The idea of booking a rail ticket anytime, anywhere through mobile sounds very good but IRCTC's latest initiative lack ease of use, necessary support and finishing touches due to which the facility fails to live up to its expectation
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC) recently launched its mobile ticket booking facility with a promise to allow passengers book rail tickets with just a few clicks. However, there are lots of initial hiccups in the system that many passengers are facing. The main problem is not being able to download the application on their handsets.
To start with, one needs to visit IRCTC's mobile facility page from their computer. However, the link https://www.irctc.co.in/mobile redirects you to IRCTC's home page instead of the specific page. Here is the link from IRCTC's mobile zone, https://www.irctc.co.in/beta_htmls/index.htm, but it also takes you to a notification page, which shows the previous link that is not clickable.
You need to visit the webpage of different service providers like atom, ngpay and PayMate from the links under the mobile zone menu, available on the IRTC home page. Clicking on respective service providers' link will take to their page for the mobile ticket booking facility. Here all three service providers ask the visitor to submit their mobile number on which they would send a link to download the application.
I provided my mobile number on all three—atom, ngpay and PayMate pages. However, except from PayMate, I still have not received any SMS or link from others for downloading the application. Basically, I do not understand the logic of asking for a mobile number and then sending link for download through an SMS, instead of simply providing the application for downloading on the pages itself.
One of the service providers, who do not want to be named, said, "Sending link through an SMS is the easiest way. As the application can be downloaded from a link to a website, it otherwise would be difficult for us to share the specific link. There also is user inertia in terms of typing the complete link in a mobile browser."
After crossing the first hurdle of receiving the link from PayMate, my next test began. After clicking on the link, I was directed towards a page from PayMate, which lists BlackBerry, LG, Micromax, Motorola, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson as vendors. People who use Samsung, Apple, HTC and other brand handsets have to choose 'others' as a vendor and then provide the vendor name and model number that you are using. Even after submitting this info, the mobile application is nowhere to be seen. PayMate says they will send me another SMS with the download link! And I am still waiting for the exact download link of the application.
So, though the idea of booking a rail ticket through mobile sounds very good, one would be able to use it only after passing through the hurdles. One thing common between the applications from atom, ngpay and PayMate is it not only provides facility to book railway ticket but also provides number of things like utility bill payment, shopping, movie ticket booking, and subscriptions and so on.
Instead of sending SMSs and asking for various details from the user, it would be better for all these service providers to make the application easily available for download from their website. Recently, I wrote about a mobile application, m-Indicator, that is used by more than 16 lakh commuters from Mumbai to check local train timings, BEST bus routes and stops and auto and taxi fares from the metro city. The reason for increasing popularity for m-Indicator can be contributed to the fact that it is easily available for downloading and sharing. Off course, they do earn revenues through the initial SMS sent for registration, but overall it is free. Let’s see, if the IRCTC and its service providers follow similar module to spread mobile ticket booking application or stick with the 'hurdles all the way' method.
As a concept, booking rail tickets through a mobile handset is not new. You can do it through your mobile browser and there is no need to download any application, especially from IRCTC. However, the applications provided by atom, ngpay and PayMate provides more security features for money transactions compared with normal web browsing through mobile. And this is where the chances of success for all these mobile rail ticket booking applications lie, provided they can simply the process.
The consumer body says that the advertising code is based on international codes, advertising standards maintained by countries like Ireland, the UK and also on the Advertising Standard Council of India’s code
Ahmedabad-based consumer organisation Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC) had prepared a detailed draft code on advertisement standards to address issues like misleading, false, unfair, harmful, discriminatory, unsubstantiated and surrogate advertisement, against the background of a proposed law on advertising by the government.
CERC says that the advertising code is based on international codes, advertising standards maintained by countries like Ireland, the UK and also on the Advertising Standard Council of India’s (ASCI) code.
