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‘Coal from imports being pushed to priority sectors’

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10 more coal reserves to be e-auctioned today

With severe heatwave conditions leading to upscaled demand for power in the country, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India on Friday informed that coal received from imports is being pushed to priority sectors on a fast pace. In a conversation with ANI today, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Director (Operations and BD), N Srinivas spoke on the coal supply situation in India and said, “Whatever amount of coal is being i m p o r t e d a n d r e a c h i n g Indian ports, we are moving it to priority sectors.”

“In t h e We s t e r n d e d i c a t e d freight corridor, the whole movement of the coal supply chain is from ports to the plants which are mainly based in northern India. Imported coal, coming to Mudra or Kandla ports, is moving at a fast forward pace and we have given very clear instructions that this product has to move on priority. So, coal supply is moving forward on priority,” Srinivas said. “

The train wagons are transporting coal running at a speed of around 100 kmph. You see that this is an automatic section. These goods train ensure definite t r a n s i t a s s u r a n c e , ” h e further added. The official added, “We are now also moving at such a fast pace, particularly ports near power plants of Dadri, Jhajjar other Rajasthan area. The transit time has been reduced. Wherever there is coal shortage, we will ensure that coal supply is available. We will be able to move it fast and ensure that no power plant is shut down.”

A m i d t h e h e a t w a v e conditions, several states in India are facing frequent power outages due to the s h o r t a ge o f c o a l i n t h e thermal power stations. On this matter, Union M i n i s t e r f o r C o a l a n d Mines, Pralhad Joshi a few days ago asserted that there is no shortage of coal in the country. Amid the concerns over coal shortage in India as temperatures soar across the country demanding higher power supply, Prahlad Joshi mentioned that the country has 21-22 million tonnes of coal on average in thermal power plants.

On April 8, the Cabinet Committee on Economic A f f a i r s c h a i r e d b y t h e Prime Minister, Narendra M o d i , a p p r o v e d t h e Ministry of Coal’s proposal for providing a one-time window to the Central and State P SUs to surrender n o n – o p e r a t i o n a l m i n e s without penalty (forfeiture of bank guarantee) and without citing any reason. This may release several coal mines which the present Government PSU allottees are not in a position to develop or are disinterested and could be auctioned as per the present auction policy. A three months’ time will be granted to the allottee Government Companies to surrender the coal mines from the date of publication of the approved surrender policy, the government

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Crypto industry finds middle ground with regulators

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Cryptocurrencies have sparked polarizing views, with some claiming they will revolutionize finance while others warn
of fraudulent schemes and risks. Amidst this debate, a middle-of-the-road regulatory consensus is emerging, envisioning a future where crypto operates within traditional financial regulatory systems.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently proposed four principles for crypto regulation: defending against the substitution of sovereign currencies, not granting crypto assets official currency status, managin capital flows associated with crypto, and ensuring unam biguous tax treatment.
The first principle, defending against currency substitution, encourages healthy competition and innovation in the financial sector, prompting traditional institutions to improve their services to compete with crypto.
The second principle, protecting national sovereignty, aims to safeguard government revenues generated
through seigniorage. However, it can hinder innovation and competition if it protects inefficient monopolies.
The third and fourth principles involve managing capital flows and tax treatment, respectively. These principles can be problematic, leading to financial repression and hindering innovation in the crypto ecosystem.
While the regulatory consensus shows positive interIMF PARAMETERS.

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Generative AI gives SurveySparrow’s chat surveys a new edge

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SurveySparrow, founded and led by Shihab Muhammed, is revolutionizing the online
survey software landscape with its innovative chat survey software. The platform, launched in 2018, aims to capture the conversational nature of surveys, offering a highly engaging experience for users through the utilization of advanced technologies like big data and AI.
The idea behind SurveySparrow came about due to the abysmally low completion rates of traditional form-filling in online surveys, which prompted the need for a more interactive and engaging survey experience. The platform’s omni-channel experience manage-
ment approach has resonated well with customers, resulting in over 200,000 clients across 149 coun- tries, including renowned brands such as Meesho, Godrej, Paysafe, Exin, and Grant Thornton.
In a recent interview, Shihab Muhammed shared some insights
into the growth and milestones of SurveySparrow. The platform’s de- fining moment was achieving com- pletion rates of over 90% through engaging conversational UI, which far surpassed the average comple- tion rate of 15% for traditional form-based surveys. Within just
50 days of its launch, SurveySpar- row gained its first 1,000 custom- ers, demonstrating strong customer appreciation and satisfaction.
Over the years, SurveySpar- row has experienced remarkable growth, with a 300% increase in 2021 and a doubling of revenue in 2022. The company has successful- ly raised seed capital of USD 1.4 mil- lion from prime venture partners and secured an additional USD 3 million in a bridge round from a family office. The platform’s digi- tal strategy plays a crucial role in achieving its targets and operation- al requirements. SurveySparrow’s multi-layered digital infrastructure, which includes storage, cache, ap- plication, queues, background jobs, and serverless components, enables high-quality service delivery, in-
novation, and quick adaptation to customer needs. New technologies like big data, AI, and ML have been integral to SurveySparrow’s suc- cess. The platform leverages AI- generated surveys and generative AI to enhance the user experience in creating, sharing, collecting, and analyzing data. The integration of cloud technology, specifically Amazon Web Services (AWS), has further strengthened SurveySpar- row’s capabilities. Running on AWS has provided benefits such as high availability, scalability, and agility, freeing the company from man- aging complex infrastructure and allowing it to focus on product im- provement, customer service, and business growth.
The pay-as-you-use model of AWS has reduced upfront costs and pro-
vided flexibility, while its security measures have instilled confidence in data and system protection. With a team of over 200 employ- ees and a growing global clientele, SurveySparrow continues to pave the way for a more engaging and user-friendly approach to online surveys. Finally, SurveySparrow’s innovative chat survey software has redefined the survey experience, at- tracting a large customer base and achieving high completion rates. Its growth trajectory has been impres- sive, backed by advanced technolo- gies, strategic partnerships, and a robust digital infrastructure. By leveraging cloud technology and embracing AI-driven innovations, SurveySparrow is well-positioned for continued success and further expansion in the global market.

