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What does Tech Expect from Union Budget 2020-21?

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As the government foresees 5 trillion economy’s dream by 2024, effective policies are needed to be brought by the government to pursue this dream. Though the country is undergoing through the economic slowdown but there are many positive aspects who uphold enough potential to support the economic growth of our country. Each year government makes many announcements in the Union Budget to support the growth of each and every sector who are struggling. Just few days are left and the union budget will be presented by our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. As we all know that role of technology becomes very important for the growth of Digital India, so we are very much hopeful this time to get bigger announcements towards the technology market. Also, the government is determined to support many emerging sectors such as ed-tech, fin-tech and start-up who are key enabler of India’s digital economy vision. The Indian ICT industry is expecting government to make sufficient investments and favorable policies for more effective growth in year 2020. Telecom Today has asked the key tech leaders to share their expectations from government on the Union Budget 2020-21.

“We Hope To See Focused Initiatives by Government to Fortify Digital Growth Momentum”

CP Gurnani, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Tech Mahindra, said, “Realizing the dream of India becoming a 5 Trillion Dollar economy by 2025 truly outlines the ‘art of possible’ and depends largely on the choices we make. Digital continues to be the cornerstone of India’s strategy, therefore, sharpening focus on enhancing skills in new age technologies like 5G, improving the quality of education, and nurturing the start-up ecosystem are some key measures that will accelerate India’s IT exports and will help sustain its global competitiveness. As part of the Union Budget 2020, we hope to see focused initiatives by the government that will help India fortify its digital growth momentum and contribute to the global growth story. With 1.3 billion consumers and a large talent base including over 400 million millennials, India can play a key role in scripting a unique success story amidst the global economic slowdown.”

“We Wish To See The Budget Also Focus On Developing Better Infrastructure For Datacenters”

Vishal Parekh, Marketing Director, Kingston Technology & HyperX, APAC Region – India & Philippines said, “We all agree that India has a strong goodwill in global markets. The country will have immense growth opportunities by siding with revolutionary new technologies that make the citizen’s life easy and their Governance easier. We hope to see a stronger push to re-invent the ‘Digital India’ campaign with better coverage area, with use of faster & efficient technology and with a planned schedule. Inclusion of all forms of businesses (service & goods) in such government’s initiatives and adequate training for its use, is a much preferred model. We wish to see the budget also focus on developing better infrastructure for datacenters and inviting domain experts to enforce data security measures. Lastly, we hope there is a direct tax relief to give the population a higher spending power which indirectly fuels the economy.”

“Cybersecurity Awareness Campaigns for General Consumers Should Also Be a Major Focus of the Budget”

Dipesh Kaura, General Manager, Kaspersky (South Asia) said “This year’s budget is crucial across businesses in India. While we have seen a steady increase in the cybersecurity budgets globally, we are expecting the same in India too this year. India in recent years has shown growth in its initiative to become a digital nation and we can see the Government increasing cybersecurity awareness in the country. As an industry, we are hoping that this is reflected by the government in their new budget as well. Proper investment in critical infrastructure cybersecurity will only accelerate the nation’s Digital Transformation. Funds also should be focused on supporting skill development & training of aspiring students who aim to become cybersecurity professionals, as well as for the government and already existing large enterprise employees to fight the evolving cyberthreats. Cybersecurity Awareness campaigns for general consumers should also be a major focus of the budget.”

“There Is A Need To Incentivize Innovation Which Complements Technology Led Growth”

DD Mishra, Sr. Director Analyst, Gartner stated, “During the last several quarters we saw the economic outlook is not very positive. Modi government should now speed up Digital India dream even faster and Government spending on Technology sector should increase. Government should focus and invest on faster creation of digital Infrastructure to drive a technology led economy. Additionally, we need better connectivity to boost our economy faster. The telecom sector outlook is not looking positive and hence there needs to be immediate measure to ensure that expansion and innovation of digital network continues across the country including the rural sector. At the moment, it appears that the approach continues to be more fragmented and outcome expected from digital India needs to stitch to the investments. Government should ensure technology should be available to people at an affordable price. This can also translate into tax cuts. A removal of MAT or further reduction of taxes to boost exports can be a good idea and compensate for the regulatory changes happening elsewhere. Tier 2 cities are in more demand and if infrastructure availability and other conditions become better, they provide good opportunity to for IT sector expansion. Specially, I would say offshore delivery centers and shared services are good opportunities as large cities are becoming saturated. Ecommerce sector also has many expectations to succeed and cut down their losses. A comprehensive policy on ecommerce can benefit this business which continues to bleed in terms of profit despite of increased sales. There is a need to incentivize innovation which complements technology led growth.”

