Weekly News Updates-India Aug 16 to Aug 22

Digital India program to be enhanced with cabinet approval; Cabinet approves 'PM e-Bus Sewa' scheme and seven railway projects; Lack of Deep Tech Talent Could hinder Indian B2B SaaS firms growth; Hardware companies apprehensive of the government; BenQ India hopes to grow at 50% over the next three years; Karnataka becoming a hotspot for producing Li-ion battery; Localization of data centers in India; NTPC launches a hydrogen bus test in Leh

Cabinet approves spending of Rs 14,903 crore to enhance the Digital India program

The government’s flagship Digital India scheme would be extended for an additional five years, from FY2021–22 to FY202–26, with funding totaling Rs 14,903 crore, as approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday. The expansion kept cybersecurity as a key focus and includes growing the capabilities of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).

5.25 lakh IT workers will receive upskilling as part of the expansion, and 2.65 lakh people will receive cybersecurity training. According to IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, the mobile-based Umang application would receive 540 more services, up from its current 1,700.


‘PM e-Bus Sewa’ scheme and seven railway projects approved by the cabinet

The “PM-eBus Sewa” has been approved by the Union Cabinet, which is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to improve city bus operations. Priority has been given to cities with no structured bus service.

At a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said that 10,000 e-Buses would be deployed in 169 cities. It is predicted that the scheme will create 45,000–55,000 direct jobs. The scheme will cost an estimated Rs 57,613 crore, of which the central government will contribute Rs 20,000 crore and state governments the remaining Rs 57,000 crore.

Additionally, the Cabinet approved a proposal to significantly improve railway infrastructure by approving seven Ministry of Railways projects with a combined projected cost of almost Rs 32,500 crore. According to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, these projects will increase the length of the Indian Railways’ current network by 2,339 km.

35 districts in nine states—UP, Bihar, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Telangana—will be covered by these new railway projects.


Editor’s Note: The Government of India is providing much impetus for already existing schemes such as Digital India and also launching new schemes boosting Mobility, Skill and technology adoption at various sectors. This shows the continuous and sustained support which can be utilized by industry as various growth areas are targeted.

Lack of Deep Tech Talent Could hinder the Growth of Indian B2B SaaS firms: Nasscom Report

According to a report by Nasscom and EY, the rapid expansion of enterprise Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies in India may be hindered by a lack of deep tech talent in fields like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and advanced computing. Around 80% of chief experience officers (CXOs) from top SaaS companies interviewed claimed that a lack of deep tech talent combined with inadequate deep tech infrastructure might have an impact on growth.

CXOs have expressed concern about the absence of patient capital, which provides funding over longer periods of time without rapid returns, in addition to the talent scarcity.


Editor’s Note: The study is a good reference in understanding Indian B2B SaaS companies with inventive deeptech capabilities, and its growth potential. The recurring revenue is posted to be 30 – 50% CAGR. However, availability of talent is highlighted as the top concern in achieving this. There is a huge potential on Taiwan India academic and Industry collaboration in skilling/training areas.

BenQ India hopes to grow at 50% over the next three years

Consumer electronics conglomerate BenQ wants to boost its business in India by more than 50% during the next three years. Rajeev Singh, the company’s MD and CEO, claims that a significant increase in demand for screens and monitors from people who are now working from home will support this rise.

The head of BenQ India said in a statement that the company plans to double its revenue over the next three years and exceed the Rs 1,000 crore mark. He added that a 500 crore rupee turnover was possible by the year’s end.

The monitor and home projector divisions of BenQ India account for half of its current sales. B2B accounts for the remaining revenue. BenQ India anticipates that its business will expand in all segments through 2025 as it continues to meet demand from both the commercial and governmental sectors.


Karnataka becoming a hotspot for producing Li-ion battery

Bengaluru is quickly establishing itself as a booming location for the production of lithium-ion batteries and cells. Four significant projects that have been implemented in the area over the past year have led analysts to believe that the state has the potential to become a significant battery production hub in India.

A deal to develop a cutting-edge, environmental friendly lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility was recently signed by the Karnataka state government and the US-based International Battery Company (IBC).

According to a Bloomberg article, IBC has promised to invest an unbelievable $1 billion in the state of Karnataka in southern India, beginning with a new factory that will take up 100 acres of land in the Bengaluru Rural district. By 2025, production at this cutting-edge Li-Ion battery factory is expected to start. With about INR 6,000 crore set aside for investments, Exide, another significant player in the market, has also described its intentions for a multi-gigawatt-hour lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility that is envisaged at Bengaluru’s Hi-Tech Defence and Aerospace Park.

Similar to this, NSure Reliable Power Solutions has invested over INR 1,050 crores in building a gigafactory close to Bengaluru. The business anticipates starting up as early as October.


Why the government should insist on localization of data centers in India

Through the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan scheme, the Indian government has acknowledged the need for reliable and effective data storage within the nation.

India may achieve the objectives of the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan and lessen its reliance on other nations by localizing data centers. Additionally, localization improves data security and privacy, encourages innovation, and gives young people job chances.

Localizing data centers ensure that data remains subject to Indian law, improving control and enforcing data protection laws. The right to privacy of Indian residents is defended by doing this, which helps prevent unauthorized access to private, financial, and sensitive government information.


Editor’s Note: A sizable portion of India’s data is stored abroad, creating a reliance that puts India’s technical independence in jeopardy. This necessitates the thought for India to think of storing its data within its geography. Companies providing data center solutions should keep an eye on the developments and plan accordingly.

NTPC launches a hydrogen bus test for the first time in Leh

In a first step towards creating a carbon-neutral Ladakh, the state-owned power generator NTPC has begun a three-month trial run for hydrogen-fired buses in Leh.

The largest power producer in the nation is building a hydrogen fueling station, a solar power facility and five fuel cell buses for use on intracity routes in Leh. The deployment of fuel cell Electric Vehicles (EVs) for general use in India would begin with this initiative.

As part of a 3-month process that included field trials, road worthiness inspections, and other legislative procedures, the first hydrogen bus arrived in Leh on August 17.

At 11,562 feet above sea level, the first green hydrogen mobility project of its kind is situated next to a 1.7 megawatt (MW) solar power plant that is specifically intended to provide renewable energy. This project’s distinctive characteristic is that the fuel cell buses are made to operate in the sub-zero temperatures and rarefied atmosphere typical of such high-altitude settings.

NTPC has made a commitment to reach 60 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2032 and to be a significant participant in the fields of green hydrogen technology and energy storage.