Private telcos file caveat in SC and HC on 3G roaming

By filing the caveat, the operators have ensured that the courts would pass no orders on the Department of Telecom (DoT) plea without hearing their counsel, or get an ex-parte relief

New Delhi: Apprehending that the government may appeal against the Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) order which dismissed its plea that the telecom tribunal has no jurisdiction over the intra-circle third generation (3G) roaming pacts, private operators have filed caveat in both the Supreme Court as well as the high court.

By filing the caveat, the operators have ensured that the courts would pass no orders on the Department of Telecom (DoT) plea without hearing their counsel, or get an ex-parte relief.

The government had questioned role of TDSAT which had on 24th December given a lifeline to telecom operators, by entertaining their plea during the scheduled winter vacations and asking DoT not to take any coercive step against them.

A day prior to that the government had asked five telecom operators to stop inter-circle roaming on 3G bandwidth within 24 hours.

It was challenged before TDSAT. The operators are —Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Tata Tele Services.

Confirming the move, one of the counsels representing the operators told PTI that chances are that DoT many move the high court, which is already hearing a similar issue in a PIL.

Last week, a bench headed by the acting chief justice AK Sikri had adjourned the petition on 3G roaming to the second week of February.

TDSAT had on 20th January dismissed DoT plea questioning its jurisdiction to decide on 3G roaming dispute.

It had also directed the five operators to hand over copies of their 3G roaming agreements to DoT with a rider that the government maintain its confidentiality.

DoT had questioned the jurisdiction of TDSAT saying that the tribunal has no power to look into the licence terms and conditions entered among the operators and the DoT.

TDSAT had already directed DoT not to take any coercive action against the private telecom operators on 3G roaming.

 

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RBI may go for rate cut in February: Moody's

“We expect Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation to cool a little in the coming months... We expect WPI inflation to ease toward 6.5% by mid-2012,” Moody's Analytics said in its report, ‘India: Wholesale Price Index’

New Delhi: Global ratings agency Moody’s has said inflation in India is likely to moderate to around 6.5% by the middle of this year and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may go for interest rate cuts by February, reports PTI.

“We expect Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation to cool a little in the coming months... We expect WPI inflation to ease toward 6.5% by mid-2012,” Moody's Analytics said in its report, ‘India: Wholesale Price Index’.

According to the agency, while inflation is on a downward trend, the month-on-month fall in January is not likely to be as steep as was witnessed in December 2011.

Headline inflation fell to a two-year low of 7.47% in December from 9.11% in November. The moderation was mainly on account of cheaper food items.

Food inflation has been in the negative zone since mid-December on the back of a steep decline in prices of vegetables, particularly potatoes and onions.

“We were honing in on a March rate cut, but this latest inflation cooling may give the RBI sufficient reason to move before then. The Indian economy is slowing sharply and with inflation coming off its peaks, there’s no reason for the RBI to continue sitting on their hands,” Moody’s said in its report.

“Look for an initial rate cut in February,” it added.

The central bank had hiked interest rates by 375 basis points between March 2010 and October 2011 to deal with persistently high inflation.

However, in its last review in December the RBI pressed the pause button on its monetary tightening strategy and said that it might go for rate cuts in the future if inflation moderates further.

At the same time, the RBI is confronted with a moderation in economic growth. The government has cut its FY11-12 growth projection from 9% to about 7% for the current fiscal.

The central bank is scheduled to conduct its third quarterly review of the monetary policy on 24th January.

However, experts feel RBI will refrain from cutting rates this time.

The RBI need not wait for the March mid-quarter review for announcing a change in the monetary policy and can go for a rate cut at any time.

“... There are still pipeline pressures that need watching, as indicated by the solid rise in non-food prices,” Moody’s said.

Inflationary pressure continues in manufactured items, which have a weight of over 65% in the WPI basket.

Prices of manufactured products went up by 7.41% year-on-year in December, as against 7.70% in the previous month.

 

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Small reversal possible: Weekly Market Report

Nifty may move in the range of 4,950 and 5,085

Positive earnings reports from domestic corporates, lower inflation numbers and supportive cues from the global arena helped the market close higher for the third week in a row. While the benchmarks closed 4% higher in the week, all eyes will now be on the Reserve Bank of India’s 24th January quarterly policy review.

The Sensex settled 584 points higher at 16,739 and the Nifty closed the week at 5,049, up 183 points. The Nifty is likely to move in the range of 4,950 and 5,085.

The market opened lower on Monday following the nine-nation sovereign downgrade by S&P over the weekend but settled higher on late buying. Global cues and a positive set of earnings reports helped the market close with gains on Tuesday.

Domestic growth concerns and the World Bank’s cut in global growth forecast saw the market snapping its four-day winning streak on Wednesday. However, the market went on to close in the positive on the last two trading days as earnings reports continued to meet market expectations.

Among the sectoral indices, BSE Realty jumped 8% and BSE Oil & Gas surged 6% while BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods index lost 1%.

The top Sensex stocks in the week were Maruti Suzuki (up 13%), Sterlite Industries (up 10%), Tata Power, Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp (up 9% each). The main losers were Mahindra & Mahindra (down 5%), ITC (down 3%), TCS and Cipla (down 1% each).

The key gainers on the Nifty were Reliance Infrastructure (up 17%), Maruti Suzuki (up 13%), IDFC, Jaiprakash Associates (up 11% each) and Sterlite Ind (up 10%). M&M (down 5%), ITC (down 3%), Dr Reddy’s, SAIL and TCS (down 1% each) were the main losers on the index.

Encouraged by a dip in December inflation, the finance minister projected March-end numbers at 6%-7%. Headline inflation fell to a two-year low of 7.47% in December 2011 from 9.11% in the previous month.

India’s exports rose an estimated annual 6.7% to $25 billion in December while imports for the month were at $37.8 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $12.8 billion, trade secretary Rahul Khullar said on Monday.

Besides, food inflation remained in the negative zone for the third straight week, at (-) 0.42% for the week ended 7th January from (-) 2.90% in the previous week. However, experts feel that the decline in prices of food articles will not be enough to prompt the RBI to cut key interest rates at its forthcoming monetary policy review on 24th January.

In a major boost to M&A deals, the Supreme Court on Friday set aside the Bombay High Court judgement asking Vodafone to pay income tax of Rs11,000 crore, holding that tax authorities do not have jurisdiction on an overseas transaction. However, immediately after pronouncement of the SC ruling, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and law minister Salman Khurshid held consultations on the issue.

Although the issues relating to taxation of overseas deals are likely to be resolved with implementation of the Direct Taxes Code (DTC), in the Vodafone case the government has an option to either file a review petition or effect legislative changes.

On the global front, Greece is working on an initial deal with private bond holders that would help it from a debt default. The deal is expected to pave the way for a fresh aid package before bonds worth 14.5 billion euros ($18.5 billion) come up for redemption in March.

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