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Call drops issue telco-specific, can’t be generalised: COAI

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NEW DELHI: Industry body COAI has said call drops are a result of operator churn and difficulty in getting approvals for installing infrastructure and operator-specific issues on service quality are not “emblematic” of the whole industry.

The comments come at a time when spurt in call drops has once again come under the telecom department’s gaze and Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan is planning a meeting with operators soon to convey concern over call quality.

Apex industry body Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Director General Rajan Mathews said the problem is confined to geographical pockets and some companies.

It should not be seen as industry-wide problem, he said.

“Obviously there are some companies that have gone out of business and not investing. If you are customer of these companies, you’ll see some challenges because towers are being shut down or not being maintained. To say its emblematic of whole industry is not fair,” Mathews told PTI.

As an aggregate, these issues could be driving the overall averages down for the industry.

All major operators are principally in compliance with service quality norms, Mathews argued citing data by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

“We need to disaggregate the problem. Don’t tar whole industry with problem that has couple of localised reasons.

There are companies facing financial challenges more than others, some have gone out of business…,” he said.

Moreover, difficulty in getting approvals for rolling out cell towers and fibre network and “intervention” by local municipalities shutting down towers have compounded problems at the local circle level.

“Some circles may be more problematic than others…

Delhi, Mumbai may have problems because these have significant right of way difficulties. Let’s disaggregate the problem” he said.

Mathews said that the industry has put significant number of new cell towers to bolster network.

Last week, in a stern message to telecom operators, the Department of Telecom (DoT) asked companies to get their act together to tackle the call drop issue.

Sundararajan had said the DoT will meet the industry on the call drop issue as soon as Trai’s assessment comes on quality of mobile services benchmarked to the new call drop parametres.

Acknowledging that mobile operators do face difficulty in setting up towers at times, given resistance from people, Sundararajan had said that it cannot be cited as an excuse for call drops and that investments will have to made by telecom companies in upgrading their infrastructure.

Trai’s new and more stringent call drop rules came into force from October 1 and the quarter ended December will see the first instance of reporting under the new formula.

Trai has aready asked the operators to submit their network-related data for checking service quality under the new benchmarks and deadline for the same is January 21.

As per the new rules, the telecom operators may face a maximum penalty of Rs 10 lakh for call drops which will now be measured at mobile tower level instead the telecom circle level.

The Telecom Department had, in a series of meeting over the last few quarters, asked telcos to adopt immediate measures to improve call quality including setting- up additional mobile towers across the country.

As per estimates, 6.35 lakh mobile sites (Base Transceiver Stations) have been added on an aggregate basis for 2G/3G/4G services during the period July 2015 to November 2017.

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Union Budget 18| Know your Income Tax Slab for this year

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The Budget 2018-2019 was presented by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in the Parliament on Thursday.

Here’s is an explainer as to how much tax you will have to pay according to your annual income

Income Tax slab for senior citizens who are 60 years old and above (but less than 80 years)

Income Tax slab for senior citizens who are 80 years old and above

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India’s Richest 1% Cornered 73% Of Wealth Generated Last Year: Oxfam Survey

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DAVOS: The richest 1 per cent in India cornered 73 per cent of the wealth generated in the country last year, a new survey showed today, presenting a worrying picture of rising income inequality.

Besides, 67 crore Indians comprising the population’s poorest half saw their wealth rise by just 1 per cent, as per the survey released by the international rights group Oxfam hours before the start of the annual congregation of the rich and powerful from across the world in this resort town.

The situation appears even grimmer globally, where 82 per cent of the wealth generated last year worldwide went to the 1 per cent, while 3.7 billion people that account for the poorest half of population saw no increase in their wealth.

The annual Oxfam survey is keenly watched and is discussed in detail at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting where rising income and gender inequality is among the key talking points for the world leaders.

Last year’s survey had showed that India’s richest 1 per cent held a huge 58 per cent of the country’s total wealth higher than the global figure of about 50 per cent.

This year’s survey also showed that the wealth of India’s richest 1 per cent increased by over Rs. 20.9 lakh crore during 2017 — an amount equivalent to total budget of the central government in 2017-18, Oxfam India said.

