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Ambani sets up Estonian JV for e-governance; takes up e-residency

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Mumbai: Industrialist Mukesh Ambani is keen on the e-governance space and has set up a subsidiary company in Estonia to get a grip on the solutions, government officials of the Northwestern European nation have said.

Ambani has formed a subsidiary with the Estonian government’s former chief information officer Taavi Kotka.

ooking for solutions in the e-governance space, Viljar Lubi, vice-minister for economic affairs and communications of Estonia, which is a European Union member, told a group of visiting journalists recently.

 

He, however, did not elaborate on the exact scope of the partnership, saying government only plays the role of a facilitator.

A Reliance Industries spokesperson refused to share details of the project or plan.

Multiple officials in Estonia, which is among the most digitised countries in the world, maintained that the role of private companies has been crucial in developing the digital infrastructure used by all most all of its citizens.

The country claims of 99 per cent of digital penetration.

Ambani, the richest Indian who runs the most profitable domestic company Reliance Industries, took an e-residency of the European nation in May this year, the officials said.

An e-residency helps a foreigner access the EU opportunity by helping him/her form a company, among other benefits.

“Weve one of the founders of e-residency programmes, Kotka, who is currently working together with Reliance and Mukesh Ambani to digitalise India in terms of accessing digital identity.

“That is why Ambani became an e-resident recently,” a spokesperson for Estonia’s e-residency programme said.

An email sent to Reliance Industries spokesperson on this aspect was also not answered.

Asked if Ambani has visited Estonia, Lubi declined to comment, but named other Indian industrialists like Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy as among those who have visited their country to have a closer look at the work on digitisation.

Lubi said while digitisation has helped Estonia to get connected its scattered and very low population basethe country with a large land mass is home to only 1.4 million citizens — it can help India as well because it has a large population to be reached out to.

There are just about 2,000 Indians who have opted to become e-residents of Estonia so far, primarily to access the business opportunity presented by the European Union.

Over half of them are freelancers, who unlike big companies, cannot afford to set up subsidiaries in any EU country, the official said.

An e-residency enables a person to work for EU clientele and is lapped by startups looking for a footing in the EU.

Lubi said Estonian journey to digitalisation started right after regaining independence in 1991 from the erstwhile USSR due to a resource crunch and later it discovered the efficacy of the same as the world went digital.


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Business

India can’t achieve 9-10 per cent GDP growth without agri-revolution: Kant

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New Delhi: India cannot achieve 9-10 per cent GDP growth without revolution in the farm sector, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.


Addressing Mahindra Samriddhi Agri awards, he said there is a need to boost investment in the agriculture sector as well as to introduce new technology and market reforms.


Kant also stressed on scrapping Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee and some old laws like Essential Commodites Act, which restrict movement of farm produces.

 


However, he said agriculture is a state subject and the central government has limited role in it.


“In India 50 per cent of our population is dependent on agriculture. If India’s GDP has to grow at 9-10 per cent for the next 30 years, then it cannot be without bringing revolution in the agri sector,” Kant said.


He also emphasised on eliminating middlemen in marketing of farm produces to boost farmers’ income.


Kant expressed confidence that farmer income will be doubled by 2022.
He said there is a need to spread good agriculture practice and success stories of farmers across the country.


“The second revolution in agriculture will come from technology and marketing,” Kant said.


Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd,, said: “The contribution made by our farming community is a manifestation of this new age of farming which we celebrate through our annual awards”.


As part of Mahindra Agri Village (MAV) programme, he said the company has worked closely with more than 50 villages.


“Our Prerna initative has empowered nearly 2,000 women farmers over 40 villages, through the introduction of gender-neutral farm tools for reducing farm drudgery, and dissemination of knowledge and essential capabilities,” Goenka said.


Mahindra Samriddhi Krishi Shiromani Samman (Lifetime Achievement Award) 2019 was conferred upon E A Siddiq for his immense contribution to Indian agriculture. The award was handed over to recognise his contribution of enhancing productivity of paddy (Both Basmati & Non Basmati).


The group gave awards in total 11 categories.

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Mukesh Ambani bails out Anil in Ericsson payout case day before SC deadline

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Mumbai: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani stepped in to bail out younger brother Anil Ambani by helping him repay Reliance Communications’ (RCom’s) dues to Ericsson. The last-minute rescue spares the younger Ambani a three-month jail term for contempt of court.


RCom cleared the entire dues to Ericsson India to purge the contempt of a Supreme Court order. The debt-ridden company had already paid Rs 118 crore of the Rs 550-crore dues. In addition, the company had paid around Rs 3 crore in penalties to Ericsson.


“My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita for standing by me during these trying times and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support,” said Anil Ambani in a media statement. RCom had time until Tuesday to make the payment, failing which Anil Ambani, its chairman, would have had to serve a three-month jail term, according to the court’s order.

 
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Probing Amazon, Flipkart for alleged violation of foreign exchange law: ED

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi : Investigation has been initiated against e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart for alleged violation of foreign exchange law, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday informed the Delhi High Court.


A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani noted the submissions of the ED that a case has been registered under provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) against the two companies and disposed of a PIL which has alleged that the e-commerce giants were violating foreign direct investment (FDI) norms.


The court had earlier sought response of the central government, Amazon and Flipkart to the plea which has sought a probe into the alleged FDI violations.

 


The ED, in its reply filed through central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, has said the “department has already registered and initiated investigation under the provisions of FEMA against the two companies to ascertain whether they have been contravening any provisions of FEMA or contravening any rule, regulations, notification, direction or order issued in exercise of the powers under FEMA….”
The agency also sought dismissal of the petition.


The petition by an NGO, Telecom Watchdog, also asked for initiation of legal proceedings against the two e-commerce companies under the FEMA for alleged violation and circumvention of FDI norms.


The plea, filed through advocate Pranav Sachdeva, has claimed that Amazon and Flipkart have created multiple entities to circumvent the FDI norms and route the hot-selling stock at cheaper rates.


The petition has contended that according to Press Note 3 of 2016, which regulates FDI in e-commerce, entities like Amazon and Flipkart are not to exercise ownership over stock, nor directly or indirectly influence price of goods and services sold on their marketplace.


It claimed that by creating name lending companies, Amazon and Flipkart buy branded goods in bulk at discounts from manufacturers and render small sellers uncompetitive by a wide margin, thus influencing the prices in violation of the FDI norms.


“As a consequence of this FDI norms violation, smaller sellers are unable to participate in the fast growing e-commerce sector,” the plea has contended, adding that due to subsidised prices on such platforms, small sellers are unable to sell in the brick-n-mortar world too.


Besides, the plea has also claimed that the two e-commerce firms have created several other group companies in the chain to divide discounts and losses.


“Exchange offers, EMI costs and bank offers are funded completely or substantially by Amazon and Flipkart and constitute a clear influence on price in violation of FDI norms,” it has alleged.

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