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Data released in Parliament today: 5 soldiers killed in 251 ceasefire violations, 29 IAF aircraft crashes in 5 years

Notes in circulation are at 85% of pre-demonetisation level.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2017 21:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Monsoon Session,Parliament,Rajya Sabha
Union Minister Arun Jaitley during the proceedings of the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)

On day five of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, business in the Rajya Sabha collapsed due to lack of quorum towards the end of today’s proceedings, as a result of which a bill on jurisdiction and settlement of maritime claims could not be taken up.

Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha approved The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which seeks to extend the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment.

Several questions were answered by the government in the Parliament on Friday.

Here’s a look at what they revealed.

In Rajya Sabha

Demand notices of Rs 74.65 crore issued to pharma firms

The government said demand notices of Rs 74.65 crore have been issued to pharmaceutical companies which have launched drugs without prior price approval from National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA).

The concerned companies were asked to furnish certified batch wise production and sales details along with the corresponding MRP for the formulations from the date of launch of the product till date, Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilisers Mansukh L Mandaviya said in reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

“Demand notices for an amount of Rs 74.65 crore have been issued to the erring pharmaceutical companies for launching such drugs / medicines without prior price approval of NPPA”, Mandaviya said. But of this, an amount of Rs 1.05 crore has so far been recovered, he added.

27,482 cyber security incidents reported till June 2017

Over 27,000 cyber security incidents were reported in the first six months of this year to Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), Parliament was informed. These incidents include phishing, website intrusions and defacements as well as ransomware attacks.

“As per the information reported to and tracked by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), a total number of 44,679, 49,455, 50,362 and 27,482 cyber security incidents were observed during the year 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (till June), respectively,” Minister of State for Electronics and IT PP Chaudhary said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The government has also formulated Crisis Management Plan for countering cyberattacks and cyber-terrorism for implementation by all ministries/departments of Central government, state government and their organisations and critical sectors.

Besides, cyber security mock drills are being conducted regularly to enable assessment of cyber security posture and preparedness of organisations in the government and critical sectors, including corporate sector.

The minister said 15 such drills have so far been conducted by CERT-In, where 148 organisations from different states and sectors such as finance, defence, power, telecom, transport, energy, space, IT/ITeS etc participated.

Also, the government has empanelled 54 security audit organisations to support an audit implementation of information security best practices.

Telecom companies owe Rs 6.10 lakh crore to financial institutions, banks

The Indian telecom industry, which is locked in an intense tariff war, owes a staggering Rs 6.10 lakh crore to various financial institutions and banks, Parliament was informed.

Telecom minister Manoj Sinha told the Rajya Sabha that telecom players and tower companies have debt liabilities to the tune of Rs 5.87 lakh crore and Rs 22,812 crore respectively.

“As per information from State Bank of India, telecom industry owes about Rs 6.10475 lakh crore to various financial institutions and banks,” Sinha said in a written reply.

In comparison, the revenue of the sector has declined consistently over the last few quarters during FY2017. The revenue reduced to Rs 35,926.6 crore in the fourth quarter of 2016-17, from Rs 60,862.2 crore in the second quarter, and Rs 53,998.4 crore in the third quarter.

The country’s largest operator Bharti Airtel had liabilities worth Rs 1.6 lakh crore as of December 31, 2016. This includes its operations in Africa and other Asian countries as well.

Newcomer Reliance Jio, which stormed into the Indian market with its rock-bottom data tariffs and free voice call offering, had liabilities of Rs 87,425 crore as on February 28, 2017.

Vodafone owes Rs 70,136 crore, while Reliance Communications and Idea Cellular have liabilities to the tune of Rs 73,224 crore and Rs 68,211 crore, respectively, according to the data presented by the minister.

State-run telecom operators BSNL and MTNL owe Rs 43,450 crore to various financial institutions and banks as of March 31, 2016.

Indus Towers, which is a consortium of leading telecom operators, had liabilities worth Rs 4,232 crore, the data showed.

Over 350 Railway officers facing major penalty cases

Over 350 railway officers are facing cases of major penalty, the government informed the Rajya Sabha.

Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said 251 Group A and 128 Group B officers were facing DAR (Discipline and Appeal Rules) cases across various zones of the railways.

As many as 23 Group A officers of the Northern Railways are facing DAR cases, highest among all the zones.

It is followed by South Central Railway with 21 cases and Western Railway with 19 cases.

With 18 officers facing such cases, Northern Railways tops the list of the Group B officers followed by Western Railway with 15 DAR cases and South Eastern Railway with 14 such cases.

Mobiles worth Rs 90,000 crore produced in India in 2016-17

Mobile phones worth Rs 90,000 crore were produced in the country last fiscal, while imports of handsets stood at $3.7 billion (about Rs 24,364 crore) during the period, Parliament was informed.

India, which is one of the largest telecom markets globally, has seen production of mobile handsets grow at a steady pace over the past few years.

