Ola to enter Australian market

Image Source: OLA
Caption: Ola has captured the Indian taxi-hailing app market entirely in no time
India’s taxi-hailing app service, Ola is stepping up for its first international venture in Australia. Currently, the Australian market is dominated by Ola’s rival in India, Uber. Just like how it captured the Indian market, it may have better plans for the market abroad. The rapid growth of the Bangalore based service which started in 2011, was quick and immense. Ola will soon start the recruitment process of its drivers in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, where it plans to launch the service first. The firm has earned massive profits over the years who now claims to have 125 million users in India.
Ola has now appointed a financial technology entrepreneur to manage the feature of Ola Money, where payments of your ride can be done through this digital payment platform of its own. It was backed up by investors from Japan’s SoftBank and US fund Tiger Global Management. The firm is waiting for the regulatory approval from Australia who promises to give high quality and an affordable traveling experience like never before to its customers there.
“We are very excited about launching Ola in Australia and see immense potential for the ride-sharing ecosystem which embraces new technology and innovation,” said Ola’s chief executive and co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal to BBC. 

Om Prakash Rawat appointed as the new chief election commissioner.

Achal Kumar Joti, who stepped down from the post, will be succeeded by election commissioner Om Prakash Rawat who has been appointed as the new chief election commissioner.

He is from Madhya Pradesh cadre of the 1977-batch IAS officer, Rawat will take over from 23rd January, 2017. His appointed to the Election Commission was in August 2015. He has held numerous important portfolios at Centre and state level during his long career.

The 64-year-old prior to his appointment as Election Commissioner of India, had retired as secretary, ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises. He had earlier also attended as a director in the defence ministry in 1993. During this tenancy, he was delegated to South Africa in May, 1994, as United Nations election observer to supervise 1st post-apartheid elections in South Africa.

He also attended as chief secretary to Babu Lal Gaur, the former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh amid 2004 and 2006. He got the Prime Minister’s honour in 2010 for brilliance in Public Administration for initiating the movement “recognition of forest rights”.

President Ram Nath Kovind wants Triple Talaq Bill to be passed soon in Parliament

President Ram Nath Kovind made his first speech to both Houses in the Parliament, expressing his hope that the Triple Talaq Bill will be passed soon. He was addressing a joint sitting of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha at the beginning of the Budget Session.

The President said, “My government has brought the Triple Talaq Bill to safeguard the rights of the Muslim women. And I am hopeful that Parliament will pass the bill.”

He emphasized upon how 2018 would turn out to be a vital year in India’s journey to realizing its full potential. He enlisted the various measures that the government had undertaken such as the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign. He also mentioned the Maternity Bill that has been passed. “Parliament has approved a bill granting working women paid maternity leave of 26 weeks.”

He encouraged the masses to promote and support the Swachh Bharat mission. “It is our duty that when we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019 we pay tribute to him by making our country completely clean.”

He also recognized the efforts made by the current government in promoting digitization. Broadband connectivity was already being initiated in villages across. He stated that 2.5 villages had already been connected.

Sources: Asian Age, The New Indian Express

ASEAN leaders attend Republic Day

Leaders of 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries  attended the Republic Day parade at Rajpath, Delhi today. These include the likes of Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos and Brunei

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying down a floral arrangement to honor the lives lost in ensuring India’s democratic future.

As the flame burned at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to honor the courage of the Armed Forces personnel- The leaders consented on strengthening ASEAN-India economic relations by full utilization and effective implementation of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area.

The primary goal being the implementation of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to ensure a modern, comprehensive, high quality, and mutually beneficial relationship between the ASEAN countries.

A two-day India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit conducted by the Indian Government ended with members agreeing to strengthen economic relations amongst themselves.

Nearly 60,000 security personnel from the Delhi Police and central security forces were deployed in Central Delhi. Snipers were stationed on top of high-rise buildings accompanied by CCTV cameras to keep track on the people in attendance.

The summit marks 25 years of Indo-ASEAN ties.

Sources: ANI, Business Standard

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to visit India, Japan, with expansion plans

Dara Khusrowshahi is on damage control in Asia since the controversies that led to the exit of the previous CEO, Travis Kalanick
Image Source: The Japan Times 

Uber Chief Dara Khosrowshahi is expected to embark upon his first visit to Asia in the week of February 19th. A spokesperson from Uber has revealed that Khosrowshahi plans to schedule meetings with top-ranking government officials, employees and business partners in Japan and India.

The head of Uber Technologies Inc. is on image mitigation program to better Uber’s recent controversy-filled past. Amid doubts about the company’s future in the region, Khosrowshahi is willing to cooperate and improve the issues that plagued the previous CEO Travis Kalanick.

The source said that the company wants to chalk out ways that “Uber can serve their riders, drivers, and cities better.” In the past week, the company finalized an agreement with Japan’s SoftBank Group Corporation. This made the Japanese investor the largest shareholder enabling Uber to compete with Ola in India and Grab in Southeast Asia.

Reports predict that Khorowshahi may seek to expand in the continent. Rajeev Misra, an executive of SoftBank who has joined the board for Uber recently spoke to the Financial Times advising that Uber needs to focus on its core market bases which are the US, Australia, Europe and Latin America. However, clearly, Khosrowshahi has different plans.

Sources: Livemint, Moneycontrol

India’s 1 per cent holds 73 per cent of the country’s wealth

In a show of worsening income inequality, a new survey proved that the richest 1 per cent in India cornered 73% of the wealth generated in the country. Additionally, the survey, released by the international rights group Oxfam, concluded that the wealth of 67 crore Indians, making up the population’s poorest, rose by just 1 per cent.

The global situation is even grimmer, where 82 per cent of the wealth generated worldwide went to the 1 percent, while 3.7 billon people, accounting for the poorest half, saw zero increase in their wealth. Last year, however, India’s richest 1 per cent held 58% of the country’s total wealth, higher than the global 50.This annual Oxfam survey is discussed in detail at the World Economic Forum Annual meeting, under the topic of rising income and gender inequality.

According to this year’s survey, the wealth of the richest 1 per cent in India increased by over 20.9 lakh crore during 2017.”2017 saw an unprecedented increase in the number of billionaires, at a rate of one every two days. Billionaire wealth has risen by an average of 13 per cent a year since 2010 — six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2 per cent,” it said.

Talking of gender, the survey showed that women workers often find themselves at the bottom, and that nine out of 10 billionaires are men.

Sources: The Wire, Business Today

India beats Pakistan in the Blind Cricket Tournament final

Blind Cricket World Cup: India Beat Arch-Rivals Pakistan
Image Source: Twitter

India retained the Blind Cricket World Cup after beating rival Pakistan by two wickets in the final match played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium  in UAE on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

Pakistan scored 308 runs at the loss of eight wickets in 40 overs, after they were sent to bat first by India, who won the toss.

Post the victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the team for their achievement through his twitter handle, “Congratulations to our cricket team for winning the 2018 Blind Cricket World Cup! They make the nation proud and inspire every Indian with their game as well as phenomenal attitude. True champions!”

Pakistan made it to the final after defeating Sri Lanka by 156 runs while India beat Bangladesh by seven wickets to book their place in the final. India has remained unbeaten in this tournament. Deepak Malik and Rambir took two wickets for the country, while Sunil Ramesh snapped one. Pakistan reached the 200-run mark in 27 overs after losing five wickets.

ICC CEO David Richardson along with former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas and former Indian wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani had been invited by the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council to witness the final.

Sources: NDTV Sports, Times of India