News channels want TRAI to issue directions on placement fee

Following protests by News Broadcasters Association, TRAI chairman JS Sarma had in interviews to TV channels said while he expected “carriage fee” to remain within reasonable levels, there was no provision for placement fee

New Delhi: In order to address the concerns of several leading television news channels over the latest cable rules, broadcasters expect the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) would in the coming days issue further guidelines concerning the issue of “placement fee”, reports PTI.

After TRAI had issued the guidelines for the cable industry last month, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) had protested against the decision to allow “carriage fee”.

Carriage fee is the money that Multi System Operators (MSOs) and cable operators charge from TV channels to carry their content on their networks to the viewers.

Following protests by NBA, TRAI chairman JS Sarma had in interviews to TV channels said while he expected “carriage fee” to remain within reasonable levels, there was no provision for placement fee.

Mr Sarma had also said channels will be listed as per the Electronic Place Guide (EPG) and as per genre and there would be no provision of placement fee.

Sources said NBA now expected that TRAI would issue certain directions which would clearly spell out these, banning of placement fee and use of EPG for listing channels.

A delegation consisting of leading broadcasters also met information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni on Wednesday in this regard, sources said.


BSE to exclude Patni from BSE Mid-cap index

BSE has decided to exclude Patni Computer Systems from BSE 200, BSE 500 and BSE Mid-cap indices with effect from 14th May. The exchange will include Shree Cements and Solar Industries in BSE 200 and BSE 500 index from the same date

Mumbai: The country’s premier stock exchange BSE on Wednesday said it has decided to exclude the Patni Computer Systems scrip from BSE 200, BSE 500 and BSE Mid-cap indices with effect from 14th May, reports PTI.

The exchange will include Shree Cements and Solar Industries in BSE 200 and BSE 500 index from 14th May, BSE said in a statement here.

BSE has also decided to add Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri in BSE IPO index with effect from 11th May, the release added.


Life Exclusive
Let’s go west: Landing in the US

After a long stint in the Middle East, the author lands in the US in 1997 and takes up an odd job before looking at other opportunities. The 31st part of a series describing the unknown triumphs and travails of doing international business

One fine morning I had a surprise visit from Swami, our former colleague in Ajay's office, who had brought an envelope from US Embassy in Abu Dhabi.  It contained brief instructions to be followed by us, as our visa for migration had been cleared!  It was a pleasant welcome change, and after couple of days of deliberations, we decided to proceed further in the matter.
We had initial problems, such as the need to obtain "police certificate" from the Lebanese government, where we had initially spent our life abroad. But after knowing my EEPC background, the Embassy officials took up the issue with higher authorities and this requirement was waived. Our visas were cleared for the onward journey to the US after our medical tests conducted by their nominee clinic were accepted.  We had to enter the country on or before 30th April 1997.
Many Indians who had left for the US on jobs or on migration had come back because they were disillusioned with what they had to face there. Some others who had gone and stayed in New York and other cities did not like the "fast life" they had to face there. And surprisingly, many had got used to "not paying taxes", like in the UAE, that they were hesitant in settling down!
We booked our Gulf Air flight, took the advantage of extra baggage allowance for migrants, and landed in New York, JFK, and were the last to complete the migration formalities, finger printing, etc. Instead of lugging all the bags and baggages (some 17 of them, if I may say so), to East Brunswick, where my brother-in-law stayed, we went to a hotel, recovered our jet lag, and a day later, took our flight to Blacksberg, the airport for Virginia Tech Institute. We proudly took part in the graduation ceremony, and three weeks later, returned with our son to Arlington, Virginia, as he had been offered a job by a leading company, selected in the University campus.
On arrival, after some eight hours drive, we had to stay back overnight in a motel called Travelodge, which was a walking distance from our apartment, which the Dorchester management had promised delivery only the next day! It was handed over to us the next day, on schedule. We had reached Arlington one day ahead of schedule!
The first few days were spent in settling down; it was a friendly town, where even strangers greeted each other on their morning walks. I must give credit to my wife Neela who suggested that I should go and try for a job at the Travelodge itself!  There, I met Sheikh at the front desk, followed by Tariq Madani and, Mo, as Mohammed was called.  Sheikh took my CV and promised to call back when the GM came to the office after 9am, which he did promptly by 10am.

The GM was a nice young man, but was unwilling to give me a job, because I was over-qualified for the position they had, and which was, front desk operations and duty as a night auditor, both of which were 'clerical' by nature. Besides, the salary offered was less than half what I earned in Dubai, and that too tax free!
To his shock, I told him "that is the management fee I am paying to learn this hotel business".  I accepted the job, with two nights on what is popularly known as "grave-yard shift" (meaning 11pm to 7am) and the balance three days in the 7am to 3pm shift.  I remember hundreds of girls doing the "thread cutting" job in our garment factory, standing for eight to 10 hours a day; I suppose, it was God's way of making me pay back. I had to be on my toes for almost eight hours standing at the front desk! More often than not, I had to carry and deliver the luggage in the guest rooms! And of course, prepare coffee, tea, juice and set the tables right with doughnuts, etc, and guests would start arriving at 6am for this free breakfast!
In the very first week itself, I had a bad experience. A couple had checked in, paid for the room in cash, and at about 2am, the girl came running down, demanding that I call the police immediately; she claimed that the man had assaulted her. I had dialled 911 and in less than two or three minutes later we had the police car at our front door. They took the statements made by her, and when I told him that I was just one week old in the job, they assured me that they were at my beck and call, and if and when the man turned up to get the balance of the advance he had paid, to settle the same, and not get into any discussions with him. As they had mentioned, this man turned up around 5am, collected his balance and left, without one word!
In about three months, I had met all the officials of the management who mattered, including the owners; once the audit reports were completed after about 2 or 3am I had enough time to either relax or study them. I began to make notes of the trend; customer needs, complaints, and how we could attempt to reach a "full house" or "sold out" status!  After all, we had only 69 rooms to sell, and we had, invariably, seven to 10 rooms, five days a week that remained unsold. I prepared a project report and made recommendations on how I could ensure a perfect sale every day and bring in $50,000 more per year! The GM was pleased with what I had projected and wanted me to implement my sales efforts!  When I asked, in the American way, "what is in it for me?" I was given a dismal 25cents an hour increase!
Though in these hire and fire jobs, no notice period is required by either side, I did and told the management that I would stay long enough till they find a replacement for me, as I was handling night audit also, and it was not easy to find people to work the graveyard shift!
Three weeks later, I was free but jobless!  In the meantime, I took a quick return visit to Dubai, had my permanent visa cancelled and returned back, arriving at international airport at Dulles, which was some 50 miles from our apartment.
I began my earnest job hunt which covered banks, libraries and hotels. On a single day, I had been to interviews and tests in Days Inn, Hyatt and Courtyard by Marriott, all of which were in Crystal city, not far away from our home. When I returned home, I received a call from Hyatt and from Krista Webster of Starwood Hotels, who were the owners of the Courtyard. She asked me to come and meet the GM the next day.

(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts. From being the advisor to exporters, he took over the mantle of a trader, travelled far and wide, and switched over to setting up garment factories and then worked in the US. He can be contacted at [email protected].)



Nagesh Kini FCA

5 years ago

I enjoyed reading Mr. Ramdas' experiences.
Eagerly look forward to many more!

Prof S Ganesan

5 years ago

I enjoyed reading this interesting article. The author has demonstrated that It takes a lot of courage to go the USA and try one's luck after living for so many years in the UAE.

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