Companies & Sectors
State-run oil firms now given operational, financial autonomy
New Delhi : The union cabinet on Wednesday permitted national oil companies autonomy in operational, financial and investment matters, not requiring them any more to seek the cabinet approval in this regard.
 
The permission was given in view of the vast and quick changes in the global oil market for over a year. 
 
"In a far-reaching decision today (Wednesday), the cabinet has decided to vest all PSU (public sector undertaking) oil companies the power to pursue their own policies, autonomy to take spot decisions, and act according to exigencies required by market conditions," Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here after the cabinet meeting.
 
"The only condition to this autonomy is that the decisions should adhere to CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) guidelines and have the approval of the company board of directors," he said.
 
"The decision is designed to give autonomy to all PSU oil companies in operational, financial and investment matters. They need not first come to the cabinet for approval," the minister added.
 
Noting that the global oil market has become very flexible in terms of the way prices have fallen over 70 percent through last year, before firming up somewhat, Prasad said that companies now needed to take spot decisions dictated by market conditions.
 
"Government has been laying down guidelines from time to time, but also allowing flexibility in terms of autonomy to take decisions," he said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Facebook announces enhanced security for WhatsApp
New Delhi : Following the Silicon Valley’s recent stare-down with authorities over user data privacy involving Apple's iPhone encryption, social media giant Facebook has announced end-to-end encryption of Whatsapp messages that allows users to protect their conversations from being hacked.
 
“An important milestone for the WhatsApp community. Now all your conversations and calls are encrypted to keep you and your information safe when you use the latest version," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement on Wednesday.
 
Facebook acquired California-based WhatsApp in 2014.
 
A full end-to-end encryption means that over one billion users of WhatsApp, when running the latest version of the messaging app, every call they make, and every message, photo, video, file, and voice message they send, will be end-to-end encrypted by default, and can only be deciphered by the intended recipient.
 
"The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us," said Jan Koum, CEO and co-founder of Whatsapp in a blog post on Tuesday. 
 
Encryption is one of the most important tools governments, companies, and individuals have to promote safety and security in the new digital age. Recently there has been a lot of discussion about encrypted services and the work of law enforcement, Koum added.
 
“We've been working for the past two years to give people better security over their conversations on WhatsApp. I'm proud of our team for hitting this milestone,” he said.
 
The social network's decision to enhance its security features comes close on the heels of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's attempt to force Apple unlock an encrypted iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farouk, who along with his wife opened fire at a holiday party, killing 14 people.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Norms changed where telecom spectrum was allotted, not auctioned
New Delhi : India on Wednesday approved changes in policy where telecom spectrum or airwaves were allotted administratively rather than auctioned, to arrive at the market-determined price for the scarce resource. This is to facilitate sharing and trading of spectrum by players.
 
"The most recent recommended reserve price will be taken as the provisional price, where auction-determined price is not available," Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said after a meeting of the cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
"Subsequent to the completion of ensuing auction and with the availability of auction-determined price, the provisional price already charged will be adjusted with the auction-determined price with effect from the date of liberalisation on a pro-rata basis," he said.
 
The cabinet decision is based on the recommendations of industry watchdog, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and will facilitate optimal utilisation of spectrum by introducing new technologies, sharing and trading, the minister said.
 
"A sum of Rs.1,300 crore is likely to accrue to the exchequer by this process."
 
The government had already specified the norms for administratively allotted spectrum in 800 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands, and the watchdog was approached for the same on similar spectrum in the 900 MHz band.
 
In 800 MHz, four circles had been left out. But this, too, was done end-February.
 
During consultations, the watchdog wanted to know from the stakeholders if the liberalisation of administratively-allotted spectrum in 900 MHz band should be similar to what has been spelt out by the DoT for 800 MHz and 1800 MHz band, and if such reform should be made mandatory.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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