“Our Expectation Is To See Reforms That Drive Consumption And Improve Consumer Demand”

“With this backdrop, we believe that the consumer durables and electronics industry has the potential to help our economy move faster towards the USD 5 trillion target. And, our expectation from the Union Budget 2020 is to see reforms that drive consumption and improve consumer demand. The decision to exempt basic custom duty on open cells from 5% to 0% was a welcome move last year and allowed us to pass on the benefits to the consumers by reduction in TV prices. Such initiatives with phased manufacturing programmes are helpful. However, the consumer appliances industry witnessed a flat growth over the last two years, and we urge the government to continue in the trajectory of positive policies to lend support and drive growth in the sector. On the tax side, the industry breathed a sigh of relief when corporate tax rates were cut last year. Similarly, we urge the government to simplify the income tax regime through introduction of direct tax code as it will help facilitate compliance. We also recommend abolishment of dividend distribution tax and replaced with TDS at a lower rate” stated Manish Sharma, President and CEO, Panasonic India and South Asia.

“The Areas of Improvement Are Taxation, Infrastructure and Promote Companies Which Are Making In India”

Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO of Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd, a Kodak brand Licensee commented, “The Indian Government’s vision is to become a 5 trillion-dollar economy by 2024-25 and 2020 is a very crucial year for the economy. The areas of improvement are taxation, Infrastructure and promote companies which are making in India. The implementation of GST was indeed a historical decision for the growth of the economy but for a developing nation like us, we should be having 2-3 slabs under 18%. In order to revive the GDP, India needs to have a lot of infrastructure, but first we need to complete the projects which are already in the process.  This will help manufacturers like us to invest and manufacture more and help ‘Make in India initiative’ to be a successful model for the economy. India is an import driven market and It’s time for us to focus on exports to contribute to the economy which will give a boost to our GDP.”

“We Urge GOI to Introduce Entry-Level GST Slab for TV”

“In order to increase the penetration of LED Television in the country, we urge GOI to introduce entry-level GST Slab for TV i.e. 5%-10%. This move will certainly impact the sales of TVs in India with the affordability aspect and hence making the Television a mass product. Also, recently we have been invited at Government of Haryana’s Pre-Budget Consultation 2020-21, where Honorable Haryana CM, Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar has acknowledge our suggestion for Budget 2020 and have also appreciated Detel’s vision of connecting 40 crore Indians” said Yogesh Bhatia, Founder and MD, Detel.

“We Look Forward To Favourable Measures, Predominantly In The Technology-Enabled Sectors”

“As the country gears up for the Union Budget on Feb 1, the Indian economy is dealing with several issues including a drop in GDP, liquidity crunch, rising inflation and low tax revenue. While the Centre took multiple measures to boost the slowing economy, some of which have borne fruit, we believe that more steps are needed, especially in promoting growth in rural consumption and labour-intensive segments. Barco remains positive on the India growth opportunity and we look forward to favourable measures from the Centre, predominantly in the technology-enabled sectors and the domains we cater to – medical imaging, smart cities, technological innovation in tourism, among others” stated Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco India.

