New Delhi: Telecom giant Airtel got embroiled in a controversy after a subscriber sought to interact with a Hindu customer service representative, a demand which the company said it never accepted.
As it faced online criticism for allegedly not standing up to bigotry, Airtel said it does not differentiate between customers, employees and partners on the basis of caste or religion. It all started with Lucknow-based Pooja Singh, an Airtel direct-to-home (DTH) customer, taking to the Twitter yesterday to lodge a complaint of poor service.
A customer care executive from Bharti Airtel India replied to her saying the company would take a closer look into her complaint and get back shortly. The customer care executive appeared to be a Muslim from his name, Shoaib, which prompted Singh to demand a “Hindu representative” as she had “no faith in his work ethics”.
“Dear Shohaib, as you’re a Muslim and I have no faith in your working ethics because Kuran may have a different version for customer service, thus requesting you to assign a Hindu representative for my request. Thanks (sic),” wrote Pooja, whose Twitter handle declares her as a management professional, a “Proud Indian” and a “Proud Hindu”.
Following this, Gaganjot, another executive, contacted her expressing the intent to assist her, which the company attributed to automated system assigning any new customer complains/requests to the next available service executive.
Asked why it agreed to Singh’s request for change of representative, Airtel said: “This is incorrect and baseless and Airtel did not agree to any such thing.”
An Airtel spokesperson said: “At Airtel, we do not differentiate between customers or our employees/ partners on the basis of caste or religion. If a customer contacts us again for an ongoing service issue then the first available service executive responds in the interest of time. We request everyone not to misinterpret and give it unnecessary religious colour. The said customer has been responded to.”
After the change of service representative drew criticism, Airtel had yesterday responded to Singh saying, “we absolutely do not differentiate between customers, employees and partners on the basis of caste or religion. We would urge you to do the same”.
It said: “Both Shoaib and Gaganjot are part of our customer resolution team. If any customer contacts us for an ongoing service issue then the first available service executive responds in the interest of time.”
The move had however drawn criticism from many. Historian Irfan Habib said that he “can’t believe this is for real and some of us have degenerated to this dangerous level”. Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah said he would change his mobile operator and dump Airtel DTH and broadband.
“Dear @Airtel_Presence this conversation is genuine (I’ve seen the timeline myself). I refuse to pay another penny to a company that condones such blatant bigotry. I’m beginning the process of porting my number to another service provider & cancelling my DTH & Broadband,” he tweeted.
Singh, whose followers seems to have grown from over 10,500 to 13,000 since the controversy broke yesterday, received support from some, which she retweeted. “I am overwhelmed with the kind of support I got from you all and really thankful to you from bottom of my heart. What I said was my personal choice as per my past experience and it was not a publicity stunt by anyway,” she said in a statement posted on her Twitter account on Tuesday.
She also received a lot of hate tweets for her bigotry. To this, she responded: “I simply made a request to change representative from Muslim to Hindu as my experience in past was not good and that’s my right as well. After that, the kind of abuse I’m facing are beyond imagination and that in itself proves that I was right at very first place.”
MPC to meet six times during 2019-20: RBI
Mumbai: The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which decides on key interest rates, will meet six times during the next financial year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said.
The first meeting of the six-member MPC to decide on the first bi-monthly monetary policy statement for 2019-20 will be held from April 2 to 4.
The policy will be announced on April 4. Headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, the committee also includes two representatives from the central bank and three external members.
The external members are Indian Statistical Institute professor Chetan Ghate, Delhi School of Economics Director Pami Dua and Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad professor Ravindra H Dholakia.
According to the schedule provided by the RBI, the second meeting of the MPC in the next fiscal will be held on June 3, 4 and 6; third meeting (August 5-7); fourth meeting (October 1, 3 and 4); fifth meeting (December 3-5) and sixth meeting (February 4-6, 2020).
SBI raises Rs 1,251 crore by issuing Basel III-compliant bonds
New Delhi: The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) said it has raised Rs 1,251.30 crore by issuing Basel III-compliant bonds.
“The Committee of Directors for Capital Raising at its meeting held today on 22 March 2019 deliberated and accorded approval to allot 12,513 non-convertible, taxable, perpetual, subordinated, unsecured Basel lll-compliant additional tier-I bonds, for inclusion in additional tier-I capital of the bank…aggregating to Rs 1,251.30 crore,” SBI said in a regulatory filing.
The bonds with a face value of Rs 10 lakh each bears a coupon rate of 9.45 per cent per anum payable annually with call option after 5 years or any anniversary date thereafter, it said. The bonds were subscribed on Friday, it added.
State Bank of India (SBI) also said the central board of the bank at its meeting held has accorded its approval for extension of validity period for raising equity capital of up to Rs 20,000 crore from market by way of follow-on public offer, qualified institutional placement, preferential allotment, rights issue or any other mode or a combination of these till March 31, 2020.
Sebi fines 4 entities Rs 27 lakh for fraudulent trading in BSE stock options
New Delhi: Markets regulator Sebi imposed a total penalty of Rs 27 lakh on four entities for indulging in fraudulent trade in illiquid stock options segment of BSE.
Umapati Oil Mill and Ginning Factory, Yudhbir Chhibbar, Kasturbhai Mayabhai Pvt Ltd and Vimladevi Shyamsunder Khetan are the four entities, according to Sebi’s separate orders.
fter observing a large-scale reversal of trades in the BSE’s illiquid stock options segment, Sebi conducted a probe from April 2014 to September 2015.
Following the probe, the regulator found that the trades executed by the entities were not genuine as they were reversed within few seconds with same counter parties with significant difference in price, resulting in profit to the entities.
Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said it was a deliberate attempt to deal in such a fashion and not a mere coincidence.
The trades executed by the entities were not genuine and created an appearance of artificial trading volumes, thereby violating PFUTP (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices) regulations, Sebi noted.
Accordingly, a fine of Rs 8.7 lakh and Rs 8.4 lakh were imposed on Yudhbir Chhibbar and Vimladevi, respectively while a penalty of Rs 5 lakh each was levied on Umapati Oil Mill and Kasturbhai Mayabhai Pvt Ltd, totalling Rs 27.1 lakh.
In a separate order, Sebi imposed a total fine of Rs 6 lakh on four promoters of Artech Power Products for delayed disclosures to exchanges regarding their change in the shareholding in the company.
Ranjith Vijayan, I V Vijayan, Repsy Vijayan and Resmi Vijayan are the four promoters, according to Sebi’s order.
The promoters have deprived the vital information to the public by non-disclosure /delayed disclosure as mandated by the Takeover Regulations, Sebi noted.