Govt proposing to bar foreign engineers from running telecom networks

The government is proposing to amend the licence norms of telecom service providers to incorporate the condition that the dependence on foreign engineers for maintaining telecom networks in the country would be reduced to nil in two years

Amid debate over security concerns relating to telecom equipments by Chinese vendors, the government is proposing to make it mandatory that only Indian engineers would operate and maintain the networks, reports PTI.

The government is proposing to amend license of Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to incorporate a condition that the dependence on foreign engineers for maintaining telecom networks in the country would be reduced to nil in two years.

As per the proposed amendment, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has said "The licensee (telecom firm) should work towards a phased plan to take over the maintenance of the equipment locally... The operations and maintenance of networks should be entirely by Indian engineers and dependence on foreign engineers should be minimal and or almost nil within a period of two years from the date of this amendment."

The government had earlier asked operators to take security clearance before buying any key telecom gear. The telecom operators had been complaining about the strict rule, which forced the DoT to be very selective in giving approvals for equipment purchase.

The new amendments also made room for an Escrow deposit arrangement between the equipments suppliers and the telecom service providers wherein the suppliers shall keep all the information and documentation in relation to the supplies.

The information would include "without limitations, in respect to hardware, software, all source code, high level designs, detail design documents, listings and programmers note," it added.

The service providers shall have the right to use the escrow information, after its release, in order to use and maintain (including to upgrade) the software, to modify or have modified the software and to licence such modified software to or have it maintained by third parties.

However, it is yet to be ascertained that the new amendments are going to make it easier for foreign equipment vendors, especially Chinese vendors to supply gears to Indian operators.

The proposed amendment will also allow the telcos to allow third party (other than employees and servants of telecom service provider) to supply equipments and have access to the network only after a putting in place a legal agreement between the two with regard to security issues.

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Policies valid despite withdrawal of agency licences: IRDA

"The licences of the corporate agents will not be renewed with retrospective effect. The insurance policies will remain valid...the respective insurance companies will assign another agent," IRDA chief J Hari Narayan said

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) today sought to assure customers that their policies would remain valid despite the withdrawal of licences of over 4,200 corporate entities, including HDFC Bank, Indiabulls Insurance Advisors and Indian Overseas Bank, reports PTI.

At the same time, IRDA chairman J Hari Narayan said that the licences of the corporate agents would not be renewed with retrospective effect. Out of the 7,000 agents, IRDA withdrew licences of 4,261 agents, as they failed to renew them by 31st March this year.

"The licences of the corporate agents will not be renewed with retrospective effect. The insurance policies will remain valid...the respective insurance companies will assign another agent," Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) chief Hari Narayan told PTI.

IRDA on Tuesday evening cancelled the licences of 4,261 corporate agents, after they failed to renew their policies in time.

"The clients (insurance customers) should not do business with them (4,261 corporate agents). They have not applied for renewal of licences, so there licences currently stands cancelled," IRDA chief said.

Besides HDFC Bank and the Indian Overseas Bank, other agents whose licences were not renewed by IRDA include Oswal Consultancy, India Bulls Insurance Advisors, Bharat Overseas Bank, Max Healthcare Institute, Indian Medical Association (Pune) and Edelweiss Capital.

While withdrawing the licences of the corporate agents, IRDA had cautioned the public "not to transact any insurance business through them.

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COMMENTS

Raghavaiah Kurapati

6 years ago

Respective insurance companies should be allowed to allot these policies to be serviced by their senior advisers who have at least a hundred or more policies with continuity of renewals and also agent's license renewal. There should be a transparent procedure, though there is no immediate income, it generates new clients and new business to new agent.

Param Iyer

6 years ago

What a joke? How does this help customers? Have you even been assigned another agent - who cannot get the subsequent commission? He can only hope that his service generates another purchase - after 2 visits, he has to give up. The model is flawed...

Food inflation rises to 16.74%, may prompt RBI action

Analysts opine that the RBI may take steps to control money supply in a bid to cool inflation, which has remained at an elevated level despite moderation from 20% in December

Food inflation rose for the second consecutive week, pushed by higher prices of fruits, pulses and milk to 16.74%, prompting speculation that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may tighten money supply at its policy meet next month, reports PTI.

Food prices increased by 0.19 percentage point for the week ended 29th May from 16.55% in the previous week.

Prices of pulses shot up by 31%, that of milk by 21.1% and fruits by 18.7%.

Consumer staples, such as rice and wheat, turned costlier by 7% and 3% respectively. However, prices of potatoes and onions eased by 30.87% and 12.27% respectively.

The RBI, according to analysts, may take steps to control money supply in a bid to cool inflation, which has remained at an elevated level despite moderation from 20% in December.

The central bank is scheduled to announce its first quarter review of monetary policy on July 27.

The RBI may tighten monetary policy in the quarterly review next month, said Crisil chief economist D K Joshi.

"Food inflation would remain range-bound until next harvest season as there has been no sustained decline in food items. Once monsoon arrives, cereal prices may see a decline. So, food inflation would ease in the second half of the fiscal," he said.

On week-on-week basis, prices of beef rose by 8%, that of sea water fish by 3% and arhar, moong and fruits and vegetables by 1% each. However, bajra prices fell by a per cent.

Earlier this week, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia had said that inflation was likely to fall to 5%-6% by the end of the year.

"Inflation is too high to be comfortable...it is now decelerating...I am sure that by the end of this year, it will come down to 5%-6%," Mr Ahluwalia had said.

In April, the wholesale price-based inflation stood at 9.59%, slightly lower than the March number. The RBI has pegged the wholesale price-based inflation at 5.5% in the current fiscal.

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