Category Archives: Business

India gets Asia’s longest and world’s fifth longest High Speed Track for automobiles

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India destined to become an auto manufacturing hub in coming years: Prakash Javadekar

Indore: Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday 29 June inaugurated NATRAX- the High Speed Track (HST) in Indore. This is the longest such track in Asia.

NATRAX, developed in an area of 1000 acres of land, is a one stop solution for all sorts of high speed performance tests for widest categories of vehicles from 2 wheelers to heavy tractor trailers.

23andMe shares start trading on Nasdaq

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New York City: 23andMe, Inc., a leading consumer genetics and research company, and VG Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: VGAC), a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by Virgin Group, on Wednesday 16 June, announced the completion of their previously announced business combination. The transaction, which was approved on June 10, 2021 by VG Acquisition Corp.’s shareholders, uniquely positions 23andMe to revolutionize personalized healthcare and therapeutic development through human genetics. The combined company is called 23andMe Holding Co. that began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (“Nasdaq”) today, June 17, 2021 under the new ticker symbol “ME”.

The public debut comes after 23andMe and the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) VG Acquisition Corp. announced a merger earlier this year. The deal valued 23andMe’s outstanding shares of capital stock at $3.5 billion.

23andMe raised approximately $592 million in gross proceeds to fuel growth and expansion in the company’s consumer health and therapeutics businesses. Capital from the transaction will also be used to invest in the Company’s unique genetic and phenotypic database to help accelerate personalized healthcare at scale. CEO Anne Wojcicki and 23andMe’s management team will continue to lead the combined company.

“23andMe was founded to revolutionize healthcare by empowering people with direct access to their DNA,” said Anne Wojcicki, CEO and Co-Founder of 23andMe. “Over 11 million people have joined 23andMe and are part of the community that is using genetics to transform how we diagnose, treat and prevent human disease. As we enter the next phase as a public company, we have the opportunity to expand our impact by bringing personalized healthcare directly to everyone.”

“As one of the earliest investors in 23andMe, I’ve long believed in its vision to transform the future of healthcare,” said Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder. “I’ve seen first-hand the transformative impact 23andMe has in paving the way for many more people to be proactive about their health and wellbeing. There are huge growth opportunities ahead, and with Anne and the rest of the incredible management team at the helm, I’m confident they will continue to innovate and disrupt the industry, creating a lasting impact on many people’s lives. We look forward to continuing our partnership as 23andMe begins life as a public company.”

As part of the business combination, Evan Lovell, Chief Investment Officer of Virgin Group and Chief Financial Officer of VG Acquisition Corp., and Peter Taylor, President of ECMC Foundation, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to educational attainment for low-income students and former Chief Financial Officer for the University of California system, will join the 23andMe Board of Directors (the “Board”). Lovell and Taylor will join existing directors Roelof Botha, Patrick Chung, Richard Scheller, Neal Mohan and Anne Wojcicki on the Board.

Advisors
Citi served as lead financial advisor, capital markets advisor, and placement agent to 23andMe. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP served as legal counsel to 23andMe.

Credit Suisse acted as lead financial advisor, capital markets advisor and placement agent to VG Acquisition Corp. LionTree Advisors acted as financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP served as legal counsel to VG Acquisition Corp.

About 23andMe
23andMe, Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, is a leading consumer genetics and research company. Founded in 2006, 23andMe’s mission is to help people access, understand, and benefit from the human genome. 23andMe has pioneered direct access to genetic information as the only company with multiple Food and Drug Administration authorizations for genetic health risk reports. 23andMe has created the world’s largest crowdsourced platform for genetic research, with 80% of its customers electing to participate. The 23andMe research platform has generated more than 180 publications on the genetic underpinnings of a wide range of diseases, conditions, and traits. The platform also powers the 23andMe therapeutics group, currently pursuing drug discovery programs rooted in human genetics across a spectrum of disease areas, including oncology, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases, in addition to other therapeutic areas.

Government of India condemns statement by Twitter; tells the social network giant to comply with the laws of the land

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New Delhi: The Government of India on Thursday 27 May condemned a statement released in the public domain by Twitter in the strongest terms.

Countering Twitter and its claims, the Government of India issued a statement which said “India has a glorious tradition of free speech and democratic practices dating back centuries. Protecting free speech in India is not the prerogative of only a private, for-profit, foreign entity like Twitter, but it is the commitment of the world’s largest democracy and its robust institutions.”

Further, Government of India has stated:

“Twitter’s statement is an attempt to dictate its terms to the world’s largest democracy. Through its actions and deliberate defiance, Twitter seeks to undermine India’s legal system. Furthermore, Twitter refuses to comply with those very regulations in the Intermediary Guidelines on the basis of which it is claiming a safe harbour protection from any criminal liability in India.

The larger question is, if Twitter is so committed then why it did not set up such a mechanism in India on its own?Twitter representatives in India routinely claim that they have no authority and that they and the people of India need to escalate everything to the Twitter Headquarter in USA. The purported commitment of Twitter, to its Indian user base, thus not only sounds hollow but completely self-serving.

Twitter has a large user base in India, it earns significant revenue from its Indian operations but is also the most reluctant to appoint an India based grievance redressal officer and mechanism, chief compliance officer and nodal officer to whom its own users can complain, when they are subjected to offensive Tweets.

The Rules empower the ordinary users who become victims of defamation, morphed images, sexual abuse and the whole range of other abusive content in blatant violation of law, to seek redress.

These Rules were finalized after widest possible consultations including with representatives of social media platforms. Ministry of Electronics and IT put the draft Rules in public domain and invited public comments. The Ministry received large number of comments from individuals, civil society, industry associations and organizations. A significant number of counter comments to these comments were also received. There are also various judicial orders by various courts including the Supreme Court of India directing the Government to take appropriate steps. There are also several Parliamentary debates and recommendations to take appropriate measures.

Freedom of Speech and Expression is a Fundamental Right under the Indian Constitution. The Government of India respects the right of people to ask questions and also criticize on these social media platforms including on Twitter. The Government equally respects the right of privacy. However, the only instance  of scuttling free speech on Twitter is Twitter itself and its opaque policies, as a result of which people’s accounts are suspended and tweets deleted arbitrarily without recourse.

Twitter needs to stop beating around the bush and comply with the laws of the land. Law making and policy formulations is the sole prerogative of the sovereign and Twitter is just a social media platform and it has no locus in dictating what should India’s legal policy framework should be.

Twitter has claimed that it is committed to the people of India. Ironically, this commitment of Twitter has been most invisible in recent times. It is pertinent to share some recent examples:

  • Twitter chose to show the geo-location of certain locations in Union Territory of Ladakh as part of People’s Republic of China at a time when India and China were engaged in peaceful resolution of border related issues through bilateral dialogue. Twitter took several days, that too only after repeated reminders, to rectify this blatant disrespect to India’s sensitivity and territorial integrity.
  • Twitter chose to take suo-moto action against those users who it considered as perpetrators of violence at the Capitol Hill in the USA. But, just a few days after the unlawful incidents on Red Fort in Delhi, Twitter refused to take prompt action on the lawful request made by the Government of India to block contents that sought to incite violence on the pretext of a fake genocide plan. Later, it chose to comply, that too partially, .when the damage had been done.
  • Twitter’s lack of responsibility has led to rampant proliferation of fake and harmful content against India and Indians. Promoting vaccine hesitancy has been rampantly done through the use of Twitter platform and yet Twitter has taken no action. Is this commitment to the people of India?
  • Discriminatory behavior has been practiced against Indiansand people of Indian origin because of malicious tagging of B.1.617 mutant as ‘Indian variant’ name despite strict WHO guidelines against it. Again, Twitter has taken no action against such fake narratives and Tweets while grandiosely claiming to serve the people of India.

Twitter Inc., a USA based private company, in its communique says that it seeks “constructive dialogue”, “collaborative approach” from the government of a sovereign democratic republic to “safeguard interests of the public”. It is time that Twitter disabuses itself of this grandiosity and comply with the laws of India. 

The Government also wishes to emphatically assure that representatives of social media companies including Twitter are and will always remain safe in India and there is no threat to their personal safety and security.

Government condemns the unfortunate statement issued by Twitter as totally baseless, false and an attempt to defame India to hide their own follies.

The Delhi Police has also issued a detailed press release, pertaining to an ongoing investigation, which answer the completely baseless allegations raised by Twitter.”

Tweet by Twitter India

Twitter India earlier on Thursday tweeted that in order to keep their service available, they will strive to comply with applicable law in India.

Further, they said: “Twitter is deeply committed to the people of India. Our service has proven vital for the public conversation and a source of support for people during the pandemic.”

Reliance Industries to become India’s largest producer of medical grade liquid oxygen from single location

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RIL PRODUCES OVER 11% OF INDIA’S TOTAL PRODUCTION OF MEDICAL GRADE LIQUID OXYGEN – MEETING THE NEEDS OF NEARLY EVERY ONE IN TEN PATIENTS
• RIL RAMPS UP PRODUCTION OF MEDICAL GRADE LIQUID OXYGEN FROM NEAR- ZERO TO 1000 MT PER DAY FREE OF CHARGE
• 1000 MT OF OXYGEN TO MEET THE NEEDS OF OVER 1 LAKH PEOPLE EVERY DAY ON AN AVERAGE
• CHAIRMAN MUKESH AMBANI PERSONALLY SUPERVISING SCALE-UP OF PRODUCTION AND TRANSPORTATION AT JAMNAGAR
• IN APRIL 2021, RELIANCE SUPPLIED OVER 15,000 MT OF MEDICAL GRADE LIQUID OXYGEN FREE OF COST – HELPING NEARLY 15 LAKH PATIENTS
• RELIANCE AIRLIFTED 24 ISO CONTAINERS FOR TRANSPORTING OXYGEN – CREATING AN ADDITIONAL 500 MT OF TRANSPORTATION CAPACITY FOR INDIA.


