Mobile phone users reach 13 crore mark in India

The number of mobile users in India has reached 13 crore with some 66 lakh new subscribers added only in the month of October. The number of people using GSM based mobile phones in the country has reached 9.6 crore, while people using CDMA mobile phones has reached 3.3 crore.

In the month of October, GSM mobile companies were able to add 47 lakh new users and CDMA mobile operators added 19 lakh new customers. Commenting on the growth, Mr T.V. Ramachandran, Director General, Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI), an association of GSM operators said that the GSM industry and COAI are delighted at the continued upswing in the subscriber additions. "This growth is strong evidence of the fact that GSM continues to be the predominant technology choice of masses", said Mr Ramachandran.

In the GSM sector, the metro subscribers grew only by 2.9 per cent as compared to 6.3 per cent and 6.2 percent growth shown by in Category B and Category C circles. This shows that more and more people in smaller cities and in villages are buying the mobile phones. Within the Category B circles, MP and Haryana recorded the highest growth at 9.2 per cent and 8.8 percent respectively. Within the Category C circles, the highest growth was recorded by the North East (9.4 per cent) followed by Jammu and Kashmir (8.7 per cent). Category A circles witnessed a growth of 5.4 percent, in which AP recorded the highest growth of 6.9 percent followed by Maharashtra at 6.2 per cent. The metro subscribers grew by 2.9 per cent over the previous month. Kolkatta recorded the highest growth (2.9 per cent) followed by Delhi (2.8 per cent).

From the companies perspective, Reliance Communications added over 10 lakh CDMA subscribers in October taking its total subscriber base to 2.4 crore. Reliance was followed by Tata Teleservices, whose subscriber base reached over 93 lakh with the addition of 8.8 lakh subscribers in the month of October.

"With the Indian telecom sector experiencing robust growth, Reliance communications is confident to further enhance the current uptrend," said Mr S.P. Shukla, president (personal business) Reliance Communications. The cellular subscriber base of Bharti touched 2.86 crore, BSNL’s 2.20 crore, Hutch-Essar’s 2.12 crore and Idea’s 1.09 crore.

India New Semi-Conductor Design Hub

India is emerging as a key hub for complex designing of semi-conductors, from Application-Specific Integrated Circuit chips to Field Programmable Gate Array chips to chips used in PC gaming and high-definition TV, with multinational companies moving critical design functions to cities like Hyderabad, Noida and Bangalore.

Says Mr Akshya Prakash, managing director of the Xilinx-CMC India Development Centre, a partnership between the $1.3 billion Xilinx, Inc., of the United States and CMC Ltd, a subsidiary of Tata Consultancy Services, "India has the skill sets to develop ASIC and FPGA chips, and the 55 chip design engineers working at the centre are involved in developing programmable chips for Xilinx clients around the world."

According to Mr Prakash, the demand for ASIC, which are designed for specific uses, are on the decline, while the demand for FPGA chips, which can be customised to a clients requirements, was increasing substantially. "We decided to partner with CMC for the India Development Centre in Hyderabad because they have the expertise in embedded software, and we could ramp up the operations faster for high-end R&D in hardware. The IDC has developed 20 IP cores, which are pre-defined off-the-shelf hardware modules, in the past 20 months of operation. This constitutes nearly 10 per cent of the 250 IP cores developed by Xilinx," Mr Prakash told this newspaper on the sidelines of 19th International Conference on VLSI Design, currently underway here.

"The engineers here developed a Control Area Network controller which is used to control the functions of a motor car’s dashboard. The CAN controller is being deployed by BMW in its cars," he said.According to Mr David E. Orton, president and CEO of the $2.2-billion ATI Technologies, Inc., a Canadian company developing graphics, video and multimedia products for desktop, workstation and notebook PCs, digital televisions, cellphones and game consoles, of ATI Technologies’ development centre in Hyderabad, "The 125 engineers in Hyderabad are crucial to the development of chipsets and chips for high-definition TV, a segment in which ATI has a 60 per cent market share."

Mr Orton said that with the increasingly important role the Hyderabad centre was playing, ATI would be ramping up the headcount to 200 by August this year. Echoing the sentiments of Mr Orton and Mr Prakash, Dr Aloknath De, head of the telecom unit of STMicroelectronics Pvt Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of the $8.7-billion Swiss semi-conductor company STMicroelectronics, said, "The centres in Noida and Bangalore, which together have over 1,500 engineers, develop cutting-edge System-on-a-Chip technology for the company’s global clients, including mobile handset firms."

"The teams in India helped in developing a two megapixel camera which is installed in some mobile phones, and in the nomadic platform for wireless mobile multimedia, which will allow both audio and video contact in mobile calls," Dr De said.

To solve gender bender, IIMA sets up centre

With gender-related issues proliferating at every level of society, be it in domestic set-up, public sector, NGOs or the corporate world, the matter is of growing concern among policy makers as much as it is among researchers. An emerging need to address the issues has The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, set up a Gender Resource Centre that aims to use its research findings and interactions to help government organisations, NGOs and corporates create a healthy, gender-sensitive work environment for all its employees.

* Sensitising the government and non-government organisations and corporates to gender issues. * Working with the government in analysis and review of existing policies and suggesting modifications, if needed, to incorporate a gender perspective.

* Advocating the relevance of gender equality and equity to the government and organisations.

* Strategising in sync with the government for implementation of a gender-based policy in governance.

* Facilitating adoption and implementation of measures, by the corporate community and government, that help in overall development across genders.

These aims and objectives will be achieved through various seminars, surveys, Management Development Programmes and workshops to be conducted across the country. ‘‘Gender has become such a key issue in today’s life, that one needs to look at it in a more holistic fashion. We’ve gathered so much experience owing to consultancy and research on gender issues, we decided to get together and form a centre that’ll help organisations find solutions for the same. The issues could range from language usage, behaviour patterns, sexual harassment or even salary structures,’’ says Kaul. The first meeting of the centre is scheduled to be held on Friday. The centre would also recommend a gender auditing in organisations so that they can check whether internal practices, work environment and related support systems for gender mainstreaming are being followed.

‘‘Each organisation has a culture specific to it. People need to be introduced to it. And then programmes can be devised to break existing barriers so that the employees become organisationally fit. When one talks of gender, one only talks about empowering women. It should be in favour of both genders,’’ she says.

Talking about the existing gender policies, she says, ‘‘These were constituted at a time when women were moving from houses to workplaces. The policies have definitely favoured them, which is the reason they have grown. But there is so much of influx in every sector, that one needs to look at these policies and bring about amends if needed.’’

‘‘Our plan of action includes facilitating gender sensitisation, organising capacity building programmes, enhancing learning through research, consultancy and interventions, dissemination of knowledge and information, participating in review and documentation of government policies and working in close quarters with key decision makers for gender neutral governance in key result areas. We are in the process of sending mails to Department of Women and Child Welfare, the State, the Centre and various organisations across the country. Corporates with good women ratio will be of great interest to us,’’ she says.

The faculty members who are also members of the centre, have been actively involved in conducting gender related workshops and contributing for research journals focussing on gender-related issues. Says Prof. Anil Gupta, member of the centre, ‘‘I will be focussing on women as knowledge providers rather than victims of injustice. It is the informal sector that is of interest to me.’’

‘‘Gender discrimination is rampant in all social spheres. My area of interest is health, particularly maternal and child health. I shall contribute towards issues pertaining to gender and health,’’ he says.


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