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Govt assures automakers of all support in Covid times

GST rate cut, e-vehicles, Make in India dominate automakers’ annual conclave, which brings together the industry and the government on the same platform. The event was also attended by Prakash Javadekar, Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal.

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The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) organised its 60th Annual Convention and looking at the difficult times the automobile industry is going through, it was aptly titled “Re-Building the Nation, Responsibly”. The annual convention, held online this year, brings together the industry and the government on the same platform. The auto sector has had a long list of demands from the government and the Union ministers in attendance did have some words of confidence for the beleaguered sector. It, however, remains to be seen how the words get translated into actions in the months to come.

Apart from the auto industry stalwarts the convention was attended by Environment & Heavy Industries Minister Prakash Javadekar, Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. The government assured the automobile industry of support from the government in reviving demand, which has taken a dire hit owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Putting across recommendations to the government towards boosting demand in the automobile sector, outgoing President of SIAM Rajan Wadhera said, “We need specific steps to boost demand in the sector, as the festive season is fast approaching. Some of the key asks included lowering of GST rates from 28 to 18% across all vehicle categories and automotive components, an incentive based vehicle scrappage policy and taking concrete steps towards realising the vision of the Automotive Mission Plan.”

While acknowledging the auto industry’s recommendation for reduction in GST rates, Javadekar said, “GST reduction will ultimately benefit the government and I will be taking it up with the Finance Minister and Prime Minister’s Office. He also assured that a well-entrenched vehicle scrappage policy will come soon that will bode well for the automobile industry.” The minister also added that infrastructure is the only answer to the growth story of India and the government is looking at investing Rs 100 lakh crore towards infrastructure projects over the coming times. This, according to him will also hugely benefit the automobile industry. He also assured that in future there will be no lockdowns and supply side blockages will ease out.

Promotion of electric vehicles was also discussed at length at the conclave. According to the government, it is focusing on e-mobility by pushing for creating better infrastructure and providing incentive to electric vehicle manufacturers. It hopes once cost of electrified vehicles goes down, demand will increase and this segment will be highly profitable. Talking about the alternate fuels, Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said, “It is time the country also focuses on alternative biofuel technologies such as that of ethanol, methanol, LNG, and so on.”

 During the convention, the panelists also spoke about possible ways that can help in fostering increased localisation in the Indian automobile sector, improve ease-of-doing business scenario in the country and the steps that are to be undertaken to create ‘Brand India’, so as to harness the country’s export potential. They deliberated on viable pathways which will lay the ground work for a truly Aatmanirbhar automotive sector. Pawan Goenka, past president, SIAM and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, commented, “India is currently the largest exporter to Central and South America. 40% of our export volume currently goes to these markets, followed by central and East Africa. However, it is important to note that, exports now accounts for 16% of our total output, which indicates a lot of room for expansion.”

On increased localisation in the automotive segment, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal opined, “Best-inclass make and design, use of innovative technologies, smart packaging and intelligent product pricing can go a long way in fetching desired results. Skilling is another aspect that needs to be looked into, if we are to ace in domestic manufacturing. Upskilling and reskilling should be treated as a priority and an industryacademia partnership is one of the best available models to achieve this goal.” The minister also added in the Covid-19 era, the demand for shared mobility fizzing away, which was once the talk of the town. Current trends indicate that people will continue to buy cars, try out self-drive, autonomous and EVs, and therefore, as a corollary, the automobile sector’s health would eventually improve.

The conclave ended on a positive note with the ministers stating that the government will continue to do all that it can to help the autoindustry. It also promised to look at devising innovative models to boost exports. Some of these that are currently prevalent include, the credit guarantee model, creating automotive hubs and clusters, partnering with states to make land availability easier, and adopt a more competitive approach to domestic manufacturing. The industry achieved the landmark feat of transitioning to the BSVI emission norms from 1 April 2020, across all vehicle segments, bringing India at par with rest of the world, while meeting one of the most stringent environmental regulations for vehicles.

Shams Naqvi is Senior Editor at carandbike.com.

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HIGHLY ANTICIPATED GAMES UNVEILED AT G-STAR

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GAMES - G-STAR

Seoul: South Korean gaming developers and publishers have been unveiling their latest titles featuring cutting-edge graphics and technology at an ongoing game expo. This year’s G-Star Global Game Exhibition is not operating offline booths due to concerns over the Covid-19 outbreak, and fans must participate in the Thursday-Sunday event through the online streaming platform Twitch, reports Yonhap news agency. Game developer WeMade Co. showcased its first massively multiplayer online role-playing (MMORPG) Mir 4 for mobile platforms. The game will be co-published by Kakao Games. Mir 4, a sequel in the popular Mir series, features 3-D graphics that will provide an unprecedented level of freedom of movement for players compared to its predecessors, according to the company. Meanwhile, online gaming company Krafton Inc. is scheduled to showcase its MMORPG title “Elyon” later in the day. The game will be published by Kakao Games.

