New Delhi: Telecom minister A Raja today dismissed allegations of corruption in allotment of second generation (2G) spectrum in 2008 saying the government followed the policies of previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime and the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), reports PTI.
"Since 1999, 2G spectrum was never auctioned...even in the latest report of TRAI it did not recommend the auction route to maintain level playing field between two sets of operators-(pre-2008 and post-2008)," Mr Raja told in Lok Sabha during Question Hour.
M Thambidurai (AIADMK) alleged that in view nearly Rs70,000 crore collection from auction of third generation (3G) spectrum, it is clear that the exchequer has lost Rs1 lakh crore by giving 2G spectrum at throw away prices in 2008.
He also demanded a discussion on the issue.
"Allegations and counter allegations are common in public life," Mr Raja shouted back and said spectrum has been allocated as per the rules.
He informed the house that 3G spectrum has been auctioned and the process was completed on 19 May, 2010.
The minister said that as committed earlier, the 3G spectrum would be distributed to all successful bidders on 1st September for launching services on commercial basis.
Two telecom PSUs-Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL)-were allotted 3G spectrum in advance on condition that they would pay equal to highest bid amount.
MTNL has already launched 3G services in both cities of its operations (Delhi and Mumbai) and BSNL is operational in 463 cities, the minister said.
He also said that tariffs are fixed by the operators and as in case of 2G mobile services, tariffs for 3G would also come down as and when the operators start their operations.
On the difference between two services (2G and 3G), Mr Raja said 2G is primarily for voice services while 3G would be used for video and data transfer services.
New Delhi: The food ministry has allowed mills to complete the sale of July quota of sugar in open market till this month-end, reports PTI quoting sugar industry bodies.
The government sets a target for millers to sell sugar, known as non-levy sugar, in open market every month. In July, the aim was to sell 14.50 lakh tonnes of sugar.
"We have got an extension till 31st August to complete the sale of sugar quota released for the month of July," Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) deputy director general M N Rao told PTI.
"Mills have got a month's extra time to sell the July quota," National Federation of Co-operative Sugar Factories (NFCSF) managing director Vinay Kumar said.
Recently, industry bodies ISMA and NFCSF had demanded that the mills should be allowed to sell the July non-levy quota in August, citing poor demand from bulk consumers like ice-cream and beverage companies.
Millers could not sell the entire July quota of sugar within the stipulated time owing to poor offtake from bulk consumers, who account for 60% of the country's annual sugar demand of 23 million tonnes.
Bulk consumers are meeting their sugar demand through imports after the government had imposed stock-holding limit to curb rising prices of sweetener that touched nearly Rs50 per kg in mid-January
The government had imposed stock-holding limit on bulk users asking them not to store sugar that meets more than 15 days of their requirement.
Retail prices of sugar have declined by about 36% in last seven months on account of improved availability situation owing to higher domestic output as well as imports.
India's sugar output is estimated to touch 19.5 million tonnes in 2009-10 marketing year ending September.
Moneylife Foundation and Sanjay Nirupam, member of parliament from North Mumbai, on Sunday organised an educative and interactive seminar on "How to be Safe and Smart with your money" for investors in the constituency.
Founder-Trustees of Moneylife Foundation and veteran financial journalists, Sucheta Dalal and Debashis Basu, addressed the seminar, attended by over 400 people. During the past few years, India's investor population fell to 80 lakh from 2 crore. According to CMIE, even the mutual fund investment is restricted to just 20 lakh households.
North Mumbai has a large population of small investors whose livelihood depends a great deal on various financial products. However, many a times these small investors end up losing money due to wrong investment decisions or falling prey to a variety of frauds.
"Such investors will have to come together to have a voice," said Ms Dalal. Moneylife Foundation is a step toward this as in just six months since its launch, has more than 2,500 members and the numbers are growing every day. The Foundation offers free membership to all investors. Its core activities include investor education, financial literacy and advocacy.
These days many people are investing their hard-earned money into gold or gold related products, thinking that they will get more return. Mr Basu, the Editor and Publisher of Moneylife magazine, said that gold, which has become the biggest fad these days, is hugely risky at a time when it has reached incredible highs and the rupee is no longer depreciating.
Speaking about investment in real estate, Mr Basu explained that such investment is a good saving, only if you live in it. However as an investment, it is highly risky and much too expensive with other costs like stamp duty, registration and transfer charges, which are high as 8% to 10% of the total cost, he said.
Speaking about keeping one's money safe, Ms Dalal, who is also Managing Editor of Moneylife-the Personal Finance Magazine, said that there are a variety of frauds like chain and pyramid marketing schemes, high credit card costs, internet scams such as Nigerian scams, lottery scam that are taking away large chunk of savings. She also explained how these scamsters operate and advised investors to stay away from such frauds.
The implications of default and its impact on an individual's credit history and ability to borrow was also discussed.
Many a times investors are lured by fast and big returns and opt out for short-term investment. To avoid such risks, investors should think about long term and fix goals accordingly, said Mr Basu. He showed how one could keep things simple, avoid complications and make steady returns without becoming an expert on markets.
The presentations were followed by a very lively question and answers session.