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With more than 140 million Internet users, Indonesia’s e-commerce industry has grown rapidly in the past decade, leading to calls for more government regulation in the sector.
“It’s a new industry so it’s growing very fast. [E-commerce] started booming in 2010 and since then some of the players that started during that time have become unicorns,” said the chairman of Indonesia E-Commerce Association (IDEA), Ignatius Untung, referring to startup companies that are valued above $1 billion.
The Indonesian Ministry of Industry estimates the value of the digital industry at $100 billion, and in 2020 the government expects it will increase to $130 billion.
Creating new unicorns
Untung said the consumer base for the e-commerce industry continues to grow as there are a continuously increasing number of Internet users in Indonesia, although they are still concentrated in the cities. In a market conducive enough for digital companies to thrive, Indonesia has managed to establish several unicorns.
One of them is Tokopedia, an online marketplace. In 2017, the startup company received a $1.2 billion investment from Alibaba, the massive online retailer in China. Priscilla Anais, the CEO Office Manager of Tokopedia, said the Gross Merchandise Volume or total sales value of goods sold through the marketplace has increased by four times in the past year.
“Now we have more than 90 million active users monthly and have reached 93 percent of all districts in Indonesia,” she told VOA via email.
But the value of Indonesia’s biggest online marketplace is still far below Gojek, a ride-hailing app, that has received $1.2 billion in investment from several companies, including Google and Tencent holdings. The Indonesian startup has a company value of $ 4 billion. Other unicorns include Traveloka, an online travel startup, and Bukalapak, an online marketplace.
Lack of regulation
Despite the digital economy in Indonesia growing rapidly and receiving support from the government, Untung said clear regulations are still needed. “For example for online payment, or e-wallet. There are players that have the platform and consumers but when they apply for a permit for e-wallet, it was declined. But there are others that don’t have the platform but received the permit. So we should make it clear, what are the criteria,” he said.
Untung also mentioned the issue of online ojek (motorcycle taxi). Motorcycle taxis are especially popular in big cities in Indonesia, such as Jakarta, where traffic is often congested.
The former Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan, issued a notification letter in 2015 banning online motorcycle taxis.
But in December 2015, President Joko Widodo, said online transportation cannot be banned because people need it.
“With so many people using ride-hailing app, and motorcycle taxi, who can ban it now?” Untung said.
According to the Indonesian Consumers Agency Foundation (YLKI), 84 percent of Jakarta citizens use the service of online transportation.
Nevertheless, Untung lauded the e-commerce roadmap that was established through the Government Regulation No. 74/2017 under the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Samuel Pangerapan, the director general of informatics application at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology said the roadmap was made to prepare an ecosystem that can transform the country to a digital economy era.
“We are addressing issues such as connectivity, infrastructure that can support digital transformation, and the regulations. President Jokowi has instructed us to conduct a study and find out all the things that can interfere with digital economy,” he told VOA.
Human resource remains a problem
Untung said one of the biggest problems many e-commerce companies in Indonesia are facing is human resources. “Supply is low, but demand is very high,” he told VOA. Untung added that some companies decided to import skilled workers from overseas or acquire companies to be able to use their service.
“So we’ve started to think how can we have good human resources. The association is thinking to start a vocational school, we also reach out to universities and tell the younger generation that a career in digital economy is possible,” he said. “A lot of young people still don’t know where they want to go after they finish high school. And many Indonesians are still thinking that becoming doctor, engineer, or pilot, is still the ultimate dream.”
Pangerapan assured that the government will also tackle the issue of a lack of skilled workers. “We definitely need to prepare a workforce that will be able to handle digital transformation,” he said.
Untung also mentioned that the e-commerce association has started a roadmap to provide better protection for consumers. The end goal is to certify e-commerce companies in Indonesia.
“So let’s say a grade A e-commerce is one that has enough resources, they have people to handle complaints and have a guarantee of service. And then we’ll start to educate the consumers, please shop at e-commerce that have better grades. After that we will encourage the players to improve their service,” he said.
He added that he has targeted the certification program to be launched in 2020. (VOA)
By Quaid NajmiMumbai
Set up in 1958 as the country's second IIT -- after IIT Kharagpur (IIT-KGP, 1950) -- in the list of 23 IITs currently, IIT-B enters the momentous diamond jubilee year of its historic first convocation held on December 22, 1962, when around 70 wide-eyed young men passed out of the institute.
Decades later, the golden jubilee convocation in 2012 was attended by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The institute has a little more than 12,005 students in 2021, as per the current annual report released by its Director, Professor Subhasis Chaudhuri.