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MOTOROLA TO LAUNCH HIGH-END PHONE ‘NIO’ WITH SNAPDRAGON 865

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MOTOROLA

New Delhi: Motorola is reportedly working on a new flagship device codenamed ‘Nio’ powered by the Snapdragon 865 and it will likely arrive next year. The Snapdragon 865 chip at the heart of Motorola’s new flagship will be paired with 8GB RAM and 128GB of onboard storage, reports news portal Gizbot. The display will have an FHD+ resolution and we expect the panel to have at least 90Hz of refresh rate. The phone may flaunt a triple camera setup on the back consisting of a 64MP sensor with a wide-angle lens, a 16MP sensor with an ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 2MP depth sensor. On the front, it will sport a dual-camera setup, which will include a 16 MP sensor with a wide-angle lens and an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens. Other features include dual-SIM support and Android 11 straight out of the box.

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MILAGROW INTRODUCES TWO AFFORDABLE FLOOR-CLEANING ROBOTS

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MILAGROW - FLOOR CLEANING ROBOTS

New Delhi: Indian consumer robot maker Milagrow on Monday launched an affordable range of floor cleaning and sanitising robotic vacuum cleaners. Priced at Rs 29,990, the RedHawk and BlackCat devices come with a five-year suction motor warranty and two-year comprehensive warranty. Backed by Milagrow’s 9th generation proprietary Gyro mapping software, both the robots help with cleaning and sanitising the floors and can be operated by users from anywhere in the world, the company said in a statement. Both the devices display real-time progress and mapping while cleaning on the users’ mobile device. The large water tank in these robots can also carry ICMR-recommended Covid killing solution, sodium hypochlorite. The machines also come with an anti-bacterial, antimicrobial mop. The robots have strong suction power and use HEPA 12 filtration for removing almost all kinds of virus particles up to 0.01 micron, the company said.

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FUJIFILM LAUNCHES MIRRORLESS CAMERA FOR RS 99,999 IN INDIA

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FUJIFILM MIRRORLESS

New Delhi: Wednesday launched ‘X-S10’ mirrorless digital camera at a starting price of Rs 99,999 in India. According to the company, the X-S10 is a game-changer for beginners, vloggers and photographers who are constantly looking out for something small, dependable and capable at a relatively affordable price. The camera features a 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and in-body image stabilisation (IBIS). The X-S10 offers maximum functionality in a compact body. The camera offers AUTO/SP (Scene Position) Mode automatically adjusts camera settings to produce stunning images without the need to make fine adjustments to image settings. It can either produce sharp 4K/30P 4:2:2 10-bit video or high-speed full-HD video at 240 frames per second. The vari-angle LCD screen can also be flipped forward 180 degrees, giving everyone from photographers and filmmakers to Vloggers and hobbyists something to love about this camera, the company said.

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IPHONE 12 PRO: A GOOD CHOICE FOR YOUR MONEY

Richa Kapoor

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IPHONE 12 PRO

Earlier this month I had reviewed iPhone 12 and now it’s time for the elder sibling. This time around the sibling is more of a twin in many ways. Size-wise there is no difference at all. But then you get a heavier pro due to the stainless-steel frame, an extra camera, more storage and RAM. So, would you prefer a lesser expensive iphone12 or a slight upgrade which could cost your pocket a couple of thousands. Let’s find out.

IPHONE 12 PRO SPECS

6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED

Apple A14 Bionic

128GB 6GB RAM/ 256GB 6GB RAM/ 512GB 6GB RAM

12 MP, f/1.6, 26mm (wide) + 12 MP, f/2.0, 52mm (telephoto) + 12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚, 13mm (ultrawide) + TOF 3D LiDAR scanner + 12 MP, f/2.2, 23mm (wide) selfie camera

Li-Ion 2815 mAh battery

iOS 14.1

189 g

IPHONE 12 PRO DESIGN: NEW YET OLD

The design is a major highlight for me in any iPhone. iPhone 12 series has been a major winner for me in this department. The blend of new and old has been seamless. The stainless-steel frame gives that oomph factor you would want. Some might complain about the finger marks, then for those you have the iphone12 polished aluminium option.

The camera module is almost the same as the iPhone 11 Pro, though it is slightly larger to accommodate the Lidar.

The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro is bigger than its predecessor. The screen is larger. Otherwise the display is not different from what you got last year. But where this one goes a step ahead is the “scratch-resistant ceramic glass, oleophobic coating” on top of it.

IPHONE 12 PRO CAMERA

The iPhone 12 Pro gets 3 lenses in comparison to 2 in the iPhone 12. There is an extra 12MP telephoto lens along with the 12MP wide and ultra-wide cameras seen on the iPhone 12. The main wide camera however has a larger f1.6 aperture.

Photography is a complete delight on this device. To begin with, low light and night photos. Been Diwali season, I could test try night mode well on this device. Pictures with diya and lights in the background none of them over exposed or needed any kind of filters and auto corrections. Low light pictures are my new favourite on the iPhone 12 Pro. The image quality and detailing are something you would enjoy the colours might feel a bit bleached at times but this much I would let go.

