|Thursday, January 27, 2000,
Centre unlikely to offer guarantee
on insurance premiums
Former Chief Secy gets
bail in fraud case
Conference on GMOs amid protests
India seeks Britain's help in
OCC notice to refineries
MUMBAI, Jan 26 (PTI) The Union Government is unlikely to offer a guarantee on the premiums taken by a new insurance company, set up under the liberalised insurance regime in view of the huge capital base for starting an insurance venture and stringent solvency margins prescribed by the insurance regulatory and development authority.
"The premiums collected by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) was guaranteed by the government as it had a low capital base of Rs 5 crore and the Insurance Act of 1938 does not provide for solvency margins," Mr N. Rangachari, Chairman, IRDA, said here yesterday.
Elaborating on the nuances of the new insurance regime, he averred that the new players would be allowed to offer the tax benefits for life insurance as per Section 88 of the Income Tax Act.
The authority would ensure that a balance was struck so that customers "do not have to pay a pie more" and at the same time the insurer does not lose money.
He sought to allay fears on the pricing front of products that would be introduced by the insurance companies by saying, "the new products would have to be under the scrutiny of the IRDA for 30 days before being introduced in the market for their profile and reasonableness of pricing."
The IRDA chief stressed the importance of an agency in selling the insurance products by pointing out that an eyeball to eyeball contact was potent in selling policies as was corroborated by the fact that 80 per cent of policies continue to be sold through agents.
NEW DELHI, Jan 26 (PTI) The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) yesterday said the Indian stock markets was at all time high level, but the regulator was keeping a close watch on the overall movement of stock prices.
"The stock markets are safe and the stock exchanges are collecting daily margins of an average Rs 5,500 crore," SEBI Chairman D R Mehta told reporters here. With the stock exchanges collecting these kind of high margins, the possibility of default by brokers was very minimal, he said.
Indian stock market is at peak with the BSE sensex touching record levels of 5,668 on January 10.
Asked whether some of the companies stocks were under SEBI watch list following the sudden spurt in their prices, Mr Mehta said, "We keep a regular watch on the stock prices and if there is some uneven movement in their prices, SEBI keeps a regular check."
Ruling out prices being manipulated in some of the companies' shares, he said the stock exchanges are asked to report the matter to SEBI.
On investment by high networth foreign investors and corporates in domestic equity market, Mr Mehta said they would be allowed to invest through a registered foreign institutional investor (FII) in India.
These investments, however, cannot exceed the 5 per cent limit in a single company by an FII and 30 per cent by all FIIs.
MUMBAI, Jan 26 (PTI) D M Sukthankar, a former Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, accused in a fraud case, was yesterday released on a bail of Rs 10,000 by a local court here.
Complying to the Mumbai High Court directive, Sukthankar appeared before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate K H Holambe-Patil, who enlarged him in a case of Rs 2.5 crore fraud in the M/s Moneshi Agro Food Ltd (MAFL) of which he is a director.
According to the chargesheet, the accused had allegedly floated the firm which dealt in canned button mushrooms located at Nagpur. During April 1994, the MAFL had come out with a public issue of 81.75 lakh equity shares of Rs 10 each.
NEW DELHI, Jan 26 (PTI) Power Minister P R Kumaramangalam today inaugurated a bilingual website for the Ministry of Power which contains detailed information about the power scenario in the country.
The website contains details on the Indian electricity scenario, Government of India notifications, resolutions, policy initiatives and clarifications as well as details of the ministry organisational set-up, an official release said here.
on GMOs amid protests
MONTREAL, Jan 26 A global conference is underway here to finalise a protocol to guide trade in genetically modified organisms (GMOs) amidst protests marking growing concern over the possible environmental and health risks involved in the GMO trade, especially for developing countries.
"The ability of modern biotechnology to contribute to human well-being in the 21st century will be boosted dramatically if the international community takes action now to create credible and effective safeguards for the environment," Mr Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said at the start of the week-long meet on Monday.
Meanwhile, anti-GMO activists organised protests raising apprehensions over the genetic technology and genetically engineered foods and saying such products were being rushed to the market prematurely.
"If we don't get a
strong protocol, it's possible that developing countries
might be obligated to buy genetically altered products
coming from other countries, under international commerce
regulations," a representative of the Biotech Action
Montreal (BAM) Isabelle Jonas said. PTI
seeks Britain's help in cleaning Yamuna
LONDON, Jan 26 Britain will work with India on technology transfer and development of air quality strategies and promotion of public transport, British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said.
"We will be working together on technology transfer, the development of air quality strategies, the development of an inspection and maintenance regime, cleaner fuels and technologies, promoting public transport and raising awareness of public transport issues," Mr Prescott said here last night.
The Deputy Prime Minister, who was the chief guest at the launch of the European branch of the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) here, said developing countries would do well to learn from "mistakes" of developed countries and maintain their investment in public transport.
Commissioner to Britain, Mr Nareshwar Dayal, expressed
confidence that the new initiative would promote
Indo-British ties in the fields of trade and environment
and sought British assistance in cleaning the Yamuna. PTI
NEW DELHI, January 26 The Oil Co-ordination Committee instructed the refining companies to go in for mandatory production of kerosene to meet the domestic demand.
The OCC has served a notice on all refining companies to process a minimum of 9 per cent of their crude for kerosene production on a mandatory basis.
This has been done following a severe cut in production of kerosene and LPG by all refining companies in the past few months.
Though, from the governments point of view, imports of products would be a heavier burden on the bill and importing crude would be a less expensive option, yet according to the refining companies, the given price trends and the prevailing duty structure have made the production of LPG and kerosene unviable.
The OCC decision to
force oil companies to produce kerosene has taken the
industry by surprise. Industry experts feel that LPG and
kerosene are the main contributors to the dipping
refinery margins which have fallen to negative levels in
the last few months.
CALIFORNIA, Jan 26 (Reuters) A federal judge on Tuesday reinstated an order forcing Microsoft Corp to change software based on the Java programming language created by Sun Microsystems Inc.
Judge Ronald Whyte in US district court here reinstated on different grounds a November 1998, injunction that was overturned by an appeals court last August.
The injunction stemmed from a suit Sun filed in 1997 charging Microsoft with violating a licensing agreement for its Java language by changing it in software and developer tools that failed to meet Suns compatibility tests.
Sun says Microsofts `polluted versions of Java were aimed at undermining the language, an increasingly popular tool for writing Web-based applications that can run on different platforms and could therefore challenge the dominance of Microsofts Windows operating system.
Both companies claimed victory in Tuesdays ruling, with Microsoft saying it undermined Suns claims of copyright infringement and would not force further changes.
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