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Ashok Leyland Ready to Ride on Elon Musk’s India Dream

Tesla was expected to enter India with the Model 3 that sells for nearly $35,000

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Elon Musk
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Wikimedia Commons
By Nishant Arora
Tesla CEO Elon Musk who has been moving back and forth on his India dream for couple of years and unable to take the next big step now has an invitation from commercial vehicles major Ashok Leyland.
Musk wants to make India his next big market but the question lingers: Will the electric car ever run on the bumpy ‘desi’ roads?
According to Venkatesh Natarajan, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, Ashok Leyland, the company is open to Musk for a partnership to finally let Indians experience his path-breaking autonomous Tesla electric cars.
“We are open to Musk’s offer. I truly believe that it’s not just one partner who can contribute to the electric car dream in India. There are multiple agencies who will be involved in this.
“We will be lucky to be part of that consortium,” Natarajan told IANS on the sidelines of the just-concluded AWS India Summit here in the financial capital.
“I go back to the organisation’s philosophy and culture. Whenever we see new technology, we like to try it out, just like a small kid who sees a new toy and wants to experiment. We are open in terms of technology adoption — anything that adds value to our customers,” Natarajan noted.
The company, flagship of the Hinduja Group, reported a revenue of Rs 6,325 crore in Q3 (FY 2018-19). Year-to-Date (YTD) revenues touched Rs 20,209 crore, up 15 per cent over corresponding period last year.
Rating agency ICRA recently upgraded the long-term rating of fund-based limits of Ashok Leyland to AA+ from AA with stable outlook. The agency believes that Ashok Leyland’s financial profile will remain healthy supported by stable demand outlook for the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (M&HCV) segment and light commercial vehicle (LCV) segments.
Tesla CEO Elon musk, board
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (VOA)
Touted as India’s largest bus manufacturer and the fourth largest in the world, the company reported 10 per cent rise in the domestic vehicles sales at 13,141 units in April 2019. The commercial vehicles company had sold 11,951 vehicles in domestic market during the same month last year.
“Ultimately, we need more money. We are in the business of making money. As long as we are able to make more money and help our customers generate more money, we are game to every new technology,” Natarajan emphasised.
Ashok Leyland’s offer must be a sweet news to Musk’s ears. Breaking his silence over India plans after 10 months, Musk tweeted in March that he would love to be in India in 2019 or next year.
“Would love to be there this year. If not, definitely next! India,” Musk tweeted to a user.
Musk earlier blamed the Indian government’s policies for giving up on his India dreams. He also blamed the FDI norms for the delay in the electric car maker’s entry into the Indian market.
“Would love to be in India. Some challenging government regulations, unfortunately,” Musk tweeted in response to a Twitter user who wrote “No Tesla in India” on his Twitter handle.
Earlier this year, Tesla’s Indian-origin Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja announced his retirement from the firm, bringing Musk’s India dream to a halt again.
Tesla was expected to enter India with the Model 3 that sells for nearly $35,000.
In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tesla headquarters at Palo Alto, California and met Musk who gave Modi a tour of the company’s electric car plant.
In January this year, Musk laid the foundation of Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai — the first-ever outside the US — that is expected to produce 500,000 electric vehicles per year and double the production capacity. (IANS)

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Mercy for the Nirbhaya Rapists?

Gender discrimination is the root of many evils. While keeping the aspiration of females down, certain males have committed many wrongs in the past.

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Nirbhaya
The Nirbhaya incident in Delhi was “instrumental” in bringing about a kind of gender awareness renaissance in India.

By Salil Gewali

Gender discrimination is the root of many evils. While keeping the aspiration of females down, certain males have committed many wrongs in the past. Apart from various kinds of physical tortures, the mental tortures undergone by defenseless females are endless. Within the confinement of four-walls innumerable sins are still being committed which mostly go unreported. However, it was Nirbhaya’s rape incident in Delhi that was “instrumental” in bringing about a kind of gender awareness renaissance in India. Post-Nirbhaya incident, a lot many changes in the laws have been made. The safety and security of women have been prioritized, the nation-wide the whole police departments have been sensitized, to a greater extent the road transportation has been made women-friendly.

Nirbhaya rape
The public is right and more sensible now to point out the “hard cruelty” with which the gang had sexually tortured Nirbhaya that night.

Thanks to the countless number of protests across the country condemning the six rapists. The people from all walks of life came together and relentlessly pressurized the government that the Nirbhaya convicts must be awarded capital punishment. Media’s contribution in the campaign is immeasurable. Alas, India’s judiciary is so annoyingly slow it has taken over 7 years to pronounce the death sentence.

Nirbhaya rape
Advocate Indira Jaising suggested that the convicts of Nirbhaya rape case could be “forgiven” by the parents.

However, now nothing could be so mind-blowing than the flood of condemnation against the comments by a veteran advocate and social activist Indira Jaising. Without a sense of guilt and potential backlash, she suggested that the convicts be “forgiven” by the parents. Jaising’s idea has clearly touched a raw nerve of the major population in the country. People’s anger is spilled well over social media. What is most noteworthy is the scathing condemnation directly from the horse mouth — the mother Asha Devi. A very bold lady, who determinedly fought for justice for so many years, thunders – “Who is Indira Jaising to give me such a suggestion? The whole country wants the convicts to be executed. Just because of people like her, justice is not done with rape victims,” Asha Devi aptly further adds — “Can’t believe how Jaising even dared to suggest such this; I met her many times over the years in Supreme Court, “not once” she asked for my well-being and today she is speaking for convicts. Such people earn a livelihood by supporting rapists; hence rape incidents don’t stop,”

The latter comments by the Nirbhaya’s mother clearly hint the doubt at the “integrity” of the advocate Ms. Jaising. How on earth that one who has not spoken a word of sympathy in spite of many encounters in the court can reserves the right to suggest that which offends the distressed victim party. Asha Devi deserves a salute for her boldness. Yes, India Jaising is one of the advocates who knocked the door of the Chief Justice of India in the middle of the night in July 2015 in order to seek the mercy for the dreaded terrorist Yakub Menon.

Nirbhaya rapists
In 2015, the Delhi Government proposed to award the Nirbhaya juvenile convicts with Rs 10000/- and a sewing machine.

Again, here is another bombshell to drop which many of us may have forgotten. Can we ever “forgive” for the shocking proposal in 2015 by Delhi Government to award the Nirbhaya juvenile convicts with Rs 10000/- and a sewing machine?  Who has approved such bizarre ideas and which leaders are responsible? What kind of lesson should the citizens take from this?

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I think the public is right and more sensible now to point out the “hard cruelty” with which the gang had sexually tortured Nirbhaya that night. They had used the iron-rod to inflict deep injuries upon the girl which is unspeakable, which is very unpardonable. So, given the increasing cases of rapes and subsequent inhumane cruelty and cold-blooded killings, Capital punishment can be the only answer and “one of the deterrents”. Before the divine retribution, the hard rod of punishment should not be spared at all. 

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali