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#* After backlash, govt exempts WhatsApp, Facebook, payment gateways from encryption policy
After a huge outcry over the union government’s new draft encryption policy making it mandatory to store data in plain text (unencrypted) format for 90 days, the government has now confirmed some exemptions.
A new proposed addendum to the draft encryption policy clarifies that ‘encryption products’ that have been exempted from the policy include social media sites like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, payment gateways, e-commerce and password based transactions and more.
The following categories of encryption products are being exempted from the purview of the draft national encryption policy:
1. The mass use encryption products, which are currently being used in web applications, social media sites, and social media applications such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
2. SSL/TLS encryption products being used in Internet-banking and payment gateways as directed by the Reserve Bank of India.
3. SSL/TLS encryption products being used for e-commerce and password based transactions.
The Union government had released a draft National Encryption Policy document online seeking methods of data encryption of data and communications used by the government, businesses, and even citizens. So, an ‘expert panel’ from the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) was set up to prepare the draft. Looks like the experts got it all wrong about the importance of data encryption. According to the draft, encrypted messaging service on demand should reproduce same text in plain format before the law enforcement agencies whenever asked to. On failing to do so, the government can even take legal action as per the laws of the country.
Data encryption means conversion of data into a form, called a ciphertext, which helps avoid unauthorised access. Banks and e-commerce sites use encryption to protect your financial and private data, online government sites and several other messaging platforms use encryption to protect your personal data and so on.
It would impact the way you use WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage service since these use encryption for communication as well. Since the earlier draft also put the user in a position of responsibility, it could potentially have an effect on WhatsApp and other popular messaging services that use encryption. However, looks like the outcry has led the government to add the exemptions that include the social and messaging services that we use in our daily lives.
#* Bilaspur tunnel collapse: Two workers rescued after nine days
Trapped for nine days, two workers were on Monday safely pulled out of the rubble of a partially collapsed under-construction tunnel in Himachal Pradesh by rescue teams ending their ordeal amid scenes of jubilation.
Search operations continued for the third worker who is still suspected stuck under the debris of the collapsed tunnel in Bilaspur, about 90 km from here. Surviving the ordeal, the rescued workers identified as Mani Ram and Satish Tomar were in good health, according to NDRF officials. TV visuals showed the first man, who was brought out, in good health as he waved at his saviours.Rescuers flashed the victory sign and screamed in jubilation after the two were brought out from the narrow and dark tunnel.
"We have rescued two of the three workers who were trapped in the tunnel for over a week. Beginning this morning our teams have also begun a horizontal drilling operation to see through the debris and find the third worker whom we suspect is trapped somewhere there," NDRF Director General O P Singh, who is monitoring the rescue operation from New Delhi, told PTI.
However, there has been no communication with the third worker identified as Hriday Ram.
The NDRF commander at the spot said the two men who were rescued were in "good health".
The flawless rescue operation by the men of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) came a day after incessant rains lashed the mishap site and a snag developed in the heavy rig that was drilling through to rescue the trapped.
The workers were trapped inside tunnel No 4 of Kiratpur-Nerchowk four-lane project near Bilaspur when a portion of it collapsed on September 12.
The drilling of 1.2 m diameter tunnel to reach the trapped persons was almost complete and less than 1 m of drilling was left when the heavy drilling rig developed a snag last night, warranting replacement of a part of the drill and the operations were suspended.
The rescuers, earlier, had also established communication with two of the three trapped labourers through digital cameras and microphones after hours of digging.
A 45-member NDRF team, with three specially chosen men in the lead, have been working in the operation for days now.
Food and water had been supplied to the trapped workers through a 47 m and 4-inch diameter bore.
O P Singh said the biggest challenge for his rescue team was to effectively tackle loose rocks and seepage that was occuring in the narrow approach to the main part of the tunnel.
"It was a very risky and long operation as our rescuers were totally exposed to loose rocks. We later used casing pipes to thwart this problem but it could only be done for a small length. The boys did a great job under challenging circumstances," he said.
"It was a tough operation as when we went down the tunnel in the first attempt it was not adequate. We are now looking for the third person and our operation is going on," an NDRF commander at the spot said.
Bilaspur Deputy Commissioner Manasi Sahay, also present on the spot, said the operation was not yet over as the teams were looking for the third person.
"Why should I lose hope? We are trying our best to locate and rescue the third worker," she told reporters.
