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Work-from-home relaxation for IT firms now till December 31



In a major relief for IT companies, BPOs and their employees, the Centre has extended the relaxations of norms for such companies to allow ‘work from home’ for their staff till December 31, 2020.

The relaxations to the norms brought about for the convenience and safety of the IT sector employees amid the pandemic were due to end on July 31.

“DoT has further extended the relaxations in the Terms and Conditions for Other Service Providers (OSPs) upto 31st December 2020 to facilitate work from home in view of the ongoing concern due to #COVID19,” said a tweet by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

The government had first relaxed the norms till April and later extended it till July 31.

The industry has hailed the decision.

Thanking Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and DoT Secretary Anshu Prakash, Nasscom President Debjani Ghosh tweeted that the move will ensure business continuity and employee safety along with increase of the industry’s talent pool in tier-II and tier-III cities.

Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji tweeted: “Thank you to the government for their tremendous support on the new ways of working from day 1. This has helped tremendously in further elevating our standing and responsiveness globally.”

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Diesel fall continues as petrol holds firm




Diesel is getting cheaper by the day in the country on the back of subdued product prices and almost steady crude oil prices globally.

On Tuesday, pump price of the auto fuel fell by 8 paisa per litre across all major metros.

In the national capital, diesel is now priced Rs 70.63 per litre, 8 paise down from Rs 70.72 a litre on Monday.

Similarly, prices of the fuel also fell in the other metros.

In Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, the fuel was sold at Rs 77.04, Rs 76.10 and Rs 74.15, respectively on Tuesday, compared to the previous levels of Rs Rs 77.12, Rs 76.18 and Rs 74.23 per litre.

Diesel prices have now fallen for five consecutive days. In earlier months as well, diesel had maintained a consistent fall.

Oil marketing companies, however, kept petrol prices unchanged for the six consecutive days.

In Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, petrol was priced at Rs 81.06, Rs 87.74, Rs 84.14 and Rs 82.59 per litre, respectively.

The recent fuel price fall is on the back of expectation of slowing demand for oil globally as a second wave of coronavirus spike threatens further derail economic activity.

Brent crude price is also subdued around $42 a barrel.

For domestic auto fuel consumers, the price fall has been a bonanza amidst the current tough economic conditions.

With the price cut on Tuesday, diesel has now become cheaper by Rs 2.93 per litre in Delhi this month.

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MECL starts exploration in Kolar Gold Fields, rekindles hope among people




After nearly two decades of its closure, Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) in the Kolar Gold Field (KGF) again saw a ray of hope for its revival with Union Minister for Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi directing the Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL) to start exploration work in these mines.

Nearly 100 km from Bengaluru, KGF is a town known for gold mining for more than a century. The mines were closed on February 28, 2001 due to the fall in gold prices. The pyroclastic and pillow lava at Kolar Gold Fields have been declared a National Geological Monument by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) for their protection, maintenance and encouragement of geo-tourism.

Joshi took to Twitter to announce this decision on Monday, saying,”Happy to convey that exploratory drilling at Betrayaswamy block of Kolar Gold Fields commenced today (Monday).”

He also shared photographs on Twitter of the commencement of the activities. Joshi said the mining would help resolve Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) issue over exploration in KGF that has been pending for the last 16 years.

The exploration started after Joshi’s meeting with Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa on August 28.

Joshi said he had directed MECL to carry out immediate exploration in the mining lease area of BGML after meeting Yediyurappa.

In the meeting, Yediyurappa and Joshi had also decided that either the high-value minerals at BGML are explored or handed over to the Industries department for setting up an industrial cluster to start large-scale economic activities there.

One of India’s first power-generation units in Shivanasamudra, which is 100 km from Bengaluru’s Mandya district, was built in 1889 to support mining operations. To its credit the mine complex hosted some particle physics experiments between the 1960s and 1992.

The Kannada blockbuster film “K.G.F: Chapter 1” and its sequel “K.G.F: Chapter 2” were set here.

The Kolar gold mines were nationalised in 1956 and provided over 900 tonne gold until it was shut. Mining operations were closed by the Union government on February 28, 2001 for environmental and economic reasons citing production did not justify the investment.

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Etrio raises $3mn to launch new EVs in India




Hyderabad-based electric vehicle startup Etrio on Tuesday said it has raised of $3 million (approximately Rs 22 crore) in Series A round from high networth individual investors based out of Singapore.

The investment will fuel Etrio’s foray into new electric vehicles (EVs) in three-wheelers and bicycle product lines, the company said, adding that it aims to focus on customer acquisition across both the B2B and consumer segments.

The group of investors is led by serial investor, Janardhan Rao, founder of Triumph Global Group, a Singapore-headquartered international commodity trading house.

“With over a year of extensive work, we finally make our big transition from retrofitment to creation of new electric vehicles,” Deepak MV, Co-founder and CEO, Etrio, said in a statement.

“We will continue to evolve as an EV OEM (original equipment manufacturer) bringing reliable products based on superior vehicle architecture, efficient system integration, robust design, and connected systems to drive mass adoption of EVs in India.”

Etrio said it plans to launch new electric three-wheelers Touro in October and Ashva and iSwitch e-bike lines in the coming months.

“We aim to enter the highly-dense three-wheeler EV market starting with the cargo segment aimed at e-commerce logistics space and then subsequently set up its channel network for driving both passenger and cargo three-wheeler sales across major states in the North and South India,” the Etrio CEO said.

The company plans to use fresh funds to fuel its go-to-market strategy, set up sales and service networks across select cities, and hire key personnel over the next six-nine months.

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