“During 2014-15, mobile handsets worth Rs 18,900 crore were produced in India, which increased to Rs 54,000 crore in 2015-16 and further to Rs 90,000 crore in 2016-17,” Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Domestic production of cellular mobile handsets witnessed a growth of 185% in value terms in 2015-16 compared to 2014-15 and 67% in 2016-17 as against 2015-16, he said.

Sinha noted that during the said time-frame, import of mobile handsets declined from 210 million devices (worth $7,948 million) in 2014-15 to 146 million units ($6,059 million) in 2015-16.

Imports further fell to 76 million units ($3,788 million) in 2016-17, he said.

Rs 18,163 crore projects to increase train speed in select sectors

The Niti Ayog has approved two projects worth Rs 18,163 crore to increase speed of trains in select sectors, the government said. The proposal is to increase the speed to 160/200 km per hour.

Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain, told the Rajya Sabha that the Ayog supported the proposal of two projects at estimated cost of Rs 18,163 crore for raising speed on existing corridors of Delhi-Mumbai (including Vadodara-Ahmedabad) and Delhi-Howrah (including Kanpur- Lucknow), in June 2017.

The 1,483-km long New Delhi-Mumbai rail route will also include the Baroda-Ahmedabad sector, and is estimated to cost Rs 11,189 crore. The 1,525-km long New Delhi-Howrah route, which also includes the Kanpur-Lucknow section, is estimated to cost Rs 6,974 crore, he said.

Digital transactions worth Rs 12,000 crore carried out

There were around Rs 12,000 crore worth of digital transactions every year and the number of fraudulent transactions among these was low, government said in Rajya Sabha.

Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said for prepaid payments including e-wallets, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has started maintaining provisional data of fraudulent transactions.

“According to the data for March, April and May 2017, the number of fraudulent transactions is between 0.005% and 0.007% of the total number of transactions,” he said during Question Hour.

According to the details given by the minister, the number of cases of fraud involving credit cards, ATM/Debit cards and internet banking during 2015-16 was 16,468 and 13,653 in 2016-17.

As per incidents reported to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in), 40 phishing incidents affecting 19 financial organisations and 10 incidents affecting ATMs, Point of Sales (POS) systems and Unified Payment Interface (UPS) have been reported during November 2016 to June 2017.

He said the government is taking several steps to secure digital payments

India’s cotton textiles export down 10% in 3 years

India’s cotton textiles export fell 10% over the last three fiscals, Parliament was informed.

“The overall export of cotton textiles has declined by 10% over the past three years,” Minister of State for Textiles Ajay Tamta said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

According to data shared by the minister, the shipments of cotton textiles from India stood at Rs 70,936 crore during 2016-17, as against Rs 72,994 crore in the previous financial year and Rs 71,913 crore in 2014-15.

In Lok Sabha

5 soldiers killed this year in 251 ceasefire violations

Five security personnel have been killed and 21 injured in 251 cases of ceasefire violations by Pakistan this year, the government informed the Lok Sabha.

In a written response to a question, Subhash Bhamre, Minister of State in the Defence Ministry, said five military personnel were killed and 21 injured in the cross border firing this year.

In 2014, the Army and the Border Security Force (BSF) reported 153 and 430 cases of ceasefire violation under their areas of operational control respectively.

The number dipped to 152 and 253 in 2015 in areas under the control of the Army and BSF respectively. In 2016, the figure rose to 228 and 221.

This year, until July 11, the area under the operational control of the Army has alone reported 228 incidents of ceasefire violations while the BSF, until June 30, has reported 23 instances of cross border firing.

The Army has lost four of its personnel in the ceasefire violation while one BSF men died in the cross border firing. Three civilians were also killed due to shelling by the Pakistani forces.

The Army also foiled 16 infiltration bids until July 11 in which the security forces killed 36 militants.

This year also saw 14 incidents of terrorist attacks on the Army which claimed nine of its personnel.

In 2015, the Army witnessed four terror attacks. Last year, the Army lost 31 personnel in nine different terror attacks.

29 IAF aircraft crashed in last five years

Twenty-nine aircraft of the Indian Air Force have crashed due to technical defects and human error over the last five years, the government said.

Subhash Bhamre, Minister of State in the Defence Ministry, said every aircraft accident in the IAF is investigated by a Court of Inquiry (CoI) to ascertain the cause of the accident and the recommendations of the completed COIs are implemented.

“During the last five financial years (2012-13 to 2016- 17) and the current year (upto July 18), 29 fighter jets including five Sukhoi-30 and three trainer have crashed. Technical defects and human error were the main causes of the accidents,” Bhamre said in a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha.

Over 1.62 lakh companies deregistered till July 12

Over 1.62 lakh companies that have not been carrying out business activities for long have been deregistered and a series of actions are being taken against shell firms, the government said.

While the term ‘shell company’ is not defined under the Companies Act, Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley told the Lok Sabha that many such entities have been found to be indulging in large scale tax violations.

“However, the Registrars of Companies (RoCs) have removed 1,62,618 companies from the register of companies as on July 12, 2017 after following the due process under Section 248 of the Companies Act, 2013,” he said during Question Hour.

