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How cyber crime has become a serious concern for society

Cyber world is considered a massive community consisting of millions and billions of users from all around the globe. Particularly, in India, there has been a rapid growth in the number of Internet users in the recent years. According to the IAMAI-Kantar ICUBE 2020 report, ‘The number of India internet users is expected to increase by 45% in the next five years to 900 million in 2025 from around 622 million in 2020.’

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The technological advancements we all have undergone through the arena of revolution have totally made our lives way easier than ever thought. Its emergence has provided us myriad of opportunities but at the same time it’s inevitable for cyber offenders to grab such opportunities to make themselves rich at the cost of others privacy. Cyber laws are itself becomes prime importance especially in today’s technology driven era in which person’s privacy and safety becomes the first priority as the internet user gradually increasing all over the World. This article certainly aim to point out what all revolves around such mishaps and malicious activities. Author with the help of this write-up made an endeavor to fathom the concept of cybercrime in depth so that everyone knows what actually threat them and accordingly protect themselves against the same to stay safe during online transactions and business.

Let’s throw some light towards the meaning of cyber crime and understand exactly what it constitutes. Cyber Crime also known as computer crime can be defined as a systematic criminal act involves a network and a computer as a means to commit an illegal activity. Here illegal activity has a wide arm and includes series of issues apart from stealing someone’s data such as theft to using system or IP address as a tool for committing a crime.

TYPES OF CYBER CRIME

Cybercrime is not a new term for anyone living in the 21st century, but many have not an idea about the forms in which this hazardous act can occur. Speaking in a broad sense cyber crime can be classified into three major groups. These categories are Individual, Property and Government.

Cyber Crime against Individuals: These are offences that are committed by the cyber offenders against a person. In this classification Cyber Crime may take the form of Email spoofing, Spamming, Cyber defamation, Cyber trafficking, Cyber stalking, Phishing, Financial fraud, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Crime and so forth.

Cyber Crime against Property: Just like in the real world the crimes such as theft, robbery is committed against the property of a person, in the same parlance in techno savvy world it is committed against the data of an individual. These crimes are known as Cyber Crime against the property and includes Intellectual (Copyright, patented, trademark etc) Property Crimes, Online threatening, etc.

Cyber Crime against Government: In this category crimes are commonly denoted as cyber terrorism because there always a terror of attack which can get hold of all essential official documents of national importance. There is huge number of cases where a terrorist hacks an important government databases.

The perpetrators of all the above discussed forms of Cyber Crime are increasing at an alarming rate and thereby causing a significant threat at the same time loss to the individual and organizations.

CYBER CRIME IN INDIA

The Cyber World is considered as a massive community consisting of millions and billions of users from all around the globe. Particularly, in India there has been a rapid growth in the number of internet users in the recent years. According to the IAMAI-Kantar ICUBE 2020 report, “the number of India internet users is expected to increase by 45% in the next five years to 900 million in 2025 from around 622 million in 2020.” People access it for variety of purposes starting from online dealing to the online transaction and so on. The advancement in the age of Technology no doubt opened the easy to approachable world full of information. Besides this, it also gives birth to the cyber crime. In the present scenario, India is one of the favorite hotspots for the Cybercriminals. “More than 27 million Indian adults experienced identify theft in the past 12 months and 52% of Indian adults admitted they don’t know how to protect themselves from cybercrime”, according to the 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report by NortonLifeLock. Thus, it is quite clear that due to the huge reliance on internet and lack of awareness there is a much folded increase in Cyber Criminal Activity. So, here Cybersecurity in order to counter these issues has becomes a major concern for a society in large.

LAWS RELATED TO CYBER CRIME

Cyber Law emerges as a tool to prevent the crime committed during course of activities and transactions that occur on the internet or on other communications platforms. Cyber Law plays a pivotal role in this new evolving era of technical society. In India, to curtail the spread of Cyber Crime and to safeguard the confidential data of people the legislature has enacted number of statues and regulations. The Information Technology Act (IT Act), 2000 and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 serve as protection against a menace of Cyber Crime. Apart from this, there are also many cyber cells were established that aid the whole process of penalizing the offenders. The Information Technology Act, 2000 is based on the United Nations Model Law on Electronic Commerce 1996 and is considered the most important law that deals with digital crimes in India. Some highlighting points of IT Act, 2000 are:

• The most important feature of this Act is addressing the issue of security. The Act introduced the construct of digital signatures which will help in verifying the identity of an individual on internet.

