NEW DELHI: The Unique Identification Authority of India is procuring hardware to raise its authentication capacity to 10 crore transactions a day, Parliament was informed today.

“Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is in process of procurement of necessary hardware for enhancing its authentication capacity to 10 crore transactions a day,” Minister of State for Electronics and IT P P Chaudhary told the Rajya Sabha.

The minister’s written reply came in response to a question on how the authority plans to increase biometric authentication capacity of Aadhaar to push Aadhaar enabled payment system.

Multiple steps such as DigiDhan Mela, social media information campaigns and DigiShala TV Channel have been undertaken for awareness on Aadhaar enabled digital payments.

The government has recently approved ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ for digital literacy in rural India, he stated.

Besides this, the government has implemented two schemes — National Digital Literacy Mission and Digital Saksharta Abhiyan — for providing digital literacy to the masses, with cumulative target of reaching 52.5 lakh people across the country.

The minister also informed that under India BPO Promotion Scheme, 70 companies have entered into preliminary agreement with Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) so far to set up BPO/ITeS operations for 14,900 seats across 60 locations.

As many as 15 units have reported commencement of operations under the said scheme for a total of 1,850 seats.

Under another BPO promotion scheme, North East BPO Promotion Scheme, 10 companies have entered into preliminary agreement with STPI to set up operations for 1,460 seats across five states in the region.

The number of e-transactions through Common Services Centres on the ‘Digital Seva Portal’ jumped to 1,175 lakh in 2016 from 902 lakh in 2015. In January and February 2017, 101 lakh transactions were conducted through the CSCs on the portal, Chaudhary said.

To another question, the minister said that a total of 9,622 and 11,592 cyber crimes were registered during 2014 and 2015, respectively, reflecting a 20 per cent rise during the period, as per data by National Crime Records Bureau.

Responding to another query, he clarified that official websites of Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram International airports were not hacked, and that no official data of the websites were stolen.

“It has been reported that some private websites in the name of Kochi airport and Thiruvananthapuram airport were hacked in December 2016. These hacked websites are registered and hosted in USA,” he said.

Source: ET

NEW DELHI: Reliance Communications today came out with a new offering that provides 1GB data to new 4G customers for Rs 49 whereas 3GB data will be priced at Rs 149 plus free, unlimited local and STD calls within its network.

The plans under ‘Joy of Holi’ offer come with a 28-day validity.

“With this launch, all new 4G customers of Reliance Communications will get… 1GB of data access offered at just Rs 49 while 3GB of data access can be availed for only Rs 149, along with free and unlimited on-net local and STD calls, valid for 28 days,” a company release said here.

The Anil Ambani-owned RCom has also announced variants of the plan for its 3G and 2G customers, including unlimited 3G data access for Rs 99 and unlimited 2G data access for Rs 49.

“… We still see immense potential in the 3G and 2G markets, which boast of 750 million smartphones and data-ready feature phones. We have, therefore, customised special offerings in this space as well, with segmented and value-creating propositions,” said Gurdeep Singh, co-CEO, Reliance Communications and CEO of RCom’s Consumer Business.

RCom further said new 3G customers in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir can now recharge with Rs 99 and get unlimited 3G data, bundled with Rs 20 worth of talk time.

In this plan, voice calls will be charged at 25 paise per minute with a validity of 28 days.

In addition, new 2G customers in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Chennai will be offered unlimited 2G data access for only Rs 49 with an in-built talk time of Rs 20 and call charges at 25 paise per minute, valid for 28 days, it added.

The offers come at a time when the Indian telecom service providers are rolling out attractive packages to woo and retain consumers in the aftermath of Reliance Jio’s aggressive pricing plan.

The Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio has already sweetened its offering for ‘Prime’ members, saying those recharging with Rs 303 will get an extra 5GB data beyond the 28GB already committed under the scheme.

Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal has reached out to post-paid subscribers promising more data to them starting March 13, which they can access through their mobile applications.

Source: ET

NEW DELHI: The Motorola-Lenovo combine plans to strengthen its offline retail presence in a bid to increase foothold in what it expects to be a challenging Indian market over the next three years. The company, however, will take a call on expanding manufacturing once the new unified tax regime sets in.

Calling itself a challenger, the No 3 smartphone brand with 9.9% share as of December, will invest in setting up exclusive retail stores that will give hands on experience and sales for all phones, starting with pilots with large format retail stores such that half its sales comes from offline. Some new launches will include the Moto G5 and new Mods for the Moto Z.

“It’s going to be very challenging next three years, the top five brands will constitute 80% of the market, and they will be in the premium and sub premium segments and not so much in the bottom of the pyramid,” said Sudhin Mathur, newly-appointed managing director of Motorola India, who also heads the Lenovo phone business in India.

The company plans to strengthen its offline strategy with expansion, with about 25-100 exclusive stores over the next three years. However, it will begin with about five to six stores in the near term. Currently, two-thirds of its business comes from the online channel.

“Online market will only grow till the point where it is now, so next growth will come from offline… if half of the sales comes from offline in two years from now, would be great,” Mathur said.

Source: ET

NEW DELHI: IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today asked the global community to work on protection of data privacy while emphasising on innovations using data analytics.