Mani Ram was first to be taken out through the 47 m deep and 1.2 m diameter tunnel after 211 hours and 47 minutes followed by Satish Tomar who came out eight minutes later.
The three employees of Himalayan Construction Company(HCC) were trapped at Tehri, 13 km from Bilaspur, on the night of September 12 and round the clock rescue operations were conducted by engineers of HCC, SJVNL, HP Power Corporation, NHAI , NDRF and the district administration.
Both Tomar and Ram were in high spirits and waved to the people and were taken to hospital in the ambulance along with a team of doctors.
They wore goggles as sudden exposure to light after nine days in a dark and dingy tunnel could have caused damage to eyes.
Three NDRF team members including a sub-inspector entered the main tunnel but could not reach the trapped employees as the tunnel was not wide enough and was zig-zag. The rescue operations were again impeded and finally the tunnel had to be widened to bring out the trapped persons.
Further the water level in the tunnel was rising and pumps were deployed to drain out the water before taking the final leap.
The rescue managers decided not to put the thin iron coating and took extra precautions to ensure no injury was caused while taking out the trapped persons from the tunnel.
The construction company had completed work upto 275 m of the 1.4 km long tunnel and the employees were trapped at 70 m from the entry point. The tragedy struck at the time of change of evening shift and only three employees were in the tunnel otherwise number of persons trapped in the tunnel could be between 20 and 25.
"It was a massive operation and we had put all our resources and sought help from Border Roads Organisation, National Highway Authority of India, Army, SJVN, HPPCL and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and finally two employees have been saved," said D D Sharma, Special Secretary(Disaster Management and revenue).
#* Dalmiya laid to rest with state honours; Srinivasan, Ganguly among hundreds to pay respects
Kolkata: From his former rivals N Srinivasan and Sharad Pawar to the current BCCI heavyweights, the Indian cricket fraternity bid an emotional farewell to Jagmohan Dalmiya on Monday, who was laid to rest with full state honour and gun salute.
The 75-year-old talismanic cricket administrator passed away at 8.45 pm on Sunday following a massive cardiac arrest
at the B M Birla Heart Research Centre where he was admitted on Thursday evening.
The cricket fraternity mourned the loss of the man who is credited for making the sport popular and rich, prompting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to announce full state honours for the departed Dalmiya.
Sourav Ganguly paying his respects to Jagmohan Dalmiya. PTISourav Ganguly paying his respects to Jagmohan Dalmiya. PTI
India's top cricket administrators including, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, ICC chairman Srinivasan, IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, former presidents Sharad Pawar, Shashank Manohar gathered to pay their homage at Eden Gardens, where his body was kept for more than two hours.
The chief minister came around 3pm as it was time for the state guard of honour followed by a three-round gun salute by
10 Kolkata Police officials.
A senior member chanting 'Dalmiya Amar Rahe' (long live Dalmiya) put the national flag on the body as it began its final journey to Keoratala crematorium.
Banerjee, former India captain Sourav Ganguly along with state ministers and other CAB officials went to the crematorium to pay their homage as a pall of gloom descended on the city.
His son and daughter performed the last rites by placing the body on the wooden pyre with sandalwood at 4pm.
Earlier, accompanied by Ravi Shastri, BCCI secretary Thakur were the first to visit and the duo first went to Dalmiya's 10 Alipore Road residence from where the Team India director left for the national camp in Bengaluru.
Dalmiya's last journey began from his residence at 12.15pm before arriving at his 'second home' Eden Gardens around 1 pm accompanied by son Avishek, daughter Vaishali and wife Chandralekha and other relatives.
Now a CAB joint secretary, Ganguly along with his colleague Subir Ganguly and treasurer accompanied the dignitaries while paying floral tributes to Dalmiya.
ICC chairman Srinivasan called it a "a great loss" for the cricket fraternity while IPL chairman Shukla also echoed the same sentiments, saying it would be hard to fill the void.
Giving credit to Dalmiya for revolutionising the sport, he said: "When we won the 1983 World Cup the board didn't have even 15 lakh money to reward the players and it was Lata Mangeshkar who had helped the Board."
Jagmohan Dalmiya. AFPJagmohan Dalmiya. AFP
"From that crisis he made a way by selling TV rights and ensured that cricket reaches to all the countries and at the grassroots level. If we take into account of the domestic matches we conduct 55000 matches (every season)," Srinivasan
He added, "He ensured that everyone from state association to players get benefited. His vision and way of functioning not only took Indian cricket but the world cricket to greater heights. Because of him the Indian subcontinent got prominence in the ICC."
