Saturday, January 21, 2006

Delhi High Court stays CBSE circular

Delhi High Court stays CBSE circular on waiver of fees to single girl children

A minority unaided institution Carmel Convent School has approached Delhi High Court to quash the circular issued by Central Board of Secondary Education forcing CBSE affiliated schools to waive the fees of single girl children (above and including 6th Standard).

The court has stayed the implementation of the CBSE circular and and has posted the matter for further hearing on March 27th.

The current legal challenge is based on Article 30 of the constituition allowing minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

However I am surprised that no mainstream (majority) institution has challenged this circular based on simple unmaintainability of such rules. The Government may always bail out of forcing minority institutions while enforcing the rules on other institutions. Consider the recent constitutional amendment allowing state governments to frame legislations to enforce reservations in unaided private professional colleges. Minority institutions are exempt from this.

My previous coverage on this:

CBSE amends bylaws to waive fees for girl child
CBSE distributes free lunch, by robbing private schools

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Pakistan - India Tests on Ten Sports only

Pak series telecast: live on Ten Sports, highlights on DD

Finally it has been resolved that Pakistan - India Test matches will be only on Ten Sports. In a case going on in the Supreme Court of India, Prasar Bharati has indicated that it is not interested in Test matches, but would still want the ODIs.

While continuing to claim that Prasar Bharati is interested looking at grabbing the telecast rights for public good, it is also clear that it doesn't want the "dirty feed", but a clean feed which it can exploit by getting advertising. Nor is it interested in paying any fixed fee for this right.

The case is continuing and the ODI telecast status will be known later.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Biocon chief slams politicians

From Indian Express: Echoing Murthy, Biocon chief slams politicians

I am glad to note that Businesspeople have started voicing their opinions openly. Far too long, they kept quiet because they were afraid that the politicians will hit back at them by hurting their business.

Infosys and Biocon get the bulk of their (over 80%+?) revenue from outside the country. Neither depends on revenue from Government contracts in India. (TCS does...)

At best the local state politician can hurt them in trivial matters like real estate issues, but these companies have probably already decided to move out of Karnataka in case of massive problems. The infrastructure is in doldrums that the problems caused by the crumbling infrastructure is more than the tantrums thrown by the politicians.

However, I am still unhappy to see the other businessmen keeping mum about their respective politicians.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Sivasankaran sells Aircel, finally?

From The Hindu:
Maxis and Reddy family join hands to buy Aircel

Malaysian Telecom company Maxis and Chennai based Apollo Group have together worked out an agreement to subscribe to fresh equity and buy out Sivasankaran's equity in Tamil Nadu based mobile service provider Aircel.

Aircel first talked about a takeover by Hutch, which did not happen. Required Government clearences did not come through, and there were talks of differences in valuations that sprung up suddenly. Subsequently Aircel talked about possible equity investment from a Russian mobile operator. Nothing came of that as well.

Sivasankaran may be hoping that the current deal goes through.

Aircel was a pioneer in mobile phone pricing in India. Even by the year 2000-01 Aircel had made mobile to mobile call in Tamil Nadu (minus Chennai) equivalent of landline calling. (Rs. 1.20 for three minutes of call)

For a single circle operation and that too, without a major metro not part of it, Aircel was growing fast and had reached profitability. However, there was no pan-Indian plan. There was not enough money for an all-India-wide growth. Aircel bought RPG of Chennai circle to expand the operation to whole of Tamil Nadu, but that was it. Some licenses were acquired for North East etc. but no roll-out has happened.

So all Sivasankaran could hope was to exit and make good money in the process.

Maxis gets an entry into India. But if it wants to be a serious player, it needs to grow large, and cover the whole of India. But that may not be easy. Under the current unified licenses scheme there are six telecom operators in the fray almost all across, and some stray operators here and there. In any circle, there are no more than four operators in the GSM spectrum.

Maxis will have a future only if it actively

(a) looks at acquiring operations of Spice in Karnataka and Punjab
(b) acquire rump operations of Reliance GSM in circles such as West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh etc.
(c) Figure out a way to acquire Idea Cellular or at least work out a model to buy Tata's stake in that company and introduce a common brand across India
(d) Start in circles where no fourth GSM operator is present. For example, after Hutch-BPL merger, Bombay is going to have only three GSM players. Idea would also be seriously looking at that market.


An operation purely focused on Tamil Nadu may not work out for any long term player.