• Now e-mail is considered as a valid and legal form of communication.

• With the introduction of the Act, the Digital Signatures and etc. are given legal validity.

• Act has given birth to new business to new business to companies to issue digital certificates by becoming the Certifying Authorities.

• The Act allows the communication between the companies or the company on the one side and the government on the other side through internet. The Act also gives power to government to issues notices on platform of internet through e-governance.

• The Act provides the compensation in the form of many to company if any harm or loss suffered by the company due to any criminal activity.

Later, to keep pace with the changing time the Parliament in 2008 amended the IT Act, 2000. The new IT (Amendment) Act, 2008 which was made effective from 27 October, 2009 has brought several changes in the IT Act, 2000 on certain counts. The key features of the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008 are as follows:

• With the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008 India has adopted the electronic signatures as a legally valid mode of executing signatures. Electronic signature has a wider ambit and also includes digital signatures as one of the mode.

• The amended Act provides the distinction between the terms ‘contravention’ and ‘offence’ by introducing the new element of mens rea for an offence.

• Through the amendment in the IT Act in 2008 certain definitions are added. The two important definitions that are inserted through the IT Act, 2008 are: ‘Communication device’ under section 2(ha) and ‘intermediary’ under the section 2(w). The addition of these definitions further clarifies the term and removes any ambiguity.

• The power of the Adjudicating officer under the amended Act of 2008 limits to decide claims for injury or damage where it exceeds 5 crores. Beyond this amount the jurisdiction now vests with competent court.

• Under the Section 46(5) a new change is made whereby the officers who are adjudicating have conferred with the powers of execution of orders passed by them, including order of attachment, sale of property, arrest and detention of accused.

• The IT (Amendment) Act, 2008 changed the composition of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal (CAT). Now it consists of Chairperson and such other members as central government directs.

• By the amended Act many new Cyber Crimes such as sending of false or offensive messages, receiving stolen computer resource, identity theft, cheating by personation, violation of privacy and so on are included.

Surprisingly, none of the legislations (IT Act & IPC) define the term Cyber Crime. Moreover, there are number of parallel provisions of IT Act and IPC that overlap with each other. There exist several dots in the operational system of investigation of cases of Cybercrime.

THE WAY FORWARD

At the initial phase, Cyber Crime cannot be easily detectable but after causing significant consequences it come into notice. Cyber Crime of all types drastically affects the lives of people by breaching their privacy and causing a huge amount of loss. Cyber Crime is not something which cannot be prevented. Thus, to tackle this malicious threat here is some of the suggestive measures. Till today, the Indian Policing System for the purposes of investigation is stuck to the old methodology. Thus, it is the high time for reforms in the Police system and they should gather new modern ways of collecting information against the suspects.

• One of the major lacuna and also highly debatable issue is the concept of territorial jurisdiction which needs to be tackled.

• There needs to be a proper implementation of the Cyber Crime related laws and for this purpose a well established mechanism should be adopted. Also there is a requirement of a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to reduce the ambit of ambiguity.

• To effectively counter this there is a demand for judges, police personals who are well equipped with IT and there exist an imperative need to impart them legal and technical training.

• In India to efficiently investigate cybercrimes we need officers well equipped with technicalities of forensic science and cyber law.

• By educating the common man and informing them about their rights and obligations in Cyberspace is also the one way which facilitates the proper enforcement of cyber laws in our country.

Above all, while working with advanced technology one should follow security measures and use their common sense and logic. As there is a very famous saying, “Prevention is better than cure.”

CONCLUSION

The proliferation of cyberspace is at the peak during this unpredictable time of COVID 19. This dramatic rise also makes an uneven increase in the rates of Cyber Crime, thereby creating the situation worse than ever. There are many reports which states that there is an increased in cyber frauds during the pandemic. Apart from this, for the very first time our nation, had a “the number of India internet users is expected to increase by 45% in the next five

years to 900 million in 2025 from around 622 million in 2020.” in September 2018. It was held with the aim of creating a common platform for the investigators, forensic teams and other officials to discuss the ways to curb the cyber related offences. Like this, law enforcement agencies should take more encouraging steps. The Cyber Crime related Acts should be revised and modified according to changing needs for our nation. As Cyber Crime is not only becomes the great threat to the mankind but also violates the basic human rights of an individual such as Right to life, Right to privacy, etc. Protection against the same is essential for every aspects of our nation, be it, social, cultural or economic. So, there is an exigency of the hour that this issue must be addressed to maintain the harmony and peace in the society. In sum, Antonie de Saint-Exupery rightly said that “The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.” But at the same instance it should kept in mind that “Action should be taken before it’s too late.