"It's very difficult to cope up with the crisis because there's a big void. We will try our best to fulfill his vision and desire. We will run the Board in a manner by which his aspirations can be fulfilled."
Speculation has already started as to who would become the president and Shukla said it's not the right time to talk about it.
"The future will take its course. BCCI will go by the constitutional provisions. What he did to Indian cricket nobody could do. The way he expanded cricket to every nook and corner is unparalleled. The world cricket also benefited a lot. He virtually transformed ICC cricket concept."
Paying glowing tributes to Dalmiya, BCCI secretary Thakur said: "He was a true sport administrator, a dynamic personality loved by everyone in India and abroad."
"It's a personal loss to me and the BCCI and to the game of cricket. He was a visionary leader a great sport administrator. He will be remembered to the world for bringing in reforms to the game of cricket, bringing in money, raising the standard of cricket in India by giving a lot of facilities to the players and developing infrastructure throughout the country. No one will be able to fill in the void."
Former chief administrative officer and current head of operations Prof Ratnakar Shetty said Dalmiya had taught him the nuances of cricket administration by holding his hands.
"It's a big loss for me because whatever I'm there at BCCI, I owe it to him a great deal. He actually held my hands and made me learn things," he revealed.
"He has been a great administrator starting from getting monetisation for the broadcast of matches to fighting ICC wherever BCCI had aced problems. Becoming the first ICC president from India and also announcing the 26 percent share of gross revenue for the players was done under him."
"Also the pension scheme for the retired cricketers was introduced first time during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the Board. The new area development programme for the northeast states was also his creation. The way he used to handle crisis we could learn from him every time," Shetty said.
"I would remember him for the way he handled the personal crisis himself. After giving yeomen service to Indian cricket he had trouble with the board and he got reelected to the board that shows the amount of respect and honour that people have for him. That's something which is extraordinary. He passed away while in office as the president of the board. For every match at Eden Gardens he invited the former Test captains. No other centre has done that actually. We will always miss him."
#* India vs South Africa: India squad reflects the focus is World T20
With the focus now shifting from Virat Kohli to MS Dhoni, the Indian selectors on Sunday picked the squad for the three T20s and the first three one-day internationals in the upcoming home series against South Africa, starting October 2. And while the squad looks balanced, recalling seniors like Amit Mishra and picking youngsters like Gurkeerat Mann shows the selectors are in no mood to experiment too much or take too much liberty by trying more youngsters.
The story of the meet held in Bangalore was the selection of uncapped Punjab allrounder Gurkeerat in the ODI squad while Karnataka left-arm seamer Sreenath Aravind was a surprise inclusion in the T20 squad.
ALSO SEE Gurkeerat idolises Dhoni
The 25-year-old Gurkeerat was rewarded with a place in the ODI team for his consistent performance for India A in the recent limited-overs matches.
By picking Gurkeerat, the Indian selectors have given Dhoni, who is making a return to the team after a gap of three months, a chance to try out yet another man for the allrounders' spot that has so far been a vulnerable zone in the Indian team.
Gurkeerat, who hails from Chandigarh, has been a member of the Kings XI Punjab squad for past few years and his average of 47.55 in 39 List A matches in which he has scored 1379 runs is impressive. His bowling has developed of late as 7 of his 10 List A scalps have come playing for India A.
ALSO SEE Gurkeerat Mann gets maiden ODI call-up
What might have worked in Gurkeerat's favour is his all-round ability and to change the tide in favour of his team during precarious situations. While Gurkeerat's selection is a strike on the right chord as addressing the allrounder's spot was the need of the hour, the rookie has to be nurtured carefully. In the past we have seen many one-time wonders coming out of the Indian Premier League but eventually failing at the international arena, like Manpreet Gony.
Selection of Gurkeerat means Ravindra Jadeja was once again ignored. Once Dhoni's go-to man in both limited-overs and Test cricket, Jadeja has witnessed a torrid time this year and has missed out on most of the team's tours. His poor form with both bat and bowl has meant that he is no longer the same allrounder that the team wanted.
The selectors have not taken too long to make it clear that it was performance not past laurels that can win a player a place in the team. Currently, it seems a long road for Jadeja who has to improve tremendously if he is to make a comeback into the team.
