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Elections No Less Than A Festival in India: Polls Begin

Even though India continues to be one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, the Modi-led government’s performance on the economy has come under criticism.

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Indians stand in queues to cast their votes at a polling booth for the first phase of general elections, near Ghaziabad, India, April 11, 2019. VOA

Polls opened Thursday in the first phase of India’s general elections, seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party.

A festive spirit prevailed as men and women in colorful clothes made their way to heavily guarded voting stations in large numbers.

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South Korea States ‘Law Criminalizing Abortion Unconstitutional’, May Strike Down Abortion Ban. Pixabay

Voters in 18 Indian states and two Union Territories are casting ballots Thursday, the first day of a seven-phase election staggered over six weeks in the country of 1.3 billion people.

The election is the world’s largest democratic exercise. Modi supporters say the tea seller’s son from Gujarat state has improved the nation’s standing. But critics say his party’s Hindu nationalism has aggravated religious tensions in India.

An Indian Lambada tribal woman shows the indelible ink mark on her index finger after casting her vote at a polling booth during the first phase of general elections in Hyderabad, India, April 11, 2019.
An Indian Lambada tribal woman shows the indelible ink mark on her index finger after casting her vote at a polling booth during the first phase of general elections in Hyderabad, India, April 11, 2019. VOA

Thursday’s voting is important for the BJP as it had won only 32 of 91 seats in the previous 2014 elections. It is seeking to improve its tally this time.

About 900 million people are eligible to cast ballots in about a million polling stations across India. They will decide 543 seats in India’s lower house of Parliament.

Voting concludes May 19 and counting is scheduled for May 23.

Modi came to power in 2014 and the party invoked its Hindu nationalist roots before the elections, with Modi at the forefront against the threat of Pakistan, India’s Muslim-majority archrival. Hindus comprise about 80% of India’s 1.3 billion people.

Also Read: South Korea States ‘Law Criminalizing Abortion Unconstitutional’, May Strike Down Abortion Ban

Even though India continues to be one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, the Modi-led government’s performance on the economy has come under criticism.

The first item in the opposition Congress party’s election manifesto describes a plan for creating jobs. It also promises an income subsidy program for the poorest families and for farmers. (VOA)

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Realme, Samsung Have Lowest Return Rates Among All Smartphone Brands in India

When it comes to reliability, Realme users rank their smartphones high (90 per cent), followed by Samsung (88 per cent) and Vivo (87 per cent)

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To get ahead in the fast-changing tech industry, Samsung said it will expand investment in burgeoning tech segments to propel growth. Wikimedia Commons

Chinese handset maker Realme and South Korean major Samsung have the lowest return rates among all smartphone brands in India, a survey by CyberMedia Research (CMR) said on Thursday.

The “CMR MICI” survey that included 4,000 smartphone owners across top eight Indian cities, focused on smartphone purchase process, key smartphone specs of priority, as well as issues with post-sales service, including repairs or replacements.

“The return rates in smartphone brands provide a measure of consumer satisfaction with their current brand and, in turn, implies that the brands have been able to excel in meeting consumer expectations. Our survey findings report the lowest return rate for brands, such as Realme and Samsung, in comparison to the prevailing industry average,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, said in a statement.

The lowest return rates are determined by the first visit to the brand’s service centre within the first six months of purchase, for either repair or replacement, by both online as well as offline buyers.

Around three per cent of the total smartphone users visited a service centre for the first time within the first six months of their smartphone purchase, during the in-warranty period.

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Armed with a quad camera-system smartphone in every price segment along with an investment worth Rs 300 crore for its surface-mount technology (SMT) lines, Chinese handset maker Realme aims. Pixabay

When it comes to looks, design and feel, users of Vivo are most satisfied (99 per cent), followed by OPPO and Realme users (98 per cent each), and at third place, Xiaomi with 97 per cent satisfaction.

Across smartphone brands, users are excited about the design aesthetics, camera performance and build quality that phones sport across price bands.

Users indicated more satisfaction with intangible factors that they associate with their smartphones, including reliability and performance.

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“In order to win consumer mindset, smartphone brands need to invest in getting not just product design and product quality right, but they must ensure overall brand experience, and service quality right,” Ram added.

When it comes to reliability, Realme users rank their smartphones high (90 per cent), followed by Samsung (88 per cent) and Vivo (87 per cent). (IANS)