Connect with us

Others

India, Taiwan Should Finalise Free Trade Agreement as Soon as Possible, Says Taiwanese Envoy: Report

Avatar

Published

on

By Press Trust of India | Updated: 10 October 2022

India and Taiwan should finalise the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) at the earliest as it will remove all barriers to trade and investment and help create a secure and resilient supply chain, Taipei’s de-facto Ambassador Baushuan Ger said.

The envoy said Taiwan is willing to share its expertise with India in critical sectors such as semiconductors, 5G, information security and artificial intelligence, and that his country can be an “excellent” partner in New Delhi’s quest for becoming a hub for manufacturing of cutting-edge electronics.

“The signing of the FTA will further remove all trade and investment barriers and lead to a jump in bilateral trade and investment,” he told PTI.

“In addition, it will help attract Taiwan companies to invest in India to establish production bases, sell India-made products to the world, and help India transform into a global manufacturing centre,” Ger said.

His comments came amid escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait following China’s military build-up in the region in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island of more than 23 million people in August. China considers Taiwan as its breakaway province.

“To build on the momentum of increasing bilateral investment and trade collaboration, it is high time that Taiwan and India consider signing an FTA at the earliest possible in order to create a secure and resilient supply chain and more value-added platforms for long-term cooperation,” Ger said.

The Taiwanese envoy said given the changing international political and economic dynamics, there is an opportunity for India to play a more important role in the supply chain “realignment”.

Taiwan is a leading producer of semiconductors globally and at least a couple of Taiwanese companies have shown interest in India’s production-linked incentives (PLIs) scheme worth Rs. 76,000 crore for the electronics sector.

India is looking at manufacturing semiconductors in the face of a global shortage in view of their increasing demands in modern electronic devices such as smartphones and cars.

India does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but both sides have trade and people-to-people relations.

Following the eastern Ladakh border row with China, some experts in India have been pushing for upgrading New Delhi’s ties with Taipei, especially in the trade and investment sectors.

The de-facto ambassador said Taiwan has comprehensive supply chains and ecosystems in the manufacturing sectors, including semiconductors, and noted that a deeper trade collaboration would be beneficial to both sides.

Last year, the two sides set up four groups with a focus on setting up of a semiconductor hub, training manpower for the industry, to explore a bilateral investment pact and a free trade agreement.

“Since the US-China trade conflicts, Taiwanese companies have shown flexibility while acting in line with the government’s ‘New Southbound Policy’. Specifically, many have relocated their production bases back to Taiwan or to Southeast Asian countries,” Ger said.

“The sectors involved include high-end servers, ICT equipment, smart transportation, panels, and automated production lines, etc,” he added.

Unveiled in 2016, the New Southbound Policy is aimed at expanding political, economic, and people-to-people linkages with democratic countries, including India.

Ger said Taiwan has advantages in semiconductors and electronics manufacturing, including US-recognised 5G, clean network technology as well as AI, information security and smart cities technology.

He said Taiwan could be an “excellent” partner for India’s high-tech supply chain and product development.

“Other areas of potential cooperation include machine tools, photovoltaics, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. We are looking forward to strengthening cooperation with India in these areas for mutual benefits,” he said.

The envoy said India has been actively attracting foreign investment and made every effort to optimise the investment environment with favourable incentives.

“Therefore, specific examples show that Taiwanese major mobile phone manufacturers such as Wistron, Foxconn and Pegatron have successfully moved their production lines to India with the support of India’s Production-linked Incentive (PLI),” he said.

He emphasised that both sides can focus on specific areas and bring together related stakeholders, including public and private sectors, academia and think tanks to encourage and strengthen the resilience, security and stability of supply chains for each other.

Ger said Taiwan has been actively pursuing FTA with like-minded trading partners.

“Taiwan’s ‘New Southbound Policy and India’s Act East initiative are instrumental in deepening our bilateral engagement,” he said.

“With an increasing domestic labour shortage, Taiwan is looking for a manufacturing partner. India has an abundant talent pool and will make a perfect partner for Taiwan,” the envoy said.

He further added that as the world’s 22nd-largest economy in terms of GDP and a major semiconductor manufacturer, Taiwan plays a key role in the global supply chains.

The envoy said as a defender of democracy, Taiwan is working to support the rules-based international order.

Though India and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic ties, the bilateral trade relations have been on an upswing.

In 1995, New Delhi set up India-Taipei Association (ITA) in Taipei to promote interactions between the two sides and to facilitate business, tourism and cultural exchanges.

India-Taipei Association has also been authorised to provide all consular and passport services.

In the same year, Taiwan too established the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in Delhi.

The volume of bilateral trade has grown nearly six-fold from $1.19 billion (roughly Rs. 9,807 crore) in 2001 to almost $7.05 billion (roughly Rs. 61,810 crore) in 2018 and India ranks as Taiwan’s 14th largest export destination and 18th largest source of imports, according to official data.

By end of 2018, around 106 Taiwanese companies were operating in India, with the total investment amounting to $1.5 billion (roughly Rs. 12,359 crore) in the fields of information and communication technology, medical devices, automobile components, electronics, construction, engineering and financial services.

The Taiwanese envoy said given the changing international political and economic dynamics, there is an opportunity for India to play a more important role in the supply chain “realignment”.

Taiwan is a leading producer of semiconductors globally and at least a couple of Taiwanese companies have shown interest in India’s production-linked incentives (PLIs) scheme worth Rs. 76,000 crore for the electronics sector.

India is looking at manufacturing semiconductors in the face of a global shortage in view of their increasing demands in modern electronic devices such as smartphones and cars.

India does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but both sides have trade and people-to-people relations.

Following the eastern Ladakh border row with China, some experts in India have been pushing for upgrading New Delhi’s ties with Taipei, especially in the trade and investment sectors.

The de-facto ambassador said Taiwan has comprehensive supply chains and ecosystems in the manufacturing sectors, including semiconductors, and noted that a deeper trade collaboration would be beneficial to both sides.

Last year, the two sides set up four groups with a focus on setting up of a semiconductor hub, training manpower for the industry, to explore a bilateral investment pact and a free trade agreement.

“Since the US-China trade conflicts, Taiwanese companies have shown flexibility while acting in line with the government’s ‘New Southbound Policy’. Specifically, many have relocated their production bases back to Taiwan or to Southeast Asian countries,” Ger said.

“The sectors involved include high-end servers, ICT equipment, smart transportation, panels, and automated production lines, etc,” he added.

Unveiled in 2016, the New Southbound Policy is aimed at expanding political, economic, and people-to-people linkages with democratic countries, including India.

Ger said Taiwan has advantages in semiconductors and electronics manufacturing, including US-recognised 5G, clean network technology as well as AI, information security and smart cities technology.

He said Taiwan could be an “excellent” partner for India’s high-tech supply chain and product development.

“Other areas of potential cooperation include machine tools, photovoltaics, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. We are looking forward to strengthening cooperation with India in these areas for mutual benefits,” he said.

The envoy said India has been actively attracting foreign investment and made every effort to optimise the investment environment with favourable incentives.

“Therefore, specific examples show that Taiwanese major mobile phone manufacturers such as Wistron, Foxconn and Pegatron have successfully moved their production lines to India with the support of India’s Production-linked Incentive (PLI),” he said.

He emphasised that both sides can focus on specific areas and bring together related stakeholders, including public and private sectors, academia and think tanks to encourage and strengthen the resilience, security and stability of supply chains for each other.

Ger said Taiwan has been actively pursuing FTA with like-minded trading partners.

“Taiwan’s ‘New Southbound Policy and India’s Act East initiative are instrumental in deepening our bilateral engagement,” he said.

“With an increasing domestic labour shortage, Taiwan is looking for a manufacturing partner. India has an abundant talent pool and will make a perfect partner for Taiwan,” the envoy said.

He further added that as the world’s 22nd-largest economy in terms of GDP and a major semiconductor manufacturer, Taiwan plays a key role in the global supply chains.

The envoy said as a defender of democracy, Taiwan is working to support the rules-based international order.

Though India and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic ties, the bilateral trade relations have been on an upswing.

In 1995, New Delhi set up India-Taipei Association (ITA) in Taipei to promote interactions between the two sides and to facilitate business, tourism and cultural exchanges.

India-Taipei Association has also been authorised to provide all consular and passport services.

In the same year, Taiwan too established the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in Delhi.

The volume of bilateral trade has grown nearly six-fold from $1.19 billion (roughly Rs. 9,807 crore) in 2001 to almost $7.05 billion (roughly Rs. 61,810 crore) in 2018 and India ranks as Taiwan’s 14th largest export destination and 18th largest source of imports, according to official data.

The Taiwanese envoy said given the changing international political and economic dynamics, there is an opportunity for India to play a more important role in the supply chain “realignment”.

Taiwan is a leading producer of semiconductors globally and at least a couple of Taiwanese companies have shown interest in India’s production-linked incentives (PLIs) scheme worth Rs. 76,000 crore for the electronics sector.

India is looking at manufacturing semiconductors in the face of a global shortage in view of their increasing demands in modern electronic devices such as smartphones and cars.

India does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but both sides have trade and people-to-people relations.

Following the eastern Ladakh border row with China, some experts in India have been pushing for upgrading New Delhi’s ties with Taipei, especially in the trade and investment sectors.

The de-facto ambassador said Taiwan has comprehensive supply chains and ecosystems in the manufacturing sectors, including semiconductors, and noted that a deeper trade collaboration would be beneficial to both sides.

Last year, the two sides set up four groups with a focus on setting up of a semiconductor hub, training manpower for the industry, to explore a bilateral investment pact and a free trade agreement.

“Since the US-China trade conflicts, Taiwanese companies have shown flexibility while acting in line with the government’s ‘New Southbound Policy’. Specifically, many have relocated their production bases back to Taiwan or to Southeast Asian countries,” Ger said.

“The sectors involved include high-end servers, ICT equipment, smart transportation, panels, and automated production lines, etc,” he added.

Unveiled in 2016, the New Southbound Policy is aimed at expanding political, economic, and people-to-people linkages with democratic countries, including India.

Ger said Taiwan has advantages in semiconductors and electronics manufacturing, including US-recognised 5G, clean network technology as well as AI, information security and smart cities technology.

He said Taiwan could be an “excellent” partner for India’s high-tech supply chain and product development.

“Other areas of potential cooperation include machine tools, photovoltaics, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. We are looking forward to strengthening cooperation with India in these areas for mutual benefits,” he said.

The envoy said India has been actively attracting foreign investment and made every effort to optimise the investment environment with favourable incentives.

“Therefore, specific examples show that Taiwanese major mobile phone manufacturers such as Wistron, Foxconn and Pegatron have successfully moved their production lines to India with the support of India’s Production-linked Incentive (PLI),” he said.

He emphasised that both sides can focus on specific areas and bring together related stakeholders, including public and private sectors, academia and think tanks to encourage and strengthen the resilience, security and stability of supply chains for each other.

Ger said Taiwan has been actively pursuing FTA with like-minded trading partners.

“Taiwan’s ‘New Southbound Policy and India’s Act East initiative are instrumental in deepening our bilateral engagement,” he said.

“With an increasing domestic labour shortage, Taiwan is looking for a manufacturing partner. India has an abundant talent pool and will make a perfect partner for Taiwan,” the envoy said.

He further added that as the world’s 22nd-largest economy in terms of GDP and a major semiconductor manufacturer, Taiwan plays a key role in the global supply chains.

The envoy said as a defender of democracy, Taiwan is working to support the rules-based international order.

Though India and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic ties, the bilateral trade relations have been on an upswing.

In 1995, New Delhi set up India-Taipei Association (ITA) in Taipei to promote interactions between the two sides and to facilitate business, tourism and cultural exchanges.

India-Taipei Association has also been authorised to provide all consular and passport services.

In the same year, Taiwan too established the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in Delhi.

The volume of bilateral trade has grown nearly six-fold from $1.19 billion (roughly Rs. 9,807 crore) in 2001 to almost $7.05 billion (roughly Rs. 61,810 crore) in 2018 and India ranks as Taiwan’s 14th largest export destination and 18th largest source of imports, according to official data.

By end of 2018, around 106 Taiwanese companies were operating in India, with the total investment amounting to $1.5 billion (roughly Rs. 12,359 crore) in the fields of information and communication technology, medical devices, automobile components, electronics, construction, engineering and financial services.

By end of 2018, around 106 Taiwanese companies were operating in India, with the total investment amounting to $1.5 billion (roughly Rs. 12,359 crore) in the fields of information and communication technology, medical devices, automobile components, electronics, construction, engineering and financial services.

Others

Sony Ready to Make Humanoid Robots Quickly Once Usage Becomes Clear, CTO Hiroaki Kitano Says

Avatar

Published

on

Sony launched an advanced version of its robot dog Aibo in 2018, selling about 20,000 units within six months.
By Reuters | Updated: 6 December 2022

Japanese electronics and entertainment conglomerate Sony Group said on Tuesday it has the technology to make humanoid robots quickly once it has identified how they could be effectively used.

