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India's Economy And Teleconnectivity
Jabalpur Tele-payment service bags National Golden Icon award
8 Feb, 2008, 1929 hrs IST, PTI

BHOPAL: The Tele-Bhugtan Service (Tele-payment service) system in Jabalpur collectorate has bagged the National Golden Icon award for innovative usage of technology in E-governance in the field of tele-payment.

The award was given to the service, launched under Public-Private-Partnership, today at Panchkula in Harayana, an official release said.

Under this facility, a person can easily make payment of bills, fees instalment etc. through telephone or mobile phone.

Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Jabalpur Municipal Corporation and other important institutions are also connected with this service.

Other recipients of the Golden Icon award included project of Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs for Excellence in government process re-engineering, IRCTC for outstanding performance in citizen-centric service in internet recurring section and Steel Authority of India's electronic procurement system for best usage of ICT in public sector unit.
<b>Nokia plans larger market share in India</b>

8 Feb, 2008, PTI

MUMBAI: Leading mobile phone manufacturer Nokia today said it targets a bigger share in the domestic market by offering integrated navigation services to its customers.

Currently, Nokia has five devices equipped with integrated GPS -- N95, N95 8GB, Nokia 82, Nokia E90 Communicator and Nokia 6110 Navigator.

"We are targeting a big growth in the Indian market. Around 50 per cent of customers are welcoming the navigation capabilities in this market," Nokia India's Director (Marketing) Devinder Kishore told reporters here.

However, many other phone series including Nokia S 60, has GPS support via bluetooth wireless module, he said.

<b>Nokia 6110 Navigator has pre-installed local maps for eight cities in India, which help the user to reach a location by car or on foot, with the help of voice instructions, the company said.</b>

Nokia is the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer and has a customer-base of 900 million worldwide.
More people to have mobile phone than those without it

7 Feb, 2008, 2041 hrs IST, PTI

<b>NEW DELHI: India, with its high economic growth and immense disposable income, will play a crucial role in global telecom explosion, with the number of mobile users set to overtake those without it for the first time in 2008.</b>

According to International Telecommunications Union, a UN agency, the global mobile penetration rate is set to reach 50 per cent in early 2008, from just about 12 per cent in the year 2000.

Going by the projections by the UN agency, the worldwide mobile subscriber base would cross 3.3 billion level this year. <b>This would amount to every tenth mobile users across the world being an Indian, where the domestic industry is eyeing a total of more than 300 million subscribers in 2008.</b>

"At current growth rates, global mobile penetration is expected to reach 50 per cent by early 2008," ITU said in its January newsletter, adding that based on its data, the number of mobile subscribers surpassed the 3-billion mark in August 2007.

"Mobile growth rates have been high across almost all regions and the number of subscribers has grown between 20 and 30 per cent globally since 2000, when worldwide penetration stood at 12 per cent," it said.

At the end of 2007, the penetration level stood at about 48 per cent, up from about 41 per cent in 2006.

While noting that a penetration level of 50 per cent means every second person owns or uses a mobile phone, ITU said that these figures did not take into account "double counting" taking place because of individual consumers subscribing to more than one service.
Talk your heart out as cell tariffs may fall further
8 Feb, 2008,

NEW DELHI: The government is finalising a detailed policy and regulatory environment aimed at ensuring a steep reduction in mobile telephony rates from their present levels.

<b>As per the new vision, mobile tariffs in India, which are already the lowest in the world, could fall to a tenth of its current rates to 10 paise per minute for local calls and 25 paise for STD calls within the next two years.</b>

At present, the average local call tariff is about Re 1 per minute while for STD it is about Rs 2.40 per minute. The communications ministry has apprised prime minister Manmohan Singh of the draft proposal on cellular tariffs, and he has extended “complete support” for the plan, a top government official told ET.

An official, who oversaw the preparation of this plan and also apprised the PM of this development, outlined the proposal: “The plan involves the Department of Telecom (DoT) first implementing a series of policy decisions — providing the requisite spectrum to existing operators, carrying out the auction of 3G spectrum, introduction of number portability, giving licences to new players to enhance competition, promoting large-scale infrastructure sharing — all within the next couple of months.”

He said, the idea is to help lower telecom firms’ operating costs and also kick off price wars. The official in the communication minstry, however, declined to comment on record. In fact, the communications ministry will go all out to ensure that telcos comply.

