Companies & Sectors
Air India shuts down 23 booking offices
India's national airline is downsizing its booking operations to bring down operating expenses and has closed down 23 such offices across India, parliament was told on Monday.
 
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma informed the Lok Sabha that Air India has closed down 23 booking offices across India, leaving 54 operational. It is also planning to reduce foreign booking offices as well.
 
The airline has arrived at this decision with a view to cutting down costs as it is plagued with a difficult financial situation, said Sharma, adding that one of the reasons is that fewer walk-in passengers book tickets at these offices and most of the bookings are being done by agents.
 
The offices shut down include those at Dehradun, Amritsar, Trichur, Udaipur, Mysore, Leh, Kanpur, Agra, Darjeeling, Surat and Allahabad.
 
Sharma said passengers can also book tickets online on the Air India website.
 
The airline shut down international booking offices in Vienna, Chittagong and Zurich in 2013-14 and offices in Tehran and Cairo are also being planned to be closed.
 
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said: "To maximise revenue and promote code sharing flights, there is now only a sales or representative set up at the airport at Zurich and the sales representative office at Vienna is operating from a small office space in a business centre."
 
Though Air India does not operate flights to Amsterdam, Los Angeles and Washington, it is running booking offices in these places.
 
Raju said these offices are being operated with the objective of tapping and serving Indian population, businessmen and tourists.

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Telecom services providers told to improve services

Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg chaired the meeting with the service providers where they were apprised about the growing negative perception with regard to poor quality of telecom services in the country in general and with special emphasis on degrading quality in metros

 

The government on Monday asked the telecom service providers (TSP) to improve the quality of their services in view of increasing negative public perception in the country.
 
Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg chaired the meeting with the service providers where they were apprised about the growing negative perception with regard to poor quality of telecom services in the country in general and with special emphasis on degrading quality in metros.
 
"It was indicated to the TSPs that the public in general is highly dissatisfied with frequent and heavy call drops during the calls throughout the day and not confined to peak calling hours which shows poor quality of the telecom networks," said an official statement from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
 
"The TSPs were also told about the perception of the public that such call drops are deliberate attempts by the TSPs to have multiple charging and consequent commercial gain," it added.
 
DoT said it was also noticed that the billing by TSPs is not transparent and there are frequent changes in the package rates, contrary to initial agreed upon package, without any consent of the customer.
 
All the TSPs assured to take all necessary measures to bring transparency in the billing system and to improve the overall quality of telecom services in the shortest possible time, the statement said.
 
"In case of international roaming, TSPs do not have any warning system about the tariffs to be charged for various applications," it said.
 
The TSPs assured to look into the billing complaints on priority basis and set up a transparent system to educate the customers about various tariffs being charged so that the billing complaints are minimized.
 
The TSPs also highlighted the delay in acquisition of new sites for additional towers because of fear of electro-magnetic field (EMF) radiation in the public, closure of existing tower sites because of local bodies' regulations and delay in getting permission from local bodies for laying/repair of cables etc.
 
The government also emphasized that TSPs should take further steps to educate the public about the stringent EMF norms being followed in India. It should be highlighted through seminars and public meetings that there are no harmful effects of tower radiations.

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Nifty, Sensex, Bank Nifty still under pressure – Monday closing report
Nifty may take support at 8,100 
 
We had mentioned last week that NSE’s CNX Nifty is close to a short-term bottom and it should close above 8,400 to bring in some gains. On Monday, the 50-stock index opened marginally higher, which was the only time when it traded in the green. Immediately, it hit the day’s high at the opening and moved lower. The effort to revive was met with a further move lower. The index hit its lowest since 9 January 2015 and closed near to it.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex opened at 27,565, while Nifty opened at 8,331. Sensex hit a high at 27,567 and moved lower to 27,142 to close at 27,177 (down 261 points or 0.95%). After hitting a high at 8,334 Nifty moved to 8,202 and closed at 8,214 (down 92 points or 1.10%). Bank Nifty opened at 18,064 and moved to 18,076 after hitting a high at 17,739 and closed at 17,768 (down 234 points or 1.30%). NSE recorded a volume of 76.13 crore shares. India VIX fell 1.94% to close at 18.7350.
 
The Indian government moved the Constitution Amendment Bill on GST in the Lok Sabha on Friday, amid stiff resistance by several opposition parties. The GST has been listed for further consideration and passing in the Lok Sabha today.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said it will settle all minimum alternate tax (MAT) matters of foreign institutional investors (FIIs) coming under the ambit of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) within a month of filing of claims. The move is aimed at resolving the controversial tax issue facing foreign portfolio investors.
 
Coming back to the stock markets, ICICI Bank fell 1.85% today to close at Rs302.10 on the BSE. The stock, which was trading in the green till the noon session, was pulled lower on the announcement of March 2015 quarter results. It posted a net profit of Rs2,922 crore for the March quarter compared with Rs2,652.01 crore for the quarter ended 31 March 2014. Its total revenues, including interest income, increased to Rs16,234.73 crore from Rs14,465.34 crore for the relevant period. Its board of directors have recommended a dividend of Rs5 per equity share on the face value of Rs2 per share for the year ended 31 March 2015. 
 
Bharti Infratel (5.96%) was the top gainer in ‘A’ group on the BSE. It hit its 52-week high today.  It posted a net profit of Rs717.40 crore for the quarter ended 31 March 2015 as compared to Rs272.70 crore for the quarter ended 31 March 2014. Revenue has increased from Rs1,294.00 crore to Rs1,337.30 crore for the relevant period. Wockhardt (18.31%) was the top loser in ‘A’ group on the BSE.
 
Maruti Suzuki (3.02%) was the top gainer in the Sensex 30 pack on improved March 2015 quarter results. Its board of directors has considered and recommended a final dividend aggregating to Rs25 per share on the face value of Rs5 per share for FY14-15.
 
State Bank of India (3.08%) was the top loser in the Sensex 30 stock. 
 
US indices closed Friday in the green. 
 
Asian indices, which were trading today showed mixed performance. Shanghai Composite (3.04%) was the top gainer while Jakarta Composite (3.49%) was the top loser. 
 
Fitch Ratings downgraded Japan's credit rating by one notch to A, after the government failed to take steps in this fiscal year's budget to offset a delay in a sales tax increase, the agency said on Monday. 
 
European indices were trading in the green. US Futures too were trading higher. Some Eurozone finance ministers acknowledged for the first time that they are considering plans on what to do if no deal on Greece's future financing can be reached by the end of June.
 

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