The market is likely to witness a tepid opening on the back of mixed cues from the global markets. Wall Street closed with modest gains overnight with two of the three indices settling in the green on positive economic data. On the other hand, the Asian markets were mostly down in early trade on Friday on renewed concerns over the debt crisis in Europe and on speculations that China will raise rates this weekend to curb inflation and growth. The SGX Nifty was down 14 points at 5,778 against its previous close of 5,792 on Thursday.
The market opened with minor gains yesterday, but profit-taking in early trade sent the key indices into the red. A recovery followed soon, lifting the market higher. However, choppy trade and another bout of selling added to the market's woes. A rise in weekly food inflation numbers also added to the pressure. Mid-cap and small-cap stocks continued to be a drag for the fifth day in a row. The losses widened in the post-noon session sending the indices further southwards. Finally, the Sensex tumbled 454.12 points (2.31%) lower to close at 19,242.36 while the Nifty declined 137.20 points (2.32%) at 5,766.50.
The US markets closed with modest gains overnight with two of the three key indices ending higher on good economic news. Investors kept a watch on the bond market following slumping demand there in recent days that prompted sharp gains in bond yields. In economic news, initial unemployment claims fell higher-than-expected last week, but the previous week's figures were revised slightly upward. Besides, inventories of US wholesalers rose more-than-expected in October, while fast-growing sales also signalled some underlying support for the economy.
The Dow declined 2.42 points (0.02%) to 11,370.06. The S&P 500 Index .SPX added 4.72 points (0.38%) to 1,233.00. The Nasdaq gained 7.51 points (0.29%) to 2,616.67.
Markets in Asia were mostly down on Friday as concerns regarding the rate hike by the Chinese government to curb inflation spooked investors across the region. A downward revision in Ireland’s credit rating by three notches by Fitch after the Eurozone member sought international aid also added to the fears.
The Hang Seng was down 0.29%, the Jakarta Composite tanked 1.10%, the KLSE Composite shed 0.10%, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.43%, the Straits Times declined 0.79%, the Seoul Composite was down 0.19% and the Taiwan Weighted lost 0.33%. Bucking the trend, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.06% in early trade. The SGX Nifty was down 14 points at 5,778 against its previous close of 5,792 on Thursday.
With credit demand picking up and liquidity crunch yet to ease, bankers are expecting a cut in key policy ratio—Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)—by 1% in the mid-term monetary policy review by RBI, a top bank official said.
The mid-term monetary policy review is due on 16th December. Lowering CRR, the amount of funds banks have to keep with RBI, by one per cent is projected to infuse Rs50,000-Rs60,000 crore into the economy.
The Tata group chief has replied to the open letter written by promoter of BPL Mobile and Rajya Sabha MP in a very hard-hitting manner, something unheard of from the group. But in the end, Mr Tata has also pulled the BJP-led NDA regime into the 2G spectrum allocation controversy
Industrialist Rata Tata has in a hard-hitting response said that the open letter written by Rajeev Chandrashekhar, member of parliament (MP), is nothing but the current trend of attempted character assassination through widespread media publicity, couched in pain and concern for upholding ethics and values. The reply by Mr Tata and a counter-reply by Mr Chandrashekhar has ignited a new public debate that everyone, including the media, is keenly watching.
In a letter (a copy of which is with Moneylife), Mr Tata said," Your (Mr Chandrashekhar's) letter is based on untruths and distortion of facts and l feel compelled to place the real facts, as bluntly as possible before you. l hope this will also be broadly disseminated to the same audience as your letter. l am of course well aware that some media houses will choose not to publish or air my response in deference of their owners, who are the real gainers in the telecom sector, with whom you have unfortunately aligned to provide a massive diversion of attention away from the real culprits in the telecom space."
"Your (Mr Chandrashekhar) affiliation with a particular political party is well known and it appears that their political aspirations and their endeavour to embarrass the Prime Minister and the ruling party may well have been the motivation behind your letter and the insinuations which you make," the Tata group chairman said in the letter.
He further said Mr Chandrashekhar approached him to sign an appeal to the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani and then finance minister Jaswant Singh, not to allow fixed mobile service providers to provide mobile services. Mr Tata said," l am also enclosing a copy of my letter to Mr Vajpayee dated 12 January 2001, in which l advocated an open, transparent process giving all parties a chance to be heard-a stance that I have not changed till date. This had angered you and the other operators who were not interested in a level playing field and lobbied aggressively through COAI to ensure that a technologically agnostic environment would not come to pass." (COAI stands for Cellular Operators Association of India.)
