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TCIL eyes to double revenue to Rs 3,500 crore by 2025

State-run Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) is aiming at 100% revenue growth to reach Rs 3,500 crore by 2025 and intends to become a master system integrator with a current order book of Rs 6,800 crore.

“Our current order book value is nearly Rs 6,800 crores, and have annual revenue of about Rs 1,750 crore. We are expecting to double the revenue by 2025, to reach Rs 3,500 crore,” TCIL chairman Sanjeev Kumar told ET.

The Delhi-based company that was selected as one of the six public sector firms handpicked by the Centre to launch an Initial Public Offer (IPO), said that the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has been working on the modalities of stock listing.

“TCIL shall go with a focused approach on these (futuristic) technologies, and tie up with different technology providers, startups and act as master system integrator to offer user-friendly innovative solutions leveraging IT and telecom technologies,” the top official said.

We support the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) initiative, Kumar said, adding that TCIL would give preference to local technology not only within India but also for the multinational programs.

The firm runs the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)-backed ICT programs in as many as 54 African countries.

“We are keen to support local products but some state-run companies are struggling to deploy commercially-proven networks today although we have indiginous products such as Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON),” he said.

The Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund, according to him, should provide sufficient funds to the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) for research and development (R&D) activities.

USOF, an arm of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), is a Rs 55,000 crore strong corpus aimed to facilitate rural telephony, and has been funding programs such as the Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-I and LWE-II across Red Corridor areas spread across 10 states.

The state-run company together with Finnish Nokia has recently participated in Bangladesh’s fourth generation (4G) program under the Government-to-Government (G2G) initiative, and is also eyeing exclusive Indian Railways 4G-driven signalling network.

Trade unions give call for 2-day strike during Budget session of Parliament

A joint platform of central trade unions on Wednesday gave a call for a two-day strike during the Budget session of Parliament next year to protest against pestment of government stake in state-run firms and price rise, among other issues. The decision was taken at a meeting of the forum on 1st November 2021 in Delhi to consider the situation arising out of the government’s push to privatise and hand over all the national assets to the corporate sector, NMP (National Monetisation Pipeline) being the latest design, a joint statement said.

With a view to making people aware of the dangerous effects of this policy, it was decided to systematically reach out to people, starting with a national convention of trade unions in Delhi on 11th November, followed by state level conventions, jathas, demonstrations, mini parliaments, extensive signature campaigns etc all over the country to be followed by a 2-day countrywide general strike during the Budget Session in 2022.

The meeting decided to observe 26th November, the anniversary of the National General Strike of trade unions and the Kisan March towards Delhi as a nation-wide protest day, it added.

This forum also held a meeting with the leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), in which both sides apprised the other of the struggles being planned ahead and were unanimous that worker-kisan unity is the need of the hour and to work to strengthen it through united struggles.

The trade unions in the forum are INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC.

Finance takes centre stage at UN climate talks

Attention turned Wednesday to how the world will pay for its plan to decarbonise and help vulnerable nations survive climate change, after a world leaders’ summit at COP26 that yielded a landmark methane slashing deal.

But a simmering diplomatic spat between the United States, China and Russia over the other’s climate ambition showed the fragile nature of talks aimed at averting disastrous global warming.

Negotiators are in Glasgow to try to keep the Paris Agreement temperature goal of 1.5C within reach.

In the six years since the deal, planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise and extreme weather linked to the heating climate have intensified.

Finance is a crucial part of the picture, with vulnerable nations demanding that rich emitters make good on a decade-old promise to provide $100 billion annually to help.

British Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that COP26 would finally deliver the funds.

“We know that you’ve been devastated by the double tragedies of Covid and climate change,” he told national representatives at the conference.

“That’s why we’re going to meet the target of providing $100 billion of climate finance to developing nations.”

Sunak, COP26 President Alok Sharma and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday all stressed the role that private investors will play in the climate funding plans.

The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), made up of more than 450 banks and asset managers, says it represents assets totalling $130 trillion.

“A pool of that capital is being carved out for the transition in emerging economies,” said Mark Carney, the former Bank of England governor behind the scheme.

“Right here, right now is where we draw the line,” he said at a roundtable event.

“It is where private finance draws the line.”

Fossil fuel rules
Yet campaigners raised concerns over how private finance is accounted in the international, UN-led climate process, pointing out that investors are still free to fund fossil fuel projects.

“More than $130 trillion and not a single rule to prevent even one dollar from being invested in the expansion of the fossil fuel sector,” said Lucie Pinson, executive director of the Reclaim Finance initiative.

