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India on way to becoming 3rd richest country: Mukesh Ambani

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New Delhi: Having missed the first three industrial revolutions, India is now in a position to lead the fourth on the back of its vast tech-savvy young population and is on the way to becoming one of the three richest countries in the world, billionaire Mukesh Ambani said.

Speaking at the 24th MobiCom conference here, Ambani, who heads the oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries, said India’s digital transformation is “unmatch and unprecedented” after it took leadership position from being 155th in wireless broadband technology adoption in just 24 months.

Back in the 1990s, when Reliance was building its oil refinery and petrochemical projects, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) was around USD 350 billion and had just come out of a severe financial crisis.

 

“Very few in the world thought that our country’s prospects were bright. Today our GDP is nearing USD 3 trillion, and India is well on its way to becoming one of the three richest countries in the world,” he said.

Ambani, the richest Indian, said mobile computing as a catalyst is driving massive data consumption – and this has given young Indians a fertile ground for disruptive ideas. Cloud computing and networking technologies have used broadband as a foundational enabler – leading to Indian entrepreneurs starting to make a global impact.

“In the next two decades, I can confidently say that India shall be leading the world and shall contribute to the next wave of global economic growth,” he said.

India languished on the fringes during the first two industrial revolutions powered by coal and steam and electricity and oil, respectively, and only started playing catch-up in the computer-driven third industrial revolution, he said.

“The fourth industrial revolution is now upon us. It is marked by a fusion of technologies straddling the physical, digital and biological worlds,” he said.

“I can say with full confidence that India has a chance of not just participating in the fourth industrial revolution, but also leading it.” This is possible because the India of today is remarkably different from the India of yesterday.

“India’s vast tech-savvy young population is its key strength. Just imagine the kind of connected intelligence India can create if the power of billion-plus minds is combined!,” he said.

Also, being a democracy that is run on the model of equitable and inclusive growth, it is openly embracing the digital technologies of tomorrow. It is a rich and fertile ground for entrepreneurship and has emerged as the fastest growing start-up base worldwide, he said.

“Today, the nation is home to the third largest number of technology-driven start-ups in the world. Never before has India witnessed such an explosion of entrepreneurial spirit,” he added.

Ambani said India needs to prepare itself for a period of information and digital abundance, adapt itself to the scorching pace of innovation and learn to collaborate on scale, quickly transform the idea into a breakthrough innovation, shift from a system of time-bound education to a mode of continuous learning and create more employment opportunities than what new and disruptive technologies take away.

“We have to groom our children to be digitally-savvy right from school. Schools should train students in ‘the four C-s’ – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. These are the skills required to build the foundation for a sustained leadership in the digital age for India.

“Within a single generation, we can empower and enrich our vast and young human resources to give India a competitive edge in the world,” he said. Governments, businesses and civil society organisations should put together an ecosystem for massive upskilling of the workforce, he stated.

“We now have the opportunity to digitally reinvent all sectors of our economy – be it financial services, commerce, manufacturing, agriculture, education, and healthcare. India can leapfrog the competition and lead the world in each of these sectors,” he said.

Ambani said there was a pressing need to create a digital green revolution by encouraging adoption of technologies for water conservation, soil management, precision farming and waste reduction to enhance agricultural productivity.

Secondly, there is a need for good quality education to make India’s youth a productive asset, he said adding there is also a requirement to make healthcare affordable.

Talking about Reliance Jio, his telecom venture that stormed the industry by combining free voice calls and SMS with cheap data, he said India is ranked quite low at 134th in the global ranking for fixed broadband.

“Jio is determined to move India to among the top 3 in fixed-line broadband, too,” he said. “Our state-of-the-art digital infrastructure provides mobile and broadband connectivity across the country, with the largest fibre footprint.”

This fibre connectivity will now be extended to homes, merchants, small and medium enterprises and large enterprises simultaneously across 1500 cities to offer the most advanced fibre-based broadband connectivity solutions, he said.


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CBDT refutes social media rumours on ITR filing, says no change in IT return forms

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New Delhi: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has refuted rumours in social media regarding difficulties in filing return of income by taxpayers, stating that no change has been made in income-tax return (ITR) forms.

