Cell users without authorised handsets see services go dead

Millions of mobile subscribers owning handsets without unique identity numbers today saw services discontinued by operators after the government banned use of such phones for security reasons. Leading operators Airtel, Vodafone and others confirmed that they have started disconnecting phones without unique identity numbers. Vodafone Essar Director T V Ramachandran said, "We are disconnecting all those phones which are through the non-IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) handsets."No operator, however, put a number to how many users were disconnected from their respective networks, but sources said it would certainly run into a few millions .According to estimates, 21 million handsets are in circulation without the 15-digit unique identity number, known as IMEI, which enables the security agencies to trace calls made from or received on such handsets.

Armed Forces Tribunal

The Government has issued notification for setting up the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) with effect from August 10, 2009, for the adjudication or trial of disputes and complaints with respect to the service matters and also to provide for appeals arising out of verdicts of the Courts Martial in respect of personnel of the Armed Forces. 774 cases have been transferred from High Courts to AFT and 161 new cases have been instituted. Against this, 115 cases have been disposed. No exact time frame for settling all the pending cases can be indicated. This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Neeraj Shekhar and Shri EG Sugavanam in Lok Sabha yesterday.

Increase in Minimum Wages

In order to protect the minimum wages against inflation, the Central Government and most of the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations have adopted the system of Variable Dearness Allowance (VDA), revised twice a year effective from 1st April and 1st October on the basis of increase in Consumer Price Index Numbers for Industrial Workers.Under the provisions of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, both the Central and State Governments are the appropriate Governments to fix and revise the minimum wages in the scheduled employments under their respective jurisdictions. As per Section 3 (1) (b) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the appropriate Government shall review at such intervals, not exceeding five years, the minimum rates of wages so fixed and revise the minimum rates, if necessary. This information was given by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment Shri Harish Rawat in a written reply in the Lok Sabha yesterday.

Revival package for BSNL/ MTNL

BSNL and MTNL are strongly competing with private telecom operators continuously. However, due to intense competition and entry of new operators with aggressive tariff plans BSNL and MTNL are losing market share. To strengthen the financial health of BSNL and MTNL, the following initiatives have been taken:- - Augmentation of capacity to enhance the network coverage and to remove the congestion. - Expanding distribution channels and improving system of follow up of franchisees and retailers. - Developing a system of providing special premium Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for large enterprise customers and focusing on corporate accounts. - Improving customer care, better feedback and after sales service. - Developing new lines of revenue through infrastructure sharing. - Improving management information system for better management and collection of revenue. This reply was given by Shri Gurudas Kamat, Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology in Lok Sabha today.

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