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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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–IANS

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

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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.

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“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

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CBDT explains taxation of capital gains

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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

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New capital gains regime to simplify tax system: CBDT Chairman

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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.

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“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

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

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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.

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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.

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–IANS

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