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Vodafone Idea Wants To Charge Rs 35 per GB From 1st April Vodafone Idea Wants To Charge Rs 35 per GB From 1st April

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Vodafone Idea Wants To Charge Rs 35 per GB From 1st April

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The telecom sector has been going through a bit of rough patch lately and we have kept you updated right since the start of all of this.

Last year, the court had upheld the government’s idea of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR), on which it calculates levies on telecom operators. The order led to a sick blow to the telecom industry, as the operators will now have to pay dues for the past 14 years, along with interest and fines.

Vodafone-Idea has been hit the worst by this and is under pressure to pay an estimated amount of Rs. 53,000 crore, of which it has managed to pay only Rs. 3,500 crore to the government yet.

Vodafone-Idea’s Demands to the Govt

Telecom companies have been left scrambling to pay dues after the Supreme Court on 14 February pulled them up for failing to comply with its October verdict. However, it is Vodafone-Idea that has been hit the worst.

Thus, in order to enable it to pay statutory dues and make it’s business sustainable, Vodafone-Idea has demanded fixing minimum tariffs for mobile data at Rs. 35 per GB, which amounts to 7-8 times of current prices, along with calls at 6 paise per minute, starting from April 1.

The company has sought 18 years’ time to clear the dues, including a three-year moratorium on payment of interest and penalty, to clear its AGR dues of more than Rs. 50,000.

To give you a reference, the current mobile internet prices are in the range of Rs. 4-5 per GB. The demand to raise call and internet rates from Vodafone Idea comes within three months of the company raising prices by up to 50%.

According to the company, an increase in mobile call and data rates will help it generate revenue to the same level as Vodafone and Idea individually generated in 2015-16. It says that it will take 3 years to get to that level after tariff hike, thus asking for a three-year moratorium for successful payment of AGR dues.

The company says that it would be in a position to meet its liabilities only if the government initiates steps including allowing set-offs for GST credit accumulated so far, and permitting staggered mechanism for payment of balance amount of interest, penalty, and interest on the penalty.

COAI Asks for a Minimum Floor Price

The Cellular Operators Association of India has urged the government to ensure that consumers pay a minimum floor price for using mobile services from April.

The government levies a license fee and spectrum usage charge based on revenue earned by telecom companies. Telecom companies and government had entered into a dispute over ascertaining revenue calculation.

However, the SC upheld the government method of calculating the revenues and ordered telecom operators to clear all dues by January 23, 2020.

The cumulative liability on telecom operators was estimated at around Rs. 1.47 lakh crore by the Department of Telecom in July 2019. For this, the COAI said that floor pricing is imperative to ensure the sector’s sustainability. The industry body represents Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio.

The industry body has sought that the GST credits lying with the government be adjusted against the dues payable by telcos. It has also sought that after this adjustment, the payment of balance amount of interest, penalty, and interest on penalty be allowed in a staggered manner.

The government may consider granting loans equal to the AGR amount at a 6% rate of interest so that the AGR liability may be discharged immediately.

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Government Bans 59 Chinese Apps in India including TikTok

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Chinese Apps Ban including Tiktok

As tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China continues, the Government of India has decided to ban on 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok.

The government will be announcing a ban on 59 such Chinese apps, including Tik Tok.

List of 59 Chinese Apps

List of 59 Chinese Apps

A government press release announcing the ban stated: “The Ministry of Information Technology, invoking it’s power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 59 apps since in view of the information available they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order”.

The press release further said that the Ministry of Information Technology has received “many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding the security of data and risk to privacy relating to the operation of certain apps”.

“The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has also received many representations from citizens regarding the security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues,” the press release mentioned.

Popular among youngsters, TikTok has the maximum number of users in India, followed by China and the US.

TikTok crossed the 2 billion mark soon after surpassing the 1.5 billion mark in the first quarter of 2020. Out of the 2 billion, India turned out to be the biggest driver with over 611 million downloads.

Full statement from the Indian Govt’s Ministry of Electronics & IT

Full statement from the Indian Govt’s Ministry of Electronics & IT

According to the report by Sensor Tower, TikTok crossed the 2 billion mark soon after surpassing the 1.5 billion mark in the first quarter of 2020. Out of the 2 billion, India turned out to be the biggest driver with over 611 million downloads. The report revealed that TikTok’s surge in popularity was due to the coronavirus pandemic. People found TikTok to be most entertaining and engaging in quarantine.

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Several Districts of UP Including Jhansi, Prayagraj attacked by Locusts

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Locust Attack

Several districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh, Bhadohi, Azamgarh, and Ambedkar Nagar, have been facing locust attacks in the past 48 hours.

In Uttar Pradesh, locust swarms have invaded several districts in the past 48 hours and attacked trees and crops.

The UP Agriculture Department said that the authorities of the neighboring districts like Hamirpur, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambhi, Mirzapur, Sultanpur, Mau, and Ballia have been asked to remain alert.

Deoria, the home district of state Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi, in eastern Uttar Pradesh has also faced locust attacks.

“A swarm of locusts had come to Deoria, but they descended only on the Baisila Mainuddin village. Villagers made noise and chased them away. The swarm has gone towards Kushinagar. We are spraying chemicals to kill the pests and all districts have been put on alert,” he said on Sunday.

Shahi said insecticides are being sprayed through fire department vehicles. People have been told to make loud noise by beating ‘thaalis’ and other utensils, he said. Police sirens will also be blared and smoke would be used to chase the locusts away.

The minister said that “The UP government has given Rs five lakh to each of the bordering districts of the state for spraying chemicals to kill locusts. Apart from this, a monitoring committee has been formed in each district under the chief development officer to continuously monitor the situation.”

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Six People Killed in attack at Pakistan Stock Exchange

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Pakistan Stock Exchange Attack

KARACHI: Pakistani Stock Exchange building in the city of Karachi was attacked by four gunmen on Monday. All of them were killed later.

Two other people were also killed, the military said.

The gunmen attacked the building, which is in a high-security zone that also houses the head offices of many private banks, with grenades and guns, Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon told Reuters.

“Four attackers have been killed, they had come in a silver Corolla car,” Memon said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Pakistan has long been plagued by Islamist militant violence but attacks have become less frequent in recent years.

The gunmen initially threw a grenade then opened fire on a security post outside the building. The four were killed when security forces posted there responses.

“The situation is still unfolding and management, with the help of security forces, is managing the security and controlling the situation,” the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) said on Twitter.

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