RBI tells banks to charge for SMS alerts on actual usage basis
Mumbai: The Reserve Bank directed banks to charge customers for transaction SMS alerts on the basis of usage, instead of imposing a fixed fee. “Considering the technology available with banks and the telecom service providers, it should be possible for banks to charge customers based on actual usage of SMS alerts,” RBI said in a notification to all banks. “With a view to ensuring reasonableness and equity in the charges levied by banks for sending SMS alerts to customers, banks are advised to leverage the technology available with them and the telecom service providers to ensure that such charges are levied on all customers on actual usage basis,” it added. Earlier in the year, State Bank of India had imposed an annual charge of Rs 60 for SMS alerts, a step followed by lenders such as Canara Bank.

Matrix case: Notices to Voda, Idea, Airtel
New Delhi: The Department of Telecom is working on issuing fresh show-cause notices to Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Airtel for allegedly violating licence conditions while renting SIM cards to Matrix Cellular in Delhi. “In line with TDSAT decision dated 17-07-2012, it is proposed at this stage to first give SCNs to these licensees, let them show cause and subsequently the committee formed for the purpose can analyse the reply, decide the culpability and recommend the penalty,” an official source told PTI. None of the companies involved offered any comment. In 2007, DoT said the three companies rented SIMs to Matrix Cellular in bulk, violating subscriber verification norms and causing loss to the exchequer by not showing the revenue gains from the deal in Adjusted Gross Revenue, based on which it levies various fees on telecom operators.

Interest-free loans to sugar mills mooted
New Delhi: The Food Ministry will soon seek Cabinet nod for providing interest-free loans to cash-starved sugar mills to help them meet working capital requirements. “Our Department is considering a proposal of interest- free loan scheme for the sugar industry. We are preparing a Cabinet note,” Food Secretary Sudhir Kumar told PTI. The move follows discussions on issues facing the sugar industry at a meeting of informal group of ministers, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar last week. Banks are wary of giving loans to sugar mills due to their poor financial condition, Kumar said. “If banks come forward, we will pay the interest accrued on loans from the sugar development fund. There is about Rs 1,200 crore with the SDF.

Tata Power plans to raise Rs 40-50 bln
MUMBAI: Tata Power Co Ltd is exploring options, including debt and equity, to raise up to 50 bln rupees by the next financial year to service debt that will mature in the next 18 months, sources told Cogencis. Tata Power has large ‘bullet’ debt maturities totalling about $670 mln due in April, July, November and April 2015, with consolidated debt of 361 bln rupees as on Sep 30. According to Standard and Poor’s, Tata Power’s cash flows are likely to remain weak with a ratio of funds from operations to adjusted debt at less than 10% over the next 12 months. -Cogencis

Coal India identifies 126 new projects
NEW DELHI: State-owned Coal India Ltd has identified 126 new projects, with an estimated capacity of 438.04 mln tn, to be taken up during the 12th Five-Year Plan, an official release said here. Out of these, 60 projects are likely to contribute about 88 mln tn during the terminal year of the 12th Plan (April 2012-March 2017), it said. Mine developer and operator mode for enhancing coal production has been initiated at seven projects of Coal India Ltd, the release also said. In the Budget for 2013-14 (Apr-Mar), Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had announced the public private partnership policy, with Coal India as one of the partners in order to enhance coal production. -Cogencis

Tax row: Vodafone in talks with govt
New Delhi: Facing a tax liability of over Rs 11,200 crore, British telecom major Vodafone said it is in talks with the Indian government to establish a framework to resolve the long-pending dispute. “Vodafone continues to be in talks with the Indian government to see if we can establish a framework which would allow discussions to begin regarding a possible solution,” the company said in a statement to PTI when asked if it has agreed to the conciliation talks with the Indian government. According to government sources, Vodafone has selected its senior official Mathew Kirk for the pre-conciliation talks, while the government would be represented by law Secretary P K Malhotra. The UK-based telecom major’s Chief Executive Vittorio Colao is scheduled to visit India in the first week of December and may meet Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

Sahara to give fresh title deeds for assets
New Delhi: Fighting a long-running battle with Sebi, Sahara Group said it will submit new title deeds for properties worth Rs 20,000 crore to the market regulator, which had termed assets offered earlier as highly over-valued. The fresh proposal follows after the Supreme Court last week restrained Sahara group from selling any properties and restrained Subrata Roy and three other top executives from leaving the country without the court’s permission. In its last hearing, the court said that its last month’s direction for submission of properties worth Rs 20,000 crore “has not been complied with in its letter and spirit”. The court will hear the matter next on December 11.

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