“Government Must Bring Preference With Duties/Schemes For Those Who Are Manufacturing In India”

“Television we’ve established isn’t a mere luxury anymore and therefore we’re hoping for 32” above sizes to come under the 18% GST slab in lieu of the current 28% as it is not a baleful product for having to bear the brunt of such heavy GST” said Arjun Bajaj, Director, Videotex International. “On the manufacturing front, it’d be great if government takes additional steps in improving the infrastructure and reducing input cost on components coming from China which would aid Indian sellers in setting up bigger and advanced manufacturing units and would level the play field to compete with the Chinese Giants, strengthening the make in India initiative in the process. Also, India as of now doesn’t have any open cell manufacturing plant so the 0% cell duty which is only valid till September is arbitrary as it would only go up again so it’d make more sense if it remains zero until open cell manufacturing happens in India. Lastly, encouraging the Make in India, the government must bring preference with duties/schemes, etc, for those who are manufacturing in India over the imported Brands”

“We Hope That The Government Would Waive The Import Duty On Manufacturing Components”

Mandeep Arora, MD, UBON said “We envision to take ‘ Make in India ‘ to another level by increasing the gross production in India. We hope that the Government would waive the import duty on manufacturing components to reduce the overall cost of production. We also hope that Government would ititiate new policies on custom duty and GST to boost production and increase incentives for domestic manufacturing.”

“I Foresee A Significant Relaxation In The Lending Aspects for MSMEs”

“We are optimistic about the country’s economic growth as he foresees better days compared to the current slowdown. He said, “India, no doubt continues to remain the software development hub for the world. More hurdles in the path of MSME growth would be removed as I foresee a significant relaxation in the lending aspects for MSMEs to survive the current economic changes. Government could relax some of the compliances, which were mandatory earlier. It will also address the issue of delayed payments to MSMEs. The ecosystem of MSME lending is set to see significant transformation. Thanks to better access to authentic data from various credible sources that provide a better understanding of the nature of the specific business, its growth potential and profits. Government will become even more citizen friendly, by providing a boost in consumer confidence with lowering personal income tax in the coming budget. This is inturn is expected to fuel demand of goods and services, leading to consumer-spending more for buying and consumption” added Amit Gupta, CEO & Co founder, Rapyder.

“We Expect The Government To Make Significant Investments In Technology Hubs”

“The two important sectors that should be an area of focus in the coming Union Budget should ideally be – technology and startups. Last year, we saw India jump 14 places to be 63rd among 190 nations in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking, a testimony to the fact that India has made significant strides in making it easier for startups to set up their operations. In the upcoming budget, we would like the government to bring in measures to ease the compliance and filings guidelines for startups and eradicate the current penal provisions. Also, with technological disruption being a catalyst for the growth of startups today, we expect the government to make significant investments in technology hubs that will help strengthen emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things etc. As India is witnessing this boom in digital technology adoption, it has put us on the global map and we need to ensure that we take the relevant steps to ensure that our country is at the center of the fourth industrial revolution’’ said Bhavin Turakhia, Founder & CEO, Flock.

“There Should Be More Focus On Promotion Of Sustainable Solutions That Will Help In Reducing India’s Carbon Footprint”

“The Indian manufacturing sector has become one of the most attractive destinations for investments in the recent past. While the government has already unveiled plans to boost growth in manufacturing, construction sectors and improving infrastructure, the government should ramp up its efforts in the upcoming budget. The government must underline its continued commitment towards electrification of villages across the country. Furthermore, it should definitely put in additional efforts on solar energy projects, with the right incentives, which can be a valuable avenue for income generation and also help combat climate change. As consumers are becoming more aware about environment sustainability, there should be more focus on promotion of sustainable solutions that will help in reducing India’s carbon footprint.” said Bishan Jain, Director, Goldmedal Electricals.

“The Government Needs To Show Commitment To Support The Manufacturing Sector”

“With the implementation of GST and new policy announced around E-Invoicing, the government has demonstrated that it values technology led governance for transparency and efficiency. Over a period of time, digitization has gained its rightful importance focusing on ease of doing business” added Munira Savai, Country Manager, QAD India. “For budget 2020, the government needs to show commitment to support the manufacturing sector by introducing favorable policies and also investing in Infrastructure. Further, incentivizing the use of emerging technologies like 5G, IoT, AI, etc. for the development of a strong and resilient domestic Manufacturing Sector is imperative.  Also, in the forthcoming budget, the government can plan to embrace and adopt disruptive technologies to enhance efficient governance with e-citizen services”

“I Believe That The Primary Focus Should Be On Simplifying The GST Filing Process”

“I am very optimistic about this year’s Union Budget and believe that the primary focus should be on simplifying the GST filing process. This move will greatly benefit SMEs who are the backbone of the Indian economy. While the GST council has taken several steps to simplify the process over the past couple of years, there still exists some lingering issues such as matching of B2B invoices, uploading information on tax returns and compliance burden of SMEs. Also, small businesses that are registered spend a considerable amount of time in obtaining state-wise registration, filing of multiple returns, generation of e-way bills and maintenance of separate books of accounts for each registered entity. I believe that once these issues are addressed, it will increase transparency in the system and bring accuracy to the return filing process. This in turn will prepare the Indian economy for its next phase of growth” said Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera.

