New Delhi: Signalling the end of a bitter debate on whether India needed another company like Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel), the power equipment maker has announced that its joint venture with the country’s top power generator, NTPC Ltd , would be incorporated next week.
Bhel chairman and managing director K. Ravi Kumar said NTPC-Bhel Power Projects Pvt. Ltd would be incorporated within a week and added that the proposed venture would only complement its business.
“They (NTPC) will not push for another Bhel,” Kumar said, when asked if he had succeeded in convincing NTPC not to push for creating a new company like Bhel, an issue on which the two public sector undertakings and their ministries had differed publicly.
Kumar said recreating Bhel would be very difficult, and as such his corporation was investing up to Rs10,000 crore for expansion and acquisition to raise its capacity to produce power equipment from 10,000MW to 15,000MW annually by the end of the 11th Plan (2007-12).
But NTPC chairman and managing director T. Sankaralingam has kept the issue open saying “the way the country is going to grow, we would want many more Bhels”. He, however, parried the question if NTPC would push power ministry for a new company.
The power ministry has been advocating power generating firm NTPC’s entry into equipment making since the slippages in the 10th Plan capacity addition targets. The ministry has held Bhel responsible for missing the targets by more than a half.
In December, the two firms had signed a joint venture agreement to carry out engineering, procurement and construction contracts for power plants and other infrastructure projects in India and abroad.
Reverse mortgage market to triple: Study
New Delhi: The market for reverse mortgage services, under which senior citizens can pledge their property for a steady income, will have a potential of $113 billion (Rs4.6 trillion) in India by 2015, nearly triple of about $39 billion now, said a report by global consultancy firm Celent.
The reverse mortgage market potential, calculated by the number of senior citizens, establishes that the current market size for the product is three million households and would grow to six million by 2015, the report said. “The home equity available is $39 billion and is expected to grow to $113 billion by 2015, which would be a significant opportunity for lenders,” the report, “Reverse mortgage market: Early days for India”, said.
The reverse mortgage market is expected to grow owing to the rapid growth in the senior citizen population, driven by lower fertility rates, improved health care and better nutrition. The government is employing innovative strategies toward change and it has begun introducing financial instruments aimed at the senior population.
CAG slams Prasar Bharati on overpayment
New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has come down heavily on Prasar Bharati for overpayment of Rs3.39 crore to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for telecast rights of 12 one-day international matches in 2005.
The CAG report said the excess payment was made due to “negligence” in calculating how much money the cricket board owed as per the agreement reached between the two parties.
The report said as per the terms of the agreement of 30 November 2005 between Prasar Bharati and BCCI for telecast of 12 one-day international matches in October-November that year, the public broadcaster was to pay to the cricket board Rs7.50 crore, service tax and agency commission for each match.
Seven matches were to be played between India and Sri Lanka and five between India and South Africa.
The agreement further provided that in case a match was not played for the full duration of any day, the consideration for that day would be calculated in proportion of the number of hours played. One of the 12 scheduled matches did not take place.
Number portability proposals by early April
Mumbai: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Sunday said it would submit its recommendations on mobile number portability (MNP) to the government by the first week of April.
The government would then start the tendering process for issuing licences for setting up a central clearing agency, Trai member R.N. Prabhakar said. “We will submit our recommendations by the end of this month or by the first week of April.”
The clearing agency would create a central data base for ported numbers and facilitate the process of porting. MNP enables a subscriber to port the existing mobile number to another service provider in the same area.
In the absence of MNP, once a subscriber becomes a customer of one service provider, he does not have the option to switch over to another service provider while retaining the number.
Prabhakar hinted that there could be a delay in implementing MNP. “I expect the introduction of MNP to happen by the end of the year or in the first quarter of the next year,” he said.
Implement steel MoUs, Paswan tells Orissa
Bhubaneswar: Union steel minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Sunday asked Orissa to expeditiously implement several memorandums of understanding (MoU) it had signed for setting up steel plants and advised the state to make a realistic assessment of its iron ore reserve.
“There is no meaning of signing MoUs unless they are implemented within a specific time frame,” Paswan said. The state government had signed MoUs with South Korean steel firm Posco and Arcelor-Mittal among others.
“But things are not moving as they should,” the minister said, adding the state did not have much raw material to meet the needs of the proposed plants.
Paswan predicted acute shortage of steel in 2020 as the government target is to produce only 220 million tonnes (mt) of steel against a projected demand of 300mt.
‘Six-fold rise in phishing attacks on Indian banks’
Mumbai: There has been a six-fold rise in phishing attacks on the country’s banks during the last four months alone, a study by Internet security firm Symantec Corp. has found.
Phishing is a form of Internet fraud that aims to steal valuable information such as credit card details, social security numbers, user IDs and passwords for financial gains. The fraud is executed through spoof emails and fake websites that prompt users to disclose their personal details.
The 24X7 Security Response Lab of Symantec found that in October, there were 20 unique attacks on Indian banks, while the figure has grown to 120 as of January. “The attacks are now becoming more localized, subtle and target-specific...the increase in the number of attacks reflects that they are getting successful,” said Prabhat Kumar Singh, director security response of the company. The study ranked Mumbai first in India in terms of phishing sites with 38% followed by New Delhi with 29%.
World Bank sees US recession risk
Brussels: The US may well be heading into a recession and Europe faces further financial market turmoil too, but developing countries are showing little signs of being hurt, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said.
“Regardless of that debate, you are facing a serious economic slowdown from what you had before, and there may very well be a recession,” he said, referring to the US economy. Further fallout is likely from the squeeze in credit markets, he added.