Adequate spectrum availability must for telecom growth: Sibal

New Delhi: Telecom minister Kapil Sibal today said the growth in the sector is essentially centred on adequate spectrum availability, assuring government will make all efforts to provide requisite airwaves to meet the industry’s demand, reports PTI.

“The real problem is that there is scarcity of spectrum and we need to increase the amount of spectrum that can be distributed.

This is because it (spectrum) is a vehicle through which people of India will be empowered and therefore we need a very broad area within the spectrum available that can be put to civilian use,” Mr Sibal told reporters.

His assertion comes a day after he met top telecom honchos who, among other things, expressed concern over the shortage of spectrum.

Yesterday, Mr Sibal had met Sunil Mittal of Bharti, Anil Ambani of RCom and Ratan Tata of TTSL and discussed the current scenario in the sector.

He would also be meeting other players including Idea and Vodafone.

Asked whether he would also hold meetings with new operators, Mr Sibal said “I will meet all the captains of the industry and of course we are dealing with so many things simultaneously.

Lets move forward and the road ahead will be a road of prosperity for the industry... the road ahead will be a level playing field road, a non-discriminatory road the road that will help the economy move forward.”

He further added, “I was very happy that the three captains of the telecom sector whom I met were extremely constructive about their approach and they have been assured of a level playing field.”

The meeting with the industry comes at a time when the sector is grappling with uncertainties with regard to spectrum allocation policies and CBI probe into the decisions taken by telecom ministry between 2001 and 2008.

The idea was to meet the leaders of the telecom sector and find out their concerns.

“It is not in our interest to destroy this sector. It is in our interest to take the industry forward, give them confidence, assure them of a level playing field or a non-discriminatory regime,” he said.

This, he said, was to ensure the “industry can realise its true potential and also mutually share its vision on where the telecom sector should be going, whether its broadband, or its other path of the telecom sector where decisions will have to be taken”.


Plan panel for ‘sensible’ definition of ‘no-go’ mining areas

New Delhi: In a veiled criticism of environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s approach, the Planning Commission today said there should be a “sensible” definition of ‘no-go’ areas where mining activities are prohibited, reports PTI.

“If we get a sensible definition of what is ‘no-go’...

something that is called ‘no-go’ for now does not have to be ‘no-go’ for ever,” Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said on the sidelines of public private partnership (PPP) conclave.

“The criteria that we use to establish what is ‘no-go’ should be very carefully defined and should be based on some scientific considerations,” Mr Ahluwalia said, adding, “But the main point is that they should be flexible.”

He said he had taken up the issue with Mr Ramesh and “he is quite willing to be flexible in what the criteria should be”.

Of late, there have been widespread concerns over the environment ministry’s classification of ‘no-go’ areas, which have hit projects of companies like Hindustan Zinc, UltraTech and Essar group, said such areas need not be excluded from mining activities for ever.

The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has divided mineral bearing regions into ‘go’ and ‘no-go’ areas.

As per the guidelines, the mining is allowed only in the ‘go’ areas.

Recently, the coal ministry had sought the Cabinet approval for its proposal that mining be allowed in 90% of coal blocks labelled as ‘no-mining’ areas by the environment ministry.

There are 206 coal blocks spread across 4,039 sq km in nine coalfields, with a production potential of 660 million tonnes (MT), which have been designated as ‘no go’ areas.

The coal ministry, in a note to the Cabinet secretary is believed to have sought expeditious forest clearance for all coal blocks under ‘no go’ areas except 10% of them.


Wednesday Closing Report: In no-man’s-land, but the trend is up

The market witnessed a gap-up opening supported by good global cues. Demand for realty and consumer durables stocks boosted the market, while IT and healthcare counters saw some selling pressure. The benchmarks touched the day’s highs in early trade and were in a narrow range after that.

The indices pared most of the morning’s gains and were poised near the neutral line at noon. Another bout of selling landed the indices in the red in post-noon trade. The development resulted in 11 of the 13 sectoral indices being pushed into the negative zone. The market touched the day’s low in late trade, but retreated and closed off that mark albeit still in the red.

The Sensex retained its psychological level and shut at 20,015.80, down 44.52 points (0.22%). The index touched a high of 20,151.25 and a low of 19,931.31, intraday. The Nifty stood at 5,984.40, a loss of 16.25 points (0.27%) over its previous close. The index scaled a peak of 6,023.80 and dipped to a trough of 5,958 during trade.

