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iBUS raises $200 mn from NIIF to fuel digital infrastructure expansion in India

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New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) Digital infrastructure solutions company iBUS, on Wednesday said, that it has raised $200 million from the government-backed National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited (NIIF) to support the growth of India’s digital infrastructure.

According to the company, the funds raised will be deployed towards scaling iBUS’ operations through organic and inorganic growth initiatives.

“Digital infrastructure is critical to our country’s growth and with a 60 per cent (year-over-year) growth, iBUS is geared up to participate and contribute to the Bharat story. We were looking for the right investment partner and with NIIF we found partners who are completely aligned with our vision,” Ram Sellaratnam, Group CEO at iBUS, said in a statement.

Moreover, the company said that the investment will be directed towards developing new infrastructure solutions to address evolving market demands and technological advancements.

“Our investment in iBUS marks the eighth investment by our infrastructure fund and the second in digital infrastructure, underscoring our belief in the transformative power of digital technology for India’s economy,” said Vinod Giri, Managing Partner – Master Fund at NIIF.

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In addition, the company mentioned that this investment aligns with the government’s Digital India Mission, aimed at transforming the country into a digitally-empowered society and a global knowledge economy.

–IANS

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N. Korea says military reconnaissance satellite launch ends in failure

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Seoul, May 28 (IANS) North Korea said on Tuesday that its latest attempt to launch a new rocket carrying a military reconnaissance satellite ended in failure due to the midair explosion of the rocket during the first-stage flight this week.

Vice General Director of North Korea’s National Aerospace Technology Administration (NATA) said that the rocket carrying the satellite, the Malligyong-1-1, exploded after it lifted off from the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on the country’s northwest coast on Monday, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The launch came just hours after South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese Premier Li Qiang held a trilateral summit in Seoul and reaffirmed their commitment to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“The launch failed due to the air blast of the new-type satellite carrier rocket during the first-stage flight,” the KCNA reported, citing the NATA official.

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A preliminary examination by experts from the North’s launch preparatory committee concluded that the “accident” was attributable to the operational reliability of a new “liquid oxygen plus petroleum” engine, the official said.

The other causes of the failure will also be examined, according to the KCNA.

–IANS

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India-US CEO Forum’s WG7 launch bilateral knowledge-sharing platform for MSMEs, startups

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New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) In a bid to help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups integrate better in the global supply chain, the India-US CEO Forum’s Working Group 7 (WG7) on Monday launched the bilateral knowledge-sharing platform between India and the US.

The ‘Nihit Knowledge Platform’ will also boost jobs, said the forum on entrepreneurship, inclusive growth and promoting small businesses, in partnership with United Services Institute (USI) and CyberPeace Foundation.

The event also saw the launch of ‘Prakshepan’, a hackathon for MSMEs and startups with a prize pool and mentorship of over Rs 1 crore.

“The dialogue and the knowledge-sharing platform will enhance the bilateral relationship and unlock trade between India and the US, promoting inclusive growth by empowering startups and integrating MSMEs in the global supply chain and fostering a resilient, innovative, and inclusive economy,” said Subi Chaturvedi, Chief Corporate Affairs and Public Policy Officer, Global Senior Vice President (SVP), InMobi, and Sherpa WG7.

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The ‘Prakshepan’ hackathon will identify, mentor, and accelerate startups that contribute to enhancing the relationship between India and the US.

“This bilateral hackathon will focus on fostering innovation with a strong emphasis on women-led businesses, aiming for 50 per cemt female representation among participants”, said Chaturvedi.

With the aim of improving bilateral trade between India and the US, the forum brings together top businesses from both nations under the guidance of the Ministry of Commerce and the Department of Commerce from India and the US, respectively.

“I believe initiatives and dialogues like this will help foster a better relationship between the two nations, especially in trade and innovation, new and emerging future technologies and startups have a key role to play,” said Mahaveer Singhvi, Joint Secretary (new emerging and strategic technologies division), Ministry of External Affairs.

The event was organised by InMobi, Mastercard and Tata Sons and supported by CyberPeace Foundation, USI and USIBC.

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–IANS

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Build grounds for fair competition in AI-related industries: S. Korea's antitrust regulator

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Seoul, May 27 (IANS) South Korea’s antitrust regulator said on Monday it hosted a conference on artificial intelligence (AI) and competition policy with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The conference, held in Seoul, invited experts to discuss the role of competition in the supply chain of generative AI platforms, according to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).

