Regulations
Call drops can invite penalties: Prasad
The frequent call drops which mobile phone users face today may soon invite a penalty for service providers, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Tuesday, while announcing free roaming facility by the state-run national telecom provider BSNL from June 15.
 
The minister, talking to media persons on the completion of one year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, said the issue of net neutrality was being discussed internally in his ministry and a final decision will be taken soon by the union cabinet.
 
"Call drops need to get minimised. We are in discussion for a structure to incentivise or disincentivise it," Prasad said, when asked what the government was doing to check this irritant.
 
The minister said there were many ongoing campaigns regarding the adverse impact of mobile tower radiation. "If someone comes to me with a problem, I am ready to look at it...."
 
But he mentioned that if people complained about the ill-effect of mobile towers and asked for pulling them down, then they should not be complaining about call drops as both things do not go hand-in-hand.
 
In April 2015, India crossed over 100 crore telephone connections.
 
Prasad mentioned that BSNL has installed 15,000 new towers in one year to do away with call drops.
 
Talking about the controversial net neutrality issue, the minister said the committee set up by the Department of Telecom has submitted reports to the government. "The final decision on it will be taken by the government and the cabinet."
 
He said BSNL's revenue grew by 2.1 percent in 2014-15 reversing the trend of negative growth in previous years. The state-run service provider also added 47 lakh active subscribers during that period.
 
BSNL and MTNL have launched unlimited free local calls from landlines to any landline or mobile during night hours effective from May 1, 2015.
 
Listing the achievements, Prasad said foreign direct investment in the telecom sector had topped $2.85 billion in 2014-15 and that this was the highest in recent years -- $1.31 billion in 2013-14, $304 million in 2012-13, $1.99 billion in 2011-12 and $1.66 billion in 2010-11.
 
Talking about the Digital India programme of the government, the minister mentioned that it is for the poor and marginalised in the country. "It is party neutral and ideology neutral."
 
Alluding to the 2G telecom cases pending before the various courts for alleged improper allotment of spectrum and graft, the minister said he had taken over the reins of the ministry when it was making news for wrong reasons for a variety of factors.
 
"When I took over a year ago the department was in news for all reasons. But now we have faith, hope and confidence and there is collective will to work in a transparent way. There is no place for lobbyists and middlemen in the telecom, IT and India Post departments," he said.

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Jaitley pushes for 'plastic' currency
After inaugurating a newly-minted facility to make special paper for currency notes at Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh a day before, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday pushed for greater use of plastic money.
 
"The developed world has moved substantially to plastic currency and payment gateways. I think, there is a need on this for India. Our determination is also there to gradually take steps and move in that direction," the minister said at a conference on Indigenisation of Currency here.
 
To popularise the use of plastic money, the government had launched the RuPay debit card in 2012 through the National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI). The card enables electronic payments at all banks and financial institutions, competing with MasterCard, Visa and American Express.
 
At the same time, Jaitley also pushed for currency notes to be made in India from scratch.
 
On Monday, he inaugurated a paper-making line for bank notes at Hoshangabad and dispatched a consignment for printing Rs.1,000-denominated currency notes to the state-run security press at Nashik in Maharashtra.
 
Referring to the initiative here, Jaitley said: "It is about time we started printing our own currency with our own ink and paper. This is not mere symbolism. It also represents a thought process -- there is a desire to bring back the Indian manufacturing to a particular level."

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COMMENTS

Dr Anantha K Ramdas

2 years ago

For reasons best known to Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley did not make any reference to the "experiment" and market "reaction" to actual plastic or polymer currency notes that has been reported to be in circulation in selected cities, as per former Deputy Governor, Dr Chakravorty. This was widely reported in newspapers, more than 2 years ago.

after this, there has been no further news on the polymer currency notes. More than 30 countries are using this and next year, UK plans to use polymmer notes, in stages.

So far neither the Ministry or the RBI have clearly spelled out their plans in this regard, though, we could seek full assistance and cooperation from Australia, the pioneer.

