“Telenor Group has issued to Unitech a notice of voidance of the current shareholders’ agreement with Unitech on account of fraud and misrepresentation on their part as established by the Supreme Court judgement,” Telenor Group director communications (Asia) Glenn Mandelid said in a statement
New Delhi: Virtually dumping its partner Unitech, Norwegian telecom major Telenor Group today announced plans to set up a new company for carrying out its Indian operations post Supreme Court quashing its 22 licenses, reports PTI.
Telenor also sought damages from Unitech accusing it of “fraud and misrepresentation” of facts based on which it had invested over Rs6,000 crore in the joint venture with the real estate firm.
“Telenor Group has issued to Unitech a notice of voidance of the current shareholders’ agreement with Unitech on account of fraud and misrepresentation on their part as established by the Supreme Court judgement,” Telenor Group director communications (Asia) Glenn Mandelid said in a statement.
The Norwegian firm wants to transfer the business that was being done under the Uninor brand to the new company, where it will hold 74% stake and may rope in a minority Indian partner.
Expressing shock at Telenor’s announcement, Unitech in a statement said, it “cannot be held responsible” for cancellation of licenses and shareholders agreement “cannot be terminated by any party unilaterally”.
Telenor said the new entity will serve as the platform to approach the upcoming auctions for fresh licenses as mandated by the Supreme Court.
“As a part of this process, the new entity will also seek requisite approvals from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to allow Telenor Group to take up 74% ownership," Mr Mandelid said.
Telenor will seek to transfer Uninor’s business, and seamlessly migrate its customers and employees, to the new company, Mr Mandelid added.
“Till such a time, Uninor operations continue as before,” he added.
Telenor said it does not need “the 75% shareholders vote” for transfer of the business to the new company as “Uninor is a private company”.
On the ability to unilaterally void shareholder agreement, the Norway-based company said “in case of a fraud and misrepresentation, Telenor can unilaterally declare the shareholder agreement void”.
Mr Mandelid said Telenor Group has, for more than a year, tried to secure Uninor’s long-term funding needs through a rights offer but the process has been blocked by Unitech.
“Telenor Group has taken full responsibility for the financial security of Uninor by solely and fully guaranteeing for all short-term funding needs,” he said.
Telenor Group said it has invested Rs6,135 crore through equity and over Rs8,000 crore in debt through corporate guarantees for ramping up Uninor’s operations.
Uninor, over period of two years, has secured over 40 million customers, a workforce of over 17,500 and a distribution network with more than 4 lakh points of sale, the statement said.
“In order to ensure a smooth transition for Uninor’s employees, customers and stakeholders, we expect that the Uninor board would, with prior consent from the Indian authorities, transfer Uninor’s business into this new company at a fair market value,” Mr Mandelid said.
Mr Mandelid added that this voidance will take place with a prospective affect and all rights that have accrued in the past shall consequently stand preserved.
“Till such time that Uninor’s business is transferred to the new Indian company, Uninor operations will continue as before. We now trust that the Indian authorities will conduct a swift and fair process such that new competition remains in the market,” Mr Mandelid said.
The Unitech stock trailed 0.14% at Rs35.45 apiece on the Bombay Stock Exchange in late morning trade today.
Is there a solution to the lack of will by government department heads in voluntarily providing information under Section 4 of the RTI Act, because of which information is primarily delayed? PricewaterhouseCoopers along with IMRB which conducted a study at the behest of the central government makes some valid observations and suggestions
The Supreme Court in a RTI judgment on 9 August 2011 made an observation that, “the nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties.”
It further states that, “the threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritising information furnishing, at the cost of their normal and regular duties”.
Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi states that, “if 75% of the government employees spend 75% of their time to provide information, it would imply that 56% (0.75x0.75) of the total time would be spent on giving information. If this possibility ever comes about it would be scary and undesirable.”