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‘India’s economic narrative brighter, takes global lead’

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Industrialist M Mangalam Birla, in his address to Ul- traTech Cement sharehold- ers in the company’s latest annual report, highlighted India’s positive economic narrative and its potential for growth. He emphasized the government-led push to- wards infrastructure invest- ments and pragmatic policies like the production-linked incentives scheme, which have led to a surge in private sector capital expenditure. This surge in private invest- ment is expected to trigger a multi-year economic boom, providing valuable support to economic growth despite softening global demand.
Birla praised India’s active role in the global economic evolution, positioning the country as a charismatic lead rather than a mere spectator. He noted that as global cor- porations adopt a ‘China plus one’ strategy and explore countries across Asia, India is well-positioned to benefit from this trend. The coun- try’s growth momentum is further strengthened by the dynamism of its tech-based ‘new economy’ enterprises and the expanding digitiza-tion across various sectors. He pointed out that India’s demographic advantage plays a crucial role in its in- dustrial ecosystem. With the largest and youngest work- ing-age population globally, India’s population now sur- passes China’s. Birla high- lighted the importance of this demographic dividend, citing lessons learned from other economies over the past few decades.
While discussing the global economy, Birla noted that it is gradually recovering from the pandemic-induced shock. However, challenges persist, including the ongo- ing conflict in Ukraine, geo- economic fragmentation, soaring interest rates, and the risks of a banking contagion. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts a dip in global economic growth from 3.4% in 2022 to 2.8% in 2023, with developed countries experiencing a more pro-
nounced deceleration. On a positive note, China’s economy is moving towards normalization following the lifting of Covid-related restrictions, and both China and India are ex- pected to significantly contribute to global economic growth in 2023, providing a much-needed stimulus.
Regarding the performance of UltraTech Cement, Birla highlighted that the company achieved a milestone by sell- ing 100 million tonnes in FY23 and recorded net revenues of Rs 63,240 crore (USD 7.9 billion). The company has un- dertaken an aggressive capacity expansion plan, including greenfield and brownfield projects in high-growth geogra-
phies across India. After completing all ongoing projects, UltraTech Cement’s capacity is expected to reach over 160 million tonnes per annum, solidifying its position as the third-largest cement company globally, outside of China, and the unrivalled leader in India.
In conclusion, Kumar Mangalam Birla’s address to UltraT- ech Cement shareholders showcases the positive economic narrative of India, fuelled by government-led infrastructure investments and pragmatic policies. The surge in private sector capital expenditure is expected to drive economic growth in the face of global challenges. India’s demographic advantage and growing tech-based sectors further strength- en its growth momentum. The country’s active role in the global economic evolution positions it well to benefit from shifting global dynamics. As UltraTech Cement continues its expansion, it aims to consolidate its position as a leading cement company in India and on the global stage.

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India rejects china’s BYD $1 billion ev plant proposal

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Great Wall Motor Co.’s attempt to acquire a mothballed General Motors Co. plant was also thwarted due to a lack of approval

