A leading ecommerce player got a rude shock recently when a top executive was arrested over a service tax notice. He spent the weekend behind bars before getting bail. The website, an aggregator, was not paying service tax on the final product that the service provider was supposed to pay. The tax man slapped a notice given the fact that the sales invoice is in the aggregator’s name. The matter is in court and the tax incidence will eventually be sorted out. What is surprising though is that the usually vocal start-up lobby did not go to town with this “tax terrorism” that had shades of the arrest of Baazee’s Avnish Bajaj in 2004. When a bunch of CEOs bumped into Amitabh Kant, the make-in-India man pulled them up for not making enough noise on the arrest.
Net neutrality advocates insist the battle to ensure a level playing field on the internet is far from over. Concerns have been raised about the fact that intranets—by nature private networks—are exempt from the telecom regulator’s guidelines. Operators have also been seeking clarifications that if there is a content transgression on any of their network, the onus of pointing it out rests with content companies. This could take time and effort, as these content companies cannot approach TRAI on the issue—the regulator’s mandate is to only look at pricing access.
Community radio in India has failed to take off despite over a decade of “relaxation” in rules. There are fewer than 200 players today, leaving most of the potential untapped. Perhaps the government believes that airing the PM’s Mann Ki Baat regularly will reverse the doldrums they are in. Players say they don’t mind airing it, but a lot of issues remain unresolved. The ministry of I&B also keeps a hawk’s eye on news content slipping past them into the airwaves via community radio channels, which are limited to educational institutions and NGOs. The concerns of the industry are hardly listened to, especially bureaucratic hurdles and terms and conditions.
Businessman Stuart Bray has 19 South China tigers on his 74,000 acre farm in South Africa. He runs the organisation that owns the Laohu Reserve. Perhaps 100 such tigers exist in captivity today.