Tuesday April 7, 2020
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Controversy over Ankit Fadia as ‘Digital India’ ambassador

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: The appointment of a brand ambassador for the ‘Digital India’ campaign has sparked yet another controversy.

Even as news was doing the rounds that self-proclaimed ‘ethical hacker’ Ankit Fadia, 30, has been named brand ambassador for the campaign, a statement by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology denied any such claims.

“There were certain news reports that there is a move to appoint a brand ambassador for ‘Digital India’ programme of the government. This is to clarify that there has been no such move to appoint a brand ambassador as reported,” it said.

Curiously, an hour after the post on the government’s publicity web site, it was withdrawn.

“It was posted inadvertently by one of our officials without securing proper sanction. We will get back to you by evening with the actual position,” a spokesperson for the department told IANS, when asked for a response.

Fadia, who shot to fame when he was 15 years old, with his book ‘Unofficial Guide to Ethical Hacking’, stood his ground and said the appointment letter was issued on July 1 and signed by then IT secretary Ram Sewak Sharma, now chairman of the telecom watchdog.

“Yes! I posted the certificate on Facebook yesterday. I have emails from government as proof as well,” Fadia told IANS in an SMS. The said post on Facebook alluded to his claims, pointing out that he had been retained for a period of one year to propagate products and applications.

His Facebook post also said: “Humbled and honored to be appointed as one of the brand ambassadors to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ initiative.”

(With inputs from IANS)

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Digital India Faces Several Challenges Amidst Coronavirus Lockdown

The company also said it will give benefits on insurance for drivers and their spouses against loss of income due to contraction of COVID-19, as well as other medical support during this time will continue to be offered to all its driver-partners across the country

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Digital India
From Uber to Ola, Swiggy to Zomato and Bigbasket to Grofers -- and thousands of app-based services in between -- the digital dream has taken a 21-day long pause, and workers in the digital industry are in for job losses along with deep salary cuts. Pixabay

When Digital India took birth, little did we know that in an unprecedented situation like a total lockdown, the apps and services that helped us sail through the day with ease will immediately hang up on millions.

From Uber to Ola, Swiggy to Zomato and Bigbasket to Grofers — and thousands of app-based services in between — the digital dream has taken a 21-day long pause, and workers in the digital industry are in for job losses along with deep salary cuts.

Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal has announced that several employees have taken deep voluntary salary cuts as the business has been hit owing to the COVID-19 lockdown. Uber and Ola drivers are confined to their homes and delivery boys for food and online grocery delivery platforms are afraid to come out on roads owing to the fear or being beaten up.

Uber India has reportedly given no help to its driver partners as of now, other than telling its employees to do yoga at home. Ola has reportedly taken the next step, asking the government to waive the loans of its drivers and delay the tax payments for them so that they can survive the Novel Coronavirus onslaught. The company, however, refused to comment on the reports.

According to the ride-hailing company, it is providing certain insurance and medical benefits to its drivers as well as waiving rental charges. “We can confirm that we are fully waiving away lease rentals, akin to an EMI, for driver partners who operate vehicles owned by Ola’s subsidiary, Ola Fleet Technologies under its leasing programme,” Ola said in a statement.

The company also said it will give benefits on insurance for drivers and their spouses against loss of income due to contraction of COVID-19, as well as other medical support during this time will continue to be offered to all its driver-partners across the country.

Thousands of daily-wage workers, low-end hotel staff and delivery boys have left metros for their home towns — some even on bikes — as establishments locked themselves. Smartphone-based leading food delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy are in almost in no man’s land — with thin presence amid huge manpower shortage.

AI
When Digital India took birth, little did we know that in an unprecedented situation like a total lockdown, the apps and services that helped us sail through the day with ease will immediately hang up on millions. Pixabay

Bigbasket and Grofers are unable to fulfil orders owing to huge supply-demand issue along with thin delivery staff to go out and deliver. All eyes are now on the government to bail the online service providers from this mess.

ALSO READ: Facebook and Google Predict a Loss of $44 Billion in Global Ad Revenue

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday indicated that concerns of India Inc, small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) segments and other segments hit by the lockdown might be looked at and the government could announce a plan later.

“Our first priority is to provide food to the poor and money in their hands. We will think about other things later,” she said. (IANS)