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DoT to issue notice to five telecom operators to recover Rs 2,578 crore

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Mumbai :The Department of Telecom (DoT) will issue notice to five telecom operators, including Tata Teleservices, Telenor and Reliance Jio, to recover Rs 2,578 crore, in the wake of the CAG red-flagging understatement of revenues by the firms.

“The DoT will raise demand of Rs 2,578 crore from the five telecom operators as was mentioned by the CAG in its report this month. The demand will be raised after reconciling the accounts,” an official source told PTI.

As per the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) tabled in Parliament on December 19, Tata Teleservices, Telenor, Videocon Telecom, Qaudrant (a Videocon Group firm) and Reliance Jio have understated revenues by over Rs 14,800 crore, resulting in a shortfall of nearly Rs 2,578 crore to the exchequer.

 

The CAG report said the government was paid Rs 1,015.17 crore less in licence fee, Rs 511.53 crore less in spectrum usage charge, and Rs 1,052.13 crore less as interest applicable on delay in payment.

The government collection from Tata Teleservices is short by Rs 1,893.6 crore, Telenor – Rs 603.75 crore, Videocon – Rs 48.08 crore, Quadrant – Rs 26.62 crore and Jio – Rs 6.78 crore for licence fee, spectrum usage charge (SUC) and applicable interest charges.

“The notices are expected to be sent to telecom operators in January,” the source added.

The CAG findings are based on the audit of Tata Teleservices and Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd from 2010-11 to 2014-15; Quadrant Televentures (2006-07 to 2014- 15); Videocon Telecom (2009-10 to 2014-15); Telenor (2009-10 to 2014-15) and Reliance Jio Infocomm from 2012-13 to 2014-15.

Videocon Telecom, Telenor (Telewings) and Tata Teleservices have sold their mobile businesses to Bharti Airtel, while Quadrant has shut down its mobile services.

CAG observed that telecom operators deducted discounts offered to dealers and customers; free talktime; interest earned from investments and some asset sales from their gross revenue.

As per the auditor, these should have been part of the adjusted gross revenue (revenue earned from telecom services) for calculation of licence fee and SUC.

CAG said these expenses are in the nature of marketing spends and cannot be deducted from revenue meant for calculating the government’s share.

The auditor found that Tata Teleservices had written off bad debt that resulted in understatement of its gross revenue by Rs 1,026.01 crore.

Unitech Wireless transferred its mobile business to Telenor’s Indian arm Telewing Communications at a profit of Rs 251.5 crore in 2013-14, but this profit was not included for computing revenue share with government.

Most of the deductions considered by the CAG for computing of revenue of telecom operators are sub-judice matters.


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Air India to start new domestic and international flights from next month

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New Delhi: Air India on Wednesday announced that various new flights would begin from next month on domestic as well as international routes in order to meet heavy demand of seats during the summer vacation.

The national carrier said it will offer additional 3,500 seats per week on Mumbai-Dubai-Mumbai route from June 1.

Moreover, it will offer additional 3,500 seats per week on Delhi-Dubai-Delhi route too from June 2 by operating two new flights using its B787 Dreamliner aircraft.

 

“The airline will offer one way Economy class promotional fare of Rs 7777 (all inclusive) from both Delhi and Mumbai to Dubai for sale and travel up to July 31, 2019,” Air India said in a statement.

On its domestic front, Air India said it will introduce new flights on Bhopal-Pune-Bhopal route and Varanasi-Chennai-Varanasi route from June 5.

“The number of flights on Delhi-Bhopal-Delhi will be increased from present 14 flights per week to 20 flights per week by introducing third frequency to the historical city of Tals,” the statement added.

The national carrier would be increasing its flights on Delhi-Raipur-Delhi route from existing seven flights per week to 14 flights per week.

According to Air India, the number of flights per week would be increased on routes such as Delhi-Bengaluru-Delhi, Delhi-Amritsar-Delhi, Chennai-Ahmedabad-Chennai and Chennai-Kolkata-Chennai.

The flights per week would also be increased on Delhi-Vadodara-Delhi route and Mumbai-Vizag-Mumbai route, the statement added.

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Sensex gains 140 pts ahead of election outcome

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Mumbai: The benchmark BSE Sensex jumped 140 points Wednesday, driven by gains in banking and auto stocks ahead of the general election results.

After swinging over 300 points during the day, the 30-share index ended 140.41 points, or 0.36 per cent, higher at 39,110.21. The gauge hit an intra-day high of 39,249.08 and a low of 38,903.87.

In similar movement, the broader NSE Nifty rose 28.80 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 11,737.90.

 

IndusInd Bank was the biggest gainer in the Sensex pack, rallying 4.84 per cent, followed by Sun Pharma, Bajaj Auto, Bharti Airtel, Coal India, Tata Motors, SBI, ICICI Bank, Hero MotoCorp, ONGC, HDFC, Vedanta, L&T, Kotak Bank, Maruti and Axis Bank, ending up to 2.92 per cent higher.

On the other hand, Yes Bank, ITC, PowerGrid, TCS and HUL ended in the red, slipping up to 2.34 per cent.

According to experts, investor sentiment turned positive this week after most exit polls forecast a win for the Narendra Modi-led NDA. The results of the seven-phased polls will come out Thursday.

Unabated foreign fund inflows too buoyed market mood here, traders said.

Foreign institutional investors net bought equities worth Rs 1,185.44 crore on Tuesday, while domestic institutional investors sold shares to the tune of Rs 1,090.32 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed.

Meanwhile, the Indian rupee appreciated marginally to 69.68 against the US dollar.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was trading at USD 71.72 per barrel, higher by 0.64 per cent.

Globally, bourses in Asia ended on a mixed note, while those in Europe were trading in the green in early deals.

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Database inadvertently exposed but did not include personal data: Chtrbox

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New Delhi: Mumbai-based Chtrbox, which was allegedly responsible for leaking data of millions of Instagram users, has said database for a limited number of influencers was inadvertently exposed but that did not include any sensitive personal data.

The company termed the reports of private data being leaked as “inaccurate” and acknowledged that “a particular database for limited influencers was inadvertently exposed for approximately 72 hours”.

“This database did not include any sensitive personal data and only contained information available from the public domain, or self reported by influencers,” it said in a statement late Tuesday night.

 

On Tuesday, Facebook-owned Instagram said it is investigating whether a third-party – Chtrbox – improperly stored its user data in violation of its policies after reports that information of millions of users being available online allegedly in an unsecured database emerged.

These reports said the database found online – with over 49 million records – contained information of millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities and brand accounts. The database was allegedly traced back to Chtrbox.

The reports had said apart from public data (like bio, profile picture and number of followers), the database also allegedly contained users’ private contact information such as email address and phone number.

An Instagram spokesperson had said the company is “investigating whether a third party improperly stored Instagram data, in violation of our policies. It’s also not clear whether the phone numbers and e-mails in Chtrbox’s database came from Instagram”.

Chtrbox, in its statement, asserted that no personal data has been sourced through unethical means by the company.

“Our database is for internal research use only, we have never sold individual data or our database, and we have never purchased hacked-data resulting from social media platform breaches. Our use of our database is limited to help our team connect with the right influencers to support influencers to monetize their online presence, and help brands create great content,” it added.

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