Tags: india*

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  1. A centralised database, dual use as identifier and authenticator, and lack of sound legal framework are its main weaknesses.
    https://scroll.in/article/833230/expl...-of-its-design-and-the-way-it-is-used
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-09)
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  2. Indian agriculture is going to witness Internet of Things (IoT) applications soon as SenRa, a pan India Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWANs) provider for long range-based (LoRa®-based) IoT applications, and Skysens, a Turkey-based LPWAN technology provider, today announced their partnership to bring cutting-edge, low-cost, and long-range solutions to India. The collaboration between the two companies will provide needed solutions in a growing IoT market in India and will provide more efficient and environment friendly offerings. This LoRa® ecosystem partnership brings a combined knowledge of LoRaWAN technology, to include network services, connectivity, and end-device expertise.

    "We are excited to announce our partnership with Skysens. We believe partnerships like this will bring innovative solutions to address some of the current challenges which are present in India today," said Ali Hosseini, Chief Executive Officer of SenRa. "For example, agriculture is the main source of livelihood for about 48% of the Indian population. Due to lack of resources and ongoing climate changes, it is more critical than ever to provide farmers the tools they need to produce crops and manage their limited resources. Leveraging solutions such as Skysens soil sensors, provide farmers the ability to monitor their soil and determine the health of their crops in real-time,” Hosseini added.
    https://www.ruralmarketing.in/industr...tech-disruption-in-indian-agriculture
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-07)
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  3. The UIDAI goes on about how biometrics are safe and out of reach. The truth is, biometrics are collapsing all round. The figures for biometric failure have been staggering. In Rajasthan, in the PDS, exclusion because of fingerprint failure has been close to 36 per cent — which means not even one person from 36 per cent households are able to authenticate using their fingerprints. Jharkhand has witnessed deaths because the poorest have had difficulty linking their UID number with their ration card. Documents in the UIDAI archive from between 2009 and 2012 show that biometrics was still in an experimental phase. That biometrics are not working as hoped is made evident in the Watal Committee report on digital transactions, in December 2016. At pp. 123-124, the committee says that biometric authentication requires the availability of internet and high-quality machines capable of capturing biometric details, making it contingent on these working. So, the committee asks that for digital transactions, the “OTP sent on registered mobile number of Aadhaar holder” be allowed, thereby downgrading biometrics.

    Digital payments are in the business interest; not PDS. So, while fingerprints cause huge problems to the poor, the business interest shifts to other means because biometrics are not dependable.

    The mantra has, in fact, been JAM — Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, mobile — three numbers that make up identity. It was in 2010 that Nandan Nilekani said to a reporter: “The slogan of “bijli, sadak, paani” is passé; ‘virtual things’ like UID number, bank account and mobile phone are the in-thing.” That is the imagination that is driving the project today. It is these three numbers that are being exposed in the breaches. Then, to say that all is well is clearly not quite the truth.

    The project is putting people, and the nation, at risk. Those in court challenging the project have been demanding that the project be scrapped — not just the UIDAI, but the project. The breaches explain why what they are asking makes sense.
    http://indianexpress.com/article/opin...-aadhaar-leak-aadhaar-details-5013305
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-07)
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  4. India is looking forward to exploring some of Israel’s offshore gas fields soon. Analysts suggested that by including oil in its relationship with Israel, India is giving a strong message to Iran that has held up the allocation of two gas fields discovered by oil companies.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian consortium led by ONGC was among the two global entities that took part in the auction of Israel's offshore gas fields held last month after a gap of more than 4 years during which the sea was completely closed for the distribution of new exploration licenses.

    The consortium comprising ONGC Videsh Ltd, Bharat PetroResources Ltd, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd and Oil India Ltd is also set to be registered as a foreign company in Israel's Corporations' Authority in January 2018. This would facilitate its participation in the second round of bidding.

    "This bid round is the first step in a long-range process that would lead to utilization of the gas and oil fields in the Israeli EEZ to the benefit of Israel's citizens. I am pleased to have companies from Greece and India contribute to Israel's energy market. I have ordered preparations for a 2nd licensing round to be launched in 2018, in which lessons from the 1st round will be incorporated," Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Israel's Energy Minister said after the completion of the first round.

    The Israeli blocks are in close proximity to a number of large and proven gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean. Some are adjacent to the recently discovered Leviathan and Tamar fields. According to an industry estimate, nearly 2,200 billion cubic meters of natural gas and a potential 6.6 billion barrels of oil are to be discovered in these blocks.

    India's decision to enter Israeli waters for energy exploration has a greater strategic significance than securing energy at another location, especially after waiting for several years to win exploration rights for Iran's Farsi and Farzad B gas fields.

    "India wants to send two signals from this decision. First, if Iran continues to dillydally on the proposal of awarding gas fields to India, New Delhi can open new vistas for exploration in the region; secondly, to Israel that New Delhi really wants to deepen its relationship with the Jewish nation," SC Tripathi, former secretary in India's Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas told Sputnik.