REFERENCES

https://www.mondaq.com/india/it-and-internet/891738/cyber-crimes-under-the-ipc-and-it-act–an-uneasy-co-exitence

https://m.economictimes.com/tech/technology/india-to-have-900-million-active-internet-users-by-2025-says-report/articleshow/83200683.cms

https://www.livemint.com/technology/tech-news/over-59-of-indian-adults-fell-victim-to-cyber-crime-over-past-12-months-report-11618827697551.html

https://www.vedantu.com/english/cyber-crime-essay

https://www.toppr.com/guides/essays/cyber-crime-essay/

https://www.tutorialspoint.com/information_security_cyber_law/introduction.htm

http://www.lawyersclubindia.com/articles/classification-of-CyberCrimes–1484.asp

https://www.ijarcsse.com/docs/papers/Volume_5/8_August2015/V518-0156.pdf

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/cyber-crime-rose-during-lockdown-7196262/

The cyber crime-related Acts should be revised and modified according to changing needs for our nation. Cyber crime has not only become a big threat to the mankind, but also violates the basic human rights of an individual such as Right to Life, Right to Privacy, etc. Protection against the same is essential for every aspect of our nation, be it social, cultural or economic. So, there is an exigency of the hour that this issue must be addressed to maintain the harmony and peace in the society.

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Policy & Politics

TELANGANA WELCOMES TESLA TO SET UP SHOP IN STATE

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Years after Tesla tried to make an entry into the Indian market, Industry and Commerce Minister of Telangana, KT Rama Rao invited Tesla CEO Elon Musk to set up shop in the state in a tweet.

“Hey Elon, I am the Industry and Commerce Minister of Telangana state in India. Will be happy to partner Tesla in working through the challenges to set shop in India/Telangana,” Rao said in a reply to Musk’s tweet.

“Our state is a champion in sustainability initiatives and a top notch business destination in India,” he added.

This statement has come days after Elon Musk said that Tesla “is still working through a lot of challenges with the government” in India to launch electric cars. Musk wrote in a post giving an update to a query on Twitter on Thursday. Tesla wants to begin selling imported cars in India this year but says taxes in the country are among the highest in the world, said Elon musk in a tweet

With a $39,990 global price tag, Tesla Model 3 may remain as an affordable model in the US but with import duties, it would become unaffordable in the Indian market with an expected price tag of around Rs 60 lakh.

Tesla’s request for tax cuts was first reported in July 2021, when sources told Reuters that the company had written to Indian ministries seeking a big reduction in import duties on electric vehicles. Soon after, Musk tweeted that Tesla was likely to set up a factory in India if successful with imported vehicles.

Another reason for the delay was that India treats clean energy vehicles the same as diesel or petrol vehicles, “which does not seem entirely consistent” with its climate goals, said Elon Musk as a reply to a tweet.

Lat year Rao helped in catalyzing a deal between the Telangana government and Kitex Group to get MD Sabu Jacob to invest Rs 2,406 crore in his state after Kitex pulled out of Kerala, withdrawing Rs 3,500 crore project from the state

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INNOVATION FOR INDIA, FROM INDIA, SAYS PM

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PM Modi called for a new mantra, that of innovate for India, innovate from India. This mantra came up to tackle challenges facing the country in the start-up industry. He counted the steps taken by the government in freeing entrepreneurs and innovation from bureaucratic silos. “The start-ups of India are changing the rules of the game. I believe that startups are going to be the backbone of the new India,” he said interacting with the youngsters from the world of startups. “Let us innovate for India, innovate from India”, he added. India, he said, has over 60,000 startups with 42 unicorns.

The government is focusing on three aspects to strengthen innovation, entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem- “Freeing entrepreneurship, innovation from government and bureaucratic silos; setting up institutional mechanisms to promote remodelling and innovation and handholding of youth innovators”, he said.

He also narrated the successes of startups during the recent years. “28,000 patents were granted last year as compared to 4,000 patents in 2013-14. In terms of trademarks, in 2013-14, 70,000 trademarks were registered in comparison with 2.5 Lakh trademarks in 2020-21”, he said.

He added, “India’s ranking on the Global Innovation Index is improving because of the programme on innovation started in the country. India’s ranking in the index in 2015 was 81 and now it is number 46.”

