TRAI issues draft Tariff Order prescribing framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in DTH services, for consultation.




TRAI issues draft Tariff Order prescribing framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in DTH services, for consultation.


The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has today issued a draft Tariff Order (TO) for consultation with stakeholders. This draft TO prescribes a framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) offered by the Direct-to-Home (DTH) operators to their subscribers.


In the DTH sector, as on date, CPEs deployed by one operator may not be compatible with the network of another operator. As a result, in case a subscriber wishes to migrate to another operator/platform, he cannot do so without re-investing in another CPE.

The Authority is of the view that interests of subscribers in this regard can be largely protected through the provision for commercial interoperability of CPEs. Commercial interoperability provides for a viable exit option to the subscribers in case they want to switch operator/platform. The draft TO intends to strike a balance between the interests of the consumers and that of the service providers, as well as to curb piling up of e-waste on account of CPEs.

The draft TO covers the following aspects:
·         Declaration of the price of all type of CPEs, installation & activation charges and applicable taxes on CPEs by the DTH operators.
·         Mandatory offering of standard scheme for all type of CPEs on a standalone basis by DTH operators, specifying separately the price of CPE, taxes, other charges etc;
·         Flexibility to DTH operators to offer other schemes;
·         Flexibility to DTH operators to offer brand new as well as refurbished CPEs;
·         Provision of buy-back/refund option in all the offered schemes, including bundled schemes for CPEs;
·         Mechanism for buy-back/refund in the standard and other schemes for CPEs;
·         Provision of lock-in period for the purpose of refund in the offered schemes for CPEs if the subscriber wants to switch from one operator to the other;
·         Applicability of buy-back/refund option for all types of offered CPEs;
·         Option for the DTH operators to redeploy the surrendered CPEs;
·         Mechanism for registration of request for surrender of connection;
·         Time-limit to settle refund/buy-back claims of the subscribers.

As part of the consultative process, this draft TO have been uploaded on TRAI website, seeking comments/views of the stakeholders. The comments may be sent latest by 13th March, 2015, preferably in the electronic form to Mr. Wasi Ahmad, Advisor (B&CS), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Mahanagar Doorsanchar Bhawan, Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg, New Delhi – 110002, (Tel No. - 011-23237922, Fax No. - 011-23220442) on the e-mail address advbcs@trai.gov.inComments received will be posted on the website of TRAI.


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TRAI issues a draft Amendment to the Telecommunication Tariff Order, 1999 for revision of tariff regime for national roaming service for comments of the stakeholders.


TRAI has today released a draft amendment to the Telecommunication Tariff Order, 1999 for comments of the stakeholders. Through the Amendment Order, the Authority intends to reduce the ceiling tariffs for national roaming services.

National roaming service is the facility provided to a subscriber to avail services subscribed in its home network, while travelling outside the geographical coverage area of the home network, by means of using a visited network. As per the existing framework for telecom access services, the country has been divided into 22 licensed service areas. Licenses are issued separately for each licensed service area. When a subscriber avails mobile services outside his home network, within the country, national roaming becomes applicable.

Tariffs for national roaming services were last revised in 2013 through the Telecommunications Tariff Order (55th Amendment), 2013 dated 17.06.2013. While formulating the revised tariff regime for national roaming, TRAI had indicated that the new tariff regime shall be subject to review after a year.

After detailed examination, the Authority intends to reduce the ceiling tariffs for national roaming services as per the table given below:                        

Item
Existing ceiling tariff
Proposed ceiling tariff
Charge for outgoing local voice call
Re. 1.00 per minute
Re. 0.65 per minute
Charge for outgoing long distance (inter-circle) voice call
Rs. 1.50 per minute
Re. 1.00 per minute
Charge for incoming voice call
Re. 0.75 per minute
Re. 0.45 per minute
Charge for outgoing local Short Message Services (SMS)
Re. 1.00 per SMS
Re. 0.20 per SMS
Charge for outgoing  long distance (inter-circle) Short Message Services (SMS)
Rs. 1.50 per SMS
Re. 0.25 per SMS

The explanatory note to the draft Amendment to the Telecommunication Tariff Order, 1999 may be referred to for details on the objects and reasons.