The market breadth showed divergent trends today. The Sensex closed with 15 gainers, 14 losers and one stock ended unchanged. The Nifty had 21 advancing stocks against 29 declining stocks. The broader markets outperformed the key barometers today. The BSE Mid-cap index added 10%, while the BSE Small-cap index rose 0.30%.

The top Sensex gainers were Bharti Airtel (up 3.12%), Hindalco Industries (up 1.91%), Jindal Steel (up 1.55%), Tata Motors (up 1.19%) and Sterlite Industries (up 1.16%). The laggards on the index were Maruti Suzuki (down 2.11%), Reliance Infrastructure (down 1.74%), HDFC Bank (down 1.51%), Wipro (down 1.42%) and Reliance Industries (down 1.34%).

In the sectoral space, BSE Metal (up 0.67%), BSE Public Sector Undertaking (up 0.27%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 0.26%) were the top gainers.  BSE Oil & Gas (down 0.71%), BSE Capital Goods (down 0.61%) and BSE Bankex (down 0.55%) ended at the bottom of the list.

With onion prices skyrocketing to as much as Rs85 per kg in some retail markets, the government today said it has brought down customs duty on imports of the commodity to zero from 5%.

Prices of onions have shot up to Rs70-Rs85 per kg from just Rs35-Rs40 a few days ago on account of the damage to crops due to unseasonal rain in the key-producing states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and a few southern states. This has been compounded by hoarding by some traders.

Asian markets ended mixed on Wednesday in low-volume trade on concerns over further policy-tightening measures in China. Signs of a recovery in the global economy boosted exporters in the region. However, worries about the lingering debt crisis in Europe also kept investors on the sidelines.

The Hang Seng gained 0.22%, the KLSE Composite surged 0.66%, the Straits Times rose 0.14%, the Seoul Composite added 0.05% and the Taiwan Weighted was up 0.37%. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite tumbled 0.90%, the Jakarta Composite declined 0.46% and the Nikkei 225 lost 0.23% at the end of trade.

Indicating that more policy-tightening measures will have to be undertaken, Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Subir Gokarn today said headline inflation is not easing as fast as the apex bank would like it to and that upside risks still remain high. Mr Gokarn pointed out that the rising commodity prices in the global markets also point to the rising risk of headline inflation.

The US markets ended in the green overnight with the Dow and the S&P 500 closing at their two-year highs, on growth optimism for 2011 and earnings forecasts. Adobe Systems Inc surged 6% to $30.93 after it gave a positive earnings forecast for the fourth quarter. Banking stocks rallied on news that Canada-based Toronto-Dominion Bank agreed to acquire Chrysler Financial, the auto lender owned by Cerberus Capital Management, for $6.3 billion.

The Dow gained 55.03 points (0.48%) to 11,533.16. The S&P 500 added 7.52 points (0.60%) to 1,254.60. The Nasdaq rose 18.05 points (0.68%) to 2,667.61.

Back home, on Tuesday foreign institutional investors were net sellers to the tune of Rs34.79 crore in the equities segment. Domestic institutional investors, on the other hand, were net buyers of stocks worth Rs373.67 crore.

BS TransComm (down 0.26%), engaged in the business of manufacturing and supply of towers to the telecommunications and the power sector, has secured a contract (as part of a consortium) worth Rs300 crore from the state-run Rural Electrification Corporation.

The order is for the establishment of 765 KV transmission system for the Krishnapattanam Ultra Mega Power Plant. The work consists of construction of the synchronous interconnection between the southern region and western region, spanning 210km from Raichur to Sholapur, and operation and maintenance for a period of 35 years. The project is scheduled to be completed by March 2014.

Coal India (up 0.56%) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Shipping Corporation of India for the purpose of forming a 50:50 joint venture (JV) for importing 25 million tonnes of coal a year to meet the growing demand of imported coal in India.

The size of the JV and other financial aspects are still being worked out. The proposed JV would work towards chartering ships, developing required transportation logistics to supply imported coal directly at the doorsteps of users, setting up bulk cargo-handling terminals and arrangement for mid-sea trans-shipment.

Tata Chemicals (up 3.58%) has forayed into branded pulses under its ‘i-Shakti’ brand, which will be available at around Rs95-Rs100 per kg in retail shops.

The company has introduced four variants—toor, moong, chana and urad—which will initially be available in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat at around Rs95-Rs100 per kg at modern retail shops, traditional stores, Tata Kisan Sansar outlets as well as through its existing distribution network across the country.


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