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Instead of treating CO2 as liability, we can make it raw material: Mukesh Ambani

Reliance was early to recognise the potential of algae as a sustainable, clean biomanufacturing platform.



Mukesh Ambani Picture

New Delhi, June 26 : Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), has said that instead of treating carbon dioxide (CO2) as a liability, one can use it as a raw material.

Ambani made these remarks at the FII Investment Institute Conference on “Don”t Forget Our Planet” on Thursday.

The other participants in the conference included Prince Abdulaziiz bin Salman al-Saud, Minister of Energy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Patrick Pauyanne, CEO, Total and Tanya Beckett, as the moderator.

Ambani stressed on completing the carbon cycle. “I think that, where we are, if we take a clean sheet of paper and adopt technologies whereby we can complete the energy cycle, we can adopt new technologies, particularly biochemical photosynthesis. Instead of treating carbon dioxide as a liability, we can make that a raw material,” Ambani said.

“There are new progresses in chemical roots, in the catalytic roots, whereby we can still complete the carbon cycle,” he added.

Ambani said that in the progress that human kind has made between the industrial revolutions, it has disturbed the carbon cycle and now it is time to use technology to reset that balance.

“It”s not only imperative for us to be net carbon zero, but I think that we should opt to recycle carbon. I believe that Mother Nature is the best technology and she teaches us how to recycle,” he added.

“We”ve forgotten the carbon cycle; His Highness reminded us about that and I think that Saudi Arabia in the G20 summit has put this on the global agenda. We have to adopt technologies and I think that for us in the energy business, it is not so much about the decarbonisation, but it is really about completing the cycle,” Ambani said.

“And I think that renewables, or clean fuels, business is a very simple framework and energy is an essential requirement for all the people on this earth. There is a need to provide efficient, clean and affordable energy. And we have to do it in a responsible way. That”s the business. We should not confuse that between clean and unclean,” he said.

“I don”t think that just one solution will fit all. The important thing is to allow energy equally. That means, everybody has to have access to clean energy for their quality of life at an affordable price. And the purpose of industry is prosperity of all the people,” Ambani said.

He added that the new supply of energy on affordable basis is the prosperity of the planet. “And only after these two there can be prosperity for the companies and the shareholders. I think in the coming decades, we have no choice but to meet these challenges to complete the carbon cycle and serve the energy needs of all its customers rather than thinking in terms of fossil and renewable and wind and so forth,” he said.

“For us, particularly in India, we have high growth, so it is important that one works with the consumer in spreading the awareness,” he said.

The RIL CMD said that real touch with the community, understanding the community on the ground level and understanding different sectors of the economy and getting them involved in the energy movement is critical for restoring the carbon cycle.

Ambani believes that synthetic biology is the key to powering a clean planet, according to a report in Forbes. Reliance is moving directly into synthetic biology”s convergence of biology, computing and automation.

“Biology in the next 20-30 years will lead the world,” Ambani said recently, as per the Forbes report.

Reliance showcased how its synthetic biology programme, comprising 150+ scientists and researchers, recently developed an “algae to oil” technology that takes carbon dioxide waste from the refinery, and combines it with algae and sunlight to produce bio-crude oil that could one day fuel the carbon-neutral air travel.

Reliance was early to recognise the potential of algae as a sustainable, clean biomanufacturing platform.

“Just as we brew beer from yeast, we can make just about anything from medicines and food to next-generation bioplastics and fuels from algae,” the report said.

Reliance is also using advances in gene editing to significantly improve the production capacity of algae. It is spearheading several algae-based projects, including one turning organic waste into kerosene and aviation fuel — a.k.a. “waste to wealth”.

By using algae to make bio-crude and other chemicals, it mitigates traditional production techniques that take the carbon of fossil fuels out of the ground and put it into the atmosphere, further contributing to the alarming rise in greenhouse gas emissions, the Forbes report said.

But Reliance”s efforts are about more than supporting a clean environment.

Santanu Dasgupta, who leads the biology R&D at Reliance, said that the new bioeconomy — driven by synthetic biology– is a way to uplift India”s economy, much of which is built on agrarian society.

The report said that with agricultural feedstocks as the basis of a new bioeconomy, Dasgupta thinks Reliance can uplift India’s rural communities along with its biotech sector.

Dasgupta has also said that the process of bringing people together across cultural boundaries to explore how synthetic biology can improve people”s lives around the world isn”t going to happen overnight, “but it”s a process that we must start now,” the Forbes report said.


