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Tesla Now Plans To Invade India Via China

Tesla will not Make in India for now; Good tidings for defence acquisitions; An old fairy tale and the poll results; & more

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Tesla plans to market its Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV in India by 2021-22, but instead of Making in India, it is likely to ship in the first batch of these models from its mother plant in the United States. Subsequently, the disruptor in the market for electric cars is expected to take a leaf out of the book of global technology giants like Apple Inc., to use its upcoming installation at Shanghai in China to access the Indian market.

Industry observers reckon that prohibitive costs of logistics, exorbitant taxes and longer delivery schedules in India may have prompted Tesla to opt out of manufacturing the Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV locally in India. Tesla’s decision to ship in the models seems to be a volte face from an earlier stance. In a Tweet some time ago, Elon Musk had said, “Would love to be in India. Some challenging government regulations, unfortunately.” He went on to say in that Tweet that the disruptor in the electric car market was engaged in discussions with the Indian government on some short-term reliefs from import restrictions and duties, till it was ready to set up a local manufacturing facility.

The discussions, obviously, have not made much headway since.  
— Avishek Banerjee

Ready For Take-off 
The return of the Modi government renews hopes for defence acquisitions and modernisation of the Armed Forces. Many critical acquisitions of military hardware were postponed till a new government was in saddle. Changes in government have a tradition of putting a spoke in the wheel of defence procurements, which can now be ruled out. India’s quest for 114 multi role fighter jets, begun in 2018 with the Request for Proposal (RFP), should now resume soon.
The Indian Air Force has completed the Air Staff Quality Requirements (ASQR) which is an integral part of the process. The proposal will now go   to the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in July. All the seven global original equipment manufacturers under the Strategic Partnership (SP) model have offered to transfer technology and produce in India. Nonetheless, the government now must evaluate the ‘offerings’ in terms of complete transfer of design, coding and other structural elements, to set the ball rolling. The new acquisitions will not only refurbish the Indian Air Force, but also bring in next generation capability.  
—Manish Kumar Jha

Swachh Bharat
The Swachh Bharat Mission is purported to be among the missions accomplished by the BJP led National Democratic Alliance government that returns to power with an overwhelming mandate. The annual Swachh Bharat Mission report 2019 brags that the level of rural sanitation had improved from 39 per cent in 2014 to 98 per cent in 2019.

The claim though, is not borne out by another study conducted by the Harvard Centre for Population and Development Studies (HCPDS). A factsheet on development at the 543 parliamentary constituencies in India prepared by the think tank, says more than 120 parliamentary constituencies of the 543, do not have access to drinking water. More than 100 parliamentary constituencies (home to roughly 26.9 per cent of the population)are poor in sanitation. Miles to go, obviously, before we sleep.  
—Sheena Sachdeva

An Old Wives’ Tale
One afternoon Rip Van Winkle walked up the Catskill Mountains that tower over the Hudson river, and only returned home 20 years later. He slept through the entire American War of Independence. He did not see George Washington’s ships sail down the Hudson and knew not who he was when he saw his portrait hung at the old village inn. The plight of the Dutch farmer on that British colony has since been that of many revolutions all around the globe in other wars of independence from the imperialistic powers.

At home in India, the Indian National Congress had no effective opposition in the first three decades after Independence. Even in the decades that followed the coming together of the Janata government of 1977, the party that had led the freedom struggle, was only challenged by wobbly Oppositions that never could stick together. Like sozzled Rip, the grand old party, seems to have been oblivious to the India that has changed all around it.

So, India is really back to the glorious days after Independence, when the victors of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, face no real Opposition. And Rip? Oh, he spent the remaining years of his life recounting tales of the good old days.  
— Madhumita Chakraborty

Social Media And Public Opinion 
In recent years, the internet and social media have been an integral part of opinion making and in giving voice to political protests, social movements and election campaigns around the globe. In a recent study the Pew Research Centre found that notwithstanding the evolving negative perception about technology  (social media, cell phones etc.), almost 65 per cent of Indians believe that they are better informed because of the technology platforms they use.

Almost 60 per cent of Indians feel that technology can easily be used to manipulate news and spread rumours. Some 42 per cent of Indians believe that its use can give ordinary people a voice in the political process. They also believe that politicians can manipulate public opinion by using the technology platform. Close to 38 per cent of Indians feel the technology platform allows people to accept different viewpoints, while 45 per cent blame it for rising differences of opinion.
  —  Prabodh Krishna

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