Prince Charles backs $10 million new education bond for marginalised children in India

Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla attend a cultural event at the British Council in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla attend a cultural event at the British Council in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

London: Britain’s Prince Charles, on a two-day visit to India, has given his backing to a new development bond for India to provide education to marginalised children in the country.

The $10 million education development impact bond (DIB) has been created by the British Asian Trust, founded by the Prince of Wales to fight poverty in south Asia, and is designed to improve learning outcomes for thousands of marginalised children in India.

The bond is intended as an innovative and sustainable social impact investment tool which will be tied in with performance and outcomes of educational initiatives, starting in India and then across the trust’s other regions of operation.

“I hope that through the trust we can impact the lives of not just children in India but also change the mindsets of philanthropists around the world,” said Prince Charles, who arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday. The education development impact bond has been developed by the trust alongside UBS Optimus Foundation with the aim of transforming the future of education in India.

Under the initiative, the DIB will provide funding to four local not-for-profit delivery partners in the country over four years, delivering a range of operational models including principal and teacher training, direct school management, and supplementary programmes.

It is intended to improve literacy and numeracy learning levels for over 200,000 primary school students from marginalised communities in Delhi, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The UK government’s department for international development (DfID) will contribute technical assistance and insights to the project as part of a wider partnership.

“The DfID is exploring new and innovative ways to finance programmes which will transform the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. We are proud to support the British Asian Trust as they develop their development impact bond, which will provide access to quality education for hundreds of thousands of children,” said DfID minister Priti Patel.

The bond has been described as a step towards a greater focus on social impact financing as a transformational tool for philanthropy. The concept of development impact bonds is intended as a result-oriented way to attract new capital into development, with a strong emphasis on data and evidence.

Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the British Asian Trust, explains: “At the heart of our programme strategy is a real determination to continue applying business principles to the work. We are convinced that only by applying these to philanthropy and to development are you really able to meet the needs of the greatest number of people.”

Sir Ronald Cohen, international philanthropist and a champion of global impact investing, described the British Asian Trust’s initiative as “ground-breaking” and capable of delivering vital social improvement at scale. In India, Prince Charles will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bilateral talks as part of a series of events planned during his two-day visit with wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. PTI


Global Majority Backs a Ban on ‘Dark Net,’ Poll Says

Global Majority Backs a Ban on 'Dark Net,' Poll Says

Seven in 10 people say the “dark net” – an anonymous online home to both criminals and activists fearful of government surveillance – should be shut down, according to a global Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.

The findings, from a poll of at least 1,000 people in each of 24 countries, come as policymakers and technology companies argue over whether digital privacy should be curbed to help regulators and law enforcement more easily thwart hackers and other digital threats.

The US Justice Department is currently trying to force Apple Inc to write software to allow access to an iPhone used by San Bernardino, California shooter Rizwan Farook.

The dark net refers to an area of the Internet only accessible via special web browsers that ensure anonymity, where content is hidden and data typically encrypted.

The Ipsos poll was commissioned the Waterloo, Ontario-based Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). The think tank is part of a commission seeking to shape Internet governance.

The question asked in the poll pointed out the dark net’s anonymity can protect journalists, human rights activists, dissidents and whistleblowers, but also hide child abuse networks and illegal marketplaces selling weapons and narcotics.

The portion of respondents who either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed it should be shuttered ranged between 61 percent and 85 percent, with support strongest in Indonesia, India, Egypt and Mexico and weakest in Sweden, South Korea and Kenya.

Other countries polled included Pakistan, Australia, the United States, France, Germany, Turkey, and Tunisia.

“The public clearly wants law enforcement to have the tools to do its job. But if you flip it around and say should they have access to your data they tend to feel differently,” said Fen Osler Hampson, director of the global security and politics program at CIGI.

Only 38 percent of all respondents said they trust that their online activities are not monitored.

Hampson said public concern about online privacy will likely grow as more and more cars, appliances and infrastructure connect to online networks.

Ipsos said the poll was accurate in each country to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Dark net, Internet

Snapdeal’s Amit Choudhary backs car pooling start-up Cloudacar

Launched in January 2016, the start-up offers car pooling solution and especially targets the office-going crowd.

