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India to add 13,000 km of new highways in 2024-25: ICRA report

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New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) India is expected to maintain its rapid pace of road construction with the addition of up to 13,000 kilometres in the financial year 2024-25, an increase of 5 to 8 per cent over the previous year, according to a report released by rating agency ICRA on Tuesday.

“The pace of execution in this fiscal will be supported by a healthy pipeline of projects at above 45,000 km as of March 2024, increased capital outlay by the government and focus on completion of projects by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways,” the report states.

During the 10-year tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over 90,000 kilometres of national highways have been built which is almost twice that constructed in the preceding 10 years, according to official figures.

Government investment in highway infrastructure shot up to Rs 2.4 lakh crore in 2022-23 from Rs 51,000 billion crore in 2013-14.

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“Road execution was impacted in the first half of 2023-24 on account of the prolonged monsoon in certain geographies, However, the execution situation started improving from September 2023 with road construction witnessing a year-on-year surge of 30 per cent in the second half of 2023-24, enabling an overall growth of around 20 per cent in FY24 (to 12,349 km from 10,331 km inFY23),” ICRA VP and Sector Head Corporate Ratings Vinay Kumar said.

ICRA expects the road construction momentum to sustain in FY2025 as well, he added.

–IANS

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Next 10 years going to be even more exciting for India’s tech journey: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) After a robust decade of innovation and digital growth, the next 10 years will see India on the global map for emerging technologies, be it artificial intelligence (AI) or high-performance computing, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said here on Monday.

The areas of focus for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for the next decade clearly are electronics and microelectronics manufacturing, AI, telecom, high-performance computing, semiconductors, cybersecurity, automotive and EVs.

“This is a whole vision that our prime minister has in terms of taking this whole tech innovation and digital economy forward. I think the next 10 years are going to be even more exciting than the last decade,” he told a gathering of startup/unicorn founders and innovators during the ‘Digital Bharat, Viksit Bharat’ event.

The Prime Minister has announced Rs 1 lakh crore (about $12 billion) capital into the research and innovation fund that will go towards science research and development (R&D).

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“For the next wave of startups, PM Modi has announced a Rs 20,000 crore India AI mission, which will include creating the AI compute infrastructure,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.

PM Modi recently laid the foundation stone for semiconductor plants worth over Rs 1.25 lakh crore.

“In 2014, we were essentially a digital economy that was about 4 per cent of the GDP. We were essentially the back-office to the world,” said the minister.

The digital economy in India today is growing at 2.8 times due to innovation.

“We are already the fastest-growing digital economy in the world and are aiming to become a trillion dollar digital economy by 2030,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar added.

–IANS

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Centre urges states to leverage ULIP for unified logistics ecosystem

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) The Centre on Monday urged states to leverage the Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP) to increase the efficiency of the country’s logistics sector to cut transport costs and spur economic growth.

Addressing representatives of states at a workshop organised in Vanihya Bhavan here, the Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Rajesh Kumar Singh emphasised the critical role of ULIP in fostering collaboration and integration among states to create a unified logistics ecosystem.

“ULIP offers an unprecedented opportunity for states to enhance their logistics frameworks. I encourage all states to actively leverage ULIP and drive forward a seamless, efficient, and inclusive logistics sector across India,” he said.

The event saw enthusiastic participation from representatives of various states including Telangana, Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, and Rajasthan. Additionally, many industry associations, enterprises and start-ups joined the workshop.

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Singh also launched a ULIP booklet that illustrates how different private sector companies and Startups are utilizing ULIP APIs and highlighted the platform’s transformative impact on the logistics sector. This booklet serves as a comprehensive guide showcasing the innovative applications developed through ULIP and their significant contributions to enhancing logistics efficiency.

Rajat Kumar Saini, CEO & MD of the National Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (NICDC) and Chairman of the National Logistics Data Services Limited (NLDSL), highlighted the importance of ULIP and urged start-ups to continue their innovative efforts and explore new ideas to leverage the platform.

He said, “The applications showcased today highlight the potential of ULIP to transform the logistics landscape. We must continue to push the boundaries and explore new possibilities for efficiency and growth.”

