Connect with us

Sci/tech

Amitabh Kant highlights urgent need to improve urban air quality

Published

on

Amitabh Kant highlights urgent need to improve urban air quality

New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) G20 Sherpa and former NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Saturday highlighted the urgent need for improving urban air quality and advocated for a nationwide shift to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030.

Speaking with NDTV on enhancing India’s urban sustainability and resilience, Kant emphasised the critical need to tackle urban air quality, noting that 42 cities in India rank among the world’s most polluted.

In addition, he advocated for a nationwide shift to EVs by 2030, citing their economic viability and increasing consumer demand.

“We need to focus on transportation in a very big way and ensure that these cities all go electric by 2030,” G20 Sherpa said.

“The priority should be that in the next four to five years, two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and buses all go electric in the next five years and by 2030 even all four-wheelers go electric,” he added.

Kant also mentioned that the government has already taken the initiative to procure 10,000 buses.

ALSO READ:  Making health insurance accessible and affordable with monthly premiums

“They have allocated about Rs 57,000 crore, which is almost $7 billion. It’s one of the biggest programmes of the government,” he said.

The former NITI Aayog CEO also applauded India’s progress in renewable energy, having exceeded COP21 targets with 200 gigawatts already generated.

–IANS

shs/svn

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sci/tech

Google Maps to alert about road widths, flyovers, EV charging stations in India

Published

on

By

Google Maps to alert about road widths, flyovers, EV charging stations in India

Google Maps to alert about road widths, flyovers, EV charging stations in India

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Google on Thursday announced several new features to enable more efficient and sustainable journeys via Maps in India, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and local partners.

The company said it is introducing a new feature for Maps users in India designed to reduce the use of narrow roads when driving four-wheelers.

It starts with estimating road widths which is incredibly complex, given India’s vast and diverse road network.

“To address this, we’ve developed an AI model specifically for Indian roads that incorporates multiple signals — satellite imagery, Street View, and other information like road types, distance between buildings, paved sections, etc. to estimate road widths at scale,” informed Miriam Daniel, VP and GM, Google Maps.

Now, four-wheeler drivers can enjoy a less stressful driving experience, and it also benefits bikers, pedestrians, and other commuters who can now use these narrow roads more safely and confidently.

The company is also adding “clear callouts” in Maps Directions and Navigation screens to alert the users to narrow sections on your route, so that they can proceed cautiously or choose an alternative route.

ALSO READ:  Tesla to invest over $500 mn on Supercharger network expansion

The company is rolling out the feature on Android devices this week in eight cities — Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Indore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar and Guwahati — and looks forward to bringing this to iOS and more cities soon.

Another feature will call out flyovers along the recommended route. This will help anticipate upcoming flyovers and prepare ahead of time to get onto the flyover.

“Starting this week, you’ll see these flyover callouts in 40 cities across India for both four-wheeler and two-wheeler active navigation on Android apps and Android Auto. iOS and CarPlay support will be coming soon,” said Lalitha Ramani, GM, Google Maps, India.

For electric vehicles (EVs), Google is introducing helpful information about EV charging stations on both Google Maps and Google Search in India.

“We’re collaborating with leading EV charging providers in India – ElectricPe, Ather, Kazam, and Statiq – to add authoritative information for over 8,000 charging stations, representing a significant portion of available charging stations in India,” said the tech giant.

ALSO READ:  LG joins ChargePoint to expand EV charging infrastructure in US

Last December, Google announced a collaboration with ONDC and Namma Yatri to streamline the public transport experience on Google Maps.

The metro booking experience in Google Maps is now going live in Kochi and Chennai.

Over 60 million people share millions of reviews, photos, business edits, and road updates every day.

“We’ve simplified how you can report road incidents. Whether there’s ongoing construction or a traffic mishap on your route, you can now report it with just a few taps, making it easy and less distracting. This update is available in India on Google Maps across all platforms 0- Android, iOS, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay,” Google informed.

The tech giant has also collaborated with local experts like NDTV Food and MagicPin. They’ve curated lists for 10 major cities and tourist spots, offering insider tips and recommendations for the best places to eat, drink and explore.

Google Maps has mapped over 7 million kilometres of roads, 300 million buildings, and 35 million businesses and places across India, providing real-time traffic predictions, offer immersive experiences like Street View and Live View walking navigation.

