TRAI asks Loop Mobile to inform subscribers date of closure in Mumbai
Loop Mobile’s licences for Mumbai circle will expire in November after which it will not be able to offer telecom services
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed Loop Mobile to inform date of closure of its services in Mumbai to all its subscribers.
“The Authority hereby directs Loop Mobile that it shall inform the date of closure of its services in Mumbai licensed service area to all its existing subscribers...either in writing or by sending SMS/e—mail, within 10 days of issue of this direction,” TRAI said in a letter dated 30th September.
TRAI said the mobile operator should also inform about every new subscriber at the time of his enrolment to its network.
“Loop Mobile is further directed to furnish the compliance report with regard to the direction within 15 days of issue of this direction,” TRAI said.
Loop Mobile had informed Department of Telecom (DoT), in a letter dated 10th March this year, that due to various commercial reasons, it was unable to renew the CMTS licence and would, therefore, cease to provide its services from 29 November 2014.
Mumbai-based Loop Mobile’s licences will expire in November after which it will not be able to offer telecom services. The company had to buy spectrum afresh to continue its operations but it did not participate in the auction held in February.
The company in June 2013 had entered into an agreement with Bharti Airtel to sell its assets for about Rs700 crore. The deal, however, is yet to be approved by DoT.
DoT estimates that Loop Mobile and its other sister concern owe it about Rs808 crore. The Department, according to sources, has held up the clearance related to the deal as the payment has not been made yet to the government.


US to help India develop Allahabad, Ajmer and Visakhapatnam as smart cities
US will help India in developing Allahabad, Ajmer and Visakhapatnam apart from joining hands with civil society and authorities to provide clean water and sewage facilities in 500 cities
In a boost to India’s 100 smart city programme, the US will help the country in developing three such cities apart from joining hands with civil society and authorities to provide clean water and sewage facilities in 500 cities in the country. The three cities are Allahabad, Ajmer and Visakhapatnam.
This announcement was made after the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama.
The Indian government plans to develop 100 smart cities and in this regard an allocation of Rs7,060 crore was proposed in the Union Budget.
While presenting the Budget for 2014-15, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said the Prime Minister has a vision of developing 100 smart cities as satellite towns of larger cities and by modernising the existing mid-sized cities.
“With development reaching an increasingly large number of people, the pace of migration from the rural areas to the cities is increasing,” Jaitley had said.
Wounding up his whirlwind five-day US visit yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi “thanked” America and called his trip a highly “successful and satisfactory” one.


