Look beyond software, says MoS; India suspends 73 Twitter handles, 4 YouTube channels


Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for electronics and IT, said on Tuesday that India can turn itself from a provider of software services into a hub for semiconductors, R&D and more in the next five to seven years. His words come a month after the government approved a $10 billion incentive programme for semiconductor and display makers to set up shop in the country.

Also in this letter:
■ India suspends 73 Twitter handles, 4 YouTube channels
■ Elevation Capital promotes Mukul Arora to co-managing partner
■ ‘Sulli Deals’ group misused about 30 Twitter handles: police


India must look beyond software, says MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Rajeev Chandrasekhar

India has the potential to transform itself from a software provider into a hub for semiconductor design, engineering and R&D, electronic systems design, and electronic manufacturing services in the next five to seven years, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for electronics and IT said on Tuesday.

Chandrasekhar, who was speaking to Chandra, founder of Editorji Technologies at the Microsoft Future Ready event, said for India to become a trillion-dollar digital economy, it needs to look beyond just software.

“The next wave of computing performance is going to come from software optimisation, semiconductor design, electronic systems design and innovation,” he said.

Seize the day: Chandrasekhar said that all companies and governments, big and small, are in a race to go digital, and that Indian entrepreneurs must take advantage of the opportunities arising from the tectonic changes the pandemic has brought.

“This is the Y2K moment for the Indian digital space. Our software companies got a step function jump during Y2K. For the digital space, the next two to five years represents a huge opportunity,” he added.

Up the food chain: India has been trying to move up the electronics value chain as some companies look to diversify their manufacturing bases beyond China due to the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing. Automakers and technology firms around the world are also grappling with a global chip shortage.

Last month, the Indian government approved a $10 billion incentive plan to attract semiconductor and display makers. Under the plan, India’s government will cover up to 50% of the project cost.

Tata Sons chairman on digital divide: Meanwhile, Tata Sons chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran said at the event that India should take up better access to healthcare and education as national priorities.

Speaking to Microsoft India president Anant Maheshwari, Chandrasekaran said there was a need to ensure equitable digital access to education and healthcare across the country.

“We must realise that digital access has not been equitable (during the pandemic). If you take education, for example, all the urban kids who have access to your device and have access to the digital infrastructure could do online schooling. But a large number of kids in the rural areas or poor people didn’t have access to devices and didn’t have access to digital infrastructure, which is a big problem,” said Chandrasekaran. “Years of schooling have been lost, or at least a couple of years have been lost.”

Also Read: Metaverse enables us to embed computing in the real world and Vice versa: Satya Nadella


India suspends 73 Twitter handles, four YouTube channels under IT rules

youtube

The IT ministry suspended 73 Twitter handles, four YouTube channels and one game on Instagram for inciteful content on Monday, mainly centred around a fake video of a purported Cabinet meeting.

This is the second time the government has invoked its new emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021. In mid-December, it had banned two news websites and 20 YouTube channels for featuring “anti-India content”.

Sources said the handles are believed to have emanated from Pakistan, adding the steps were initiated after Twitter users had complained to Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for electronics and IT.

In response, the minister wrote, “On the job”. He added that the IT ministry takes “very seriously” its responsibility to keep the internet safe and trusted, and hold intermediaries (social media companies) accountable.

Chandrasekhar said the video had been in the public domain since December 2020.

He later revealed that the Task Force on Safe and Trusted Internet had worked on the case. “Handles that tried to push fake/inciting content on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram have been blocked,” he said, adding the owners of the accounts were being identified. He also said that the ministry would review the performance of platforms on combating such content.

Twice in two months: On December 21, the government had directed the department of telecom and YouTube to block two websites and 20 YouTube channels for allegedly running “anti-India propaganda”. Of the 20 YouTube channels banned, 15 are owned by an entity called Naya Pakistan; others include ‘The Naked Truth’, ’48 News’ and ‘Junaid Halim official’.

Officials claimed the propaganda was being run with the help of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. They claimed Naya Pakistan had more than two million YouTube subscribers, and was putting out “false news” on various issues.


