Nation
Eye in the sky: Drones to monitor Bihar polls
Drones will be used for the first time for surveillance in the upcoming Bihar assembly polls, according to a top election official.
 
"Helicopters have been used in the past for surveillance, but drones will be used this time, probably for the first time," R. Lakshmanan, Bihar's Additional Chief Electoral Officer, told IANS in an interview over the phone from Patna. He declined to give operational details about the drone usage.
 
The task of conducting polls for the 243 assembly constituencies across the 38 districts of the country's third most populous state will be done in five phases - October 12, 16, 28, November 1 and 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.
 
Lakshmanan said that arguably, the biggest challenges would be maintaining law and order, checking "use and misuse of money power", the implementation of model code of conduct and "improving voter participation."
 
About 4.89 lakh officials drawn from the civil side, and 6 lakh security personnel have been deployed to oversee poll preparations.
 
Lakshmanan said till October 6, Rs.15.56 crore in cash and close to 5.34 lakh litres of liquor which had been confiscated. The liquor was being stocked for distribution before voting days. 
 
According to him, money and liquor were the two area which threw up challenges as far as monitoring election expenditure was concerned. So far, the election office has registered 265 FIRs for these violations.
 
In comparison, Rs.6 crore in cash and around 5.78 lakh litres of liquor were confiscated during the 2014 Lok Sabha election in the state, he said.
 
The other big challenge was over law and order. He said combing operations over the last couple of months in the 11-odd districts "where the Maoists threat is serious have fetched positive results". 
 
"There has been significant success with the recovery of 300 explosives and 800 odd illegal weapons," he added.
 
He said the poll-day preparations have begun well in advance and adequate numbers of security forces were available for deployment.
 
Over 6.6 crore voters, including over 3.1 crore women voters, are eligible to cast their ballot at the 62,779 polling stations across the state. Some 1,200 of these polling stations in certain areas of Bhagalpur, Khagaria, Vaishali, Darbhanga and Supaul districts, besides others, fall in the riverine belt of the state and are difficult to access.
 
Poll officials are posed with the peculiar challenge of treading a difficult terrain and cross over a river to access the polling stations and reach out to the voters there, the election official said.
 
Lakshmanan pointed at another challenge. He said that religious festivals such as Durga Puja and Muharram in between the poll schedule pose a unique challenge. "We have to ensure communal harmony as we handle the security arrangements during these festivals in poll time," he said.
 
Lakshmanan, a Bihar cadre bureaucrat, has previously served as the district magistrate of Darbhanga and was the district director of the education department's mid-day programme.
 
He has been with the Bihar CEO Ajay Nayak's office for past year and half.
 
He said a number of initiatives had been taken to get the approximately 50 lakh first time voter - between the age group of 18 and 19 - to vote.
 
The run-up to the staggered polls has also seen a number of leaders from across parties indulging in hate speech.
 
Lakshmanan said leaders generally adhere to the model code of conduct, and when "we see certain violations in speeches", the commission sends a show cause notice.
 
For instance, senior state BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad were issued notices and both have responded to the Election Commission in New Delhi. 
 
"Seven FIRs have been filed in this regard so far and a police probe is on," he said. He did not give further details.
 
Lakshmanan said the days of booth capturing and violence at polling booths in the state are over as not a single such incident was reported during the polls in 2005, '09 and '10.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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40 percent food retailers unaware of logistics costs: DHL
Nearly 40 percent of Asian food retailers are unaware of logistics costs while six in 10 Indian food retailers are struggling to maintain adequate stocks, said a global logistics player DHL report released on Wednesday.
 
The "Hungry for Growth' report, commissioned by DHL, surveyed 300 industry decision makers in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam and found that in the last three countries, one in four food retailers anticipate to grow by 10 percent or more in 2015, while in India, the figure was four in 10.
 
And one in three retailers do not track their supply chain performance despite growing complexity, the report said.
 
The other findings included that 12 percent of Indian retailers sought to improve performance by fully outsourcing their supply chain while 40 percent believe in inventory optimization, transport management, and workforce planning technologies to be beneficial to their overall supply chain results, the statement added.
 
The research was done between December 2014 and April 2015 on food retailers who sell food for off-premise consumption which included grocery stores, convenience stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets, and specialist stores like butcheries and bakeries.
 
"Food retailers need reliable, agile supply lines if they are to focus on their core competencies and compete," said DHL Supply Chain Asia Pacific vice president, retail, Dean Eichorn in a statement.
 
"Many of these concerns are amplified because a large number of food retailers don't have visibility of their logistics operations, let alone the resources or subject expertise to improve and optimize them," he added.

 

Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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ICICI Bank introduces electronic cardless transaction on Visa
The ICICI Bank on Thursday launched a service enabling customers to make electronic payments from their smartphones at physical stores, e-commerce portals, radio taxis and utility billers, among others, without swiping a debit card.
 
The service is based on 'mVisa', a new mobile payment solution from Visa. ICICI Bank, India's largest private bank, is the first bank globally to launch a mobile app based on 'mVisa' solution for consumers and merchants.
 
The service is applicable only for Visa cards.
 
"We believe that this solution will herald a shift in the adoption of electronic payments in the country," the bank's executive director, Rajiv Sabharwal said in a statement.
 
He said that while there are 570 million debit cards in the country, there are only 1.1 million point-of-sale machines available for card payments which restricts cashless payments to be made only at a certain category of merchants.
 
The service has been introduced for its customers in Bengaluru only with 1,500 merchants brought under the fold of mobile electronic payments. The service will be rolled out in other cities shortly.
 
To use this payment solution, users need to click on the 'mVisa' icon on the bank's Pockets app.
 
The process involves scanning a Quick Response code at a merchant location without swiping the card.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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