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Uber’s Struggle to find Drivers in India

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In India, Uber and local rival Ola are battling to dominate a growing market for their app-based taxi services. Above, traditional auto rickshaws sit idle in New Delhi as part of a protest by taxi unions against their new competition in July. PHOTO: SUSHIL KUMAR/HINDUSTAN TIMES/GETTY IMAGES

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — Uber is expanding into India for the first time, and has been presented with quite the conundrum: how do you train a million new drivers in a nation where most have never driven a car, let alone used a smartphone or an online app?

The ride-sharing company hopes to get it right this time, so as to not repeat the events its experienced in China, where it decided this year to sell its business to homegrown champion Didi Chuxing Technology.

The $68 billion San Francisco-based company has plenty of cash and the technology to compliment its India expansion. Additionally, India’s government are yet to throw up the sort of regulatory control other regions have hit Uber with during previous expansions. This will facilitate Uber’s quest to find and train new drivers in India, which houses one of the world’s most rapidly developing economies.

Along with other American tech giants such as Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and Apple, Uber is betting big on the South Asian nation, while at the same time trying to manage the challenges of reaching India’s population of more than 1.2 billion.

Uber has about 400,000 drivers on its current platform in India, and is seeking to add an additional one million in the next two years. Mobilizing an army of drivers is important, but that task is made more daunting in a nation where less than 5 percent of households own a car, and even fewer understand English or how to use an app.

Prospective drivers arrive by the hundreds each day at an Uber office in a Delhi strip mall. After their drivers’ licenses and other documents are verified, they’re ushered to a classroom, where they are told, as an Uber driver, they must wear clean clothes — preferably long-sleeved shirts and matching pants — and switch from sandals to shoes, which must be kept on at all times.

They’re trained on how to use the Uber app, most of the drivers who show up for training have only ever dealt in cash transactions, so they have to learn about online banking in order to quickly check if their pay has arrived. Since credit cards aren’t widespread, Uber last year began letting riders pay in cash, a global first. Traditionally some uber drivers would use apps to follow not only their customers’ payments but also use a mileage tracker to keep tabs on how far they have driven while on duty.

Most of the drivers have never even sent an email, but those who can absorb Uber’s crash course often earn 50% more than in their previous jobs. Recruits are warned that if they can’t master the system, they will be weeded out by the company’s five-star rating system. India is second only to the U.S. in the number of trips Uber completes, and makes up about 12% of its rides globally. Its India staff has grown from just a handful a few years ago to some 600 employees, again second only to the U.S.

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Harvard to host 17th annual India Conference this February

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Diya TV) — For the 17th year in a row, the graduate students at Harvard University will host an India Conference. It will take place during the weekend of February 15-16, 2020. Two days of exciting discussions through panels, mixers and networking will fill the halls of the Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government.

The theme for this year’s conference is Foresight 20/20 – a look at what to expect from India in 2020 and beyond. As one of the largest student led conferences in the USA, the Harvard India conference attracts the biggest headliners from every field – from politics, business, entertainment & the arts. And this year is no different.

India Conference
India Conference at Harvard

With more than 100 speakers and 1000 attendees, the conference promises to have something for everyone. This year’s biggest draw from the entertainment genre is veteran Bollywood actor and self proclaimed ambassador to India, Anupam Kher. Kher has a long standing list of accolades within the film industry. In addition to his acting roles, he has been a producer, director and teacher at his own acting school. Most recently he played the role of Dr. Vijay Kapur on NBC’s primetime drama ‘New Amsterdam‘.

Some other notable speakers this year include founder of the India Today Group, Aroon Purie, Indian Olympic athelete Dutee Chand, comedian and actor, Vir Das, partner at Softbanks’ Vision Fund Lydia Jett & politician and India’s ruling party (BJP)’s sherpa to the G20, Suresh Prabhu.

The harsh winter in Harvard doesn’t seem slow down or dull these brilliant minds in any way. The India Conference at Harvard continues to retain its standing as the conference of choice for deliberating issues ranging from technology, media, politics and eduction to creating solutions for India’s path towards global leadership. The event features brainstorming sessions and sincere discussions on the very real and large scale problems that are uniquely Indian.

Diya TV is a media sponsor to the event and will be on-site covering conference. To receive a 20% discount use code RDAY20 here and to know more about the conference or speakers, head to the IndiaConference.com

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Indian Ambassador, Shringla speaks to U.S. Congress about Kashmir

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AMB. Shringla speaks to congress about Kashmir | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla met with members of Congress at a private roundtable briefing, hosted by Southern California Congressman Brad Sherman. Sherman, who has been a supporter of India, took to Twitter recently to share his concerns about Kashmir and said serious questions about Kashmir were asked at the briefing.

President Trump is being urged to fix the H1-B visa process and do away with country-specific limits, with the latest effort for reform being spearheaded by 60 U.S. business school deans and CEO’s.

In an earthquake, seconds matter. So on the anniversary of the deadly 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked Northern California, state officials announced the launch of America’s first statewide earthquake early warning system.

Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain will be coming to Boston next month to perform at the Berklee India Exchange, where he will also be conferred with an honorary doctorate by the esteemed music school. A Zakir Hussain Scholarship at Berklee is also being established.

And we have incredible video of three kids from India rescuing their dog from a snake that’s equal parts courageous and nuts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Federal Court rules Trump must turn over tax returns | Diya TV News

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Trump Tax Returns

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — A federal judge ruled President Trump must turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors, striking down the President’s argument that a sitting president cannot be criminally investigated. The ruling was quickly appealed and this case could end up in the Supreme Court to answer the constitutional question of whether presidents can be charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, the President celebrated a victory by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, as a federal appellate court upheld most of the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. It also ruled the FCC cannot preempt state net neutrality laws, meaning the rules of the road in states like California remain in place.

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee announced their Asia-Pacific and Non-Proliferation Subcommittee will be holding a hearing asking State Department officials and human rights activists to chime in on Human Rights in Kashmir, the Tamils of Sri Lanka, Muslims in Assam and the human rights situation in Pakistan, which includes the Sindh Province.

Lockheed Martin announced they will build F-16 wings exclusively in India, helping in integrating Indian industry into the $165 billion fighter aircraft market.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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