Launched in January 2016, the start-up offers car pooling solution and especially targets the office-going crowd.

New Delhi: Pay Technologies India Pvt. Ltd, which owns and operates car pooling start-up Cloudacar, has raised an undisclosed amount from Amit Choudhary, senior vice-president, corporate finance of e-commerce firm Snapdeal, and Anuj Puri, chairman and country head of real estate services firm JLL India.

Sumit Goyal, chief financial officer of Coca-Cola, Nepal also participated in the round.

The money will be utilized for product enhancement.

Launched in January 2016, the start-up offers car pooling solution and especially targets the office-going crowd. Users can register themselves using its mobile app or by logging on to Facebook or LinkedIn. It allows users to build a trusted community of car poolers. Once verified, users can create their trips, and build a community of commuters who stay nearby or work in the same office.

The four founders, Prajwal Zende, Rishabh Sawansukha, Ashutosh Sathe and Mandar Landhe, are IT professionals and have worked with companies such as the Oracle and IBM.

Cloudacar also plans to work with companies to offer personalized car pooling programmes for their employees. It has so far tied up with JLL India.

It claims that there are around 25 million cars in six major cities of India. Of this, around 78% cars travel with just one person.

It is likely to compete with Gurgaon-based Phonon Solutions Pvt. Ltd, the owner of car pooling app Orahi, which raised Rs.3.5 crore from early-stage investor Indian Angel Network (IAN) in January.

Last year, online taxi hailing service Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) and its San Francisco-based rival Uber too rolled out car pooling in Delhi, which allows private car owners to share a ride with co-passengers of their choice.

International companies like Brazil-based Tripda and French company Blah Blah Cars also launched their services in India last year.

According to a recent survey by Regus, a global workplace solutions provider, 26% of commuters in India spend over 90 minutes per day travelling to work and meetings. In addition, about 16% of all commuters drive to work on their own and, on average, 67% of respondents drive to work using their car, indicating the huge potential for car pooling services.


Ratan Tata backs start-up Teabox, turning active venture investor in retirement

The deal is the latest of about 25 personal investments that Ratan Tata has made in start-ups, helping spark an e-commerce boom in India along the way. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/MintThe deal is the latest of about 25 personal investments that Ratan Tata has made in start-ups, helping spark an e-commerce boom in India along the way. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Singapore: Ratan Tata, who stepped down as the chairman of the $100 billion Tata Group in 2012, is taking a stake in an online start-up that sells premium teas, the latest example of the Indian businessman becoming an active venture capitalist in his retirement.

Tata is putting an undisclosed amount of money into Teabox, an Indian start-up based in the foothills of the Himalayas. It’s the latest of about 25 personal investments that he has made in start-ups, helping spark an e-commerce boom in India along the way.

His investments include stakes in three of India’s unicorns, or start-ups worth more than $1 billion, the ride-hailing app Ola, online retailer Snapdeal and a mobile payment venture called Paytm. He has also put money into Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp., the most highly valued start-up in Asia. Separately, he has joined three venture capital firms—IDG Ventures, Kalaari Capital and Jungle Ventures—as an adviser.

“We’re very excited because it’s a validation of our business from one of the most iconic businessmen of India,”said Teabox founder and chief executive officer Kaushal Dugar.

Tata has a history of pioneering business strategy. He was chairman of Tata Group when it cut what was then the biggest takeover in Indian corporate history. In 2000, Tata Tea Ltd acquired the UK’s Tetley Tea, which was the inventor of the teabag and three times its size. Tata said at the time he hoped other Indian firms would follow, and some did.

Teabox, which was founded in 2012, raised $6 million from investors that included Texas billionaire Robert M. Bass and Accel Partners in the latest round in 2015.

Teabox works with 150 plantations in Darjeeling, Assam and Nepal. Teas go to the firm’s cold storage within 48 hours of production where they are vacuum packed and shipped to customers around the world in about a week, according to Dugar. Traditionally it takes three to six months for the teas to reach consumers.