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USIBC hosts FCC Chairman Pai to discuss US India trade, tech and innovation

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Ajit Pai
Ajit Pai

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spoke Wednesday at a meeting of the U.S.-India Business Council.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — One day after a controversial vote from the House to kill a landmark bill regarding broadband privacy regulations, FCC chairman Ajit Pai spoke at a meeting of the U.S.-India Business Council, he said the two nations are natural allies in more ways than one, including communication regulation.

Speaking to the Council, which is made up of more than 300 companies, Pai said the U.S. and India share more than $100 billion in bilateral trade, a figure that has more than tripled since a decade ago.

“As the country that invented the Internet and that’s home to the world’s most powerful and popular technology companies, the United States is an indispensable driver and beneficiary of the digital revolution,” he told the Council. “And it is worth nothing that many Indians and Indian-Americans are playing a prominent role in our high-tech success story. Multiple American technology companies now feature Indian or Indian-American CEOs, and nearly one in four Silicon Valley startups is founded by an Indian or Indian-American.”

Pai also paid his respects to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Digital India” initiative, saying the country’s leadership has begun to embrace the nation’s digital revolution. He said the FCC’s philosophies and policies are very much similar to those of “Digital India.” Because of the initiative, India has launched efforts to deploy fiber backbone to 600,000 villages, to dramatically expand public Wi-Fi hotspots in urban areas, and to connect every school and college with broadband.

“Like Prime Minister Modi, we don’t see the state of our digital infrastructure as a simple telecommunications issue,” said Pai. “It is an economic issue, a jobs issue, a competitiveness issues, an education issue, and a healthcare issue.”

His remarks came less than 24 hours after Congress voted to eliminate the consumer protections, a result that was very likely celebrated by Pai. The rules would have required home Internet and mobile broadband providers to get consumers’ opt-in consent before selling or sharing web browsing history, app usage history, and other private information with advertisers and other companies.

Pai has gone on record, more than once, as an ardent supporter of ISPs facing less strict regulations, similar to those of website operators like Google and Facebook.

“Last year, the Federal Communications Commission pushed through, on a party-line vote, privacy regulations designed to benefit one group of favored companies over another group of disfavored companies,” Pai said after yesterday’s vote. “Appropriately, Congress has passed a resolution to reject this approach of picking winners and losers before it takes effect.”

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Impact commits $10M to supporting Indian American candidates

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Impact

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Indian American IMPACT, a political organization working to put Indian Americans in public office, announced a new $10 million commitment to support Indian American candidates nationwide. They also announced public interest lawyer Neil Makhija will be IMPACT’s new Executive Director. The number of Indian Americans in Congress has grown five-fold in just the past eight years.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr faced questioning by the House Judiciary Committee about the use of force against Black Lives Matter protesters in recent weeks and the Trump administration’s handling of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll show the clash between Congressmember Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Barr that’s making headlines.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged YouPlus, a Silicon Valley startup, and its CEO Shaukat Shamim with defrauding investors by making false and misleading statements about the company’s finances. The complaint states Shamim told investors YouPlus earned millions of dollars in annual revenue and had more than 100 customers, including Fortune 500 companies. But the scheme dissolved when Shamim is said to have told certain investors YouPlus had earned less than $500,000 and obtained only four paying customers since the company’s 2013 inception.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Feds arrest entrepreneur Mukund Mohan for PPP fraud

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Mukund Mohan

SEATTLE (Diya TV) — U.S. attorneys arrested serial Indian American entrepreneur Mukund Mohan on charges of allegedly defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program with fake and altered documents and embezzling more than $5.5 million in COVID-19 relief funds through six shell companies. Mukund Mohan was a former Microsoft and Amazon executive and is currently the CTO of BuildDirect.

Shahid Buttar, who is running for Congress in San Francisco against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is being accused of sexual harassment by comedienne Elizabeth Croydon. Buttar said Croydon’s charges are false.

Apple manufacturer Foxconn has started building iPhone 11 units in a facility near Chennai in India. It’s the first time Apple has made one of its top-tier phones in India. India is the second-biggest smartphone market in the world, second only to China.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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India & China slowly move towards disengagement

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India

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — India and China held virtual talks and agreed on a complete disengagement of troops along the line of control. But there remains sticking points in multiple areas along the border. India insists bilateral relations will not improve until “full peace and tranquility” are restored.

Police in Schenectady, New York are facing major scrutiny after footage was released of one of their officers applying a neck hold to 31 year old Yugeshwar Gaindarpersaud. He was treated and released, but he continues to face two charges of running away and resisting arrest. He’s accused of slashing his neighbors tire, causing $200 of damage. His attorneys are fighting to get prosecutors to drop the charges.

The UK Parliamentary Group, which visited Pakistan Administered Kashmir, and heavily criticized the Indian government for their recent constitutional change applying to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, acknowledged they received nearly $18,000 from the Pakistan Government to make the trip.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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