“In terms of technology, several companies in the world including this one have enough technology accumulated to make them swiftly once it becomes clear which usage is promising,” Sony Chief Technology Officer Hiroaki Kitano told Reuters in an interview.

“The key is the development of application,” Kitano said.

Sony launched a robot dog called Aibo more than two decades ago. It sold about 150,000 units of Aibo from 1999 until 2006 and launched an advanced version in 2018, selling about 20,000 units in the first six months.

Humanoid robots have been in development for decades by Honda Motor and Hyundai Motor and in September, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk showed off a prototype of its humanoid robot Optimus.

Musk’s company is floating plans to deploy thousands of the robots in its factories, expanding eventually to millions around the world.

Sony launched a robot dog called Aibo more than two decades ago. It sold about 150,000 units of Aibo from 1999 until 2006 and launched an advanced version in 2018, selling about 20,000 units in the first six months.

Humanoid robots have been in development for decades by Honda Motor and Hyundai Motor and in September, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk showed off a prototype of its humanoid robot Optimus.

Musk’s company is floating plans to deploy thousands of the robots in its factories, expanding eventually to millions around the world.

Continue Reading

Others

Reliance to Demerge Financial Services Arm, List Jio Financial Services on Stock Exchanges

Avatar

Published

on

By Press Trust of India | Updated: 22 October 2022

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited on Friday said it will demerge its financial services arm and list it on the stock exchanges.

In a statement, the firm said Reliance shareholders will be issued one equity share of Jio Financial Services Limited (JFSL) for every share they hold in the company.

JFSL plans to launch consumer and merchant lending business while continuing to evaluate organic growth, joint-venture partnerships as well as inorganic opportunities in insurance, asset management and digital broking segments, it said.

“The Board of Directors of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), at its meeting held today (Friday), approved a Scheme of Arrangement amongst RIL, Reliance Strategic Investments Limited (RSIL) and their respective shareholders and creditors in terms of which, RIL will demerge its financial services undertaking into RSIL (to be renamed Jio Financial Services Limited or JFSL),” it said.

JFSL would be listed on the Indian stock exchanges.

RSIL is currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of RIL and an RBI-registered non-deposit-taking systemically important non-banking financial company.

“Pursuant to the scheme, shareholders of RIL will receive one equity share of JFSL of face value Rs. 10 for one fully paid-up equity share of Rs. 10 held in RIL,” the statement said.

Also, the investment of RIL in Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings Limited (RIIHL), which is a part of the financial services undertaking of RIL, will stand transferred to JFSL.

JFSL will acquire liquid assets to provide adequate regulatory capital for lending to consumers and merchants, as well as incubate other financial services verticals such as insurance, payments, digital broking, and asset management for at least the next 3 years of business operations.

“The regulatory licenses for the key businesses are in place,” it said.

JFS’s structure enables it to partner with strategic or financial investors with an enhanced strategic focus to support the company’s growth drivers, the firm said.

The transaction is subject to customary statutory and regulatory approvals, including from NCLT, stock exchanges, SEBI and RBI.

Commenting on the demerger, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, RIL, said: “JFS will be a truly transformational, customer-centric and digital-first financial services enterprise offering simple, affordable, innovative and intuitive financial services products to all Indians.” JFS, he said, will be a technology-led business, delivering financial products digitally by leveraging the nationwide omnichannel presence of Reliance’s consumer businesses.

“JFS is uniquely positioned to capture multiple growth opportunities in financial services bringing millions of Indians into formal financial institutions,” he said.

The Indian financial services sector presents a large, under-penetrated and growing addressable market, especially for retail and small-business-focused product categories.

Continue Reading

Others

Wearable Fan Helps Cats and Dogs Beat the Heat in Japan’s Scorching Summer

Avatar

Published

on

By Reuters | Updated: 1 August 2022

A Tokyo clothing maker has teamed up with veterinarians to create a wearable fan for pets, hoping to attract the anxious owners of dogs – or cats – that can’t shed their fur coats in Japan’s blistering summer weather. The device consists of a battery-operated, 80-gramme (3-ounce) fan that is attached to a mesh outfit and blows air around an animal’s body.

Rei Uzawa, president of maternity clothing maker Sweet Mommy, says she was motivated to create it after seeing her own pet chihuahua exhausted every time it was taken out for a walk in the scorching summer heat.

“There was almost no rainy season this year, so the hot days came early, and in that sense, I think we developed a product that is right for the market,” she said.

