Consumer Issues
Home Ministry wants national roaming restricted under the NTP

Home Ministry had no objections on removing the roaming charges but wants roaming facility to be restricted in certain regions and circles due to security considerations

New Delhi: The 'one-nation-one-number' provision, which exempts users from paying roaming charges under the National Telecom Policy 2012 (NTP-2012), will not be applicable in areas like Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast where Home Ministry has imposed restrictions on providing roaming facilities to pre-paid mobile subscribers, reports PTI.

In a slew of objections over the NTP-12, which was passed by the Union Cabinet last week, the Home Ministry has also asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) to ensure that in all policies related to number portability, law enforcement agencies are consulted.

On 'one-nation-one number' policy, the Ministry said it had no objections on removing the roaming charges but restrictions on roaming facility may have to be imposed in respect of certain regions and circles on security considerations from time to time.

The policy will not be applicable in restricted areas like Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast as Home Ministry has imposed restrictions on providing roaming facilities on pre-paid mobile subscribers.

Among the nine issue pointed out by the Ministry in its note about the NTP-12, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) also figures prominently.

"Enabling and enforcement of VoIP facility, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and law enforcement agencies should be consulted suitably at implementation stage," the note said.

Mushrooming of unregistered VoIP or Internet Telephony has become a security problem as the origin of caller and time of call cannot be ascertained prompting central agencies to ask service providers to come up with a solution within a month.

There have been series of meetings of security agencies with DoT, National Technical Research Organisation and service providers have failed to come up with any solution to block the unregistered VoIP, who operate from outside the boundaries of the country.

Now under NTP-12, the service providers have to work out a solution for real time interception and providing exact information of its origin of VoIP, the sources said.

Central security agencies have expressed concern over the lack of real time monitoring of communication exchanges taking place over the Internet and that telecom operators were not providing them the real time data of these conversations which is a security risk, they said.

The Ministry also informed the DoT of its previous note where the Telecom department had agreed to the Home Ministry's stand that long term security lies in an increased production of critical components (both hardware and software) in India.

The MHA also asked DoT to set up national test bed capabilities where all tests of imported components to check malware can be done within next two years as agreed in earlier meetings.

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Delhi International Airport questions CAG audit

GMR-led DIAL said it won the bid to development Delhi airport through a global tender where terms like concessional land and usage of 5% of airport land for commercial purposes were available to all bidders

New Delhi: Questioning the jurisdiction of The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) which had detected a loss of Rs1.63 lakh crore in the leasing of land to GMR-led private operator, the Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd (DIAL) on Monday said the concessions available to it to run the Delhi airport were part of the bid documents and were available to every bidder, reports PTI.

CAG, in its draft audit report which is yet to be tabled in Parliament, states that DIAL could earn Rs1.63 lakh crore over a period of 60 years from land that leased out for a mere Rs100 per year.

"At the outset we would like to state that DIAL, being a public-private partnership, does not come under the purview of CAG audit," DIAL said in a statement.

GMR-led DIAL said it had won the bid to development Delhi airport through a global tender where terms like concessional land and usage of 5% of airport land for commercial purposes were available to all bidders.

"The bid process and conditions were reviewed and upheld by the Supreme Court of India in 2006," it said.

Stating that the figure of Rs1.63 lakh crore as value of land was "theoretical and grossly misleading", it said the amount of revenue accruing to DIAL over 58 years does not represent the time value of money.

"It (Rs1.63 lakh crore) is simply the absolute amount of revenues that accrue to DIAL over 58 years (45.99% of the same will be shared with Airport Authority of India) and does not represent the time value of money. The net present value of this land would be only Rs4,547 crore (about Rs19 crore per acre)," the statement said.

On CAG's criticism of Civil Aviation Ministry allowing DIAL to charge airport development fees (ADF) from air passengers in violation of agreement, the operator said development fee is a form of pre-funding that is globally applied in number of airports.

"ADF is permitted under Section 22A of the AAI Act and this was known to all bidders. Hence this was not a post bid change," it said.

CAG had stated there was no mention of a development fee in the original bid and levying of such a charge violated the Operation Management Development Agreement (OMDA).

GMR-led DIAL said the levy of development fee was necessitated on account of inability of AAI to infuse further equity and lenders not willing to provide further debt.

The imposition of the development fee on passengers at Delhi airport came under attack in the Rajya Sabha last month with CPI-M, BJP, SP and BSP members questioning the levy for incoming passengers.

"For DIAL, it must be noted that, amount of DF levied directly reduces the basis used for calculating the aeronautical tariff at the airport to be charged from passengers and airlines," the statement said adding passengers and airlines would have else been paying 200% of additional tariff hike.

