The DGCA asked scheduled airlines to ensure that no upward revision in tariff is effected due to ongoing industrial unrest in Air India and also surge in demand during this period
New Delhi: Noting that private airlines have suddenly raised fares by up to 20% on certain sectors in view of Air India strike, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday warned them against hiking fares beyond their band, saying the cost of operation has not undergone any major change over the past two months, reports PTI.
The DGCA order came in the wake of some member of parliament (MPs) raising the issue in Parliament yesterday and asking the government to act.
"It has been brought to the notice of the DGCA through search of websites of airlines and media reports as well as feedback from air travellers that fares on certain high demand sectors have registered a sudden spurt, which is almost 15% to 20% higher on various metro routes compared to a month ago," the DGCA said in its order.
It noted that the cost of operation of scheduled airlines on account of various constituent elements have not undergone any major change over the past two months.
"In view of the above, all the scheduled domestic airlines are directed to ensure that fares offered on various sectors remain within the fare band uploaded on the website of respective airlines," the DGCA order said.
It asked the scheduled airlines to "ensure that no upward revision in tariff is effected due to ongoing industrial unrest in Air India and also surge in demand during this period."
The order said any violation of these directives will be dealt with under the provisions of Rule 135 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, which provides for intervention by the DGCA in case transparency in air fares is violated by any airline,
BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had raised the issue in Rajya Sabha yesterday, saying passengers were facing harassment due to cancellation of Air India flights on one hand and hike in fares by private airlines on the other.
Chinese steel makers can take full advantage of the zero duties on pellet exports from India besides the drastic reduction in customs duty on imports of pellatisation machinery into the country
Beijing: India has invited China, the biggest importer of its iron ore, to set up pellet plants in the country, reports PTI.
The Chinese steel makers have been asked to take full advantage of the zero duties on pellet exports from India besides the drastic reduction in customs duty on imports of pellatisation machinery into the country. Pellets are made by moulding ore powder into desired configurations, with some value addition.
It is a win win deal for Chinese steel industry to set up pelletisation plants in India as it would make up for the extra expenditure being incurred by them in view of 30% duty on iron ore exports from India, CS Verma, Chairman of Steel Authority of India (SAIL), said.
Mr Verma, who signed an MOU with the Chinese Iron and Steel Association (CISA) to step up interaction between the two major producers and consumers of steel, invited them to set up their plants in India.
He said they could take full advantage of the new duty structure in India to encourage setting up of pelletisation plants.
Indian iron ore which has traditionally been the top item of exports to China has dropped by 14%t to $9.6 billion in value terms during 2011, compared to the $11.2 billion in 2010.
It was expected to come down further due to increase in export duty from 20% to 30% early this year.
Mr Verma said, India, which has about 25 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves will continue to export it but at the same it would be advantageous to get value addition from the raw material.
"Since buying ore will be costlier, companies who need it have to nuetralise it. "This is why we should export it in the value added form not in the mineral form," Mr Verma who wound up his four day visit here told PTI.
"It will create employment and investment opportunities for India to have the value addition," he said.
China has been importing 75 to 80 MT every year. In the recent the Indian government has also reduced customs duty on the import of pellatisation plants from 7.5% to 2.5%.
"That means there is lot of incentives for setting up pellatisation plants in India," he said.
There is no export duty from India on pellets. He said the Chinese companies have shown keen interest in the proposal.
Is New India Assurance sitting on crores of extra premium collected due to a software glitch? It does not even know how many policyholders paid excess premium and is stonewalling all questions
Is New India Assurance trying every trick in the book to avoid returning crores worth of premium collected in a period of nine months due to a software glitch?
It all started with policyholder Anant Meghji Nandu giving a blank cheque to his New India Assurance agent in 2008 for his father's Mediclaim policy. The practice of giving a blank cheque to agent is widespread because there is usually a minor difference between the final premium amount and the quoted amount. In this case, there was additional Rs1,688 added to the cheque by the agent. Mr Nandu wrote to New India Assurance for an explanation in the huge variance between final premium and quoted premium, but they kept a stony silence. He filed an RTI query. He got a reply about a software glitch leading to overcharge and got a refund of the excess premium. He filed another RTI query to find out since when the overcharging was happening. The answer was 16 August 2007. The cat was out of the bag.
Mr Nandu quickly realized that there could be lakhs of policyholders who would be eligible for a refund which can run into crores of rupees. For the larger good, Mr Nandu wanted to ensure that all those who were overcharged also got a refund. He then tried to find about the refund data, but was met with stiff resistance from New India Assurance's Central Public Information Officer (CPIO). To downplay the issue, the company changed its stance. It now claimed that overcharging started only in 29 May 2008, which will mean fewer customers will be affected. But, will the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) accept this contention from the insurer?
The question is how will policyholders know that they were charged approximately Rs1,000-Rs1,500 extra premium in 2007-08? They won't, unless they are really astute in mediclaim premium calculation or happened to stumble across the discrepancy. In the age of technology, how difficult is it for the insurer to find out the policies they collected excess premium? Not difficult, unless they want to feign ignorance or software malfunction is a norm which precludes them from getting the data of policyholders' who paid excess premium.
This is case of heads I win, tails you lose. If by mistake a company charges a lower premium, it will soon detect it and come after you. But if the company overcharges, then they don't know how much extra premium was received. If you ask for refund you will get it; if you don't then you loss seems to be the New India's strategy. Is it fair?
Mr Nandu is a brave man for valiantly fighting the case for over three years at the cost of own money and time to help fellow Indians to get justice?
In our second part of the story we will report on New India Assurance's tactics to save face.