So Shailesh Gandhi decided to do a reality check and following are his observations:
In addition to these observations, the resistance by most government departments in not abiding by the norms of Section 4 of the RTI Act which mandates suo moto disclosure which includes majority of information which citizens desire and have the right to know, has compelled citizens to file RTI applications. Subsequently, lack of systematic documentation in government offices also leads to unnecessary time being spent on gathering information for the applicant and leads to procrastination and hesitation in providing information by the Public Information Officers (PIOs).
In 2009, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), along with IMRB (market research partner), had been assigned by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to assess and evaluate the level of implementation of the Act with specific reference to the key issues and constraints faced by the “Information Providers and Information Seekers”. The final report “Final Understanding the Key Issues and Constraints in implementing the RTI Act” has been published but most of the recommendations are gathering dust. PwC has provided some noteworthy observations and recommendations.
I restrict myself to the section which highlights how well-equipped are government departments in dealing with RTI applications filed by citizens, in terms of training, usage of IT, basic infrastructure like Photostat machines and budgets.
The study states:
Low motivation of PIOs
The study observes: “The gaps highlighted above, are partly due to lack of clear accountability established through appropriate government rules and lack of controls to measure the level/effectiveness of implementation. This has been addressed in the report through detailing the roles and responsibilities of various entities and establishing a control mechanism through the use of IT.”
In order to ensure good performance of PIOs in implementing the RTI Act:
The PwC study also observed:
(Vinita Deshmukh is a consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte. She can be reached at [email protected])
Cure rarely, comfort mostly but, console always should be our motto when one is ill. Patient care simply is caring for the patient
“A reasoning, self-sufficing thing, an intellectual all-in-all!”— William Wordsworth
The quote below is one of the many brilliant sayings of that great brain, Sir William Osler. “One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicines.” In the twenty-first century, I could only echo that great sentiment as a truism, despite all the tall talk about the “so called” evidence based medicine. Napoleon Bonaparte went one step further, but one could argue that as he was not a physician. Napoleon was at the receiving end of such a medical practice in Persia where he died. “Medicine is a collection of uncertain prescriptions the results of which, taken collectively, are more fatal than useful to mankind." Napoleon, though, was more accurate scientifically today. Latest science says that uncertainty is the only certainty in the world. This is truer in medical science, if there is one. A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience. If that were so, this one from Voltaire takes the cake: “The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”
Time and again I had written in my articles elsewhere that our evidence base has been built on loose sand. (www.plosmedicine.org/annotation/listThread.action-ww.bmj.com/content/338/bmj.b1272.extract/reply) Of course, no one seems to take it seriously. They would have, if it had any financial interest behind it. The present Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) and linear relations help generate billions of dollars in chemical therapeutics even if that results in thousands dying of our efforts directly or indirectly.
A study by researchers in a respectable US university of the placebo based RCTs did show that the contents of the placebo capsule, which need not legally be made known to the regulating agencies like the FDA, were very potent substances that would show the company drug as very effective in comparison. To cite an example, anti-diabetic drugs are usually compared with sugar-filled placebo capsules! Many such glaring criminal activities have come to light now in the field of “Evidence based medicine” of today!)
This morning I had a message from one of my old students who is a leading dermatologist in India doing innovative research in his area. “I always wondered when I used to listen to you during my student days and respected your views all along. In dermatology, evidence is found only in 28% of published studies. All molecular biology companies come with an offer to give authorship if we buy their equipment for our laboratory! Doesn’t that mean that most molecular biology studies are prototype and try to find out how what is known fits into their study?”
Foundations of our evidence in modern medicine like the statistical risk calculations, (especially the relative risk reductions in place of absolute risk reductions that are sold to gullible doctors in most of the “scientific” articles without mentioning the NNT figures) and, the RCTs, which have no true science base, are very shaky, indeed. We need to have a new science of man, which is sadly missing in this whole bargain. Physics changed in 1925 and there is no more solid state physics, but we still use the same old physics laws for our statistics. Matter is not made up of matter. Matter and energy are interchangeable.
(journalofcosmology.com/QuantumConsciousness106.html) Human molecules communicate with one another which can now be documented through the photon lights emitted from each DNA.
