Spice offers live TV on the new FLO series mobile

The touch screen phone available in ‘Jet Black’ and ‘Ivory White’ colours comes with a plethora of features that enables the handset to provide a complete multimedia experience

MUMBAI: Spice has launched a touch-screen handset, FLO TV - M 5600 that adds an Analog TV to your device to give you an incredible multimedia experience.

Following the tremendous success of Cappuccino, its earlier FLO series touch phone, this  multimedia phone boasts of a unique 'Flo Touch' technology and a seamless interface, all at just Rs3,099. With this breakthrough product, Spice has upgraded its FLO series from touch range to Live TV, a company release said.

The touch screen phone will be available in 'Jet Black' and 'Ivory White' colours comes with a plethora of features that enables the handset to provide multimedia experience to users. The phone is also loaded with a host of utilities which include multimedia features and pre-installed social networking applications like 'Facebook' and 'S Planet Apps store'.

The FLO TV sports an 8.12 cm QVGA touch screen powered by the 'FLO' technology. It also sports a 1.3mp camera that can also capture and play videos. Other features include FM radio, T- flash support (up to 8 GB), FM with recording, and a long lasting battery which gives a talk time of up to 4 hours.


Public Interest Exclusive
Catch them with hands in the till; CAG reports are post-mortems

The CAG is an excellent weapon. Unfortunately, the CAG reports are all post-mortems. We need something that may be described as “concurrent audit” of government deals, a detective’s review of the proposal at the point that the final decision is to be made

First, it was the Mundhra scandal, an affair so small that Raja and other scam kings of today won't even sniff at it. The details are not worth recalling but the scandal was good for newly Independent India.

It warned the country that corruption is an ever-present danger; and the government's response showed honesty and integrity were still alive in India. TT Krishnamachari, one of the most brilliant financial minds the country has produced, was the finance minister. He resigned when the scandal broke and it was clear that the finance ministry was involved.

Then came Bofors, which sent out exactly the opposite message. It was good news for crooks and bad news for the country. The message was that the Congress party and its government would go as far as necessary to stonewall investigations and protect the guilty, the obvious ones and the shadowy figures in the far background.

Bofors announced the code word-Open Sesame-to open and loot Ali Baba's cave. It told the crooked that it was open season to raid the treasury.

Fast forward to 2010 AD. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) announced that the country has suffered a probable loss of Rs176 lakh crore in the distribution of 2G (second generation) spectrum licences.  Even today, I cannot, off the top of my head, say how many zeroes follow the 176 in that number.

Bofors was penny ante stuff. The mind boggles at modern numbers. Add to this the projected loss in Coalgate and we get a bigger lot of zeroes which I have to count on my fingers.

Add the loan loaded on to the innocent Air India in order ensure windfall profits for a few aviation entrepreneurs, the land scams in Maharashtra, land-grab arrests in Tamil Nadu, illegal iron more mining in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera as the King of Siam keeps saying in "The King and I" and we get a figure that is one-third of the way to the googol.

A googol is 10 to the power of 100 or 1 followed by 100 zeroes. It was invented by Edward Kasner, a mathematician of the early 20th century, and the name was given by his nine-year-old nephew. Kasner used it to illustrate the difference between an unimaginably large number and infinity. It is useful when comparing with other very large quantities such as the number of subatomic particles in the visible universe or the number of hypothetically possible chess moves.

Googol can be used to indicate the total amount of graft and black money that can be siphoned off from the Indian economy. In 2062, fifty years from now (is this an underestimate?) this amount will total Rs Googol.

Any way of stopping this or slowing down the juggernaut? You, me and the man in the street have plenty of ideas which have to be developed and refined. Let me put one forward for consideration.

The CAG is an excellent weapon. Unfortunately, the CAG reports are all post-mortems. The CAG looks at government operations long after they have been completed. Taking the 2G spectrum case as an example, a lot of people knew that something illegal was going on during the process of allocating the licences but they did not have documentary proof to pin down the illegalities or estimate the amount of black money was created. Only the CAG report could surgically cut open the whole operation, with Raja conducting the full orchestra of the government, and display the anatomy of India's biggest scam to the public.

 Some culprits have been caught but many more have escaped. The money was gone, hidden under plants at the bottom of the garden or sitting in bank accounts abroad or financing the trade in weapons and drugs; solely because the CAG report was only a post-mortem.

