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Amazon acquires some assets of MX Player

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New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) E-commerce giant Amazon which also runs video streaming platforms like Prime Video and Mini TV has acquired some assets of Times Internet-owned MX Player.

“We are always looking for ways to introduce new products and services that help improve customers’ lives. We’re excited to continue to entertain India with the great local originals and exclusive content available across our Prime Video and miniTV services in India,” said an Amazon spokesperson.

The company has given no information about the size of the deal. However, some reports suggest that the deal is worth less than $100 million.

MX Player had raised $111 million in 2019 at a valuation of $500 million. Since then, there has been a big decline in the company’s valuation.

According to the reports, the acquisition of MX Player will boost Mini TV.

–IANS

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Byju’s moves Karnataka HC against NCLT order restraining it from 2nd rights issue

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) Edtech company Byju’s, mired in several controversies amid a cash crunch, has moved the Karnataka High Court against the order of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), which restrained it from going ahead with its second rights issue.

The second rights issue commenced on May 13 and was expected to end on June 13.

The edtech company has been restrained from utilising any funds from the second rights issue by the NCLT.

The company’s fresh plea in the Karnataka High Court is likely to come up for hearing on Monday, according to sources.

Byju’s is exploring out-of-court settlements with two of its creditors, Teleperformance and Surfer Technologies.

The NCLT had adjourned the cases to June 26.

The company is facing multiple headwinds, in India as well as in the US against its subsidiary.

Once valued at $22 billion, the edtech company is now worth zero, according to a recent research note by the financial firm HSBC.

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HSBC assigned zero value to investment company Prosus’ nearly 10 per cent stake (or about $500 million) in Byju’s.

“We assign zero value to Byju’s stake amid multiple legal cases and funding crunch,” according to the note.

Earlier this month, a group of lenders petitioned against new entities, tied to the US subsidiary of Byju’s, into bankruptcy in a US court, alleging that these entities were not paying their debts.

In February 2024, Byju’s Alpha had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.

The company managed to process the employee salaries for May from monthly “collections”.

–IANS

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Meet Chennai triplets pursuing engineering despite adversity

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) As the world celebrates International Women in Engineering Day on Sunday, meet Chennai-born triplets Dhanushree, Dhanush, and Dhanuja who share a love for engineering that is more common than their biology.

International Women in Engineering Day is observed every year on June 23 to celebrate the achievements of women engineers as well as to raise awareness on closing the gender gap in the sector.

More than being bound by blood, the triplets are classmates of the B.Tech programme at Sona College of Technology, Salem, who love discussing the intricacies of mechanics like Ackerman steering geometry, Beale number, Cotter pin, and damping ratio.

The triplets were born to businessman B Murugan and K Kamala, a government employee, in a nondescript Chidambaram town, in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district.

Call it a quirk of fate, they were born on Engineers’ Day (September 15), the birthday of Sir M Visvesvaraya, one of the most renowned engineers in the country, whose legacy left a lasting impact on India’s infrastructure and engineering education.

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From their early childhood, Dhanushree, Dhanush, and Dhanuja picked up the importance of education and the courage to pursue their dreams.

With their commendable scores in Class XII, the triplets secured admission at Sona College of Technology. Yet financial adversity scuttled their dreams of becoming engineers.

To provide them with a good education, the parents relocated to Salem and had to reestablish their business.

Dhanush loves electronics and is pursuing his dream of becoming a software developer. In addition to mechanical engineering Dhanushree and Dhanuja are also pursuing a credit course in Japanese.

“Dhanuja and Dhanushree are very attentive in the class and participate in discussions. They made friends with classmates quickly and often helped them in their studies. Dhanuja has a natural flair for singing,” said B Renuga, Head of Department for the first-year students at the college.

Dhanuja, the youngest among the triplets, is excited about getting the highest score not only among the siblings but the entire class.

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–IANS

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Gaming sector’s demands not discussed at GST Council meeting

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council at its 53rd meeting decided not to take up the demand of the gaming companies to levy 28 per cent GST on the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) that is earned by the industry, not on the full value of bets placed in online games.

According to the gaming companies, the 28 per cent GST on skill-based online games has triggered a cascade of repercussions, including funding constraints, reduced growth trajectories, job losses, and heightened uncertainty across the sector.

Manish Mishra, Partner, JSA Advocates and Solicitors, said the fact that GST on online gaming was not taken up for discussions “may come as a major disappointment to the sector which was expecting relief from the high rate of taxation and retrospective of demands”.

According to the latest report by Ernst & Young (EY) and the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), since October 2023, some gaming companies reported a complete withdrawal of global marque investors just at the onset of the new GST regime.

