MacDonnell Shire Council chief executive Graham Taylor said foreign staff were cheaper and it prevented the council from having to seek handouts from other levels of the government
Melbourne: A central Australian shire council has received severe criticism after reports of outsourcing jobs to India with the Northern Territory government ordering a probe into the matter, reports PTI.
According to a report by Fairfax newspapers, MacDonnell Shire Council has planned to use an Indian call centre to deal with local administration for territory communities. It has reportedly committed A$100,000 for the centre to monitor rent and rubbish collection.
Council chief executive Graham Taylor has confirmed that the Chennai-based company will manage housing maintenance, tenancy, outstation, electricity and waste services for the next two years, but said it was not a call centre, an ABC report said today.
Mr Taylor said foreign staff were cheaper and it prevented the council from having to seek handouts from other levels of the government.
He said the shire does concentrate employment in the local area and 77% of its staff are indigenous.
However, federal indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin said she was extremely concerned, while Northern Territory minister for local government Malarndirri McCarthy said she does not support the plan to outsource some of its administrative functions to foreign companies.
Ms McCarthy said the shire should take immediate action to review this proposal and focus on the development of its local workforce.
Ms McCarthy said her department is investigating whether the shire has breached its procurement processes and taking immediate action to review the proposal.
RIL bid for two deep-sea blocks in the Andaman Basin in the Bay of Bengal and four onshore blocks in Rajasthan and the Cambay Basin, while Cairn India has submitted offers for only two blocks-one onland and one offshore
New Delhi: Reliance Industries (RIL) today bid for six oil and gas exploration blocks while Cairn India submitted offers for two out of the 34 on offer in the ninth round of auction under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP), reports PTI.
RIL bid for two deep-sea blocks in the Andaman Basin in the Bay of Bengal and four onshore blocks in Rajasthan and the Cambay Basin, a source in the upstream oil regulator, the DGH, said here.
Cairn India, whose success in Rajasthan may have propelled Reliance to bid for two blocks in the state, has submitted offers for only two blocks-one onland and one offshore. Cairn has not bid for any two exploration blocks on offer in Rajasthan.
Bids for the 34 oil and gas blocks, which include eight in deep-water areas, seven in shallow water and 19 onshore properties, close today.
Reliance, which had not bid for any block in the previous NELP-VIII round in 2009, has shown interest in onland blocks in Rajasthan, apparently swayed by the huge oil finds by Cairn India.
The Mangala oilfield in Cairn India's prolific RJ-ON-90/1 block in the Thar desert of Rajasthan is currently producing 125,000 barrels per day (bpd) and the entire area, where Cairn has made number of oil discoveries, has the potential to produce up to 300,000 bpd (15 million tonnes a year).
India had received an investment commitment of $1.1 billion in NELP-VIII and it is expecting to better that.
Industry sources said Cairn, which is known to have a knack for making discoveries in areas often abandoned by energy giants, has little interest in NELP-IX as many of the blocks on offer are old and recycled (areas where some or the other company had previously done exploration but had abandoned them as they did not find any or very little hydrocarbons).
Out of 34 blocks, 19 blocks are totally new areas-seven in deep sea, two in shallow water and 10 onland blocks. The remaining 15 (one in deep water, five in shallow water and nine onland blocks) are recycled blocks.
Of the recycled blocks, five are discards of state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the largest bidder in the previous eight rounds of NELP. ONGC relinquished the areas it had won in first and second round of NELP, after it made no discovery.
In the eight rounds of NELP since 1999, 235 blocks have been awarded till date. This has resulted in enhancement of exploration coverage from 11% to about 58% of the Indian sedimentary basin between 2000 and 2010.
The discoveries made under NELP have resulted in in-place hydrocarbon reserves accretion of a staggering 642 million tonnes of oil and oil equivalent gas, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons source said.
A total of 87 oil and gas discoveries have been made in 26 blocks under NELP during this period. The discoveries have added over 640 million tonnes of oil equivalent reserves.
