Citizens' Issues
81 percent citizens voted against Free Basics: LocalCircles
New Delhi : A whopping 81 percent in a survey of 30,000 people have voted against Free Basics or any such programme and want an unbiased or neutral internet for themselves, a survey conducted by citizen engagement platform LocalCircles said here on Thursday.
 
LocalCircles said in a statement that when asked if the central or state government should provide free internet access covering essential or useful citizen services, 78 percent of the respondents said yes.
 
"This basically redefines the concept of net neutrality and has implications on what is provided as content when the internet is free and provided by the government. Internet evangelists who have stake in the internet being open to all meaning that all websites and apps should be given equal access will be disappointed by what the citizens want," the statement said.
 
"If the government wants to make electronic books available for free it can make sure that they are at least available on all government hotspots," said LocalCircles chief strategy officer K. Yatish Rajawat.
 
"This would not be possible if free internet is understood only through what private internet companies are offering. The debate on net neutrality has to take into account that access to internet is important and its misuse is also a possibility," he added.
 
Industrialist Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCOM) on December 23 said following the Indian telecom regulator's directive, the commercial launch of Facebook's Free Basics has been put on hold till it gets clearance. 
 
RCOM is the only telecom service provider offering Free Basics in India.
 
The regulator said Facebook's Free Basics service should remain on hold till the ruling on differential pricing on data services - an important aspect of net neutrality - comes.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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SC allows SMYR Consortium to exit from collecting toll in Delhi
New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Thursday permitted SMYR Consortium LLP, which collects toll from vehicles entering the national capital for Delhi's municipal corporations, to exit from the contract as it contended that imposition of Environment Compensation Charge had adversely impacted the toll collections and its business.
 
The SMYR Consortium has said that imposition of ECC by the apex court's October 9, 2015 order and its being doubled by the court order of December 16, 2015, had resulted in nearly 35 percent fall in the vehicles entering the national capital, thereby adversely impacting its toll collections and business interest. 
 
Telling the consortium that its contract would cease on the morning of February 1 at 6 a.m., a bench comprising Chief Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice R. Banumathi said that it would continue to collect toll and ECC for the next three weeks, and said that it would pay the municipal body a contractual sum of Rs.10.5 crore every week for next three weeks.
 
The court said that any default in the payment of contracted toll amount of Rs.10.5 crore would result in the forfeiture of its bank guarantees and securitry amount which SMYR Consortium said stood at Rs.58 crore.
 
The court asked Additional Solicitor General Pinki Annand appearing for South Delhi Municipal Corporation to put in place, well in advance, a mechanism that will step in for collecting the toll in as soon as SMYR Consortium exits on February 1. 
 
Accepting SMYR Consortium's plea that it was incurring an additional expenditure of Rs.2 crore per month after the imposition of ECC which for three months of November, December and January came to Rs.6 crore, the court said that it was entitled to its reimbursement by the municipal body.
 
However, this sum was adjusted against shortfall of Rs.7.24 crore that SMYR had to pay to the municipal body as a part of toll collection under the contract. The court accepted amicus curiae Harish Salve plea and waved off the balance of Rs. 1.24 crore.
 
The apex court by its October 9, 2015 order had imposed ECC of Rs.700 on light commercial vehicles with two axles and of Rs.1,300 on commercial vehicles with three and four axles.
 
By its December 16 order, it doubled charge for loaded light commercial vehicles but retained the earlier rate for empty commercial vehicles.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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al-Qaida terrorist held in Bengaluru
New Delhi : A suspected member of the terrorist outfit al-Qaida has been arrested by Delhi Police in Begaluru, sources said here early on Friday.
 
The alleged member of the terror group, identified as Maulana Anzar Shah, was arrested on Wednesday night, Police sources said. 
 
According to sources, he was plotting to carry out a series of terror strikes in the country. "The aim of the group was to attack some prominent leaders along with the crowded and tourist places." 
 
Shah has been brought to Delhi on transit remand and would be produced at the Patiala House court here on Friday.
 
He was arrested by the anti-terrorist Special Cell wing of Delhi Police in its ongoing operation against al-Qaida in the Indian sub-continent (AQIS). 
 
The Special Cell had in December last year arrested two AQIS operatives Zafar Masood and Abdul Rehman. Reportedly, Shah's name popped up during their interrogation.
 
Another terrorist in custody, Mohammed Asif, the recruitment and training head of AQIS, had also confessed to meeting Shah at a religious congregation in Bengaluru, sources said.
 
According to sources, Shah had reactivated himself to provide logistical support when contacted by the AQIS operatives.
 
The Special Cell also has the details of financial transaction between them and Shah, the source added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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