The second most surprising aspect of the selection was Aravind getting a look-in in spite of not playing a single match when he was last selected for an ODI home series against England back in 2011. He was dropped after that and overlooked until yesterday.
But stats suggest picking him is a bit of surprise as well.
During this year's IPL, the 31-year-old Aravind picked up eight wickets in five matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore. In fact, in the Karnataka Premier League, he went wicketless in four matches before getting three wickets for India A in the first one-dayer against Bangladesh A. One aspect of Aravind is that he can also bowl left-arm spin if the conditions don't suit his slow medium stuff.
Aravind's selection may look baffling to some but looking ahead at next year's World T20 in India, the selectors might have wanted to explore some of the options they have and picking Aravind provides that variation.
And with Dhoni leading the team, it wasn't surprising that the squads are loaded with medium pacers. In the T20 team, there's not a single leading pacer as Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Aravind and Stuart Binny made the list. The ODI team features Umesh Yadav as the frontline fast bowler.
Remember, South Africa too have added a lot of variation to their bowling in their squads for the T20 and ODI series to balance out the workload on their bowlers in the long series.
When asked about the selection of bowlers including Aravind, Patil said: "Looking ahead at the World T20, we wanted variation. We wanted to give opportunities to those who have done well in the domestic circuit, tri-series and A series. We wanted to give chance to those bowlers who have done well as we plan to pick the best for the World Cup."
The absence of Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron from the T20 and ODI squads makes it clear that both of them for now are being looked upon as Test specialists.
Elsewhere, veteran offspinner Harbhajan Singh retained his place in the T20 team that also keeps him on the radar for the World T20. Harbhajan, who made a comeback to the Indian Test squad against Bangladesh after two years, had a decent outing. He was also disappointing in the recently concluded Test series against Sri Lanka and was replaced by Stuart Binny after the first match.
However, the 34-year-old played an important role in Mumbai Indians' triumph in the Indian Premier League. He took 18 wickets in 15 matches to finish as the sixth highest wicket-taker, prompting the selectors to include him in the shortest format. With the World T20 scheduled to be held on Indian soil next year, Harbhajan has a real chance to shine at the world stage for one last time.
Meanwhile, legspinner Mishra, who had a good outing in Sri Lanka, has been recalled in both ODI and T20 squads. Mishra is enjoying a second spell of wind in his career after returning to Test cricket following a gap of four years as the third spinner alongside R Ashwin and Harbhajan. He justified his selection as he cast a spell with the ball and also excelled with the bat in Sri Lanka. With a rich haul with both bat and ball, Mishra became the first Indian to score 150 plus runs and claim 15 wickets in a three-match Test series.
Mishra's attacking display on the Sri Lankan tracks has spurred the selectors to have a look at him for the limited overs and he can very well play a second fiddle to Ashwin against South Africa.
The selectors gave another hint of their plan for the future by retaining Axar Patel for the ODI series. And it was a fair call after his consistent show with the ball, though he needs to be more consistent with the bat to be considered in the allrounders' bracket.
However, the inclusion of Mohit Sharma is a bit questionable as he hasn't made any notable contribution in the chances he has got so far.
One might say that with Rishi Dhawan's performance in the India A series, the Himachal Pradesh allrounder should have got a look-in ahead of Mohit. Rishi has of late been in the form of his life and can be tested to address India's No. 7 woes.
Overall, the squad wears a balanced look with seniors like Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Ashwin being automatic selections in both the teams. So were Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, and Bhuvneshwar, all of whom have been integral part of India's scheme of things in limited-overs cricket.
#* The 'Bangla Bayliss' ready for Australia
Just how important Trevor Bayliss was to England's Ashes triumph depends on who you ask. The man himself was keen to play down his influence on the 3-2 series victory, even though he had worked closely with nine members of Australia's touring party at state level with the NSW Blues. His assistant Paul Farbrace and allrounder Moeen Ali, on the other hand, both said that the Australian's inside information had proved to be invaluable. And for the second time in as many Test series, Australia's opponents will be armed with an intricate knowledge of almost half of their playing squad. Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha heads into the upcoming two-Test series having coached seven members of the Australian Test squad during his time with the NSW Blues and the Sydney Thunder, namely Steve Smith, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Usman Khawaja, Peter Nevill, Pat Cummins and Steve O'Keefe. Hathurusingha, who played 26 Tests and 35 one-day internationals for Sri Lanka in the 1990s, was an assistant coach at the Blues from 2011 until his appointment as Tigers head coach in May last year. He was also head coach of the Blues on an interim basis when Anthony Stuart was sacked midway through the 2012-13 season, and was the Thunder's head coach during BBL|03.
