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Centre open to raise auto sector’s plea at GST Council

The GST council’s next meeting is scheduled in Goa on September 20.

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New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) The central government is open to take the industry’s proposal on reducing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on automobiles to the GST Council.

Speaking at the ACMA annual convention here on Friday, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur said the government had received several representations from various stakeholders, including automobile dealers, OEMs and car manufacturers, regarding the reduction in GST rate from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.

The industry has demanded that the GST should be brought down to 18 per cent to reverse the consumption slowdown.

The Minister asked the auto industry players to reach out to the State Finance Ministers as well as the decision on any change in GST can only be taken by the GST Council.

“Any rate cute in the GST needs to be first approved by the GST Fitment Committee and then by the GST Council. I request all of you to also reach out to State Finance Ministers, who are part of the GST Council… We are open to take it (rate cut proposal) to the GST Council, deliberate it there and most of the decisions are unanimously been taken in the previous GST Council meetings,” he said.

The GST council’s next meeting is scheduled in Goa on September 20.

He said that government is listening to the industry and at the same time taking quick policy decisions to address these concerns raised by various sectors.

Further, the minister called for the industry to re-align their strategy given that consumers preferences are changing.

Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises Arjun Ram Meghwal, who also attended the event said that he expects rationalisation of tax rates levied on auto parts soon and that export incentives might be considered for the sector.

The automobile component manufacturers faces a unique tax structure as most of their products attract GST tax at 18 per cent, while some high-end parts attract a rate of 28 per cent.

He termed the auto sector’s woes as minor and which will be settled very soon as the Centre is aiming to make India a $5 trillion economy.

The automobile sector is suffering sales downturn due to factors like high GST, farm distress, stagnant wages and liquidity constraints. Inventory pile-up and stock management of unsold BS-IV vehicles too have become a problem for the sector.

Consequent to the slowdown, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had, on August 23, announced that government departments would be allowed to buy new vehicles.

In addition, automobiles purchased till March 31, 2020, can avail the benefit of additional depreciation of 15 per cent, with total depreciation up to 30 per cent.

Even BS-IV vehicles bought till March 31, 2020, would remain operational for their entire registration period.

Lately, all major OEMs consisting of passenger, commercial, two and three wheeler manufacturers have reported a massive decline in domestic sales.

Figures from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) showed that industry which has recorded an overall decline of 18.71 per cent in off-take for July, the highest monthly sales de-growth in the last 19 years. August figures are still awaited

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Bill Gates Is Driving a Porsche Taycan. Here’s Why He Didn’t Get a Tesla

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San Francisco, Feb 18 : Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday took a jibe at Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates after the world’s second richest man declared he has bought his first EV — Porsche Taycan.

Gates told a noted YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee in an interview that he purchased his first-ever EV Porsche Taycan, calling the vehicle “very, very cool”.

“My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh (to be honest),” Musk tweeted to a user.

The initial EV Porsche Taycan Turbo S model starts at $185,000 while the entry-level Tesla Model 3 starts from $35,000.

In the interview, Brownlee asked Gates about his thoughts on Tesla’s dominance in the electric vehicle market.

Gates acknowledged that Tesla is the cream of the crop when it comes to electric cars, adding that lots of manufacturers are moving to produce electric vehicles because Tesla’s appeal has been increased over the past few years.

“Tesla, if you had to name one company, that’s helped drive that, it’s them,” said Gates.

You can watch the complete interview here:

Musk has been tweeting his thoughts about tech honchos.

He recently questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and called Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos a “copycat”.

Gates recently commissioned a $644 million hydrogen-powered superyacht. The plans of buying the superyacht were unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show in December last year.

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Maruti Suzuki India launches Ertiga S-CNG

“Being the first company to introduce factory-fitted CNG cars in the country, today we proudly own the largest portfolio of green vehicles.”

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Maruti Suzuki BS-VI compliant Ertiga S-CNG

New Delhi, Feb 7: Automobile major Maruti Suzuki India on Friday rolled out the BS-VI compliant Ertiga S-CNG, offering a mileage of 26.08 km per kg.

According to the company, the factory-fitted Ertiga BS-VI S-CNG will be available for Rs 8.95 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi).

At the launch, Maruti Suzuki India’s Executive Director (Marketing & Sales) Shashank Srivastava said: “Ertiga has been a market leader amongst MPVs, and the introduction of BS6 S-CNG will further help augment its leadership in the segment.”

“Being the first company to introduce factory-fitted CNG cars in the country, today we proudly own the largest portfolio of green vehicles.”

Besides, the company said that the launch of S-CNG vehicle range is aligned to and complements the government’s vision of reducing oil imports and enhancing the share of natural gas in the energy basket of the country from the current 6.2 per cent to 15 per cent by 2030.

At present, the government is working to rapidly increase CNG fuel pumps network in the country.

In addition, the automobile major said that S-CNG vehicles are equipped with dual interdependent ECUs (Electronic Control Units) and intelligent injection system.

“Vehicles are specially tuned and calibrated to deliver optimum performance and enhanced drivability across all kinds of terrains,” the company said in a statement.

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Elon Musk hires AI that ‘reports directly’ to him 24/7

Tesla is using advanced AI for vision and planning, supported by efficient use of inference hardware to achieve a general solution to full self-driving.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk

San Francisco, Feb 3: Tesla CEO Elon Musk who is a staunch critic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has now hired the technology, turning AI into a subordinate that “reports directly” to him daily.

Musk, who has crossed swords with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma over the role of AI, is finally giving the technology some space, like in his startup Neuralink which is creating a brain-machine interface.

Tagging Lex Fridman, popular host of the Artificial Intelligence podcast on YouTube, Musk tweeted: “At Tesla, using AI to solve self-driving isn’t just icing on the cake, it the cake” @lexfridman

“Join AI at Tesla! It reports directly to me & we meet/email/text almost every day. My actions, not just words, show how critically I view (benign) AI,” the Tesla CEO added.

For him, AI can only do ‘benign’ tasks and those jobs too are being evaluated critically by him.

Tesla is using advanced AI for vision and planning, supported by efficient use of inference hardware to achieve a general solution to full self-driving.

The company is building silicon chips that power its full self-driving software from the ground up, taking every small architectural and micro-architectural improvement into account while pushing hard to squeeze maximum silicon performance-per-watt.

The company is applying cutting-edge research to train deep neural networks on problems ranging from perception to control.

“Our per-camera networks analyze raw images to perform semantic segmentation, object detection and monocular depth estimation. Our birds-eye-view networks take video from all cameras to output the road layout, static infrastructure and 3D objects directly in the top-down view,” says Tesla.

“Our networks learn from the most complicated and diverse scenarios in the world, iteratively sourced from our fleet of nearly 1 million vehicles in real time. A full build of Autopilot neural networks involves 48 networks that take 70,000 GPU hours to train. Together, they output 1,000 distinct tensors (predictions) at each timestep,” the electric carmaker added.

The company is also developing core algorithms that drive the car by creating a high-fidelity representation of the world and planning trajectories in that space.

During a recent presentation about Neuralink’s brain-machine interface technology, he said: “Even in a benign AI scenario, we will be left behind.

“Hopefully, it is a benign scenario. But I think with a high-bandwidth brain-machine interface we can actually go along for the ride. And we can effectively have the option of merging with AI,” Musk told the gathering.

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