He lauded the efforts of startups in not only bringing innovation but also evolving as major job creators. As startups evolve and grow, the requirements of credential-bearing workforce with suited skill sets also increases. This leads to major job creation opportunities. Therefore PM Modi added that startups can be the ripe matrix for jobs and work opportunities to develop and blossom.

He said that the year 2022 has brought new opportunities and avenues for startups and January 16th will be celebrated as National Startup Day to help seep in the startup culture at the grassroot level in the society. Naming of the National Startup Day came in as big news because with the naming of the day, the entire culture of startups will get a new and rejuvenated boost. As people will be able to discern the day for startups and get to celebrate it the boost to the startups will be multiplied manifold.

Modi said that easier access to funds as well as making self-certification for compliance of nine labour and three environmental laws is also helping promote startups. Innovation and technology based solutions are being encouraged for finding solutions to facing the country.

Some of the famous startup unicorns of India include: UpGrad, CRED, Pharmeasy, PhonePe, OYO Rooms among others.

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ECONOMIC REVIVAL, EXPANSION ON CARDS: SURVEY

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There is no doubt that India is already under the grip of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The country recorded at least 2.68 lakh new cases today, including 6,041 cases of Omicron; taking the total tally to 3.67 crore. Notwithstanding, the third wave spreading like wildfire, a significant percentage of industry leaders are optimistic about India’s economic revival with confidence ruling high amongst Indian businesses, finds a pre-budget survey conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP (DTTILLP).

DTTILLP assembled a total of 163 responses from 10 industries. It was found that more than 75 per cent of respondents were positive about India’s economic revival as economic activities pick up steam with a healthy GDP growth.

The survey further finds that around 91 per cent of respondents believe that the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative (Self-reliant India), coupled with monetary policy actions by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) played an instrumental role in driving back the economy from gloom last year.

“The industry leaders expect the Union Budget FY 2022-23 to build on to this momentum,” DTTILLP said in a release. The Union Budget is scheduled to be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1.

On the other hand, 55 per cent of business leaders believe that providing extra tax incentives to long-term investors for infrastructure investment can encourage growth in the country.

While, 45 per cent of respondents believe that the upcoming budget should focus on announcing incentives for increased R&D spending that can boost sectors like automobile, technology, telecommunication, life sciences and capital goods.

Industry leaders, through the Deloitte survey also conveyed some other expectations like enhancing export competitiveness, putting in place competitive import tariffs, and reducing administrative inefficiencies.

“The economy has witnessed a steady recovery during 2021-22”, said, Sanjay Kumar, Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP, while commenting on the survey findings.

“The Indian economy will continue to witness the growth momentum if the government is able to sustain the efforts on implementation of reforms such as asset monetisation for the infrastructure growth, and PLI schemes,” he further added.

Also, most of the business intellectuals foresee an increased start-up activity fostered by the Centre’s stimulus packages (ECLGS) and policies, which will brighten up the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) culture in the country, resulting in a faster economic revival, Kumar said.

The survey also finds that 59 per cent of respondents believe in the fact that India can be a favourable atmosphere to run a business. With this regard, they touched on three things: promoting digitalisation, simplifying tax regimes and, improving land and labour laws that would also help enhance the EoDB in India.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today announced that January 16 will be observed as ‘Start-up day’ as they are the game changers, whereas small businesses are the spine of country’s economy.

“This partnership (between small businesses and start-ups) can benefit both, the society and the economy, especially women employment will get strengthened because of this,” Modi said as he interacted with start-ups via video conferencing on the occasion of Start-Up India Innovation Week.

The survey conducted by DTTILLP aimed at analysing the industry’s expectations from the upcoming ‘Budget 2022’, where focus will be on EoDB, self-reliance (start-ups) and economic growth.

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46 STARTUPS ANNOUNCED WINNERS OF THE NATIONAL STARTUP AWARDS 2021 ALONG WITH 1 INCUBATOR AND 1 ACCELERATOR

Startup India is about realising millions of dreams: Piyush Goyal

Tarun Nangia

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“Startup India is about realising millions of dreams,” said ShriPiyush Goyal today. Presenting the National Startup Awards 2021, the Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, he said the Startup Mission is a symbol of Self-Reliant & Self-Confident India.

“Be it a fisherman’s son from Chennai or a boatman’s daughter from Kashmir, they all want to bring prosperity to their families and to their people, and therefore are thinking bigger and bolder,” said Shri Goyal.

