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Government Announces Steps Required to Provide Further Impetus to Economy

The fundamental essence of the policies undertaken so far has been to deregulate and assist the flow of capital

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Economy, Government, India
The two vital components of the policy changes that stand out and need additional attention are (i) effective auction mechanisms to assist the flow of capital. LifetimeStock

The recent announcements by the Government of India regarding FDI in single-brand retail, changes to FPI surcharges and renewed talks about monetising state assets has once again brought the focus back on the next steps required to provide further impetus to the economy. The two vital components of the policy changes that stand out and need additional attention are (i) effective auction mechanisms to assist the flow of capital and (ii) promotion of competitive industries.

The fundamental essence of the policies undertaken so far has been to deregulate and assist the flow of capital. Utilising an adequate but less onerous regulatory regime is at the heart of creating and implementing growth-oriented policies. As we move ahead, we must keep an eye on the two focus areas.

Firstly, auctioning government assets and Public Sector Units (PSUs) to generate both much-needed capital as well as efficient organisations is an area that needs urgent attention. The vital aspect of the auctions is to create a template that can be improved upon in the future. And for the template to be developed for the auctions, it is vital to bear in mind that the complexity of government assets that can be auctioned vary significantly. Therefore, the warranted path for auction of Government assets must be cognizant of the complexities involved.

Initially, the process must focus on assets that have a predetermined use and a market value that is easier to assign such as businesses with physical assets that can be valued at market, such as industrial plants. Auctioning off of such assets is easier to decipher and will assist in giving the auction process the much-needed momentum. Once the auction process gains momentum, auction of more complex assets that pertain to “rights” can be attempted. More complex assets are the ones where assigning the “right to usage” may be complicated due to a lack of a visible market price.

Economy, Government, India
The recent announcements by the Government of India regarding FDI in single-brand retail, changes to FPI surcharges and renewed talks about monetising state assets has once again brought the focus back. LifetimeStock

The initial auction process would do well to deal with say a business that can produce a specific marketable commodity that can be priced using prevalent market prices. Auctioning an asset that is easier to price will attract investors and inspire public confidence in the process. Auctioning off a factory that can produce a specific product is an example of such an asset. Valuing the asset under consideration is relatively more straightforward. Auctioning off an asset whose usage may have varied options, is harder to price because the optionality may be harder to value, to begin with. The key “mantra” for creating the much talked about asset-monetisation process is executing a plan that is �measured’: starts from the simple, gradually move towards complexity.

The capital that the auction process generates must be taken as “risk-capital” to help stimulate Indian investments. More importantly, the money generated from such auctions can be used to untangle the domestic credit that is stuck in non-performing assets (NPAs) and provide a boost to new domestic investments. Fundamentally, the capital generated from the monetisation process will significantly improve the velocity of credit flow. While the quantum of money the new regulations and effective auctions can create is vital, the ability of the new policy moves and auctions to be a catalyst forunleashing domestic capital is of equal importance.

The second area that deserves attention from a deregulation perspective is “pricing”. To assist the higher flow of capital, promoting investments and pushing for more significant economic growth, the government must look to encourage competition in sectors rather than hunting for price-caps. While for essential commodities price-caps may be necessary, in general, introducing price-caps or “rent-control” has unfavourable long-term implications which may be counterproductive for economic growth and judicious capital usage.

The reason is not far to seek. One result of “rent-control” or price-caps may result in businesses reducing capital expenditure and investments and focus on capital recovery by “squeezing” assets. Sectors need to be made attractive for companies and investors to boost investments and growth. Hence the aim must be to promote capital flow using policies, instead of restricting investments due to limitations (like a price cap) imposed on the market.

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In general, the aim of government policy must not be to set prices but to encourage a competitive industry, that ensures innovation and fair pricing. To ensure that customers get a fair price, the government must provide a competitive industry; not a “rent-control” regime. Artificial price-caps promote the exact opposite behaviour of that intended by policymakers such as low-innovation, low-investment and decline in product quality.