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The groundwork for the first IIT-KGP was inspired and prepared well before Independence by the late Bengal academician Humayun Kabir, who later served as the Education and Civil Aviation Minister of India.
After the country achieved freedom in 1947, its first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru pushed the idea forward and even laid the foundation stone for IIT-B, according to the Council of Indian Institutes of Technology (CIITs).
Nehru wanted science and technology to play a prominent role in modernising the new India and meeting the needs of its growing population, and envisioned that the IIT system would, over time, produce scientists and technologists of the highest calibre who would engage in research, design and development to help build the nation towards self-reliance in her technological needs.
"The institutions were to be designed with the necessary dynamism, flexibility of organisation and capacity to adapt in the light of expanding knowledge and changes in the socio-economic requirements of a modern society," says the CIIT.
The earliest IITs got the benefit of material assistance and academic cooperation from certain developed countries -- IIT-B from USSR, IIT-Madras from Germany, IIT-Kanpur from the US and IIT-Delhi from the UK.
Over the years, the IITs have created world-class educational platforms dynamically sustained through internationally recognised research, based on excellent infrastructural facilities.Wikipedia
Over the years, the IITs have created world-class educational platforms dynamically sustained through internationally recognised research, based on excellent infrastructural facilities.
The faculty and alumni of IITs have made a huge impact in all sectors of the society, both in India and abroad, and the IITs are globally recognised as 'centres of academic excellence', reputed for the outstanding calibre of the students graduating from them.
Over the years, even IIT-B grew in leaps and bounds and now ranks nationally and globally among the most renowned institutes of excellence in various fields of technology.
Compared to the first girl -- Tejaswini Saraf (1966 batch) -- who turned heads at IIT-B, being the lone female student among 300 boys, today the situation is different with 20-25 per cent female students on the campus.
View from Boat House, Powai Lakewikipedia
As the President of the IIT-B Alumni Association (IITBAA), Deepak Patil, says, at IITs, the mind is trained not only academically, but also to think deeply, rationally, to handle any problem, to go to the root and evolve a logical solution.
IITBAA Chairman Girish Nayak says IIT education makes the student sharper and analytical, trains them overall to solve any kind of problems, grapple any challenges in life without getting surprised or overwhelmed, and this is something that stays with them forever.
The duo feels that the IITs offer an excellent opportunity for personality development, total independence, no family support systems to shield them from any emotional problems, thrown together with total strangers from different parts of the country and learn to live together.
"It's here that we realise that there are many who are not only as brainy as you, probably more intelligent than you... There would be hot debates of high intellectual levels on practically any topic under the sun, from technology to politics. All of these adds to your personality and intellect and yet makes you humble," said Patil.
View of IIT hostelsWikipedia
Plus, the students here get the advantages of an outstanding faculty, staff, academic-industry connection, and the rich experiences of the trail-blazer alumni, which result in achievements that make global headlines.
A few of the many notables who have passed out of IIT-B over the past six decades are: BSE MD & CEO Ashish Chauhan, Syntel founder Bharat Desai, Infosys Co-founder Nandan Nilekani, Twitter Inc. CEO Parag Agrawal, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, ex-BMC Commissioner Jairaj Phatak, ex-Union minister Jairam Ramesh, late Goa CM Manohar Parrikar, mathematician Ravindran Kannan, ex-Dean of Harvard Business School Nitin Nohria, economist Ajit Ranade, and ex-President of Bell Labs Arun Netravali, among others. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : IIT Bombay, IIT. geniuses, convocation, science, technology, knowledge, dynamism, calibre, education, intelligent, student, debate, faculty, advantages, outstanding.)
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With the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath corridor in Varanasi on December 13, the whole of Uttar Pradesh will be lit up similar to Diwali-like celebrations. This year the people of the state will invoke Lord Shiva in their homes by lighting lamps on the occasion of the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath corridor, the highest revered shrine of Hindu faith. Along with this, a laser show and fireworks will light up all temples, streets, 'crossroads' and other public places in Varanasi.
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The planners will celebrate the festival of 'Deepotsav' on the lines of the 'Grand Kashi, Divya Kashi' in the whole of Uttar Pradesh. For this every BJP worker will light a lamp in the village, town and city. The BJP believes that this will create a festive atmosphere with ideological commitment which will send out the message of strong cultural ethos.
After the inauguration on December 13 in the evening, the Prime Minister will take a tour of the Ganga river in a boat and perform the 'Ganga aarti'. During this tour, the Chief Ministers of various BJP-ruled states will also be present. The Prime Minister will hold talks with the Chief Ministers and public representatives the very next day. After this, Modi will visit the Swarved temple, Umrah, and a CNG plant in Shahanshahpur and leave for Delhi on December 14 in the afternoon.
