New Delhi: Reflecting slow implementation of the special economic zone (SEZ) scheme, the government has given more time to as much as 184 special economic zone developers to execute their projects, reports PTI.
"...The Board of Approval (BoA) depending on merits of each case, have permitted extension of validity of approval of 184 SEZs beyond the initial three years...," minister of state for commerce and industry Jyotiraditya Scindia said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
BoA, headed by commerce secretary Rahul Khullar is an inter-ministerial body that deals with SEZs and related issues.
Requests for extension of validity period beyond the initial period of three years have been received from developers citing global economic slowdown/delay in getting requisite clearances etc. as grounds for extension.
Interest in SEZs, which give substantial tax benefits to units and developers, is also on the decline, as the draft Direct Taxes Code (DTC) of the government proposes to curtail the sops.
The DTC Bill, if cleared by Parliament, will overhaul the country's Income Tax Act.
SEZs have emerged as major sources of attracting investments and increasing exports.
During April-September 2010-11, physical exports from 122 operational tax free enclaves stood at Rs1,39,841 crore, an increase of 55.8% over the year ago period.
In the last four years, the government has approved 580 SEZs.
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has collected documents from the ministry of corporate affairs about companies which were granted spectrum allegedly in an arbitrary fashion between September 2007 and January 2008, reports PTI.
According to CBI sources, the MCA documents deal with the shareholding of the company and the investments brought in the firms from abroad.
The documents include list of shareholders and whether there was any set of directors during the time of grant of Spectrum who could have influenced the issuance of licences.
Among the companies whose documents were taken for examination included Reliance Communications, Etisalat-DB led by D Balwaa, Loop Telecom and Unitech-owned Uninor.
E-mail requests sent to these companies for reaction remained unanswered.
The CBI had searched some of these companies last year in connection with the spectrum issue and claimed to have seized documents related to alleged irregularities in allocation of second generation (2G) spectrum to some of the new players.
The CBI registered a case against unknown Department of Telecom (DoT) officials and unknown private persons and companies charging them with criminal conspiracy and corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act last year.
Ever since the licences were issued in 2008, there has been widespread criticism and claims that there could have been loss of thousands of crores to the exchequer on account of irregularities.
The CBI had searched offices of Wireless Planning Cell (WPC), the department responsible for allocating spectrum, and the office of Deputy Director General (Access Services) of the telecom ministry to probe the allegations of connivance of officials with private companies in allocation of spectrum.
"It has been alleged that there had been serious irregularities in the award of Unified Access Services Licences to private companies.
"As per information received, there was criminal conspiracy between certain officials of DoT and private persons and companies in order to award licences to these companies by putting a cap on the number of applicants against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendations," CBI said in its first information report (FIR).
It also said the licences had been awarded to private companies on first-come-first-serve basis on the rates of 2001 without any competitive bidding.
New Delhi: Air traffic continued on its growth path in October with the number of passengers carried by domestic airlines increasing by over seven lakh while Jet Airways and its no-frill subsidiary JetLite gained a market share of more than 26%, reports PTI.
The total domestic passengers carried by scheduled Indian airlines last month was 46.17 lakh, compared to 39.11 lakh in September, official air traffic figures released today said.
While Jet Airways and JetLite together carried 12.13 lakh, it was followed by Kingfisher-Kingfisher Red combine with 8.77 lakh and Air India (Domestic) with 8.16 lakh.
As in the past, no-frill carrier IndiGo flew 7.75 lakh passengers in October, Spice Jet carried 6.30 lakh and GoAir 3.06 lakh, the figures showed.
In the market share for October, Jet-JetLite combine bagged 26.2%, Kingfisher 19%, Air India (Domestic) 17.7%, IndiGo 16.8%, SpiceJet 13.6% and GoAir 6.6%.
No-frill airlines IndiGo and SpiceJet led the way in seat factor, or the average percentage of seats per aircraft filled during a flight, recording 86.1% and 84.4% respectively while Air India (Domestic) was the lowest at 70.8%, the figures showed.