MOST NATIONS WILL HAVE A LARGE NUMBER OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES BY 2023: SUNJAY KAPUR - The Daily Guardian
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MOST NATIONS WILL HAVE A LARGE NUMBER OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES BY 2023: SUNJAY KAPUR

Sona Comstar chairperson Sunjay Kapur shares the way Covid-19 has impacted the auto sector and how India can prepare to usher in the era of electric vehicles.

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Sona Comstar chairperson Sunjay Kapur, in an exclusive conversation for the special segment NewsX India A-List, spoke about the company, the impact of the pandemic on the automobile industry and the emergence of electric vehicles in India.

Speaking about effects of the pandemic on his group, Kapur said, “People had written off any opportunities when we went into this, with March-April being zero revenue months. You prepare for a lot of different scenarios in terms of reduction in sales, however, nobody was prepared for zero revenue while we still incurred expenses. When we went into this, I don’t think anybody saw the kind of opportunities that would come along. The opportunities have been great, in terms of localisation, Aatmanirbhar Bharat, opportunities to move supply chains out of high-risk countries or situations.”

“As a business, we have seen a V-shaped recovery in the automobile industry, which has been phenomenal. Our business was 50% domestic and 50% export. Now, it has moved to 80% export, which again has given us great growth opportunities. The United States is one of our biggest markets today in terms of supply. We are not only supplying to the ICE but also to electric vehicles. We have also, in this pandemic, been able to develop new products. Our aim is to continuously develop products and see how we can increase market share. To that effect, we have gotten into the two-wheeler space, where we had never been before. Traditionally, we have been in farm equipment, all fiver vehicles, passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, And we are doing electric two-wheelers. It has been a great opportunity for us and I see a lot of positivity which has come out of this pandemic,” said Kapur.

“Going into this pandemic, we made a lot of comparisons with the 2008-09 financial crisis and I am happy to say that we saw hardly any bankruptcies. Therefore, this gives me the belief that businesses are better run, better managed and more robust, and fewer companies are sitting on large debts, which is definitely a positive sign. It has been a good recovery,” he added.

Sharing his outlook for the auto sector ahead and whether the surge is the result of a pent up demand or whether it would sustain, Sunjay said, “There are four things that are driving demand. One, the pent up demand. Two, rural demand, which is very strong and you can see it in tractor sales going through the roof. Rural demand is helping the rest of the automobile industry as well. Three, festive demand, which just ended. Four, social distancing. More people are afraid to travel in public transport and prefer travelling by their own vehicles. We have seen that impact on small car sales as well as two-wheelers. I feel that this demand will sustain. We are now slowly seeing an increase in heavy commercial vehicles, which is again a good sign. Commercial vehicles are doing well because of e-commerce and all the deliveries happening. We have seen strong growth even in November, as compared to last year. Several companies will see higher sales. If they don’t match their sales from last year, they will see higher sales than what they saw this financial year.”

When asked about the scope for an electric vehicle sector, particularly in India, Sanjay explained, “There has to be an ecosystem built around EV. I definitely see electric vehicles increasing. In India, it may take a little longer and that doesn’t mean long-term. In the short term, we are going to see an increase in EV. In the West, we are seeing it already with the Paris Accord and the climate change requirements in Europe. By 2023, most countries will see a large population with electric vehicles. In India, we will see it begin in the two-wheeler space. Charging is easier in that space, but charging infrastructure needs to be built, battery management needs to be understood better and standards need to be created. The government is very keen to push electric vehicles and the industry is geared up to meet the requirement for EV.”

When asked for his views on opportunities for India in the manufacturing sector and the scope for turning around supply chains, especially with the anti-China narrative in the world now, Kapur responded, “This is a global opportunity and everybody is vying for this business, be it Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico or India. We are very well positioned to attract a lot of business. From a private sector perspective, we must invest in technology. You can have all the ease of doing business and great pricing, etc., but if we do not have the technology, business is not going to come. It is not as easy as it seems. People seem to think it is easy to move out of China but it is not. There is a lot of investment required, especially in technology.”

Pointing out electronics as a case, Sunjay added, “We have a large import content for electronics across the board, not just in automobile but in every industry. To localize electronics, it is going to require investments in technology. The government is working with 24 different sectors to create export champions, which is a great initiative. It is a great starting point, in terms of creating that manufacturing base in India. I think we are well positioned to do that. I feel we are going to work from the private sector in not just adopting technologies in Tier 1, but also in Tier 2 and Tier 3 of the supply chain as well. If we are able to do that, we would be able to attract more business, localise more and reduce our dependency on supply chains outside India. Today, in the auto components industry, we are a net importer. The aim is to become a net exporter. We can only get there by continuously deploying technology in the right space.”