We need some mechanism which catches the scamsters when they are going about their dirty work; like catching a thief in the act of breaking open the safe in your house. We need something that may be described as "concurrent audit" of government deals, a detective's review of the proposal at the point that the final decision is to be made.

Consider the example of Air India. Air India got into trouble because Praful Patel wanted to buy 111 planes. Everything would have been fine if, as prudential financial norms dictated, a proper plan to raise the funds for the aircraft had been formulated. The funds should have come from a mix of equity, retained earnings, loans and leases.

Instead, Air India was loaded with an unbearable loan burden of Rs38,000 crore and the proposal went through on the nod, right past even the Cabinet. If we had a system of concurrent audit, the detective review would have cried 'halt' and Air India would be healthy now. Prevention is better than cure?

(R Vijayaraghavan has been a professional journalist for more than four decades, specialising in finance, business and politics. He conceived and helped to launch Business Line, the financial daily of The Hindu group. He can be contacted at [email protected].)




4 years ago



4 years ago

Like CAG, even income tax asessments, investigation and work also constitute post mortem and all are happy! It is merely a question of sharing the loot!

C Jyoti

4 years ago

Thanks for this article. Will it find its way to to the CAG's table/office? This is what a former (highly controversial and unpopular) Fin Dir of an economic ministry had long ago noted in a file incurring the displeasure of the higher authorities. CAG even, in its role of doing Commercial Audit, was found by that officer of the revenue service to overlook glaring instances of siphoning off of funds from the PSUs for "other" purposes. Of course, the huge PSUs were known for their "hospitality"--a practice and tradition still continuing. Revenue audit is no better either. The preference shown in awarding huge audits to the "Big Four" and the firms of the "Past Presidents" of the chartered accountants, apart from too many gaffaws in the audit reports drawn up depending upon the "receptivity" of the auditeee PSUs, etc., the organization is no better than any other in the govt. set up, considering that the officers come through the same source/exam. And, moreover, the chief is an IAS, not an IA&AS. In addition, the job of an auditor includes certain expertise which the IRS officers spending their lives and careers in tracing and trailing black/unaccounted income and, unless they are invariably included in the team of the IA&AS with dignity and equality, CAG's findings will ultimately be fodder for the media alone. The mindset of the officers must change, as much as the approach to audit and, moreover, total transparency MUST be there in awarding audits to CA firms vis-à-vis the image and goodwill of the firms. At present, there is too much trust deficit between the CAG's office and honest CA firms, many older in existence than those started by the ex-office bearers of the ICAI !
The article could deal with this aspect too.

Nagesh Kini FCA

4 years ago

Audits per se appear to be sheer post mortems carried out long after the transactions take place.
This systemic deficiency can also be corrected by putting in place pre-audit and concurrent audit clearance for pre-determined transactions.
This practice is suggested both for the Govt. but also for corporate audits under company law.
There ought to be will to introduce this system.


4 years ago

On the dot. Brilliant idea. When bank officials are subjected to concurrent audit, why not govt. officials ? But acre to be taken to see that concurrent audit process is free and independent like CAG. Or CAG itself should take it up.

a v moorthi besides TIHAR

4 years ago

One is missing an important point that all scams happen because the concerned officials are either inefficient or corrupt or both. In 2G scam the abrupt change in last date of applications was the entry point of corruption. The sale of equity by Unitech by itself is not a crime but what was criminal is collecting bribe by Kalaignar TV ( MAJOR SHARE HOLDERS BEING wife and daughter of Karunanidi) as a soft loan. without an officials signature no order in Govt can be issued. if officials obey unfair instruction of their superior officers or Minister it is because they are corrupt or inefficient, as they don't know Shah Commssion ruling on conduct of Govt servants makes it clear non obeyance of illegal instructions are not acts of insubordination. Time will show auctioning of scarce resources may not be the right solution. Republic of Bellary was there because Govt officials of the forest dept, octroi check posts, port every one accepted speed money as per their hierarchy. Our Judicial system also to be blamed because cases drag on for years. DRT courts were set up in mid 1990's to complete recovery of assets by banks in case of defaults with in months but fact is DRT cases are pending for years . Conduct of lawyers like R.K.Anand show rival advocates join hand to keep cases hanging so that their earmimgs remain unaffected.