Also Read : The Varanasi Hot Air Balloon Festival
On the day of the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath corridor, all boats will be decorated with colorful lights which will be the main centre of attraction. An appeal has been made by the state administration to all the people to light lamps in their homes on the lines of Diwali celebrations. The people have been instructed to keep the streets and their locality clean and cooperate in the public cleanliness drive.
Diyas will be lit in every house, every temple, streets and BJP offices in the state. Unsplash
If political experts are to be believed, amid the ongoing Ram temple construction in Ayodhya, the BJP is once again trying to assert power through its ideological plank of Hindutva and its cultural agenda, while raising issues like building of a temple in Mathura.
A senior BJP leader involved in formulating the election strategy in Uttar Pradesh and working closely with the party's central leadership said that once again the party is going to celebrate Deepotsav on December 13.
Several BJP workers have been asked to make the occasion a grand success. BJP Kashi regional President, Mahesh Chandra Srivastava said, "On December 13, there will be a festive atmosphere in the state. Diyas will be lit in every house, every temple, streets and BJP offices in the state. We are going to celebrate a grand festival."
Kashi Vishwanath Dham, the work of which is in final stages, is the dream project of Prime Minister Modi. The corridor is now gleaming with lights. After the launch of the corridor, Chalo Kashi month' will also begin under which many programmes will be organised here.
After the inauguration on December 13 in the evening, the Prime Minister will take a tour of the Ganga river in a boat and perform the 'Ganga aarti'.Unsplash
According to the information received from the state government, a symbol of nationalism will be visible between Ganga and Lord Vishwanath temple which will give a new identity to Kashi. Idols of Rani Ahilyabai, Mother India (Bharat Mata), Kartikeya and Adi Shankaracharya will be installed in the Dham.
Kashi Vishwanath Dham is spread over an area of 54,000 square metre. The construction work of the Dham is being completed in two phases. The work of the first phase is in the final stage which includes construction of Mandir Chowk, Varanasi city gallery, museum, multipurpose auditorium, hall, devotee facilitation centres, public facility, spiritual house, Godoulia gate, 'Bhogshala', shelter for priests and sewadars, spiritual book palace, among others.
The statue of Mother India, a symbol of nationality, will also be seen between the Lord's court and the sacred Ganga. The idol of Kartikeya and Adi Shankaracharya will be installed in the grand courtyard of Kashi Vishwanath Dham. The statue of Queen Ahilyabai, who renovated the Kashi Vishwanath temple in 1669 will also be installed here. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Uttar Pradesh, diwali, Kashi Vishwanath, Varanasi, December, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, ganga, BJP, corridor, nationalism, people.)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India's digital public infrastructure solutions can improve the lives of citizens around the world.
Speaking at the InFinity Forum organised by Bloomberg and IFSCA, he said via video link: "We believe in sharing our experiences and expertise with the world and learning from them as well."
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"Tools like 'UPI' and 'RuPay' provide an unparalleled opportunity for every country. An opportunity to provide a low cost and reliable 'real time payment system' as well as a 'domestic card scheme' and 'fund remittance system'."
According to the Prime Minister, India has proved to the world that it is second to none when it comes to adopting technology or innovating around it.
Also Read : Payment Modernization
"Transformational initiatives under Digital India have opened doors for innovative Fintech solutions to be applied in governance.
PM Modi cited successes achieved with 'Jan Dhan' Accounts, 'Rupay', 'FastTag', and other such initiatives taken by the Centre. He mentioned that last year, in India, mobile payments exceeded ATM cash withdrawals for the first time.
The Prime Minister said that fully digital banks, without any physical branch offices, are already a reality and may become commonplace in less than a decade.
In India, mobile payments exceeded ATM cash withdrawals for the first time.Unsplash
Besides, he said the time has come to convert these "FinTech initiatives into a FinTech revolution". "A revolution that helps to achieve financial empowerment of every single citizen of the country."
Furthermore, he emphasized on FinTech security. "Common Indian has shown immense trust in our FinTech ecosystem by embracing digital payments and such technologies," he said.
"This trust is a responsibility. Trust means that you need to ensure that the interests of the people are secured."
In addition, PM Modi said that finance combined with technology would be an important part of India's future development. "Our aim is to provide the best international financial services not just for Indians, but for the world," he added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : digital, India, prime minister, Narendra Modi, finances, digital payments, technology)
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