    Spike missile
    CC BY-SA 4.0 / Rhk111 / Spike NLOS missile
    India Calls off $500 Mln Spike Missile Deal With Israel
    Making oil a subject of bilateral relation will also pacify Israel which received a jolt in four major defense deals with India in the last year. The Indian government scrapped defense contracts for light machine guns, close quarter battle carbines, assault rifles and anti-tank missiles with Israeli firms either due to the single-vendor situation or for giving priority to homemade equipment.

    India's decision to expand the horizons of the bilateral relationship with Israel will have some ramifications on its relationship with the Arab world.

    "Entry into Israeli water for gas exploration could upset some Arabian nations. But, of late, it is being seen that countries like Jordon have started co-operating with Israel while Saudi Arabia is no more fervently opposing Israel. Iran is the only country in the region which could pose strong opposition to the Indian move," SC Tripathi, added.
    https://sputniknews.com/analysis/2017...4122-india-to-explore-israel-oi-field
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  5. From next year, developers will be charged a tax for unsold units that haven’t been occupied for over a year, Nidhi Adlakha writes

    In the Union Budget 2017, it was announced that the IT department will soon levy a tax on unsold apartments, which have been vacant for more than one year. With industry sources anticipating the order will be executed as early as April 2018 onwards, industry players are in a fix.

    A. Shankar, National Director, JLL India, says certain builders adopt the ‘hoarding’ strategy to create artificial scarcity and this leads to inflated prices. “The fresh tax would be applicable from the next financial year and will be levied on properties held under ‘stock-in-trade’ by developers. The tax rate could be anywhere between 8% and 10% of property's total value,” he says.

    It’s evident the government wants developers to stop hoarding apartments in anticipation of price appreciation, but there are a number of practical issues with the new tax regime, feels Niranjan Hiranandani, President, National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO). He says buyers do not wait in line and buy housing units as and when they are available. There are market forces which impact the sale of ready units and most importantly, the prevailing economic conditions affect buyer sentiment. “Developers have no control over any of these aspects and cannot ensure that ready possession units get sold within this one year deadline,” he says.

    Benefits

    Developers might be significantly impacted by the move but consumers have a lot to look forward to.

    With the current vacant supply hitting the market soon, buyers can expect a reduction in prices. In cities such as Delhi-NCR and Mumbai, unsold inventory levels are very high and the new tax could result in a steep price correction, says Shankar. Other benefits include: a reduction in unsold inventory, lower prices, increased government revenue, opportunity for alternate asset classes such as co-living and rental housing and overall price corrections.

    Disadvantages

    Most players believe that the timing for such a move is unfortunate. Contrary to the belief that developers are hoarding, they say, they are struggling to sell properties even at reduced prices. “Builders are making a loss in whatever they are selling today and are struggling to pay back the loans with high interest rates,” says R Kumar, Managing Director & Chairman – Navin’s.

    If unsold properties are going to be taxed, developers will hesitate to launch new projects unless there is a sale guarantee. RERA stipulates that properties cannot be sold without all approvals in place and even after getting all the necessary documents, if only a few units are sold, the builder has to complete the entire project. Added to that is the pressure of paying tax on the unsold units. How is this fair? asks Kumar.

    Speaking on similar lines, Hiranandani wonders that if builders are unable to sell at prevailing points, are they expected to sell at a loss? “If such a scenario is envisaged, will developers want to build housing units unless they have committed buyers?”

    Given the new rule, developers may slowdown their construction speed to match with the sales velocity. At the onset, such an IT directive may not be completely in favour of the free-market regime that the government intends to achieve within the sector. “In the short run, this could result in a price correction but in the long run, developers might be hesitant to undertake large township-style projects,” adds Shankar. Also, new supply will be only bought-in once demand for it has been registered.

    More competitors

    Instead, the entry of more competitors should be encouraged (many weak/fraudulent ones have been wiped out post-RERA). The consistent release of land parcels and faster project approvals to create supply is crucial. Ravi Ahuja, Senior Executive Director, Mumbai & Developer Services, Colliers International India, says in most cases, any additional outflow from the developer’s end on any project, ultimately impacts the buyer. In the current scenario, however, where the residential sector is reeling under pressure, he feels the new move will not result in any price increase.

    Trends indicate that apart from affordable units, the luxury segment witnesses maximum launches. But given this new tax segment, one can expect fewer launches and perhaps an invite-only sale process. The luxury sector, the most impacted asset class, will see few takers in the coming months.

    Data suggests that a considerable portion of unsold units currently lie in the premium and luxury segment. The tax initiative will impact new supply to a great extent as developers will be wary of constructing prior to witnessing healthy demand.
    http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/...unsold-apartments/article22264174.ece
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-12-28)
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  6. should Central and State governments, banks and insurance companies, mobile phone operators, educational institutions, airlines and hospitals be vested with the draconian power to take coercive action against any person who does not have Aadhaar verification and to deprive him or her of basic services and benefits?

