Companies & Sectors
'Steep spectrum bids will burden telecom players, test tariffs'
As e-auction of telecom spectrum concluded on Wednesday, analysts said the winners faced a piquant situation now as their steep bids will burden their financial state further with limited elbow room to pass it on to customers in the form of tariff hikes.
 
The auction concluded after 19 days and 115 rounds of rigorous bidding with total commitments at Rs.109,874 crore as per provisional figures released by the government. As many as 50 out of 69 service areas on offer went at a premium.
 
"The whole auction was designed by the government to extract maximum revenues from the operators. As a result, the industry is going to face financial needs," Rajan S. Mathews, director general of the Cellular Operators' Association of India, told IANS.
 
Pointing to a key financial indicator, analysts quoted GSM Association's research wing to point out that in India bids were at global levels, but the average revenue per user was already low for Indian operators at $2.55, against $17.65 for Germany, $29.30 for the Netherlands and $28.52 for the UK.
 
"The spectrum auction outgo will impact on the rollout and quality of telecom network. In this competitive environment, operators will find it difficult to raise data or voice tariffs in the immediate term," said Arpita P. Agarwal, head for telecom with PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
 
Former telecom minister Kapil Sibal also felt the auction process was flawed.
 
"The telecom sector is hugely in debt to the extent of Rs.3.4 lakh crore. Now, in paying for high spectrum prices, there'll be no money for investment in infrastructure," Sibal told IANS.
 
Analysts said unless the revenue stream for the operators increases sharply, there will be little scope for the players to justify the high bids they have made. But in a regulated tariff regime, they also felt the scope for tariff hikes was limited.
 
"Prices are within the ballpark region. Price is not a surprise. However, the amount of bidding in the 800 MHz for 4G was not expected. It happened most of the operators are now planning to be a 3G and 4G player," Mahesh Uppal, director of telecom consultancy firm Com First, told IANS.
 
Uppal, however, cautioned that prices at which the winners got the spectrum were very very high. "It means less money to spend on the growth of network," he added.
 
Analysts also felt the impact on basic mobile phone services, classified as second generation (2G) telephony, will be impacted the most, as bidding was most competitive in the 900 MHz band - also since some players have to vacate the spectrum in December after the expiry of the licence.
 
"We participated in the recent spectrum auction to ensure continuity of business and service to our customers. We remain committed to providing seamless connectivity and superior communication services to our customers across the country," Vodafone said in a statement.
 
But experts saw more auctions in the near future as the current round focused on eight bidders.
 
"There was strong focus on 2G spectrum in this auction by all bidders. Looking at the current low demand for 2,100 MHz band, there may be another auction for 2100 MHz band soon with more spectrum and revised reserve price," Rishi Tejpal, principal research analyst, Gartner, told IANS.
 
But is a consolidation on the cards?
 
The opinion on this is: "Let the norms be set, at least," as PwC's Agarwal said. "With this auction completion, the government should bring back focus and provide roadmap on pending issues of spectrum trading, sharing, guidelines on mergers and acquisitions."

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Rose Valley chairman Gautam Kundu arrested by ED
The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday arrested Rose Valley Group chairman Gautam Kundu in connection with the multi billion rupee ponzi scam.
 
ED sources said Kundu was taken into custody after he failed to give proper answers during sustained questioning spread over six hours on being summoned to its office.
 
Kundu allegedly suppressed information and did not provide details about the quantum of money collected by his group companies from the market by promising huge returns.
 
The company also raised money through time-share schemes, promising the public that their deposits could be redeemed on maturity in the shape of accommodation in its hotels.
 
The group - involved in sectors like realty, hospitality, media and films - has been under the scanner of various central agencies including market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) and the ED.
 
Kundu, who had arrived at the ED office around noon for grilling, was taken to a local hospital after his arrest. He would be produced in court Thursday.
 
Soon after Kundu's arrest, a group of Rose Valley employees shouted slogans and staged a protest demonstration before the ED office.
 