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Before the amendment, the GST cost constituted 15.25 per cent of the revenue.

However, since October 1, 2023, the GST cost has increased manifold, with GST now consuming 50-100 per cent of the revenue for 33 per cent of companies and even surpassing total revenue for startups.

“These startups now have to operate at a loss,” the report argued.

–IANS

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Ultra-processed food, sedentary lifestyle fuelling cancers in Indians under 40: Doctors

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) Poor lifestyle choices with regular consumption of ultra-processed foods, and a sedentary lifestyle are increasing cancer cases among people under 40 years of age in India, said doctors on Sunday.

Several factors are contributing to the rise in cancer cases among younger people in India.

One of the primary reasons is increased consumption of processed foods, tobacco, and alcohol, sedentary lifestyles, obesity, and stress.

Environmental pollution is another critical factor.

India’s cities are plagued by high levels of pollution, which has been linked to various types of cancer.

Air and water pollution expose individuals to carcinogenic substances, significantly increasing their cancer risk.

“Ultra-processed foods and sedentary lifestyles are emerging as significant contributors to the rising cancer rates among young Indians.

“The high intake of these foods, laden with unhealthy additives, combined with physical inactivity, is creating a health crisis,” Dr. Rahul Bhargava, Director and head of the Department of Haematology and BMT at Fortis Memorial Research Institute told IANS.

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“It’s imperative to adopt healthier dietary habits and an active lifestyle to curb this alarming trend,” he added.

According to a recent study by Cancer Mukt Bharat Foundation, a Delhi-based non-profit foundation, 20 per cent of cancer cases in India are now being diagnosed in people below 40 years of age.

The study shows that men constitute 60 per cent of these young cancer patients, while women make up the remaining 40 per cent.

The gender disparity may be due to higher rates of tobacco use, occupational exposure, and lifestyle choices among men in India.

“In our country, escalating rates of obesity, change in dietary habits, specifically the increase in consumption of ultra-processed food, and sedentary lifestyles are associated with higher cancer rates,” said Dr. Ashish Gupta, principal investigator and senior oncologist at Unique Hospital Cancer Center, Delhi, told IANS.

The doctors called for the urgent need for lifestyle interventions to combat the rising cancer rates among young Indians. Dr. Ashish, also heading Cancer Mukt Bharat Campaign in India, emphasised the importance of a “combined effort from the government, healthcare professionals, and the community to tackle the rising cancer rates among young adults”.

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“Policies promoting clean air and water, regular physical activity, and access to nutritious food must be prioritised. Additionally, we must invest in better healthcare infrastructure to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment,” he said.

–IANS

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India electronics component manufacturing to hit $240 bn by 2030, create 2.8 lakh jobs by 2026

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) As the government doubles down on making India a global manufacturing hub, the demand for electronics components and sub-assemblies is likely to scale to $240 billion by 2030, paving the way for $500 billion worth of electronics production goal while creating at least 2.8 lakhs new jobs by 2026, a report showed on Sunday.

Priority components and sub-assemblies including PCBAs, are projected to grow at a robust CAGR of 30 per cent, reaching $139 billion by 2030, according to the report by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which suggested key recommendations to craft a scheme to further help the industry.

Last year, the demand for components and sub-assemblies stood at $45.5 billion to support $102 billion worth of electronics production.

The report identified five priority components/sub-assemblies of batteries (lithium-ion), camera modules, mechanicals (enclosures etc.), displays and PCBs, which are categorised as high priority for India.

They cumulatively accounted for 43 per cent of the components demand in 2022 and is expected to grow to $51.6 billion by 2030, the report mentioned.

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These components have either a nominal production in India or are heavily import-dependent.

“Similarly, PCBA is a high potential category for India since most of the demand is met by imports. This segment is expected to grow by 30 per cent, leading to a demand creation of $87.46 billion by 2030,” the report noted.

The report recommended crafting a scheme aimed at providing fiscal support for select components and sub-assemblies in the range of 6-8 per cent.

“The fiscal support is to be extended for a period of 6 to 8 years to ensure adequate time for scaling up and enhancement in value addition,” it added.

Additionally, the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) 2.0 should be introduced with subsidy support ranging from 25 per cent to 40 per cent to support potential investors across brownfield and greenfield categories.

“The import tariffs on priority sub-assemblies and components like camera modules, display modules, mechanicals, need to be urgently rationalised in line with key competing economies,” added the CII report.

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“The creation of export demand for India-made products have the twin advantages of increasing export volumes and helping boost domestic manufacturing of components and sub-assemblies,” according to the CII.

The policy support will help in various economic benefits arising from the development of the components and sub-assemblies ecosystem in India.

–IANS

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