“Through favourable policy decisions, the government will first encourage telcos to bring down the rates voluntarily in a phased manner over the next two years. However, the government is also open to asking sector regulator Trai to fix tariffs, as is being done in the power sector with regard to rural electricity rates,” the source said. “The plan is to reach the 10-paise and 25-paise tariff slabs for local and STD calls, respectively, by 2010 and this would be done in a phased manner over the next 24 months.”

The DoT has also made it clear that, if need be, the government is willing to seek the regulator’s help to achieve its goals. In fact, telecom minister A Raja is believed to have been warm to the idea of a tariff fixation in case the competition formula does not work. Mr Raja wants tariffs to be capped and had even recently told Parliament: “We have decided to refer the matter back to Trai to see whether tariffs need to be fixed.”
United Tele sends SOS to its Indian promoters

8 Feb, 2008

KATHMANDU: Indian joint venture United Telecom Ltd (UTL), the first private operator in Nepal’s telecom sector, has sent an SOS to its Indian promoters after its appeal to the Nepal government and police failed to avert the indefinite strike called by a trade union.

Major Indian public sector undertakings Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, Videsh Sanchar Nigam and Telecommunications Consultants India, who are the main promoters of UTL along with a Nepali partner, Nepal Venture, have been asked to take up the case with India’s communications ministry and draw the government of India’s attention to the plight of a major Indian venture in Nepal.

After three weeks of protests, staffers, contract workers hired by a third-party contracting firm for UTL, stopped work on Tuesday, demanding permanent employment. Things worsened on Wednesday when the protesters padlocked eight UTL centres in Kathmandu valley, preventing staff from entering or leaving the offices, and began a sit-in.

Police, alerted by UTL authorities, intervened in only one centre, forcing the padlock open. However, they remained idle spectators at the other centres, apparently for fear of triggering a clash with the protesters. About 180 unskilled workers who were hired by a third-party contractor, Nepali company J&T Associates, have called the strike, demanding permanent employment by UTL.

Calling themselves the UTL Workers’ Union, the strikers are affiliated to the trade union loyal to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s ruling Nepali Congress party. They are demanding permanent employment for workers who have worked for over 240 days, insurance, medical facilities and education for their children.

UTL says it is an unjust demand since the men were not hired by it but by the contracting firm that was used to outsource unskilled labour, following the custom worldwide. The strike comes at a time the beleaguered Indian venture began a new scheme for prepaid telephone lines that would have boosted business.

UTL, that currently runs over 115,000 phone lines in Kathmandu valley and five major towns, faces the new trouble after being targeted by King Gyanendra’s government in 2005, when it was shut down six times.

The UTL strike should create serious concern for the Indian government and Indian investors, being the latest in a series of attacks against Indian ventures in Nepal. Last month, Maoists shut down Sipradi Trading, the sole dealer for Tata vehicles in Nepal as well as Bharat Petroleum Corp’s Mak lubricant for cars, Exide Battery, and Indian Lucas Electricals that supplies electrical equipment for vehicles.

Two more Indian ventures are currently under siege in Nepal. The tobacco factory of Surya Nepal, ITC’s joint venture, and Nepal Lever, Hindustan Lever’s subsidiary, have also been closed down for over a week by strikers making similar demands.
<b>Mtnl Launches Mobile TV</b>
Source : Punjab Mail Online
February 15, 2008

New Delhi : Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) today launched its mobile TV service on experimental basis.

The service, offering seven channels, will be available free of cost to the subscribers having MTNL's unlimited plan and GPRS enabled handsets, till its commercial launch in the first week of April.

''We are giving this service free, on an experimental basis, to our 500 customers who are having unlimited plan of Rs 349 per month till we launch it commercially,'' MTNL Executive Director A K Arora.

A customer, having GPRS-enabled handset supported by Symbian operating system with a minimum phone memory of two MB and real player application, will be able to use the service.

The subscriber base of MTNL stands at 15.5 lakh in landline, 13.5 lakh in GSM, 1.5 lakh in CDMA, 2.5 lakh broadband and 16000 lease lines. About 25,000 subscribers use GPRS services of the company.
<b>India adds 83 mn mobile users in a year</b>

India's telecom story is shining. The country has become the fastest growing telecom market in the world, adding a staggering 83 million mobile subscribers over the last 12 months.

<b>At this pace, India is all set to overtake US to become the world's second largest mobile market by May this year or just another three months.

Around February last year, India overtook Russia to become the third largest mobile market.</b>

India's total mobile subscriber base now stands at 237 million in comparison with China's 534 million, US's 257 million and Russia's 172 million. At current growth rates, India will cross the 264 million mark by May, overtaking the US.