So will that inside knowledge give Bangladesh an edge next month? "Yes and no," Hathurusingha told cricket.com.au ahead of the first Test in Chittagong, starting on October 9. "You know a little bit about their approach and how they are, so in that sense I can help a little bit. "But then again, they're very good players, they're class players so they know their game inside and out. "It helps when you know other players over a period of time. You know their strengths and limitations and what helps them and what doesn't. But ... those players also know their own limitations and strengths. "It's helps, but then again you need to have the determination to use that against them. "It's all about how you execute on that particular day and know the game plan. If you have people who can execute what you want then it came be an advantage." Fifteen years after their Test debut, Bangladesh have won just seven of 93 matches; they have lost all four Tests against Australia, three of them by an innings. But significant permutations in both camps this year have closed the gap between the two teams. Australia's 15-man squad is one of the most inexperienced in recent memory, with just 207 Test caps between them following the retirements of Ryan Harris, Michael Clarke, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin during and after the Ashes. The Tigers, meanwhile, are riding the wave of easily their most successful period at international level, which has included progression to the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup and ODI series wins over Pakistan, India and South Africa. With success comes expectation, which Hathurusingha says his players have handled admirably despite the incredible hype surrounding the team in the cricket-mad nation.But the coach is wary of getting over-excited by the exodus of Australia's more experienced players, which has been compounded by the injury to opener David Warner and the absence of the rested Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood. "I think it's better for us to be playing (Australia) now than a year ago or 18 months ago because there's been a few changes," he said. "But people must not forget that only the batters have retired, not the bowlers. The bowling unit is still good and probably better than a few years ago because Pat Cummins and Starcy (have come in) - I know how good they are - and Nathan Lyon is a totally different bowler to two years ago when he was in India. His confidence has come up. And then I know what Stephen O'Keefe can do. "Of course Johnson and Hazlewood are resting, but still it's a pretty good bowling attack. "It's going to be a challenge. If we can get 20 wickets then we'll really put them under pressure. "Our players have been handling (the expectation) really well and in a very natural way because they believe that they belong at this level now. "For the players this is about proving themselves and challenging themselves against the best. "They all know that with Australia – whatever team comes – it's going to be a really good contest for them." The major challenge for any Australian team travelling to the subcontinent is how to best deal with the elements. New captain Steve Smith has spoken about his side's need to "adapt" to the conditions, which will include temperatures in the mid-30s, humidity of up to 80 per cent and low pitches that are tailor-made for spin bowling. They're ingredients that have proven to be Australia's undoing in recent years; the Aussies have won just one of their past 15 Tests in Asia – the lone victory coming in the Sri Lankan city of Galle in 2011 – and lost their past six. Hathurusingha anticipates that the lack of bounce will challenge the Australian batsmen as much as the spin, adding that recent A tours and Under 19s trips to the subcontinent have given the young side invaluable experience in the foreign conditions. He says the culture shock of visiting the heaving nation of 156 million people - only four members of Australia's squad have travelled to Bangladesh before – could be harder to adjust to than the conditions. "It's very hot and humid here, but most of Australia's players have been to India and the subcontinent. So there's nothing different there," he said. "But the culture is so different so that's going to be an experience for them. "If that's going to have a negative impact, I don't know. It depends on the person. But it's definitely going to different. "Just the way of life (is different); the mannerisms, the food and all sorts of things. And the driving is another thing. It's just so different. "I'm from Sri Lanka and even for a Sri Lankan it's a different world."
#* Flipkart buys back logistics arm from WS Retail
New Delhi/Bengaluru: India’s largest e-commerce firm Flipkart Ltd has bought back its logistics business from WS Retail Services Pvt. Ltd, the largest seller on its platform, and a company with which it has close links, in an effort to simplify its structure ahead of a possible share sale a few years later.
The acquisition has been made through a new entity called Instakart Services Pvt Ltd, according to official documents and five people familiar with the matter.
The deal leaves WS Retail with only a trading business, which is also gradually being wound down as Flipkart shifts to a marketplace model from an inventory-led one, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity. Flipkart wanted to buy back the logistics arm as it is preparing for an initial public offering over the next few years and wants to make its complex structure simpler, they added.
