Trai amends MNP regulations to ease, quicken the process of portability

Source: Business Standard, Dec 13, 2018

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) amended the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) regulations to ease and quicken the process of portability.

The timeline for porting a mobile number within the Intra-Licensed Service Area (Intra-LSA) or the same circle has been limited to two days and that in a different circle or an Inter-Licensed Service Area (Inter-LSA) has been kept at four days.

Further, the regulator also said a telecom operator would have to pay a penalty of not exceeding Rs 10,000 for any misinformation about the portability and each wrongful rejection of portability request.

“If any access provider or mobile number portability service provider contravenes the provisions… (it shall) be liable to pay an amount, by way of financial disincentive not exceeding Rs 10,000 for each wrongful rejection of the request for porting,” the TRAI circular said. Read the rest of this entry »

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No plan to change current FDI policy in multi-brand retail trade: DIPP Secy

Source: Business Standard, Dec 13, 2018

New Delhi: The government has no proposal to change the existing foreign direct investment (FDI) policy in the multi-brand retail trading sector, a top official said Thursday.

“You know the multi-brand retail policy that exists today. There is no proposal for change,” Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Ramesh Abhishek said here.

He was replying to a question whether the government is looking at increasing FDI cap to 100 per cent in the sector, a politically sensitive segment.

Although the current FDI policy permits overseas players to hold 51 per cent stake in an Indian multi-brand retail company, the BJP in its election manifesto had opposed overseas investment in the retail segment.

So far, only one foreign player, Tesco, has received approval for opening stores under the multi-brand retail policy. The previous UPA government had cleared the proposal. Read the rest of this entry »

435 infra, road projects stuck due to land acquisition issues

Source: The Economic Times, Dec 14, 2018

As many as 435 infrastructure and highway projects are stuck across the country on account of various factors, including delay in land acquisition and regulatory clearances, Parliament was informed Thursday.

“Four hundred and thirty five numbers of infrastructure and road projects are stuck and pending for completion and they are delayed mainly due to land acquisition, utility shifting, non availability of soil/aggregate, poor performance of contracts, environment/forest/ wilflife clearances,” Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Mansukh Lal Mandaviya told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

Other factors behind delay of projects include road over bridges and under bridges issues with Railways, public agitation for additional facilities, arbitration /contractual disputes with contractors etc, he said.

“These projects are likely to be completed by October 2020,” the minister said.

Reliance Jio board approves plan to hive-off fibre, tower assets to separate entities

Source: LiveMint.com, Dec 12, 2018

New Delhi: Telecom operator Reliance Jio Infocomm Tuesday said its board has approved schemes to spin off the company’s fibre and tower assets to separate entities. “The board of directors of the company, at its meeting held today, accorded its approval to a scheme of arrangement for transfer of its fibre undertaking, on a going concern basis, to a separate company,” Jio said in a regulatory filing on ‘restructuring/reorganisation proposals’.

The board also cleared a similar proposal pertaining to transfer of its tower infrastructure “on a going concern basis, to a separate company”, it added.

The schemes are subject to statutory and regulatory approvals, it added but did not provide details. Read the rest of this entry »

Indo-Japan Chamber in Kerala moots joint ventures with Japanese firms

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Dec 12, 2018

Kochi: Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce Kerala (INJACK) has mooted a proposal to set up joint ventures with Japanese firms for tuna processing in the State, considering the market potential of this particular fish variety in that country.

Currently, there is no export of sashmi grade chilled tuna to Japan, which is mainly depending on Sri Lanka and Maldives. Lakshadweep has good presence of yellow fin tuna used for sashmi, but there is need for technical and onboard handling of sashmi grade tuna, said Sajiv K Menon, President, INJACK. Read the rest of this entry »

November retail inflation slumps to 17-month low on easing food prices

Source: The Economic Times, Dec 12, 2018

NEW DELHI: Retail inflation plunged to a 17-month low in November at 2.33 per cent, mainly on account of decline in prices of kitchen essentials like vegetables, eggs and pulses. 

Retail inflation, which is calculated on the consumer price index (CPI), for October this year has been revised slightly up at 3.38 per cent from 3.31 per cent earlier, data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed Wednesday.

In the year-ago period (November 2017), it was at 4.88 per cent.

Retail inflation, a key input for the RBI to decide on its monetary policy, was lower than this in June 2017 when it stood at 1.46 per cent, as per data by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI). The CSO comes under MOSPI.  Read the rest of this entry »

US Commerce Secretary to visit India in February for commercial dialogue

Source: The Economic Times, Dec 12, 2018

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said that he will visit India in February to attend the bilateral commercial dialogue and the Trump administration is sending a major trade mission to the country next year.

“I’m happy to report that I’m scheduled to visit India this coming February. I’ll be co-chairing the US-India Commercial Dialogue and the US- India CEO forum with my Indian counterpart, (commerce and industry) minister (Suresh) Prabhu,” Ross said at a farewell reception organised for the outgoing Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Singh Sarna.

Some 200 guests, including top officials of the Trump administration, diplomats, eminent Indian Americans and top corporate executives attended the farewell reception for the top Indian diplomat, who is retiring later this month.

Highly appreciative of the role played by Sarna in strengthening the US-India relationship during his tenure as the Indian envoy, Ross said that Sarna has laid the ground work for more to come.  Read the rest of this entry »