Action against new telcos if found submitting wrong info: DoT

New Delhi: The telecom ministry has warned of action against companies that won licences by falsifying information, but maintained it had done no wrong in the second generation (2G) licence allocation in 2008, reports PTI.

"All the Unified Access Service (UAS) licences in 2008 were issued as per the policy decisions taken by the government in November 2003 and subsequent detailed guidelines issued in December 2005," the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said in a statement.

DoT further clarified that since 2003 as many as 51 new licences were issued prior to January 2008 under the same guidelines on 'First Come First Served Basis'.

The new licences were granted based on information filed by the applicants as per the prescribed guidelines.

"If any misrepresentation of facts is brought to notice at a later date, necessary action can be taken as per due procedure under the relevant rules," the DoT said in a statement.

Nine firms were given 2G licences bundled with spectrum in 2008. Firms like Unitech, Shyam-Sistema and dual technology operators like Reliance Communications (RCom) and Tatas have started services in most of the circles and are in the process of completing the roll out.

The DoT statement comes in the wake of the apex auditor Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) raising issues, saying many licences were given without checking the qualification and credibility of the applicants.

According to reports, CAG in its draft report found that there were serious flaws and irregularities in the process of 2G spectrum allocation.

Telecom minister A Raja is facing allegations that awarding of 2G licences in 2008 at Rs1,658 crore for pan-India operations resulted in huge losses to the exchequer.

Even the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a case against unknown officials of the DoT and some private persons to investigate the irregularities in the 2G licences allocation. The agency has submitted in the Supreme Court last week that it was not in a position to confirm or deny any wrong doing at this stage as the investigations were still on.

It, however, had asserted that the CBI was conducting the investigations in a fair and impartial manner.

The matter is currently being looked into by various agencies and has also been raised from time to time in various courts and the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed before the Supreme Court is pending consideration for admission, DoT statement said.


India should have mandatory 'corrosion audit': Experts

Mumbai: India should have mandatory 'Corrosion Audit' in every segment of the industry so that the annual estimated direct loss of over Rs2 lakh crore due to corrosions in terms of resources, energy and life could be drastically reduced, reports PTI quoting experts.

"If a legislation is passed to provide corrosion audit once in two years by large industries, the corrosion cost can be arrived in each segment," experts said at the concluding session of 'CORCON Corrosion Conference'.

The legislation will provide continuous information of corrosion cost in each segment to manage it and save assets of the nation, Rajan Bahri, spokesperson of the Indian chapter of National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) International told media last night.

The Indian chapter of NACE International will soon move for legislation for mandatory 'Corrosion Audit' just like accounts audit so that the country can systematically work out preventing losses due to corrosion in several sectors, he said.

To find the cost of corrosion, a suitable legislation has been adopted by the US Congress as confirmed by past president of NACE International Mark Byerley.

Another legislation for appointing corrosion officers at the site of every infrastructure is also aided by the state department.

The yearly loss in the US due to corrosion was found to be $276 billion in a study done by the US National Highway Authority in 2001, Mr Byerley said.

The CORCON conference was held in Goa from September 23 to 26.

The mission of NACE and International Gate of India Section (NIGIS) is to protect people, assets, environment and resources from the effect of corrosion.

"We also want to bring to the notice of the public the knowledge of the loss due to corrosion, which is much more than any other calamity in terms of resources of the country," patron in chief of CORCON and chairman, Atomic Energy Commission Dr S Banerjee said.

Mr Banerjee, who is also a metallurgist, emphasised that losses due to corrosion are not just economic losses but the loss of resources.

"Be it in agriculture, be it Mandovi bridge or any building collapse or bursting of oil pipe in California, corrosion plays a crucial role and scientific ways to prevent and adopting alternate solutions are important," he said.

NACE International has hundreds of standards, which have to be adopted in every country, he added.

NACE has brought in a totality of corrosion science and technology and Indian scientists are committed and they have developed lot of solutions and should be judiciously applied in preventing corrosion, including in the power, oils sectors.

The NIGIS has trained about 1,000 people in India and NACE about 26,000 worldwide in multi-disciplinary aspect on corrosion and they can be appointed as corrosion officers, Mr Bahri said.


Reliance Capital plans to tap banking space: Anil Ambani

Mumbai: With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) throwing open a discussion on granting new banking licences, the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) today said it plans to enter the banking business through group firm Reliance Capital, reports PTI.

"We have always regarded banking as a high-priority sector with huge potential opportunity, and are evaluating the different options contained in the (RBI's proposed) guidelines," group chairman Anil Ambani said at the Annual General Meeting of Reliance Capital here.

He was referring to a discussion paper recently floated by RBI on grant of new banking licenses.

"It has always been our ambition to create a world-class bank," Mr Ambani, chairman of Reliance Capital, said.

"The Reserve Bank of India has recently come out with a discussion paper, containing revised guidelines for the grant of a banking licence," he said.

"These guidelines outline a number of different licensing options for a company such as ours, namely, conversion, promotion or acquisition," Mr Ambani told Reliance Capital shareholders at the company's 24th AGM.

Underlining the need for more banks in the country, he said that there were not enough bank branches or even ATMs to cater to the entire population.

"A strong, vibrant economy needs a sound and efficient financial system. Our financial institutions and markets must become truly inclusive so that they reach out to ordinary men and women and help them achieve their financial goals.

"In common with many other sectors of the economy, there is much to be done here," he said, adding that India was a country of over 6 lakh villages but our largest bank has only 14,000 branches.

"In fact, the ATMs of all banks taken together do not cross the 6-lakh number," he said.

Reliance Capital, which has presence in a host of financial services segments such as mutual fund, insurance and non-banking finance, has been interested for a long time in setting up a bank.


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