No Catch in Proposal for Full Airline Ticket Refund during COVID Lock-down: Govt
The Centre on Wednesday assured the Supreme Court that there is 'no catch' in its proposal in connection with the refund of air tickets booked for travel during the COVID-19 lock-down.
 
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said there is no catch in the refund proposal and if tickets were booked on 15th March, before the lock-down period, then also there will be a full refund.
 
As senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for a petitioner, raised doubts whether the air ticket refund proposal of the civil aviation ministry is confined to tickets booked during the lock-down or before the lock-down, Mehta reiterated the proposal covers all.
 
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and MR Shah, referring to the recent affidavit filed by the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) saying tickets for travel during lock-down will be refunded, said the Centre should clarify on this crucial aspect of refund.
 
Mehta replied that he would file an additional affidavit clarifying the position in the matter. He also clarified that if a ticket was booked for travel from overseas to another foreign country, then the matter is not in the domain of the refund proposal.
 
Submitting that the proposal for ticket refund would have to be approved by the apex court, Mehta insisted that the government decided to refund the amount for the tickets and also tried to ensure that airlines don't suffer.
 
Advocate Jose Abraham, representing petitioner Pravasi Legal Cell, said the affidavit filed by the Centre is fine, except to the fact that it is not clear as to whether the passengers who booked tickets prior to the lock-down are entitled to a full refund.
 
Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing SpiceJet, contended that his client agrees with the stand of the government. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Indigo, said though his client agrees with Centre's proposal, yet there are few issues for which two-three days be given. The bench asked counsel to file its response to the affidavit.
 
Advocate Neela Gokhale, appearing for a travel agents association, said their funds are stuck as no refunds were given by the airlines, but Mehta said that they have consulted ticket agents before finalising the proposal.
 
The bench then asked Mr Mehta to file an additional affidavit, and slated the matter for further hearing on 23rd September.
 
Senior advocate CA Sundaram, representing a passengers association, told the bench that there should be full refund of the ticket.
 
The Centre has proposed that a full refund should be given by the airlines within 15 days for tickets booked during the lock-down, and if any airline is in financial distress, then a credit shell should be provided up to March 31, 2021 on any route of the passengers' choice. The full refund has been proposed for tickets booked during the lock-down on domestic, international and foreign airlines.
 
In an affidavit in the court, OK Gupta, director, DGCA, said for the domestic airlines, if the tickets were booked directly with the airline or through an agent during the first lock-down period (March 25-April 14) for the journeys to be undertaken in both first and second lock-down period (March 25-May 3), then in all such cases, full refund shall be given by the airlines immediately.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    s5rwav

    2 months ago

    Govt of India Must Confirm the Data on Airlinewise Number of Claims Received and Claims Settled. This Must be Done by DGCA. As Monthly Statements. I am Babubhai Vaghela from Ahmedabad. Thanks.

    Govt Drops Plan To Provide Choice of Electricity Suppliers to Consumers
    Consumers waiting for the big bang distribution sector reforms that would have allowed them to choose electricity suppliers offering the lowest tariff are in for a big disappointment.
     
    The government has dropped the plan to break the monopoly of discoms by bringing in competition and has rather decided to focus on introducing a direct benefit transfer scheme (DBT) as the next wave of reforms in the power sector.
     
    Minister of state for power RK Singh told IANS that the plan for separation of carriage and content operations in the distribution segment that would have allowed multiple discoms in one area has been dropped for now and may be covered as part of the next leg of reforms sometime in the future.
     
    "The plan for ushering in competition in the distribution segment has not been covered now. It may happen sometime down the road not now, maybe in the next leg of reforms," Mr Singh said indicating that the states are still not ready for it and have cited infrastructure shortcomings for not supporting this reform agenda.
     
    The Electricity Act, 2003, laid the foundation for introducing competition at the consumer end of electricity supply through open access and provision for parallel distribution licensees. However both these concepts saw limited success in the Indian electricity sector. The process was fine-tuned in the Electricity Amendment Bill by proposing separation of carriage and content operations in power distribution and allowing multiple players in a distribution area.
     
    The latest Electricity Amendment Bill, which is being vetted by the law ministry, has dropped the provision that would have allowed a choice of power discoms to consumers with usage of even less than 1 MW.
     
    "This (non inclusion of distribution sector reform) would be injustice to consumers who were expecting competitive electricity tariff to set in as soon as possible. The mechanism would have worked to the advantage of consumers now with prevailing lower fuel prices and the country having surplus power capacity. This could have helped consumers to get electricity at much lower rates than what is being offered for supplies made by inefficient state electricity boards," said an energy sector analyst who did not wish to be named.
     
    At present only large customers using more than 1 MW have the permission to choose a supplier under open access regulations. The new legislation would have offered this choice even to retail customers thereby removing the restriction of one discom per circle and allowing multiple suppliers to compete to offer the cheapest and best services to electricity consumers.
     
    Apart from reluctance to shed discom monopoly, states are not ready for this reform that would require a massive infrastructure and regulatory revamp. Moreover, with more than one supplier in circle and active private sector participation, states fear that sudden changes could lead to the bulk of state discoms prized commercial consumers moving to more efficient private ones. This could result in further stress for loss making discoms.
     