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Centre improved rural, coastal connectivity to ensure farmers get good markets for produce, says PM Modi

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Puducherry [India], February 25 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that his government has made several efforts to improve rural and coastal connectivity to ensure that agriculture produce gets good markets.
“Our farmers are innovating. It’s our duty to ensure their produce gets good markets. Good roads do exactly that. Four-laning of the road will also draw industries in this area and generate job opportunities for local youth,” Prime Minister Modi said after laying the foundation stone of development projects in Puducherry.
Speaking at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in Puducherry, PM Modi said, “The people of Puducherry are talented. This land is beautiful. I am here to personally assure all possible support from my Government for the development of Puducherry.”
The Prime Minister who laid the foundation stone of the four-laning project of National Highway (NH) 45-A said the project will draw industries in the area and generate jobs.
“Today, we celebrate the beginning of various development projects that will improve the lives of the people of Puducherry. India needs world-class infrastructure to cater to our development needs. It would make you happy that the foundation stone to four-lane, the NH 45-A is being laid. It gives me immense pleasure to inaugurate the rebuilding of the Mary Building. The building has been recreated in its old form, retaining its heritage,” he said.
He said his government is making several efforts to improve rural and coastal connectivity, and the four-laning of roads will endure that farmers produce get good markets.
“Across India, our farmers are innovating. The government of India has made several efforts to improve rural and coastal connectivity. The agriculture sector will gain from this across India. It is our duty to ensure their produce gets good markets and good roads do exactly that. The 4-laning of roads will also draw industries in this area and generate jobs,” he stated.
Laying the foundation stone for a 400-m synthetic athletic track at the Sports Complex here, Prime Minister said prosperity is closely linked to good health, and in the last seven years, India has made many efforts to improve fitness and wellness.
“Sports teaches us teamwork, ethics and above all, it teaches us sportsman spirit. I’m delighted to lay the foundation stone for a 400-m synthetic athletic track at the Sports Complex here. It is part of the Khelo India scheme. It will nurture sporting talent in the Indian youth. Sports teaches us sportsman spirit. Youth from Puducherry can now excel in national and global sports meets. A 100-bed girl’s hostel inaugurated today is another initiative to help sports,” he said.
“One sector that will play a key role in the coming years is healthcare. Nations that invest in healthcare will shine. In line with our objective to provide quality health care to all, I am inaugurating the blood centre in JIPMER,” he said while reiterating that the healthcare sector will play a key role in the development of the nation in the coming years.
Calling the coast of Puducherry as the soul of the UT, Prime Minister said, “There is so much potential in fisheries, port, shipping and the blue economy. I am honoured to lay the foundation of Puducherry Port Development under the Sagarmala Scheme.”(ANI)

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Congress dares KTR for ‘open debate’ on employment issues in Telangana

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], February 25(ANI): All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson Sravan Dasoju on Wednesday slammed Information Technology Minister KT Rama Rao over employment issues in Telangana and dared him for an ‘open debate’.
Sravan, who is a former Member of Parliament, targeted KTR yesterday for his ‘misleading’ statements regarding the recruitment of about 1.32 lakh jobs in the state.
Differing on the minister’s claims, the senior Congress Party leader invited KTR for an “open debate” for discussing the original jobs provided by the government, existing vacancies available in the government and private sector as well. He also fixed the venue, time and date for the debate.
While criticising the attitude of KTR, Sravan said: “We are not idiots to believe in your shameless, useless and falsified statements. You must come along with your team on Friday (February 26) at 12 noon to Telangana Martyrs Memorial at Gunpark with facts of recruitment numbers, current vacancies available.”
“There are about 40 lakh unemployed youth in Telangana and more than three lakh jobs are currently vacant in the government itself. He said that the government did nothing in the last seven years to any segment, especially to the unemployed youth, graduates and even the government employees who are eagerly waiting to get a new Pay Revision Commission (PRC) when their counterparts received 27 per cent in Andhra Pradesh,” said Sravan.
The Congress leader further said: “When your sister K Kavitha cannot survive without a job, how do you think these many youngsters can live without a proper job or self-employment? After all, it is the fundamental responsibility of any government to provide jobs to its citizens.”
Reminding him of the core pillars of the Telangana movement – Water, Grants and Employment – Sravan asked KTR to disclose the total number of vacancies as of 2014, new jobs created as new Panchayats are created, districts are formed and the implementation of 610 GO. He further criticised KTR for making noise only due to the MLC elections and is trying to mislead the graduates by divulging doctored data of jobs created in the state. Regularizing 22,000 plus TS Genco, Transco employees is one of the best examples of deceptive statements of the minister, he explains.
“Your own Biswal Commission report says that 1.91 lakh jobs are currently vacant in the government. Your father said that there will not be any contract jobs in Telangana. But, you are neither appointing new employees, nor filling up existing vacancies. You are not even protecting the rights of private employees when Narayana, Chaitanya, Gayathri groups suddenly removed about 10,000 to 15,000 qualified and experienced lecturers”, Sravan criticised.
Pointing out the failures of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government, Sravan lamented that the Information (Technology Investment Region) ITIR project which was crafted during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government aimed at providing 50 lakh jobs by attracting Rs 2.5 lakh crore investments in Hyderabad has been lost due to the inability of KTR, who betrayed the state youth and IT professionals.
“It requires only Rs 13,000 crore investments and 50,000 acres of land which has already been identified during the Congress party government in Andhra Pradesh. Can’t your father spend Rs 13,000 crore out of Rs 4 lakh crore debts, taken for receiving commissions in the name of projects like Kaleshwaram, for the benefit of 50 lakh sons of the soil?,” he asked. (ANI)