Group managing director Shibamoy Dutta said the arrest was made despite its "cooperation with all central agencies involved in the probe".
 
"I have just now spoken to Gautam Kundu. On behalf of ED, no paper has been shown to him. He told that he has been arrested. But he hasn't been told why. The Rose Valley group has cooperated with all the central agencies which are conducting he probe," Dutta said.
 
The group came into focus after the Saradha ponzi scam broke in early 2013. The same year, the corporate affairs ministry named Rose Valley as one of the 73 companies involved in ponzi schemes in West Bengal.
 
Having cast its net across the states of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Odisha, Jharkhand and Maharashtra among others, the company is alleged to have raised close to Rs.15,000 crore.
 
Found guilty of running "collective investment scheme" (CIS) without necessary approvals, the SEBI in June 2014 had ordered the company to refund the money to the investors and barred it barred from accessing the securities market.
 
The SEBI had also warned the company of attachment and recovery proceedings if it failed to refund the money.
 
Earlier, SEBI in 2011 had passed an interim order barring the group from raising public money through its unapproved CIS.
 
The group had then moved the Calcutta High Court challenging the order but it was dismissed. It then filed an appeal before a division bench challenging the legality of the order. However, the higher bench too dismissed the appeal in July 2013.
 
Subsequent to the appeal's dismissal, the SEBI ordered refund of investors money.
 
While the ED attached 2,631 bank accounts of the group involving Rs.295 crore in November 2014, a Calcutta High Court division bench put a stay on the search and seizure order of the central agency.
 
Its properties were confiscated in Odisha following a court order on February 25.
 
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in December last year had told the Rajya Sabha that the Rose Valley Group of companies had collected an estimated Rs.15,000 crore from investors.
 
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha last month, had said the Saradha Group and the Rose Valley raised Rs.12,740 crore illegally.
 
According to Sinha, investigation revealed that the Rose Valley Group raised as much as Rs.10,281 crore from investors while Saradha firms had mobilised Rs.2,459 crore.
 
The Rose Valley Group was one of the sponsors of Indian Premier League city franchise Kolkata Knight Riders, and were also the title sponsor of an international chess meet in Kolkata in 2012.

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Did Angelina Jolie just boost the growth of $1.72 trillion cancer industry?
Millions of women may have got their ovaries removed but since Angelina Jolie has money, name and fame, she is being used to get more patients. Medicine is no longer a calling. It is a down right cut throat business, especially the cancer treatment 
 
“Winning at all costs" may sound like good business advice, but it's not.” — Rob Spiegel
 
Angelina Jolie had her ovaries removed for a possible 50% chance of getting cancer there. As many readers would remember, she had her breasts removed too for the same reason. Sooner than later she will have more of her organs removed and replaced by artificial ones! Not surprising, if you believe these doctors called cancerologists. There is a 50% chance of anybody getting any disease. Does that warrant us to get our organs removed to remain safe from cancer?
 
If it is that easy, then lot more people will cough up that kind of money to get their organs removed. I remember my student days, when we used to advise children to get their tonsils and appendix removed, lest they should get into problems. Now, we think that it is foolish to do that. 
 
Science has advanced by leaps and bounds. With the latest science the following conclusions could be drawn which seems to be true today.
 
The future is not there. It is yet to be born. The past is dead.
 
Human body is not a machine put together by joining organs together. Human body is a bundle of energy and a colony of 129 trillion human cells, each one of which can live like a human being in isolation. We also are home to ten times that number of germ cells at a ratio of 1:10.
 
The human body works as whole and not in bits and pieces.
 
Healing has to be Whole Person Healing. (WPH) This is now scientifically accepted by the IOM in USA, thanks to Late Professor Rustum Roy’s efforts. Organs cannot be treated in isolation.
 
