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BW Businessworld

Last Straw On A Camel’s Back?

Just when most incumbent telecom operators are fighting a bitter tariff war to retain their customer base, they will apparently have to cough up an extra Rs 1,000 crore or more to implement a recent Supreme Court order

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma

Just when most incumbent telecom operators are fighting a bitter tariff war to retain their customer base, they will apparently have to cough up an extra Rs 1,000 crore or more to implement a recent Supreme Court order.

Issued on 6 February, 2017, the SC order makes it mandatory for all telecom subscribers to be verified again through their respective Aadhaar card numbers within the ensuing 12-months. There are, at present more than 110 crore mobile subscribers.

According to the Cellular Operators’ Association of India, the apex body for all GSM operators, at least Rs 1,000 crore of added investments may be necessary to implement the order. Remember, Reliance Jio, which was soft-launched in September 2016, has been enlisting subscribers through Aadhaar number verification.

Already, existing players like Airtel, Vodafone and others are investing over Rs 1.4 lakh crore to upgrade their 4G network to take on the Jio challenge. The new incumbents will obviously have to brace up for another Jio side effect.
— Ashish Sinha

Late Entry
Lexus, the luxury car division of Japanese auto giant, Toyota Motor Corp, recently made its Indian debut — almost a decade after European rivals, Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Jaguar. The company says that there are two reasons why it chose to enter the Indian market now, the first being a willingness on the part of consumers to pay more for luxury. The second reason is the growing demand for hybrid vehicles, because of growing concerns about pollution. The question is, will Lexus be able to make an impact on the Indian luxury car market that has been almost stagnant for the last few years? The luxury car market, particularly got a setback after demonetisation and the temporary ban on vehicles with engine capacities of over 2000 cc last year.

The company says that it would first invest in brand building and then seek volumes. The network that the parent company, Toyota, has built in India, may prove beneficial for the new brand and the growing demand for hybrid vehicles may fuel sales. The high selling price of the imported Lexus vehicles could, on the other hand, dishearten first-time car buyers, in times when other tech-savvy market players like Tesla, are eying the Indian market. Lexus has introduced three models for Indian car lovers, the ES 300h hybrid sedan, the RX luxury hybrid sports utility vehicle (SUV) and the RX F Sports hybrid SUV, priced between Rs 55.27 lakh and Rs 1.09 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi).
— Arshad Khan

Indian Railways To Go Solar!
the Indian Railways is set to go solar! Union Railway minister, Suresh Prabhu recently announced major plans to save at least Rs 41,000 crore in electricity bills over the next ten years, by switching to solar energy. ‘Mission 41 K’ will entail installing solar panels on the rooftops of railway buildings and land-based installations. Prabhu said his ministry had already saved about Rs 4,000 crore on energy bills. The target is to save Rs 41,000 crore on energy consumption, by generating 1,000 MW of solar power over the next five years.
– Naina Sood

24x7 MPs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a tough taskmaster. He puts in 18 hours of work a day, and expects his colleagues and officials to follow suit. He has not taken a single holiday since assuming office at the Centre. He also expects his party colleagues, especially who are public representatives, to be available to the people 24 x 7.

It’s in this context that the PM was reported to have been surprised when he was told that in the last few days the Lok Sabha had to be adjourned because of lack of quorum. The PM is reported to have advised his party MPs that he could do everything possible for them, but could not be present on their behalf in the House. Taking a cue, the MPs made a point to be in the House, especially when the PM was around.

The PM has been exhorting all his MPs to take the government’s good work to the people. In UP, for instance, all MPs were given a target of electing at least three party MLAs from their parliamentary constituencies. Similarly, during the demonetisation drive, it was the MPs who were given special inputs to take the benefits of the move to the people. In yet another instance, in the run-up to the GST debate in the Lok Sabha, the party MPs were given special tutorials — not only to debate the issue in the House, but also take the landmark indirect tax reform move to the people.
—Suman K . Jha

Newton’s Law
Few politicians deliver on promises made in election manifestoes as promptly as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath did. Soon after he took office, Adityanath cracked down on illegal slaughterhouses and launched Operation Anti-Romeo, to tame eve-teasers. The State authorities wasted no time in executing the fresh orders. However, like Newton’s Third Law, the actions are having a reaction that is equal and opposite. The crackdown on slaughterhouses has lowered the supply of meat in the market and kept non-veg eateries in short supply.

Lucknow dwellers are reportedly unable to get their favourite dish — the Tunday Kebabs, as the supply of meat has fallen drastically. Not just humans, carnivores are also wanting for food. Slaughterhouses shut down in Kanpur and Etawah, have reportedly, led to the unavailability of beef, required in large quantities to feed the big cats at the Kanpur Zoo and the Etawah Lion Safari. The other big step, the Anti-Romeo Mission, has hurt young couples more than the real mischief-makers. Videos have surfaced on social media and television, showing couples being mistreated for holding hands in public or going out to watch a movie by local authorities, playing moral police.
—Arshad Khan