“It’s worth asking if the GFANZ and its members are actually ready to lead the charge against climate change, given that they are actually slowing down the green energy revolution by keeping afloat the polluting fossil fuel industry.”

Finance is fundamental for developing countries, who say they cannot afford the green transition taking place in richer nations.

Countries that have already suffered economic losses from supercharged storms or crop failures due to climate change are also desperate for separate “loss and damage” cash to help them recover.

Delegations will spend the next 12 days thrashing out details of the Paris Agreement rulebook, including rules governing carbon markets and a unified “stock take” on emissions cutting plans.

Although organisers say they want COP26 to keep the 1.5C heating limit within reach, the UN says the most up-to-date climate pledges put Earth on course to warm 2.7C.

A string of protests are planned during COP26 to push leaders to deliver.

‘Actions not words’
On Tuesday leaders committed to lower their emissions of methane — a potent greenhouse gas — by at least 30 percent this decade.

Experts said the pledge could have a significant impact on short-term global heating.

But a two-day world leaders summit ended with barbed comments from the two largest emitters, the United States and China.

US President Joe Biden criticised counterpart Xi Jinping for skipping the Glasgow summit, after China declined to sign the methane pledge.

“It just is a gigantic issue and they walked away. How do you do that and claim to be able to have any leadership?” Biden told journalists before flying out of Glasgow.

He said the same was true of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is also missing the talks.

China hit back on Wednesday, with a foreign ministry spokesman saying: “Actions speak louder than words”.

“China’s actions in response to climate change are real,” he said.

A Kremlin spokesperson said “we disagree” with Biden’s assessment.

“We are certainly not minimising the importance of the event in Glasgow, but Russia’s actions are consistent and thoughtful and serious,” he said.

DoT allows 100% FDI under automatic route, but with boundary riders

The telecom department on Wednesday amended the unified license agreement to allow 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) under the automatic route. This was part of the telecom relief package and comes at a time when

Vodafone Idea

(Vi) is looking to raise funds from global investors.

“FDI up to 100% under automatic route subject to observance of licensing and security conditions by the licensee as well as investors as notified by the DoT from time to time,” said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in its notification issued on Wednesday.

But the 100% FDI route comes in with certain disclaimers. One of them states that -“…entity of a country which has land border with India or where the beneficial owner of an investment into India is situated in or is a citizen of any such country can invest only under the government route”.

The DoT said that both direct and indirect foreign investment in the licensee company shall be counted for the purpose of calculating total FDI. The licensee company or Indian promoters or investment companies including their holding firms will have to comply with relevant provisions of FDI policy of the government.

“…while approving the investment proposals, the government may take into account security concerns,” DoT said.

The amendment comes almost a month after DoT said that 100% FDI in Category 1 telecom services and telecom infrastructure providers would fall under the automatic route of approval.

Earlier, FDI up to 100% with 49% under the automatic route was allowed. Beyond 49% through, foreign investments would need government clearance.

These changes come on the back of a slew of reforms in the telecom sector including deferring adjusted gross revenue (AGR) and spectrum payment arrears to the government by four years with the option of the government converting some of the dues into equity.

Since then, Vi and Bharti Airtel have accepted both spectrum and AGR moratorium.

Stocks in the news: SBI, Bharti Airtel, HDFC Life, Eicher Motors, PNB Housing and JSPL

Nifty futures on the Singapore Exchange traded 57 points, or 0.32 per cent, higher at 17,978, signaling that Dalal Street was headed for a positive start on Wednesday. Here are a few stocks which may buzz the most in today’s trade:

SBI, Eicher Motors: Bata India, SBI, Eicher Motors, ABFRL, Pfizer, Gujarat State Petronet, Uflex, Grindwell Norton and Gujarat Alkalies & Chemicals are among companies which will announce their September quarter results today.

Bharti Airtel: India’s second-largest telecom firm Bharti Airtel on Tuesday reported a net profit of Rs 1,134 crore for the September 2021 quarter, and said it is witnessing strong business momentum with growth in 4G customers and increase in mobile ARPU.

HDFC Life Insurance: Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the acquisition of Exide Life Insurance by HDFC Life Insurance. The proposed combination involves the acquisition of fully paid-up equity shares, representing 100 per cent of Exide Life Insurance by HDFC Life Insurance from Exide Industries Ltd, as per a press release.

Sun Pharma: India’s largest drug maker said it is looking at possible acquisitions in the US, Europe and emerging markets.

Central Bank of India: The RBI has issued a revised Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework for banks.