“We Hope The Government Focuses On Steps To Provide Capital To The Industry Players”

Kunal Lakhara, VP of Finance and Operations, Pocket Aces says, ‘’we are very optimistic about a recovery and foresee the economy quickly picking pace. The media and entertainment industry has a huge potential to create a number of employment opportunities, increase export services and enhance tourism. In the last budget, the benefit of single-window approvals was a major boost. This year, we hope the government focuses on steps to provide capital to the industry players. This could be in the form of incentivizing banks and other financial institutions to lend money to industry participants especially start-ups in the sector. Furthermore, the government could do very well by lowering tax rates and removing exemptions, revisit tax regulations especially for start-ups. This will not only provide tax reforms but also enhance the efficiency of tax collections. On the personal front, the government should reduce taxes by enhancing the slab rates. With lower tax incidence, more will be left with the consumers to spend and consume, which in turn will create demand for products and services’’.

“We Expect That The Government Should Create A Business Friendly Environment”

“There are no incentives, benefits and support for the existing MSMEs in the manufacturing sector. From the budget, we expect that the Government should create a business friendly environment by giving tax credits, free land, worker training, low interest loans, infrastructure improvements and help fast tracking licensing and permitting. The Government should also support in terms of sponsoring our sectors’ exposure to the International markets. The Government’s initiative to promote Make in India can only be possible when the government starts funding which will help us as a sector to represent Indian manufacturers” stated Amitansu Sathpaty, Managing Director, Best Power Equipments.

“Nurturing New-Age Tech And Enabling Start-ups Must Be On The Agenda Of This Government”

Deepak Mittal, CEO & Co-founder, TO THE NEW commented, “We eagerly await the Budget 2020 expecting the government to focus on overall economic growth and by taking measures to continue positioning India as the IT epicenter of the world. We expect new policies promoting IT innovations by pushing relevant initiatives, making innovative and bold policy interventions to propel the process of digital adoption across varied sectors. There’s no denying that Digital innovation is an important building block for India’s future growth. Thus, nurturing new-age tech, improving the quality of talent, and enabling start-ups must be on the agenda of this government. The government can strengthen R&D by providing tax incentives to technology start-ups in the Budget to enable India to draw level with the world. It is important to note that the amount of data being created and stored across industries continues to grow at unprecedented rates. The government, therefore, must also intervene and play a role in the protection & management of this data.”  

“We Are Thrilled To Witness Massive Efforts And Resources To Enhance The Skills of Youth”

“Over the last few years, with a larger number of businesses incorporating emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, there has been a sharp rise in demand for curating specialized skill-sets. In this direction, the Government, in the soon-to-be-announced Budget 2020, should take measures which duly fill the severe need-gaps. Allotting funds towards the required training and technical know-how will be instrumental in empowering the deserving and well-minded youth of the country with industry-aligned germane skills like AI, IoT, Big Data and Robotics. Armed with the same spirit, we, at Haptik, are persistently enabling and inspiring developers and engineers to create next-generation conversational AI. We are thrilled to witness that our government has been exercising such massive efforts and resources to enhance the skills of our youth in innovative and disruptive avenues and are hopeful for this to be carried out with a more focused approach henceforth” said Aakrit Vaish, CEO, Haptik.

“Our Expectations from the Government is To Look Specifically into the Decline in Demand in the Market”

“The Union Budget 2020 has a critical role to play in the Indian economy as it deals also with policies beyond merely financial budgets & impacts all of us. The current most important factor for the consumer products industry is reviving market demand and customer confidence to spend. Our expectations from the government is to look specifically into the decline in demand in the market & provide impetus to the market through rationalizing of GST rates which is one of the major reasons for sluggish demand. If the rates could move from 28% to a more market friendly level of 12-18 %  we would see a huge impact which will increase demand manifold & help govt to  mop up more taxes as well as give a life line to the industry” added Jagdish, CEO, Cloudwalker.

