Telecom minister Kapil Sibal held consultations with stakeholders to evolve a clear and transparent regime covering licensing, spectrum allocation and other issues concerning the sector
New Delhi: Worried over differences amongst the service providers, particularly, on the issue of spectrum allocation, telecom minister Kapil Sibal today asked them to soon sink their differences as otherwise it could adversely impact growth of the sector, reports PTI.
Mr Sibal, during his meeting with various telecom operators, discussed in detail issues ranging from spectrum sharing, merger and acquisition, annual spectrum usage charge and rising disputes among the telecom firms.
"Range of issues were on the table basically as you know that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had given its recommendations way back in May last year and then its latest recommendations on spectrum management in February 2011.
"I have urged the stakeholders that the captains of the industry must get together and iron out the differences among themselves because no industry can be robust if it is fractious," Mr Sibal told reporters here.
The minister held consultations with stakeholders to evolve a clear and transparent regime covering licensing, spectrum allocation and other issues in the telecom sector.
"By the end of this month the minister has asked to give our recommendations to sort out differences existing in the industry," Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) director Rajan S Mathew said.
The recommendations given by TRAI on spectrum management and licensing framework which earned criticism from most of leading telecom players was the centre of deliberations at the conference.
"Now these issues will be taken to the Telecom Commission and later the government will take a decision on them. I have a 100-day agenda and I keep my 100-day agenda," Mr Sibal added.
At the beginning of this year, telecom minister Kapil Sibal had initiated action to formulate comprehensive National Telecom Policy 2011 under his 100-day agenda.
Supporting the telecom minister's views Bharti Airtel CEO Sanjay Kapoor said, "There needs to be a level playing field and that is what matters and that is what we as operators are demanding."
The meeting was attended by various telecom chiefs including Bharti Airtel's Sanjay Kappor, Vodafone's TV Ramachandran and others.
Telecom major Bharti Airtel had, in a statement, said TRAI's recommendations are against the stated principle of the government to offer affordability, fairness and level playing field.
Reliance Communications, on its part, had alleged that TRAI's recommendation favoured old operators.
It said if the recommendations were accepted it will cause government a loss of Rs6,500 crore.
During the conference, Mr Sibal discussed delinking of spectrum from licensing of access service in future and renewal of licences, among other things.
"Well I think it is something which has to be tried because ultimately for the harmonious functioning of the sector, this is desirable and every effort in that direction has to be made," secretary, Department of Telecom, R Chandrasekhar said.
"Well in my sense the next step is to take it to the Telecom Commission but as the minister has indicated we would need to leave some time for a possible meeting of minds or consensus.
"I would not like to put a timeframe. We would try to take forward the decision making process as earliest," he said.
The telecom minister also discussed mergers and acquisition issues like relevant market share, minimum number of operators post merger, spectrum pricing on consolidation and spectrum transfer charges.
Stakeholders unanimously agreed not to bring telecom infrastructure provider (IP-1) under licensing framework.
"Absence of infrastructure and sharing of infrastructure is not allowed," an industry player present during the meeting said.
The per capita income rose to Rs46,492 in 2009-10 compared to Rs40,605 in the previous fiscal, statistics and programme implementation minister MS Gill said
New Delhi: The country's per capita income, often used to measure a country's standard of living, increased by 14.5% during 2009-10 to Rs46,492, reports PTI.
In 2008-09, the per capita income, which measures the income per person in a population, was Rs40,605, statistics and programme implementation minister MS Gill said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
"The per capita income at factor cost during 2008-09 and 2009-10 are estimated as Rs40,605 and Rs46,492, respectively, at current prices," said Mr Gill.
In response to a query, he said, the separate per capita income figures for rural and urban areas are available till the base year 2004-05, as the data is compiled only in the base year of the National Accounts Statistics.
As per the base year 2004-05, the per capita income in rural areas was Rs16,327, while in the urban areas it stood at Rs44,223.
"The major disparity in the urban and rural per capita income is high income in urban areas and high population concentration in rural areas," said Mr Gill.
He said the government is providing employment in villages through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme and the Bharat Nirman programmes, with an aim to increase the per capita income in the rural areas.
Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde admitted that the capacity addition is less by about 5,000MW against the target of adding 20,359MW in 2010-11, missing the target for the fourth consecutive year of the 11th Five Year Plan
New Delhi: India aims to add about 15,000 megawatt (MW) power generation capacity in the current financial year, taking the total capacity to over 1.75 lakh MW by the end of this month, reports PTI.
"We have already added about 10,460MW by now (April-February) and hope to exceed 15,000MW by the end of this (fiscal) year. This will be the highest capacity addition in any year," power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters here.
However, this will be less by about 5,000MW against the target of adding power generation capacity of 20,359MW in 2010-11, missing the target for the fourth consecutive year of the 11th Five Year Plan.
"I am little upset now as if I don't get coal and other fuel due to environmental restrictions, I will not be able to even meet out the revised capacity addition targets of 62,000MW during the 11th Plan," Mr Shinde said.
He was replying to a query on the reasons for capacity addition targets being continuously missed by the country.
He said issues like lesser availability of coal, whose production has been affected in the last one year due to environmental norms, has been presented to the Group of Ministers headed by Pranab Mukherjee for an early solution.
"We have suggested what to do and the matter is under consideration. Let's wait," Mr Shinde said while speaking on the sidelines of a conference on power trading.
According to Central Electricity Authority's data, the Indian power utilities have been able to add only about 47.78% of the target in the last four years at 32,512MW (between April 2007 and January 2011).
On the other hand, the 11th Five Year Plan had aimed to achieve an additional generation capacity of 62,262.4MW during the same period.
This target was subsequently reduced in the mid-term review of the Plan and now India aims to achieve a total power capacity of over 62,000MW (in five years) by March 2012.
Talking about the coal availability, the power minister said its production should increase by 2%-4% every year to meet the rising demands of the power sector.
Indian power companies have imported about 10-11 million tonnes (MT) of coal so far in the current fiscal, Mr Shinde said, adding his ministry had fixed an import target of 35 MT of the important fossil fuel during the period.