crisis. | TNN | Jul 23, 2018, 01:19 IST

Highlights

  • The losses due to the all-India transporters’ strike was pegged at Rs 10,000 crore
  • The Centre is likely to intervene on Monday and has called transporters for talks in a bid to end the crisis
  • Transporters have, among other things, demanded reduction in diesel prices &a toll-free India for seamless movement of goods
File photo used for representation onlyFile photo used for representation onlyMUMBAI: The losses due to the all-India transporters’ strike crossed Rs 2,000 crore in Maharashtra as lakhs of trucks stayed off the road for the third consecutive day on Sunday. The nationwide losses due to the strike was pegged at Rs 10,000 crore. The Centre is likely to intervene on Monday and has called transporters for talks in a bid to end the crisis.
“It is high time the government steps in to resolve our problems and offers some practical solutions which can redress our woes,” said Raman Khosla, president of the Maharashtra Rajya Truck, Tempo, Tankers, Bus Vahatuk Mahasangh.
“The government should at least accept our demands in principle.” He said that not a single truck transported manufacturing, industrial goods and other commodities on Sunday. < br/>“Trucks plying essentials like vegetables, fruits, medicine, milk are exempted from the strike,” he said.
But a few leading transporter associations fear that if strike continues this week, even those supplying vegetables and fruits could ‘voluntarily’ stay off the road and this may escalate prices. “These truck owners have expressed their solidarity to the protest, though so far they are plying on roads,” said Bal Malkit Singh of the All India Motor Transport Congress.
Transporters complained they have been reeling under the impact of demonetization, rise in input costs along with fuel prices, high cost of GST among other challenges.
They have demanded reduction in diesel prices, quarterly review of fuel prices, a toll-free India for seamless movement of goods, need for transparency, and reduction in third-party insurance premium.
Apart from the truckers’ strike, there were peaceful rallies and protests at toll plazas and ports across the coun try. “Transportation services to and from the port, refineries, harbours and movement from petrochemical units, white goods, FMCG, steel, coal, cement, granite, and other industrial units have been stopped,” Singh said.
“Till date, there are no reconciliatory talks or indication from the government to resolve the issues with immediate tangible results. The movement will get intensified in days to come.”
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