The report titled ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’, Oxfam said, reveals how the global economy enables wealthy elite to accumulate vast wealth even as hundreds of millions of people struggle to survive on poverty pay.
“2017 saw an unprecedented increase in the number of billionaires, at a rate of one every two days. Billionaire wealth has risen by an average of 13 per cent a year since 2010 — six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2 per cent,” it said.

In India, it will take 941 years for a minimum wage worker in rural India to earn what the top paid executive at a leading Indian garment firm earns in a year, the study found.

In the US, it takes slightly over one working day for a CEO to earn what an ordinary worker makes in a year, it added.

Citing results of the global survey of 120,000 people surveyed in 10 countries, Oxfam said it demonstrates a groundswell of support for action on inequality and nearly two-thirds of all respondents think the gap between the rich and the poor needs to be urgently addressed.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the WEF meeting in Davos, Oxfam India urged the Indian government to ensure that the country’s economy works for everyone and not just the fortunate few.

It asked the government to promote inclusive growth by encouraging labour-intensive sectors that will create more jobs; investing in agriculture; and effectively implementing the social protection schemes that exist.

Oxfam also sought sealing of the “leaking wealth bucket” by taking stringent measures against tax evasion and avoidance, imposing higher tax on super-rich and removing corporate tax breaks.

The survey respondents in countries like the US, UK and India also favoured 60 per cent pay cut for CEOs.

The key factors driving up rewards for shareholders and corporate bosses at the expense of workers’ pay and conditions, Oxfam said, include erosion of workers’ rights; excessive influence of big business over government policymaking; and the relentless corporate drive to minimise costs in order to maximise returns to shareholders.

About India, it said the country added 17 new billionaires last year, taking the total number to 101. The Indian billionaires’ wealth increased to over Rs. 20.7 lakh crore — increasing during last year by Rs. 4.89 lakh crore, an amount sufficient to finance 85 per cent of the all states’ budget on health and education.

It also said India’s top 10 per cent of population holds 73 per cent of the wealth and 37 per cent of India’s billionaires have inherited family wealth. They control 51 per cent of the total wealth of billionaires in the country.

Oxfam India CEO Nisha Agrawal said it is alarming that the benefits of economic growth in India continue to concentrate in fewer hands.

“The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. Those working hard, growing food for the country, building infrastructure, working in factories are struggling to fund their child’s education, buy medicines for family members and manage two meals a day. The growing divide undermines democracy and promotes corruption and cronyism,” she said.

The survey also showed that women workers often find themselves at the bottom of the heap and nine out of 10 billionaires are men.

In India, there are only four women billionaires and three of them inherited family wealth. “It would take around 17.5 days for the best paid executive at a top Indian garment company to earn what a minimum wage worker in rural India will earn in their lifetime (presuming 50 years at work),” Oxfam said.

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Government set to make company registration process more fast

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NEW DELHI: The government will soon bring in changes in the registration process for new companies to make it faster and more user-friendly, wherein applicants will be required to provide only “need-based” information, a senior official said.

Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas said that if only need-based information is taken from the applicants, then with minimal information the name of a company can be reserved.

“At that stage, it might not be necessary to give so many other details because name reservation might not lead to registration. Now, name is reserved for 20 days and earlier it was 60 days. Information should be need-based and need not increase the information burden on the applicants,” he told PTI.

A new name reservation service is being developed and is likely to be in place on January 26, according to information on the ministry’s website.

The ministry is implementing the Companies Act, among others.

About the Central Registration Centre, Srinivas said it has been successful and that the same could be extended for registration of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs).

“Very soon, we will bring out some changes, which will make the registration process a faster exercise and more user friendly. It will be comparable with best systems prevailing across the world,” he told PTI.

There are around 12 lakh active companies.

According to Srinivas, compliance rate would increase if cost and time required for compliance is reduced.

“If enforcement is effective, compliance will go up. This is where the whole focus should be,” he added.

On Friday, the ministry launched a corporate data portal, through which stakeholders can soon have customised data on corporates, including about independent directors.

PTI

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