Companies & Sectors
Cabinet fixes Rs14,000 crore as reserve price for telecom spectrum

The reserve price fixed has come as a disappointment for the telecom industry which had been pitching for a 80% cut in the reserve price suggested by TRAI, which they felt would lead to up to 100% hike in mobile telephone charges

New Delhi: The Cabinet on Friday fixed a minimum or base price of Rs14,000 crore for the Supreme Court mandated auction of telecom spectrum, reports PTI.


The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, decided to fix the reserve price at the lower end of the Rs14,000 crore to Rs15,000 crore band that was recommended by an Empowered Group of Minister (EGoM), official sources said.


The EGoM had suggested a reserve price at Rs14,000-Rs15,000 crore for 5 Mhz of airwaves as against around Rs 18,000 crore recommended by sectoral regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for the auction of spectrum vacated from cancellation of 122 licences by Supreme Court.


Sources said the Cabinet approved levy of annual spectrum usage charge of 3% to 8% on different slabs of revenue as was recommended by the EGoM headed by P Chidambaram.


Chidambaram has been made the Finance Minister in a minor Cabinet reshuffle early this week.


The apex court had in February this year cancelled 122 licences issued by the then Telecom Minister A Raja in 2008 and asked the government to conduct fresh auctions by 31st August. But this deadline may not be met and the government may approach the apex court for extension of the timeline.


The reserve price fixed would be a disappointment for the telecom industry which had been pitching for a 80% cut in the reserve price suggested by TRAI which they felt would lead to up to 100% hike in mobile telephone charges.


The auction is crucial for companies like Uninor and Sistema Shyam Teleservices, who have time till 7th September to offer their services after which they will be forced to close down their operations in case they fail to get a licence


Earlier, the EGoM, headed by P Chidambaram, has suggested a 20% lower base or reserve price at Rs14,000-Rs15,000 crore for 5 Mhz of airwaves as against around Rs18,000 crore recommended by sectoral regulator TRAI for the auction of spectrum vacated after the Supreme Court order.


The telecom industry has been pitching for a 80% cut in the reserve price as they feel TRAI recommended rates would lead to up to 100% hike in mobile telephone charges.


Hike diesel price or face situation like grid collapse: Montek

Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission said the if we do not increase diesel prices, there would be other consequences like the grid collapse

New Delhi: Raise diesel prices or else face a situation similar to the recent grid failure which led to complete blackout across 20 states for hours, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said on Friday, reports PTI.
"The real question is that if we don't take these hard decisions (diesel price hike), there will be other consequences. You saw that with the grid collapse ... if distribution companies are unable to pay for power, you are going to have some problems," he told reporters.
On the diesel price hike, Ahluwalia said, "when they will raise prices, it will initially have negative impact ... but not raising prices will only mean that oil sector continues to bleed."
State-owned oil firms sell the fuel at a loss of about Rs13.65 a litre while they lose Rs231 on sale of every 14.2-kg LPG cylinder for domestic consumption. Besides, they are losing Rs29.97 per litre on kerosene.
Without a price hike, a staggering Rs1.6 lakh crore of losses on these fuel sales would have to be met by the government this fiscal.
Ahluwalia further said, "It is mistake to think that raising diesel prices will cause inflation if leaving them low and having hidden subsidy will not cause inflation." 
If the diesel prices are not aligned with international rates, he said, "either the budget will have to bail out (the oil companies) or we will end with the very sick energy sector. Neither of these is good for inflation." 
According to Ahluwalia, "... continuing subsidy is not a free lunch. If it was then I am in favour of continuing subsidy."



A Kumar

5 years ago

It is disconcerting to know that the Chairman of the Planning Commission has to express his worries and fears like a common man, and not being able to influence the actions.
We are now turning into a diesel nation with sales of Petrol cars virtually at zero. Honda has discontinued the CIVIC as only 25 cars sold in the last quarter. The story elsewhere is similar.
The RBI governer who had been holdiing fort against monetary loosening seems to have been given a dressing down. Looks like people are now really working to push the economy over the edge.
The Rupee has been sliding against the dollar as everyone can see the fiscal gap building up. The tipping point for uncontrolled inflation, if the reains do not shower a bounty is not far away.

Aegon Religare iHealth: Should you buy a health product from a life insurer?

Aegon Religare’s iHealth is a good surgical benefit plan competing with LIC’s Jeevan Arogya and ICICI Pru Life’s Hospital Care II. Should you go for it?