Shri Goyal said, realising the contribution of Startups towards nation-building, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today announced that January 16 will be celebrated as National Start-up Day, to take the Startup culture to the far flung areas of the country.

“Prime Minister Modi is a very firm believer in potential of Startups to contribute significantly to the growth of the nation during the Amritkaal, the next 25 years. He recognises Innovation to be the strongest pillar in making India ‘Aatmanirbhar’,” said Shri Goyal.

Shri Goyal said the PM has focused on three sutras (pillars) to strengthen innovation:

Liberating entrepreneurs from the web of Govt processes & bureaucratic silos, – over 25,000 compliances reduced, decriminalization of laws, etc, but what more can be done to help businesses grow & prosper in an easier environment?

Building institutional mechanisms, – strengthen regulatory processes and self-regulation, &

Handholding young innovators & new enterprises, – mentoring will define Innovation in the future

Shri Goyal called upon the Startups to focus mainly on five areas to make India the No. 1 Startup ecosystem in the world:

1. Develop solutions & content in Indic languages

2. Encourage products & solutions that have a larger social & economic impact

3. Promoting Startups in every district across the country, – Establish ‘Startup Access centers’ in every district

4. Creating Innovation zones at the level of Urban Local Bodies, &

5. Adopt best practices from across the globe & enhance India’s global competitiveness

Quoting PM Modi, Shri Goyal said, “Today India is rapidly moving towards hitting the century of unicorns. I believe the golden era of India’s start-ups is starting now…”

“Government is standing with our innovators and so is the entire country…Let’s Innovate for India, innovate from India!” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, DPIIT Secretary Shri Anurag Jain said the Department will handhold the Startup Award finalists across seven tracks i.e. Investor Connect, Mentorship, Government Connect, Capacity Development, Corporate Connect, Brand Showcase and Unicorn Engagement.

“Our journey together doesn’t end here with just awards, we will walk step by step with you in this journey,” he said.

During the ceremony, the Results of the National StartupAwards (NSA) 2021 were declared. A total of 46 Startupshave been recognized as winners of National Startup Awards 2021 along with 1 incubator and 1 accelerator.

The second edition of the awards invited applications across 15 sectors and 49 sub-sectors. The sectors included Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Drinking Water, Education & Skill Development, Energy, Enterprise Technology, Environment, Fintech, Food Processing, Health & Wellness, Industry 4.0, Security, Space and Transport and Travel. Six special categories were also introduced to recognize exceptional Startups contributing to the good of the society. The 2021 edition of the awards also recognized exceptional Startups innovating solutions to promote Indic languages and to compliment national efforts to combat COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 2177 applications were received from Startupsacross the 49 sub-sectors along with applications from 53 incubators and 6 accelerators for the ecosystem enablerscategories. These applicants included 863 Women-led, 414 innovations for combatting COVID-19 and 253 Startupsworking in rural areas.

All applicants were evaluated against six broad parameters namely Innovation, Scalability, Economic Impact, Social Impact, Environmental Impact, and Inclusiveness and Diversity.

After three rounds of detailed evaluation, 175 Startups were selected for presentation before the jury which made presentations before the 16 specialist jury panels, which comprised of domain experts from industry, investors and government.

The recognised entities will benefit from such recognition, not only in terms of being able to attract more business, financing, partnerships and talent, but also enable them to serve as role models for other entities, and to inspire them to be purposeful and responsible about their socio-economic impact.

53 applications were received from incubators and 6 applications were received from Accelerators. Select incubators and accelerators were selected after three rounds of evaluation for presentation before Jury Panel which gave presentations before the Jury.

The felicitation ceremony was accompanied by the release of an e-Report on National Startup Awards 2021 highlighting the year-round handholding support provided to the finalists of first edition of National Startup Awards and the journey of NSA 2021.

The ‘Blockchain-enabled verification for DPIIT tax incentive certificates’, ‘Digilocker enabled DPIIT Startup recognition certificate’ and second edition of the ‘Startup Champions’ programme on Doordarshan were also launched during the event.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) conceived the National Startup Awards to recognize and reward outstanding Startups and ecosystem enablers that are building innovative products or solutions and scalable enterprises, with high potential of employment generation or wealth creation, demonstrating measurable social impact. The measure of success is not only the financial gains for the investors, but also the contribution to social good.

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Pandemic proves to be good fortune for telecom sector

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While every other sector was doomed during the lockdown, the telecommunication sector has been in high demand. The visible shift towards work from home, online gatherings and classes, streaming services such as Netflix for entertainment brought the telecom sector into the spotlight today. The pandemic has shown the importance of the telecom sector in running business and staying connected.

