India


We now have evidence to support the claim that those at the “Bottom of the Pyramid” (and therefore, the majority of people in the developing world) are likely to enter the world of knowledge and convenience promised by the Internet through the path opened by the rapidly increasing capabilities of mobile networks and user devices. Mobile 2.0 describes the use of mobiles for “more‐than‐voice”. Mobiles are increasingly becoming payment devices which can also send/process/receive voice, text and images; it is envisaged that in the next few years, they will also be fully capable of information‐retrieval and publishing functions, normally associated with the Internet. Mobile 2.
Despite the fact that not all the frequencies have been cleared, India has announced the 3G auctions will be held in April. The original date was January 2009. Perhaps the driving force was the government’s need for money, rather than the conditions being right. India’s long-delayed auction of third-generation (3G) mobile phone bandwidth will be held on April 9, the government announced Wednesday. Applications from bidders for the multi-billion-dollar auction, whose proceeds are earmarked to help plug a gaping fiscal deficit, will be accepted until March 19, a government notice said.

On the benefits of services trade

Posted on February 17, 2010  /  0 Comments

Services trade, especially mode 1 services trade where the buyer remains in the buyer’s country and the seller remains in the seller’s country, is critical to the development of emerging economies. India has been one of the greatest beneficiaries of liberalized trade, but the NYT article below shows that the US is also a clear winner. The full article is worth a read. For example, will Washington offer tax breaks or other export incentives? While businesses may clamor for them, these would be a setback for freer trade — after all, for years it has been America that has been hectoring other countries to end their subsidies to exporters.
One way business models and innovations travel is through mergers and acquisitions. We have been waiting to see more African consumers benefit from the low prices and greater connectivity afforded by the Budget Telecom Network Model. Finally it looks like a big Indian telecom operator has got a foothold in Africa, with the transfer of Zain equity in a number of African countries to Bharti Airtel. Zain has fared badly in Africa along with other Middle Eastern operators perhaps because their home turf has been heavily regulated. Most acted as comfortable monopolists until only recently.

Latest on Indian ITES performance

Posted on February 9, 2010  /  2 Comments

An excerpt from a trade newsletter published by the Govt of India: According to the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), the apex body for software services in India, the revenue of the information technology sector has risen from 1.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in FY 1997-98 to an estimated 5.8 per cent in FY 2008-09. Further, the industry body expects the sector to grow between 4 per cent and 7 per cent during 2009-10 and return to over 10 per cent growth next year. India’s IT growth in the world is primarily dominated by IT software and services such as Custom Application Development and Maintenance (CADM), System Integration, IT Consulting, Application Management, Software testing, and Web services.
Voice and Data has done a story on spectrum hoarding. Among the main sources is Payal Malik, who did the spectrum/licensing study that was part LIRNEasia’s mobile 2.0 work. According to Payal Malik, sr research fellow, LIRNEasia, “It is difficult to verify whether the spectrum is actually being hoarded, but given the way allocation has taken place, I won’t be surprised if it is. In an effort to eliminate competition, the existing players inflate subscriber numbers.
We documented the research done by Jensen and Aker on the benefits of mobiles to producers and consumers. Now we have a third good piece of research, this time not of decentralized information provision, but of centralized provision in India with the e Choupals. ITC Limited, an Indian company that is one of the largest buyers of soyabeans, felt it was paying over the odds, but was unable to monitor the traders closely. Starting in October 2000 it began to introduce a network of internet kiosks, called e-choupal, in villages in Madhya Pradesh. (Choupal means “village gathering place” in Hindi.
The Sivagangai District (Tamil Nadu, India) Deputy Director of Health Services (DDHS), Dr. Raghupathy, compared the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP) to a comprehensive machine with multiple flavors that can give the required surveillance results with the touch of a button. Kurunegala RE (Region Epidemiologist, Sri Lanka), Dr. Hemachandra’s words were “RTBP will give a booster to surveillance in our region”. Evaluation planning workshops took place in Karraikudi, Tamil Nadu and Kurunegala, Sri Lanka.