The above draft Amendment Order has been placed on TRAI’s website www.trai.gov.in. The Authority would notify the Amendment Order after considering the views of the stakeholders and would make changes, as may be considered necessary. Stakeholders are requested to offer their comments preferably in electronic form to Shri Manish Sinha, Advisor (F&EA)-I, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Mahanagar Doorsanchar Bhawan, Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg, New Delhi – 110002 (Tel. No: 011-23230752, Fax No: 011-23236650; E-mail: manishsinha@trai.gov.in) latest by 13.03.2015.

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Recommendations for Restructuring of FCI are Under Consideration of the Government



The high-level committee headed by Shri Shanta Kumar for restructuring of the Food Corporation of  India (FCI) has submitted its report. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

            Major recommendations of committee are :.

·         FCI to outsource all procurement operations to States that have gained sufficient experience.
·         FCI to move to the Eastern U.P., Bihar, W.B., Assam etc. where small and marginal farmers suffer most from distress sale.
·         Quality check through transparent and mechanical process.
·         Outsourcing of stocking operations to CWC, SWCs, private sector under PEG scheme on competitive basis.
·         Convert old conventional storages to Silos.
·         Gradually phase out cover and plinth (CAP) with no grain stocks remaining in CAP for more than three months.
·         Mechanization of operations in Food Storage Depots.

·         Introduce a pro-active liquidation policy to off-load stocks in the market whenever they are in excess of buffer norms.  Greater flexibility to FCI needed to operate in OMSS and export markets.
·         De-notification of depots, fixing ceiling on incentives per worker and VRS to Departmental Labour.
·         Condition of contract labour should be improved by giving them better facility.
·         FCI to reorient into an agency for innovation in foodgrain management system.
·         Use of HDPE rather than jute bags for packaging.
·         End to End Computerization of food management system – Automation of FCI Operations.

The Minister said that the Government is examining these recommendations and a decision to implement the acceptable recommendations of the Committee will be taken shortly.

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National Food Security Act Implemented in Eleven States

The National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) has deemed to have come into force on 05.07.2013. Allocation of foodgrains to 11 States/Union Territories (UTs) namely, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan has started under the Act based on the preparedness and identification of beneficiaries for coverage under the Act, reported by them. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

The Minister said that the NFSA provides for coverage of upto 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population of the country for receiving foodgrains at subsidized prices under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), corresponding to which State-wise coverage has been determined by the Planning Commission. This Coverage has been delinked from poverty estimates and is large enough to include all the needy households. Within the coverage determined for each State/ Union Territory (UT), identification of priority households is to be done by States/UTs in accordance with criteria to be evolved by them. State Governments and UT Administrations have been advised to identify the eligible households in a fair and transparent manner.

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Steps to Ensure Better Targeting of Food Subsidies

For better targeting of food subsidies, removing bogus ration cards, ensuring timely availability of foodgrains, check on leakage/diversion of foodgrains, introducing public accountability, etc. Government has taken various steps in implementation of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in States/UTs. The PDS (Control) Order, 2001 mandates the States/UTs to take action for smooth functioning of TPDS. The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 prescribes essential reforms in the TPDS. Government has taken up with States/UTs for implementing measures such as door-step delivery of foodgrains, correct identification of beneficiaries, improve foodgrains offtake, monitoring and vigilance, improving viability of fair price shop operations. Best Practices among States/UTs in TPDS implementation are shared for use by other States/UTs. With a view to modernize the system, the Government has initiated a Plan Scheme on End-to-end Computerization of TPDS operations on cost sharing basis with States/UTs which would facilitate digitization of ration cards /beneficiary and other databases, computerization of supply-chain management, setting up of transparency portals and grievances redressal mechanism. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

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612.91 Lakh Tons of PDS Foodgrains Allocated to the States During Current Year

