FinMin directs DoT to probe role of telcos in tape leakage

The communication follows an enquiry by a two-member committee set up by the finance ministry to enquire into the leakage of tapes which found their way to media and generated controversy

New Delhi: Amid controversy over leakage of telephonic conversations involving top industrialists, corporate lobbyist Niira Radia and others, the finance ministry has asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) to enquire into the conduct of telecom operators and identify individuals involved in it, reports PTI.

"DoT will have to conduct a further enquiry to establish leakage of the telephonic intercepts in the end of telecom service providers, to identify actual individuals who are involved in this," the finance ministry said in a communication to telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar.

The communication follows an enquiry by a two-member committee set up by the finance ministry to enquire into the leakage of tapes which found their way to media and generated controversy.

According to sources, more than 200 employees of Ms Radia-owned Vaishnavi group of firms have exercised the option of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) to switch their operators from Bharti Airtel to other service providers like Vodafone or Tata DoCoMo.

MNP allows subscribers to change their service provider while retaining the same number.

In its report to the government, the two-member committee has said that the issue of leakage of telephone intercepts needs to be further probed by the DoT and requested for an immediate action.

The DoT has sought "necessary details" from the finance ministry to take action in this regard.

"In the absence of details of intercepts of telephones which have leaked and the context in which enquiry is to be made, it may be difficult to enquire into the aspect. Hence, you are requested to send the necessary details to take further action on the issue," the DoT said in its reply to the finance ministry.

Irked by the leakage of telephonic conversations, noted industrialist Ratan Tata moved the Supreme Court seeking action against those involved in the leakage of tapes containing his conversation with corporate lobbyist Ms Radia.

Mr Tata, in the petition, has contended that the leakage of the tapes have infringed upon his fundamental Right to Life, which includes right to privacy. He has made the central government a party in his petition.

Meanwhile, the government has set up a 15-member Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) for recommending effective monitoring of provisions of telephone tapping with a view to checking leakage to the public at large.

The Union home secretary will chair the IMG which will have secretaries of defence, DoT, IT, revenue, personnel and legal affairs among its members, according to a Cabinet secretary note.

The group will make recommendations on reviewing the comparable provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act and suggest amendments.


UTI Mutual Fund floats Fixed Term Income Fund-Series IX-II (369 Days)

UTI Mutual Fund new issue will close on 13 April 2011

UTI Mutual Fund has launched UTI-Fixed Term Income Fund-Series IX-II (369 Days), a close ended income scheme. It would mature on 16 April 2012.

The investment objective of the scheme is to generate returns by investing in a portfolio of fixed income securities maturing on or before the date of maturity of the scheme.

The scheme will allocate 5% to 100% of assets in debt including securitised debt with low to medium risk profile. The scheme may invest up to 50% of its debt portfolio in securitized debt. It would further allocate up to 95% of assets in money market instruments with low risk profile. The new issue will close on 13 April 2011.

The minimum investment amount is Rs10,000 under dividend option and Rs5,000 under growth option.

CRISIL Short Term Bond Fund Index is the benchmark index. Manish Joshi and Amandeep Chopra are fund managers and Kausik Basu is the fund manager for investment in ADRs/GDRs/foreign securities.


IndiaFirst Life crosses Rs900 crore in new business premium

IndiaFirst Life Insurance had crossed Rs900 crore in new business premium in the first 500 days of operations

IndiaFirst Life Insurance, a joint venture between Bank of Baroda and Andhra Bank along with UK's risk, wealth and investment company Legal & General, said that the company had crossed Rs900 crore in new business premium in the first 500 days of operations.

"With Rs703-crore of new business in 2010-11 and Rs200 crore in the 4.5 months of 2009-10, IndiaFirst crossed Rs900 crore of total new business in exactly 500 days of commencement of business operations on 16 November 2009. IndiaFirst Life Insurance MD & CEO P Nandagopal said.

"This is the fastest run rate by any life insurance company in the country," he said.

IndiaFirst is the fastest to achieve Rs100 crore in just 100 days of operations, Rs200 crore in 4.5 months of operations, and over Rs300 crore in under nine months from inception, resulting in the highest ever start-up phase productivity in the industry.

The company has covered 1.2 million lives during this period. The Total Assets Under Management (AUM) with the company at the close of 500 days was Rs1,000 crore, Nandagopal said.

The company plans to launch health insurance plan and pension plan shortly.

"We had pension plan till September. Now we intend to launch new pension plan in Q2 FY12 subject to new guidelines in place," Nandagopal said.
The company is also looking at launching health insurance plan shortly, he said.

The company aims to double its business in FY12 through increase in number of agents and branch network.

IndiaFirst has 350 licensed agents which will be increased to 1,000 agents. The company has further extended its distribution reach to all 4,800 branches of its partner banks to leverage the banks' existing database of over 50 million customers across 1000 cities/towns.

The company launched Ask Apply Get (AAG) - an innovative and customer friendly over-the-counter process to buy life insurance in the most hassle free manner over the counter in three minutes across its partner bank branches of Bank of Baroda and Andhra Bank. It also plans to launch its alternate distribution channel to further strengthen its reach.


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