No provision for determining price of natural gas

Kochi: Turning down Kerala's plea for uniform pricing policy for natural gas throughout the country, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) chairman, Lalit Mansingh, today said there was no provision for determining the price of gas to the consumers either by the government or regulator and it should be done through price discovery mechanism, reports PTI.

The government policy is that ‘price discovery must take place through competitive market’. Market should not be distorted in any way, Mr Mansingh said while addressing the Natural Gas conference here organised by the state government and Kerala state Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC).

Gas is already being marketed at different prices in Gujarat.

Kerala must focus on developing of the gas market which will in turn depend on infrastructure.

The Government has approved nine major pipelines for supplying gas. The bid process of three pipelines has been completed and two more bids are being invited.

On city gas distribution network at Ernakulum, he said state government was requested to take action notifying single window clearance, Mapping of geographical areas for City Gas Distribution (GCD) networking and exemption or reducing sales tax on Natural gas.

Calling for a uniform pricing policy for gas, state industries minister, Elamaram Kareem, said price of domestic natural gas ranges from $2.71 dollars-$5.73 per million metric British thermal unit (mmBtu). The Union government should devise a policy of pooled pricing of natural gas so that it is priced uniformly throughout the country. It should not be thrown to market forces, he said.

Pointing that cartel of cement manufacturers was deciding the prices of cement, he said this should not happen in the case of gas.

The government has taken up major infrastructure projects including the high-speed Thiruvananthapuram-Mangalore rail corridor, Kochi-Coimbatore industrial corridor, Kannur international airport project and Titanium sponge unit.

The government's focus was on developing infrastructure projects on PPP basis, he said.

GAIL director (business development), S Venkitaraman, said pipeline infrastructure was the key to the growth of gas-based industry. In India gas contributes about 9% of energy mix which is expected to go up to 20% by 2030.

State chief secretary, Dr P Prabhakaran, said natural gas was an important source of energy. Kerala has already staked its claim for larger allocation from the KG basin and share from the pooled gas.

Kerala power secretary, Paul Antony said there is need to usher in a pricing policy for gas. Gas is what we want, but it should be at correct price, he said.

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DoT starts sending show-cause notices to erring telcos

New Delhi: The telecom ministry today started issuing show-cause notices to telecom companies which allegedly suppressed information to bag licences or failed to roll out services in stipulated time, reports PTI.

“Show-cause notices to some firms have gone today and we expect to complete the process in the next few days,” telecom secretary R Chandrasekhar told reporters here.

The notices would be served to about nine firms, consisting of 119 licences, of which 85 are allegedly ineligible to get licences and the remaining for missing roll-out obligations.

The notices for a total of 119 licences would be based on the list of licencees, as pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) that were ineligible to get licences due to misinformation furnished by them. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) also recommended cancellation of licences for lapses in roll-out obligations.

When asked how many notices were issued today, Mr Chandrasekhar declined to divulge details, but said the process would be completed in a few days.

The CAG had listed out licences given to new operators, including Unitech, Videocon, S-Tel, Loop and Swan. TRAI also pointed lapses in licences held by these apart from few others while recommending their cancellation.

“We believe that some of the companies might have suppressed facts, might have got an undue advantage in accessing licences,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal had said last week.

The government auditor CAG has quantified a revenue loss of up to Rs1.76 lakh crore for giving licences and spectrum at 2001 price of Rs1,651 crore for pan-India operations by former telecom minister A Raja in January 2008.

Mr Chandrasekhar said the operators would be given 60 days to respond to the show-cause notices and each case would be dealt separately.

“After studying their response, a decision will be taken on whether these (licences) need to be cancelled or a penalty should be imposed,” he said.

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Proposal to curb independent directors’ tenure needs relook: Parekh

Mumbai: HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh today said that the proposal in the new Companies Bill, which seeks to restrict the tenure of independent directors, needs to be reconsidered, reports PTI.

“The government is working to put a limit on the tenure of independent directors to a set number of years. Just when a director is getting used to the working of a company and is most likely to contribute, he has to be changed by rule. The government has to understand that independence is more a matter of mindset, rather than time,” Mr Parekh said at a CII event on corporate governance here.

Most of the provisions in the new Bill discuss improving corporate governance practices, especially the role of independent directors. One of the clauses bars the appointment of relatives of promoters, directors or senior management as independent directors.

Appointment of relatives as independent directors is quite common after Clause 49 of the Listing Agreement of stock exchanges was amended making appointment of independent directors compulsory.

The proposed new Bill is said to not only increase the levels of transparency and corporate governance but also to redefine the role of an independent director.

It also says that independent directors must not receive any remuneration, other than a sitting fee or reimbursement of expenses. He should be a person of integrity and possess relevant expertise and experience.

On remuneration and compensation package of independent directors, Mr Parekh said “Its tricky, but many thoughts are circulating around. One suggestion could be to pay the non-executive director only at the end of his tenure, depending on his performance.”

Firms should appoint more qualified people with industry experience as Independent Directors instead of people merely based on their reputation.

There should also be effective whistle-blower policies in companies with checks and balance in place for them to reach the board, Mr Parekh said.

There should be a regulatory body over government bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), to check any malpractice in corporate firms and that just talking about corporate governance is not enough, he said.

“What we need to do is practice governance, rather than just talk about it. Nothing happens if you don't practice good governance. There’s a need to consider a self-regulating body over government-appointed ones like SEBI and others,” Mr Parekh said.

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COMMENTS

Sanjay dessai

6 years ago

Can we fix Educational qualification for Independent directors and make it professional independent director - if he is not performing / or not acting as independent then take action against him and also liability should be fixed in Act.

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