To ensure adequate availability of foodgrains to the people, Government is providing sufficient quantity of foodgrains under TPDS/NFSA and OWS. During the current year, Government has provided 612.91 lakh tons of foodgrains during the current year which includes normal TPDS/NFSA allocation, additional TPDS allocation and allocation under OWS. For ensuring proper utilization of foodgrains, Government has taken up with States/UTs for implementing measures such as End-to-end Computerisation of TPDS Operations, door-step delivery of foodgrains, correct identification of beneficiaries, improve foodgrains offtake, monitoring and vigilance, improving viability of fair price shop operations etc. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

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Rs 16,904 Crore Subsidy Released to the States for Procuring Foodgrains for Central Pool


Under TPDS and National Food Security Act, 2013 foodgrain at subsidized rates are allocated to States/UTs. States/UTs participating in the Decentralized Procurement Scheme (DCP), undertake procurement of foodgrains on behalf of Government of India and its distribution under TPDS and Other Welfare Schemes. Difference between the State specific economic cost and the Central Issue Price is released to the DCP States as food subsidy. In the case of non-DCP States, they are provided foodgrains at subsidized rates by Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the subsidy is paid to FCI. A statement indicating the food subsidy released to DCP States during the last three years and the current year are as under:

                                                           (Rs in crore)


Year
Subsidy released States
2011-12
12845
2012-13
12574
2013-14
14240
2014-15 (upto 20.02.2015)
16904

The Minister said that TPDS is operated under the joint responsibility of the Central and the State/UT Governments wherein the operational responsibilities for its implementation within the State/UT rest with the concerned State/UT Governments. Therefore, as and when complaints are received by the Government from individuals and organizations as well as through press reports, these are referred to the State/UT Governments concerned for inquiry and appropriate action.



            He said that for better targeting of food subsidies, removing bogus ration cards, ensuring timely availability of foodgrains, check on leakage/diversion of foodgrains, introducing public accountability, etc. Government has taken various steps in implementation of the TPDS in States/UTs. The PDS(Control) Order, 2001 mandates the States/UT to take action for smooth functioning of TPDS. The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 prescribes essential reforms in the TPDS. Government has taken up with States/UTs for implementing measures such as door-step delivery of foodgrains, correct identification of beneficiaries, improve foodgrains offtake, monitoring and vigilance, improving viability of fair price shop operations. Best Practices among States/UTs in TPDS implementation are shared for use by other States/UTs. With a view to modernize the system, the Government has initiated a Plan Scheme on End-to-end Computerisation of TPDS operations on cost sharing basis with States/UTs which would facilitate digitization of ration cards/beneficiary and other databases, computerization of supply-chain management, setting up of transparency portals and grievances redressal mechanism.



This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

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Damage in Central Pools Stocks Brought Down to 0.044%

The Government has taken various steps to minimize wastage of foodgrains, including augmentation of storage capacity, training of man power in scientific storage etc. Due to which the damage in central pools stocks has been brought down from 1.066% in 2000-2001 to 0.044% in 2014-15( up to 31.1.2015). As against the revised buffer norms including strategic reserve of foodgrains of 214.10 Lakh tons (76.1 lakh tons rice and 138 lakh tons wheat) the current central pool stock was 368.56 lakh tons of foodgrains (117.43 lakh tons rice and 251.13 lakh tons wheat), as on 1.1.2015. While we have 711.16 lakh tons of storage capacity as on 31.01.2015 [Covered 558.82 lakh tons and Covered and Plinth {CAP} 152.34 lakh tons]. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

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National Company Law Tribunal

The process of formation of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has been kept in abeyance on account of a legal challenge in the Supreme Court to certain provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 relating to the constitution and composition of this body. The issue of establishment of Benches of NCLT in various States is dependent on the resolution of the litigation in the Supreme Court.

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Regulation of Salary

The managerial remuneration payable by a listed company and its subsidiaries to its directors is regulated under section 197 of the Companies Act, 2013 (the Act) read with the Companies (Appointment and Remuneration of Managerial Personnel) Rules, 2014. In terms of these provisions, the total managerial remuneration shall not exceed 11% of net profits of the Company for that financial year unless the Company, in a general meeting, with the approval of the Central Government, authorises payment of remuneration in excess of the above ceiling. Salaries of other personnel are not regulated under the Act.

