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Airtel group ties up with Mastercard for farmers, SMEs

Airtel Payments Bank has been working with Mastercard for last three years to offer Mastercard powered debit cards to its savings bank account customers in the country.

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New Delhi, May 26 : Airtel Payments Bank (APBL) has partnered with Mastercard to develop customized products catering to customers across the underbanked spectrum including farmers, small and medium enterprises and retail customers.

As part of the Government’s vision of Digital India and Banking for every Indian, both entities have been working towards driving adoption of formal banking and digital payments in the country.

The collaboration will bring together Mastercard’s global and local experience in developing advanced financial solutions and Airtel Payments Bank’s strong distribution network to reach the last mile and its large customer base.

The collaboration aims at building a digital platform which provides farmers with knowledge about advanced farming techniques and connection to marketplaces, while simultaneously enabling them to receive payments directly in their Airtel Payments Bank account.

Combined with 500,000 banking points of Airtel Payments Bank, the platform will provide farmers with access to neighbourhood banking, earnings stability and income growth. This will be a significant move towards building a cashless economy.

Both partners will also work together to create customized solutions for millions of small businesses across the country. These solutions will empower small and medium scale enterprises, who have limited access to finance, to make assisted payments, manage their financial & transactional processes, and also avail working capital in these times of crisis.

Finally, Airtel Payments Bank and Mastercard will work together to create differentiated card solutions, including solutions for contact less payments via NFC (Near Field Communication) for customers and merchants.

Anubrata Biswas, MD and CEO, Airtel Payments Bank said “..we aim to create products that will motivate customers to adapt formal banking behaviour and start opting for digital payments. These solutions will be an addition to our existing differentiated bouquet of easy, accessible and convenient banking and payment solutions to serve the underserved and unbanked population.”

Porush Singh, Division President, South Asia, Mastercard said, “These solutions will enable them to access a larger market base, receive payments easily into their bank accounts, safeguard their money against risks associated with cash and get easy access to credit. The partnership will also play an important role towards achieving Mastercard’s goal to empower India’s merchants with digital payments acceptance infrastructure by the end of this year.

Airtel Payments Bank has been working with Mastercard for last three years to offer Mastercard powered debit cards to its savings bank account customers in the country.

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Unholy nexus of BJP govt and MNCs stands exposed: Congress

“If on June 16, hand sanitisers were essential commodities up till 30th December, 2020; what changed in 15 days? Why does the government want the people to be charged high prices? Why no price limit on these essentials to fight Covid-19? Is the war on Covid over?” Surjewala questioned.

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Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, July 10 : The Congress on Friday criticised the Narendra Modi government over its decision to remove face masks and hand sanitisers from the essential commodities list. It said that an “unholy nexus” between the BJP government and the MNCs stands exposed.

In a series of tweets, Congress national media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Opportunity in Adversity said the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi). The unholy nexus of BJP government with MNCs/Companies of profiteering at the cost of people stands exposed. Government has removed face masks and hand sanitisers as essential commodities. Now, masks/hand sanitisers can be sold at any MRP.”

He further said, “On June 16, the BJP government had said — As lockdown has been relaxed, demand for hand sanitisers may increase & it should continue to be covered under EC Act till Dec 31, 2020.. ”its continued availability is of paramount importance” & “to ensure its availability at affordable rates.” Surjewala also attached a copy of the June 16 order in his tweet.

“If on June 16, hand sanitisers were essential commodities up till 30th December, 2020; what changed in 15 days? Why does the government want the people to be charged high prices? Why no price limit on these essentials to fight Covid-19? Is the war on Covid over?” Surjewala questioned.

His remarks came after the government”s decision to remove hand sanitisers and face masks from the essential commodities list. On Friday, India recorded 26,502 cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours taking the total tally to 7,93,802 cases with 21,604 fatalities due to the pandemic.