The Indian govern- ment has dismissed a $1 billion proposal from Chinese carmaker BYD Co. and Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and In- frastructures Ltd. (MEIL) to establish an electric ve- hicle (EV) manufacturing plant in Telangana. The decision, based on national security concerns, comes amid strained relations be- tween India and China due to deadly clashes along their disputed border.Sources close to the matter revealed that the rejection was due to apprehensions about the use of Chinese homegrown technology in the proposed EV plant. While foreign direct invest- ment in India’s automobile sector typically does not re- quire approval, investments from countries sharing a Km birla’s view border with India demand political and security clear- ance from the ministries of external and home affairs. BYD and MEIL’s joint venture aimed to capture 40% of India’s domestic EV market by 2030. However,
the government’s rejection deals a significant blow to their ambitious plans. BYD had been operating in India since 2007 and had plans to sell 15,000 electric vehicles in the country this year.
This move reflects India’s cautious approach towards Chinese investments, as it aims to limit economic ties with its neighbour following the deadly border clashes. In the past, Great Wall Mo- tor Co.’s attempt to acquire a mothballed General Motors Co. plant was also thwarted due to a lack of approval.
While BYD declined to comment on the matter, representatives from MEIL did not respond to inquiries
regarding the rejection. The Finance Ministry, Heavy Industries Ministry, and Ministry of Home Affairs, which were assessing BYD’s proposal and vetting incom- ing investments, also did not offer any comments.
Meanwhile, other foreign investments, such as Tesla Inc.’s potential significant investment in India, seem unaffected. After meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Elon Musk expressed interest in mak- ing substantial investments in the country. BYD’s ambi- tious investment proposal aimed to bolster its presence in India’s EV market, but the rejection raises uncertainties about the company’s future plans in the region. The joint venture with MEIL would have played a crucial role in achieving their market share objectives.
The Indian government’s cautious stance towards Chinese investments has also affected other ventures. For instance, SAIC Motor Corp.’s local unit, MG Motor India Pvt, faced scrutiny last year over alleged financial irregularities. As a result, MG Motor announced plans to dilute its ownership and sought majority ownership by an Indian firm within two to four years.
Under the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules, proposals involving investments from countries sharing a land border with India must obtain government approval. These coun- tries include China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, and Afghanistan.
Despite the rejection, India’s FDI equity from China has amounted to USD 2.5 billion from April 2000 to March 2023, indicating the significance of Chinese investments in the Indian market.
The bottom-line is, the Indian government’s rejection of BYD and MEIL’s joint venture proposal to build a $1 billion EV manufacturing plant reflects concerns over national security and the use of Chinese technology. As the two na- tions’ relations remain strained, India continues to exercise caution in approving investments from countries sharing a border with it. The rejection poses challenges for BYD’s
ambitions in India’s EV market, while other foreign invest- ments, such as Tesla’s potential venture, remain unaffected.

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Kia offers new Seltos at starting price of Rs 10.89 lakh

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Leading SUV manufacturer Kia India will market the new Seltos, unveiled earlier this month on 4 July, at a special introductory price of INR 10,89,900 (ex-showroom) pan-India. One of the most-anticipated SUVs, the new Seltos comes in 18 variants with top of the trim with ADAS– GT-line and X Line in both diesel and petrol engines and will cost INR 19,79,900 and INR 19,99,900, (ex-showroom) pan-India, respectively. The new Seltos has received an overwhelming response, recording the segment’s highest day 1 booking of 13,424 units.

Customers can book their variant of choice through the Kia India official website and any of the authorized dealerships of Kia India by paying an initial booking amount of INR 25,000.
The launch of the new Seltos is in line with Kia’s “commitment to setting industry benchmarks with innovative offerings at competitive prices which has fuelled the growth of segments in the past,” says Tae-Jin Park, Managing Director and CEO, Kia India. Park expects the new Seltos to continue this trend with its advanced ADAS level 2, top-notch safety features and innovative technology to appeal to the discerning new-age customers. “Coupled with a wide range of variant choices, aggressive pricing, and a seamless ownership experience, the new Seltos is not only the smartest driving experience but also the best buy in the market,” assures Park. “With the launch of new Seltos, Hardeep Singh Brar – National Head, Sales & Marketing, is aiming for the company to be one of the top mid-SUV segment leaders again and hope for a strong sales surge.
The new Seltos leads the mid-SUV space with segment-leading features such as dual screen panoramic display with 26.04 cm fully digital cluster, 26.03 cm HD touchscreen navigation, dual zone fully automatic air conditioner, glossy black alloy wheels, 32 safety features, including 15 robust safety features (standard across the range) and 17 ADAS level 2 autonomous features. It also has much-awaited features like the dual pane panoramic sunroof, electric parking brake and the efficient smartstream G1.5 T-GDi petrol engine, which generates 160PS of power and 253 Nm of torque.

“Kia India is growing faster than the industry and we have kept our performance steady with healthy growth,´ says Brar. This is despite the realignment of manufacturing process to accommodate the development of the new Seltos. Kia India recorded domestic sales of 1,36,108 units, registering almost 12 per cent Y-o-Y growth in first half of 2023. The Sonet emerged as the best-selling Kia product, with sales of 53,491 units, followed closely by the Kia Carens at 40,771 units. In June 2023, the company sold 19,391 in the domestic market. Combining June figures with exports, the dispatches stood at 28,091 units.

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India-Japan Deeptech Innovation & Clean Energy Seminar

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New Delhi [India], July 24: JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) and NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) Japan organized a seminar on India-Japan Deeptech Innovation & Clean Energy on 20th July 2023 at ITC Maurya, Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi. The seminar was co-hosted by FICCI and TERI.

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