“In India, 1.08 billion mobile phones, 60 million smartphones are a data, 112 billion Aadhaar is a data but on the other side, it is an equally important issue that data is mine. I am the individual. Why should my data be made public,” Prasad said at the “International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV)”.

The minister said there are strict clauses to maintain the privacy of Aadhaar holders as per the Aadhaar Act.

“Our law is tough that even as a minister of IT, I cannot reveal my own fingerprint and iris except for the authorised objective underlined in the (Aadhaar) Act. Otherwise, I will suffer consequences,” Prasad said.

The minister said that for innovation to grow, data has to grow.

“We will have to find ways to maintain innovative spirit of data analysis and sanctity of data privacy. How do we respond to those two challenges which are completely conflicting but also exciting. I think this is an area where I will expect ICEGOV to reflect upon,” Prasad said.

He said that virtual world is now affecting the real world and the problem that arises in virtual world is being addressed in real world.

Prasad said such problems between virtual and real world can be handled through an effective collaboration.

The minister said the government is going to make 60 million people digitally literate in three years.

Human Resource development Minister Prakash Javadekar said his ministry can partner with the IT Ministry with 40 million army of young college students.

Javadekar said the HRD Ministry has taken the digital route through Swayam platform to provide education for free to people.

“It (Swayam) is available on all platforms including mobile phones. Now with Swayam, like ‘Any Time Money’ with ATM machines, it is any where learning. More than 2,000 courses will be offered for everyone in the country. That will be free of cost,” Javadekar said.

Source: ET

NEW DELHI: Telecom regulator TRAI today recommended small entrepreneurs and shop owners be allowed to become Wi-Fi hotspot venues and team up with ‘aggregators’ to offer low-cost public Internet services in a PCO-type model.

“Since there is a significant section of the population still to be connected, measures taken to enable larger service providers to provide public Wi-Fi…will not suffice….Steps need to be taken to ensure that in addition to existing service providers, small providers can also enter the public Wi-Fi ecosystem and have the capability and incentives to provide public Wi-Fi on a small scale,” TRAI said.

TRAI has suggested the concept of ‘Public Data Offices’ and ‘aggregators’ for providing public Wi-Fi services at cheaper rates.

According to TRAI, the Wi-Fi venues can be provided by local shop owners or grocery stores and `aggregator’ can provide last mile Wi-Fi services and seamless experience for authentication and payments. The aggregator can buy bandwidth from Internet service providers and re-sell them.

The aggregators would not require any specific licence, but would have to adhere to registration and record keeping requirements prescribed by the telecom department, TRAI said.

“Further, the PDOs will ensure that users can buy the data amount based on their needs. The availability of data services for small token values will stimulate the demand for public Wi-Fi services,” it said.

TRAI said that during public consultations, it came across certain existing models which have managed to stimulate demand for paid public Wi-Fi by offering “sachet” sized access plans of low denominations ranging Rs 2 to Rs 20.

“However, the success of such models is predicated upon appropriate changes being effected in the regulatory and licensing regime,” it said.

The import duty applicable on Wi-Fi equipment should be revisited, it said, adding that this will reduce the cost of providing Internet services.

TRAI has favoured doing away with the existing requirement of authentication through one-time password for each instance of access, and said that “authentication through eKYC, eCAF (Customer Acquisition Form) and other electronic modes be allowed for the purpose of KYC (Know Your Customer) obligations”.

It has also suggested that virtual network operators should be allowed to join hands with multiple network service operators for providing internet service.

The telecom regulator has favoured de-licensing spectrum in the 5.725 – 5.825 GHz spectrum band for outdoor usage, and asked the telecom department to expedite decision on allocating E-band and V-band to service providers.

Source: ET

MUMBAI: N. Chandrababu Naidu, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, and often regarded as one of the evangelists of Indian information technology (IT) revolution, seems to be now putting weight behind fintech.

Naidu on Thursday said that Andhra Pradesh government is aiming to develop Vizag as national and global hub for fintech innovation. Fintech Valley Vizag is Government of Andhra Pradesh’s flagship initiative that brings together industry, academia and investors to innovate, co-create and build the fintech ecosystem, the state government said.

“The Fintech Valley Spring Conference is our step in joining the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is a spectacular combination of technology and Internet of Things (IoT). In recent times, technology has started influencing our lives in a comprehensive manner. The demand for Fintech is growing each day. To meet this demand, we would need the support from Fintech and Cyber security companies. We also need the academic institutions to adapt curriculum that trains individuals to contribute to fintech sector. I extend my best wishes for the success of the initiative and hope it provides multiple opportunities to meet the futuristic requirements of our country and the global economy at large,” said Naidu.

He also offered full support to organisations, incubators, facilitators and start-ups, inviting anyone with disruptive ideas to be a part of Fintech Valley.

“Indian IT 1.0 is facing difficulties. The next flight towards IT 2.0 will be backed by fintech. The tectonic shifts this will cause and entail is captured by the expression ‘fintectonics’. It is a fintech culture we are creating here – a culture of doing something for the betterment of the common man, a culture of creating an ecosystem by getting the right industry linkages and finding the right formula for the critical manpower,” said J. A. Chowdary, special chief secretary and IT Advisor of Naidu.

Source: ET