Contrary to many other industries, the telecommunication sector has been generally exempted from major COVID-19-related restrictions, such as stay-at-home orders and quarantine requirements, as it is recognized as an essential service. The importance of having a strong telecommunications network during this lockdown has also been acknowledged by the government in the guidelines, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which provides that telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services, IT and IT-enabled services only are the essential services and are exempt from the lockdown.

Many telecom players from broadband to mobile to data center operators have benefitted from a surge in the traffic of data and voice. As a result, the telecom sector is performing well compared to other infrastructure sub-sectors. Telecommunications has been directly contributing around 6% of the GDP and during the lockdown, this has gone up 5-6 times, which is huge. According to our India Telecoms Report, India’s internet consumption rose by 13% since the nationwide lockdown. Indians consumed 308 petabytes (PB) of data daily on an average for the week beginning March 22. This sudden overnight surge in demand caught the industry off guard with mobile network operators (MNO) struggling to augment capacity and manage data traffic. The forecasts are that mobile subscriptions and fixed broadband subscribers will continue to fuel the telecoms sector growth in the 2019-25 period.

A recent report by Kantar highlighted that India’s rural areas have witnessed a 45% growth in internet penetration in 2019 as compared to urban India’s 11%. Sector regulator TRAI has asked telecom operators to extend the validity period of prepaid users to ensure that subscribers get uninterrupted services during the 21day nationwide lockdown. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also sought details of the steps being taken to ensure availability of uninterrupted telecom services to such customers on a priority basis.

Telecom sector is continuously adapting to the changes caused due to COVID-19 crisis. Being the sole distributor of Internet infrastructure to other industry verticals, telecom operators have made several amendments in their operations and offerings to serve their customers in a better way.

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WFH and its impact on affordable housing

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With the Covid-19 pandemic becoming endemic across the country, people have gradually learnt to accept the ‘new-normal’ and imbibe it to their lifestyle. A notable change that came to existence, since the pandemic struck is the concept of work from home (WFH). It started with the focus solely on keeping employees safe at home and gradually became the most popular work trend all over the country.

This led to companies stepping away from large real estate construction projects and lease deals. The workplace environment began to bear a scanty look with a depleted staff. The focus now has shifted primarily to an employee’s health followed by better communication while WFH.

The pandemic ensured that people begin to seriously consider homeownership where the idea is to own a home and give it an office-like makeover alongside a homely touch. Instead of going for multipurpose projects and erecting skyscrapers, developers and real estate firms have begun to cash in on this trend; by tapping the consumers’ minds. There was also a faster adoption of digital technologies by builders. On the other hand, some developers in partnership with architects are even going an extra mile to infuse business centres to give WFH population an office-like look.

This new trend of WFH also ensured that a major chunk of the middle class that is city-centric (based in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune to name a few) flies back to their respective homes as the pandemic-induced-WFH is here to stay. The developers have begun to shift their attention to tier-II and tier-III cities as the demand for affordable living increased during the pandemic with more and more people wanting to stay indoors while kids attending online classes.

REALTORS PIN HIGH HOPES THIS YEAR

The realty sector like most of the sectors staged a rebound from 2020’s economic downturn. It also stands at firm ground after tackling the pandemic gloom. Housing sales have witnessed a rise of over 50 per cent, thanks to a sharp rise in WFH. However, it is yet to reach pre-pandemic levels. This uptrend has ensured the property dealers pinning their hopes from 2022 beginning with the Budget (that is scheduled to happen on February 1).

Economic revival is on cards as the real estate sector is projected to reach $1-trillion-mark by 2030 from $200 billion in the pre-pandemic year.

The year 2021 began on a positive note for the real estate sector as the sales were strong during the January-March period, assisted by low-interest rates on home loans, pent up demand, discounts offered by cash-starved developers and lower stamp duty offered by some states.

NAREDCO President Rajan Bandelkar described 2021 as a “year of recovery”. He said, “The declining number of cases and resurgent homebuyers’ interest paved the way for a sustainable recovery”.

The central government also extended an additional tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on housing loans for the purchase of affordable homes by one more year to March 31, this year; thereby facilitating recovery to the real estate sector. The additional deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh over and above Rs 2 lakh was brought in Budget 2019.

The government should focus on demand stimulation measures to sustain economic recovery. It should look for ways to boost private consumption and incentivise the real estate sector in the upcoming Budget.

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