“We Are Anticipating Additional Budgetary Allocation For The National Cybersecurity Programmers”

Rakesh Kharwal, Managing Director, India/South Asia & ASEAN, Cyberbit commented, “The Digital India initiative has done a remarkable job and as Digital India 2.0 gets contemplated, the focus of the government should be to build superior trust in technology. We hope that this Union Budget will focus more on cybersecurity measures to protect the integrity of critical infrastructure for financial systems, public health, science, safety institutions, defense, aerospace, and intelligence agencies. We are anticipating additional budgetary allocation for the national cybersecurity programmers and at least 10% of the technology budget for cybersecurity initiatives. The government must also add stimulus to the market segment and the economy at large. Perhaps, a good way of doing it can be to include simulation-based cybersecurity training solutions like Cyber Range in the Skill India campaign. It will help in addressing the gap of 1 million professionals in the Indian cybersecurity industry while also aptly positioning the segment for the ripe global market. Apart from that, we expect that the budget will lay down a few more reforms to boost the service provider ecosystem in India.”

“We Hope That The Upcoming Budget Has Provisions That Can Strengthen Progressive Initiatives”

“The current government’s focus on aspects such as digitisation and data handling is fantastic and the IT industry has great expectations from the Union Budget 2020-21. We hope that the upcoming budget has provisions that can strengthen progressive initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, and the ‘Smart Cities Mission’. Given how data and analytics is enabling organisations to bolster productivity through smarter, more effective work, the government must also look to incentivise data analytics and AI projects as well as introduce technology-friendly policies and better tax structures for the industry” stated Suganthi Shivkumar, Managing Director, ASEAN, India & Korea at Qlik.

“The Government Needs To Level Up More On The Employability Of The Available Workforce”

“Last year established the adoption of new-age technologies like AI, Cloud computing, Machine learning and more. The dearth of the skilled workforce was the key factor in the slow transition and acquisition of change. On job training and promotion of certain courses on educational level should be a key focus in 2020. Also, the government needs to level up more on the employability of the available workforce through investments in relevant skill/vocational training” stated Sanjay Goyal, Business Head, TimesJobs & TechGig.  

“We Hope For This Budget To Invest In Spreading The Expanse Of Digital Infrastructure”

Amit Sharma, CEO & Founder, Narvar added, “India is on one of the largest and the fastest-growing markets for digital consumers and accounts for the world’s second-largest internet market. With easy access to data and digital proliferation across the country, we have started seeing an increasing number of online shoppers from smaller cities and towns, thereby boosting business prospects for MSMEs. We hope for this budget to invest in spreading the expanse of digital infrastructure and enable consumers from small towns to have access to ecommerce. Measures to increase disposable income will further enhance the digital economy. A level playing field between retailers will see increased participation of MSMEs and aid in growth of small retailers in India.” 

“We Are Expecting a Higher Allocation of Funds in Higher Education”

“The countdown to Budget day has started and expectations of various sops for everyone have risen tremendously. Being an education leader, we are expecting a higher allocation of funds in higher education from the present 1.34% for FY 2020-21 to create ‘World Class Institutions’ and are also keen to know the government’s plans to promote higher education in privately funded institutions. A robust New National Education Policy is needed, that will transform India’s higher education system into one of the best education systems globally. This will enable us to get more world university rankings besides only three institutions – two IITs and IISc Bangalore – in the top 200 bracket. To achieve the objectives of research and innovation, the Finance Minister should start working on setting up of a National Research Foundation (NRF) to fund, coordinate and promote research in the country. The government should also promote its “Study in India” program so that more focus will be put on bringing foreign students and faculty to our institutions of higher learning,” says Dr. RL Raina, Vice-Chancellor, JK Lakshmipat University, Jaipur.