Would RBI or Finance Ministry care to clarify this issue? Issue of polymer currency notes would be first step to stop fake currency notes in circulation too.

AC industry bets on June to make a summer killing
The air-conditioner (AC) segment this summer saw nearly flat growth until April-end. However, sales picked up from May as the temperatures across India soared
 
With air-conditioner sales adversely hit this year by an erratic and late summer, consumer electronic companies are now counting on June as the best bet to rake in the moolah.
 
The air-conditioner (AC) segment this summer saw nearly flat growth until April-end. However, sales picked up from May as the temperatures across India soared.
 
"The sales during April were damp. However, the AC market has started reviving from May onwards and we hope that sales during June will be good," head of AC business at LG India Saurabh Baisakhaia told IANS.
 
The company, which holds a 22 percent market share in the AC segment, has managed to complete 90 percent of its target by May-end. However, Baisakhaia and other industry players are in anguish over the sales figures.
 
"With the monsoon expected to hit on time, the overall response from this segment is anticipated to be weak," Pradeep Bakshi, president and chief operations officer of the unitary products business group at Voltas Limited, told IANS.
 
Sanjeev Bakshi, COO of the AC division at Videocon, is also expecting the growth in the overall industry during the ongoing summer to be flat on account of the weather.
 
The industry, however, is hoping its sales figure targets in the north, northwest and central India - which contributes over one-third of AC sales - during the monsoon will drive the market in June.
 
"About the performance of the market, I am cautiously optimistic," Baisakhaia said.
 
In case the monsoon doesn't arrive on time or the projected shortfall in rain turns out to be true, the industry may grow at 15-20 percent in the May-June period, with the overall industry growth during January-June projected at 10 percent.
 
"Monsoons are becoming unpredictable. It directly affects the temperature, air pressure and humidity," Sanjeev Bakshi said.
 
He was confident of a surge in the demand for ACs in Rajasthan, Gujarat, parts of Maharashtra and central India during the monsoon period because the temperature would shoot up even in case of normal rainfall.
 
The AC companies said the peak summer season - the April-May-June fiscal quarter - accounts for about 40-45 percent of total AC sales, which were largely hit. Industry sales went down by as much as 18 percent during April while the overall growth during January-May was stated to be in the range of 8-10 percent.
 
The January-June period, often termed by AC companies as H1, accounts for 70 percent of annual sales.
 
LG said post the H1 period, besides central and north India, the major growth was projected in the south. Interestingly, among all the AC players, Godrej Appliances and Whirlpool get their highest revenue share from south India, the former earning 36 percent from the region.
 
A majority of the AC companies said the three-star category and the split segment are dominating the sales and consumers are fast moving over to energy efficient ACs.
 
"The preference for formats such as Splits is quite apparent and window ACs continue to lose ground. Within Splits, relatively new technologies such as inverter, have begun to find acceptance and account for approximately 10 percent of the split format", vice president of corporate affairs and strategy for south Asia at Whirlpool India, Shantanu Dasupta, said.
 
Anup Bhargava, product head of AC division at Godrej Appliances, echoed the sentiment.
 
"Window ACs are declining and at present have a market share of 16 percent. This is because the price difference between split ACs and window ACs is narrowing,", Bhargava told IANS, adding the five star ACs have a 22 percent market share. The market share of three star ACs is 65 percent.
 
He said energy efficiency, additional warranty and financing options will drive the market during June-July and the near future.
 
"Although financing schemes were available before, the terms are easing. However, it is the additional warranty which is driving the major sales", Bhargava said.

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COMMENTS

TIHARwale

2 years ago

all said and done during dry hot summers in the North no AC can be more efficient than desert coolers. Cost wise AC is a sheer waste because ACs cost no less than Rs 35,000/- and have a life span of just 5 years. Power consumption is also no match compared to chillness provided for similar cooling of a desert cooler which comes in the price range of Rs 3500/- with recurring annual pad replacement costing no more than Rs 150/-. Let any AC supplier contest the above facts in writing

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