VC fund Elevation Capital promotes Mukul Arora to co-managing partner

Mukul Arora

Mukul Arora

Early-stage venture capital firm Elevation Capital said on Tuesday that Mukul Arora has been promoted to as co-managing partner alongside Ravi Adusumalli.

Tell me more: Arora joined Elevation (formerly SAIF Partners) as an associate in 2010 and has led or co-led investments in some of India’s fastest-growing consumer internet startups including FirstCry, Meesho, Spinny, Swiggy, Unacademy, and Xpressbees. He has clocked partial exits in Swiggy– which the fund entered at the seed round – and Unacademy.

An alumnus of IIM-Lucknow, Arora has also played a partner support role for digital payments major Paytm, which went public last year in November.

In the past year, he has also started exploring startups in the enterprise and SaaS sectors.

ET Startup Awards nominee: Arora was nominated for The Economic Times Startup Awards, in the prestigious Midas Touch category in 2021 and 2019.

Elevation closed its $400 million seventh fund in 2020 and has assets under management of $2.4 billion. It has backed companies like Paytm, Swiggy, Urban Company, Meesho, Unacademy, ShareChat, NoBroker, Spinny.

Last year, Sequoia Capital elevated five of its executives to the managing director position amid hectic dealmaking across Indian startup.

WhatsApp cofounder named Signal’s interim CEO: Messaging app Signal’s founder and chief executive officer Moxie Marlinspike will step down and WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton will become the interim CEO, Marlinspike said in a blog post on Monday.
Quote: “It’s a new year, and I’ve decided it’s a good time to replace myself as the CEO of Signal”, he said. Marlinspike, who will remain on Signal’s board, said he is scouting for candidates for the permanent CEO position.

Acton founded Signal’s rival messaging app WhatsApp in 2009. The company was bought by Meta Platforms, then Facebook Inc, in 2014. He left WhatsApp in 2017 due to differences around the use of customer data and targeted advertising, according to Signal’s website.

Done Deal: Gold loans provider Rupeek said on Tuesday it has raised $34 million in a fresh round of funding led by Lightbox. Existing investors including GGV and Bertelsmann also participated in the funding. The company is now valued at $634 million, said a person aware of the talks. Rupeek said it would use the funds to scale further and invest in new products.

The company said it touched an annual disbursement run rate of $1 billion in December.


‘Sulli Deals’ group misused about 30 Twitter handles: police

Sulli Deals

Aumkareshwar Thakur

The ongoing probe into the “Sulli Deals” case has revealed that around 30 Twitter handles were misused to upload the morphed pictures of Muslim women for their purported “auction”, the Delhi police said. The police are trying to identify other members of the group which 26-year-old suspect Aumkareshwar Thakur was a part of, an official said.

Erased: They said Thakur had deleted the contents of his laptop and phones along with those of Niraj Bishnoi, the creator of the “Bulli Bai” app, who was arrested from Assam. They said the devices have been sent to the National Forensic Science Lab.

Police suspect that at least three to five people were misusing these multiple Twitter handles to put up these morphed and objectionable photos and further exchange comments through the alleged “Sulli Deals” app.

Breakthrough: Thukar’s was the first arrest made in the Sulli Deals app case, registered in July, the police said. On Sunday he was remanded in police custody for four days by a court.


Govt considering easing curbs on some Chinese investment

India China

The government is considering easing scrutiny on certain foreign direct investment, after rules mainly aimed at China created a bottleneck for inflows.

Cautious stance: Currently, the government scrutinises all investment proposals from companies that are either based in countries that share a land border with India or have an investor from one of these nations.

It is now considering exempting proposals in which the so-called beneficial ownership is less than 10%.

The move is being considered after proposals worth $6 billion were stuck amid the red tape. The proposal could be approved as early as next month.

Standoff: The government had imposed curbs on such investments amid a bloody border standoff with China and also to avert the risk of opportunistic takeovers. The move slowed the approvals process considerably.

Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was curated by Arun Padmanabhan in New Delhi and Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai.



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