JSPL: Domestic steel maker JSPL reported a nearly three-fold rise in consolidated net profit to Rs 2,584 crore during the September quarter, mainly on account of increased income. Its net profit was Rs 897 crore in the year-ago period, Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) said in a regulatory filing.

Sterlite Technologies: The company said it has pested its minority stake in Metis Eduventures for about Rs 45 crore.

Gillette India: The grooming products maker reported a 14.02 per cent decline in its net profit to Rs 81.93 crore for the first quarter ended September 30. The company, which follows July-June financial year, had reported a profit of Rs 95.29 crore in the corresponding quarter previous fiscal.

Trent: Tata group retail firm reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 79.99 crore for the second quarter ended September 2021. The company had posted a net loss of Rs 78.56 crore in the July-September quarter a year ago, Trent said in a BSE filing.

PNB Housing Finance: The company board approved a Rs 2,000 crore fundraising plan in bonds following its scrapping of Rs 4000 crore equity infusion from American buyout firm Carlyle.

Vodafone Idea: In line with ongoing 5G trials in India, Vodafone Idea and Ericsson have teamed up to showcase the power of 5G to transform the healthcare sector in India.

TCI: Transport Corporation of India said its subsidiary TCI Cold Chain Solutions has entered into a joint venture with Mitsui to meet the country’s growing demand for temperature-controlled logistics solutions.

PM Modi launches ‘Infrastructure for Resilient Island States’ for most vulnerable countries

India on Tuesday launched an ambitious initiative for developing the infrastructure of small island nations, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying it will give a new hope, a new confidence and satisfaction of doing something for the most vulnerable countries facing the biggest threat from climate change. Prime Minister Modi was joined by his British counterpart Boris Johnson on the second day of the COP26 climate summit here. The launch event was also attended by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“The launch of ‘Infrastructure for Resilient Island States‘ gives a new hope, a new confidence,” Modi said, adding that the initiative gives the satisfaction of doing something for the most vulnerable countries.

“The last few decades have proved that no one is untouched by the wrath of climate change. Whether they are developed countries or countries rich in natural resources, this is a big threat to everyone,” Modi said.

Stating that the Small Island Developing States or SIDS face the biggest threat from climate change, Modi said it is a matter of life and death for them, it is a challenge to their existence.

“The disasters caused by climate change can literally take the form of catastrophe for them. In such countries, climate change is a major challenge not only for the security of their lives, but also for their economies,” he said, adding that such countries are dependent on tourism, but due to natural calamities, tourists are also afraid to visit there.

Modi said that the SIDS countries have lived in harmony with nature for centuries and they know how to adapt to the natural cycles of nature.

“But due to the selfish behavior of the past several decades, the unnatural form of nature has come to the fore, the result of which innocent Small Island States are facing today,” he said.

Modi congratulated the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) for the initiative, saying for him the CDRI or

IRIS

is not just about infrastructure thing but it is part of a very sensitive responsibility of human welfare.

“It is the collective responsibility of all of us towards mankind. It is, in a way, a shared atonement for our sins,” he said.

The Prime Minister said India has made special arrangements for cooperation with the Pacific islands and Caricom countries in the wake of the threat of climate change.

He said India’s space agency ISRO will build a special data window for them to provide them timely information about cyclones, coral-reef monitoring, coast-line monitoring etc. through satellite.

Describing the launch of IRIS as “very important”, Modi said through this initiative, it will be easy for SIDS to mobilise technology, finance necessary information faster. “Promotion of quality infrastructure in Small Island States will benefit both lives and livelihoods there,” he added.

“I assure you that India will fully support this new project, and will work closely with CDRI, other partner countries and the United Nations for its success,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, British Prime Minister Johnson said he was “very grateful to my friend, Narendra Modi – the Prime Minister of India, for his leadership on the Coalition for Disaster Resilient infrastructure. He has been out in front on this for a long time.”

“This is an existential threat as we sit here in Glasgow today. Last year, 600 billion of ice melted away in Greenland. It’s incredibly cruel that these incredibly small island states are right in the frontline of the loss and damage that is caused by global warming,” he said.

“They have done virtually nothing to cause the problem, they didn’t produce the huge volumes of CO2 to be pumped into the atmosphere,” Johnson said as he urged countries to join this campaign and help.

“We have got to stop this remorseless increase in CO2 because there are people around this room, there are vulnerable populations who have done nothing to deserve it will be in the frontline, suffering catastrophic loss and damage,” he said.

Johnson said that the UK is contributing financially to the initiative IRIS. “We are stomping up as well.”

