PC Chacko appointed chairman of JPC on 2G scam

The JPC, having 20-members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha, came into being a few days back, ending three-months of deadlock in Parliament between the government and the opposition, which latched on to a report of the CAG which spoke of a presumed loss of Rs1.76 lakh crore

New Delhi: Senior Congress member PC Chacko on Friday was made the Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G spectrum issue, setting in motion the probe into what the opposition is alleging as the biggest scam in independent India, reports PTI.

Mr Chacko, aged 65, who represents Thrissur in Kerala in the Lok Sabha, was appointed the head of the 30-member high-level panel by Speaker Meira Kumar, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said.

The JPC, having 20-members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha, came into being a few days back, ending three-months of deadlock in Parliament between the government and the opposition, which latched on to a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) late last year which spoke of a presumed loss of Rs1.76 lakh crore. The two Houses of Parliament have passed resolutions approving the setting up of the JPC.

A Raja was forced to quit in November as Telecom Minister in the wake of the CAG report and is currently lodged in Tihar jail after being questioned by the CBI. Government says that Raja was being prosecuted for the possibility of criminal culpability.

The JPC will examine irregularities and aberrations, if any, in the implementation of government decisions and policy prescriptions on telecom licences and spectrum from 1998 to 2009. The panel will also make recommendations to ensure appropriate procedures for allocation and pricing of telecom licences. It will examine policy prescriptions and their interpretation by successive governments, including the decisions of the Union Cabinet and the consequences thereof, in the allocation and pricing of licences and spectrum.

The Government had agreed to the JPC after the Opposition threatened to disrupt the Budget session of Parliament as well, after almost the entire winter session was washed out.

 

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NSE shareholder seeks buyers for up to 5% stake

IDBI Capital, which has been tasked by an NSE shareholder to find prospective buyers for the stake asked the interested parties to submit their bids by 11th March

NEW DELHI: A major shareholder of leading stock exchange, National Stock Exchange (NSE), is looking for buyers to sell up to 5% stake, estimated to be worth about Rs1,000 crore, reports PTI.

IDBI Capital, which has been tasked by an NSE shareholder to find prospective buyers over the next one week, said that it is seeking bids for "sale of equity shares not exceeding 5% of the total equity share capital of the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd."

However, IDBI Capital did not disclose details like name of its client, exact number of shares and price being sought by the unnamed NSE shareholder.

As per the last major dealing in NSE shares, which occurred late last year valuing the bourse at more than $4 billion (over Rs18,000 crore), a 5% stake in the country's biggest stock exchange could be in the vicinity of Rs900-Rs1,000 crore.

IDBI Capital, which has asked the interested parties to submit their bids by 11th March, also said that NSE itself is not a party to the proposed transaction.

However, NSE would have a right to approve or reject any transfer of shares, it added.

When contacted, NSE officials also said that they had no role in any stake transfer between different investors.

IDBI Capital said that the buyer could be a foreign institutional investor (FII), a resident Indian individual investor or any other domestic entity.

While name of the shareholder wanting to sell NSE stake could not be ascertained, sources said that the investor might be an FII and could decide to sell its holding due to a proposed regulatory move to bar bourses from getting listed.

A high-profile panel, set up by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), late last year recommended that the stock exchanges should not be allowed to list and their profits should also be capped.

The recommendations, on which SEBI is yet to take a final call, have created an impression that investing in stock exchanges is no longer a value proposition for FIIs, which consider listing as a good exit opportunity for their investments, market sources said.

Various private sector entities from India and abroad together hold nearly half the equity in NSE, while the remaining stake is owned by public sector banks, financial institutions and insurance companies.

In November 2010, Financial Technologies, which has floated a new stock exchange MCX-SX rivalling NSE, announced sale of its 4.4 lakh shares in National Stock Exchange for a price of Rs3,800 per share, aggregating to Rs167.2 crore.

These shares accounted for less than 1% stake of NSE and the deal is said to have valued the bourse at over $4.5 billion.

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India had 548.7 million active telecom subscribers in January

The active subscriber number also known as VLR showed, Bharti Airtel had the highest ratio of active subscribers compared to its total subscriber base at 92.63%. This was followed by Idea Cellular that reported a ratio of 90.34% between its total subscriber base and VLR subscribers

New Delhi: The number of mobile subscribers in India increased by 2.52% for the month of January 2011, taking the total number to 771.18 million, reports PTI.
However, the number of active mobile subscribers according to Visitor Location Register (VLR) data in the first month of January was only in the range of 548.66 million.
 
VLR numbers provide details on active customers at any given point of time, excluding switched-off and out-of- coverage area customers. In December 2010, total telecom subscribers base was 752.19 million, according to the data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
 
The overall teledensity (telephones per 100 people) in India touched 806.13 million in the period under review as compared to 787.28 million in December last year.
The growth in the wireless category was led by Bharti Airtel, which added 3.3 million subscribers, taking its user base to 155.5 million. Reliance Communications added 3.2 million subscribers followed by Vodafone (3.1 million), BSNL (2.1 million), Idea Cellular (2.5 million), Tata Teleservices (1.8 million) and Uninor (1.79 million), the release said.
 
The active subscriber number also known as VLR showed, Bharti Airtel had the highest ratio of active subscribers compared to its total subscriber base at 92.63%. This was followed by Idea Cellular that reported a ratio of 90.34% between its total subscriber base and VLR subscribers. Etisalat had least ratio of VLR subscribers at 33.55%."We have taken VLR subscriber base available on last working day of January as per telecom operators record," explained a TRAI official.
 
The total active VLR number in the report excludes the CDMA VLR figure of BSNL, as the service provider has not provided the VLR figures corresponding to their total CDMA subscriber base of 5.38 million.The proportion of VLR subscribers is about 71.14% of the total wireless subscriber base reported by the service providers.
 
The overall wireline subscriber base, declined from 35.09 million in January 2011 to 34.94 million in December 2010. BSNL and MTNL collectively held 82.82% share of the wireline market.The total broadband subscriber base increased 2.70% from 10.92 million in December to 11.21 million in January 2011.

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