Should NATGRID, the center of integrated intelligence information, be so secretive?
NATGRID, born after 26/11 terror attack to centralise databases of several intelligence agencies, is out of the ambit of the RTI Act. Now that it will execute contracts and acquire property with taxpayer’s money, shouldn’t it come under RTI? 
National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) developed by C-DAC Pune, is a centralised and integrated data base system to monitor details of a potential suspect through his database. These personal details are procured through banks, credit cards, internet, cell phones, immigration, motor vehicle licenses, National Crime Records Bureau, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Income Tax (I-T) Department. 
A group of central and state agencies, which collated the information and made it available at NATGRID, accesses these details. It has the ability to provide a complete profile of the suspect’s movements. The government agency called NATGRID has its headquarters in Delhi and was established post the 26/11 Mumbai Terror attack. It aims to nab Headley-like characters by accessing their personal details and nipping terror in the bud.
However, NATGRID, since its inception in 2011 has been caught in a vortex of controversy. As per Intelligence Bureau (IB) reports, its chief executive Raghu Raman, was allegedly involved in personal and professional misconduct involving foreign nationals during his five year tenure because of which his contract was not renewed recently. Considering that he was paid a fat salary of Rs10 lakh odd per month (highest for any babu?) and has a team of 20 or more which is paid between Rs1 lakh to Rs2.5 lakh a month, it is expected that the citizen has the right to know about the public money that is being lavishly spent. 
The current financial outlay is Rs1,000 crore for this project so should the public be kept in the dark? Newspapers have recently reported that very little has progressed since 2011 although 70 people have been appointed at various levels.
In June 2011, as soon as NATGRID became operational, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government notified it as ‘exempt organisation’ under Section 24 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Venkatesh Nayak, RTI activist and programme coordinator of National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI) says, “Even information provided by NATGRID to the central government is out of the RTI ambit under Section 24. Under RTI, it can only furnish information about allegations of human rights violation or allegations of corruption. Even this information has to be approved by the Central Information Commission.” 
However, on 14 September 2014, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a notification through the Official Gazette declaring the Director of NATGRID as an authority competent to execute contracts and assurances of property in the NATGRID on behalf of the President of India (See below).
This implies that the Director’s duties are beyond issues of only security as he is now in-charge of executing contracts and therefore these areas come under the RTI Act. 
Nayak says, “…the Gazette notification is clear indication of the fact that the MHA, under which NATGRID falls, thinks it fit to proactively disclose the decision taken for making the Director competent to enter into contracts and assurances on property. Technically, this is proactive disclosure of information for the purpose of Section 4 of the RTI Act.”
“The argument for protecting national security concerns which such organisation deals with is valid no doubt, but Section 24 (of the RTI Act) amounts to overkill as it does not differentiate between non-sensitive information, which may be disclosed without harming any public interest and other kinds of information whose disclosure may be harmful to the public interest,” Nayak added. Thus appealing that NATGRID cannot be a closed secret and have the privilege of completely hiding all information.
What is most curious though is the fact NATGRID does not even have a dedicated website. All other organisations that are exempt from RTI Act and are under the Ministry of Home Affairs have a website. Some examples include the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and so on which have put up information about their vision, mission and other activities. 
According to Nayak, SSB discloses a wealth of information that falls under Section 4 of the RTI Act such as organisational structure, transfer policy, monthly list of achievements, including arrests and seizures made and believe it or not-the Immovable Property Returns of its senior level officers (since 2011). NATGRID and IB are the only organisations under the Home Ministry without dedicated websites. IB too discloses the total number of RTI applications it receives and the data is published in the annual report of the CIC. “Perhaps this is a calculated move not to provide any intelligence to the citizenry about such organisations,’’ Nayak said.
Vappala Balachandran, columnist in The Sunday Guardian, writes about NATGRID in Wednesday’s column: “I am not sure that NATGRID will prevent incidents like 26/11, because the state police or different defence departments are not mentioned among the 10 ‘user agencies’. As a member of the state government appointed 26/11 enquiry committee, which, however, was not allowed to examine the Central agencies, it is my impression that intelligence pointers already available with some Central agencies were not communicated to the state government or the Navy and Coast Guard. How will NATGRID help if the agencies are not willing to share current intelligence? As for Headley's repeated visits, why did the Intelligence Bureau, which controls the computerised Bureau of Immigration, need NATGRID to tell them this information, which was already with them?”
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, 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 series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)



Mahesh S Bhatt

3 years ago

Sir I come from Cybersecurity background in Telecom & IT.

This seems to be nothing but a government overt cover sham.

Our data of IP addresses by Service Providers is non secure/breachable.With advanced IP morphing techniques/botnets NATGRID shall be only paper Tiger/sham.Government donot want to pay for expert Tech Security solutions.

Next watch smart cities capturing citizens data for Financial tax purposes.

Our politicians support Mafia/Kill whistle-blowers.

Dawood Ibrahim is creation during Sharad Pawar CM's days,a smalltime Dongro goon.

Today he is active agent BCCI match fixer & group of Politicians/Businessmen are fighting SC investigations Mudgal is working hardly.

Each Political party has criminals which EC is unable to cleanse.

There is doha Ram Chandra kahe giya siya se aisa Kalyug aaye ga.

Raja aur Praja mein nis din hogi kichha taani.Choti Choti Bhaaliya Badi Badi Booraiyan.

Happy Navratri/Dushera.bhat_mahesh

Nagesh Kini

3 years ago

All these days the RBI had assumed the status of the 'holiest of the holy cows' with the divine right to deny any legitimate information and now there comes another entity. at this rate many more will follow suit and get away scot free with blue murder!


3 years ago

There are two sides to the "secrecy" coin in matters of national security. The first is, of course, to walk off with other people's money without having to exercise the usual bag of tricks. The other is to avoid accountability and fundamental assessment of "fitness for purpose". This is true of all Indian "Governance" functions, but "security" provides a more rigorous excuse for "secrecy"

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