Life Exclusive
US presidency: The president and the Muslim world

Early in his presidency Obama realized that the Muslim world would constitute the most important foreign policy challenge for the administration. It will be up to Romney to come out with an alternative vision to his advantage

Within just a few weeks what was looking as a really troublesome aspect of foreign policy-the Iranian Nuclear Imbroglio-has at least for the moment settled down and it seems as if president Obama will carry the advantage in the foreign policy into the election. Generally it is the Republicans who have a foreign policy advantage-they are traditionally more hawkish which somehow seems to translate as foreign policy expertise while the Democrats are generally on the back-foot trying to explain their foreign policy. But the two wars that were started under the Republican administration of George Bush-the 'necessary' war in Afghanistan and the 'unnecessary' war in Iraq. Both of which have dragged on for many a year seem to have dulled the appetite of the American public for war and have taken a heavy economic toll, which combined with the Great Recession, has led to a greater appreciation of the "leading from behind" policy of president Obama.
Early in his presidency Obama realized that the Muslim world would constitute the most important foreign policy challenge for the administration. He also realized that the relationship with the Muslim world was broken and that a new deal was needed with the Muslim world to make for a safer America and a safer world. He addressed the Muslim world from a University in Cairo on 4 June 2009. He greeted them with a Salaam Alekum. He said that the cycle of suspicion and discord must end. He stated that a tiny minority of extremists had taken over the agenda. He said that he came to seek a new beginning between America and the Muslim world-one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect and that America and the Muslim World are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Obama sought to find common ground between the US and Islam. He addressed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and said that he would bring back the troops from Iraq and that he would bring back the troops from Afghanistan as soon as he came confident that no threat was posed by extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He addressed the two state solutions for Israel-Palestine. He offered a dialogue on Iran so that Iran and the US could move forward. He addressed the issue of democracy in the Muslim world. He addressed religious freedom of religion and women rights and many other issues.

The president has succeeded in winding down two wars that he had inherited-the war in Iraq which he had inherited and which he campaigned against and the war in Afghanistan which has gone on far more than a decade and though the resolution is less than perfect the situation is certainly better than what he inherited. Also the sustained assault on Al Qaeda has resulted in a considerable weakening of the extremist group. The most significant achievement in this regard is the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda who was holed up in Abbottabad, Pakistan. It was a particularly risky decision given that the agencies told him that the chances of it being Bin Laden were only 50%. Also the nuclear imbroglio with Iran has been tempered down with the latter returning to the negotiating table as the sanctions bite. This has considerably reduced the chances of a conflagration in the Middle East with a preventive strike on Iran by the Israel.

Further is the remarkable Arab Spring which has spread from Tunisia to Egypt liberating wide swathes of people from years of Autocracy America can justly claim a share of the credit because they have generally played a helping hand in promoting freedom though Dick Cheney claimed that the Iraq war  was the catalyst for the Arab Spring. The spread of democracy has always been a goal of the US foreign policy and though this has also led to the citizens of these countries turning to Muslim parties; it seems that grassroots of democracy is taking root. Further the resolution in Libya which America supported has been satisfactory.

All in all, these events should give president Obama an edge in the foreign policy in the coming election. The usual Republican advantage in the foreign policy should be neutralized. But there are serious problems that remain. One of the major problems is the insensitivity that the Americans show to their Muslim allies. Then the recent instance of the way their Afghan allies were travelled after a staff sergeant went on a rampage in Afghanistan, as also the stalemate in Pakistan about the apology demanded for the killing of 24 soldiers on the Afghanistan- Pakistan border.

With the help of technology (read Drones) the Americans have been able to bypass their allies while carrying out missions from the sky to take out militants, though sometimes with tragic collateral damage. The results seem to be satisfying but the price that America might be paying in terms of resentment of the people for collateral damage as also the violation of sovereignty may be difficult to calculate. Its validity in international law is also troublesome at best.  Meanwhile the two long-drawn wars have ensured that at least in the foreseeable future there will not be American boots on the ground in terms of troops. The new defence budget stresses the use of special forces rather than full blown military operations.

It will be up to Romney to come out with an alternative vision and Americans may not been on a mood for simple hawkishness. His stand against Iran as also China (regarding currency manipulation) may both turn out to be counter-productive and need to be more nuanced.

In this topsy-turvy election foreign policy may well be a democratic advantage.      

(Harsh Desai has done his BA in Political Science from St Xavier's College & Elphinstone College, Bombay and has done his Master's in Law from Columbia University in the city of New York. He is a practicing advocate at the Bombay High Court.)


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