Thursday, February 17, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S
Priyanka Chopra (Femina Miss World), Lara Dutta (Femina Miss Universe, middle) and Diya Mirza (Miss India Asia-Pacific) at the unveiling ceremony of the Daewoo Motors Millennium Matiz car on Wednesday.
Priyanka Chopra (Femina Miss World), Lara Dutta (Femina Miss Universe, middle) and Diya Mirza (Miss India Asia-Pacific) at the unveiling ceremony of the Daewoo Motors Millennium Matiz car on Wednesday.

Business confidence up: FICCI survey
NEW DELHI, Feb 16 — The confidence of the Indian industry has risen to an all-time high with key economic parameters indicating strong economic recovery and expectations of bold decisions by the Finance Minister in the ensuing Union Budget, according to a business confidence survey by an apex chamber.

President Clinton meets with representatives of the Internet and technology community to explore ways to tighten security on the World Wide Web in the Cabinet Room of the White House, on Tuesday. AP/PTI
President Clinton meets with representatives of the Internet and technology community to explore ways to tighten security on the World Wide Web in the Cabinet Room of the White House, on Tuesday. AP/PTI

High hopes on biotech research
NEW DELHI, Feb 16 — Biotechnology India 2000, the Capital’s first international technical exhibition and conference focussing on products in the sphere of plants, began today with participants expressing optimism in the governments’ and industry’s response in identifying new areas of investment, and research in the emerging area of biotechnology.

Sugarfed offers incentives to staff
CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — Punjab Sugarfed, after giving a relief of Rs 2.36 crore earlier this month to its workers, today announced a production incentive scheme for the staff of the cooperative sugar mills.

Govt to launch ‘Classroom 2000’
NEW DELHI Feb 16 — The Government proposed to launch an information technology based electronic education scheme called “Classroom 2000”, Union Education Secretary M K Kaw said today.



EARLIER STORIES
 

Industry to grow by 6 pc : CMIE
CALCUTTA, Feb 16—The industrial sector would grow by 6 to 6.5 per cent during 1999-2000, as against the 4 per cent recorded in the previous fiscal, according to estimates of the Centre for Monitoring of Indian Economy.

Wipro, Symbian tie up
BANGALORE, Feb 16 — Wipro Technologies has entered into a strategic partnership with London-based ‘Symbian,’ involved in creation of a standard platform for the next generation wireless devices.

Shanta Kumar to open Sugar Tech
CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — Sugar Tech 2000, to be held in New Delhi from March 2, will showcase the entire gamut of sugar machinery and equipment, with over 30 companies from India and overseas expected to participate.

Move to privatise NFL opposed
NANGAL, Feb 16 — The unions of the NFL have condemned the decision of the Cabinet to disinvest 51 per cent equity in NFL .




Top



Business confidence up: FICCI survey
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 16 — The confidence of the Indian industry has risen to an all-time high with key economic parameters indicating strong economic recovery and expectations of bold decisions by the Finance Minister in the ensuing Union Budget, according to a business confidence survey by an apex chamber.

“The corporate India’s confidence in the political economy is at an ‘unprecedented high point measured not only in terms of the current performance of the economy but also in terms of future expectations,” the 6th business confidence survey by FICCI said.

The survey attributed the upswing in the industry’s sentiments to an unexpected rise in the GDP to 6.8 per cent in 1998-99, pick up in industrial growth, dramatic buoyancy in the stock markets, strong macro economic indicators like low inflation, stable forex rates and comfortable forex reserves.

The FICCI business confidence index rose by 2.2 per cent to 27.8 points in February as against 25.6 points in the previous survey conducted in October, 1999.

According to the survey most corporate entities anticipate the government to take bold economic decisions in the Budget, with 79.4 per cent of the respondents expecting decisions on divestment of more public sector undertakings.

Nearly 50 per cent of the participants in the survey also felt that the Government would tax the rural rich.

While 45 per cent of the respondents to the survey anticipate Government would take a decision on closure of terminally sick companies by putting in place adequate safety net, 30 per cent participants are hopeful that the Government would effect downsizing of its manpower.

Indian corporates view the convergence among major political parties for the passage of key economic legislations like Insurance Bill and FEMA as indicative of the democratic maturity of the Indian political party system.