After the rainy season in Tokyo ended in late June, the Japanese capital suffered the longest heatwave on record with temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) for nine days. Soaring energy prices and the threat of power shortages during the recent heatwave had boosted expectations the government would restart some of the dozens of nuclear reactors idled after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“I usually use dry ice packs (to keep the dog cool). But I think it’s easier to walk my dog if we have this fan,” said Mami Kumamoto, 48, owner of a miniature poodle named Pudding and a terrier named Maco.

The device debuted in early July and Sweet Mommy has received around 100 orders for the product, Uzawa said. It comes in five different sizes and is priced at JPY 9,900 (roughly Rs. 5,900).

© Thomson Reuters 2022

Continue Reading

Others

NITI Aayog Offers Roadmap for Licensing, Regulation for Digital Banks: Report

Avatar

Published

on

By ANI | Updated: 21 July 2022

Government think tank NITI Aayog has made a case and offered a template and roadmap for a licensing and regulatory regime for digital banks that focuses on avoiding any regulatory or policy arbitrage and offers a level playing field to incumbents as well as competitors. In a report titled ‘Digital Banks – A Proposal for Licensing and Regulatory Regime for India’, the think tank recommended the issuance of a restricted digital bank license to such financial entities. It mooted for a ‘full-scale’ digital bank license.

The methodology for the licensing and regulatory template offered by the report is based on four factors such as entry barriers, competition, business restrictions, and technological neutrality.

Taking forward the agenda of fintech innovations, and marking 75 years of India’s independence, the government in its Budget for 2022-23 proposed to set up 75 digital banking units in 75 districts of the country by scheduled commercial banks.

The report also maps prevalent business models in this domain. It highlights the challenges presented by the ‘partnership model’ of neo-banking–which has emerged in India due to a regulatory vacuum and in the absence of a digital bank license.

Given the need for leveraging technology effectively to cater to the needs of banking in India, this report studies the prevailing gaps, the niches that remain underserved, and the global regulatory best practices in licensing digital banks, said CEO Parameswaran Iyer while releasing the report.

In recent years, India has made rapid strides in furthering financial inclusion catalyzed by the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana for the unversed. However, credit penetration remains a policy challenge, especially for the nation’s MSMEs that contribute 30 percent to GDP, 45 percent to manufacturing output, and 40 percent to exports, while creating employment for a significant section of the population.

Financial inclusion has only been furthered by the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which has witnessed extraordinary adoption. UPI recorded over 4.2 billion transactions worth Rs 7.7 trillion in October 2021.

The NITI Aayog report has been prepared based on inter-ministerial consultations. Last year, NITI Aayog released a discussion paper on the subject for wider stakeholder consultations. Comments received from 24 organizations were examined and suitably addressed in the final report.

Continue Reading

Others

India’s Startup Story Intact, Tech Innovation Vibrant, Relevant: HCL Tech CEO C Vijayakumar

Avatar

Published

on

By Press Trust of India | Updated: 18 July

India’s startup story is “intact” and its tech innovation fundamentals remain vibrant and relevant despite fluctuating valuations in the startup space, according to HCL Technologies Chief Executive Officer C Vijayakumar. The comment by the Indian IT major HCL Technologies’ top official comes at a time when investments and venture capital deal volumes in the startup space have started to taper, as investors turn wary of committing large cheques amid uncertain market conditions.

Asked about startup valuations coming off their peak, and whether the space is headed for a possible reset, HCL Tech’s Vijayakumar in an interview with PTI said: “I absolutely believe that the India startup story, tech innovation, products, all of that coming out of India, is very intact”.

“Obviously there is some kind of reduction in valuations … but barring that, the big picture is very vibrant and relevant for a lot of new things that are happening in the market. So, I am very positive on that,” Vijayakumar added.

After a dream run and heady valuations in past years, the wave of venture capital chasing the Indian startup ecosystem (the third largest startup ecosystem in the world) appears to be dwindling. Spooked by concerns over profitability, cash burn, and corporate governance issues, investors are raising their guard, while stock market corrections have taken the sheen off newly-listed startups.

Funding in startups dropped by 17 per cent sequentially to USD 6 billion (about Rs 47,800 crore) in the April-June period, according to industry body Nasscom. As per a report by market intelligence platform Tracxn, the total funding raised by Indian startups in the just-ended June quarter fell 33 per cent sequentially to USD 6.9 billion.

The funding seems to have come off the previous high, witnessed in Q3 2021, the Tracxn report said, while indicating a “major consensus amongst market players of a ‘winter of funding’ or a downturn in investors’ confidence and sentiments towards funding startups”.