The ASCI is currently the self regulatory watch dog on the advertising industry in India. The CERC code, apart from giving general rules—principles, substantiation, legality, prices, comparison, guarantee, honesty, safety—that has to be followed by the advertisers, also gave detailed guidelines for niche segments advertising like beauty and health, products and service endorsing slimming, promising employment, gaming and betting, etc. It has also laid advertising guidelines for broader sectors like finance, environment, etc. CERC is conducting a workshop on “Protecting Consumers against Misleading Advertisements” on 7th January 2012.
To give some examples, CERC’s code for advertising for health and beauty products says that it should not contain any offer to diagnose, advice, prescribe or treat by correspondence; encourage indiscriminate and should not suggest that the product or treatment is safe/ effective because it is ‘natural’ nor should it refer to the omission of any ingredient in a way that suggests it is unsafe or harmful. It also says that an ad should not suggest or imply that a well balanced diet needs to be augmented by vitamins or minerals on a regular basis.
Talking specifically advertisements on hair recovery services and products, the CERC code says that it should not claim that a particular product or treatment can prevent baldness or slow it down, arrest or reverse hair loss, stimulate or improve hair growth, nourish hair roots, strengthen the hair or improve its health unless substantiated.
There are often advertisements claiming easy and quick weight loss. However, many of them make misleading claims to lure gullible consumers. The CERC code says that such advertising should not make a claim, unless substantiated, that long-term slimming, weight loss or inch loss can be achieved either generally or from specific areas of the body by any means other than dieting, for instance by expelling water, speeding up the metabolism, etc. It also says that, “An advertisement should not suggest that persons of normal weight need to slim. ‘Crash diets’ should not be advertised because of the danger that such diets can pose to the health of dieters not under medical supervision.”
Similarly, ads of medicine should not use fear or anxiety to promote the cure from an illness and should not use health professionals or celebrities to endorse medicines. It should also show accurate illustrations of the effect or action of any product and a label of warning should be fixed stating that symptoms persists, the doctor should be consulted.
Advertisements related to training courses and employment opportunities, experts say, leads in making misleading claims. Often people fall in their trap and end up losing their money. CERC says that training courses advertisement should make no promise of job unless guaranteed and should clearly embark the required level of attainment. According to the code, employment advertisements should correspond to genuine vacancies and should not require interested respondents to send money for further details. Terms and conditions should not be misrepresented and any earnings forecast should be realistic. If income is earned from a basic salary and commission, or commission only, this should be made clear.
Financial advertisements, promise high income on investment which is often confusing and misleading. The CERC code states that when an advertisement contains any forecast or projection, it should make clear the basis on which the forecast or projection is made. For instance, it should be clear in the ad whether reinvestment of income is assumed; whether account has been taken of any applicable taxes and whether any penalties or deductions will arise on premature realisation or otherwise.
For ads claiming environmental friendly, the code says that it should not be used without qualification unless advertisers can provide convincing evidence that their product will cause no environmental damage. It says that advertisers should think that there products are universally accepted and hence should state where there is a significant division of scientific opinion
According to the CERC code, advertising targeting children should not feature unsuitable products, encourage unhealthy lifestyle— eating or drinking, exaggerate what is attainable by an ordinary child using the product and should not minimise the price of products by using words like ‘only’ or ‘just’.
IDFC said it will raise Rs 4,400 crore through the issuance of a second tranche of tax-saving long term infrastructure bonds on 11 January 2012.
Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) said it will raise Rs 4,400 crore through the issuance of a second tranche of tax-saving long term infrastructure bonds on 11 January 2012. The second tranche of the bond issue would be open for subscription till 25 February 2012, IDFC said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
In December 2011, IDFC had mopped up Rs 538.08 crore from the a first tranche of tax-saving long-term infrastructure bonds. The company plans to raise Rs 5,000 crore from infra bond issues this fiscal. The five-year bonds have a coupon of 9%. The NBFC had mopped up Rs 1,451 crore from over 7.3 lakh retail investors through the issue of long-term infrastructure bonds in FY11.