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All telcos, except Jio, fail Trai’s call drop test on select highway, rail routes

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New Delhi: All telecom operators, except Reliance Jio, failed to meet call drop benchmark in drive test conducted by sector regulator Trai on different highway and rail routes, says a report.

According to a Trai report published on Thursday, while network performance of telcos differed on highways, none of them, except RJio, could meet call drop benchmark on the three rail routes covered under the test.

“Only RJio is meeting quality of service benchmark of drop call rate …,” the report said.

According to the quality of service rules, not more than 2 per cent of total calls in a telecom circle on a network should automatically get disconnected.

The highways between Asansol to Gaya, Digha to Asansol, Gaya to Danapur, Bengaluru to Murdeshwar, Raipur to Jagdalpur, Dehradun to Nainital, Mount Abu to Jaipur and Sri Nagar to Leh were covered in the test. Railway routes between Allahabad to Gorakhpur, Delhi to Mumbai and Jabalpur to Singrauli were covered.

Either 3G or 2G network of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and state-run BSNL failed to meet call drop benchmark on four highway routes and all the three rail routes. Trai also named Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTL) network for not complying with service quality norms on select highways.

The report found that TTL, which is in the process of merging mobile business with Airtel, failed to even complete call connection as per benchmark betwen Bengaluru to Murdeshwar, Dehradun to Nainital and Gaya to Danapur and on the three rail routes.

Airtel could not meet call connection rate or call setup success rate (CSSR) on Gaya to Danapur highway and the three rail routes. Vodafone Idea network could not meet CSSR rate on Raipur to Jagdalpur highway and all the three rail routes.

Trai has mentioned Vodafone and Idea separately in the result as some tests were conducted before completion of their merger. Both the companies completed their merger on August 31 and now operate as Vodafone Idea Ltd.


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India to retain top position in remittances with $80 billion: World Bank

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Washington: India will retain its position as the world’s top recipient of remittances this year with its diaspora sending a whopping USD 80 billion back home, the World Bank said in a report Saturday.

India is followed by China (USD 67 billion), Mexico and the Philippines (USD 34 billion each) and Egypt (USD 26 billion), according to the global lender.

With this, India has retained its top spot on remittances, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief.

The Bank estimates that officially-recorded remittances to developing countries will increase by 10.8 per cent to reach USD 528 billion in 2018. This new record level follows a robust growth of 7.8 per cent in 2017.

Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 10.3 per cent to USD 689 billion, it said.

Over the last three years, India has registered a significant flow of remittances from USD 62.7 billion in 2016 to USD 65.3 billion 2017. In 2017, remittances constituted 2.7 per cent of India’s GDP, it said.

The Bank said remittances to South Asia are projected to increase by 13.5 per cent to USD 132 billion in 2018, a stronger pace than the 5.7 per cent growth seen in 2017.

The upsurge is driven by stronger economic conditions in advanced economies, particularly the US, and the increase in oil prices having a positive impact on outflows from some GCC countries such as the UAE which reported a 13 per cent growth in outflows for the first half of 2018.

Bangladesh and Pakistan both experienced strong upticks of 17.9 per cent and 6.2 per cent in 2018, respectively, the Bank said.

For 2019, it is projected that remittances growth for the region will slow to 4.3 per cent due to a moderation of growth in advanced economies, lower migration to the GCC and the benefits from the oil price spurt dissipating.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional inter-governmental political and economic bloc of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

As global growth is projected to moderate, future remittances to low- and middle-income countries are expected to grow moderately by four per cent to reach USD 549 billion in 2019. Global remittances are expected to grow 3.7 per cent to USD 715 billion in 2019.

The Brief notes that the global average cost of sending USD 200 remains high at 6.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2018. Reducing remittance flows to three per cent by 2030 is a global target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10.7.

Increasing the volume of remittances is also a global goal under the proposals for raising financing for the SDGs, it said.

“Even with technological advances, remittances fees remain too high, double the SDG target of 3 per cent. Opening up markets to competition and promoting the use of low-cost technologies will ease the burden on poorer customers,” said Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships at the Bank.

The average cost of remitting in South Asia was the lowest at 5.4 per cent, while Sub-Saharan Africa continued to have the highest at 9 per cent.

No solutions are yet in sight for practices that drive up costs, such as de-risking action of banks, which lead to closure of bank accounts of remittance service providers.

Another persistent factor that keeps fees high is the exclusive partnership between national post office systems and any single money transfer operator, as it allows the operator to charge higher fees to poorer customers dependent on post offices, the Bank said.

“The future growth of remittances is vulnerable to lower oil prices, restrictive migration policies, and an overall moderation of economic growth.

“Remittances have a direct impact on alleviating poverty for many households, and the World Bank is well positioned to work with countries to facilitate remittance flows,” said Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank.

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After traders request, GST return filing date extended to March 31

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New Delhi : The government extended the deadline for filing annual GST return by three months.

Businesses can now file the return by March 31, 2019.

It has been “decided to extend the due date for filing FORM GSTR-9, FORM GSTR-9A and FORM GSTR-9C till 31st March 2019,” the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said in a statement.

The previous deadline was December 31, 2019.

The announcement came a day after the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) urged finance minister Arun Jaitley to extend the last date for filing annual GST return from December 31, 2018, to March 331, 2019.

CAIT said that the format of filing of annual GST return is not available anywhere including the GST website. In fact, the option itself is not available.

“Under such circumstances, it will not be possible for the traders to file their annual GST return by the stipulated period and as an immediate measure, the CAIT has urged to extend the last date of filing annual GST return up to March 31, 2019, for the period 2017-18,” it said.

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ISB professor Subramanian is India’s new CEA

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Mumbai : The government appointed ISB Hyderabad professor Krishnamurthy Subramanian as Chief Economic Adviser for a period of three years.

The post of CEA had been lying vacant since Arvind Subramanian left the finance ministry after a four-year stint in July this year.

“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved for the appointment of Dr Krishnamurthy Subramanian, Associate Prof. and ED (CAF), ISB, Hyderabad, to the post of Chief Economic Adviser,” said a government notification.

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His appointment will be for a period of three years, it said.

An IIT-IIM alumnus, Subramanian holds PhD (Financial Economics) from Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, the US.

The government had invited applications for the post CEA in July.

The key responsibilities of the CEA include providing policy inputs on industrial development and foreign trade, conducting analysis of trends in industrial production and releasing statistical information on key economic indicators.

It could not be ascertained immediately when the new CEA would assume office.

According to the ISB website, Subramanian is one of the leading experts in banking, corporate governance and economic policy.

He has served on the expert committees on Corporate Governance for the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and on Governance of Banks for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Besides, he was a member of Sebi’s standing committees on Alternative Investment Policy, Primary Markets, Secondary Markets and Research.

He is also on the boards of Bandhan Bank, the National Institute of Bank Management, and the RBI Academy.

Before beginning his academic career, the website said Subramanian worked as a consultant with JPMorgan Chase in New York.

In previous academic roles, he served on the finance faculty at Goizueta Business School at Emory University in the United States.

He obtained his MBA and PhD in Financial Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business under the advice of Professor Luigi Zingales and professor Raghuram Rajan (former CEA and RBI governor).

The Economic Survey of India is also compiled and released by the CEA.

Arvind Subramanian assumed the role in October 2014 and stayed beyond the usual three-year term at the request of Union Minister Arun Jaitley.

Raghuram Rajan, who too was a CEA, became the governor of the Reserve Bank of India in 2013.

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