Mumbai:: As India grapples with an unprecedented new wave of the Covid pandemic, Reliance Industries has risen to the occasion by making an all-out effort to save precious lives.

A critical need of the hour is assured availability of medical grade liquid oxygen for treatment of severely ill patients across the country.

Traditionally, Reliance is not a manufacturer of medical grade liquid oxygen. Yet, starting from Nil before the pandemic, Reliance Industries has now become India’s largest producer of this life-saving resource from a single location.

At its refinery-cum-petrochemical complex in Jamnagar and other facilities, RIL now produces over 1000 MT of medical grade liquid oxygen per day — or over 11% of India’s total production – meeting the needs of nearly every one in ten
patients.

Under the personal supervision of Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, at Jamnagar, Reliance has adopted a two-pronged approach to strengthen the availability of medical oxygen in India.

  1. Refocusing several industrial processes at Reliance’s Jamnagar and other facilities for rapid scale-up in production of medical grade liquid oxygen.
  2. Augmenting loading and transportation capacities to ensure its swift and safe supply to States and Union Territories across India. Enhancing production of Medical Grade Oxygen at Reliance facilities.

  • Prior to this pandemic, Reliance was not a manufacturer of medical grade liquid oxygen. However, RIL engineers quickly reconfigured and optimised current operations – designed for Refining and Petrochemicals grade oxygen – to produce high-purity medical grade oxygen.
  • Medical grade liquid oxygen has to be produced in liquid form at -183°C with almost 99.5% purity, which poses extraordinary challenges and risks in production and maximising tonnage.
  • Reliance engineers worked tirelessly and, through process optimisation and modifications of Cryogenic Air Separation Units, were able maximise production of medical grade liquid oxygen in a very short span of time.
  • Reliance has now been able to ramp up its production of medical grade oxygen from ZERO to 1000 MT per day, constituting more than 11% of the country’s total medical grade liquid oxygen production.
  • This oxygen is being provided free-of-cost to several State Governments across the country to bring immediate relief to over 1 lakh patients on a daily basis.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Reliance has supplied over 55,000 MT of medical grade liquid oxygen across the country. Ensuring swift supply of Oxygen across States and Union territories
  • In addition to the production of high-quality medical grade liquid oxygen, the other challenge has been to quickly overcome the transportation bottleneck in supply of liquid oxygen to various parts of the country. This necessitated increasing the loading capacity for its safe and quick transportation.
  • To achieve this, Reliance engineers made smart logistical modifications to rail and road transport, such as laying parallel lines, using hoses, and loading up liquid tankers through pressure differential, since liquid oxygen pumps cannot be installed at short notice.
  • In another innovation, Reliance converted nitrogen tankers into transport trucks for medical grade oxygen, through innovative and safe processes that were approved by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO), the relevant regulatory body of the Government of India.
  • Reliance organised the airlifting of 24 ISO containers into India from Saudi Arabia, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Thailand adding 500 MT of new transportation capacity for liquid Oxygen. These ISO containers will help in removing the transport constraints for medical grade liquid Oxygen in the country. In addition, Reliance is airfreighting more ISO containers over the next few days.
  • RIL has offered sincere thanks to Aramco, BP and IAF for their immense help in providing and transporting ISO containers to help the country in its battle against Covid.

Commenting on these initiatives, Mukesh Ambani said: “For me and for all of us at Reliance, nothing is more important than saving every life as India battles against a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an immediate need to maximise India’s production and transportation capacities for medical grade oxygen. I am proud of our engineers at Jamnagar who have worked tirelessly, with a great sense of patriotic urgency, to meet this new challenge. I am truly humbled by the determination and sense of purpose shown by the bright, young members of the Reliance family who have once again risen to the occasion and delivered when India needs it the most.”

Ms. Nita Ambani, Founder-Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, said: “Our country is going through an unprecedented crisis. We at Reliance Foundation will continue to do everything we can to help. Every life is precious. Our plants at our Jamnagar refinery have been repurposed overnight to produce medical grade liquid oxygen that is being distributed across India. Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow countrymen and women. Together, we will overcome these difficult times.”