Fall in line by 31st Aug or wind up Messenger services: Govt to RIM

New Delhi: Stepping up the pressure on BlackBerry mobile phone services, the government today asked the phone-makers Research In Motion (RIM) as well as telecom operators to provide a technical solution by 31st August or face ban, reports PTI.

In a letter to the Department of Telecom (DoT) secretary P J Thomas, Union home secretary G K Pillai asked him to convey to the operators and Canada-based RIM that a technical solution to make available lawful interception of BlackBerry Enterprise Services (BES) and BlackBerry Messenger Services (BBM) by 31st August or its services will be blocked.

The letter was sent after a meeting chaired by Mr Pillai in which representatives of security agencies, Telecom Department and top brass of state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) were present.

According to a Union home ministry spokesman, "The meeting today asked DoT to convey to service providers and RIM that the BES and Messenger services be made accessible to Legal Enforcement Agencies (LEA) and find a technical solution by 31st August.

"If a technical solution is not found by 31st August, government will review the position and take steps to block these two services. As of now voicemail, SMS and Blackberry Internet Services (BIS) have been made available to the LEA," the spokesman said.

Today's discussion was aimed at finalising the government's strategy towards BlackBerry phone which is facing the threat of being blocked in the country if telecom service providers do not address government's security concerns.

Ahead of the meeting, a top official of RIM, which has nearly one million subscribers in the country and has a growing market, made a courtesy call on home minister P Chidambaram.

Last week, BlackBerry had made a fresh attempt to break the logjam over its services in India by offering "metadata" and relevant information to security agencies which will enable them to lawfully intercept communication on such phones but it failed to enthuse them.

RIM representatives explained that BlackBerry mobile device sends encrypted emails, which is sent to BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) located with the service provider.

BES decrypts messages and sends it to the email server of the service provider where it remains stored in decrypted form. Then it is pushed to the BlackBerry device in encrypted.

UAE had recently banned Blackberry services.


Decline in June factory output is on expected lines: India Inc

New Delhi: India Inc today said decline in industrial growth to 7.1% in June was on expected lines and attributed the fall to part withdrawal of the economic stimulus, coupled with a relatively stronger rate of growth in the same month last year.

"The fall in industrial production was on expected lines as it largely reflects a higher base in the same period last year," Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) director general Chandrajit Banerjee said.

Industrial growth slipped to a 13-month low in June because a drop in manufacturing output.

Mr Banerjee said despite the low production, the country would be able to post a high GDP growth of 9 to 9.5% this fiscal.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said that although the decline was expected, it is a matter of concern that the June growth this year is less than that of June 2009, during which the world had to battle global economic meltdown.

The industrial growth was 8.3% in June 2009.

"The slowdown in Indian manufacturing sector is...also due to the gradual phasing-out of monetary and fiscal stimulus," said Ficci secretary general Amit Mitra.

The government had increased the excise duty by two per cent in the Budget, 2010-11. As part of the stimulus measures, the excise duty was slashed to help the industry wade through the global economic slowdown.

Another leading industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham), however, said the June growth slipped due to the rising cost of inputs coupled with continuing inflationary pressures.

"Major factors, which led manufacturing to suffer is the inflation and rise in prises of petroleum products and overall increase in the prices of commodities, including metal and primary articles," Assocham president Swati Piramal said.

She said the government should prescribe measures for friendly monitory and fiscal policies to help industry restore manufacturing growth.


WTO expects substantive negotiation to resume from September

Kolkata: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) expects the Doha Round of negotiations to resume from September and the talks to be more substantive this time leading to agreements in at least 15%-20% of the pending issues, reports PTI.

'Serious discussions are likely to begin from September as the overall environment for talks has become conducive,' WTO deputy director general Harsha V Singh said on the sidelines of an Indian Chamber of Commerce interactive session.

"The talks have continued for quite some time. Now the ambassadors are discussing things in close sessions. Almost 80 per cent of the issues are resolved," he said while addressing a seminar organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

He identified special safeguard mechanisms for agriculture, non-tariff measures in anti-dumping and a few areas in environmental goods and services, and fisheries as the areas expected to figure in the talks.

More market access to developed countries, as desired by India, is another issue likely to come up for negotiations.


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