Generative AI refers to technologies that create various types of content, including text, images and videos, by learning and analyzing data, reports Yonhap news agency.

“We need to build grounds for fair competition in AI-related industries, so that they maintain innovative growth while preventing unfair practices,” Han Ki-jeong, the chairperson of the FTC, said.

Frederic Jenny, chairman of the OECD’s competition committee, also noted that there needs to be balanced regulation to ensure fair competition in the market while promoting innovation.

The regulator noted the government will aim to roll out antitrust policies to address the rapidly changing trends in the generative AI sector.

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–IANS

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Fintech leaders hail PM Modi on India leading in UPI

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New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Fintech leaders on Monday hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on India leading in unified payments interface (UPI), saying that the country’s fintech landscape is now a hotbed for innovation, reflecting the nation’s fearless spirit.

Reacting to PM Modi’s exclusive interaction with IANS, Razorpay COO Rahul Kothari, said, “Today, UPI has become the common and preferred mode of payment for customers”.

“The state of the new normal not only showcases the promising trajectory for India’s digital economy but also talks about the immense trust our citizens have put in digital payments,” Kothari added.

The Prime Minister said that driven by digital public infrastructure (DPI) models like UPI, the country is now leading the global fintech ecosystem and several countries are ready to embrace the ‘India Stack’ solutions to empower the masses.

The UPI platform processed 13,115 crore transactions in FY24, aggregating to nearly Rs 200 lakh crore in value, compared with 8,376 crore transactions worth Rs 139 lakh crore in FY23.

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Lokanath Panda, COO of BLS eServices told IANS that even in the remotest villages, small traders are investing in digital payments for their convenience and efficiency.

“The use of technology is enhancing transparency and fostering inclusivity. India’s UPI now performing a new responsibility that is uniting global partners with India,” he said.

India is home to more than 10,000 fintech companies working in diverse sectors and segments.

As per reports, the third largest globally, India’s fintech ecosystem is poised to reach nearly $70 billion in annual revenue by FY30.

–IANS

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India leading global fintech ecosystem thanks to UPI: PM Modi

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New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Driven by digital public infrastructure (DPI) models like unified payments interface (UPI), the country is now leading the global fintech ecosystem and several countries are ready to embrace the ‘India Stack’ solutions to empower the masses, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told IANS on Monday.

In an exclusive interaction at his official residence in the national capital, PM Modi said when he kicked off the ‘Digital India’ movement, opposition parties made allegations that this was being done to serve the needs of the service providers.

“They could not understand how big this area is and the 21st century is a technology-driven century. Moreover, technology today is driven by artificial intelligence (AI),” PM Modi told IANS.

The digital revolution, driven by UPI and QR-code-based payments, has shown to the world that DPIs like UPI, Aadhaar, and DigiLocker can transform millions of lives.

The UPI platform processed 13,115 crore transactions in FY24, aggregating to nearly Rs 200 lakh crore in value, compared with 8,376 crore transactions worth Rs 139 lakh crore in FY23. The transactions via UPI are expected to breach 100 crore transactions per day by FY27.

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PM Modi told IANS that UPI has played a huge role in the world of fintech and due to this, “several countries are ready to embrace UPI because this is the era of fintech and India is now leading the fintech ecosystem”.

The third largest globally, India’s fintech ecosystem is poised to reach nearly $70 billion in annual revenue by FY30, according to reports. India is home to more than 10,000 fintech companies working in diverse sectors and segments.

Last month, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Dennis Francis said India exemplifies how the digital revolution can be made accessible to millions and become “a fundamental driver of social transformation and progress”. Speaking at a conference on Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) hosted by India’s UN mission, the UNGA President noted that in just seven years, India’s DPI model has achieved over 80 per cent financial inclusion for its citizens and now accounts for more than 60 per cent of all digital transactions worldwide.

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The G20 summit in New Delhi last year recognised the transformative power of DPI and following this, India took the initiative to establish a global repository for DPIs, currently housing over 55 DPIs from 16 countries. The country has pledged $200 million to a social impact fund that will accelerate DPI adoption worldwide, especially in developing countries.

–IANS

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