Telecom firms will have to wait longer before they can roll out 3G services as the government has yet again postponed the spectrum auction
In a surprise move, the government has postponed to the next fiscal the auction of spectrum for 3G telephony which was expected to bring in Rs35,000 crore to the exchequer, reports PTI.
The government has been putting off the auction of 3G spectrum for some time now. The postponement of the auction again to 2010-11 is likely to have some adverse impact on the government's finances and the fiscal deficit which is pegged at 6.8% of GDP.
According to senior officials in the Department of Telecom, law minister Veerappa Moily, who is a member of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), has opined that the auction should he held when the spectrum is available.
Telecom minister A Raja could not be contacted immediately for his comments. Officials, however, said that the auction is expected to take place in August-September this year. It is pertinent to mention that the ministry of defence had agreed to vacate the spectrum only during the middle of this year.
The EGoM, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, had decided to allow four private telecom firms to bid for the next-generation mobile telephone services (3G) and had made a provision for garnering up to Rs35,000 crore from the sale of airwaves in the current fiscal.
Travel website makemytrip.com has come out with an ad that states that it is the ‘fastest’ in booking tatkal tickets. How can the portal make such a claim?
Makemytrip.com is actively advertising on the Web that it will be able to provide its customers with tatkal tickets at a much ‘faster’ rate than other online travel agents. ”Beat the tatkal queues with the fastest tatkal booking at MakeMyTrip!,” the ad states. But how can a travel agent proclaim this, when tatkal bookings can happen only two days before the train departs? Second, any customer can go to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) website and book his ticket two days before a train’s departure. Many other travel websites also let you book tatkal tickets in advance (as per the stipulated period). So what’s behind makemytrip.com’s ‘fastest tatkal‘ claim?
According to the current scheme, tatkal booking opens at 8 am two days in advance from the actual date of the journey. For example, if you were to leave for Delhi on the 30th of this month, then you can book your tickets only on the 28th, from 8 am onwards.
The tatkal system accepts both manual bookings and Internet bookings. One would presume that Internet bookings would have more takers; however, according to a railway official and a few travel agents, most tatkal tickets are booked manually at railway counters. Travel agents have their representatives at booking counters queuing up before 8 am to manually purchase tickets.
With regard to makemytrip.com’s claim, SS Gupta, chief public relation officer (Mumbai division), Western Railways, said: “They are putting up false advertisements.”
According to Abhishek Agarwal, makemytrip.com’s deputy manager, the system provided for their customers on the website is more user-friendly and easy to operate, helping consumers to easily get their tickets. “Our website is more easily operational for a traveller to get his ticket much faster, than other websites,” he claimed.
“The idea is to save on time (while booking your tickets); everything is within the purview of the rules and regulations of the Indian Railways,” another employee from makemytrip.com said, preferring anonymity.
“We have done a good job at optimising the code at makemytrip.com’s website and we have written the code such that the dependency on network latency is less. That is why our speed is much faster,” he claimed.
However, this isn’t the case. We checked the IRCTC website, which provides a different system, but is as easily accessible as makemytrip.com. The only disadvantage may be the fact that the consumer may have to know the train number or train name while booking. However, when a traveller is preparing for his journey, he would always have these details.
Regarding the travel portal’s claim at being the ‘fastest’, we have also sent a query to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). However, the entity still has to reply.
While the RBI has kept key rates unchanged in its latest quarterly monetary review, it has raised CRR by 75 bps
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today increased the mandatory cash reserves of banks held by it by 75 basis points in a bid to mop up excess liquidity to combat rising inflation, reports PTI.
This 75-basis point increase in cash reserve ratio (CRR) to 5.75% is expected to suck out at least Rs36,000 crore from the system. The move from the RBI was widely expected, with food inflation rising to 17.40% for the week ended 16 January. The move is to check food inflation spreading to other sectors.
According to RBI estimates, inflation is likely to touch 8.5% by this fiscal-end from over 7% in December. Earlier in October, the apex bank had projected the rate of price rise to be at 6.5% by March-end.
However, short-term lending and borrowing rates (repo and reverse-repo) between RBI and banks were kept unchanged, leading to speculation that banks\\\' commercial lending rates may not change.
Central Bank of India executive director Arun Kaul told reporters that the CRR hike is more than market expectations and that liquidity would definitely go down and may have some impact on interest rates.
The apex bank also raised its economic growth projection to 7.5% from its earlier estimate of 6% for the current fiscal.