Section 248 provides powers to the RoC to remove the name of a company from the register on various grounds including that the entity was not carrying out any business for two preceding financial years.

Out of the 1,62,618 companies that have been struck-off the register, the registration of 33,000 were cancelled by RoC (Mumbai), according to a written reply by minister of state for corporate affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal.

Among others, RoC (Delhi) has struck-off 22,863 companies from the register and 20,588 firms were deregistered by RoC (Hyderabad).

I-T dept detects Rs 19,000 crore black money in ICIJ, HSBC cases

The Income Tax department has detected over Rs 19,000 crore in black money following investigations into global leaks including HSBC account holders in Switzerland, the government said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said investigations into information, put into public domain by the ICIJ, pertaining to about 700 Indian persons allegedly linked to offshore entities based in no tax or low tax jurisdiction, have led to detection of more than Rs 11,010 crore of credits in undisclosed foreign accounts.

“72 prosecution complaints in 31 such cases have been filed before the criminal courts,” he informed the Lok Sabha.

The government constituted a multi-agency group (MAG) in April 2016 for facilitation co-ordinated and speedy investigation in the cases of Indian persons allegedly having undisclosed foreign assets and whose names were reportedly included in Panama papers leak.

He further said that information on 628 Indian persons holding bank accounts in HSBC bank in Switzerland was received from the government of France under the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) between India and France.

“As a result of systematic investigation in these cases, undisclosed income of about Rs 8,437 crore was brought to tax till May 2017. Besides, concealment penalty of Rs 1,287 crore was levied in 162 cases and 199 criminal prosecution complaints were filed in 84 cases,” Jaitley pointed out.

77.5 lakh traders registered under GSTN till July 18

The government said as many as 77.5 lakh traders are registered on GSTN and help desks have been set up in every commissionerate to facilitate filing of tax return.

“Till July 18, 2017, the total number of GSTIN (Goods and Services Taxpayer Identification Number) registration is 77,55,416,” Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

Prosecution in 370 cases under PMLA, two convictions

Prosecution has been initiated in 370 cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and two persons have been convicted in the last 10 years, Parliament was informed. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, came into effect from July 1, 2005.

“2,260 cases have been registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act during the last 10 years. Out of these, prosecution has been filed in 370 cases and two persons in two cases have been convicted for the offence of money laundering,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha

73 posts vacant at Competition Commission

Competition Commission is facing manpower shortage with 37% of the total 197 sanctioned posts remaining vacant, according to official data.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said 73 positions are vacant at the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The vacant positions are at CCI and its investigation arm Director General (DG).

“CCI notifies the existing vacancies, normally, three or four times in a year for filling them up as per the prescribed mode of recruitment. Recently, nine candidates have been selected for appointment on deputation to various posts in the office of DG,” the minister said.

On June 30, 31 posts were notified for direct recruitment.

Vector-borne diseases claimed 1,010 lives this year, 632 due to H1N1

Vector-borne diseases have claimed 1,010 lives so far this year, including 632 deaths due to H1N1, the government informed the Lok Sabha.

Stating that there is a broad strategy to control vector- borne diseases, health minister J P Nadda said the government would strengthen surveillance and diagnostic systems.

A total of 632 people died due to influenza (H1N1), while Aedes Aegypti (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) claimed 279 and 60 lives, respectively, this year till July 16, according to data provided by the minister as part of a written reply.

As per data available for this year, while 22 people died on account of dengue till July 9, Malaria claimed the lives of 17 people in 2017 up to May. Altogether, 1,010 people have died this year due to these vector-borne diseases.

There are 25,354 functional primary health centres and 5,510 community health centres in the country, official data showed.

Over Rs 1.23 lakh crore disbursed as agricultural loan

Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar said agriculture loans disbursed by regional rural banks (RRBs) during 2016-17 were over Rs 1.23 lakh crore.

29.09 crore bank accounts opened under PMJDY

Replying to another question, Gangwar said 29.09 crore bank accounts have been opened as on July 12, 2017 under Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana(PMJDY).

Notes in circulation at 85% of pre note-ban level

Notes in circulation are above 85% of the pre-demonetisation levels and steps have been taken to accelerate remonetisation, the government said.

“The notes in circulation as on June 23, 2017 stood at Rs 15,074.43 billion as against Rs 17,540.22 billion as on October 28, 2016,” Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The availability of currency in different parts of the country is being constantly monitored and steps have been taken to accelerate remonetisation, he said.

“With the continued efforts to remonetise the economy, the notes in circulation has been increasing and now stands above 85% of pre-demonetisation levels,” he said.

Rs 274.21 crore allocated by HAL under CSR

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has allocated Rs 274.21 crore under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the last four years, the Lok Sabha was informed.

Minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre said Rs 69.35 crore has been allocated in 2014-15, Rs 68.31 crore has been allocated in 2015-16, Rs 66.92 crore in 2016 and Rs 69.63 crore has been allocated in 2017-18.

First Published: Jul 21, 2017 21:19 IST