With 95 per cent of the respondents being upbeat about the passage of insurance and FEMA legislations, they expect the Government to initiate steps for the passage of pending bills like Companies Amendment Bill, Amendment of Contract Labour Regulation Act and Patent Bill.Top





 

Industry to grow by 6 pc : CMIE

CALCUTTA, Feb 16 (PTI) The industrial sector would grow by 6 to 6.5 per cent during 1999-2000, as against the 4 per cent recorded in the previous fiscal, according to estimates of the Centre for Monitoring of Indian Economy (CMIE).In its February report on industrial production, CMIE forecast a 6 to 6.5 per cent growth for the industry, mainly due to better performance of consumer durables, textiles, chemical products, basic metals, machinery and equipment sectors.

Overall growth during the first eight months (April — November) of 1999-2000 was 6.4 per cent as compared to 3.6 per cent during the same period last year, the report said.

However, the growth rate could cross the 6 to 6.5 per cent mark if the impressive first half results could be sustained, it said, while predicting a slowdown during the second half.Top




 

Sugarfed offers incentives to staff
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — Punjab Sugarfed, after giving a relief of Rs 2.36 crore earlier this month to its workers, today announced a production incentive scheme for the staff of the cooperative sugar mills. It will benefit around 9,000 workers and cost Rs 3 crore, State Cooperation Minister R.S. Brahmpura said in a statement here.

Rewards will be given to workers who help increase sugar recovery, reduce losses and save fuel by plugging loopholes in the machinery.

Special awards have been instituted for the mills which win the first and second prizes in cane development, technical efficiency and financial management at the national level. State-level prizes have been introduced for getting sugar recovery more than 10 per cent and more than 9.5 per cent of all these awards and incentives are in the shape of extra wages to workers, employees and officers. An efficient mill can earn incentives to the extent of 50 days extra wages for increased efficiency and 30 days extra wages for winning national/state level prizes.

The benefits, which are subject to adjustment on the revision of pay scales, take effect from January1 and will be available for 18 months.Top



 

Govt to launch ‘Classroom 2000’

NEW DELHI Feb 16 (PTI) — The Government proposed to launch an information technology based electronic education scheme called “Classroom 2000”, Union Education Secretary M K Kaw said today.

In the new literacy drive, computer education will be taken up in a general way and within two years 10,000 schools will be brought under it, he said, inaugurating a national seminar on “Information Technology and Schooling Process”.

Dishnet issue: The Government has permitted Internet service provider Dishnet DSL to mop up Rs 1,300 crore through overseas equity issue for expanding its operations in India.

KCC Software: KCC Software, besides setting up new facilities for computer education and training at Gurgaon, proposes to offer its clients total solution to their organisational and business needs. It will tap the capital market to raise Rs 4 crore to partly finance the expansion project. The promoters will be contributing nearly Rs 1.82 crore themselves.

Punj Lloyd: Punj Lloyd on Wednesday announced plans to invest Rs 2000 crore over three years in laying Internet infrastructure without specifying the source of financing this ambitious expansion. Punj Lloyd has set up Spectranet Limited with Rs 20 crore paid-up capital which will lay fibre optic cable infrastructure, besides delivering a range of Internet access and multimedia services in 40 cities across the country. — TNSTop



 

Wipro, Symbian tie up

BANGALORE, Feb 16 (PTI) — Wipro Technologies has entered into a strategic partnership with London-based ‘Symbian,’ involved in creation of a standard platform for the next generation wireless devices.

Wipro would set up the Wipro Symbian competence centre for development of a wide range of “Smartphones” and “Communicators”, Wipro technologies announced here today.

Symbian is owned jointly by Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, and Matsushita, all leaders in the mobile computing and telecommunications industry arena, a Wipro release said.

Under the partnership, Wipro would offer a combination of business development, engineering and project management skills to Symbian and its licensees, it said.Top



 

High hopes on biotech research

NEW DELHI, Feb 16 (UNI) — Biotechnology India 2000, the Capital’s first international technical exhibition and conference focussing on products, equipment and services in the sphere of plants, healthcare and pharma, agriculture and functional food sectors, began today with participants expressing optimism in the governments’ and industry’s response in identifying new areas of investment, policy linkages, collaborative partnership and research in the emerging area of biotechnology.

The international exhibition and conference was inaugurated by Prof G.P. Talwar, Dr Jurgen Bischoff, