San Jose: In a bid to express support for ‘Digital India’, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg changed his profile picture to support ‘Digital India’ ahead of his interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Within minutes, Modi too changed his picture to thank him.
“I changed my profile picture to support ‘Digital India’, the Indian government’s effort to connect rural communities to the internet and give people access to more services online. Looking forward to discussing this with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Facebook today,” posted Zuckerberg on Facebook.
While Zuckerberg’s new picture shows his side profile overlaid with the saffron, white and green colours of the Indian flag, Modi’s new picture shows his full face with the colours of India similarly overlaid.
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
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.
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.
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)
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Wednesday discussed on a range of issues including data sovereignty and Digital India with Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Speaking to reporters here after his meeting with Nadella, IT Minister Prasad said that it was a courtesy meeting which went “very good”.
“We talked on issue of data sovereignty which is a work in progress,” he said, adding that Digital India was also discussed among several issues in the IT segment.
Data sovereignty and data localisation have been major subjects of debate with the government having introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill in the Parliament last year.
Although the bill allows the transfer of personal data outside India, while transferring “sensitive” personal data outside the country a copy will have to be kept in the country. Data processing or collecting entities will, however, be barred from transferring “critical” personal data outside the country.
Data sovereignty and localisation have been a matter of concern and major technology companies which are mostly based out of India and store data outside the country.
The minister also told the media that he has offered the Microsoft Corporation CEO to adopt few villages in the country and transform them into digital villages in line with the government’s target of establishing one lakh digital villages.
“We discussed a whole range of issues on IT, particularly i have offered to him… We have to establish one lakh digital villages. He can consider adopting some of these digital villages and mentoring it to become a beacon for others to follow,” he said. (IANS)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to throw his support behind international reforms that would require Silicon Valley tech giants to pay more tax in Europe.
The billionaire social network founder is due to meet members of the European Union’s executive Commission in Brussels and speak at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
Zuckerberg is expected to tell the conference that he’s backing plans for digital tax reform on a global scale proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. According to an excerpt of his speech provided in advance, Zuckerberg will say, “I understand that there’s frustration about how tech companies are taxed in Europe.”
Zuckerberg will tell the conference that he’s glad that that the OECD is looking at tax reform, which Facebook also wants. “And we accept that may mean we have to pay more tax and pay it in different places under a new framework,” Zuckerberg will reportedly say.
The OECD plans would require digital and internet companies, including social media platforms, to pay more tax in countries where they have significant consumer-facing activities and generate profits.
The current system for taxing multinationals is based on where they are physically located, which sees internet companies such as Facebook pay the majority of their tax in the United States. The situation is even more complicated in the European Union, where multinationals largely pay taxes on business done across the region in the one country that serves as their EU base, often a low-tax haven.
Tech companies have faced criticism for not paying enough tax in come countries. The U.S., meanwhile, has criticized the OECD plans, arguing they discriminate against big Silicon Valley companies. (VOA)