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Contribution to Political Parties

Contributions to political parties are governed by Section 182 of the Companies Act, 2013. A company that is not a Government company and which is in existence for at least last three financial years may contribute up to 7.5% of its average net profits during the last three years to a political party/parties registered under the representation of Peoples Act, 1951. This is subject to further elaborations, disclosures and restrictions in the said section. Following permission to establish Electoral Trust companies under the Income Tax Act, a company can also make contributions within the above limits and restrictions to ‘Electoral Trust Companies’ and reflect these contributions in their books of accounts. The Electoral Trust Companies are required to indicate the amounts passed on to them by companies and contributed by them to a political party or parties in the manner laid down in section 182(3) of the Companies Act, 2013. There is no proposal to review the above arrangements.

The relevant provisions of the Companies (Donations to National Funds) Act, 1951 have already been incorporated in the Companies Act, 2013. Section 181 and 183 of the Act allows companies to contribute to bonafide and charitable funds and to national funds etc. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has concurred with the Legislative Department of Ministry of Law and Justice for inclusion of repeal of Companies (Donation to National Funds) Act, 1951 in the common Bill for repealing of this and other Acts.

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Corporate Frauds


            The Ministry had tested an early warning system, developed in-house, during the year 2013-14. This system was dropped on account of unsatisfactory results.

Non-compliance with the provisions of Companies Act are identified through analysis of certain statements and returns filed by the companies and/ or complaints received in the Ministry/ Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), by the concerned Registrars of Companies and SFIO.

            During the last three years and in the current year (from 01.04.2014 to 23.02.2015), the Ministry, has ordered investigations (through SFIO) in respect of 184 companies for alleged corporate frauds as per the following details:

Year
No. of companies ordered for investigation
2011-12
13
2012-13
42
2013-14
82
2014-15 (till date)
47
Total
184


SFIO has submitted investigation reports in respect of 102 companies during the last three years and current year. The Ministry has ordered filing of prosecutions against companies/ directors/ officers in default, as required. The relevant reports, wherever indicated, have also been shared with respective investigating agencies.

            Since its establishment in the year 2003, funds amounting to Rs 51.39 crore have been released from budgetary sources to SFIO.

            Some of the steps taken by the Government are as under:

·            Enhanced disclosure norms mandated under the Companies Act, 2013 so that investors get all relevant information from the companies;
·            Definition of the term “Fraud” (along with its punishment) has been introduced in the Companies Act, 2013 for the first time;
·            Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has been granted statutory status with adequate powers under the Companies Act, 2013;
·            Provisions for attachment and disgorgement of assets introduced under the Companies Act, 2013.

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Competition Commission of India


The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been set up under the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 to prevent practices having appreciable adverse effect on competition; to promote and sustain competition in markets; to protect the interest of consumers; and to ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in markets in India.

            Information has been received in the Commission from diverse sectors of the economy including infrastructure, public sector, hi-tech, real estate etc. In cases, where the matter has ‘prima-facie’ found to be in violation of the Competition Act, 2002, reference has been sent to the Director General (DG), CCI to investigate the matter. On receipt of the report of the DG, the Commission has proceeded to pass Orders u/s 27 of the Competition Act or close the matter u/s 26 (6) of the Act.

            The information is as under:

Year
No. of cases received
No. of cases decided
Pending
2011-12
93
119
70
2012-13
94
82
82
2013-14
115
95
102
2014-15
107
84
125

Penalty of Rs. 12,474 crore has been imposed on 351 companies, out of which 92.48 crore has been realized. Penalty amounting to Rs.12292.57 crore has been stayed and penalty of Rs. 61.10 crore has been dismissed by the Competition Appellate Tribunal/Courts. CCI takes action as per law for recovery of penalties. Details of penalties imposed/paid/stayed etc., company-wise, are attached as per Annexure.

            During the said period, the Commission has taken numerous decisions to check anti-competitive agreements and issued final orders u/s 27 of the Competition Act, 2002. All final orders are uploaded on the website of the Commission for information.

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TRAI issues draft Tariff Order prescribing framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in DTH services, for consultation. TRAI issues draft Tariff Order prescribing framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in DTH services, for consultation. Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 5:19 PM Rating: 5

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