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Daily Digest Of Tech Policy News And Updates (May 7, 2021)

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Bringing you quick updates on the tech space, policy-making and digital rights from India and across the globe. 

Zomato in talks to invest in Grofers

Food delivery app Zomato, which has just filed for an initial public offering, is in talks to invest around $100 million in Grofers, reported the Economic Times. Zomato has ambitions in the grocery segment and wants to partner with an existing company rather than build something of its own, a source told the publication. SoftBank Vision Fund (SVF), which is the largest shareholder in Grofers with an about 50% stake, was earlier steering conversations around its initial public offering via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Hotels’ association asks Goa govt to allow app-based taxis to operate

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has asked Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and tourism minister Manohar Ajgaonkar to allow app-based taxi service aggregators to operate in the interest of tourists and the hotel industry, reported the Times of India. The association said app-based services offer cheaper rates than that of existing operators. They pointed out that app-based operators are currently operational in every state in the country except Goa, inconveniencing domestic and international tourists.

Gig economy in the US

Uber and Lyft lost a combined market value of over $20 billion since United States labour secretary first signaled an intent to look more closely at the classification of workers on gig economy platforms. Labour secretary Marty Walsh, under President Joe Biden, had said that gig workers in the US could be classified as employees who deserve work benefits. “We are looking at it but in a lot of cases gig workers should be classified as employees… in some cases they are treated respectfully and in some cases they are not and I think it has to be consistent across the board,” Walsh said.

Earlier this week, the labour department withdrew a rule from the Donald Trump administration that would have made it easier for businesses to classify their workers as independent contractors instead of employees entitled to benefits. This would have permitted companies working with gig workers to avoid federally mandated rules on minimum wage and overtime.

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IET collaborates with ETSI and Telecommunications Standards Development Society of India

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (India) has collaborated with ETSI and Telecommunications Standards Development Society of India (TSDSI) in the context of InDiCo – ICT Standards; ETSI and TSDSI are now standardisation partners to IET India’s virtual event series titled IET India Digital Conversations. It will allow both organisations to look at standardisation themes.

The organisations will explore through the IET India Digital Conversations series the confluence of digital transformation and Industry 4.0, 5G and beyond – use cases of mobile connectivity, Intelligent Transportation Systems and Internet of Roads and embracing industrial automation and robotics – guidance for MSMEs.

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WhatsApp payments relaunches in Brazil

WhatsApp on Wednesday relaunched its payments service in Brazil, after it was blocked nearly a year ago, reported Reuters. WhatsApp’s 120 million users in Brazil are able to send each other up to 5,000 reais per month through the messaging service free of charge. At the moment, the rollout will be phased out, COO Matthew Idema said. Starting Wednesday, a limited number of users were able to make payments; they were also allowed to invite new users.

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MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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