In a dynamic system, future prediction is impossible, unless we know the total initial state of the organism, which is impossible. Weather predictions never come right, butterfly effect is the rule. Writing in the British Medical Journal, Professor WJ Firth, a physicist, shows how foolish it is for doctors to predict the unpredictable future of their patients. (BMJ 1991; 303: 1565)
 
Evolution is not Darwinian-Mendelian but is Lamarckian. The genes play a secondary fiddle, as there are only 23,000 human genes in our genome, with two and half trillion germ genes.  Epigenetics is the order of the day.
 
How could anybody advise a patient to have her organs removed for fear of getting cancer there with 50:50 chances?
 
After she had had her breasts removed, I had written that her other organs are at risk at this rate and it has come true!
 
That said, I must hasten to add that this is very sensible medi-business. Cancer is a 1.72 trillion dollar industry and growing by leaps and bounds. The drugs are expensive and are not even being tested properly.  I wonder if we have been able to conquer cancer. Not yet! Money seems to be the only driving force in this business.
 
Scientists and rationalists condemn our poor astrologers for predicting human future. I agree with them there. The same people do not condemn this kind of quackery? Why this double standards? In fact the latter is more dangerous as it is done in the name of that hallowed word-“Science”. What is science? I was sure that Dolly would die a premature death due to old age diseases as she was created from her mother’s cell. That happened. Eric Drexler, a young PhD from MIT started a company, called, if I remember right, Furutistic.Inc. He claimed to produce custom-built human beings without mother and father (self-replicating nanobots). He collected billions from venture capitalists. His own teacher, Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley had to warn the world that this is an impossibility. The company closed down declaring chapter 11! This is how one makes money through science.
 
All that is fine with our thinkers but they are allergic to astrologers. Weather predictions do not come true correctly. Edward Lorenz then had a new hypothesis of “Butterfly Effect”. In the human body which is non-linear and holistic, things happen due to butterfly effect every minute. No one, not even the best scientist can predict the human future using the present science. Poor Jolie, she is being taken for a ride. At this rate what will be left of her body? I wonder how this business thrives in today’s world where the media should keep a watch. On the contrary, the media is helping them by advertising their work. Look at the news of Angelina’s ovaries. They make headline news all over the world. How are her removed ovaries making so much sense to the lay reader? Millions of women must have got their ovaries removed but since Angelina has money, name and fame, she is being used to get more patients. Medicine is no longer a calling. It is a down right cut throat business.
 
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” — Henry Ford
 
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.)
 

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COMMENTS

Sarin Thomas

2 years ago

"There is a 50% chance of anybody getting any disease. Does that warrant us to get our organs removed to remain safe from cancer?" Angelina Joli carries BRCA1 gene mutation which increases the risk of getting cancer and additionally she lost her mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer. So her case is different here.

"Evolution is not Darwinian-Mendelian but is Lamarckian" not sure how can you draw such conclusions.Lamarckian is a dismissed theory for a long time now.

And please don't sympathize with astrologers who are finding their bread by fooling people...

MG Warrier

2 years ago

Thanks, Dr Hegde. Moneylife and you are doing a great serviceby creating awareness and removing ignorance(is this the right word for AGYAN?).When 'threatened' by doctors about possibility/chance of ailments like cancer, making a choice becomes a tough task for patients or those accompany them. Many tests and investigations are being suggested/prescribed, just to 'exclude' chances. Sometimes we feel helpless. But, when one reads Dr BM Hegde, hope gets rekindled.

M.Balachandran

2 years ago

Now all Jolie needs to do is get a lobotomy done as a recommended cure for all those with mental problems :)

Bala

Narendra Doshi

2 years ago

tks Dr Hegde

Narendra Doshi

2 years ago

Read this, think on this AND TAKE YOUR CALL

sivaraman anant narayan

2 years ago

This is nothing but dubious, medically aided euthanasia in slow motion. Unfortunately all the fame and monetary resources still cannot buy you wisdom! In this cut throat medical practice, 'fear is the key'!

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