Tharoor tweets; MSM twit

Posted on January 6, 2010  /  0 Comments

Apparently MSM in India are conspiring against new media: The news media breathlessly chronicle each of Mr. Tharoor’s supposed Twitter missteps in editorials and talk show discussions. One news channel scrolled his latest Twitter updates across its screen under the rubric “Breaking News.” Twitter enthusiasts say the news media make a fuss about it because it usurps its traditional role as intermediary and interpreter between the powerful and the masses. “By constantly associating Twitter with controversies, Indian media will successfully dissuade other politicians from joining the social networking site,” Ajit Narayana, an avid Twitter user who is organizing a conference this month on Twitter’s use in India, wrote in an e-mail message.
Observed few things fresh on my day at the Abhayagiri monastery complex. One was a rock inscription in ancient devanagari. It was not about a donation made by a king or a minister, as usual, or even a notification of a new regulation. The Sanskrit stanza was meant for Buddhist monks. Not a rule; but more a guide.
The document describes the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for data collection, data processing, data reporting, and database/system administration. Data collection involves Setting up of the Biosurveillance Module (BSM) initial information (i.e. implement database) through the web application and direct Database Administration (DBA) functions Installing, configuring, and maintaining the m-HealthSurvey mobile application Health worker expected practices in submitting data Documenting and reporting problems associated with the BSM and m-HealthSurvey Data processing involves Installing, configuring, and maintaining the T-Cube Web Interface (TCWI) analytical tool Installing, , configuring, and maintaining the detection algorithms Health Officials (epidemiologist) expected practices in analyzing the health data Defining priority levels for particular diseases Documenting events of interest Documenting and reporting problems associated with TCWI and detection algorithms Data reporting involves Installing, configuring, and maintaining the Sahana Alerting and Messaging Module (MAM) Initializing the MAM contact lists, jurisdictions, geographical areas, message templates Verification and Authorization procedures for issuing health alerts
Fitch Ratings, a global rating agency, said the South Asian and South East Asian countries are divergent in terms of regulatory risk. It says Sri Lanka has the highest risky regulatory environment while the risk is lowest in Malaysia.  Buddhika Piyasena, Director in Fitch’s TMT team, said, Sri Lanka’s high regulatory risk score reflects insufficient transparency in the regulatory process combined with the regulator’s strong connection with the political framework. The total regulatory risk score for each market is derived based on three major sub-categories: Political & Social Policy Risk. Industrial Policy Risk.
Multiple submarine cables with multiple landing stations, owned by different entities, don’t offer competitive wholesale international bandwidth in India. Today a chunk of 10-gigabytes bandwidth varies between $5 million and $9 million in India while it’s being sold from $1.5 million to $1.7 million in other Asian markets. It’s a huge challenge for the world’s fastest growing telecoms market where broadband penetration remains a national embarrassment.
Mobile phone message services like one deployed by the financial news agency Reuters to over a million farmers in India, could help Sri Lankan farmers earn more for their produce, experts said. Ranjit Pawar of Reuters Market Light, India said their SMS (short message service) in India provide farmers timely information and helps eliminate middlemen. “A farmer told me, ‘If I had timely information I could have made 40 percent more money,’ when we launched the short message service in India,” Pawar told a seminar on knowledge based economies. It was organized by LIRNEasia, a regional think tank based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Full story.
More coverage on LBO of the proceedings of the LIRNEasia@5 conference: “The biggest contribution from research is not what is adopted, but what is adopted,” says Bill Melody, founding director of World Dialog on Regulation for Network Economies. “Harmful policies that are avoided with the information generated from research.” R K Arnold the head of the executive secretariat of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India says all its recommendation is based on extensive but decisions are not “We used a (LirneAsia) research on a tax and the government reduced the tax. In infrastructure sharing we drawn heavily on your research,” Arnold said. “But whether the decision makers use it at the top depends on a very fluid situation.
Professor Xue Lan of Tsinghua University in Beijing participated in the inaugural session of the La@5 conference through a video link, kindly provided by Tata Communications Lanka. We were worried about this, because he was competing with real people (Milinda Moragoda, Minister of Justice and Law Reforms, Sri Lanka, and Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Center for Policy Research, New Delhi) in the co-presence of the large audience. This report by an LBO journalist who was in the room suggests that the message overcame the limitations of the medium. Ad hoc public policy formulation can be disastrous and both China and India are evolving evidence based processes to back effective government action, academics and researchers said at a policy forum in Colombo. “The strategic direction is set by the Party and State Council and the People’s Congress makes legislation,” Xue Lan professor of Public Policy at Tsinghua University in China said, participating in a regional policy forum in Colombo.