ALSO READ:  India produced over 40 quantum technology startups in 2 years: Jitendra Singh

–IANS

na/

Continue Reading

Sci/tech

Indian GenAI startup Devnagri raises new funds led by Inflection Point Ventures

Published

on

By

Indian GenAI startup Devnagri raises new funds led by Inflection
 Point Ventures

Indian GenAI startup Devnagri raises new funds led by Inflection
 Point Ventures

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Homegrown Generative AI (GenAI) startup Devnagri on Thursday said it has raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures.

The B2B-focused Indian language translation startup said new funds will be allocated to marketing, sales, technology scaling, R&D, infrastructure and administrative expenses.

Devnagri offers personalised business communication to non-English speakers, making it hyper-local and more accessible.

Co-founded by Nakul Kundra and Himanshu Sharma, it excels in contextualising and personalising content, seamlessly integrating its technology into both private and government infrastructures.

“We are moving towards offering the enterprises and government departments a private cloud infrastructure, to maintain their ownership of their content and by keeping the Natural language processing (NLP) and Small Language Models (SLM) trained with every usage by the customer,” said Kundra.

Mitesh Shah, Co-Founder, Inflection Point Ventures said that in India, where more than 700 languages are spoken, translating it is a challenging task from the perspective of accuracy, context, and cultural nuances.

ALSO READ:  Centre picks 7 homegrown startups to build next-gen tech for aerospace, defence sectors

“Devnagri addresses these problems by leveraging AI-powered human translation,” said Shah.

So far, Inflection Point Ventures has invested over Rs 720 crore across more than 200 startups.

The opportunity market for Devnagri is valued at $53 billion in India, growing at a CAGR of 6.7 per cent.

Devnagri raised $600,000 from Venture Catalyst, Inflection Point Ventures and other co-investors in a seed round in 2021.

–IANS

na/dpb

Continue Reading

Sci/tech

CBDT explains taxation of capital gains

Published

on

By

CBDT explains taxation of capital gains

CBDT explains taxation of capital gains

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Thursday issued FAQs to explain the new capital gains tax regime in Budget 2024-25.

Q: What are the major changes brought about in the taxation of capital gains by the Union Budget 2024-25?

A: The taxation of capital gains has been rationalised and simplified. The five broad parameters to this rationalisation and simplification are: Holding period has been simplified. There are only two holding periods now, viz. one year and two years. Second, rates have been rationalised and made uniform for the majority of assets. Third, indexation has been done away with for ease of computation with simultaneous reduction of rate from 20 per cent to 12.5 per cent. Fourth, parity between Resident and Non-resident and fifth there is no change in roll over benefits.

Q: What is the date when the new taxation provisions come into force?

A: The new provisions for taxation of capital gains came into force from 23.7.2024 and shall apply to any transfer made on or after this date.

Q: How has the holding period been simplified?

ALSO READ:  Tesla to invest over $500 mn on Supercharger network expansion

A: Earlier there were three holding periods for considering an asset to be a long-term capital asset. Now the holding period has been simplified. There are only two holding periods, for listed securities, it is one year, for all other assets, it is two years.

Q: Who will benefit from the change in holding period?

A: The holding period of all listed assets will now be one year. Therefore, for listed units of business trusts (ReITs, InVITs) holding period is reduced from 36 months to 12 months. The holding period of gold, unlisted securities (other than unlisted shares) is also reduced from 36 months to 24 months.

Q: What about the holding period of immovable property and unlisted shares?

A: The holding period of immovable property and unlisted shares remains the same as earlier i.e. 24 months.

Q: What are the changes in the rate structure for STT paid capital assets?

A: Rate for short-term STT paid listed equity and equity oriented mutual fund and units of business trust (Section 111A) has increased from 15 to 20 per cent. Similarly the rate for these assets for long-term (S. 112A) has increased from 10 to 12.5 per cent.

ALSO READ:  Making health insurance accessible and affordable with monthly premiums

Q: Is there any change in the exemption limit for long-term capital gains under Section 112A which was earlier Rs 1 lakh?

A: Yes. The exemption limit of Rs 1 lakh for LTCG on these assets has also increased to Rs 1.25 lakh. This increased exemption limit will apply for FY 2024-25 and subsequent years.

Q: What are the changes in the rate structure for other long-term capital gains?

A: The rate for other long-term capital gains on all assets has been rationalised to 12.5 per cent without indexation (Section 112). This rate was earlier 20 per cent with indexation. This will aid in simplifying the taxation of capital gains and their easy computation.

Q: Who will benefit by the change in rate from 20 per cent (with indexation) to 12.5 per cent (without indexation)?

A: The reduction in the rate will benefit all categories of assets. In most of the cases, the taxpayers will benefit substantially. But where the gain is limited vis-a vis inflation, the benefit will also be limited or absent in a few cases.