“No changes have been made in any of the Income-tax Return (ITR) forms including ITR-2 and ITR-3 since the notification made on April 1 2019, i.e. on the 1st day of the Assessment Year 2019-20,” CBDT said.

“It is reiterated that there are no changes in the notified ITR forms; only the utility has been updated to facilitate the taxpayers. Therefore, the assertion that numerous changes have been made in ITR-2 and ITR-3 on July 11, 2019, does not give a correct picture,” it added.

 

There were reports in social media that the taxpayers were facing difficulties in filing return of income in ITR-2 & ITR-3 due to large scale changes in the ITR form on July 11.

CBDT stated that the software utility for e-filing of all the ITR forms were released long back. The utility for e-filing ITR-2 and ITR-3 was released on May 2 and on May 10 respectively.

However, the software utility update is a dynamic process and is continuously taken up as per the feedback received from the users/filers to ease their experience in electronic filing of returns, it added.

CBDT further clarified that the updating of utility does not hamper filing of return as the taxpayers are allowed to file using the utility which is available at that point of time.

“For example, more than 85 lakh taxpayers have filed returns in ITR-1 till date by using the said utility, which has also undergone update later. Therefore, the impression that the taxpayers are not able to file return due to changes in ITR form is also not correct as more than 1.38 crore taxpayers have already filed their returns by using the utility released till date. Even though the utility is being updated regularly to provide ease to taxpayers, the returns filed by using the previous version of utility will continue to be valid,” it said.

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Lagarde resigns as IMF chief, starting race for her successor

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Washington: International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde submitted her resignation from the global crisis lender, citing more clarity about her nomination to lead the European Central Bank as European legislators approved a new top bureaucrat.

Lagarde said in a statement her resignation was effective Sept 12, firing the starting gun for the IMF’s search for her successor, which is likely to be another European.

“With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB President and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the Fund,” Lagarde said in a statement.

 

She said her resignation would expedite the selection for the next head of the IMF.

IMF succession is expected to be a major topic of discussion among G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting on Wednesday and Thursday in Chantilly, France, near Paris amid concerns that slowing global growth and trade conflicts will pressure vulnerable economies.

Lagarde’s resignation, first reported by Reuters, came two weeks after her nomination on July 2 for the ECB’s top job. She did not immediately quit the IMF because of uncertainty over whether the new European Parliament would support her and other new EU leadership positions, sources told Reuters.

Her nomination was part of a package of top officials agreed by EU governments that included German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president, who drew Green party opposition.

Later on Tuesday, von der Leyen was approved by the European Parliament in a 383-327 vote.

The European parliament will hold a nonbinding vote on Lagarde’s appointment, which is expected to be finalized by EU leaders at a regular summit on Oct 17-18.

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Centre to launch portal to help Jet Airways staff find jobs, in touch with SpiceJet and IndiGo

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Mumbai: The government may not have extended support to now-defunct Jet Airways, but it has promised to facilitate employment to job-less airline staff.

The Civil Aviation Ministry is in touch with other private airlines such as SpiceJet and IndiGo to assist Jet staff get meaningful employment.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that a website would be launched listing staff of Jet Airways and help find employment in other private entities.

 

“We are also producing a website which is ready. I wish I had the capacity of telling you that the website is up. Every employee would be listed there and the prospects for their re-employment or employment will be facilitated by the government,” Puri said while replying to Members in the Rajya Sabha on the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The Minister, however, said that government cannot assume responsibility for a business failure conducted by a private party.

Referring to Jet Airways, Puri said he was sensitive to (business) failure and willing to see what can be done within the governmental system to cushion that failure.

“But to suggest that a private sector entity goes belly up and the government has to take the responsibility I don`t think that is correct,” the Minister said.

Run out of cash, Jet Airways had suspended its entire operations on April 17. Subsequently, the government re-allocated its slots and foreign traffic rights to rival carriers. Lenders to the airline led by State Bank of India (SBI) have initiated bankruptcy proceedings against it after all attempts to rope in a buyer failed.

Before the airline suspended its operation, it had nearly 20,000 staff on its rolls. Several hundreds of them are learnt to have joined other carriers.

Replying to Members on the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019, he also countered a comment that airfares had gone up.

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