Here’s a quick wrap-up of the biggest stories from India this week.
1. India’s top court is considering whether to allow the government to link the country’s biometric ID database to tax filings: The government has proposed linking Aadhaar, the unique identity number issued to over 1.2 billion Indians based on biometric data, with tax filings this June. This would require all Indians to obtain an Aadhaar ID in order to file taxes, whereas, to date, Aadhaar IDs have been optional. Opponents challenged the move, arguing it violates individual privacy, is less secure, and burdens people unnecessarily. Currently, an individual’s tax details are linked to a number called the Permanent Account Number (PAN). India’s supreme court heard arguments this week and has not yet delivered a decision. Read more here.
2. A water crisis hit India’s Silicon Valley: Bengaluru, dubbed India’s Silicon Valley, is in the midst of a severe water crisis as its population explodes and concentrated growth around the city puts its infrastructure under severe pressure. Read more here.
3. Infosys announced plans to hire 10,000 American workers: India’s second largest outsourcing company, Infosys, is planning to hire 10,000 American workers in the next two years. It also announced plans to set up four technology and innovation hubs across North America. The White House called it a “political victory.” Infosys’ move comes at a time when the Trump administration is reforming immigration laws, which will affect the H-1B visa program under which Indian software companies send skilled workers abroad. Also see: Explained in 8 points: How US Visa reforms will hit Indian IT.
4. Facebook announced commercial rollout of Express Wi-Fi in India: The social networking giant said this week that it has partnered with India’s largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, and other Internet service providers to roll out Express Wi-Fi, a program under which local entrepreneurs can sell Internet over Wi-Fi to users in a region. The move is part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative to bring the next set of Internet users online.
5. Online travel company MakeMyTrip said it is completing a $330 million fundraise through share sale and issuance agreements. It plans to use the funds for business expansion, strategic investments, technology and product development, marketing and promotions, working capital, and general corporate purposes, the company said. The news comes several weeks after reports that Alibaba-backed Paytm was readying for a bigger presence in the Indian travel market.