TRAI recommendations soon on blocking IMEI of lost mobiles

TRAI has received comments from various stakeholders on technology and provisions that can be made for handling issues related to lost mobile phones and is expected to announce some measures in another 15 to 20 days, its chairman JS Sarma said

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is gearing up to issue the much awaited recommendations on blocking of IMEI of lost and stolen mobile handsets, reports PTI.

“I think we should be able to do it in another 15 to 20 days,” TRAI chairman JS Sarma told reporters here.

TRAI had been working on this issue since 2004 and issued consultation paper again on 2 November 2010.

The Authority has also received comments from various stakeholders on technology and provisions that can be made for handling issues related to lost mobile phones.

This recommendation will be followed by two regulations—Telecom Consumers Protection Regulations (TCPR), 2011 and The Telecom Consumers Complaint Redressal Regulations (TCCRR), 2011— benefiting consumers.

“Before the end of October, we will issue comprehensive guideline on grievances redressal mechanism and in that again we are building what is called telecom consumer grievance monitoring system where TRAI would be able to track complaint of consumers,” Mr Sarma said.

TCCCPR is to strengthen complaints redressal of complaints registered by telecom consumers and objective of TCPR is to protect consumer from falling in trap of hidden terms and conditions of telecom service providers.

“We in TRAI cannot directly handle complaints of consumer but it is our task that systems are put in place and it is task of service provider to ensure that complaints are actually taken up in-time,” Mr Sarma said.

Early this year, TRAI was able to implement mobile number portability regulation which allows user to change their operators without changing their existing number.

“Till date around 20 million subscribers have requested for MNP and 15 to 16 million subscribers have changed their operators. There are more than 100 thousand porting request being made every day,” Mr Sarma said.

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RBI allows infra companies to raise funds in yuan up to $1 billion

On a review of the current ECB policy, it has been decided, in consultation with the government to allow Indian companies which are in the infrastructure sector to avail of ECBs in renminbi (yuan), under the approval route, RBI said in a notification

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday allowed infrastructure companies to raise funds in the Chinese currency yuan up to $1 billion to fund infrastructure development in the country, which requires investment to the tune of $1 trillion in next five years, reports PTI.

On a review of the current external commercial borrowing (ECB) policy, it has been decided, in consultation with the government of India, to allow Indian companies which are in the infrastructure sector, to avail of ECBs in renminbi (yuan), under the approval route, RBI said in a notification.

This is subject to an annual ceiling of $1 billion pending further review, it said.

Once approved, it said the approval of the RBI will be valid for a period of three months from the date of issue of the approval letter and the loan agreement should be executed within the validity period.

It is to be noted that the government has already said that the infrastructure sector requires investment of $1 trillion during the 12th Plan (2012-17). Of this 50% would come from the private sector.

Banks will be permitted to open Nostro accounts in renminbi (RMB). The designated bank shall monitor the end-use of funds and bank in India will not be permitted to provide any form of guarantee, it said.

The amended ECB policy will come into force with immediate effect and is subject to review, it said.

On Monday, the RBI relaxed ECB norms for the infrastructure companies with foreign stake.

Direct foreign equity holder (holding minimum 25% of the paid-up capital) and indirect foreign equity holder with at least 51% of the paid-up capital, will be permitted to provide credit enhancement for the domestic debt raised by Indian companies engaged exclusively in the development of infrastructure through issue of capital market instruments, it said.

It includes Infrastructure Finance Companies (IFCs) and no prior approval will be required from the RBI for providing such credit enhancements, it said.

The company fulfilling foreign equity criteria does not require permission for raising ECB up to $5 million.

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Govt mulls tax sops to boost corporate bond market

“Bringing liquidity in the corporate bond market has been an issue for long. We may consider tax incentives, like doing away with the withholding tax, and reduction in stamp duty,” a finance ministry official said

New Delhi: The government is mulling tax incentives, reduction of stamp duty, and simplified regulatory norms to promote the corporate bond market for helping companies raise funds at competitive rates, reports PTI.

“Bringing liquidity in the corporate bond market has been an issue for long. The government is ready to put whatever is there to get it going. We may consider tax incentives, like doing away with the withholding tax, and reduction in stamp duty,” a finance ministry official said here.

The issues concerning corporate bond market were discussed at an internal meeting of the finance ministry on Tuesday.

The finance ministry, the official said, would also hold discussions with the representatives of financial institutions, like Morgan Stanley, ICICI Securities, PNB Gilts, AK Capital and Tata Group, on Thursday on the steps for boosting corporate bond market.

At present, government securities are preferred over corporate bonds as they enjoy sovereign guarantee and are highly liquid as compared to bonds.

A vibrant corporate bond market, as suggested by India Inc in its 1st August meeting with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, would go a long way in meeting the infrastructure needs of the country.

The government envisages doubling of infrastructure spending to $1 trillion in the 12th Five Year Plan beginning 1 April 2012.

Sources said tax benefits could include reduction in Securities Transaction Tax (STT) and stamp duty, besides withdrawal of withholding tax.

“Development of corporate bond market is the most complicated policy issue being dealt by us. But we are keen to bring vibrancy in this segment,” the official said.

Earlier in March, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had constituted a 16-member committee to suggest a roadmap for developing the corporate bond market.

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