In the first eight rounds of NELP, a $11.1 billion investment was committed, but the actual investment so far has been $14.3 billion.
The blocks offered in NELP-IX include eight deep-sea, seven shallow water and 19 onland. The onland blocks include eight small blocks, for which the technical expertise of companies is not a criteria for submission of submit bids.
These 34 blocks cover a sedimentary area of about 88,807 square kilometres, which is 2.9% of the Indian sedimentary basin area.
The onland blocks fall in Assam (2), Gujarat (11), Rajasthan (2), Madhya Pradesh (2), Tripura (1) and Uttar Pradesh (1). The seven shallow water and eight deep water blocks are off the East and West Coast, but no area in the prolific Krishna-Godavari basin is on offer.
Out of 87 oil and gas discoveries made in the NELP rounds, natural gas production in Reliance Industries eastern offshore KG-D6 block commenced from April 2009.
The eighth round, which closed on 12 October 2009, attracted an investment commitment of $1.34 billion for 36 blocks that received offers. Under NELP-VIII, 70 areas or blocks for exploration were offered, the biggest licensing round in India.
Of the 36 areas bid for, the government had awarded 33 blocks to successful bidders.
The government has hired UK-based Fugro Data Solutions to market the blocks in NELP-IX.
The CBI, however, said the extent of loss to the state exchequer may not be included in this charge-sheet as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India was yet to complete the process of ascertaining the loss on allocation of spectrum to all operators between 2001 and 2008
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will file its first charge-sheet into the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation scam this week against former telecom minister A Raja and some of his close aides, besides a couple of real estate companies for allegedly defrauding the exchequer and entering into a criminal conspiracy in securing the telecom licenses, reports PTI.
CBI sources, however, said the extent of loss to the state exchequer may not be included in this charge-sheet as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was yet to complete the process of ascertaining the loss on allocation of spectrum to all operators between 2001 and 2008.
The sources said that the charge-sheet would cover the alleged criminal conspiracy behind allocation of spectrum during 2007-08 by Mr Raja, the then telecom minister.
The charge-sheet will be filed in a special court of Justice OP Saini, which is expected to be started from Tuesday as the Centre has already informed the Supreme Court about the same.
The CBI, India's premier investigating agency, had last year informed the apex court that it would be filing the first set of charge-sheets by 31st March which will include the investigations made by the agency as well as by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case.
The charge-sheet comes at a time when the state of Tamil Nadu is going for the assembly polls, and Mr Raja is a member of the ruling Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) in the state. The Congress and DMK have a pre-poll alliance for the polls.
The CBI is expected to seek permission from the court for continuance of its probe in the case after filing its first charge-sheet, as the probe agency wants to investigate various other angles including criminal conspiracy for favouring certain companies, abusing of official position for getting pecuniary benefits and the companies which manipulated the records to secure loans.
The sources said that besides those arrested in the case including Mr Raja, his personal aide RK Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddartha Behura, former managing director of Etisalat DB (earlier Swan Telecom) Shahid Usman Balwa, the name of an MP may be mentioned in the charge-sheet for being a part of the company which had allegedly received kickbacks in the scam.
They said the names of at least two firms dealing in real estate business would be mentioned in the charge-sheet for allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy and bribing government officials for bending rules in their favour.
A prominent telecom firm will continue to be under scanner as the agency feels that several funds were routed through overseas into DMK's Kalaignar Television.
On the exact loss to the exchequer, the CBI is likely to inform the court about its efforts including approaching the TRAI for the same. Sources said that TRAI was still to come out with any figure in this regard.
The CBI had requested TRAI to set up an expert team which will go into the entire gamut of spectrum pricing and give an estimated loss which could be proved in the court of law.
The probe agency had earlier said the government may have lost over Rs22,000 crore due to irregularities in the allocation of spectrum in January 2008, by the then telecom minister A Raja, who was arrested earlier on charges of favouring some private firms.
The CAG has put the presumptive loss of Rs1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.