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New Technology May Help Indian Farmers Double Income

Given that the intensive fish culture does not require to be limited in geography to coastal areas, it can also be used in inland areas, further confirming the flexibility of the system

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farmers, solar scheme
If given to the developers, the farmer will get at least 30-35 paise per unit to ensure an annual income of Rs 1 lakh. Wikimedia Commons

The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) is working on a new technology in aquaculture to help double the income of Indian farmers, an official said on Monday.

The institute has recently established a ‘Backyard Re-circulatory Aquaculture System’ developed by Cochin University of Science and Technology.

The system, an intensive fish culture pond, enables high density stocking of fish in cages. This would allow off-setting of the load by stocking different varieties and sizes of fish in smaller cages in a pond, the institute said in a statement.

Since the water requirement for this system is quite low, the high-density stocking of fish in different cages enables flexibility in managing a fishpond.

“We can only double the income of farmers by promoting integrated farming practices. Such technology-backed smart farming solutions will encourage youth to undertake farming as an occupation,” said W.R. Reddy, Director General at NIRDPR.

coffee farmers
A farmer examines his coffee plantation in Kirinyaga near Nyeri, Kenya, March 14, 2018. VOA

This system, inaugurated at the Institute’s Rural Technology Park, was established with funding support of the National Fisheries Development Board, a government organisation.

Fish varieties that can be grown in the system include Tilapia, Pangasius, Murrel and Pearlspot. The economics of growing Genetically Improved Farm Tilapia (GIFT) in the pond, for a stocking period of 120 days over three cycles per year, demonstrates that an average monthly return of Rs 25,750 can be expected from fish culture.

The aquaculture system can act as a source of additional income for farmers located even in low water availability areas, helping them double their income, the statement said. In addition, the sludge periodically pumped out of the pond can be utilised to grow agriculture crops without the addition of chemical fertilizers, it said.

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Given that the intensive fish culture does not require to be limited in geography to coastal areas, it can also be used in inland areas, further confirming the flexibility of the system.

The Rural Technology Park at NIRDPR will demonstrate the functioning of the system and provide necessary training to farmers, self-help groups (SHGs) and youth who are keen on undertaking fish culture for enhancing their income. (IANS)

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European Union Opening New Front in Its Quest to More Closely Regulate Big Tech Companies

In addition to selling its own products, Amazon also allows third-party retailers to sell their goods through its site

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FILE - Caption European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager addresses a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, Jan.11, 2016, after the EU demanded Monday that Belgium recover millions of euros from 35 large companies in back taxes. VOA

The European Union is opening a new front in its quest to more closely regulate big tech companies, saying Wednesday it was investigating whether U.S. online giant Amazon uses data from independent retailers to gain an illegal edge when selling its own products.

EU antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she is taking a “very close look at Amazon’s business practices and its dual role as marketplace and retailer, to assess its compliance with EU competition rules.”

In addition to selling its own products, Amazon also allows third-party retailers to sell their goods through its site. Last year, more than half of the items sold on Amazon worldwide were from third-party sellers.

The EU opened a preliminary probe into the issue last year, and Vestager said it has shown that “Amazon appears to use competitively sensitive information — about marketplace sellers, their products and transactions on the marketplace.” Using the information could give it an unfair competitive edge.

European Union, Technology, Companies
The European Union is opening a new front in its quest to more closely regulate big tech companies, saying Wednesday it was investigating. Pixabay

In a parallel case, Germany’s competition regulator said Wednesday that Amazon was changing some of its business conditions for traders on its online marketplace worldwide after it raised concerns about some terms. The regulator said that the changes affect a range of issues such as a one-sided exemption from liability to Amazon’s benefit as well as the place of jurisdiction for disputes.

Other EU countries like Austria, Luxembourg and Italy are also independently investigating Amazon but EU spokeswoman Lucia Caudet said the national probes did not overlap with the EU investigation.

Amazon said it would cooperate with the EU authorities, according to media reports.

The EU’s investigations into major companies like Amazon have led the way in a global push to more tightly regulate tech giants, as many governments wonder if they are becoming too big for the good of the wider economy.

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Among the key questions are not only whether the tech giants abuse their market dominance to choke off competition, potentially stifling choice for consumers, but also whether they are adequately protecting users data and paying their fair share of taxes in countries where they operate.

Tech companies do huge business across Europe but pay taxes only in the EU nation where their local headquarters are based, often a low-tax haven like Luxembourg or the Netherlands. The result is they pay a far lower rate than traditional businesses. France has tried to address the problem by unilaterally imposing a 3% tax on big tech companies’ revenue in the country. The U.S. government is not happy about that and finance ministers from the Group of Seven wealthy countries will discuss the issue this week in Paris.

Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commission President elect who should take up her role in November, has said she will try to be more vigilant to make sure such companies pay enough taxes.

European Union, Technology, Companies
EU antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she is taking a “very close look at Amazon’s business practices and its dual role as marketplace and retailer. Pixabay

Amazon has already been the target of previous EU investigations. Two years ago, officials ordered it to pay $295 million in back taxes to Luxembourg after finding that the company profited from a tax avoidance deal with the tiny European country. EU officials also investigated Amazon’s e-book business.

Also Read- Buzz Aldrin Recalls the First Moments of Apollo 11 Launch

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the House Judiciary Committee is investigating the market power of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. Congress is this week holding a two-day hearing on Facebook’s plan to create a digital currency, Libra, which governments in the U.S. and Europe have been skeptical about. (VOA)