Babus in public offices sit by the pile of files catching dust. Because, the Babus are busy with drinking tea, chewing beetle-leaf, reading newspapers and gossiping with colleagues. This is the general profile of public offices in South Asia. Public offices are neither zoo nor theme park. Yet a notice hangs at the Babu’s door saying, “Visitors are not allowed.
Even as SIM cards have become the focus of investigations to establish the identity of the Mumbai attackers, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has found that at least two lakh mobile phone users, almost 20% of the total vetted connections so far, had provided fake identity papers and their addresses were unverified. In an ongoing audit, ordered by the government to establish the genuineness of customers, DoT found that out of 10 lakh connections verified so far, more than 2 lakh had been issued to customers whose identity could not be established. The extent of fake identities has rattled the government which has started penalising service providers at Rs 1,000 for every fake user found. Sleuths suspect that the Mumbai attackers, like in the past, had obtained SIM cards on fake identity and had used it for communication with their handlers across the border. Though details are yet to be made public, officials have procured details of SIM cards from where they were procured and whose identities were used for the same.
As usual, media is blamed for their role in Mumbai. Unconfirmed reports claimed the terrorists trapped in Taj Mahal Palace constantly watched TV for news and they might have got a feeling of excitement if not ideas from the live coverage. Stupid guys. They never knew what they missed. The best ball-by-ball coverage was hardly on TV but on Twitter, anybody could have accessed thru a mobile.
The government today allotted start-up GSM spectrum to new telecom players, including Datacom and Unitech, in four circles of Mumbai, Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh (East). Tata Teleservices, which has got GSM licence under dual technology policy, has also been allotted spectrum in the lucrative Mumbai circle while it is yet to get the radio frequency in other three circles. With this, new players can now roll out services in 10 circles as the government has already released spectrum in six circles of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. In Punjab, only three players have been accommodated as only 15 MHz spectrum was available. HFCL, a CDMA player, has got GSM spectrum in Punjab under the dual technology policy.
The Study of India’s Universal Service Instruments by LIRNEasia researchers Payal Malik & Harsha De Silva, critiqued the Indian government’s policy that made only fixed line operators eligible for USO funds: As of today, the government is giving USO fund support to only the fixed line operators offering services in the rural areas. The over defining terms in the law is a bad idea in a rapidly evolving technology environment, though this correction has been suggested it is quite possible that the previous auctions have left huge amounts of rents that have been appropriated by the incumbent. In an industry that manifests the potential for rapid technological change and innovation, such as telecom, an economic analysis of a problem should not focus too narrowly or exclusively on the best use of society’s resources from the standpoint of today’s technology and resource availability i.e. static economic efficiency but should be viewed from a dynamic perspective.