Deregulation of markets to promote investments and economic growth is the path forward. Effective auctions and competitive industries are vital cogs in the economic growth wheel that can contribute significantly to tide over the current issues and boost long-term growth. (IANS)

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Tech Giant Apple Empowering Students in Burhanpur Pen Success on iPads

Apple Teacher is a free online professional learning programme designed to support and celebrate the great work of teachers around the world

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Apple, Campus, China
A customer is entering the Apple store in Fairfax, Virginia. VOA

BY NISHANT ARORA 

Frequented by historians and art lovers seeking solace in its rich past, another transformation, albeit quietly, is taking place in the city of Burhanpur and this time, Cupertino-based tech giant Apple is empowering talented kids at the Macro Vision Academy (MVA) to find their place in the fast-changing world.

One of the handful schools in India that has employed iPads and Mac desktops for imparting education, the CBSE-affiliated, day-cum-residential school has customised Apple products to improve students’ results and rankings – thus earning the tag of ‘Apple Distinguished School’ (ADS) for the second time in a row.

Worldwide, there are 470 ADSs in 34 countries and four are in India. Apple Distinguished Schools share their achievements by collaborating with Apple teams to host on-site Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) visits. The educators showcase best practices for using iPad, Mac, apps, multi-touch books and other digital materials to create powerful learning experiences.

At the Academy which is touted as the complete Gurukul, students are creating world-class apps while teachers are busy imparting lessons via Apple TVs in classrooms as students deploy iPads at the same time to imbibe real-time learning, including music on iPad.

The benefits of learning on iPads – nearly all students at the Academy are equipped with iPads and the Academy has over 150 top-of-the-line iMacs at its fully-equipped iMac Lab — are numerous: Learn and revise on the go, lesser books to carry, analytical performance reports to improve and track the growth, digitised voice notes at a secured Wi-Fi campus, and much more.

Today, the MVA students are working at Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, Uber, IBM, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Infosys, Microsoft, Adobe, and several other top-notch firms. They have got admissions to prestigious universities like Penn State University, The State University of New York and all IITs.

Apple iPad in frame
Apple iPad. Wikimedia Commons

According to Anand Prakash Chouksey, Director, MVA, iPads and iMacs are part of students’ everyday life at Macrovision.

“The devices help teachers connect with students in a seamless way. The digital approach has increased kids’ interest in studies and their confidence levels have gone up too. They think in a more creative manner while looking at the same old curriculum. This has increased parents’ confidence too,” Chouksey told IANS during the campus visit.

Apple School Manager at the premises is a simple, web-based portal for IT administrators to manage people, devices, and content all from one place. There is a redesigned user interface, more powerful ways to manage bulk activities, and greater control over accounts and classes.

“With the help of Apple School Manager, installing, maintaining and integration of 2,500 iPads was simple and did not incur any extra cost. It also gave us the flexibility to customize and implement policies as per our school needs,” informed Vijay Sukhwani who takes care of the entire Apple ecosystem at the campus.

Apple Classroom app turns iPads and Macs into powerful teaching assistants. The app also makes it easy to share information and send and receive files with the entire class and individual students using AirDrop, or show student work on the big screen.

All Apple products are built with an integrated approach to privacy and security and providing schools with devices, apps, and services that keep students’ work and personal information secure.

With Managed Apple IDs, the school controls student information and can choose to enable or disable apps and services such as iMessage, FaceTime or student progress reporting with the Schoolwork app.

Apple iPad
At the Academy which is touted as the complete Gurukul, students are creating world-class apps while teachers are busy imparting lessons via Apple TVs in classrooms as students deploy iPads at the same time to imbibe real-time learning, including music on iPad. IANS

Jay Firke from the school who attended Apple’s annual flagship Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, last year is super excited.

“I have created an e-portfolio app wherein class teachers can fill the students’ report about their skills and educational topics. The app currently works on school Wi-Fi,” Firke told IANS.

“I have also worked on an iOS school app which is made with Swift 4.1. This app includes all our school details,” he added, as his team members showcased some of the apps they have built in the classroom.

Apple has also developed apps that help teachers at the Academy put the power of technology to work, bringing ideas into their lessons and productivity to their classrooms.

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The ‘Schoolwork’ app makes it easy for teachers to share class materials, assign activities within apps and view students progress. Students have one place to see assignments, submit work and view their own progress.

Apple Teacher is a free online professional learning programme designed to support and celebrate the great work of teachers around the world.

“We are aiming for an all-round development of not only students but also teachers as true digital learning can only happen then”, said a beaming Chouksey. (IANS)