"As a result, DF is actually detrimental to DIAL as it meant a loss of nearly Rs 546 crore of revenue per year," it said adding DIAL has delivered world class infrastructure in fulfilment of its commitment under the concession document.

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Baba Ramdev's Trust gets notice from Service Tax department

Haridwar-based Patanjali Yog Peeth has been issued notice for for sale of coupons of different denominations for organising 'yog shivirs' across the country

New Delhi: After Income Tax, it is now turn of the Service Tax department to issue a notice of Rs4.94 crore dues to Yoga guru Baba Ramdev's trust for alleged duty evasion on its income raised through country-wide 'yog shivirs' (camps), reports PTI.

The department's snoop and investigation wing, Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI), has also launched a scrutiny of accounts of various activities conducted by the trusts run by Ramdev across the country since 2006.

The latest tax notice, after the Income Tax department had slapped a notice of Rs58 crore against Baba Ramdev's trusts, has been issued against the Haridwar-based Patanjali Yog Peeth for "sale of coupons" of different denominations for organising 'yog shivirs', both residential and non-residential.

Thousands of people have participated in these camps conducted across the country in the last five years.

In his reaction, Ramdev's spokesperson SK Tijarawala said they will counter the Service Tax department's action.

"We are replying to the notice. Yog shivirs are classified under the category of providing medical relief which cannot be termed as earning commercial profit," he said.

Sources said income generated from Ramdev's yoga camps, in which people participate after buying coupons, is liable to be brought under the service tax domain.

Under service tax provisions, Yoga is in the taxable list of health and fitness services.

Sources said agency sleuths, during the investigation, recorded country-wide price tags of coupons which were sold in an increasing value order from the back row to the front during these 'yog shivirs'.

The DGCEI has also recorded that while the coupons for non-residential Yoga camps ranged from Rs51-Rs7,000, the rates at residential camps for facilities like air-conditioned tents would cost between Rs8,000-Rs12,000.

The agency has now launched a scrutiny of the balance sheets and ledgers of all the 'shivirs' conducted by Ramdev's trusts in the last five years, following which, sources said, the I-T department will also be informed about the income from these avenues which could have escaped the Income Tax net.

Recently an I-T notice, for the assessment year 2009-10, on Haridwar-based Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust, Divya Yoga Mandir Trust and Bharat Swabhiman Trust have been slapped on the income of Rs120 crore which the I-T department has held as "commercial activities".

Baba Ramdev's trusts have challenged this I-T order saying they have nothing to hide.

Baba Ramdev, who is leading a campaign against black money in the country, heads an organisation that runs the trusts which manages the manufacture and sale of ayurvedic medicines in India and abroad.

His trusts have been enjoying tax exemption under the provisions relating to charitable organisations for the last few years.

Baba Ramdev's trusts are also under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for alleged contravention of foreign exchange rules.

The yoga guru, had last year declared his business empire to be worth more than Rs1,100 crore. The capital involving the four trusts run by him totalled Rs426.19 crore while the expenditure incurred on them amounted to Rs751.02 crore.

While the Divya Yoga Mandir trust has a capital of Rs249.63 crore, Patanjali Yoga Peeth trust has Rs164.80 crore, Bharat Swabhiman trust Rs9.97 crore and Acharyakul Shiksha Sansthan Rs1.79 crore, all totalling Rs426.19 crore.

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COMMENTS

Satayanarayan Behera

5 years ago

ITS A REPETATION OFJAJIA TAX which was emposed during Mogal invedars rulling and now its by congress MADAM

Satyanarayan Behera

5 years ago

Tax lelief to Crickters and IPL but not YOGA. Tax reliefe to GOLD marchet, etc but not to YOGA This is our congress leaders mind set up to get in return bLACK MONEY

Vijay

5 years ago

There had been thousands of Yog Shivirs organized for last 8-9 years and many of the officers of government from IT deptt. have taken advantage from these shivirs, then what is the justification in issuing the IT notice now only?. One of the reason may be the Baba Ramdev's rebel against current govt.
Govt. should understand now, there will be no difference in the attitudes of the people whom Baba have aroused against corruption and black-money.

Prakash

5 years ago

Tehelka completely closed their investigation wing after harassment of all these tax/duty departments after the Bangaru episode.

I hope that Ramdev will not meet the same fate.

D P

5 years ago

Congress is taking vendetta on innocents and will have to pay heavily come elections.

S L DAS

5 years ago

The congress led UPA govt. has become brainless and lost credibility of people.

Sudhirb

5 years ago

Hindus had to pay a 'religious tax' called 'Jajia' during the times of Mughals to perform their religious rights. Now the Congress Govt. has imposed its own Jajia on Yog camps of Baba Ram Dev. It will cost Congress dearly.

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