The ultra-wide lens also helps you obtain pictures worth social media posting. The rear camera set-up will leave you pleased with your pictures and the images obtained will look real and not over-edited and post-produced.

The selfie camera as I had mentioned in my iPhone 12 review as well is a great lens as it seems to miss nothing. The selfies captured are crisp and very beautifully detailed.

IPHONE 12 PRO PROCESSOR

The A14 Bionic processor is fast and powerful. You will notice it when you use the iPhone 12 Pro there is no lag while using the device. Using apps like Vediolap also the device works seamlessly and responds very quickly. It is great for multi-tasking and you will enjoy playing heavy graphic games on this device.

The iPhone 12 Pro battery lasts about 18 hours on a full charge with regular usage on 4G. The phone does not come with a charger in the box so if you are a first time iPhone user you might have to invest in one.

VERDICT

The big question with iPhone 12 Pro is: Would you want a same-size phone like the iPhone 12 and pay more for the camera and RAM. Well in that case there is no loser here. With the iPhone 12 series there is not one device which would leave you wanting for more or feeling deceived at any front. If you want one more camera and storage but do not have the extra bit to pay for the Pro Max, then the Pro is a really good choice.

iPhone 12 Pro price in India: Starts at 1,19,900 for 128GB version.

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ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING POINTS TO BE SET UP AT 69,000 FUEL PUMPS

Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways & MSME, says that the government is trying to create an ecosystem to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles in the country.

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ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING POINTS TO BE SET UP AT 69,000 FUEL PUMPS

Central as well as many state governments have been trying to give a big push to adoption of electric vehicles in the country. The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-II) scheme has been a big step in that direction. Under the scheme, an outlay of Rs 10,000 Crore for a period of 3 years commencing from 1 April 2019 has been earmarked which will help increase the sales of electric vehicles in the country. As of now a total of 35,694 vehicles have been sold under the scheme which has resulted in saving 36,778 litres of fuel everyday and daily reduction of 83,701 kg of harmful CO2. But another critical point is where all these electric vehicles can be charged. One of the answers was provided by the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways & MSME, Nitin Gadkari, earlier this week.

Addressing a virtual conference on electric mobility, Gadkari said that at least one electric vehicle charging kiosk will be set up at around 69,000 petrol pumps across the country. He said that the government is trying to create an ecosystem to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles in the country and asked the auto industry to come together to work jointly towards achieving a broader national agenda of reducing pollution. He elaborated a number of steps that the government has already taken to promote electric vehicles which include reduction in GST to 5% and allowing delinking of battery cost of 2 and 3 wheelers from vehicle cost as it accounts for nearly 30% of the cost.

The minister, known for his passion for clean mobility, also stressed that India is poised to become a global automobile manufacturing hub in next 5 years, adding that the aim is to create core global competencies in India by facilitating seamless integration of the automotive industry with the world. This, he felt, is possible as the Indian Auto sector has made significant strides in terms of development of different designs and models, robust R&D, huge market, stable government frame-work and bright & young engineering minds. Considering the huge potential of the sector, the government has earmarked over Rs 51,000 crore for this sector under Production-Linked Incentive (PLI), the highest amongst the 10 champion sectors.

He also stated that there is a huge requirement of about 25 million skilled jobs in the automobile sector in near future. He added India already is the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in the world. Gadkari further called upon the automobile industry to push for manufacturing flex engines which have versatility to use petrol or ethanol/CNG as fuels. He stressed that the Indian auto industry needs to follow the example of Brazil and US Auto sectors in this regard. He exuded confidence that the industry would utilise the opportunity being thrown up by the alternative and less polluting fuels like CNG, hydrogen, electricity.

In a related development, foundation stone has been laid for the first country’s 50 (Liquefied Natural Gas) LNG fueling stations, across the golden quadrilateral and major National Highways. Out of these 50 LNG stations, IOCL will set up 20 LNG stations, while BPCL and HPCL will set up 11 each LNG stations. According to the Government, it has identified LNG as a transport fuel as a priority area considering the potential of manifold benefits in terms of reducing vehicular pollution, saving in terms of import bill of the country and wide ranging benefits that may accrue to fleet operators, vehicle manufacturers and other entities in the gas sector.

Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, said that a well-thought strategy is being implemented to take the country towards the gas-based economy. In this regard, gas infrastructure is being set up, in terms of laying of pipelines, setting up of terminals, enhancing gas production, introduction of simple and rational tax structure. He said that LNG is going to be the fuel of the future for transport, and in this regard, retro-fitting of the vehicles as well as development by original equipment manufacturers is being undertaken. The Minister said that the LNG is not only almost 40 % cheaper than diesel but also causes very less pollution.

He said that the government will set up LNG stations at the distance of 200-300 km on golden quadrilateral, and within 3 years, we will have 1,000 LNG stations on all major roads, industrial hubs and mining areas. He expressed confidence that 10% of the trucks will adopt LNG as fuel. The government says it will continue to promote CNG vehicles, electric vehicles, auto-LPG, but at the same time, LNG as long-haul fuel will be pushed.

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