    This is the far-reaching, game-changing, mind-wrenching judgment that Justices Dipak Misra, Sikri, Khanwilkar, Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan will have to deliver. It is an onerous task; and an awesome responsibility. It will alter the equation between citizenship and society, governance and commerce for generations to come.

    And, moreover, it is irreversible. Once Aadhaar is made mandatory, it will be meaningless to declare it to be voluntary or optional through some future judicial review.
    https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/o...-aadhaar-intrusion-would-be-illogical
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-12-17)
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  7. There are serious consequences of putting so much power in the hands of one authority that will be working under the beck and call of the government of India. Not only will this regulator have the power to inspect records and data in the guise of data audits, it will also be able to levy fines that can bankrupt businesses and regulate Indian companies with enough red tape to make them uncompetitive in a global marketplace. If it seems like I am exaggerating, just look back into history and see the legacy of Indian regulation – be it the Industrial Licensing Act, 1951 or the Essential Commodities Act, 1956. Indian politicians and babudom have demonstrated a superb ability to throttle free enterprise.

    As the Indian economy becomes more digitised and generates the avalanche of data that everybody is betting on, this data regulator will accumulate more power over the ‘oil of the 21st century’. With more regulation, there will be consequences on civil liberties. Take for example the role of social media today, especially Facebook, Twitter and Google which provide Indian public debate with a much-needed lifeline in the age of a compromised mainstream media. There currently exist few options for the Indian government to control and regulate platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google. A data regulator will however presumably have power to substantially regulate these platforms and that will have consequences for our ability to use the platforms to communicate and debate issues of importance.
    https://thewire.in/202497/data-protection-law-regulator-india
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-12-08)
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  8. Unlike the Passport Officer, the RTO, the Electoral Officer, the CEO of UIDAI does not take any legal liability to certify the number as a proof of anyone’s identity, address or existence. Furthermore no one has verified or audited the database to establish how many of the billion numbers that are linked to data submitted by the outsourced parties are real individuals.

    The resulting Aadhaar database is the database being used to “purify”, as described by Ajay Bhushan Pandey the CEO of UIDAI, all databases that are seeded with Aadhaar. The seeding of other databases with the Aadhaar number is also unlike any other identification document. This seeding threatens to exclude the genuine and include the fake into other existing databases by seeding Aadhaar to other databases. The case of over 13,000 fake employees in Satyam’s who got salaries every month for years before being exposed is still fresh in India.

    As the government embarks to link the entire Consolidated Fund of India’s receipts and expenditure to this database, is it not reasonable to establish some CAG certificate on the existence of every person in this database?

    Mr. Nilekani has often highlighted the use of biometric to authenticate who you are as the core strength of the Aadhaar database. What he fails to state is that even if biometric could uniquely establish your identity uniquely throughout your life, which it cannot, its use for authentication is absurd.

    Once stolen, your biometric can be used, in a multiple of ways differing in simplicity and ease, by the thief, to perpetuate crimes that will be attributed to you and may be difficult, if not impossible, for you to deny.

    It is precisely this difference between the enrolment and use models of the Aadhaar in comparison with any other ID are a threat to you as well as the nation.
    https://tech.economictimes.indiatimes...ts/how-does-aadhaar-threaten-you/2277
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  9. Who decides what the city really needs and will operate going forward? With a smart city comes a significant amount of decision making on what to do, who will do it, why and when to do it. The answers to the questions are not easy and can have massive repercussions. Take, for instance, the challenge of gentrification and urban displacement, which has long been framed simply as a symptom of wealthier people moving in to communities and effectively nudging out lower-income individuals. However, public investment can play a critical role in this process too. Perhaps the most shining, unfortunate example of this is what San Francisco Federal Reserve researchers refer to as “transit-induced gentrification” in which public investment in transit—light rail, buses, subway—attracts affluent individuals. So much so that several studies have found that transit investments can alter the demographic composition of the surrounding neighborhood, resulting in pushing out lower-income individuals and creating new problems within the city. Potential outcomes like these should prompt questions about who should be making these decisions about public investments associated with smart cities. Finding pathways to figure out what the public wants from its city (and perhaps more importantly, what it does not) is critical. This requires citizen participation early in the process and throughout. The New Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network released a report, “India’s Smart Cities Mission: Smart for Whom? Cities for Whom?” The report highlights the massive problems with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to build 100 smart cities by 2020. Among the problems is the focus on technology of the future instead of issues of the present such as an agrarian crisis, insufficient civil rights for women, forced evictions to make room for the implementation of smart city projects, and so on.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...inconvenient-truth-about-smart-cities
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  10. -
    http://www.viaggiaresicuri.it/paesi/dettaglio/india.html?no_cache=1
    Tags: by M. Fioretti (2017-11-14)
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