WhatsApp rolls out first-ever global brand campaign in India





New Delhi, July 4 : WhatsApp on Saturday launched its first brand campaign in India that narrates real stories about how Indians communicate daily on WhatsApp with their closest relationships.

The campaign called ”It”s Between You” gives thrust on WhatsApp”s commitment to privacy, the company said in a statement.

“With WhatsApp”s end-to-end encryption, we come closest to replicating real-life interactions and that”s when we can truly be ourselves. The conversations you have, the jokes you tell and the memories you relive belong to you and deserve to stay between you,” said Avinash Pant, Director, Marketing at Facebook India.

WhatsApp collaborated with Gauri Shinde, a celebrated Indian Bollywood director along with BBDO India to create two 60-seconds ads, each highlighting how WhatsApp”s features like texts, video calls or even a voice message, help replicate in-person conversations and bring people closer.

One ad is based on a true story about an elderly woman and her caregiver, who are now separated from each other.

“From how to bring together the cast and crew that were right for the part and happened to be living together, and directing over a WhatsApp video call, to doing all the post production work without being physically present, it”s been really rewarding,” said Shinde.

The second story is at the other end of the spectrum of emotion, which is a light and fun film about a younger sister giving joyful courage to her elder one through a WhatsApp video call, when the latter feels vulnerable and hesitant to give her a haircut at home.

“WhatsApp is designed to help friends and family communicate as well as help users connect with a business that is important to them,” said the company.

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Govt to levy interest on late payment to MSMEs for GeM purchase




Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, July 3 : Government departments and agencies will have to pay interest on late payment to vendors, largely MSMEs, for products procured through the Government e-Martketplace (GeM), starting October 1.

Through an office memorandum, the Department of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance on Friday said that if the payment is not made within 10 days of the Consignee Receipt and Acceptance Certificate (CRAC) being auto generated or issued by the buyer, the concerned department will have to pay interest at the rate of one per cent per month for the delayed payment.

However, this very interest will not go to the MSMEs concerned and instead, will deposited in an account maintained by the GeM, which will be used only for the education of buyers and sellers or public procurement with the prior approval of the Department of Expenditure, said the office memorandum.

“ln order to promote greater discipline and timeliness in payment to vendors, especially #MSMEs, the government has issued an order to levy interest on late payment to vendors on the government e-marketplace. #AatmaNirbharBharat,” said a tweet by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman”s office.

The order will be effective on orders made from October 1, 2020.

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Tomato prices skyrocket to Rs 70/kg in Delhi-NCR

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.





New Delhi, July 3 : With the onset of the monsoon tomato prices soared to Rs 70 per kg in New Delhi and its surrounding areas on Friday.

Crop failure in the rainy season and the late arrival of tomatoes in the mandis (wholesale markets) have led to the price hike. However, the prices are expected to fall after the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh next week.

A month ago, the price of tomatoes in Delhi’s Azadpur mandi was between Rs 1.25 and Rs 4.75 per kg, while the wholesale price on Friday was Rs 6.44 per kg.

The model rate of tomato was Rs 3 per kg in Azadpur mandi on June 3, which has increased by 10 times to Rs 29 per kg. On July 2, the wholesale price of tomatoes rose to Rs 52 per kg in the mandi, which means there has been an increase of about 995% in the last one month. Due to the rise in wholesale prices, tomatoes were sold at Rs 80 per kg on Thursday in Delhi-NCR and Rs 50.70 per kg in Greater Noida.

Azadpur Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) chairman Adil Ahmad Khan said prices have gone up due to late arrival of tomatoes. The quantity of tomatoes received at Azadpur mandi was 528.2 tonne on June 3 while on July 3 it was 281.6 tonne. The quantity has thus been reduced by nearly 50 per cent in a month. Only 241.9 tonne were received on July 2 due to which the wholesale price was Rs 6.52 per kg while the model rate was Rs 32 per kg, Khan added.

He attributed the hike in the prices of all vegetables and fruits, not only tomatoes, due to the increase in diesel prices, which led to an increase in the transportation cost of vegetables.

From next week, the arrival of the new crop from Himachal Pradesh will lead to a decline in the prices of tomatoes. He said at present 90 per cent of the tomatoes in Delhi arrive from Himachal Pradesh while only 10 per cent are received from Haryana and Karnataka.

The consumption of all green vegetables, tomatoes and onions has declined during the past few months because of the shutdown of hotels, restaurants, canteens and dhabas following the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the corona pandemic. This led to a marked fall in prices. The wholesale price of tomatoes had come down to less than one rupee per kg.

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