    Sources said that inclusion of DBT itself has been a challenge and required a lot of convincing to bring states on board. "May be five years would be given to states to bring down cross subsidy surcharge and perfect DBT structure before unleashing competition in the distribution sector," said the source.
     
    However, to ensure that discoms take to loss reduction trajectory, the power ministry has proposed a funding mechanism where disbursals would be made against specific loss reduction targets by state-owned funding agencies PFC (Power Finance Corporation)  and REC (Rural Electrification Corporation).
     
    The amendments in the Act proposed earlier suggested segregating the carriage (distribution network) from the content (electricity supply business) in the power sector. The government would introduce multiple supply licensees in the content business based on market principles and continue carriage as a regulated business.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    parimalshah1

    2 months ago

    the babus want to have their slice of cake.
    A prepaid meter system will get rid of those who steal electric power at the cost of discoms (and hence make other consumers pay for that loss) is in the norm today. The discoms pass that theft as Distribution and transmission loss!

    Govt Eliminates Cooking Gas Subsidy as COVID Turns Oil Market Favourable
    The government has completely eliminated the need to provide subsidy on domestic cooking gas as the global fall in oil prices and frequent rise in LPG gas cylinder price has brought the price of the common man's fuel closer to market rates.
     
    As of 1st September, the price of non-subsidised and subsidised 14.2 kg cooking gas is identical at Rs594 a cylinder. What this means is that government would no longer need to pay subsidy under the direct benefit transfer scheme (DBT) into the account of beneficiaries.
     
    In fact, with the price gap between the subsidised and non-subsidised cooking gas narrowing since early this fiscal, the government has not made a any cash transfers into the accounts of beneficiaries for the last four months.
     
    With the development, the government could easily make a saving of over Rs20,000 crore in FY20-21 towards LPG subsidy. This would be huge given the pressure on the government to step up expenditure for COVID-19 relief schemes.
     
    The government has allocated Rs40,915 crore as petroleum subsidy for FY20-21, a 6% increase from Rs 38,569 crore allocated for the last fiscal. Out of this,the allocation for LPG subsidy has been increased to Rs37,256.21 crore for the current year. But so far in the first quarter period, the government had to draw just about Rs1,900 crore from the subsidy provisions.
     
    While global oil markets are largely responsible for the fall in the prices of all petroleum products, but oil companies also raised the price of subsidised cooking gas consistently from a level of Rs494.35 a cylinder in July last year to Rs 594 now. Had this increase not taken place, the 14.2 kg domestic LPG cylinder price would have been more than Rs100 cheaper.
     
    According to an analysis done by Emkay Global, oil companies' under recovery in case of kerosene has come to a naught since March while that for LPG has become zero from May.
     
    India has about 27.76 crore LPG consumers. Of these, around 1.5 crore are not eligible to get LPG subsidy since December 2016 because they have an annual taxable income above Rs 10 lakh.
     
    This leaves some 26.12 crore consumers who were eligible to get the subsidy relief under the DBT scheme. Out of this lot as well, with the latest developments 18 crore are not receiving any subsidy.
     
    The government is now focusing on providing relief only to the poor and an amount of Rs9,709.86 crore has been transfered into the accounts of about 8 crore such beneficiaries who are to take three free LPG cylinders during the COVID pandemic.
     
    The good news is that with the developments in the past few months, the government had completely eliminated oil subsidy and is spending the savings on other welfare activities. But this could mean that if there is any spike in LPG prices hereon, the government may pass on a portion of the burden to consumers by raising LPG prices.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    komalhema4

    2 months ago

    Lame excuses for denying benefits to common man. The free gas cylinders given to poor people are sold by them to hotels .They continue to burn fire wood brought free from forests.
    Why is it that petrol diesel prices are not reduced or not brought under GST. One nation one tax is in more bogus slogan. There are two rates of income tax also..

    BR

    2 months ago

    Congress Govt kept Illegal Bangladeshis in India for its benefits like votes. They got govt to jobs too, ration cards, employment Exchange regn, etc. Now Rohingyas eat us. They must go back or to Bangladesh. Why must we bear cost of keeping these vermin . Govt gets benefits. It built Statue of Unity with our tax money. It levies GST on Canned Drinking Water. We Pay Rs40/50 for 20 Litres. Supplier pays GST heavily for lorry load. Electronic devices are forced on poor & rich. To get Ration card we must use Cellph. Many jobs are made only Online. So we must use Internet in Browsing shops or our own or borrowed costly devices. Repairs are costly. GST is on all & on systems, Telecomm, etc. All ready made foods like bread, bun, biscuit, etc., are taxed. We buy them to avoid cooking food to save LPG as Govt wants to give it to poor. In return it should exempt these foods from GST. We can then but more such foods & reduce LPG use. We are unduly taxed. GST must be removed from these.

    shadikatyal

    2 months ago

    The fact is that many poor people ere given LP gas are not buying it anymore as prices have gone up. The question is that despite Modi claiming it for the poor, it has not helped but good for vote-getting. Unfortunately figures of Crores but how much is truly spent or subsidised .
    The question is is the nation better off and are people aew better off

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