Govt to add natural gas, fertilisers in core sector data

Currently, the government evaluates performance of six key sectors-crude oil, petroleum refinery, cement, electricity, finished steel and coal-on a monthly basis. The new series, which will have data for eight key sectors, would be released on 10th June

New Delhi: The government has decided to include natural gas and fertilisers in the list of core sector infrastructure industries, a move which will help in capturing performance of economy in a better way, reports PTI.

Currently, the government evaluates performance of six key sectors-crude oil, petroleum refinery, cement, electricity, finished steel and coal-on a monthly basis.

The new series, which will have data for eight key sectors, would be released on 10th June, an official told PTI.

"Now we will add two new categories-natural gas and fertilisers. The addition will increase the weight of the core sector to about 37% in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP)," the official added.

Presently, the six infrastructure industries have a weight of 26.7% in the overall IIP.

On 10th June, the government would also come up with the new index to measure the factory output. The base year for the new IIP series will be changed to 2004-05 from 1993-94.

"The new IIP numbers will give the weight for these two categories," the official said.

According to experts, the new IIP series will reflect the industrial scenario better as a result of the change in the base year for the benefit of policy makers and market participants.

The expansion of core sector list follows similar measures undertaken for computation of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and IIP.

The new WPI series, with base year 2004-05 and launched in September, 010, has 241 more items than the old index. The WPI now measures a total of 676 items against 435 earlier.

The output of the six core infrastructure industries grew by 7.4% in March 2011, an improvement from the 6.8% expansion clocked a year ago.

For the fiscal 2010-11, the key infrastructure sectors expanded by 5.9%, as against 5.5% in the previous year.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), an industry ministry arm, releases the core data.

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TRAI may get more teeth; likely to be on par with SEBI

The telecom ministry is looking to give more powers to TRAI, which will bring it on par with the civil courts or market regulatory body like SEBI by amending the TRAI Act, 1997

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) may soon get powers to summon persons and penalise operators for violating licence conditions, if the amended Act, which has proposed to give more teeth to the regulator, comes into effect, reports PTI.

The telecom ministry is looking to give more powers to TRAI, which will bring it on par with the civil courts or market regulatory body like the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) by amending the TRAI Act, 1997.

"The provision is aimed at conferring powers of a civil court on TRAI so that the authority can summon persons and examine them on oath, production of documents and also calls for expert assistance in conducting inquiries," according to an internal note of the telecom ministry.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has sought comments from the regulator and different wings of the ministry by 20th May this year.

"TRAI should also have the power to impose suitable monetary penalty on the licensee for non-compliance of terms and conditions of license," the note said.

The proposed amendment is in line with the draft regulatory reform bill prepared by the Planning Commission.

The letter also added that the proposed amendment would provide the statutory framework empowering TRAI to deal with the problem of telemarketing calls in an effective manner.

DoT, however, is silent on several other demands raised by TRAI.

It said it would seek an internal consensus on TRAI's long-pending demand for more powers to resolve connectivity disputes between mobile phone companies.

It has also not cleared TRAI's request for powers to penalise operators for non-compliance of terms and conditions of their licence.

Last year, TRAI had recommended to the DoT to cancel 69 telecom licences of five operators, including joint ventures of Telenor-Unitech, Etisalat-Swan and Sistema-Shyam, for their failure to rollout services and for delayed launch of mobile service.

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