Raja backs DoT stance on first-come-first-served basis

Raja backs DoT stance on first-come-first-served basis

New Delhi: Minister for communications and information technology Andimuthu Raja has backed his department’s stand on issuing telecom licences and radio spectrum to new applicants on a first-come-first-served basis as per the existing rules.

In a 2 November letter written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a copy of which was viewed by ‘Mint’, Raja said there was no departure from the rules “as there would be enough scope for allotment of spectrum to few new operators even after meeting the requirements of existing operators and licensees". Some 60MHz of spectrum would be available for 2G services, after the ministry of defence vacates the spectrum this December. ‘Business Standard’ reported on Sunday about the department of telecom’s (DoT) stand on spectrum allocation, noting Raja’s letter to the PM. The issue of auctioning the spectrum was also considered by the telecom commission, but was not recommended as the existing licence holders, such as Bharti Airtel Ltd, “have already got up to 10MHz of spectrum without any spectrum charge," the minister said. “It will be unfair and capricious to auction spectrum to new applicants as it will not give them a level playing field."

“The ministry of law suggested referring the matter to the empowered group of ministers, which is totally out of context," wrote Raja. “Now the department has decided to continue with the existing policy of (first-come- first-served) for processing of applications received up to 25 September." Raja also justified an eight-fold increase in subscriber base criteria for giving additional spectrum to incumbent operators such as Bharti.

Pakistan may postpone polls by a year: Aziz

Islamabad: Police detained hundreds of Pakistani opposition figures and lawyers on Sunday as military ruler President Pervez Musharraf tried to stifle the outcry over his imposition of a state of emergency.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said national elections, due in January, might be rescheduled because of the emergency rule. “If you look at Pakistan’s Constitution, when you have an emergency, the Parliament could give itself more time, up to a year, in terms of holding the next elections," he said.

Across the country, opposition leaders were detained, and Aziz said between 400 and 500 people were being held in preventive detention. He declined to say how long the state of emergency would last.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who flew back to Pakistan on Saturday from a brief visit to Dubai, accused Musharraf of imposing “mini-martial law" in a move to delay elections.


IFRS convergence will improve credibility: CII

New Delhi: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Sunday said convergence of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the global accounting practice followed by 102 countries, will improve comparability, transparency and credibility of financial statements of India Inc.

But the chamber said introduction of IFRS represents a fundamental change in financial reporting, and planning for it, generating the necessary awareness, educating stakeholders and managing the required changes will take considerable management commitment and time to achieve a successful transition.


Cipla gets tentative US nod for cetirizine HCL

Mumbai: Drug maker Cipla Ltd has received tentative approval from the US food and drug administration for cetirizine hydrochloride (HCL) tablets, the regulator’s website said.

The drug treats symptoms associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis.


Woodland to spend Rs200 cr on new stores

New Delhi: Footwear major Woodland will invest up to Rs200 crore in the next 12 months to add 75 more stores in the country, in addition to raising its production capacity, as it looks to cash in on the retail boom.

“Each new store will require an investment of Rs2-3 crore and thus we would be spending up to Rs200 crore in setting up new exclusive stores across the country," Woodland Shoes managing director Harkirat Singh said.

The company is also ramping up production capacity to 10,000-12,000 pairs per day from the current 6,000 pairs per day.


Kumaraswamy vows unconditional support

Bangalore: Former Karnataka chief minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader H. D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday said his party would extend “unconditional" support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while forming a government with it.

“A section of electronic media has been portraying my party badly in the eyes of the public after JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda mooted a 12-point suggestion. Hereafter, we will not set any condition. Our support will also be unconditional," Kumaraswamy said at a press conference.


Buddha warns against aligning with the US

Kolkata: Joining hands with the US would lead to disaster, West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Sunday and cautioned the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre against such a move. “Whoever joined hands with the US faced disaster. India should refrain from joining hands with that country," he said in a reference to the Indo-US strategic alliance, while addressing the open session of the 8th All India Democratic Women’s Association here.