SpiceJet said as the framework for FDI in Indian aviation is not yet in place, overseas carriers were reluctant to enter more formal negotiations
Dubai: SpiceJet has held 'preliminary discussions' with a Gulf airline for potential investment in the Indian budget carrier, reports PTI quoting a news report.
"There have been preliminary discussions to check in principle whether there is interest on both sides and the confirmation there would be 'yes there is'," SpiceJet CEO Neil Mills told Arabian Business.
Any such tie-up depends on a policy shift in India's aviation industry, which currently prohibits foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector.
Mills said as the framework for FDI in Indian aviation is not yet in place, overseas carriers were reluctant to enter more formal negotiations.
"(Talks have) been on a preliminary basis, because they've quite rightly said what's the point in investing money in due diligence if the rule to enable (an investment) doesn't even exist," Mills was quoted as saying.
Mills, however, declined to reveal whether UAE-based Etihad Airways, which owns minority stakes in airberlin and Virgin Australia, and Qatar Airways were among the interested parties.
SpiceJet has a network of 41 destinations across South Asia and the Middle East.
Any future tie-up, Mills said, would provide reciprocal benefits.
"We've got a good network and we're carrying 36,000 people a day (and) about one million people a month now, so we've got good feed and good catchment," he said.
A partnership with an international carrier would give SpiceJet access to economies of scale on procurement contracts and long-haul options for its passengers, he added.
On the possibility of any change in India's aviation policy, Mills said a part of the issue is that the majority of carriers have realised "they cannot use (FDI) anyway".
"Either their debt burden is so large that nobody would want to take a stake in them because you inherit a stake of the debt, and other carriers are already owned up to 49% on an offshore basis anyway," he said.
SpiceJet will begin a daily service to Riyadh from its hub in Delhi by October, he said, adding that the airline is currently not assessing any other Gulf routes.
IMG has recommended de-allocation of four coal mines that were allotted to private companies and encashment of bank guarantee of three others on the ground of non-development of mines within the prescribed time
New Delhi: The Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on coal blocks allocation has recommended de-allocation of four mines allotted to private firms and encashment of bank guarantee of three others on the ground of non-development of mines within a prescribed time, reports PTI.
"The IMG, which reviewed eight cases yesterday has recommended de-allocation of four coal blocks including two alloted to private firm Field Mining and Ispat," a Coal Ministry official, who did not wish to be named, told PTI.
Field Mining and Ispat was slapped a show cause along with 58 others for delay in development of Chinora and Warora Southern Part coal blocks in Maharashtra.
This is the first recommendation by the IMG ever since controversy broke out over the allocation of coal blocks after the recent Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report that criticised the government for allotting them in a non-transparency.
The IMG had scrutinised eight cases on Wednesday in a marathon six-hour meeting out of a total 29 reviewed by it last week in the context of why production had not started within the prescribed timeline.
It had heard representatives of 29 coal block allottees on 6, 7 and 8 September out of of 58 allocations under focus.
Meanwhile, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters that he was hopeful that the IMG would submit its first report by 17th September, two days after the 15th September deadline set earlier.
"I am hopeful that IMG will submit its report by 17th September," Jaiswal said.
Dr Subramanian Swamy claimed it is difficult and un-reliable to re-count votes using EVMs and cited the re-counting of votes in the Sivaganga parliamentary constituency, represented by Finance Minister P Chidamabaram, which he had won allegedly under controversial circumstances
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to take up for hearing on priority basis Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy's plea to incorporate paper printouts in electronic voting machines (EVMs) or restore paper balloting system because EVMs 'are not tamper proof', reports PTI.
"We will hear the matter on a priority basis so that it is concluded by the next parliamentary elections. That is the reason we are giving the priority," said a bench of justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi.
The bench adjourned the matter for further hearing on 27th September after hearing Swamy's submission for over an hour and asked the Election Commission (EC) to be prepared with its submission.
Arguing in person, Swamy made a fervent plea for reverting to the old paper-ballot system saying all advance countries in the world, including the US and Japan have discarded EVMs and gone back to the paper-ballot system.
The Janata Party leader said even Japan which had been a pioneer in the launch of the EVMs was today relying on the paper-ballot system only.
He said it was only private companies across the world which are manufacturing these EVMs, which are vulnerable to hacking.
India, he said, does not indigenously manufacture EVMs and was solely dependent on importing of the machines and the microchips used in them.
Swamy claimed it is difficult and un-reliable to re-count votes using EVMs and cited the re-counting of votes in the Sivaganga parliamentary constituency, represented by Finance Minister P Chidamabaram, which he had won allegedly under controversial circumstances.
The Janata Party leader also told the bench that several modern software experts, including Hari Prasad from Hyderabad, had demonstrated that EVMs can be hacked and manipulated.
The apex court on 7th May had sought the stands of the Centre and the Election Commission of India on Swamy's plea challenging the Delhi High Court's order dismissing his plea on the issue earlier on 17th January.
The high court had said, "It is difficult for this court to direct the Election Commission to have a paper trail of elections conducted through EVMs."
It, however, had suggested that the Commission could hold wider consultations with the executive, the political parties and other stake holders on the matter.
The high court had disposed of the plea saying Swamy has himself not alleged any misuse or tampering of current system but maintained that the possibility of such an incident cannot be ruled out.
Swamy had sought directions to the Election Commission that paper trail be incorporated to record the votes cast through EVMs or old system of paper ballots be brought back.
He had claimed that EVMs were not tamper proof and lacked transparency.
The EC had opposed the plea, saying returning to the paper ballots would not be feasible as it would require immense expenditure as there were over 73 crore eligible voters in the country.