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Trai to slap fine on telcos for call drop violations in March quarter

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New Delhi: Telecom regulator Trai is in the final stage of slapping penalty on operators who have not met call drop norms for the March quarter, its chairman R S Sharma said.
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 benchmarks from October 1, 2017. Two quarters of assessment has been completed since the new norms came into force.
“For the quarter of January to March, we are in the final stage of issuing the penalty,” Sharma told PTI. He said that showcause notices have already been issued to erring operators and 21 days have been given for submitting their responses. He. however, did not identify the operators, saying Trai did not want to name and shame any player.
The assessment is based on network performance of operators between January and March, measured against the Trai’s new service quality benchmarks. The “financial disincentive” has already been levied for December 2017 quarter, Sharma added. Under new rules, 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. Trai proposed financial disincentive in the range of Rs 1-5 lakh in a graded penalty system depending on the performance of a network, with stringent fines for repeat violations under the new Quality of Service (QoS) rules. However, there is cap of Rs 10 lakh on financial disincentive.
Also, earlier rules did not address temporary issues in telecom network like non-functioning of mobile towers or geographical issues like network quality in an underserved town.
Many other parameters too were tightened, and the regulator also fixed benchmark for radio-link time out technology (RLT) — purportedly used by operators for masking call drops.
When contacted, industry body COAI’s director-general, Rajan Mathews said new QoS rules are among the most stringent globally, and that telecom operators in India have make required investments to ensure compliance with the norms.
“In the December quarter, many operators were marginally non-compliant in some circles…We believe that major players are compliant with the new norms now,” Mathews said.


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Cabinet clears setting up of centralised GST appellate authority

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New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved setting up of a centralised Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling (AAAR) under the goods and services tax that would decide on cases where there are divergent orders at the state level.

The setting up of a centralised AAAR would require amendments to the GST Acts. The centralised authority as an appellate body will only take up cases wherein the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) of two states have passed divergent orders.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and comprising state counterparts, in December decided to establish the centralised AAAR.

 

“The Cabinet has cleared the GST appellate authority,” a source said after the meeting of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In view of the confusion created by contradictory rulings given by different AARs on the same or similar issues, the industry had been demanding a centralised appellate authority that could reconcile the contradictory verdicts of different AARs.

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Urbanisation to be big driver of Indian economic growth: Kant

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Davos: Urbanisation will be a big driver of economic growth in India going forward, supported by favourable macroeconomic factors, accelerated infrastructure building and continuing reforms, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.

Speaking here at an event on sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, he also said the Indian economy may even exceed the IMF growth forecast of 7.5 per cent for the country.

Kant said IMF has forecast 7.5 per cent growth for India despite a gloomy outlook for the global economy and this itself is good, though there are expectations that this estimate would be surpassed. He said India is giving a big push to urbanisation with more than 100 smart cities being developed.

 

The country is also using technology in a big way to change the way business and governance is done, he added. Besides a massive infrastructure building is happening, bank credit flow has rebounded and macroeconomic factors like inflation and fiscal deficit are also being supportive, Kant said.

DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek noted that states are competing with each other to attract investments and all political parties have adopted the economic reform process. He listed various reform initiatives undertaken in India, including on areas like ease of doing business, FDI, manufacturing and taxation.

They were speaking at Institutional investors’ breakfast roundtable, organised by the industry chamber CII and Kotak Mahindra Bank. Other participants included CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee and leaders from Indian and foreign companies.

On questions about some persisting issues in doing business including on tax and insolvency related issues, Abhishek said a lot of efforts have been put in to remove all bottlenecks and starting a business doesn’t take more than a day. Besides, special provisions have been made for startups and angel investors, he added.

Kant said efforts are also being made to remove all physical intervention and digitise the entire process of inter-ministerial and inter-department consultations to fast-track the decisions.

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India will surpass China, says Raghuram Rajan

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Davos: India will eventually surpass China in economic size and will be in a better position to create the infrastructure being promised by the Chinese side in South Asian countries, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said.

Addressing a session on Strategic Outlook for South Asia, Dr Rajan said that the Indian economy would continue to grow while growth rate is slowing down in China.

“Historically, India had a bigger role in the region but China has now grown much bigger than India and has presented itself as a counter-balance to India in the region,” Dr Rajan said at the WEF Annual Meeting 2019.

 

“India will become bigger than China eventually as China would slow down and India would continue to grow. So India will be in a better position to create the infrastructure in the region which China is promising today. But this competition is good for the region and it will benefit for sure,” he said.

The comments assume significance with China working on a lot of infrastructure projects across the region. In 2017, India became the sixth largest economy with a GDP of $2.59 trillion while China was the second large with a GDP of $12.23 trillion.

At the same session, Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Oli cited collaboration with China as well as India as reasons for the economic growth.

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