“The Number of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras and Budgetary Support for Them Should Also Be Increased”

“One of the first things the government needs to do is cap the GST rate for all types of skill training irrespective of whether it is government-funded/CSR funded/self or employer-funded by 15%. Even skill training should be integrated with school education and it should be made compulsory for at least 1 job role from class X to XII. National Skill Development Corporation’s interest rate charged from skill partners should be reduced from the present by 2 %. The government needs to make adequate budgetary allocation so that in every district at least 10, 000 to 15,000+ people can be given some sort of skill training. The number of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras and budgetary support for them should also be increased. In addition, it would be well worth it if vocational education is made a mainstream university option distinct from engineering and medical streams for students passing out from school. Skill universities should be operated pan India, instead of state wise. As skill delivery happens in association with employer demand and R&D work, placement tie-ups can be more beneficial, if allowed pan India. A year internship should be made compulsory for every graduation program The government should set aside budget allocations for international globally accepted certification and training programs which are standardized skill development tools for creating a baseline skill benchmark. Examples of such alliances and funding are commonplace in many developed as well as developing economies. Also, the government should spruce up an apprenticeship program that helps industry and academic institutions get on the same page on the skill required from fresh graduates,” says Dr. Narendra Shyamsukha, Founder Chairman, ICA Edu Skills.

“The Government Should Make Counseling Mandatory for Students In The Place Of Learning”

“Education plays an important role in shaping the human capital of a nation as only when the masses are educated can their energies be used for productive purposes. Nonetheless, the same people become a burden on the resources of the nation when they are limited to human labor whose contribution does not go beyond physical work. The government must take note of the fact that investment in education is a long term investment the return of which starts coming after 10-20 years although they keep coming after 50-60 years. This is why the government must make all types of education tax-free as charging 18 percent GST on education is a huge burden on students who belong to poor and middle-class families and want to change their future with the help of education. Currently, the government spends about 3 percent of the GDP on education which is not enough to improve the infrastructure as well as increase the role of technology in education like smart classrooms and artificial intelligence for personalized learning. Also, the government needs to focus on vocational training courses which will not only enable students to acquire different techniques but will come in handy if students want to get that extra skill which gives them an upper hand over other candidates while appearing for job interviews as well as reduce the burden on the regular curriculum. The government should make counseling mandatory for students in the place of learning as they will be able to advise students about career options based on their aptitude”, says Rachit Jain, CEO & Founder, Youth4Work.

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Dinesh Nair Appointed as Director for Consumer Business Lenovo India

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Global technology leader Lenovo has appointed Dinesh Nair as Director, Consumer Business for India region. Dinesh succeeds Mr. Shailendra Katyal, who has recently been appointed Site Leader for Lenovo India and Managing Director of Lenovo’s PC and smart device business in India. 

Dinesh Nair has been an integral part of the Lenovo India consumer business for more than 11 years and has worked successfully across several roles. His most recent role was as the sales & channel management lead for Lenovo’s consumer segment in India. He has handled leadership responsibilities across offline general trade retail, distribution management, field sales, eCommerce, large format retail and category management, and has been a key contributor to the company’s growth journey in India. 

“During this difficult time in India, we are working hard to ensure the safety of our employees, partners and customers and I am grateful that we have excellent leaders in place to bring our team together and offer this support. I am proud to hand over the reins of the consumer business to Dinesh. At the same time, this is a demonstration of our commitment to developing talent internally. I am sure he, along with the consumer leadership team, will propel the business to new heights,” said Shailendra Katyal, Managing Director, Lenovo India.

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ASUS ROG Announces ROG Masters Asia Pacific eSports Tournament

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ASUS ROG will host its first ROG Masters Asia Pacific eSports tournament from March to April 2021. Due to COVID-19 pandemic affecting travel around the region, the tournament will be conducted entirely online, with quarterfinal to final matches livestreamed.

The ROG Masters tournament will feature Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) as the official game title will provide opportunity to teams with enthusiastic players to pitch their skills against each other, as well as the best professional teams from their market and in the region.

Tournament Structure

The tournament will see various teams from 15 markets across the region vying for the chance to be crowned as the first ROG Masters Asia Pacific Edition CS:GO Champion. 