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Closed Markaz, no foreigners dims hopes for Nizamuddin shopkeepers

In comparison to the adjoining Bhogal market, Nizamuddin market is primarily focused on the needs of the visitors to the Markaz. Now since the markaz has been closed, the usual flow of customers is missing.

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Nizamuddin Markaz

New Delhi, July 10 : A group of five men in white kurta pyjamas wait outside the Nizamuddin Markaz for the local policeman to arrive. After some anxious moments, the policeman arrives on a motorcycle with the building”s key. It is time for afternoon prayers and only five people are permitted to offer prayers inside the Markaz five times a day. As he unlocks the gate, the five men walk in to offer Zohar Namaz.

Khaleeq, who has his small shop, selling skull caps, beads and other religious items, exactly opposite the Markaz entrance, feels that with foreigners gone from the area, the market will have a hard time to pick up.

“With the uncertainty on when foreigners would be allowed in Markaz now, the business at Nizamuddin market is badly hit. Most of the shops here are based on the foreigners” needs and demands. With no foreign customers, we are facing heavy losses,” he said.

The worst affected are money exchange shops which were mostly dependent on foreigners” visit to Markaz.

Ahmed Uzair, a banker who resides in Nizamuddin, believes that the market might now pay the price of being too much dependent on foreign customers attending the jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz.

“Many shopkeepers are vacating their shops as they are unable to pay the rent. Many have packed up and went to their native places as they see a bleak future of what was once a flourishing market,” Uzair said.

After de-containment of Nizamuddin, the barricades present at the main road leading to Nizamuddin Markaz has been removed now but there are little or no customers in the market.

In comparison to the adjoining Bhogal market, Nizamuddin market is primarily focused on the needs of the visitors to the Markaz. Now since the markaz has been closed, the usual flow of customers is missing.

“Not just foreigners but visitors from other states in India formed the backbone for the survival of this market. It”s facing a tough time now and it seems it will continue for some time,” said Shamshad Ahmed, another shopkeeper in the area.

The Markaz was closed since the lockdown and on the night of March 29, police and health authorities started bringing people out from the Markaz and sent them to hospitals and quarantine facilities.

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PIL in Gujarat HC for saffron symbol on ”Made in India” products

It also sought the government assign different coloured symbols on products, so that an illiterate or semi-literate person can also recognise the place of origin.

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Gujarat High Court

Gandhinagar, July 9 : The Gujarat High Court has issued notice to the Centre and state governments on a PIL seeking colour coded symbols on products sold online, so that ignorant or illiterate persons can also recognise the place of the origin of the product and seeking direction to assign saffron coloured symbol to products ”Made in India.”

Ahmedabad resident Yatin Soni, in his PIL, said that the products that are sold on online platforms and web portals do not inform the prospective consumers about the manufacturing place of the product, the origin of the manufacturers and other details, which violates the fundamental rights of freedom of information ensured to Indian citizens.

After the ”Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, any prospective consumer, when ordering products from online platforms and web portals, should be allowed to avail of the information of the country where the product is manufactured, the nationality of the manufacturer et al, it said, adding that, at present there is no provision in law that mandates the manufacturer to display such information.

The PIL seeks directions to the Centre and the Gujarat government to mandate the manufacturer displays, on the web portal information about whether a particular product is manufactured by Indian company and in India, whether it is manufactured by an Indian company but outside India, whether it is manufactured by a foreign company in a foreign land, or in India, and if the manufacturer is an multinational company (MNC), the share of the Indian partner.

It also sought the government assign different coloured symbols on products, so that an illiterate or semi-literate person can also recognise the place of origin.

Apart for a saffron symbol for India-made products, it sought blue colour for Indian manufacturer producing product outside India, red for foreign company manufacturing outside India, yellow for products by foreign manufacturer produced in India and pink colour for products by MNCs.

The PIL also mentioned that after the Galwan valley incident – where 20 Indian soldiers were killed by the Chinese, there were many Indian customers who wanted to boycott Chinese products.

Soni said that the high court, after issuing notice, had slated the next hearing for July 29.

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