Nationwide MNP requests crossed 38 lakh in February

Out of the total requests for MNP in the month, Gujarat received 3.65 lakh requests, followed by Haryana with 3.20 lakh requests, Karnataka 3.18 lakh requests and Rajasthan 3.14 lakh requests

New Delhi: The number of unsatisfied mobile phone users crossed 38 lakh by end of February, with Gujarat reporting the highest number of customers willing to change their service providers through Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service, reports PTI.

As per the data provided by the service providers to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), by the end of February 2011, about 38.33 lakh subscribers have submitted their requests to different service providers for porting (shifting) their mobile number.

Out of these requests around 3.20 lakh pertains to Haryana where MNP was implemented from 25 November 2010.

In rest of the country, in MNP zone-1 (Northern and Western India) maximum number of requests have been received in Gujarat (3.65 lakh) followed by Rajasthan with 3.14 lakh requests, according to the statement issued by TRAI.

In MNP zone-2 (Southern and Eastern India) maximum number of requests have been received in Karnataka (3.18 lakh) followed by Tamil Nadu Service area (2.76 lakh).

Telecom service providers in Jammu & Kashmir circle received only 1,291 requests for their changing service provider.


India to face 269 MT coal shortage by 2021-22: Govt

With the economy growing at a much faster pace in the last 8-10 years, coal producing entities are not able to meet the demand resulting in the import of coal

New Delhi: The government today admitted that the country will face a huge shortfall of 269 million tonnes (MT) of coal by 2021-22 as coal producing entities have failed to keep pace with the demand as well as economic growth, reports PTI.

"In the last 8-10 years, the economy has grown at a much faster pace compared to coal production even as the Coal India registered a growth of 7%-8%. We are trying to adopt different technologies which are more efficient in coal usage to meet the demand," coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said in Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

As per estimates, demand for coal in 2021-22 is projected at 1,353 MT against the production assessment at 1,084 MT, leaving a shortfall of 269 MT.

"In view of the widening demand-supply gap of coal, the country is unlikely to become self-reliant in meeting the demand of coal indigenously in near future," Mr Jaiswal said.

He also informed the House that several states were allocated coal blocks more than five years ago but the states have yet to start production.

Chhattisgarh was allocated nine coal blocks more than five years ago, Maharashtra was given seven blocks and Madhya Pradesh 10 blocks, he said adding that unfortunately no production has begun at any of these blocks.

Replying to a supplementary on whether irregularities in allocation of coal blocks have come to the notice of the government, Mr Jaiswal replied in negative. He also said that now coal blocks are allotted only through competitive bidding and there was no possibility of any wrongdoing.

In view of India producing only 10% of good quality coal, it has been placed under Open General Licence (OGL) scheme so that industries like sponge iron, steel and power producers could import good coal as per their demand.

Mr Jaiswal opposed Madhya Pradesh government's demand that all coal produced in the state should be allotted to it for the development of industry there.

This prompted opposition leader Sushma Swaraj to intervene and clarify that the Madhya Pradesh chief minister never demanded that whatever coal was produced in the state be given to them. He had said that state's demand should be met first from the coal produced in the state.


New CKD norms to hurt launch of new high-end products: SIAM

As per the Budget proposals, CKD units would mean that companies would have to assemble engines, transmission and gear boxes locally, which would increase the cost for high-end products and make it difficult for them to launch new products

New Delhi: The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) today said the new definition for completely knocked down (CKD) units of vehicles introduced in the Budget for 2011-12 will significantly increase the cost for high-end players and also hamper the introduction of new products, reports PTI.

Stating that there is a lack of clarity on the issue, SIAM director general Vishnu Mathur said the industry body has met finance ministry officials to resolve the issue.

"The way we read the English language, (as per the new CKD definition) we have to assemble engines, transmission and gear boxes locally. This is commercially unviable for very low volume products," Mr Mathur said.

For the high-end segment, this will not only "significantly increase the cost", but it will also become "difficult for them to introduce new products", he added.

In the Budget for 2011-12, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had redefined the meaning of CKD units, ostensibly to encourage local production of automobiles, which may alter the rate of customs duty on different imported parts.

"A definition for 'CKD unit' of a vehicle, including two-wheelers, eligible for concessional import duty is being inserted to exclude from its purview such units containing a pre-assembled engine or gearbox or transmission mechanism or chassis where any of such parts or sub-assemblies is installed," the Budget document read.

Currently, luxury segment players including BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi rely heavily on the imported CKD route to sell their products in India.

CKD units attract a basic customs duty of 10%, over and above other levies of about 30%, which takes the total duty to about 40%.

Mr Mathur said SIAM is hopeful that the government will take a positive note of the industry's representation to the government.

On Tuesday, German luxury car-maker Audi had said that if the new CKD norms were to be applied, it may have to alter its business strategy in India, including lying low in the Indian market.


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