The Australian Prime Minister thanked India and the UK for their leadership of the CDRI. “I acknowledge the Quad support, including the US and Japan support for India’s CDRI,” Morrison said.

The IRIS initiative is a part of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient infrastructure that would focus on building capacity, having pilot projects, especially in small island developing states.

“That would also involve in some senses, setting up norms and standards for resilient infrastructure… with infrastructure loss from cyclones etc, especially small island states and coastal areas are vulnerable to these ravages of climate change, and this [IRIS] is an effort to try and equip countries that are particularly vulnerable to these effects of climate change,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters on Monday.

The new initiative is the result of cooperation between India, the UK and Australia and included the participation of leaders of small island nations Fiji, Jamaica and Mauritius.

India’s Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) welcomed the launch of IRIS as a recognition of the severity of climate risks which can unravel decades of development, especially for the most vulnerable countries and communities.

“It will need a combination of on-ground assessments of climate risk, financial innovation to help build resilient infrastructure, and the local capacity to manage such facilities,” said Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO of CEEW.

SpiceJet engineering employees end strike, return to work

SpiceJet

engineering staff across the country ended their protests and joined work after the airline management assured them that their issues will be looked into by next week, sources told ET.

Engineering staff of SpiceJet staged protests across the country demanding restoration of salaries and other benefits on Monday but operations were not impacted due to protests, as the airline managed operations through available technical staff.

The protests, which started in Delhi, had spread to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Cochin, Hyderabad, Patna and Pune during the day.

“We were assured that our demands will be addressed by November 8, 2021, and all of us have returned back to work,” an employee said.

Employees were demanding restoration of salaries and leave and payment of deferred salaries and appraisals.

The employees also said that they are still being paid only 60% of their earlier salary. “We are paid for work on an hourly basis and our leaves also need to be restored. Plus, we are not getting our usual weekly offs too,” another employee added.

While employees in Delhi said that their salaries were paid last Saturday, some employees from Ahmedabad said that their salaries have not been paid and were demanding immediate payment of salaries.

An airline spokesperson said that the issue has been resolved. “The issue has been resolved. SpiceJet’s flight operations remained normal throughout,” said a SpiceJet spokesperson.

Recently, security staff at Delhi airport had also protested due to salary issues, which was later sorted by the management and their demands were met. “It was an issue of oversight then, which was addressed immediately,” an executive said.

The aviation sector has been one of the worst hit due to COVID and the rebound of the industry has started to happen on the back of a rise in the number of flying passengers. Passenger numbers rose to highest levels post-COVID in October on the back of higher vaccination figures as well as people flying due to festivals. Airline finances are still under stress due to accumulated losses.

FINER points to the unfilled vacancy of judicial member in NCLT Guwahati

Local industry body, Federation of Industry and Commerce of North East Region (FINER) has pointed to the unfilled vacancy of Judicial Member in National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) Guwahati for last several months.

The body made representation to Assam chief minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, tribunal carters to Northeastern states.

FINER said,” We in FINER believe that Government of India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy code,2016, (IBC) has been one of the biggest structural reforms which has caused profound changes in the mindset of corporate India. At the time of its enactment, India was in the midst of a crisis caused by an unusual spate of Non-Performing assets (NPA) crippling the banking system. It’s implementation has ensured that for the first time in Indian business history, promoters are facing a stark choice between repaying debts or losing control over their businesses. The code has not only improved the ease of doing index of the country by multiple notches, it has restored balance between the relationship of debtors and the creditor, causing irreversible behavioral changes. The perception that the high and mighty command preferred treatment, and manage to keep profits private and losses public, are things of past”.

FINER added, “The success of one of the biggest and boldest reform of Government led by Prime minister Narendra Modi however hinges on the institution of NCLT, which is one of key pillars on which the code rests. This Pillar, in the North East, is floundering, and is in immediate need of your urgent attention, else one of the best intended reforms would fail. With this deep concern FINER would like to bring your urgent notice to the vacancy in the post of Judicial Member in National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Guwahati, Assam, which has remained vacant for almost 18 months now. As you know NCLT Guwahati is the only NCLT serving over eight states of the country.”

The body added, “ The seat of the Judicial Member of NCLT Guwahati has been lying vacant since April 2020. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the requirement of social distancing the proceedings have been held virtually which has brought its own set of challenges. In order to ensure a functioning Tribunal, the Judicial Member of NCLT Mumbai has been virtually joining the proceedings of the Tribunal for about a year, which is an exercise in having quorum. The hearings of cases have been impaired with connectivity issues and non-attendance of the Judicial Member on a regular basis. It is highlighted here that there is no way to ensure that the Judicial Member has been actively presiding over the proceedings. The competent Authority appoints a competent Full time, Judicial Member for NCLT Guwahati on an immediate basis, so that the justice dispensation system is not diluted. Delay is detrimental to the interests of countless litigants from Assam and North East who approach the Tribunal every day. The IBC code is being defeated in the North East in absence of this”.

