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.”
ADB cuts India’s FY20 GDP growth forecast to 7% on fiscal shortfall worries
New Delhi: Asian Development Bank on Thursday lowered India’s GDP growth forecast to 7 per cent for the current year on the back of fiscal shortfall concerns.
“India is expected to grow by 7 per cent in 2019 (FY20) and 7.2 per cent in 2020 (FY21), slightly slower than projected in April because the fiscal 2018 outturn fell short,” ADB said in its supplement to the Asian Development Outlook 2019.
For the south Asian region, ADB said the outlook remains robust, with growth projected at 6.6 per cent in 2019 and 6.7 per cent in 2020.
Earlier in April this year too, the Manila-based multi-lateral funding agency had lowered India’s growth forecast for FY20 to 7.2 per cent from 7.6 per cent estimated previously due to moderation in global demand and likely shortfall in revenue on the domestic front.
Jalan panel proposes ‘nominal’ transfer of RBI funds to govt over 3-5 years
New Delhi: The Union government may not get the windfall gain it was expecting from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reserves as the Bimal Jalan committee, tasked with reviewing the central bank’s economic capital framework, has proposed a “nominal” transfer of surplus to the central government in a phased manner, according to a source in the know.
“The report has proposed a formula for a nominal transfer of a portion of the RBI’s reserves to the central government in a period of three-five years. This is in line with the current practice being followed by the RBI for transferring dividend annually,” a person close to the development said.
The person said the panel members might “not be unanimous” on the suggestions the committee made. These will be submitted to RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das “in a few days”. The RBI’s central board, headed by Das, will take up the matter.
The report would likely include a dissent note by Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, who is the government’s representative on the panel.
The committee has recommended a periodic review of the RBI’s economic capital framework, according to the source.
Initially, the finance ministry had expected around Rs 3 trillion from the RBI’s reserve funds, which were at the heart of a conflict between the regulator and the government last year.
On the insistence of the finance ministry, the central board of the RBI formed a six-member committee — headed by Jalan and co-chaired by former RBI deputy governor Rakesh Mohan — in December to review the central bank’s economic capital framework.
The main difference of opinion within the panel was over transferring the RBI’s “excess” capital reserves. While most panel members are in favour of a phased transfer of the RBI’s capital reserves to the government over the years, the government’s view, voiced by Garg, was for a one-time transfer.
For this financial year, the government had accounted for around Rs 20,000 crore as “additional dividend” from the RBI, a finance ministry official said. This, the official said, is unlikely to happen.
In the Receipts Budget, allocation towards the “dividend or surplus of RBI, nationalised banks and financial institutions” was increased by Rs 23,130 crore to Rs 1.06 trillion in 2019-20, compared to the Interim Budget.
Nod to bankruptcy code changes, will help home buyers
New Delhi: The government today gave its approval to seven amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), a move that will benefit unsecured creditors like home buyers in a big way.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said, the IBC (Amendment) Bill, 2019, would be introduced in Parliament during this session and will have retrospective effect. An official statement read: “The amendments aim to fill critical gaps in the corporate insolvency resolution framework as enshrined in the Code.”
of all financial creditors, including unsecured ones (home buyers) covered under Section 21 (6A) “shall be cast in accordance with the decision approved by the highest voting share (more than 50 per cent) of financial creditors on present and voting basis”, it said. It also said greater emphasis had been given “on the need for time-bound disposal at application stage and a deadline for completion of CSRP within an overall limit of 330 days, including litigation and other judicial processes”. Experts say this provision will help unsecured creditors (mostly home buyers) in a big way.