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J&K’s Ehtisham Khan gets Youth Icon Award for contribution to society

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Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], February 25 (ANI): The Association of People of Asia’s Jammu and Kashmir chapter earlier felicitated Ehtisham Khan, a social worker and an athlete from Srinagar’s Batamaloo, with ‘The Youth Icon Award’.
The award was conferred in recognition of his contribution to society, sports and for representing India at different international platforms.
APA aims to promote peace, create conditions for social betterment and communal harmony.
Ehtisham Khan is pursuing a degree in Engineering from Yogananda College of Engineering and Technology.
“I am basically an athlete. I started my career in snow skiing. I represented JK, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh at the national level in snow skiing. I am a bronze medalist in rock climbing, an ultra-marathon runner, a mountain biker and a founding member of the J K Mountain biking association,” he said.
” I have worked with International NGOs, Youth Hostels Association of India and an organisation called Youth for Peace. I am now the Coordinator of Adventure Promotion Committee JK and Director for India of International Youth United”.
Fayaz Ahmad, his father said, ” Ehtisham has made our family and our state proud. We are happy that he got such achievements.” (ANI)

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Assam now known for development, education, tourism: Shah

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Nagaon (Assam) [India], February 25 (ANI): Highlighting the transformation of Assam, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said the state was earlier known for agitations, weapons and violence, now it is known for development, industrial investment, education and tourism.
“Assam that was known for agitations, weapons and violence is now known for development, industrial investment, education and tourism,” Shah said during a rally in Nagaon district.
The Home Minister further stated that it is the first step in a new era of development started by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and his cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Pitching for making Assam flood-free, infiltrator-free and violence-free, Shah said, “We have to make the entire northeast the biggest GDP contributor of the country.”

Shah also visited Maha Mrityunjay Temple in the district for the ‘Pran Pratishtha Mahotsav’ and offered prayers along with Sonowal and Sarma. (ANI)

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U’khand glacier burst: 71 bodies recovered so far, 133 remain missing

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Chamoli (Uttarakhand) [India], February 25 (ANI): The death toll in the Uttarakhand glacier burst incident has gone up to 71, according to the state government on Thursday.
“Out of 206 people missing in a flash flood, bodies of 71 people and 30 body parts have been recovered from Tapovan in Chamoli district,” the state government said.
Meanwhile, the rescue and search operation for 133 missing people is underway.
Earlier today, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel along with National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other sister agencies have been conducting search and rescue operations in Chamoli district.
A glacier burst earlier in the Tapovan-Reni area of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, which led to massive flooding in the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers and damaged houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project. (ANI)

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‘Godse supporter’ ex-Hindu Mahasabha leader joins Congress in Madhya Pradesh

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Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) [India], February 25 (ANI): Madhya Pradesh Congress on Wednesday welcomed Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha leader Babulal Chaurasia into the fold.
Congress has been a vocal critic of the Hindu Mahasabha, who had time and again tried to project Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a ‘nationalist’ and ‘patriotic’ figure.
On November 15, 2017, Mahasabha installed an idol of Godse in its office and tried to convert it into a ‘temple’. Chaurasia was part of that event.

Offering an explanation, Chaurasia said that he was ‘framed’ into being part of the event.
“Hindu Mahasabha conspired against me to make me part of that event. I was at the event and they asked me to offer my prayers to all the pictures of great personalities around the hall. Then somebody gestured towards the Godse idol and without realising, I offered water to it. I was framed. They wanted to show that a former Congress member was supporting Godse. I lodged a strong protest after I realised what happened,” said the former Hindu Mahasabha leader.
He added that he had been keeping himself away from Hindu Mahasabha’s programmes since the event, as his “consciousness did not allow’ him to cater to the party’s ideology.
However, in another event organised on December 11, 2018, Chaurasia was heard saying that he “learned a lot from him (Godse)”

“I was born a Congressman,” said Chaurasia, and added, “I had contested and won an election on Congress’ ticket. In the next election, my ticket was given to someone else. I was in Delhi at that time and the Hindu Mahasabha chief there asked me to contest the election from his party. I filed for nomination immediately in Delhi itself.”
After joining Congress, he said he is ‘reunited with his family’. “I was stuck with Hindu Mahasabha,” the former Hindu Mahasabha leader added.
Chaurasia had joined the Congress ahead of the Madhya Pradesh civic body elections in presence of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath. (ANI)

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