The workshop featured demonstrations from startups like Super Procure, Cargo Shakti, Shiprocket, and Enmovil showcasing their cutting-edge applications developed using the ULIP databases. Super Procure demonstrated its platform aimed at reducing empty miles using ULIP, while Enmovil showcased a logistics bot developed for route optimization. Shiprocket, with its cross-border logistics platform, highlighted how they are able to onboard sellers seamlessly through effective authentication facilitated by ULIP APIs.

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Additionally, how various ministries and departments use PM GatiShakti NMP tools for developing various assets was also discussed.

ULIP is a digital gateway that allows industry players to access logistics-related datasets from various government systems through API-based integration. Currently, the platform integrates with 37 systems from 10 ministries via 118 APIs, covering over 1800 data fields. Private sector participation in ULIP has been instrumental in amplifying its impact, with over 900 companies registered on the ULIP portal.

–IANS

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EPFO adds 14.41 lakh members in March, 57 pc are youths in new jobs

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) payroll data released on Monday shows that as many as 14.41 lakh net members in March this year, reflecting the increased employment created in the country’s organised sector during the month.

The data indicates that around 7.47 lakh new members have been enrolled during March out of which the 18-25 age group constitutes a dominant 56.83 per cent. This indicates that “the majority of individuals joining the organised workforce are youth, primarily first-time job seekers,” according to the official statement.

Gender-wise analysis of payroll data unveils that out of 7.47 lakh new members, around 2 lakh are new female members. Also, the net female member addition during the month stood at around 2.90 lakh. The female member addition is indicative of a broader shift towards a more inclusive and diverse workforce, the statement added.

The payroll data highlights that approximately 11.80 lakh members exited and subsequently rejoined EPFO. These members switched their jobs and re-joined the establishments covered under the ambit of EPFO and opted to transfer their accumulations instead of applying for final settlement thus, safeguarding long-term financial well-being and extending their social security protection.

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Month-on-month comparison of industry-wise data displays growth in the members working in establishments engaged in the manufacture, marketing services, usage of computers, restaurants, chartered, fish processing and non-veg food preservation, Beedi making etc.

–IANS

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Oil India posts 17 pc jump in Q4 net profit

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Oil India Limited (OIL) has reported a 17 per cent increase in consolidated net profit at Rs 2332.94 crore in the Jan-March quarter of the financial year 2023-24 compared to the corresponding figure of Rs 1,979.74 crore in the same period of 2022-23.

The upstream oil exploration and production company has registered revenue from operations at Rs 10,166 crore, up around 16 per cent from the same quarter last year.

Oil India’s Board of Directors have recommended the issue of bonus shares in the ratio of 1:2 which is one equity share of Rs 10 each for every two existing equity shares of Rs 10, each fully paid up subject to the approval of the company’s shareholders, the oil major said.

–IANS

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Cyber security company CyberArk acquires Venafi for $1.54 billion

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Cyber security company CyberArk on Monday announced it is acquiring Venafi, a leader in machine identity management, from software-focused investor Thoma Bravo, for $1.54 billion in a cash and stock deal.

The acquisition will help CyberArk establish a unified platform for end-to-end machine identity security at the enterprise scale.

Venafi’s certificate lifecycle management, private Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), IoT identity management and cryptographic code signing, along with CyberArk’s secrets management capabilities, will enable organisations to protect against misuse and compromise of machine identities, the company said in a statement.

“By combining forces with Venafi, we are expanding our abilities to secure machine identities in a cloud-first, GenAI, post-quantum world,” said Matt Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, CyberArk.

In the digital era, ongoing cloud migration has led to an exponential increase in the number of machine identities, such as workloads, code, applications, IoT devices and containers. These machine identities need to be discovered, managed, secured and automated to keep their connections and communications safe.

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Chip Virnig, a Partner at Thoma Bravo, said that Venafi has accelerated SaaS growth, expanded margins, and successfully created a best-in-class SaaS offering, setting the stage for continued innovation.

“We believe CyberArk is a great partner for Venafi and that the scaled end-to-end machine identity security platform created by this strategic combination will deliver significant value to shareholders,” he added.

Venafi is expected to add nearly $150 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR).

–IANS

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