Todayâ€™s PT Capsule for the serious aspirant!
High Court upholds call drop order
In a big move to improve telecom services across the nation, the High court upheld TRAIâ€™s order of compensation of subscribers for the first three call drops everyday. The order is implementable from January 1 with the Delhi High Court giving liberty to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to implement its decision in this regard from that date.
Since the court had not stayed the TRAI notification since the filing of writ petitions, the telecom regulator is at liberty to enforce its decision.
The court said the impugned regulation had been made in exercise of the power conferred under the Act and keeping in mind the paramount interest of the consumer. The court rejected the contention of petitioners that the notification amounted to penalising them without proving any wrong-doing and held that the regulation was in the interest of consumers. The regulation mandated only compensating the calling consumer and not the receiver.
What is call drop? – In telecommunications, the dropped-call rate (DCR) is the fraction of the telephone calls which, due to technical reasons, were cut off before the speaking parties had finished their conversational tone and before one of them had hung up (dropped calls) This fraction is usually measured as a percentage of all calls.
What is the reason for call drop? – Mobile phones work using radio waves in the frequency range of 300 MHz and 3,000 MHz. But the entire range is not available for use. Critically, the lower the number, the better the quality of transmission.
If a company has too little of the better bands, the quality of voice service drops. It also drops if the number of customers rises. India has 961 million mobile phone subscribers, the most in the world after China. Too many companies are slicing up the available bands into smaller parcels.
There are approximately 5,50,000 towers in India, and industry associations reckon another 1,00,000 are needed. The lower radio bands need fewer towers to travel longer distances.
Permission to erect a tower is given by the municipal body. No uniform standards or procedures exist here. The setting up of boosters on buildings remains a contested area, and permission has to be obtained on a case-by-case basis.
What can be done about it? – There is a shortage of spectrum in key bands like 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz. The better management of spectrum could be beneficial for reducing call drops.
There can be more spectrum allocated to telecom companies after freeing up some from defence services. The government can also introduce uniform rules for erecting towers. It can also clear up rooftop of government buildings for the same.
Source: The Indian Express, TheHindu
Raisina Dialogue Begins
India is aiming to solidify its geopolitical significance with the Raisina dialogue that includes participants from 40 countries including leaders of Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
The March 1-3 event is fashioned on the lines of the famous annual Shangrila Dialogue held in Singapore where world leaders descend to discuss strategic issues concerning the globe but had seen intermittent political leadership participation from India.
A panel of former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Bangladeshi foreign minister Mahmood Ali were amongst those who shared the stage with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj at the opening session. The former president of Seychelles, Sir James Mancham, and Mr Ali were the other speakers at the opening session.
What is Raisina Dialogue? – The Raisina Dialogue is being organised by the Ministry of External Affairs in association with Indian think tank, ORF focusing on the theme of â€œIndia: Regional and Global Connectivityâ€. The dialogue will help in reaching out to a wider international multidisciplinary audience.
Envisioned as Indiaâ€™s flagship conference of geopolitics and geoeconomics, the Raisina Dialogue 2016 is designed to explore prospects and opportunities for Asian integration as well as Asiaâ€™s integration with the larger world. It is predicated on Indiaâ€™s vital role in the Indian Ocean Region and how India along with its partners can build a stable regional and world order.
The annual conference is a multistakeholder, cross-sectoral meeting involving policy and decision-makers, including but not limited to Foreign, Defence and Finance Ministers of different countries, high-level government officials and policy practitioners, leading personalities from business and industry, and members of the strategic community, media and academia.
What is the Shangrila Dialogue? – The IISS Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) is a “Track One” inter-governmental security forum held annually by an independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which is attended by defense ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific states. The forum gets its name from the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore where it has been held since 2002.
Source: Tribune India, The Hindu
No civilian access to Anjadip Island
issue of allowing the celebration of the feast of â€˜St. Francis de Assisiâ€™ and â€˜Nossa Senhora de Brotasâ€™ on the Anjadiv Island that was handed over to the Navy by the Goa government remains unresolved.
The State government handed over the island off the Goa coast to the Ministry of Defence in 1989 with the condition that the Navy should allow on the territory the celebration of the customary feast subject to security considerations.
With reference to the Special Mention raised by MPs of the state to granting permission for the celebration, the then Defence Minister A.K. Antony on March 7, 2007 replied that project Sea Bird at Karwar was strategically located in the area and that considering its sensitive nature, free access to civilians, irrespective of caste and religion, could not be granted.
The Minister had said apart from law and order apprehensions, allowing free access involved serious security implications.
What is the Official Secrets Act? – The Official Secrets Act 1923 is India’s anti espionage act held over from British colonisation. It states clearly that any action which involves helping an enemy state against India is punishable by law. It also states that one cannot approach, inspect, or even pass over a prohibited government site or area. According to this Act, helping the enemy state can be in the form of communicating a sketch, plan, model of an official secret, or of official codes or passwords, to the enemy.
The disclosure of any information that is likely to affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, or friendly relations with foreign States, is punishable by this act. Certain information cannot be accessed under RTI due to being classified under Official Secrets Act.
Source: TheHindu, Wikipedia
Amendment to EPF tax proposal
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will move an amendment to the budget proposal on the taxation of withdrawal of investments from the Employeesâ€™ Provident Fund. The criticism of the proposal forced a reconsideration.
The amended proposal will make only the interest accrued on 60 per cent of the contributions made after April 1, 2016 taxable.
The Bill proposes amendments to the Income Tax law that will make 60 per cent of the employee contributions part, of the accumulated balance, tax free. The new proposal under consideration is that interest accrued on 60 per cent of contributions made after April 1, 2016 will not attract any tax on withdrawal unless invested in an annuity plan.
What is the difference between EPF and NPS? – EPF is a mandatory retirement saving scheme and NPS is a voluntary one.
Only a salaried individual can contribute towards EPF. But there is no such compulsion for NPS. Investment in EPF is free of cost. The NPS charges fund management fees of 0.0102% for the government employees and there’s a ceiling of 0.25% for the private sector.
EPF invests in government securities or bonds issued by government-owned companies. These are safer products. NPS is allowed to invest up to 50% of its corpus in equities. The advantage is that investment of long-term money in equities can earn better returns.
Till now EPF followed the Exempt-Exempt-Exempt(EEE) tax policy during investment-interest-withdrawal while NPS followed a Exempt-Exempt-Taxable (EET) policy.
Source: TheHindu, Business Standard
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