India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined his first budget for the country today. Following his landslide election in May, expectations are high for Mr. Modi's plans to help revive India’s economy and jumpstart development.
But can he do enough to make India a more attractive place for foreign companies and investors? Case in point: remember when those floor-vacuuming robots came out back in 2002? Scott Miller led iRobot’s R&D in India, where he says he navigated bad roads, corruption, and time-consuming piles of paperwork.
"Working in the consumer electronics industry, schedule is everything," Miller explains. "If you miss the main holiday season you have to wait another year and that can have a profound impact on your revenue."
"Having as many people as India does, it could be a very credible alternative to China," he says.
Many analysts are optimistic the Modi government will be able to attract more foreign investment.
"We’ve definitely seen the financial markets react very positively to his election," says John Derrick, Director of Research at U.S. Global Investors. "So I think we’re just waiting to see if he can, you know, walk the walk as well as talk the talk."
Derrick adds that for Prime Minister Modi, it could be a long walk.
Tamara Peterson stands on a Manhattan street, peering into the screen of her iPhone as she waits for a woman carrying a “I love New York” bag to pass in front of a Brownstone.
“These shadows are beautiful,” she says, composing the shot.
Later, she posts it to her Instagram feed, where hundreds of people like it within just a few minutes. Her photos of New York cityscapes have attracted roughly 70,000 followers.
Social media sites like Twitter and Instagram are increasingly placing ads in users’ feeds – and so, too, are the people who have built large followings on those sites. YouTube’s top star has reportedly earned over $4 million dollars from ad sales. But companies are also interested in more modest followings.
Peterson earns between $500 and $1,000 per sponsored post from big companies like Home Depot, as well as smaller ones like Blue Apron, a subscription meal delivery service. She’s represented by two companies that help her broker deals with advertisers: Niche and Mobile Media Lab.
But Peterson maintains that Instagram is just a hobby and she doesn’t want to leave her full-time job as a professional organizer.
“I’m picky about the jobs I take because I want my feed to look a certain way,” she says, nixing alcohol brands and visible logos.
She’ll often take down sponsored posts if the company doesn’t require her to leave them up.
On the other hand, Sara Hopkins, aka SayHop, could imagine social media eventually becoming a full time gig. She also uses Niche to book ads and has a bigger following – roughly 350,000 followers across a handful of different social networks. Her posts range from selfies (half goofy, half glam) to videos featuring an eerily accurate dolphin voice.
Hopkins is a local TV reporter, but she doubles her salary by posting ads to her followers, whether it’s a six-second video on Vine or a photo on Instagram.
So what do her followers say?
“It varies between people saying, you know, ‘if you’re going to make money off of it, cool,’” she says. “As long as you don’t do it every day, all the time.”
On one of her recent paid posts, only one person commented that he was unfollowing her because of the ad, but the rest of the nearly 40 comments defended her right to post it.
The Veterans Affairs Administration is being pounded over scandalous delays for veterans seeking health care.
Now comes a new concern about tens of thousands of veterans' disability claims that are going nowhere; possibly the result of the agency shifting its claims process online.
About a year and a half ago, the VA launched a web portal for submitting disability claims. Since then, vets have initiated nearly 450,000 claims electronically. But about 300,000 claims have sat idle. Some have even expired.
Once applicants start a claim, they have a year to wrap it up.
"What we worry about is that some of these people, having started a claim, may be thinking they've submitted something to the VA, and the VA is just taking their time to take action on it, when in fact they haven't completed the application process," says Gerald Manar, Deputy Director of the National Veterans Service with the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Disability payments can range from about $100 a month to several thousand dollars a month.
Robert Reynolds directs the benefits assistance service with the VA. He says the agency made a big push to move the whole claims system online. Vets may be confused about the process.
"This is a huge transformational business change," Reynolds says.
Reynolds says the VA is meeting with veterans service organizations to figure out who opened disability claims online and needs help finishing them.
The new international championship for fully-electric racing cars just held its first major test session at the Donington Park circuit in Leicestershire, England.
The series kicks off with a race through the streets of Beijing in September. It will include events in 10 cities, concluding with an "E-prix" around London's Battersea Park next June.
Organizers hope it will transform the way we think about electric cars, as well as providing a test-bed for new technologies, which can help to improve their performance.
The Donington test marks the first time the cars have run in anger - and the first time members of the public have been able to see how they compare to more traditional racing machines.
The BBC's Theo Leggett went to see how the new cars look - and sound. Watch his report above.