RBI gearing up to fintech challenge, asks banks to be vigilant too

RBI will soon launch a web- based supervisory system that will enable off-site and on-site supervision of modern functions like digital banking, cyber security, said RBI deputy governor MK Jain.

At the same time Banks need to be careful in complying with rules and invest in technologies to meet the supervisory challenges as they experiment with new services in the post COVID world though ultimately its governance standards, business model, risk culture, and assurance functions will decide how well it fares in the long run, he said.

“For continuous engagement with supervised entities, a web-based and an end-to-end workflow automation system has been developed ( by RBI) ” said Jain in a keynote address at a summit. It has various functionalities including inspection, compliance and incident reporting for cyber security, etc. with a built-in remediation workflow, time tracking, notifications and alerts, Management Information System reports and dashboards. “This is being launched shortly”.

With the proliferation of digital banking, cyber security has become an extremely important area of supervisory concern. To address this concern, the Reserve Bank has developed a model-based framework for assessing cyber risk in banks using various risk indicators, risk incidents. ” Cyber drills are conducted based on hypothetical scenarios”.

While a lot is being done in the cyber security space, these risks are continuously evolving in the dynamic environment we operate in, and hence there should be constant vigil and continuous enhancements of IT systems, warned Jain.

Globally, fintechs are challenging banks with more convenient offerings, better reach and lower cost to customers. Besides, developments in areas artificial intelligence, robotics and chat advisory, digitalisation, Distributed Ledger Technology, quant computing, cloud arrangements, data analytics, new ways of remote, though have their benefits but are also generating new risks, Jain warned. Also, climate change, KYC / AML, cyber security, virtual currencies as well as increasing reliance on outsourcing are some of the other major challenges that will need to be addressed, he said.

Banks need to be agile and creative to stay ahead of the digital curve, but banks will have to align their products in compliance with existing laws and regulations. ” Financial institutions would need to experiment with new technologies and tailor their products and services in alignment with business strategy and in compliance with existing laws and regulations” Jain said. “Leveraging on technology will also require enhanced financial investments, building expertise and capacities, proper resource allocation and further strengthening of the operational capabilities”.

Benami probe: I-T Dept attaches four assets linked to Ajit Pawar

The Income Tax (IT) department has showcaused and provisionally attached at least four assets linked to Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in its ongoing probe under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act (PBPTA), 1988, sources privy to the development told ET.

Under the PBPTA, a showcause notice is served to the company or inpidual who is holding the assets to explain the source of funds and other IT related documents The time-bound probe will establish who is the actually beneficial owner, the benamidars (who is holding the assets) and the benami assets. During the course of the probe, the department also summons the suspected beneficial owner to join the probe before passing the final prohibition order. The order passed by the initiating office can be challenged before the Appellate Tribunal under SAFEMA Act which is the adjudicating authority for cases under PBPTA.

The four assets include Jarandeshwar sugar factory, a residential property in Delhi, an office in south-Mumbai and a resort in Goa, sources said.

“In this case if Pawar is found to be the beneficial owner, then he could be asked to join the probe,” sources told ET.

Sources added that the probe under PBPTA is a follow up action arising out of the raids and search operations carried out by the investigation wing of the IT department in October. According to the department, search operations were carried out at 70 locations including those in Mumbai, Pune, Baramati, Goa and Jaipur. The department had found evidence that prima-facie revealed unaccounted and benami transactions to the tune of Rs 184 crores.

“The preliminary analysis of the flow of funds indicated that there has been an introduction of unaccounted funds in the group by way of various dubious methods like introduction of bogus shares premium, suspicious unsecured loans, receipt of unsubstantiated advance for certain services, colusive arbitration deals out of non-existent disputes. It has been observed that such suspicious flow of funds has taken place with the involvement of an influential family in Maharashtra,” the department had said earlier in a statement without naming the politician. Sources however confirmed that the search operations were linked to Pawar. Also amongst the locations covered included residential premises belonging to Pawar sisters.

The department had found that the funds allegedly raised through dubious means were utilised for acquisition of assets such as office building in a prime locality in Mumbai, flat in Delhi, a resort in Goa, agriculture land parcels and investments in sugar mills in Maharashtra.