Citizens' Issues
Public feedback sought for easing investment permissions
Moving to further ease doing business in India, the government has sought suggestions from the public on ways to cut down on multiple permissions for investors, the commerce ministry said on Thursday
 
Announcing that the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) has constituted an 11-member expert committee on the matter, the ministry said in a statement that "suggestions on the subject have been invited from the public".
 
The terms of reference of the committee include studying the requirement of various prior permissions with an exhaustive inventory and examining the possibility of replacing these prior permissions with a pre-existing regulatory mechanism, the statement said.
 
It would identify safeguards to be put in place while replacing the system of prior permission and integrating the same in the proposed regulatory mechanism, recommend a framework and draft the proposed legislation, it added.
 
Former DIPP secretary Ajay Shankar is chairman of the panel, whose members include Airtel vice-president Manoj Kohli and accounting firm KPMG India partner Jaijit Bhattacharya.
 

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GIC taking stakeholders' views on creating Nuclear Insurance Pool
With India's nuclear liability issue holding up deals with various countries, state-run General Insurance Corp (GIC) has conducted an international workshop of stake-holders here recently on creation of a nuclear insurance pool, parliament was told on Thursday.
 
"The General Insurance Corporation have conducted an international workshop in New Delhi on March 20, 2015 to take inputs from various stake-holders as well as clarify their doubts in the context of development of an appropriate insurance product to cover the liability under Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages (CLND) Act," Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
 
An official source told IANS that GIC had informed that of the Rs.1,500 crore of insurance cover required for the proposed Nuclear Insurance Pool, they would be in a position to provide only Rs.750 crore equivalent of insurance.
 
The company had requested a government guarantee for the remaining amount of Rs.750 crore to operationalise the nuclear insurance pool, the source said.
 
Under the CLND Act, besides the operator - Nuclear Power Corp, equipment and material suppliers are also liable to pay damages if an accident occurs. Compensation of up to $244 million will have to be paid in case of an accident at any of the nuclear plant covered by the law.
 
Currently, nuclear plants in India only have insurance cover for zones that are outside the area of radiation and reactors. The new pool will provide insurance cover for both hot zones -- radiation and nuclear reactors -- and cold zones -- outside the reactor areas.
 
At present, India has 20 nuclear power plants.

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Digitisation is changing the way poor access TV, says study

The first-of-its-kind study says that digitisation of TV signals was putting an end to free-to-air telecast regime

 

Digitisation is changing the way the poor access TV and terrestrial broadcasting reception has almost disappeared in rural and urban India, says a study which looks at its impact on working class television viewers.
 
The study by Delhi-based Media Foundation conveys snapshots from the ground in over four states and is based on data from some of the districts considered backward including Kalahandi and Dantewada.
 
The first-of-its-kind study says that digitisation of TV signals was putting an end to free-to-air telecast regime.
 
Reporting on how digitisation was impacting people at the bottom of income pyramid, the study says that new TV households in the villages now go straight to Direct to Home (DTH) operators except in Andhra Pradesh where cable covers much of the rural population.
 
"Yet a substantial part of Prasar Bharati's annual budget allocations each year are absorbed by the salary and hardware costs of maintaining its terrestrial network of 1400 transmitters."
 
The study says that growth of television access in rural India is riding on the digital revolution.
 
"Post digitisation, driven by content demand, rural India has overtaken urban India in TV ownership. 2011 was the first year to record this change," it says.
 
The study says that majority of TV households opt for paid DTH over Doordarshan's free dish because they want content choice.
 
"In not a single state do even 50 percent of alll DTH households opt for Doordarshan's free dish - DD Direct."
 
"The absence of popular entertainment channels as Colors and channels such as Discovery and National Geographic and private regional language channels such as OTV in Odisha or Zee Chhattisgarh or numerous private channels in Andhra Pradesh on the DD direct bouquet has led to demand for DD free dish declining between 2006-07 and 2012-13," it said.
 
The main areas of study were Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi and were supplemented with additional group interviews conducted in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

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