Citizens' Issues
Bad run continues for 'Freedom 251', website down again on second day
New Delhi : A day after promising to restore its online pre-order services for the Indian masses to book the world's cheapest "Make in India" smartphone, the "Freedom 251" website continued its poor run on Friday as people faced trouble in pre-ordering the Rs.251 (less that $4) device.
 
Already mired in controversy over its similarity to Apple iPhone design and appearance and now the Indian government keeping a close watch on its four-day booking offer that started from 6 a.m. on Thursday, the Noida-based startup Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd claimed to have received 30,000 confirmed orders and over six lakh hits per second on its website on the first day.
 
But hours later, the firm stopped taking orders after its servers crashed owing to a huge rush to book the device online on www.freedom251.com.
 
However, their were some lucky people who managed to pre-book the smartphone early in the morning when the website was up.
 
"I kept on trying for about an hour to book the smartphone. I had to refresh multiple times, fill in my details over and over again. Finally I got it booked but I am yet to make a payment," said Kashi Nath Nandi who works in a private firm in Noida.
 
After placing the order, the page returned with a message: "Thank you for placing the order. We will email you the link for payment within 48 hours to your registered unique email id to complete your purchase." 
 
The acknowledgment also shows order number and mentions "One unit per user".
 
Ringing Bells is also charging a shipping charge of Rs.40, taking the total price of the phone to Rs.291. The company promises to deliver the device after four month by June 30.
 
Sanju, a parking attendant in Kirti Nagar in West Delhi also booked the ultra-cheap smartphone in the wee hours on Friday. "I woke up at 4 a.m. to get one phone booked, finally," he told IANS. 
 
Meanwhile, another Noida resident Pankaj said he was trying to book a phone but later decided to suspend his efforts owing to website issues.
 
The much-hyped launch of the world's cheapest smartphone "Freedom 251" was thrown into disarray on Thursday as there was utter chaos at the company's Noida-based head office besides reports of copyright infringements.
 
Amid the company's claims that it has got 30,000 orders on the first day, the calls to the executives went unanswered on Friday as well.
 
The Indian Cellular Association has written to the telecom ministry, urging the government to get to the bottom of the issue as selling a smartphone this cheap is well-nigh impossible.
 
Earlier, the photos of the smartphone in newspaper advertisements released by the firm showed that all the icons of the built-in app were almost a replica of Apple's iOS icons.
 
According to the information available on Apple website, "You may not use the Apple Logo or any other Apple-owned graphic symbol, logo, or icon on or in connection with web sites, products, packaging, manuals, promotional/advertising materials, or for any other purpose except pursuant to an express written trademark license from Apple, such as a reseller agreement".
 
Several attempts to speak to senior Ringing Bell executives on this controversy also went in vain.
 
"Freedom 251" claims to have an Android 5.1 operating system, a 4-inch qHD IPS display, a 3.2-megapixel primary and a 0.3-megapixel front camera.
 
The device also claims to have 3G connectivity, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and 8GB internal memory and supports external memory cards of up to 32GB.
 
To power "Freedom 251", the company has put a 1,450mAh battery and claims to have a service network of 650 centres across India.
 
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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COMMENTS

Subramani P K

1 year ago

Electronic gadgets are really cheap & big MNCs exploit the people with their ads & sales promotional activities. If Reliance could introduce a cell phone for Rs. 500/- in the beginning why not a smart phone for Rs. 251/- when the market is flooded with components for any electronic equipment and if an assy. line is established anything can be made. If this cheap phone is successful the big corporates will have to close down their shops & hence they will try ways & means to stop the manufacture of "freedom 251" smart phone. Govt. should help the company in all possible way to popularise the product & help common man.

State-run bank credit profiles at risk sans more capital: Fitch
Mumbai : With the profitability of Indian public sector banks (PSBs) severely dented as seen from recent third-quarter results, their credit profile will come under pressure unless they are adequately capitalised, Fitch Ratings said on Friday.
 
"Fitch's estimated capital need for the system of $140 billion may need to be reassessed, given some of the losses," the US agency said in a research note.
 
"The stand-alone credit profile of many Indian public sector banks should come under pressure unless there is meaningful action to restore capital adequacy," it said.
 
Significant quarterly losses reported at several large public banks last week, including Bank of Baroda and Bank of India, underscored long-standing balance-sheet and capital risks stemming from legacy issues pertaining to poor asset quality and weak provisioning," Fitch added.
 
The ratings firm said the sudden drop in profitability of PSBs for the third quarter of the current fiscal was triggered mainly by higher provisioning following a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) order on reclassification of distressed loans.
 
The RBI, in line with its target for banks to clean up their balance-sheets by March 2017, has nudged both public and private banks to identify stressed accounts and significantly raise provisioning over two quarters through to the end of the current fiscal.
 
Fitch said that RBI's intent to clean up bank balance sheets by next year could help revive investor confidence in PSBs.
 
"But the suddenness and speed of the provisioning in the second half of FY16 highlights how long it has taken to address poor balance-sheets," it said.
 
It also raises questions over the pace and implementation of bank recapitalisation and reforms, especially when central bank intervention is required in identification of bad assets," it added.
 
The trend of state-run banks declaring low profits or losses and the ever-ballooning provisioning for non-performing assets (NPAs) has continued through the past year. 
 
The banking index of Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has taken a 67 percent hit. In the case of Punjab National Bank, for example, the stock is down 58 percent, while for State Bank, it is down 52 percent.
 
Reacting to the bank stocks' decline last week, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said: "The decline in bank share prices caused investors to panic. Bank share prices are being hit by the global markets turmoil.
 
"We're looking at banks having clean and fully provisioned balance sheets by March 2017. Banks are using tools devised to clean up their balance sheets."
 
"Change in attitude in the banking system takes time as banks try to unlock the value of their NPAs. But the end-game is in sight. We don't envisage a further set of AQRs (asset quality review) and new loans that require to be dealt with," he added.
 
"Such reporting of losses by the Indian banks is unprecedented. The trend is clear -- unfortunate that several public sector banks are posting negative results and wiping out the equity," said Saswata Guha, director of financial institutions at Fitch Ratings.
 
The earnings outlook is also more daunting and the pain may continue during the next year," she added.
 
Guha expects the Indian banking sector to close this fiscal with a NPA of around a whopping Rs.4 trillion and total stressed assets of around Rs.9 trillion.
 
According to the finance ministry, the NPA ratio of banks -- net exposure versus bad loans -- rose from 3.42 percent as on March 2013 to 4.62 percent as on the same month of last year.
 
In absolute terms, the ministry pegs it at Rs.1,83,854 crore versus Rs.3,09,409 crore.
 
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.

User

COMMENTS

Nikhil S Girme

1 year ago

Well Well...So called safe public sector banks are indeed worser of than many Cooperative Banks too

Best part is that figures being shared are also dressed up and goes without saying that the actual rot is much deeper in banks

What is sad is that the salaries given to PSU employees plus fantastic pensions and perks and less of accountability they enjoy in comparison to other banks or similar sectors is unfair.

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