Tax and accounting experts said the deal would have needed to be done at a fair value price to prove arm’s length distance was maintained between Flipkart and WS Retail. Since Flipkart’s logistics arm was moved to WS Retail in 2012, the business would have significantly increased in value, they add.
“We, as a policy, do not comment on specific transactions,” a Flipkart spokesperson said by email. “Moreover, Flipkart follows the highest standards of corporate governance for all its business activities. We ensure that every transaction we undertake, adheres to all applicable procedural, legal and regulatory norms, including fair value norms.”
Mint couldn’t independently ascertain the value of the Instakart deal.
“In such situations (as the Instakart deal), it is very important to see how the capital gains are treated,” a tax consultant said on condition of anonymity.
Since India bans foreign direct investment (FDI) in online retail (this is allowed in the marketplace model), Flipkart has devised a complicated maze of many inter-connected and some purportedly independent entities that receive the massive amounts of money it raises to build an integrated e-commerce business.
WS Retail is one of the most important entities in this structure. To get around FDI rules, Flipkart created WS Retail in 2009 as a seller on its site. As part of a complex arrangement, WS Retail bought goods from Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd, the B2B (business-to-business) arm of the main group holding company, and sold the same goods to customers on Flipkart’s site. WS Retail also owned and ran Flipkart’s key logistics business called e-kart that delivered products to customers.
WS Retail was owned by Flipkart co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, both of whom were also on its board, until September 2012. The Bansals were forced to sell their stake in WS Retail to former OnMobile Global Ltd chief operating officer Rajeev Kuchhal, just weeks before Indian regulatory agencies launched an investigation into Flipkart’s business relationship with WS Retail.
After the stake sale, the Bansals resigned from WS Retail’s board, but two of Flipkart’s early employees, Sujeet Kumar and Tapas Rudrapatna, both of whom are considered to be close to the Flipkart founders, controlled roughly 46% of WS Retail. Kumar was the de facto head of WS Retail and ran the logistics business until he left the company earlier this year.
This logistics business has now been acquired by Instakart Services.
Instakart Services was registered in June with Ankit Nagori and Rajnish Singh Baweja as the company’s shareholders and directors. Nagori is chief business officer at Flipkart while Baweja is Flipkart’s finance controller.
In July, Instakart received Rs.127 crore from Klick2shop Logistics Services International Pte, a company registered in Singapore. Klick2shop was incorporated in February and is registered under the same address as Flipkart Ltd, the group’s holding company, in Singapore.
Since late 2012, the Enforcement Directorate has been investigating Flipkart for alleged violations of FDI rules. The status of the probe is unclear.
Flipkart, which has raised more than $3 billion in funds from investors including Tiger Global Management, Qatar Investment Authority and Accel Partners, is now valued at $15 billion and is targeting gross sales of more than $10 billion this year. Gross sales exclude discounts and returns.
Since 2013, Flipkart has been slowly shifting to a marketplace model, where it connects customers to thousands of third-party sellers rather than sell products only through WS Retail. While the effort took time, Flipkart has been accelerating this shift over the past six months and now has more than 45,000 sellers on its platform.
To be sure, WS Retail still accounts for a significant part of Flipkart’s sales and is unlikely to fade away completely anytime soon.
WS Retail will continue to exist as a seller for the next few years, the five people cited above said.
From the marketplace model Flipkart is considering a plan to move to an advertising-based business. The company is planning to reduce commissions charged to its third-party sellers and diversify its business model by adding advertising, payments and other services starting this year, Mint reported on 24 July.
The company’s plan is based loosely on the business model of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. The Chinese firm charges low commissions on one platform and offers free listings on another to sellers, but makes money through ads, and logistics, payments and other services.
