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Musk confirms India visit, to meet PM Modi

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New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has confirmed his visit to India, saying that he is looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the country.

“Looking forward to meeting with Prime Minister @NarendraModi in India,” Musk confirmed on Wednesday in a post on X.

As per media reports, the tech billionaire is slated to meet PM Modi “in the week of April 22 in New Delhi”.

Musk, accompanied by other top Tesla executives, is likely to make an announcement about his investment plans and setting up of a potential $2-3 billion manufacturing plant in the country.

According to SpaceX CEO, the entry of Tesla in India, as the company scouts for factory land, will be a “natural progression”.

“All vehicles will go electric and it is just a matter of time,” Musk said.

As per reports, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are on top of Tesla’s agenda to start EV manufacturing and export the vehicles as well.

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During his visit to the US last year, PM Modi had invited the tech billionaire to explore opportunities in the country for investments in the e-mobility sector.

–IANS

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New Telecom Act: Centre can take control of telecom networks during emergency

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The Centre on Saturday introduced the new Telecommunications Act, 2023 that will usher in the new era of connectivity from June 26, replacing century-old colonial laws.

The Section 20 of the ‘Telecommunications Act 2023’ stated that the central government of a state government will be able to take control of any telecommunications services or networks in times of emergency after the implementation of the Act.

On the occurrence of any public emergency, including disaster management, or in the interest of public safety, “the Central Government or a State Government or any officer specially authorised in this behalf by the Central Government or a State Government can take temporary possession of any telecommunication service or telecommunication network from an authorised entity; or provide for appropriate mechanisms to ensure that messages of a user or group of users authorised for response and recovery during a public emergency are routed on priority,” according to the Sector 20 of the Act.

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Any telecom player who wants to establish or operate telecommunication networks, provide services or possess ratio equipment will have to be authorised by the government.

“The Telecommunications Act, 2023 aims to amend and consolidate the law relating to development, expansion and operation of telecommunication services and telecommunication networks; assignment of spectrum and for matters connected therewith,” said the Department of Communication (DoT)

The Telecommunications Act, 2023 seeks to repeal existing legislative frameworks like Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Indian Wireless Telegraph Act, 1933 owing to huge technical advancements in the telecom sector and technologies.

The Act also provides measures for protection of users from unsolicited commercial communication and creates a grievance redressal mechanism.

When it comes to the Right of Way (RoW) framework, public entities shall be obligated to provide right of way except in special circumstances.

“The fee for right of way would be subject to a ceiling. The Act provides a complete framework for RoW in respect of private property based on mutual agreement. The Act also provides that the RoW to be granted shall be non-discriminatory and as far as practicable on a non-exclusive basis,” said the DoT.

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It also provides that telecommunication infrastructure shall be distinct from the property it is installed on. This will help reduce the disputes when property is sold or leased.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Gati Shakti’ vision, the law provides for the central government to establish common ducts and cable corridors.

“To ensure national security and promote India’s technology developers, the Act lays down powers to set standards and conformity assessment measures for telecommunication services, telecommunication networks, telecommunication security, etc,” the DoT said.

–IANS

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Amitabh Kant highlights urgent need to improve urban air quality

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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.

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“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

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Foreign portfolio investors bullish on Indian markets, pumps Rs 23,786 crore since June 10

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Buoyed by the policy and reform continuity, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have altered their position in the equity market following the election results, injecting Rs 23,786 crore since June 10, industry analysts said on Saturday.

There are three primary reasons for this positive inflow.

“First, the continuity of the government assures ongoing reforms. Second, the Chinese economy is decelerating, as evidenced by a 12 per cent decline in copper prices over the past month,” said Sunil Damania, Chief Investment Officer, MojoPMS.

Third, certain block deals in the market have been eagerly taken up by FPIs.

“However, these FPI inflows are concentrated in a select few stocks rather than being widespread across the market or sectors,” Damania said.

Till June, FPIs sold equity for Rs 11,193 crore.

According to market experts, it is interesting to note that this net sell figure is composed of selling through the exchanges for Rs 45,794 crore and buying through the “primary market and others” for Rs 34,600 crore.

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FPIs are selling where valuations are high and buying where valuations are reasonable.

Analysts believe that FPI inflows will remain constrained due to the high valuations currently commanded by the Indian equity market.

Meanwhile, the Indian market initially continued its upward trend as concerns over election outcomes eased and global sentiment improved.

With a coalition government in place, there is optimism that the upcoming budget will strike a balance between growth initiatives and populist measures, they noted.

–IANS

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Researchers find ChatGPT biased against CVs with credentials that imply disability

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San Francisco, June 22 (IANS) Researchers have found that OpenAI’s artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT consistently ranked curriculum vitae (CVs) or resumes with disability-related honours and credentials — such as the ‘Tom Wilson Disability Leadership Award’ — lower than the same resumes without those honours and credentials, a new study has revealed.

In the study, when the US-based University of Washington (UW) researchers sought clarification about the rankings, the system showed biased perceptions of disabled people.

For instance, it claimed a resume with an autism leadership award had ‘less emphasis on leadership roles’ — implying the stereotype that autistic people are not good leaders.

However, when researchers customised the tool with written instructions directing it not to be ableist, the tool reduced this bias for all but one of the disabilities tested.

“Five of the six implied disabilities — deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, autism and the general term ‘disability’ — improved, but only three ranked higher than resumes that didn’t mention disability,” the researchers noted.

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The researchers utilised the publicly available CV of one of the study’s authors, which spanned about 10 pages. They then created six modified CVs, each suggesting a different disability by adding four disability-related credentials: a scholarship, an award, a seat on a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) panel, and membership in a student organisation.

Subsequently, the researchers used the GPT-4 model of ChatGPT to compare these modified CVs with the original version for an actual “student researcher” position at a major US-based software company.

They conducted each comparison 10 times; out of the 60 trials, the system ranked the enhanced CVs, which were identical except for the implied disability, first only one-quarter of the time.

“Some of GPT’s descriptions would colour a person’s entire resume based on their disability and claimed that involvement with DEI or disability is potentially taking away from other parts of the resume,” said Kate Glazko, a doctoral student in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

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“People need to be aware of the system’s biases when using AI for these real-world tasks. Otherwise, a recruiter using ChatGPT can’t make these corrections, or be aware that, even with instructions, bias can persist,” she added.

–IANS

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28 Indian startups raised over $800 mn in funding this week

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New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) About 28 Indian startups have raised $800.5 million in funding across 29 deals this week.

This represents an increase of 296 per cent from the $201.8 million secured by the startups last week across 21 deals, reports Inc42.

Quick commerce unicorn Zepto announced the close of its mega funding round this week. It raised $665 million at a valuation of $3.6 billion, making it one of the largest funding bagged by a company in recent times.

Among the top sectors, consumer services alone raised $665 million, fintech raised $50.3 million, alcoholic beverages raised $25 million, cleantech raised $23.9 million, and enterprisetech raised $16.7 million.

Microlending platform Aye Finance raised Rs 250 crore ($30 million) this week in debt funding in a round led by FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank.

Craft beer maker Bira 91 has secured $25 million through ECB (External Commercial Borrowing) from its existing investor Kirin Holdings. Over the last three months, the firm has received $50 million in funding. In March, it raised $25 million from Tiger Pacific Capital.

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Meanwhile, a new report by leading market intelligence platform Tracxn showed that Indian tech startups raised $4.1 billion in the first half this year (January to June to date), a 4 per cent increase from $3.96 billion in the second half of 2023.

–IANS

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