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Vodafone Idea’s Birla meets Anshu Prakash on relief

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New Delhi, Feb 18 : With the government mulling the possibilities of invoking bank guarantees of the telcos to recover the statutory dues, Vodafone Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla on Tuesday met Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash on the AGR payment issue after paying Rs 2,500 crore on Monday.

The details are not known as none of the sides — government or VIL spoke on it, but sources said Birla has raised the ability on sustainability of Vodafone Idea again with DoT in view of the immediate large-scale payments dues on AGR without any relief and also sought non-invokation of bank guarantee.

According to DoT calculations Vodafone Idea owes Rs 53,000 crore. The company is currently self assessing the DoT demand. The company has said it would pay another Rs 1,000 crore this week. On Monday, Supreme Court refused to accept telecom firm Vodafone Idea’s proposal to pay Rs 2,500 crore by Tuesday and Rs 1,000 crore by Friday against adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues and that no coercive action be taken against it.

The company had urged the court that the bank guarantee deposited with the government by Vodafone Idea should also not be encashed. Birla has maintained that without relief on the AGR payout, it may not be possible to continue as a going concern.

Tata Teleservices, which had sold its mobile business to Airtel, has made a payment of Rs 2,197 crore to the government against estimated dues of around Rs 14,000 crore. But there are reports of Tatas having made the full and final payment. The government has so far got Rs 14,892 crore in AGR dues from telecom companies.

(Anjana Das can be contacted at [email protected])

Business

MTNL to Provide 1-month Free Access to Corporate Servers for Work From Home During Nation-wide Lockdown

Generally, MTNL charges Rs 2,000-Rs 2,500 per connection for accessing corporate servers located on its network.

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State-owned telecom firm MTNL on Thursday started offering free access to office server to its enterprise customers’ employees to support work from home during the lockdown.

The employees of MTNL’s corporate customers using its broadband connection will be able to avail this service free for one month, MTNL Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Kumar told PTI.

“Many organisations have their main server on MTNL MPLS Network. Employees of such organisations who have MTNL Broadband can be enabled with MTNL VPNoBB (Virtual Private Network Over Broadband). Through this, they can access their office servers. This will be a secure medium,” Kumar said.

He said this system will give them access to all service that their company offers in office to carry out their task.

“Using this, corporate employees can do all the works for which otherwise they have to come to office. It will be just extension of office up to their home. No access limitations. MTNL will be extending this facility for one month without any additional charge, just to enable smooth work from home,” he said.

Generally, MTNL charges Rs 2,000-Rs 2,500 per connection for accessing corporate servers located on its network.

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Health

Tesla’s New York Gigafactory to reopen for ventilator production

Earlier, Musk offered 1,255 ventilators for free to help fight COVID-19 pandemic.

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San Francisco, March 26 : Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the companys Gigafactory facility in New York will soon reopen to begin producing ventilators that are in short supply due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Giga New York will reopen for ventilator production as soon as humanly possible. We will do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York,” Musk tweeted on Wednesday.

The tweet comes after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asked for Musk’s help sourcing ventilators last week.

The need for additional ventilators has taken center stage in the ongoing fight against the spread of coronavirus and the ventilator has become a critical first line of defense for patients infected by the virus.

Tesla shut down its Gigafactory New York in Buffalo earlier this week after lockdown orders have been implemented in various parts of the US.

At Gigafactory New York, Tesla produces its solar roof tiles as well as other products and accessories, like components for its Supercharger V3.

Earlier, Musk offered 1,255 ventilators for free to help fight COVID-19 pandemic.

Musk has also donated 50,000 N95 surgical masks and various protective items to a hospital in the US.

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Disaster

Lockdown forces 1.7 lakh Infosys techies to work from home

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Bengaluru, March 25 : A lockdown in many countries the world over has forced 1.7 lakh Infosys techies to work from home to ensure business continuity, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

“About 70 per cent of our 2.4 lakh global workforce is working from home to avoid being affected by coronavirus,” Infosys Chief Operating Officer U.B. Pravin Rao said in a blog to the employees which has been shared with IANS.

In 46 countries, Infosys employs more than 2.4 lakh employees, serving 1,384 customers. The 70 per cent workforce translates to 1.7 lakh employees.

Calling coronavirus pandemic an uncertain and testing time for the company, Rao said both employees and clients are of utmost importance.

“We are doing all we can to be there for those employees and their families that need our support the most, while prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of our entire global workforce,” he said.

Though Rao did not declare that all business travel has been suspended, he said the company has restricted travel as appropriate after monitoring the situation across countries.

To facilitate so many geeks to operate from home, the IT major has arranged for laptops, relocated desktops to home environments, customised personal devices for official use, arranged high speed broadband Internet connectivity at residences and improved virtual private network bandwidth.

Admitting that all work cannot be executed from home, especially, business critical functions, Rao said the company has prepared teams to deliver account-specific business continuity plans.

According to Rao, a helpline has been set up to support employees dealing with emergencies and unfamiliar situations.

Similarly, the company had recently vacated its IIPM building in the city after an employee was suspected to have contracted coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Infosys rival Wipro has also implemented work from home for select employees across its global locations.

“Beginning March 16, we enabled work from home (WFH) for employees across the globe wherever feasible and if their roles allowed them to do so,” a Wipro spokesperson told IANS.

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