Mumbai: With the Reserve Bank of India issuing draft guidelines for mobile banking (m-banking), at least three leading public sector banks are getting ready to roll out full-banking services through cellphones in the coming few weeks. The country’s largest lender State Bank India (SBI) said it is in the final stages of its m-banking roll out and has scheduled its launch in mid-July, while Bank of India and Union Bank of India plan to introduce their services by June-end.
“We expect to launch our services in the second half of July. We are on the look out for an SMS-aggregator and would shortlist a player soon. This would be primarily for SMS-based transactions,” an SBI official said.
Avoid short cuts in defence purchases: CAG
New Delhi: Short cuts in official purchases, especially in the defence ministry, are bound to lead to irregularities and plainly blaming the auditors of government accounts for such quickfire methods to meet procurement deadlines is not acceptable, the country’s top auditor said on Sunday.
“There should be no short cuts. When you follow short cuts, there are problems,” comptroller and auditor general (CAG) of India Vinod Rai said.
He also dismissed the suggestion that due to the “sword” of the auditors, vital procurement process of various organizations, including the ministry of defence, were delayed. “It is wrong to say that the sword of CAG is always hanging on their heads and procurement process is delayed due to us. The allegation is an attempt to hide their non-performance,” Rai said.
China says next round of Tibet talks in July
Beijing: China and representatives of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, will resume talks in early July, ‘Xinhua’ news agency said on Sunday.
Chinese officials met the Dalai Lama’s representatives for talks on 4 May, but further discussions originally set to start in June were postponed after an earthquake in China killed about 70,000 people in May. The talks aim to mend fences with the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet.
Authorities announced that “relevant central government departments will meet personal representatives of the Dalai Lama at his request in early July,” ‘Xinhua’ said.
Emami open to talks with Parikhs on Zandu
Kolkata: The management of Emami Ltd is open to talks with the Parikh family of Zandu Pharmaceuticals Works Ltd for an amicable solution of the issue of management control in the company.
“We are ready to sit across the table with the Parikhs for an amicable solution as we are also looking at shareholders interest,” Emami director Harsh V. Agarwal said.
“We would be working together with the Parikh family for the future growth of Zandu,” Agarwal had earlier said at the time buying 24% from the Vaidyas.
The Parikhs, one of the two promoter families, hold 22% in the company, while Emami recently bought the Vaidya family’s 24% in Zandu at around Rs130 crore.
Following the move, Emami has come out with an open offer for another 20% as per the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s takeover code.
But, the battle for management control is not going to be smooth as the Vaidya family is trying to stop Emami from getting management control.
Lifestyle to open 38 more exclusive stores
New Delhi: Lifestyle, a part of Dubai-based Landmark Group, will invest Rs500 crore in the country for setting up additional 38 exclusive stores in the next four years, a top official of the company said. At present, the chain has 18 exclusive stores in India.
“Lifestyle has also launched four new brands, including Acapa and Bossini, under franchisee system and have got exclusive rights over them in India, Lifestyle senior vice-president M. Sathiyanarayanan said on the sidelines of Pure and Play Retail Summit here.
“The new 38 stores will have an area of 40,000-80,000 sq. ft. Besides the four metros, we will also be opening stores in tier I and tier II cities such as Jalandhar and Ludhiana.”
Motorola eyes BSNL’s urban Wimax project
New Delhi: US-based telecom equipment maker Motorola Inc. is eyeing big Wimax contracts in India and is planning to bid for state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL) urban Wimax project. “We are very much focused on Wimax...we had bid for BSNL’s rural Wimax project and our bid is in the technical evaluation stage and after this, proof concept would start,” Subhendu Mohanty, Motorola India country head, home and network mobility business, said.
Wimax is a standard-based technology enabling the delivery of last-mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL.
The rural project includes offering broadband connection through the Wimax network in 40,000 primary and secondary schools by 2008. Additionally, BSNL will set up 50,000 Wimax kiosks.
BSNL’s urban tender, valued at Rs2,000 crore includes the roll-out of Wimax services in 70 cities across the country in 2008.
39 policemen missing after Maoist attack
Malkangiri: Thirty-nine personnel of the Greyhounds, the elite anti-Naxal force belonging to Andhra Pradesh and Orissa were feared drowned on Sunday when a launch carrying them was fired on by Maoists from a hilltop in Malkangiri district. Orissa DGP Gopal Nanda said the boat came under fire near Alampetta village when the force was sailing in a launch to Chirakonda across the Balimela reservoir on the border with Andhra Pradesh for a joint operation against the ultras.
While 25 personnel, including a launch helper, could swim ashore, the whereabouts of 39 others were not known even as a massive search operation was on, Nanda said.
Among the 64, there were two Orissa police constables and two—the launch driver and helper—were from the irrigation department, Malkangiri SP S.K. Gajbhiye said. Of the 25 officers who swam to the shore, 10 were airlifted to Visakhapatnam for treatment.
Six killed in bomb blast in Assam market
Nalbari: Six people, including three women, were killed and more than 80 injured as a powerful bomb triggered by suspected United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) militants ripped through a weekly market in Assam’s Baksa district bordering Bhutan.
Five persons died on the spot at Kumarikata market, while another person succumbed to his injuries on way to Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH), officials said.
Officials said the bomb, which was tied to a cycle by the suspected Ulfa militants, went off around 1.10pm in the crowded market under the Tamulpur police station. A second bomb which did not explode was recovered from the place later by the police. More than 30 injured were rushed to GMCH in critical condition, while the rest were admitted to hospitals there.