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Tamil Nadu power sector companies incurred Rs 13,000 Cr loss: CAG

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Increased power purchase, coal handling, financing and employee costs has resulted in the five Tamil Nadu state power sector companies incurring a loss of about Rs 13,176 crore, said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report for 2018-19.

According to the report tabled in the Assembly the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd (TANGEDCO) last fiscal suffered an increased loss of Rs 4,862 crore mainly due to higher costs.

The CAG report has put the erstwhile ruling party AIADMK on the mat.

The CAG report said the power utility incurred an additional cost of Rs 7,396 crore in higher power purchase and generation costs.

The CAG also came down on TANGEDCO’s coal management which resulted in a wasteful expenditure of over Rs 4,000 crore during 2014-19.

According to the report, excess coal to the value of about Rs 2,317 crore was consumed in the thermal power stations owing to increased Station Heat Rate (SHR) between 2014-19 than what was stipulated by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC).

The CAG also faulted TANGEDCO for not checking out the reason for drop in the calorific value of coal which resulted in a wasteful expenditure of about Rs 2,012 crore.

The poor quality of coal has resulted in generation loss of about Rs 171 crore between 2014-19.

On the power costs, the CAG report states that TANGEDCO failed to increase the generation from its own plants and bought power from private companies at higher prices.

While the power utility did not claim liquidated damages from two power suppliers for not delivering on time, it bought power at a higher price.

The CAG also indicted Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation Ltd for favouring private players in procurement of set-top boxes and non-imposition of penalty for delayed deliveries.

As regards the free distribution of fans, mixies scheme, the CAG said the state incurred a loss of about Rs 124 crore in excess procurement of the consumer durables.

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Airtel showcases 5G ambulance, smart agri 5G solutions to PM Modi

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 Bharti Airtel on Saturday showcased a 5G-connected ambulance to transform primary health care in emergency situations, along with smart farming solutions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 5G official launch in the country.

The 5G ambulance, that can be built for around Rs 7-7.5 lakh, brings a hospital’s emergency care to the patient.

Airtel, Apollo Hospitals and Cisco have joined hands to build the 5G-connected ambulance.

The state-of-the-art 5G ambulance is equipped with the latest medical equipment, patient monitoring applications, and telemetry devices that transmit the patient health data to the hospital in real-time.

In addition, it is also equipped with onboard cameras, camera-based Headgear, and ‘Bodyc Cams’ for paramedic staff — all connected to the ultra-fast and low latency Airtel 5G network.

It will be further enabled with technologies like AR/VR, said the company.

“Healthcare is one of the most promising use cases for 5G, and we are delighted to deepen our partnerships with Apollo Hospitals and Cisco to bring some innovative use cases for the Indian market,” said Ajay Chitkara, Director & CEO, Airtel Business, Bharti Airtel.

With real-time camera feed available, the paramedics in an ambulance can use the cameras to collaborate with the ER doctors at the hospital who are equipped with technologies like AV/VR to undertake basic procedures, if necessary.

The doctors can virtually guide the paramedic to carry out the procedure and save precious lives.

The Airtel’s ‘Ambupod’ technology provides health testing, immunisation and the doctor’s connectivity in difficult-to-reach areas.

“Doctors can do a virtual examination of the patient through a video call and view their reports. Medical services can be provided to many villages at the same time,” according to the telecom provider.

The company also showcased smart farming solutions to Modi during his visit to the Airtel pavilion.

Airtel, along with its partners L&T and CDAC, has made an effort to make the agriculture sector more productive with the help of 5G technology.

“If every farmer in the country gets the necessary information like soil moisture, atmospheric moisture and temperature information in advance to improve the productivity of agriculture, then he can make a better decision,” the company said.

Camera-based analytics can suggest to the farmer according to the colour and nature of the crop, at what time and how much pesticide to use.

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Vi to introduce 5G mobile cloud gaming service in India

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Telecom operator Vi (Vodafone Idea) on Friday announced its partnership with gaming platform CareGame to offer 5G Cloud gaming experience to its users in India.

The company said that with 5G’s low latency technology, the cloud gaming industry is expected to democratise even further.

“The online gaming industry is among the fastest growing entertainment segments in India and with the advent of 5G it is expected to grow many folds. Mobile gaming is a key agenda for us to drive engagement with our consumers”, Avneesh Khosla, Chief Marketing Officer, Vodafone Idea, said in a statement.

As per a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), India currently has a user base of 300 million mobile gamers. Growing at a CAGR of 38 per cent, the Indian mobile gaming industry is expected to triple in size to a $5 billion market by 2025.

“Our unique Mobile Cloud Gaming technology lifts all these barriers up so that all mobile gamers can enjoy all these great mobile games, whether being RPG, MOBA, Battle Royale, Strategy, Simulation, FPS, Racing or in any other genre”, said Benjamin Athuil, Co-founder and President of CareGame.

The company will showcase the service at the India Mobile Congress (IMC), being held from October 1-4 at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.

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JioPhone 5G price leak stirs controversy, research firm clarifies

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Leading market research firm Counterpoint Research has refuted certain reports that used its findings to convey that Reliance Jio is set to launch the 5G version of its JioPhone Next affordable smartphone around Rs 8,000-Rs 12,000.

In a clarification posted on Twitter, Counterpoint said that “some comments from our research note dated 26th September 2022 on the JioPhone Next BoM have been taken out of context”.

“This is leading to misquotes and misrepresentations of our intent. In our research, we speculate about the possible pricing of a 5G phone from Jio, but we have no specific knowledge of any possible or exact pricing plans for 5G products or the potential timing of any 5G products from Jio,” said the research agency.

In its report, the industry report touched upon the JioPhone Next 4G, saying it is a unique smartphone for its price segment, retailing at around $55-$80 (Rs 4,400-Rs 6,400) depending on the seasonal/regional/buyback offers, supported by a compact design.

“The device rounds up Jio’s strategy well — first, to use the JioPhone Next 4G to attract hundreds of millions of 2G feature phone users to its 4G network and second, to aim to deliver a $100 to $150 (Rs 8,000-Rs 12,000) affordable 5G smartphone once the coverage has reached a good threshold to attract the mass-market 4G smartphone users to its 5G network,” the bill of materials (BoM) analysis said.

“This two-pronged strategy will be the key to Jio’s growth and extend its leadership to the 5G era as well,” it added.

Further, at some point in 2024, Jio will also be compelled to launch an affordable 5G mmWave + Sub-6 GHz smartphone as the cost deltas between the two would have narrowed significantly from the BoM perspective.

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