According to the latest data available from Informer Telecoms and Media, 83 million is the highest number of subscribers added to any mobile network in the world between February 2007 and January 2008.

China, which used to be the fastest growing till 2006, added just 76 million subscribers in the same period, showing signs of a mild but definite slowdown.

And this has been going on for while. India has not only taken the lead over China in terms of mobile growth for quite some time, the country has also been able to sustain the lead. This shows the stupendous growth an potential of the mobile industry.

The good news is that even with 263 million, India's mobile teledensity will still be a mere 24%, allowing tremendous room for growth. Since only 350 million of India's population lives in urban India, the next phase of growth is expected to come from the spread of wireless services to the rural heartland.

The US added a total of 20 million subscribers, pale even in comparison with Pakistan, which added 26 million subscribers, taking its total subscriber base to 79 million.

India added an average of 6.9 million subscribers per month in the period under review, China 6.3 million, US 1.6 million, Pakistan 2.1 million and Bangladesh 1.1 million.

The telecom sector's achievements come despite a policy turmoil centred around availability and pricing of spectrum, a resource needed for connectivity.

India is expected to have 450 million mobile subscribers by the turn of the decade, which means every third Indian will have his/her own mobile phone by 2010.

<b>The country has been blazing the telecom trail since 2004, set to add more phones every month than it did in the first 45 years since Independence.</b>
[The tele density is already on the increase in the rural areas. Earlier, it was only the BSNL which ventured into the rural area, now even the private sector operators have joined hand in providing tele connectivity in the rural areas. The huge demand and the scale of operation has brought down the price of hand sets and services. So it is rightly said that the next phase of this revolution will be in rural India
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Cell numbers may go from 10 digits to 11</b>

Your mobile phone number may not change immediately, but the countdown has begun. Eventually, mobile subscribers in India will have to deal with 11-digit numbers, a change from the current 10-digit numbers.

The issue is currently being debated between the government and the regulator. But, industry sources say that India can add another 250 million mobile subscribers without having to move to the 11-digit format. That should see us through till 2010. But if the rate of subscriber additions grows, all bets are off.

The mobile phone user base in the country as at the end of December, 2007 was 237 million. The average monthly growth in the wireless subscriber base is around eight million. With the growth trend continuing, there would be around 450 million mobile subscribers by the year 2010.

Also, with many new telecom operators getting letters of intent (LoIs) to begin operations, competition is only intensifying.

To deliberate on how the new numbering plan must evolve, the Telecom Engineering Centre (which is the technical wing of the department of telecommunications) has called meetings with operators on Tuesday and Wednesday.

While state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) will make their presentations to the TEC on Tuesday, the representative associations of private mobile operators (COAI and AUSPI) will give their inputs on the numbering plan on Wednesday.

It is believed that both the government and the industry are looking at a numbering framework that will cause minimum disturbance to existing mobile phone users. The most likely scenario at the time of transition from 10-digits to 11 will involve pre-fixing a number before the last five digits or suffixing a number at the end of the current number.

So how soon will the numbering format change? An industry representative said that it would depend on two factors. First, on how the existing mobile network codes (the first two digits in any mobile number) are utilised, and, second, on the creation of new codes. While 98, 99, 93, 94, 92 and 97 are the codes in use by mobile phone operators, the 91 code is vacant. The 96 code, which was meant for pagers, can be utilised for mobile phone services now.

In India, the first numbering plan was announced in 1993, when mobile telephony was yet to begin. In 2003, a fresh plan came about, but at that point no one knew that India would witness a growth rate of eight million mobile subscribers every month. As per international norms, every mobile phone number in the country should have a uniform number of digits. That is, if it is to be an 11-digit format, all mobile numbers (irrespective of whether the operator is new or old, big or small) will follow the same model.

India is not the only country where mobile numbers have had to be changed because of the growth story and new operators joining in. China and the UK are among others to have done it. The US is believed to have handled things much better because it follows an integrated numbering plan—for fixed and mobile phones.

While India’s total mobile subscriber base is at 237 million, China leads with 534 million followed by the US with 257 million. Russia is at 172 million.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Brigade group SEZ to come up in M'lore</b>
Mar 23, 2008

DH News Service, New Delhi: A Rs 350-crore Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of the Brigade Group focusing on information technology will come up on a 25-acre plot in Mangalore.

