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India economy & business news in brief for Feb 7: Microsoft to equip 2m Indians in small cities with AI skills

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

HERE are news in brief on Indian economy and business for Wednesday, February 7, 2024:

Microsoft aims to empower two million Indians with artificial intelligence (AI) skills by 2025, CEO Satya Nadella on Wednesday emphasised, stressing the need for joint efforts between India and the US in shaping AI standards. The initiative prioritizes training in tier-2, tier-3 cities, and rural areas, fostering inclusive socio-economic advancement, as stated by the tech giant. Nadella highlighted the importance of consensus in establishing AI regulations during a conference in the Indian city of Mumbai, expressing hope for equitable global economic growth through widespread AI adoption.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has presented its latest report, “Indian Oil Market Outlook to 2030” at the India Energy Week 2024 in Goa, indicating a paradigm shift in global oil dynamics. The report forecast India as the largest contributor to global growth in demand for oil until 2030, driven by factors such as urbanisation, industrialisation, and the prosperity of the middle class. The report also underscores India’s pivotal role, projecting a surge in oil demand by nearly 1.2 million barrels per day (mb/d), constituting over one-third of the anticipated 3.2 mb/d global increase by 2030.

Ola Electric, supported by SoftBank, is contemplating a bid for lithium mining rights offered by the Indian government, potentially fortifying its electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing endeavours, Reuters reported citing sources. The Narendra Modi government initiated the first part of its critical minerals auctions last year to secure resources such as lithium which is crucial for EV battery production. With India striving to escalate EV adoption to mitigate emissions and reduce dependency on fossil fuel, Ola’s interest signifies a strategic move towards vertical integration in the supply chain, one of the sources said.

Tata Steel CEO and managing director T V Narendran has claimed India is the fastest-growing economy of the world and the next three decades are important for the country on the development front. China has emerged rapidly during the last 30-40 years and the next 30 years are important for India, which is the fastest growing economy of the world, Narendran said while addressing the members of Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jamshedpur in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand on Tuesday evening. “Currently, China is the largest steel-producing country in the world and we are second. In view of the global challenges being faced by the steel sector, we have to move forward keeping in mind the steel prices”, the Tata Steel MD said.

Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while addressing the parliament during the discussion on the Rs 47.66-lakh crore (£448.7 million) interim federal budget for 2024-25 presented on February 1, emphasised on key financial indicators and government initiatives aimed at bolstering economic growth and fiscal stability. Her remarks shed light on various aspects of the budget, including inflation, capital expenditure, and allocations for the northern Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Addressing concerns regarding inflation, the minister highlighted a decline in retail inflation, which dropped from an average of 6.8 per cent in April-December 2022 to 5.5 per cent during the corresponding period in 2023.

Israeli ambassador to India Naor Gilon and a delegation from the Middle Eastern nation met the agriculture minister of the north-western Indian state of Rajasthan, Dr Kirori Lal Meena, in state capital Jaipur on Wednesday and discussed technical cooperation in agriculture and horticulture in the state. According to an official statement, talks were held on cooperation in many subjects, including the possibility of cultivating grapes and dates in the desert state. The Indian minister asked the delegation to work on the possibility of cooperation for processing guava grown in Sawai Madhopur, a district in the south-eastern Rajasthan known for the fruit crop. Gilon assured they will work on it. The Israeli ambassador also invited Meena to visit Israel with a technical team and farmers to see the work done by Israel on fruit, flower, vegetable and other horticultural crops.

(With agencies)

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