#* Don’t delete messages on Whatsapp, Google Hangouts: Indian government to citizens
If you have a habit of deleting chat records and attachments of your instant messaging apps such as Whatsapp, Apple iMessage, and Google Hangouts, this could soon be illegal in India as the government has proposed a new National Encryption Policy that require users and online business organizations to keep their chat and email records in plain text at least for a period of 90 days.According to a report published by the Outlook magazine, India has the worst record of maintaining secret data as they come under constant hack attack. The new move of the central government will aggravate the issue as keeping information such as passwords and other data in plain text could help hackers to tamper with data.The draft of the policy document has been published online for citizens to read and respond. The draft has detailed the encryption methods that should be used by the government, businesses and citizens. If the public opinion is in favor of the draft, Instant messaging apps will have to alter their encryption methods to fall in line with the government proposal.Here are some of the key implications for citizens and online business firms:According to the policy draft, citizens should use encryption prescribed by the government for storage and communication purpose. Also, the government will roll out new encryption algorithms and key sizes from time to time through notifications. This essentially means that it will be the sole power of the government to design and regulate encryption standards for entities like Whatsapp and iMessage.Interestingly, the government hasn’t left out any citizens, whether it be the uneducated or the less tech savvy, from following the guidelines. More bizarre is the dictate to keep the important data stored in plain text version for 90 days. One startling question is, what if the device got infected by a virus or we had to force restore the device due to some technical glitch. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen at the wrong time when authorities ask for reproducing data.As per the draft, “all citizens including personnel of Government / Business (G/B) performing non-official / personal functions, are required to store the plaintexts of the corresponding encrypted information for 90 days from the date of transaction and provide the verifiable Plain Text to Law and Enforcement Agencies as and when required as per the provision of the laws of the country.”
For B2B or enterprise users, the new draft is more than a nightmare. It says, “On demand, the user shall be able to reproduce the same Plain text and encrypted text pairs using the software / hardware used to produce the encrypted text from the given plain text. Such plain text information shall be stored by the user/organisation/agency for 90 days from the date of transaction and made available to Law Enforcement Agencies as and when demanded in line with the provisions of the laws of the country.” Which means online marketplaces like Flipkart and Snapdeal will have to put their user info in plain text inside the server, making it easy for the hackers to consume the data for all wrong reasons.There is a detailed clause in the draft explaining how foreign and innate service providers have to comply with the government’s proposed encryption technology. If the draft becomes government policy, the service providers will have to enter into an agreement with the government of India for providing encrypted technology and the government will constitute an agency exclusively for looking into this.“All vendors of encryption products shall register their products with the designated agency of the government. While seeking registration, the vendors shall submit working copies of the encryption software / hardware to the Government along with professional quality documentation, test suites, and execution platform environments. The vendors shall work with the designated Government Agencies in security evaluation of their encryption products,” the draft adds.Apple, Google, and Whatsapp will be forced to sign a pact with the government of India submitting that it is willing to provide services adhering to the encryption technology proposed by the government.What is appalling for app providers is the fear of getting stuck in the bureaucratic roadblock. For citizens, this could end up in rewriting the concept of privacy in the country as their sensitive data will be up in plain text, susceptible to abuse.Thankfully, the draft has given an exemption to products like SSL/TLS that are used for financial transactions. But, citizens who use services not approved by the government will face legal action if found. The draft says, “Government reserves the right to take appropriate action as per Law of the country for any violation of this Policy.”The draft has been scripted by the expert panel constituted by Department of Electronics and Information Technology under the supervision of Ministry of Information Technology. Feedback of citizens should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 16 and give suggestions.
#* CBI to question Mayawati in NHRM scam? Just a red herring for some political give-and-take
After years of investigation into the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claims to have stumbled upon a new evidence which will require the inquisition of Mayawati, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief.
The scam took place during Mayawati’s regime between 2007 and 2012. A series of mysterious killings of a few prime accused, including some medical officers, and the arrest of top officers such as IAS official Pradip Shukla for partaking in defalcation of government money, shook her regime in its dying years. But the CBI stayed miles away from Mayawati.
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There is little doubt that the CBI's deliberate and selective leakage of the news that it intends to interrogate Mayawati is a red-herring. Those investigating the case admit that it would be next to impossible for the investigating agency to gather prosecutable evidence against the BSP chief.
Apparently the CBI is relying on changing testimonies of one of the prime accused-turned-approver Girish Malik. Malik, a scam kingpin, was close to Babu Singh Kushwaha, who was then a close confidant of Mayawati and in-charge of the implementation of the NRHM. For the past three years, Malik has been changing his statements and indicting people randomly. His most immediate allegation, according to CBI sources, is that Mayawati bifurcated the health ministry in order to facilitate swindling of public money.
A close scrutiny of documents by top CBI sleuths found this theory untenable in the court of law.
"It is very difficult to prove that the entire cabinet was involved in the scam," they point out, referring to the fact that bifurcation of a ministry would have had to pass through the cabinet.
Top CBI officials were always hesitant to take this investigation to the doorstep of Mayawati not only for political reasons, but also for want of credible evidence against her in court.
