on Demand' is a service through which all BSNL broadband subscribers
can log on to play the games any time.
Who: BSNL is the service provider and the content is
being provided by indiagames.com.
When: BSNL executives say the service will be launched
by the end of November.
Type of Games: Both multi-player and single-player games
like 'Rise of Nations', 'Flight Simulator', and 'Diner Dash 2'
will be available
How is it different from other game sites: It's difference
vis-a-vis other game sites is not yet known as BSNL is still working
Pricing: The modalities are "still being worked
out". The pricing can be either on a pay per use basis or
Who else: Airtel has a similar service, which gives unlimited
access on a payment of Rs 199 per month. Interestingly, Airtel's
content provider is also indiagames.com
Now, Dual Phones
What is it: The T66 is a phone that operate on both GSM
and CDMA networks.
Who has it: Reliance Communications is the first operator
to offer the handset. In fact, after China Unicom, Reliance is
only the second company in the world to offer such a service.
Why: Reliance is saddled with a legacy that includes
GSM networks in places such as Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal,
Madhya Pradesh and the North East. Users in these circles could
not roam into and out of Reliance CDMA networks and the phone
will help as the company migrates from CDMA to GSM across the
What other features does it have: Well, this is a fairly
high-end handset with a 1.3 megapixel camera, two 2.6 inch colour
screens and other toys.
How much does it cost: Reliance has not officially launched
the phone as yet, but expect it to be in the Rs 10,000 price band.
Status: 760 companies earned Rs 26,913.30 crore for the
quarter ended September 30, 2006, up 15.15 per cent
Impact: Rising corporate profitability augurs well for
the economy as well as the corporate sector. India Inc. is increasingly
part financing its expansion plans from internal cash accruals
and also adding to investor wealth by doling out higher dividends
Status: $158 billion, up 25 per cent
Impact: Rising foreign exchange reserves offer a security
blanket against any sudden outflow of capital from the country.
If the reserves keep growing at this pace, RBI may open its purse
string to allow resident Indians to invest abroad in equity, mutual
funds and other asset classes.
A bird's eye view of what's hot and what's
not on the government's policy radar.
SEMICONDUCTOR POLICY ON THE ANVIL
| LURING THE INVESTOR
Draft policy has been formulated
for sops for the sector
benefits, lower taxes
carry-forward of losses mooted
After months of long wait since finance minister P. Chidambaram
announced it first in February in his budget speech, there is
finally some action on ground on the semiconductor policy.
Tax concessions for the seminconductor industry are finally
round the corner. It is learnt that the Finance Ministry has agreed
to give semiconductor facilities SEZ-like benefits. The Cenvat
rate, for one, for these facilities has been fixed at the lower
rate of 4 per cent. These units will also be given depreciation
benefits of 33 per cent for three consecutive years, with unlimited
loss-carry forward facility. Also, the timeline for fabrication
facilities to become positive net earner of foreign exchange would
be 10 years instead of five years for SEZs, keeping in mind the
longer gestation period in the business.
So, who are all waiting for the policy? SemIndia, which had
earlier lined up an investment of $3 billion (Rs 13,800 crore),
but later toned it down to a few hundred million towards R&D
and packaging for the time being; other majors include Intel,
Texas Instruments, ST Microelectronics and Freescale. Clearly,
the policy has got to be good enough to check competition from
China and Vietnam.
RULES TO CHECK DRUG 'SIDE-EFFECTS'
Pharma companies that have been raking in good money amidst
loose laws are likely to be in for a rude shock. The new drug
policy in the offing, Drug (Price Regulation & Control) Bill
2006, will come down heavily on pharma companies that have been
evading the drug price control rules by marginally distorting
formulations of drugs.
The move comes in the wake of the prevalent practice of several
companies to alter the composition of drugs sold under a brand
name, simply to avoid the price regulatory list. The government
is also proposing to vest itself with the overriding powers to
enforce price controls on any category of drugs, even on those
imported from abroad.
Medicines for medicine suppliers.
RESERVATION IN BUSINESS DEALS!
'Reservation' might just get another booster dose. a cabinet
panel headed by Ram Vilas Paswan has recommended that 30 per cent
of purchases made by the Central government should be sourced
from entrepreneurs belonging to the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled
The recommendation might face resistance from the industry yet
again -recently, the industry put its foot down on the idea of
reservation of jobs in the private sector.
LENDERS FOR THE POOR
If all goes well then the microfinance bill is likely to become
an act by summer of next year. According to Finance Ministry officials,
the draft version of the Bill has been finalised. The apex rural
lending institution NABARD may well become the regulator for the
sector. The move will boost lending to the weakest segment of
society. Surely, for once, political and commercial interests
|Out of order: For now
TELECOM MERGER IS OFF
The proposal to merge BSNL and MTNL has been given a burial.
Telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran recently said that the two companies
would be better off on their own.
The move was initially mooted during the earlier NDA regime
by the then telecom minister Arun Shourie. The recent report of
consultants appointed for the purpose of evaluating the proposal
suggested a slew of options ranging from merger to 'no-merger'.
Clearly, leaving it open for the political class to decide!