Aegon Religare’s iHealth is a new entrant online health product from a life insurance company. It is a fixed-benefit product offering daily hospitalisation cash, surgical cash benefit and critical illness cover. It competes with LIC’s Jeevan Arogya and ICICI Pru Life’s Hospital Care II. Mediclaim customers who feel cheated by the insurer/TPA making deductions in claims payment may be attracted to this fixed-benefit option.

While the main advantage with mediclaim is that it covers any hospitalisation, surgical benefit plan will pay only for surgeries and the amount of payment will vary as per a pre-defined table. Surgical benefit plans are a good option and can work along with mediclaim. You can get payment from both—the mediclaim policy as well as fixed-benefit plan.

Aegon Religare’s iHealth covers 849 surgeries which are classified under six categories. The surgeries falling in category-1 are paid up to the sum insured; the benefits are the least for category-6 surgeries, which is any surgery not in the list of 849 surgeries. The sum insured under the silver, gold, diamond and platinum plans are Rs2 lakh, Rs3 lakh, Rs4 lakh and Rs5 lakh respectively. The exit age is 85 years; it is 75 years for critical illness cover. Some procedures could have two-year waiting period. The default is 90 days waiting for non-accident ailments.

Positives of Aegon Religare iHealth:

  • •Surgeries covered – It covers 849 surgeries including 240 day-care procedures.
  • •Premium – The premium for a 35 year old buying Rs3 lakh cover will be Rs4704.
  • •Cashless network – It has 3,000 hospitals including big names like Hinduja, Jaslok, Lilavati, Ambani hospital in Mumbai. You will have to deal with the Third Party Administrator (TPA) for cashless service. Paramount is the TPA.

Negatives of Aegon Religare iHealth:

  • •Pre-existing – Pre-existing diseases (PED) are not covered by iHealth, which is also the case for other surgical benefit products. This is a disadvantage considering that mediclaim will cover pre-existing diseases after four years.
  • •Impact of PED exclusion – There is possibility of claims rejection due to it being linked to PED. Just like early death claims in life insurance are scrutinized to greater extent, early health claims will be likely to be analyzed for links to PED. While this is true for all surgical benefit products, it is very much applicable to Aegon Religare whose disclosures clearly state extremely high percentage of early death claims being rejected for life insurance products.
  • •Premium same for only three years, not lifetime – This is obvious as medical inflation cannot be easily predicted. 
  • •Maximum age of renewal of 85 years.
  • •Kidney stone, piles, etc are not defined in the list of 849 procedures and hence they will be considered as category-6 which pays a pittance.

While analyzing the surgical benefit products, there is a need to check the benefit paid for each procedure. All the products give classification of category for each procedure and have a pre-defined benefit for each category. Unfortunately, common man cannot understand all medical procedures and their intricacies and hence may be under impression that the product he purchases will cover the surgery and pay properly. If the surgery is assigned a low category or is not in the list (default is lowest category), the policy will pay peanuts and will defeat the purpose of taking health insurance. Mediclaim is a safe option even with its fine prints.

Check if each procedure has broader definition and not too restrictive. Example – All the three insurance products assign highest category for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG). Aegon Religare iHealth and ICICI Pru Life Hospital Care II pays full sum insured for it (broad definition); LIC Jeevan Arogya will also pay 100% only if two or more arteries are bypassed via open chest surgery (restrictive wordings).

Source – Moneylife research. If procedure is not listed, it will be considered lowest category and paid accordingly. Surgical product benefits and other benefits like hospital cash, etc will vary.



Rajkumar Singh

5 years ago

Question 2: How to ensure that despite having all the relevant documents, the insurer has no way to reject the claim or in other words, just like cashless product, can't we have a hurdle-less product for claims where there is no need for taking any legal or other democratic recourse.

Why can't the insurers sell such products, without having to lower the premium prices, but to sell as HURDLE-LESS Product, which would also be cost-effective for them?

Let them admit in the salient features of the product that in the event of a claim rejection, they are committing the crimes under various sections of IPC to make it the most attractive product.

Hope, at least you will not find my suggestion or solution, a WISHY-WASHY, but to plug NEGATIVE Factors of any product for claims!

Rajkumar Singh

5 years ago

How to establish that an investor to any insurance product, in which Pre-Existing Disease (PED) is considered a negative factor,is free from PED to avoid being rejected of the claims?

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