It seems quite unlikely that ground reality has changed. The CBI's move prima facie seems to be hardly guided by the requirement of the investigation. In fact it would have done good to the image of the CBI if Mayawati had been interrogated at the beginning of the probe. But a favourable and lenient Manmohan Singh government seemed to have provided a protective cover. With the change of guard at the Centre, the threat of interrogating her by the CBI might just be another point of political leverage in the hands of the incumbent government.
Strangely enough, Mayawati's position is not dissimilar to her bete noire in UP politics, Mulayam Singh Yadav. Of late incriminating evidence has surfaced that indicates the involvement of family members and close associates of Mulayam Singh Yadav in the Yadav Singh scam. Yadav Singh, a promoted engineer-in-chief of Noida (adjoining Delhi), was nabbed by IT officials with cash worth crores.
Subsequent investigations revealed that he amassed huge wealth and partnered with influential members of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in his dubious ventures. Despite stiff resistance from the Akhilesh Yadav government, the Allahabad high court referred the case to the CBI marking the beginning of Mulayam Singh Yadav's travails. Mulayam's breaking away with the grand secular alliance in Bihar and going alone like the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is seen as a politically placatory gesture towards the BJP.
The latest leak just reaffirms the CBI's impression that governments will come and go but the CBI will remain a ‘caged parrot’. Forever.
#* Greek PM calls for 'shared responsibility' on migrant crisis
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, who returned to power after Sunday's election, on Monday called for "shared" European responsibility in tackling the migrant crisis facing the bloc.
"Europe...must share out responsibility among all member states," Tsipras said after his oath of office. "Otherwise there is no point in talking about a united Europe..if everyone looks to one's own yard when we have a common home, things will be ominous," he said.
EU interior ministers will meet on Tuesday to try to coordinate their response to the crisis ahead of an emergency summit set to open on Wednesday.
Over 310,000 migrants and refugees have landed on Greek shores from Turkey this year, most of them Syrians fleeing their country's civil war.
With most of them moving through the Balkans towards wealthier EU states, a number of European capitals have shut their borders to stem the flow.
In Hungary, police have used water cannons to push back refugees and border-crossing has been made a crime punishable by up to five years in jail.
Greece itself has been criticised for making little preparation to deal with the human wave during the summer, leaving entire families sleeping in the open with little access to medical care and sanitation.
But Tsipras said Monday that "Europe until now had not taken care to protect countries of first arrival from a wave that is taking unchecked proportions."
#* Hungary army gets powers to curb illegal migration, Europe struggles with refugee crisis
Hungary on Tuesday gave the army drastic new powers to stem illegal migration ahead of two key EU meetings on how to handle the unrelenting stream of refugees entering Europe.
Hundreds of thousands fleeing conflict and poverty have already made it into western Europe this year, with Austria registering 22,700 arrivals this weekend alone, after being shunted from one Balkan country to another as they travelled up from Greece.
Lawmakers in Hungary, which sealed off its border with Serbia last week to stop the flood of people heading north, today approved a final package of sweeping new anti-migrant laws. Under the legislation, the army can participate in border control and may use non-lethal force, while police will be able to enter private homes to look for illegal refugees.
"Soldiers deployed to the border can use coercive weapons designed to cause bodily harm, although in a non-lethal way, unless it cannot be avoided," it says, referring to rubber bullets, tear gas grenades and net guns.
Last week, other legislation came into force allowing Hungary to jail anyone caught crossing the border illegally, which carries a maximum fine of five years in prison. Prime Minister Viktor Orban told lawmakers in Budapest that refugees were "overrunning" Europe.
"They're not just banging on the door, they're breaking the door down on top of us," the 52-year-old right-winger said. "Our borders are in danger, our way of life built on respect for the law, Hungary and the whole of Europe is in danger."
The continent's worst migration crisis since World War II has exposed deep rifts within the 28-nation European Union, particularly between members in the former communist east and the wealthier west, the refugees' preferred destination.
EU interior ministers will meet tomorrow ahead of a bloc-wide emergency summit on Wednesday. Today, foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Latvia -- all of which reject proposals for binding migrant quotas championed by Germany -- met in Prague with their counterpart from Luxembourg, which holds the EU presidency.
Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said Warsaw could take in more refugees than its share under the proposed European Union quota plan to relocate 120,000 people, but stressed this should be on a voluntary basis and under certain conditions. After the talks, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek insisted they were "absolutely dedicated" to reaching an agreement with fellow EU nations.