On whether HCL Tech would look at the startup space for acquisition, given the valuations have turned attractive, Vijayakumar said, “it all depends … we’re constantly looking for capability-led acquisitions, in the services and products side. If we find something interesting, we may look at it.” HCL Technologies recently reported a 2.4 per cent year-on-year rise in its consolidated net profit for the three months ended in June 2022 at Rs 3,283 crore. The revenue of the Noida-headquartered firm stood at Rs 23,464 crore, nearly 17 per cent higher than the year-ago period.

The company retained its FY23 revenue outlook in the 12-14 per cent band, citing “strong momentum in the market” and said it is positive about growth trajectory. The company expects to be on the lower end of the guided EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) margin band of 18-20 per cent.

Vijayakumar asserted that the company is “on a good upcycle”, and will use multiple levers to mitigate the challenges around margins. On whether there is any impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on operations, Vijayakumar said that the company does not have any presence in these locations, for sales or delivery.

“We have presence in some adjacent countries, such as Romania, Poland … so in those countries there is no problem, things are going fine. We didn’t have any direct exposure to Russia or Ukraine,” he said.

As far as Europe is concerned, the company has not seen any material changes in the overall pipeline or demand, and “it continues to be quite robust”. To a question on the timelines by when the company plans to get its workforce back to office, Vijayakumar said HCL Tech pursues a ‘virtual-first hybrid operating model’.

“So wherever the work can be done virtually, we tell people to continue doing it virtually. We are putting together an engagement model, where we expect them to be in one of our locations, maybe a couple of days in a month, or in some cases, a couple of weeks,” he said.

That model is evolving right now. “Maybe about 20 percent of our employee base is working from our locations, and that number varies from location to location. We think it will only marginally increase, not dramatically increase,” he said but did not divulge a target ratio or timeline for achieving the same.

Continue Reading

Others

IISc Says Team Has Developed Enhanced Data Encryption, Security Device

Avatar

Published

on

By Press Trust of India | Updated: 28 May 2022

An Indian Institute of Science team has developed a “record-breaking” true random number generator (TRNG), which can improve data encryption and provide improved security for sensitive digital data such as credit card details, passwords and other personal information. The study describing this device has been published in the journal ‘ACS Nano’, the Bengaluru-based IISc, said in a press release on Friday.

“Almost everything we do on the internet is encrypted for security. The strength of this encryption depends on the quality of random number generation,” says Nithin Abraham, a PhD student at the Department of Electrical Communication Engineering (ECE), IISc.

Abraham is a part of the IISc team led by Kausik Majumdar, associate professor at ECE.

Encrypted information can be decoded only by authorised users who have access to a cryptographic “key”. But the key needs to be unpredictable and, therefore, randomly generated to resist hacking.

Cryptographic keys are typically generated in computers using pseudo-random number generators (PRNGs), which rely on mathematical formulae or pre-programmed tables to produce numbers that appear random but are not.

In contrast, a TRNG extracts random numbers from inherently random physical processes, making it more secure.

In IISc’s “breakthrough” TRNG device, random numbers are generated using the random motion of electrons.

It consists of an artificial electron trap constructed by stacking atomically-thin layers of materials like black phosphorus and graphene. The current measured from the device increases when an electron is trapped, and decreases when it is released. Since electrons move in and out of the trap in a random manner, the measured current also changes randomly. The timing of this change determines the generated random number, the statement said.

“You cannot predict exactly at what time the electron is going to enter the trap. So, there is an inherent randomness that is embedded in this process,” explains Majumdar.

The performance of the device on the standard tests for cryptographic applications designed by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has exceeded Majumdar’s own expectations.

“When the idea first struck me, I knew it would be a good random number generator, but I didn’t expect it to have a record-high min-entropy,” he says.

Min-entropy is a parameter used to measure the performance of TRNGs. Its value ranges from zero (completely predictable) to one (completely random). The device from Majumdar’s lab showed a record-high min-entropy of 0.98, a significant improvement over previously reported values, which were around 0.89.

“Ours is by far the highest reported min-entropy among TRNGs,” says Abraham. The team’s electronic TRNG is also more compact than its clunkier counterparts that are based on optical phenomena.

“Since our device is purely electronic, millions of such devices can be created on a single chip,” adds Majumdar.

He and his group plan to improve the device by making it faster and developing a new fabrication process that would enable the mass production of these chips.

Continue Reading

Trending