What is the science base of our reductionism, organ-based specialization and our reliance on Mendelian inheritance? Instead of trying to rehash the existing evidence base it is better to think of a new evidence base for health and illness. Health is a state where each human body cell is in sync with other cells. Illness is when this communication breaks down. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biophoton) We need a new non-linear, holistic, dynamic, scientific base for future medical research. Nature has provided a robust repair mechanism inside the human system which has been weakened by our modern life style. Even though both Claude Bernard and Louis Pasteur did note that the “terrain is more important than the seed” we have gone whole hog on the seed, risk factors, and what have you. Modern medicine has forgotten the essence of illness care which is basically to strengthen the terrain.
Indian Ayurveda and many other complementary systems stress just that fact to strengthen one’s immune system. Ayurveda has many immune boosting modalities in its armamentarium. Many simple methods which have stood the test of time are being forgotten now, thanks to the brainwashing of the masses through mass media advertisements about the wrong approaches to keep one healthy. The leading one among them is goading people to have regular a “health” check up. Nothing could be more dangerous than that to apparently healthy people. When one is healthy one should NEVER ever go for a check up! Common man will have the doubt as to how s/he could know about health. One is healthy when one has a) enthusiasm to work and b) enthusiasm to be compassionate. One of the ancient exercises could be the most potent modern medicine— a daily walk if one is not a physical labourer. Universal love is another life giving elixir. Recent studies have shown daily walk can reduce the risk of premature death and disability by 80%!
After twenty-five years follow up of one of the largest ever studies of risk factors (which are being sold to the gullible public day in and day out as silent killers), the MRFIT study (Multiple Risk Factor Interventional Trial) came to the strange conclusion that: “in conclusion, we have shown that it is possible to apply an intensive long-term intervention program against three coronary risk factors, high blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking with considerable success in terms of risk factor changes. The overall results do not show a beneficial effect on CHD or total mortality from this multiple risk factors intervention trial. (Zukel, Paul and Schnaper, 1981). In other words, they found that changing the “risk factors” does not apparently change the risks. This necessarily means that the “risk factors” are not as important as was thought. Indeed, it should be concluded that the “risk factors” were no such thing, at least as far as this trial is concerned. At the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Roger Sherwin was Principal Investigator of the Baltimore Center of the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT). He served on several national MRFIT committees and was the first chairman of the intervention committee, which was responsible for the implementation of the complex intervention program. He was disappointed that the MRFIT turned out to be only a boondoggle.
An audit by Uffe Ravnskov of the 17 leading hypertension intervention trials in the world literature showed hardly any significant difference in the outcomes at the end of the day in mortality between the groups where the blood pressures were tightly controlled with drugs compared to the groups that changed their mode of living to a healthier one. Recent CADD study did show that very tight control of blood sugar with powerful drugs in diabetics only increased the micro-vascular complications. Most of our studies, based on which we model our treatment plans, show only a decrease in the surrogate end points like blood sugar report improvement in diabetics; they have never shown in the long run any fall in mortality. Surrogate end point research could, at times, be dangerous especially in medicine where the NNT (a statistical term denoting the number needed to treat) is prohibitively high. One example will suffice. The large MRC study on mild to moderate hypertension treatment showed that to save possibly one stroke death in the next five years in society we will have to unnecessarily treat 850 healthy human beings with powerful anti-hypertensive drugs whose side effects could seriously damage the health of at least 75 healthy people with some of them meeting their maker prematurely! The NNT in heart ailment drugs and cancer treatment could be much more than in hypertension.
I am sure the reader by now would have realized the significance of what William Osler’s prophetic statement of 1905 meant when Osler did not have any of these powerful drugs that we have today. Cure rarely, comfort mostly but, console always should be our motto when one is ill. Patient care simply is caring for the patient. Let me make a fervent plea for parsimony in using drugs in the healthy segment of the population, by labeling these so called risk factors as silent killers, in the fond hope of averting major problems in the future. We simply do not have any scientific evidence for their benefit as of now.
“I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past”—Patrick Henry (1736-1799) US patriot
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society’s Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former vice-chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected])