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TRAI slaps fine on Jio, Airtel, Vodafone, others for not meeting service quality

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi:Regulator TRAI has imposed penalties on major telecom operators, including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular (now merged), for slipping on various service quality benchmarks for the March quarter, according to multiple sources.
The fines cover various parameters and service areas, and all the operators are in the process of making the payment, sources told PTI.
About Rs 34 lakh fine has been imposed for March 2018 quarter on Reliance Jio, the aggressive player whose offerings since 2016 have shaken the market and triggered a bruising tariff war among operators.
The penalty on the Mukesh Ambani-led firm is on account of Trai-defined service quality parameters, including Point of Interconnect congestion, accessibility of call centres or customer care, and percentage of calls answered by operators (voice to voice) in a set timeframe.
An e-mail sent to Reliance Jio seeking its response on the penalty did not elicit a response.
Maintaining its watch on service quality in the sector, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had tightened the rules and asked players to abide by its new quality of service (QoS) benchmarks from October 1, 2017.
The latest assessment reflects how the operators have fared between January and March 2018 on Trai’s new service quality benchmarks.
Bharti Airtel – which was the largest telecom operator in the country till the merger of Vodafone and Idea Cellular shuffled the pecking order late last month – has been fined to the tune of about Rs 11 lakh for the three months to March, as per sources.
Its penalties are on account of norms relating to metering and billing (postpaid), accessibility of call centre and customer care, percentage of calls answered by operators within defined timeframe parameters.
The fine imposed on Idea Cellular is about Rs 12.5 lakh for the March quarter.
The penalties pertain to various circles on parametres like call drops, percentage of calls answered by operators within a set timeframe, and requests for closure of services complied within seven days.
In case of Vodafone, the March quarter penalties stood at only about Rs 4 lakh on issues like metering and billing (pre-paid), time taken to comply with request for termination or closure of service, and percentage of calls answered by operators within a timeframe.
While Bharti Airtel declined to comment, Idea Cellular and Vodafone did not respond to e-mails queries on the issue.
Trai chairman RS Sharma had earlier told PTI that the regulator is in the final stage of imposing penalty on operators which have not met service quality norms for the March quarter, but had not given details.
Trai has been maintaining that it does not wish to name specific operators or penalties slapped on them for not meeting the service quality criteria. Accordingly, it has never published this information either on its website or through a statement.
As per the new quality of service benchmarks of Trai, now call drops are measured at mobile tower level instead of telecom circle level. Trai was of the view that average calculated at circle level may hide many issues.


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CBDT refutes social media rumours on ITR filing, says no change in IT return forms

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New Delhi: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has refuted rumours in social media regarding difficulties in filing return of income by taxpayers, stating that no change has been made in income-tax return (ITR) forms.

“No changes have been made in any of the Income-tax Return (ITR) forms including ITR-2 and ITR-3 since the notification made on April 1 2019, i.e. on the 1st day of the Assessment Year 2019-20,” CBDT said.

“It is reiterated that there are no changes in the notified ITR forms; only the utility has been updated to facilitate the taxpayers. Therefore, the assertion that numerous changes have been made in ITR-2 and ITR-3 on July 11, 2019, does not give a correct picture,” it added.

 

There were reports in social media that the taxpayers were facing difficulties in filing return of income in ITR-2 & ITR-3 due to large scale changes in the ITR form on July 11.

CBDT stated that the software utility for e-filing of all the ITR forms were released long back. The utility for e-filing ITR-2 and ITR-3 was released on May 2 and on May 10 respectively.

However, the software utility update is a dynamic process and is continuously taken up as per the feedback received from the users/filers to ease their experience in electronic filing of returns, it added.

CBDT further clarified that the updating of utility does not hamper filing of return as the taxpayers are allowed to file using the utility which is available at that point of time.

“For example, more than 85 lakh taxpayers have filed returns in ITR-1 till date by using the said utility, which has also undergone update later. Therefore, the impression that the taxpayers are not able to file return due to changes in ITR form is also not correct as more than 1.38 crore taxpayers have already filed their returns by using the utility released till date. Even though the utility is being updated regularly to provide ease to taxpayers, the returns filed by using the previous version of utility will continue to be valid,” it said.

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Lagarde resigns as IMF chief, starting race for her successor

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Washington: International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde submitted her resignation from the global crisis lender, citing more clarity about her nomination to lead the European Central Bank as European legislators approved a new top bureaucrat.

Lagarde said in a statement her resignation was effective Sept 12, firing the starting gun for the IMF’s search for her successor, which is likely to be another European.

“With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB President and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the Fund,” Lagarde said in a statement.

 

She said her resignation would expedite the selection for the next head of the IMF.

IMF succession is expected to be a major topic of discussion among G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting on Wednesday and Thursday in Chantilly, France, near Paris amid concerns that slowing global growth and trade conflicts will pressure vulnerable economies.

Lagarde’s resignation, first reported by Reuters, came two weeks after her nomination on July 2 for the ECB’s top job. She did not immediately quit the IMF because of uncertainty over whether the new European Parliament would support her and other new EU leadership positions, sources told Reuters.

Her nomination was part of a package of top officials agreed by EU governments that included German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president, who drew Green party opposition.

Later on Tuesday, von der Leyen was approved by the European Parliament in a 383-327 vote.

The European parliament will hold a nonbinding vote on Lagarde’s appointment, which is expected to be finalized by EU leaders at a regular summit on Oct 17-18.

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Centre to launch portal to help Jet Airways staff find jobs, in touch with SpiceJet and IndiGo

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Mumbai: The government may not have extended support to now-defunct Jet Airways, but it has promised to facilitate employment to job-less airline staff.

The Civil Aviation Ministry is in touch with other private airlines such as SpiceJet and IndiGo to assist Jet staff get meaningful employment.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that a website would be launched listing staff of Jet Airways and help find employment in other private entities.

 

“We are also producing a website which is ready. I wish I had the capacity of telling you that the website is up. Every employee would be listed there and the prospects for their re-employment or employment will be facilitated by the government,” Puri said while replying to Members in the Rajya Sabha on the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The Minister, however, said that government cannot assume responsibility for a business failure conducted by a private party.

Referring to Jet Airways, Puri said he was sensitive to (business) failure and willing to see what can be done within the governmental system to cushion that failure.

“But to suggest that a private sector entity goes belly up and the government has to take the responsibility I don`t think that is correct,” the Minister said.

Run out of cash, Jet Airways had suspended its entire operations on April 17. Subsequently, the government re-allocated its slots and foreign traffic rights to rival carriers. Lenders to the airline led by State Bank of India (SBI) have initiated bankruptcy proceedings against it after all attempts to rope in a buyer failed.

Before the airline suspended its operation, it had nearly 20,000 staff on its rolls. Several hundreds of them are learnt to have joined other carriers.

Replying to Members on the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019, he also countered a comment that airfares had gone up.

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