Government Working to Expand Digital Transactions at Great Pace, Says Jaitley

Asserting that the government is working to expand digital transaction at a great pace despite criticism, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday asked Opposition not to eulogise the virtues of cash as it leads to temptation for shadow economy.

Government Working to Expand Digital Transactions at Great Pace, Says Jaitley

“If an economy runs on cash, it is not credit to the country. …Cash gives temptation for shadow and parallel economy. …Don’t find fault with the system, don’t start singing the virtues of cash,” Jaitley said while intervening in the discussion on Motion of thanks to President’s Address in Rajya Sabha.

On Opposition’s criticism that the country does not have adequate infrastructure to support digital economy, Jaitley said that there are 1.5 lakh bank branches, 2.10 lakh ATMs and 1.25 lakh banking correspondents.

Besides, telecom companies have been licenced to act as payment banks in addition to Department of Posts which will further enhance financial inclusion, he added.

On concerns on additional cost associated with digital payments, Jaitley said there are several modes of payments including UPI and e-wallets.

“This expansion is taking place at a great pace,” he said. Jaitley said the technology has advanced so much that people can withdraw money without going to brick and mortar bank and asked the Opposition not to find faults with digital system.

“Don’t underestimate power of technology. Let us not underestimate this country,” he said and added that predominantly cash-based economy is not good for the country.

The Finance Minister said that cash leads to temptation for dealing in black money. “I can’t think of any country which propounds only cash transactions. Why are you sprouting virtues of cash?”

Stressing that demonetisation was not a sudden decision, he said the government had been working since assuming office in May 2014 to address the problem of black money.

In this context, he cited steps like review of double taxation agreements and amendments to Benami Act among others.

“This government has been working since day one to end black money which had become a part of life,” he said. He said that 2016 was a “historic” as the government amended its double taxation agreements with Singapore, Cyprus and Mauritius.

Jaitley also pointed out to Congress that the White Paper on black money by UPA government in 2012 itself had talked about vices of cash which leads to parallel economy, lesser revenue to the government and corruption.

The Finance Minister said it is true that terrorists don’t deal only in cash but it is a great enabler.

iPhone 8 Tipped to Cost Above $1,000 Thanks to OLED Display

There’s been a lot of speculation about the iPhone 8 with specifications and design changes being at the forefront. However, a fresh report sheds some light on the price vicinity the iPhone 8 could fall in. Reportedly, the premium device making Apple’s ten year anniversary could well be priced north of $1,000 (roughly Rs. 67,100) – thanks to the introduction of OLED displays. Furthermore, the report also says that Apple could call it the iPhone X instead of the largely speculated iPhone 8.

iPhone 8 Tipped to Cost Above $1,000 Thanks to OLED Display

Fast Company cites people familiar with the matter to claim that there will be three variants that will launch in this fall. The first two variants will be presumably be – a 4.7-inch iPhone 7s and a 5.5-inch iPhone 7s Plus – which will sport LCD displays. The iPhone 8 will be sport a 5.8-inch OLED display that stretches till the edges. The Home Button will be integrated within the display, and the battery will be much larger than its other counterparts. The device will sport a dual camera setup just like the iPhone 7 Plus.

As OLED displays are twice as expensive as LCD displays, Apple’s celebratory device will be priced above $1,000 (roughly Rs. 67,100), according to the report. This doesn’t come as a surprise as Apple is known for this kind of pricing, and its most premium variant of the iPhone 7 Plus costs $969 (Rs. 92,000 in India).

The report further adds that Apple has been working with Lumentum to bring a unique 3D-sensing technology. This technology will bring some sort of facial recognition, better image resolution for the camera app, or some form of augmented reality application. However, the actual advantage of this technology is not known yet.

Lastly, the report adds that the edges of the iPhone 8 will be made of the less expensive stainless steel, and the back will be all-glass. The side buttons may also go away, replaced by touch-sensitive inlays in the metal. Previously, the iPhone 8 has been rumoured to feature improved 3D Touch, and advanced wireless charging technology as well.

We recommend you to take all of this with a pinch of salt, as Apple tends to change features even mid-production cycle. Apple is slated to follow tradition and unveil the device in fall, and ship it soon after.

Facebook Lite Gets Speed, Reliability Improvements; Now Has Over 200 Million Users

Facebook has announced that over 200 million people are now using the stripped-down version of its main app – Facebook Lite. Facebook Lite, launched back in June 2015 for low-end Android devices, was introduced by the social media networking giant specifically for emerging markets as a solution for connections that are usually weak and spotty.

Facebook Lite Gets Speed, Reliability Improvements; Now Has Over 200 Million Users

“In many areas, networks can be slow and unable to support all the functions available on Facebook. FB Lite gives people access to core Facebook experiences like News Feed more quickly and while consuming less data,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a blog post on Wednesday. Sandberg pointed out that Facebook Lite is especially helping out those business users who are in countries that are mobile first or mobile only.

“FB Lite is helping business owners grow and reach customers on mobile even when bandwidth is at a minimum,” Sandberg said.

Notably, the latest update to the app brings along improvements for reliability and speed to the app. The update also brings the app to more regions like Israel, Italy, United Arab Emirates, and South Korea, notes TechCrunch. Interestingly, the app has been rolled out even to developed markets in order to cater the needs of those with net connection issues.

To recall, Facebook Lite clocked 100 million monthly active users in March last year, less than nine months since its launch, which made it the fastest-growing interface from the company to hit the milestone.