The SEZ, for which the Centre gave the approval on Thursday, will be the first to be launched by the Bangalore-based real estate developer which is also looking at starting similar ventures in Mysore, Chennai, Hyderabad Kochi etc.

The Mangalore SEZ, for which land has been alloted at Ganjimutt area, will also be available for commercial ventures such as serviced apartments, hotels etc as per the SEZ rules.

Speaking to Deccan Herald following the approval by the inter-ministerial meeting of the board of approval, Brigade Enterprises CFO Anil Kumar said work on the project would start in a couple of months and will be completed in two years.

“We are looking at all the potential IT companies which are interested in investing in Mangalore. We are planning to build serviced apartments, food courts etc to make the venture viable,” he added. The project has 2.1 million square feet of area, that can be used for development.

Kumar said Brigade Group was looking at developing a 25-acre plot for IT SEZ at Mysore. “So far our focus had been on Bangalore and Mysore. Now we are open for investments outside Karnataka too, in other south Indian cities,” he said.

Taking advantage of the real estate boom, the Group has launched, in the last couple of years, residential and commercial projects worth over Rs 4000 crore in Bangalore and Mysore.

The Group, with over 65 properties in residential, commercial and hospitality sectors, is developing two integrated lifestyle enclaves, 12 residential and two hospitality properties in Karnataka.

The upcoming projects include four integrated lifestyle enclaves, 14 residential properties, nine commercial properties and five hospitality properties, aggregating to about 22.37 million sq ft of saleable area. It is also developing The Sheraton Bangalore Hotel, the Banyan Tree Resort and the Angsana Resort at Chikmagalur.
SEZ: Raigad farmers continue protest

Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: Farmers affected by the Reliance group’s Mumbai Special Economic Zone (MSEZ) blocked the Mumbai-Goa highway at Vashi Naka near Pen in Raigad district for over two hours on Tuesday alleging that the government went back on its assurances.

The protesters led by senior Peasants and Workers Party leader N.D. Patil were later arrested.

According to Vaishali Patil of the SEZ Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti, over 100 protesters were arrested by the police and released later. While those arrested were being brought to the police station, farmers protested and there was a lathicharge by the police in which one farmer was injured.

Ms. Patil said that last year the government assured farmers that 22 villages in Pen taluka would be excluded from the MSEZ.

These villages are in the command area of the Hetawane dam and the Irrigation Department had agreed that these same villages could not be acquired for the MSEZ. It had also issued a letter to the District Collector in this regard.

Ms. Patil said the government had not yet notified the exclusion of these villages. In protest, N.D. Patil will go on a hunger strike on July 24.
Land acquisition

The land acquisition process for the MSEZ was still continuing despite total opposition from the people, she said. Reliance had acquired barely 20 per cent of the land for the project, she said.
Bhagwati is absolutely right. the only thing that we need to learn from China is what not to do. In all the discussions about food prices nobody bothers to point out that prime agricultural land continues to be taken away in the name of real estate development . though we have had a bumper crop this year it is not due to systemic growth but more of a windfall gain due to conducive conditions.

however, unless larger structural changes are effected , yields will continue as they are and the per capita availability of food will continue to fall. Food prices will rise and a million mutinies will break out.
<!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo--> It's grassroots democracy at work.[SIZE=14][COLOR=green] In a first for any state, Raigad collector Nipun Vinayak has convened a special meeting of 22 villages on September 21 to determine if they want to part with their land for the Reliance Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project. All the villagers are from the command area around the Hetawane dam.

Reliance has proposed to set up its multi-product MahaMumbai SEZ on an estimated 10,000 hectares of land. The SEZ is expected to attract an investment of nearly Rs 40,000 crore and generate 20 lakh jobs.

India need an least one SEZ, equiped whit suficient electric power,whit a secure place to live.

The goals of SEZ will be

- to overcome cheap imports from other asian countries by exporting an least the same quantity of cheap goods to them.China export cheap goods to India and by that removing local producers.The favor should be returned.

-to overcome brain drainage;why smart people need to leave the country(and go to help USA economy) when they could find a pleasant ,secure and rich zone at home.
technology does create more jobs
[quote name='LSrini' date='27 December 2007 - 07:28 AM' timestamp='1198720206' post='76455']

What is happening in Goa? I think there is more to it than just SEZs. I saw somewhere that it is the churches that are selling the land for SEZ.


The SEZ controversy in Goa doesn't seem to end. With real estate developer Raheja Group challenging the Goa government's verdict to scrap the approved SEZ before the Bombay High Court, the entire episode has taken a new twist.

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