Rangarajan favours separate Debt Management Office

The RBI had opposed setting up a DMO under the Union government to manage sovereign debt, saying only the central bank has the requisite expertise to manage market volatility. However, C Rangarajan, a former RBI governor, said times have changed and the government could take up the job if it is "adequately prepared to undertake that function"

New Delhi: Joining the debate over hiving off the debt management activities of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) chairman C Rangarajan has favoured setting up a separate Debt Management Office (DMO) under the aegis of the central government, reports PTI.

"There are many countries in the world where the public debt office is managed only by the government. Therefore, even here, the RBI can continue to play its role as a monetary authority, without having the DMO under it," the PMEAC chief told PTI.

The RBI has opposed setting up a DMO under the Union government to manage sovereign debt, saying only the central bank has the requisite expertise to manage market volatility.

"Only central banks have the requisite market pulse and instruments to aid in making contextual judgements which an independent debt agency, driven by narrow objectives, will not be able to do," RBI governor Duvvuri Subbarao said at a meeting of the Central Bank Governance Group in Basel.

However, Mr Rangarajan, a former RBI governor, said times have changed and the government could take up the job if it is "adequately prepared to undertake that function".

He said that earlier the government required the helping hand of the RBI to enable it to raise the required amount, because prior to 1991, the borrowing rate of the government was well below the market rate.

"But things have changed since then... According to the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, the RBI is not supposed to be in the primary market," he said.

The government has proposed to set up an independent Debt Management Office, aimed at separating the RBI's roles as the decider of the interest rate in the market and being the banker to the government.

At present, both the government's debt and fresh borrowings are managed by the central bank.

In his 2011-12 Budget speech, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had mooted the proposal to introduce the Public Debt Management Agency of India Bill.

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MTNL to restructure loans taken to buy 3G, BWA

MTNL operates in Delhi and Mumbai and was allocated 3G and BWA spectrum about a year ago on the condition that the PSU would pay as per the final bid in the auction that ended on 19th May for 3G and 11th June for BWA

New Delhi: Facing cash crunch due to subdued financial performance, state-run telecom services major Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL) is planning to restructure its Rs7,000 crore loan taken for buying third generation (3G) and broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum last year, reports PTI.

The PSU is planning to convert Rs3,000 crore loan into long term debt.

MTNL, which operates in two metros—Delhi and Mumbai—had raised a short-term debt of over Rs7,000 crore for acquiring 3G and broadband spectrum.

The company has already restructured Rs3,500 crore of debt, repaying Rs500 crore and tying up with two state-run banks for the rest Rs3,000 crore, sources in the know said.

The sources said the company is expected to convert this short-term loan into a long-term debt for a period of seven years and is likely to complete this process by July this year.

The company will pay the interest for the first three years and then will pay the principle amount and the interest for the remaining four years, the sources said while describing it as a ‘ballooning structure’ of payment.

These finances were arranged through short-term loans and at a very competitive rate of interest ranging between 7.3% and 7.5% annually. Prior to this, the PSU was a debt-free company and also had cash reserves.

MTNL operates in Delhi and Mumbai and was allocated 3G and BWA spectrum about a year ago on the condition that the PSU would pay as per the final bid in the auction that ended on 19th May for 3G and 11th June for BWA.

Delhi and Mumbai were the most expensive circles for 3G with the bid for Delhi costing Rs3,316.93 crore and Mumbai Rs3,247.07 crore against the reserve price of Rs320 crore each for both the metros.

Similarly for BWA, Delhi and Mumbai saw the highest bids at Rs2,241.02 and2,292.95 crore, respectively.

MTNL has already launched 3G mobile services.

Last week, the telecom major had reported a yearly net loss of Rs2,826 crore, up 8.27% from Rs2,610.9 crore in the same period previous year.

Total income rose to Rs3,841.2 crore as against Rs3,781 during the period under consideration.

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India PC market reports 6% growth in Q1 of 2011

Multinational brands contributed more than half of the total PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011 with shipments from Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo, the top four vendors, representing 50.4% of total shipments in the first quarter of 2011

Bangalore: The combined desk-based and mobile PC (personal computer) market in India totalled nearly 2.6 million units in the first quarter (January-March) of 2011, a 6.2% increase over the same period in the previous calendar year, reports PTI.

"This growth was primarily driven by the mobile PC market which grew 23% in the first quarter of 2011," said Vishal Tripathi, principal research analyst at IT research and advisory firm Gartner.

"There was a slump in consumer demand in the first quarter, so the market did not grow as expected. Enterprise and small and midsize business buying helped the market to achieve growth in the quarter. Government buying also contributed, as it was the last quarter of the financial year," he added.

All the major multinational PC vendors experienced double-digit growth in mobile PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011.

Multinational brands contributed more than half of the total PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011 with shipments from Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo, the top four vendors, representing 50.4% of total shipments in the first quarter of 2011.

Local vendor HCL accounted for 7.1% of PC shipments in the first quarter of 2011, Gartner said.

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