In his reply today to Mr Tata's letter, Mr Chandrashekhar said, "I am only disappointed, but no longer surprised, that in sharp contrast to my efforts to go out of the way to keep this debate relating to facts and policy discussions-your letter is intensely personal, attributes feeble motives (including amusing political ones) and is most unbecoming of the House of Tatas. I can only think that this is a lapse in good judgment. I particularly find your self-appointed defence of the Prime Minister and Government very irrelevant."
The whole episode of allegations and counter-allegations erupted when the Niira Radia tapes were leaked and published by sections of the media. In some tapes, it is reported that Mr Tata was discussing some issues with Ms Radia, who is known as a lobbyist. Incidentally, it is Ms Radia's firm, Vaishnavi Corporate Communications, which handles all public relations (PR) for the Tata group.
Defending the decision to appoint an external agency as PR service provider, Mr Tata said that about 10 years ago the group was under attack in a media campaign to defame its ethics and value systems and it was instituted and sustained through an unholy nexus between certain corporates and the media through selected journalists.
"As Tatas did not enjoy any such 'captive connections' in this environment, the Tata Group had no option but to seek an external agency focused at projecting its point of view in the media and countering the misinformation and vested interest viewpoints which were being expressed. Vaishnavi was commissioned for this purpose and has operated effectively since 2001," the Tata group chief said.
Calling the present situation in the telecom industry and political scenario as a "smokescreen", Mr Tata said, "When the present sensational smokescreen dies down, as it will, and the true facts emerge, it will be for the people of India to determine who are the culprits that enjoy political patronage and protection and who actually subvert policy and who have dual standards. I can hold my head high and say that neither the Tata Group nor l have at any time been involved in any of these misdeeds."
"The selective reporting and your (Mr Chandrashekhar's) own selective focus appear to be diversionary actions to deflect attention away from the real issue which plagues the telecom industry, in the interest of a few powerful politically connected operators. Perhaps it is time that you (Mr Chandrashekhar) and members of the media do some introspection and soul searching as to whether you (Mr Chandrashekhar) have been serving your masters or serving the general public at large," the Tata group chairman added.
Click here to see the letter written by Mr Ratan Tata to Mr Rajeev Chandrashekhar.
New Delhi: A day after the Supreme Court favoured the probe into the second generation (2G) scam covering the time since 2001, the government today announced setting up of a one-man panel to look into the spectrum allocation procedures and policies during 2001-2009, a period that includes NDA regime, reports PTI.
Announcing the decision, telecom minister Kapil Sibal told reporters that the one-man committee of retired Supreme Court Justice Shivraj V Patil, will “examine appropriateness of procedures (adopted) by the Department of Telecom (DoT) in the issuances of licences and allocation of spectrum during the period 2001-2009.”
Incidentally, Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata also sought a probe into spectrum allocation since 2001 saying the maximum flip-flops in the telecom policy occurred during the BJP rule.
He also alleged that change from auction to revenue sharing for telecom operators at that time could have caused a loss of Rs50,000 crore to the exchequer, going by the yardsticks adopted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for 2G spectrum.
The inquiry by the one-man committee is likely to be completed within four weeks so that the government knows the entire gamut of procedures adopted for grant of spectrum not only to 122 licencees (by former Telecom minister A Raja in 2008) but also before that, both in the category of start-up and additional spectrum.
Once the government has the inquiry findings with it, a decision would be taken on how to move forward. “(The) objective is to tell people of this country that how the spectrum was given and we will put this in the public domain,” he added.
During 2001-04, the BJP-led NDA government was at the Centre. Former telecom minister A Raja had been saying that he only followed the policies of his predecessors. Mr Raja was forced to resign last month in the wake of CAG report that put the revenue loss to the exchequer at Rs1.76 lakh crore for distributing licences in 2008 at 2001 prices.
Mr Sibal also clarified that a one-man committee had nothing to do with issuing show-cause notices to alleged ineligible applicants, which he said was a separate exercise.
There are several terms of references, which will be finalised with the one-man committee, Mr Sibal said, adding that the committee will look into various procedures followed in issuing licences during the 2001-09 period.
When asked about the objective of such a committee when the government auditor CAG has already given its report, Mr Sibal said, “CAG is a constitutional body, it has recommendatory authority. They (CAG) have given the report and the same is being examined by the Parliamentary Panel.”
“Broadly speaking, we are looking at the internal departmental procedures adopted by the DoT during the period 2001-09 with the issuance of telecom, access service licences and allocation of spectrum to all telecom access service licencees during the above period,” the minister said.