Ministers “clean up” draft of Lokpal Bill changes

The law minister said the government would bring the Lokpal Bill in the current session. There may not be any need to extend it, he felt. He said the final architecture of the changed Bill would be known only after the Cabinet approves it and sends it to Parliament for consideration

New Delhi: A group of senior Indian ministers Monday “cleaned up” the draft of the changes in the Lokpal Bill, which law minister Salman Khurshid says will be introduced in Parliament during the current session, reports PTI.

After a high-level meeting of ministers chaired by home minister P Chidambaram, Mr Khurshid told reporters that “we have finished the cleaning up of the draft. We had instructions to clean up the draft and we have cleaned up the draft”.

He said the actual drafting and finishing of the drafting work is being done by officials and as soon as it is ready, the bill will go to the Cabinet once the prime minister gives the signal.

To a question, Mr Khurshid said the Cabinet was unlikely to meet tonight as the officials have to work on the draft.

“I hope it will be the last night they will have to stay awake (to work on the draft),” he said.

He said the draft changes would go to the Cabinet for approval before which prime minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee would have a look at it.

The law minister said the government would bring the Lokpal Bill in the current session. There may not be any need to extend it, he felt.

He said the final architecture of the changed Bill would be known only after the Cabinet approves it and sends it to Parliament for consideration.

Apart from Mr Chidambaram, Mr Khurshid and telecom minister Kapil Sibal were present in the meeting to finalise the changes. The three ministers, who are lawyers, were also part of the Joint Drafting Committee which discussed the Lokpal Bill with Team Anna members.

Minister of state for personnel V Narayansamy was also part of the ministerial meeting Monday.

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Domestic IT market to grow by 13.4% in 2012: Report

“The business environment is expected to remain challenging, thus leading to demand uncertainty and high input costs, but the pressure on IT to perform will mount further,” Coeus Age founder and principal consultant Kapil Dev Singh said in a statement

New Delhi: The Indian IT market is expected to grow at a lower rate of 13.4% to touch a size of about Rs1,30,376 crore in 2012 compared to that in the last year, reports PTI quoting a report by IT consultancy company Coeus Age.

The domestic IT market had grown by approximately 14.5% in 2011 having a size of close to Rs1,15,000 crore, the report said.

According to the report, the context for IT consumption will remain challenging, given the overall uncertainty in the economic and political situation.

“The business environment is expected to remain challenging, thus leading to demand uncertainty and high input costs, but the pressure on IT to perform will mount further,” Coeus Age founder and principal consultant Kapil Dev Singh said in a statement.

Mr Singh added that this would result in a paradoxical pressure on IT to perform with stretched budgets.

Coeus sees most of the growth coming from consumer segment IT spending followed by government and private businesses.

“Consumer segment IT spending will grow the fastest in 2012 at 16.5%, followed by government sector at 13.9% and enterprise segment at 12.4%,” the statement said.

The report said that there are indications that IT budgets will be pruned in order to compensate for other input costs, which are rising disproportionately with business expansion.

In the enterprise segment, growth in IT spending by “very large” enterprises will be the highest at 13.8%, whereas in small and medium businesses spending on IT will only manage to notch up 9%, lower than the average enterprise segment growth rate, the report said.

Consumption of IT products and services is expected to grow in energy vertical at 19%, followed by infrastructure and construction at 16.8%, hospitals and healthcare at 16.5% and 15.6% in retail sector during 2012, the Coeus report said.

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Vodafone to discontinue services on inactive mobile numbers

“Vodafone India will discontinue mobile services for pre-paid customers on numbers that have no usage i.e. no voice calls (incoming or outgoing), SMS and data for any continuous period of 60 days,” the company said in a statement

New Delhi: Faced with shortage of numbers, telecom major Vodafone India today said it will discontinue services on mobile numbers of pre-paid customers that have not been in use for a continuous period of 60 days, reports PTI.

“Vodafone India will discontinue mobile services for pre-paid customers on numbers that have no usage i.e. no voice calls (incoming or outgoing), SMS and data for any continuous period of 60 days,” the company said in a statement.

Vodafone’s steps follow the guidelines by the Department of Telecom (DoT) for allocation of a new number series that are based on subscribers on visitor location register (VLR). The Vodafone statement added that the stringent norms have created an acute shortage of numbers for any telecom company.

This means that after discontinuing services to the customer, Vodafone will be able to allocate the same number to a new user.

There was no clarity, however, on the issue with regard to subscribers with life-time tariff package.

New customers will be intimated of the deactivation process in their starter kits, while existing customers will be informed via SMS and out-bound calls wherever possible, it said.

According to the data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the mobile subscriber base increased to 881.4 million by October-end from 873.61 million in the preceding month.

However, the number of active mobile subscribers, according to the visitor location register (VLR) data, during the month of was 626.18 million.

VLR numbers provide details on active customers at any given point of time, excluding switched-off and out-of-the- coverage area customers.

With the explosive growth in the Indian mobile telephony space, there is a concern among telecom operators running out of mobile numbers for allocation.

In the past, the government has examined the option of migrating to 11-digit cellular number from the current 10-digit in order to accommodate more users.

However, the government later opened up other series, allowing operators to move from the ‘98’ series to other series like ‘88’ and ‘78’, among others.

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