ALSO READ:  Centre picks 7 homegrown startups to build next-gen tech for aerospace, defence sectors

Q: Can the tax payer continue to avail the roll over benefits on capital gains?

A: Yes. The rollover benefits remain the same as earlier. There is no change in roll over benefits already available under the IT Act. Therefore, tax payers who want to save on LTCG tax even with low rates can continue to avail the rollover benefits on fulfillment of conditions as applicable.

Q: In which assets, can the long-term capital gains be invested for rollover benefits?

A: For rollover benefits, tax payers can invest their gains in house under Section 54 or Section 54F or in certain bonds under Section 54EC. For complete details of all rollover benefits, please refer to Sections 54, 54B, 54D, 54EC 54F, 54G of the IT Act.

Q: What is the amount up to which rollover benefit is available?

A: Investment of capital gain in 54EC bonds (up to Rs. 50 lakh) and in other cases, the capital gain is exempt from tax, subject to certain specified conditions.

–IANS

pannu/rad

Continue Reading

Sci/tech

New capital gains regime to simplify tax system: CBDT Chairman

Published

on

By

New capital gains regime to simplify tax system: CBDT Chairman

New capital gains regime to simplify tax system: CBDT Chairman

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) The new tax provisions and the capital gains tax regime will enable people to save more money than before and simplifying the tax assessment process will also provide relief to taxpayers, Ravi Agarwal, Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), said on Thursday.

Speaking to IANS, he said that the Union Budget 2024 would have a positive impact on the common people.

“In the new tax regime, income tax has been reduced and the standard deduction has also been increased. This will benefit the common people and they will save more money than before and be able to easily invest and spend somewhere,” Agarwal mentioned.

In the new tax regime, Income tax on income up to Rs 10 lakh has been reduced to 10 per cent, and standard deduction has been increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000.

On the new capital gain tax regime, he further said that under the new provision, capital gain has been standardised and made easier.

ALSO READ:  Walmart acquires US TV maker Vizio for nearly $2.3 bn to boost ad biz

“Apart from this, sections like penalty prosecution have been decriminalised and tax assessment has been made easier,” said the CBDT Chairman, a 1988 batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer from the income tax cadre.

On the new internship scheme, he said that it will help the youth a lot in moving forward and they will be able to go into the field of their interest.

On the ‘Mudra’ loan limit increase from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh, he said that this will bring money into the economy and have a positive impact on employment and skills.

CBDT has also issued a detailed FAQs to explain new capital gains tax regime in Budget 2024-25.

–IANS

avs/na

Continue Reading

Sci/tech

In a first, NASA sends 4K video to and from space via laser tech

Published

on

By

In a first, NASA sends 4K video to and from space via laser tech

In a first, NASA sends 4K video to and from space via laser tech

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) In a first, NASA has used laser communication technology to send 4K video streams from an aircraft to the International Space Station (ISS) and back, a feat that will pave the way for providing live video coverage of astronauts on the Moon during the Artemis missions.

While the US space agency has historically relied on radio waves to send information to and from space, it for the first time streamed 4K video footage from an aircraft to the ISS and back using optical or laser communications.

Laser communications are 10 to 100 times more data faster than radio frequency systems as they use infrared light to transmit.

Led by a team of engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, the feat was achieved by installing a portable laser terminal on the belly of a Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, which flew over Lake Erie sending data from the aircraft to an optical ground station in Cleveland.

ALSO READ:  Walmart acquires US TV maker Vizio for nearly $2.3 bn to boost ad biz

From there, it was sent over an Earth-based network to NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where scientists used infrared light signals to send the data, the agency said.

NASA noted that the signals travelled 22,000 miles away from Earth to NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD), an orbiting experimental platform.

The LCRD then relayed the signals to the Integrated LCRD LEO User Modem and Amplifier Terminal (ILLUMA-T) satellite that was mounted on the ISS, which then sent data back to Earth.

The signal could penetrate cloud coverage more effectively with the help of High-Rate Delay Tolerant Networking (HDTN) — a new system developed at Glenn.

Daniel Raible, principal investigator for the HDTN project at Glenn called it a “tremendous accomplishment”.

He noted that future experiments can “now build upon the success of streaming 4K HD videos to and from the space station”.

This will enable future capabilities, “like HD video conferencing, for our Artemis astronauts, which will be important for crew health and activity coordination”, Raible said.

ALSO READ:  Tesla to invest over $500 mn on Supercharger network expansion

–IANS

rvt/svn

Continue Reading

Trending