Bharat Bytes: Edge computing on track; RBI takes fintech seriously; ITeS attrition rates; CCI investigates Google; Tax filing deadline extended; Sutherland sold

Bharat Bytes is Computerworld India’s weekly look at the world of IT.

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RailTel to establish edge data centres in rural and semi-urban areas

RailTel is planning to roll out computing facilities to 102 Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities far from existing concentrations of data centre infrastructure.

By placing edge data centres closer to smaller cities, RailTel aims to help enterprises deliver low-latency apps, cache popular content close to users, and support the government’s Digital India mission.

RailTel is a government-owned telecommunications provider that operates a broadband network laid alongside India’s rail tracks, and operates points of presence across the country. It already operates

It expects a typical edge data centre to hold around 20 racks of 5kW to 10kW each, with sites covering an area of 300 to 430 square metres. It is looking for expressions of interest from potential operators.

RBI sets ups fintech department

The Reserve Bank of India has set up a fintech department to facilitate innovation in startups and more established businesses, and to provide a framework for researching future policy interventions. It will also address regulatory issues and challenges. Recently promoted executive director Ajay Kumar Choudhary will head the department. 

In 2018, RBI formed a fintech unit under the regulation department. In 2019, that unit came up with a regulatory sandbox framework to help India’s fintech companies and startups to engage with RBI. The unit was transferred to the payments department in 2020 as the bank focused on helping the Indian fintech ecosystem bring down the cost of internet-enabled payment methods.

Creating a dedicated department, the highest organizational unit within RBI for workflow allocation, is an acknowledgment of the significance of the vigorously growing industry in the country. 

Big spread in big ITeS firms’ attrition rates 

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is doing better at holding on to staff than either Wipro or Infosys, according to labour statistics released by the firms for the final quarter of 2021. The attrition rate was 15.3% at TCS, 22.7% at Wipro and 25% at Infosys.

The net headcount addition at TCS in the quarter ending 31 December 2021 was 28,000. The company has 5.6 lakh employees, 2 lakh of them women. It has also onboarded 34,000 fresh graduates in Q3, which is higher than its full-year fresher hiring numbers in prior years. In what can be perceived as a step to reduce its attrition rate, TCS said it has promoted 110,000 employees. 

Wipro closed the year with 2.3 lakh IT Services employees, up 40,000 year on year and up 10,306 employees during the quarter. 

Infosys plans to hire over 55,000 graduates in the year to 31 March 2022, according to CFO Nilanjan Roy. Its ended the year with 2.9 lakh staff, of which 40% are women.

CCI continues investigation of Google’s Play Store payment rules

The Competition Commission of India is collecting feedback from mobile app developers on Google’s in-app payment policy, The Economic Times reports, as the CCI nears the conclusion of an investigation begun over a year ago.

Google has made it mandatory for developers to utilise only the Google Play Store’s payment system, which the commission considers to be unfair because it restricts app developers’ flexibility to choose their own payment processing system.

The CCI ordered an investigation of the Google Play Store payment system for premium apps and in-app purchases in November 2020. On 27 December 2021 Google asked the court for extra time to respond to the CCI’s queries about the forced usage of its Play Store payment mechanism.

In a similar case, the CCI last week accused Apple of using anti-competitive constraints and dominating practises in the marketplaces for the distribution of mobile apps to consumers, as well as the payment processing for digital content utilised within iOS mobile apps, and it may be seeking to nail down its arguments against Google before prosecuting the new case.

Google, meanwhile, is also the target of another investigation by the CCI, this time prompted by a complaint from the Digital News Producers Association alleging abuse of dominance in news aggregation.

In its initial assessment of the complaint by the DNPA, CCI sees anti-competitive concerns in Google’s ‘snippet’ feature, which reproduces the essential elements of news stories on Google’s own website.

Tax filing deadlines extended because of filing portal problems

Although the main income tax filing deadline has passed, some Indians have been granted more time to file their returns because of problems with the new tax portal. The Central Board of Direct Taxes has extended deadlines to file Income Tax Returns and audit reports for Assessment Year 2021-22.

The portal was hit by a number of glitches and performance problems after its introduction last year, prompting Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs to call on the portal’s developer Infosys to sort things out in September. The problems persisted, with tax advisers complaining of delays right up to the 31 December 2021 deadline.

CCI approves Coral Blue’s acquisition of Sutherland Global Services

Sutherland Global Services has a new shareholder. The Competition Commission of India has approved the sale of a stake in the business process outsourcing company to a Singaporean investment fund, Coral Blue Investment. Sutherland employs 38,000, many of them in India, and has delivery centres in 10 Indian cities.

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