The tournament will be played in three stages played over the course of 2 months:

  • Country qualifiers
  • Country finals
  • Asia Pacific finals

Country qualifiers matches for India will start in the second week of April 2021; 8th April and the finals to be held on the 10th April. The India finals to find the top three teams to represent the country will be livestreamed live on 10th April.

Professional teams from across the region will be automatically placed into seeded positions in the country finals. This gives a greater chance for non-professional, enthusiast teams from India to get through the qualifiers and meet the pro teams in the country finals. 

Country Champions will then go on to experience battling winning teams from other APAC markets in the finals that will be livestreamed during 22nd to 25th April 2021.

Prizes

3 qualifying teams from India finals will stand to win US$800 for first place, US$400 for second place, US$200 for third place. They will then go on to the Asia Pacific finals with the chance to win the following prizes for the championship:

ROG Masters APAC ChampionshipAPAC Finals (USD/ team)
1st$10,000
2nd$3,500
3rd$1,500

Registration and Official Tournament Website

Registration for the first ROG Masters Asia Pacific tournament opens on February 8, 2021 at the tournament’s official website.

Registration closes on February 28, 2021 Further details, match schedules, pro team information as well as rules and regulations can also be found on the tournament website.

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Garena Launches Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars

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Garena has announced the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars, Free Fire’s first-ever esports tournament for the South Asia region. Taking place on 6 February, the tournament will feature some of the gaming community’s favourite Free Fire streamers and personalities from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

The Free Fire community has continued to expand in South Asia and across the world, with the mobile battle royale game the most downloaded mobile game globally in 2020, according to App Annie. Through the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars, Garena will look to continue its efforts to excite and delight its fast-growing South Asian community with exciting Free Fire content, and to support and develop the incredible online community in the region.

Tournament Format

The Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars will feature a total of 12 teams. Each team will be led by one of the top 3 streamers from each of the 4 participating nations – chosen by public voting – in this epic clash to determine the best in the region. 

The 12 teams will compete in the Battle Royale Squad mode for a slice of the 1 million diamond prize pool. The ultimate winner of this star-studded tournament will receive 500,000 in-game diamonds; the first and and second runners-up will be awarded 300,000 and 200,000 diamonds respectively. 

Invited Teams

The Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars will feature some of the most popular streamers and personalities from across South Asia. 

The team captains for each nation are: 

India

  • Total Gaming (19.4 Million YT Subs)
  • Desi Gamers (7.8 Million YT Subs)
  • Two-Side Gamers (6.85 Million YT Subs)

Bangladesh

  • Gaming with Nayeem (1.6 Million YT Subs)
  • Illusionist YT (479K YT Subs)
  • Gaming With Zihad (698K YT Subs)

Nepal 

  • Sooneeta (3.26 Million YT Subs)
  • Bshow Mgr (399K YT Subs)
  • Tonde Gamer (2.37 Million YT Subs)

Pakistan

  • RKG ARMY (1.77 Million YT Subs)
  • Unusual Gamer (81K YT Subs)
  • The Skinzo FF (75.5K YT Subs)

Broadcast Details:

Fans can witness all the high-octane action by tuning in to the live broadcasts of the Free Fire South Asia Showdown: Battle of the Stars. These will be hosted on Free Fire Esports India YouTube and Facebook, Free Fire Bangladesh Official YouTube and Facebook, as well as on BOOYAH!. 

To cater to the diverse South Asian community, the matches will be streamed with live commentary in 5 languages – Bengali, English, Hindi, Nepali and Urdu.

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For the last five years, consumers across the globe – on any operating system have relied on limited internal phone...

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The Best Back-up and Storage Solutions to Buy in 2021

In the fast-moving digital world, backing up precious personal data and keeping it secure has become a very challenging task....

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Here are The Best TVs to Recreate Theatre Experience At Home

Every day there is an increase in the number of reported cases in India and the only alternative left is...

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Top Six Smart Tech Gadgets for a Smart Home

Technology is embedded into every pocket of our daily lives. From watching television, to working, to working out — smart...

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Top 5 Tech Gadgets to Help You Stay Fit & Healthy

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Kingston NV1 NVMe PCIe SSD Launched in India

Kingston Technology announces the launch of the NV1 NVMe™ PCIe SSD. With efficient performance in a single-sided M.2 design, NV1...

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