UID/Aadhaar
UIDAI working under the powers delegated by PM: Nilekani

The issue came up after Planning Commission reportedly expressed concerns that UIDAI is departing from set government procedures and suggested a re-look into its structures

New Delhi: Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) chief Nandan Nilekani today asserted that the authority set up for issuing national identity cards was working under the powers delegated by the prime minister, reports PTI.

"My powers have been delegated by the prime minister," UIDAI chairman Mr Nilekani said when asked whether the authority was on a collision course with the Planning Commission.

"We are an attached office of the Planning Commission and by series of government orders, several authorities have been delegated to us," he said.

The issue came up after Planning Commission reportedly expressed concerns that UIDAI is departing from set government procedures and suggested a re-look into its structures.

The Commission reportedly in a communication to the finance ministry said UIDAI has not got any of its financial proposal examined by the panel's secretary or financial adviser.

The Plan panel had also suggested to the finance ministry that a full time financial adviser be deputed in the authority.

Explaining further, Mr Nilekani said: "(director general of UIDAI) Ram Sewak Sharma's powers are delegated by the deputy chairman, Planning Commission. The powers of financial adviser K Ganga (of UIDAI) have been delegated by the expenditure secretary.'

"We are working within the powers granted to us. If somebody feels that power should be different, then that is a different matter," he pointed out.

On transparency issue, Mr Nilekani said: "We follow every government process and procurement procedures to the key. We set the highest standards of transparency and integrity in our operations."

"We are working in the government system. We have tight financial controls. Everything is on our website," Mr Nilekani added.

When asked whether there were any problems related to availability of funds, he said: "We are quite happy with finances. We have absolutely no issues. We are authorised to enroll 200 million people and beyond that the Cabinet will take a decision."

About using iris scan for issuing the unique identity number, Mr Nilekani said it is a closed issue because the decision was taken one-and-a-half years ago.

"Iris scan is absolutely imperative. People who work in the fields or other manual labour, the likelihood of their finger prints eroding is there. The cost of an iris scan is marginal at about Rs5 per person and Rs500 crore for entire project," he added.

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Deal separately with fresh CBI plea: Raja tells court in 2G case

The accused cited constitutional provisions and a Supreme Court order in the case that the bail applications could be entertained only after the trial court frames charges. They said the court, which was to pronounce its order on framing of charges on 15th September, should now go ahead and decide the applicability of charges invoked earlier by the CBI

New Delhi: Jailed former telecom minister A Raja and 13 others today told a Delhi court to separately deal with the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) fresh plea to invoke additional charge of criminal breach of trust against them to enable them to seek bail in the second generation (2G) spectrum allocation scam, reports PTI.

"The fresh application of the CBI of framing a charge of criminal breach of trust should be treated separately. There is no harm if the issue of section 409 of IPC is dealt later on," Mr Raja told special CBI judge OP Saini.

Mr Raja along with his personal secretary RK Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura is in jail since their arrest on 2nd February this year in the case. Rest of the 11 accused were arrested subsequently.

The accused cited constitutional provisions and a Supreme Court order in the case that the bail applications could be entertained only after the trial court frames charges.

They said the court, which was to pronounce its order on framing of charges on 15th September, should now go ahead and decide the applicability of charges invoked earlier by the CBI.

The fresh plea of CBI to invoke section 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC, which provides for life term as maximum punishment, be dealt with separately so that their bail pleas could be moved as they are in jail for over six months.

The oral submissions by accused Shahid Usman Balwa that arguments on the fresh application would take another two months irked the special CBI judge.

"Till now, I was keeping my mouth shut. Do not compel me to open my mouth. Why it would take two months to advance arguments on this one charge?" the judge asked.

The DMK leader said the CBI had moved the fresh plea for framing another charge without bringing new facts.

Shortly after the court concluded hearing arguments on a report of the ministry of law and justice, all the 14 accused rose from their seats and told the judge to hear the CBI's fresh plea separately.

Mr Balwa supported Mr Raja's submission saying, "Arguments on section 420 (cheating) of IPC continued for over a month and this new charge would also take another two-three months as the whole charge sheet would be read again."

The visibly agitated judge asked the accused to raise such issues either in their replies or through lawyers.

"You people are reading same material again and again.

Wait for tomorrow and file your (accused) reply on the new charge. Say whatever you want to say in your reply and not now. Why you are in a hurry? Go back," the judge said.

Mr Balwa said that it was a fundamental right of an accused to express his views.

"It is our fundamental right to express what we want to say. We are not on bail. We are in jail and it would not affect prosecution's case, if the issue on invoking new section is dealt later on," he said.

The agency has sought framing of additional charge of criminal breach of trust against Mr Raja, Mr Chandolia and Mr Behura.

It also sought to try rest 14 accused, Ms Kanimozhi and Shahid Balwa, under the same penal provision by making them a party to criminal conspiracy hatched by Mr Raja and two other public servants. It would also make others liable to face the same jail term if held guilty.

The penal provisions under which the accused have been charged so far provided for seven years jail term as the maximum sentence if found guilty.

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Share Microfin gets Rs1,200 crore debt recast deal

The agreement for corporate debt restructuring (CDR) gives Share a year's moratorium on repayments on principal and the loans will be restructured over a seven-year period, Share Microfin's managing director, Udaia Kumar informed the media

Mumbai: In a big respite, Hyderabad-based microlender Share Microfin today said 31 bankers, led by SIDBI and ICICI Bank, have agreed to restructure loans worth Rs1,200 crore given to it, reports PTI.

The agreement for corporate debt restructuring (CDR) gives Share a year's moratorium on repayments on principal and the loans will be restructured over a seven-year period, the microlender's managing director, Udaia Kumar, told PTI over the phone.

Interest on the outstanding loans has been fixed at 12%, he said, adding a committee of five top banks will now monitor the company on a regular basis.

Share's total debt stands at Rs1,900 crore, of which Rs1,200 crore has been restructured and the remaining Rs700 crore is held by lenders in the form of preferential shares with conversion rights, Mr Kumar said.

Small Industries Development Bank of India's (SIDBI) share is at Rs350 crore, while ICICI Bank's exposure is Rs217 crore, he said.

"The CDR package gives us an opportunity to survive," Mr Kumar said.

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) have been facing a difficult time for around a year now, ever since problems erupted in their largest market, Andhra Pradesh.

Some borrowers allegedly committed suicides due to strong-arm tactics of recovery agents, which prompted the Andhra Pradesh government to enact a legislation last year to control MFIs.

Emboldened by the legislation, borrowers started to default on repayments, which compounded the problems as commercial banks stopped lending to MFIs.

Mr Kumar said repayment rates remain abysmally low at 10% in Andhra Pradesh with no fresh disbursements at all while there is no new lending to MFIs operating in the state from banks.

The company has not been able to grow its non-AP share of business as it was constrained for cash till now, he said, adding the CDR package will give it an opportunity to lend more outside the southern state.

As part of the debt restructuring deal, Share's Dubai- based promoter Legatum Ventures and investors like Aavishkar Goodwill have infused an additional Rs4.84 crore in fresh capital to the company, Mr Kumar informed.

There is no fresh plan of equity raising in the immediate future, he said.

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