An Assocham study noted that presently out of 1,112 directorships of 100 companies listed on the BSE, only 59 positions-or 5.3%-are held by women. This figure compares with 15% in Canada, 14.5% in the US and 12.2% in Britain
New Delhi: Coinciding with International Women's Day, the corporate affairs ministry today said it would make it mandatory for companies having five or more independent directors to have at least one female independent director, reports PTI.
Companies having five or more independent directors would have to necessarily have at least one female independent director, corporate affairs minister Murli Deora said today.
The proposal would be part of Companies Bill 2009, which is expected to be tabled in the current session of Parliament.
Industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) in a study titled 'Corporate Women: Close the Gender Gap and Dream Big' on Monday said that women executives would play a fundamental role in shaping market-leading institutions.
However, the study said that presently out of 1,112 directorships of 100 companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, only 59 positions-or 5.3%-are held by women.
This figure compares with 15% in Canada, 14.5% in the US and 12.2% in Britain.
Last month, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said Companies Bill 2009, which seeks to replace a half-a-century-old Act, would be presented in Parliament in the ongoing session.
"The Companies Bill introduced in Parliament in 2009 has been received by the Parliamentary Standing Committee. The proposed Bill will be introduced in Lok Sabha in current session," Mr Mukherjee had said.
Subscribers of MTNL and BSNL are being charged for 3G data services irrespective of whether the 3G network is available at all locations in the telecom circle. Similarly, operators are charging for VAS on data services, even from subscribers who have not subscribed for this, while some are charging as high as Rs260 a day for GPRS services. Is there anyone who will regulate these errant operators?
After the launch of third generation (3G) services by a few operators, it was believed that tariff plans would earn more through data charges and not just call charges. While the changes-even the launch of 3G services-have yet to happen, what is stunning is that almost all operators are asking subscribers or deducting more money from customers on the pretext of providing data packages, irrespective of whether they provide 3G services, the old 2G or general packet radio service (GPRS).
In addition, this is not limited to mobile service providers, but applies to all telecom companies that provide data services. Moreover, companies like Vodafone and Bharti Airtel have published ads for 3G services; however, when someone from Mumbai inquired about tariffs, these companies chose to keep mum, till Tuesday afternoon. More on this later.
K Pushkar, a subscribers of Reliance Telecom (RCom) for Netconnect broadband services, found that the company had charged him Rs2,125.04 for value added services (VAS) apart from his regular tariff. He had opted for the tariff plan called Brdband10GBCTY12m200, through which he is supposed to get 10GB of data download/upload free of cost and would be charged Rs200 per GB of data. When he inquired with RCom, he was told, "These charges are for any other data usage made during the bill period apart from the free data usage provided as per the opted data tariff plan."
The only problem is that neither did Mr Pushkar opt for any VAS, nor did the company or its representative tell him about it. In addition, RCom did not provide any details about VAS charges, and instead asked Mr Pushkar to check the details of his usage on the company website.
RCom officials were not immediately available for comment.
Earlier, this writer had reported about mobile service providers charging more money for data services while roaming. (Read, 'Mobile phone shock: Pay extra for roaming to use data service'). A few days ago, Idea Cellular, the service provider that had emptied my balance, under the pretext of data charges while roaming, gave me another shock.
After my first experience, I opted for an unlimited data pack at Rs98 a month. The month passed by peacefully. Then, since the last day of my data package limit was a Sunday, I could not re-subscribe to the package. But on Monday, I got a jolt when I found that Idea had deducted Rs260 from my pre-paid account leaving a balance of a meagre Rs1.40.
So I called Idea customer services. As is the common tale, it took me over 10 minutes to get connected. Imagine my surprise when I heard a recorded message that I would be charged for talking to the company's representative. Left with no option, I decided to carry on and talk to the customer services representative on a per minute call tariff. The first minute was utilised by the representative to note down my details (that would be available from the company's computerised records visible on a computer screen before the representative). The representative told me he would have to check my complaint and that he would attend to me again in a few minutes. I was kept on hold for an extended period.
The representative came back on the line and told me that I was charged for browsing the internet. On asking for details, he said that I had used 1,300KB of data and was charged at 2paisa per KB. Even if I had used the data, by the rate he mentioned I should have been charged Rs26 and not Rs260. Moreover, this data was used in a single day. I wonder whether anybody, anywhere has paid Rs260 a day for browsing the internet from a mobile, that too for a total data usage of just 1.3MB!
I am still waiting for an explanation from Idea, which I am quite certain-from my previous experiences-will not come. What surprised me further, was that when I asked the representative whether I could unsubscribe from the data services, he replied in the negative. Presently, I am using an Idea SIM on my cell phone that does not have internet facility, to be on the safe side.
Are RCom and Idea the only operators over-charging on the pretext of data usage? Unfortunately, nearly all telecom service providers are trying to earn more revenues from subscribers through various means. For example, state-run MTNL and BSNL offer 3G services on mobile, but their 3G network is available in select areas only. The question is why do subscribers have to pay higher charges for 3G, when the service is not available in all areas? If a subscriber pays for 3G services, he/she must be able to use the 3G service at any place within the circle.
If this is not the case, the mobile operator should charge according to the availability of the network. Else, what is the point in paying for 3G services when all one is getting is a GPRS? It is an issue that consumer organisations would do well to take up with the authorities, like TRAI, the telecom regulator, and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
There is another interesting aspect. While state-run MTNL and BSNL have launched 3G services, private operators Tata DoCoMo, RCom and Bharti Airtel are offering the services in different circles. During the telecast of the cricket World Cup matches, you will see ads about 3G services from Vodafone. However, if someone from Mumbai wants to know the tariff and other details about the 3G services, company representatives are mum. They keep telling callers to wait for a few more days. The country's largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel has launched 3G services in the Mumbai circle only on Tuesday. As of today, only MTNL, RCom and now Airtel offer 3G services in the lucrative Mumbai circle, whereas Vodafone has not even said when they expect to launch the services.
Read related reports: Mobile phone shock: Pay extra for roaming to use data service,
3G fallout: Call-based tariffs to give way to data-based tariffs,
MNP turning out to be a mere 'placebo' for subscribers; mobile operators' margins may take a hit,
SBI Life Smart Wealth Assure is a single premium plan and offers policyholders optional accidental death benefit and partial withdrawal facility from 6th policy year onwards
SBI Life Insurance has launched a unit linked plan-Smart Wealth Assure-aiming to provide guaranteed fixed returns to the policyholder.
Smart Wealth Assure guarantees at inception a pre-specified net asset value (NAV) applicable at the end of the 10-year term, SBI Life said in a statement.
SBI Life Smart Wealth Assure is a single premium plan and offers policyholders optional accidental death benefit and partial withdrawal facility from 6th policy year onwards.
The scheme would be available at a minimum amount of Rs50,000, and would cover policyholders from eight years to a maximum 65 years of age with a policy term of 10 to 30 years.
The fund would provide guaranteed fixed return, which provide the policyholder to choose for either of equity fund or P/E managed fund or bond fund.
Usually the return guarantee fund aims to provide guaranteed fixed return by investing mostly in fixed income securities, namely debt instruments.
With launch of Smart Wealth Assure, SBI Life now has a bouquet of eight Ulips catering to the long-term wealth creation and life insurance needs of varied customer segments.
As of January 2011, SBI Life's market share among private life insurers stood at 18.9%, while it was 5.6% when it came to total market share.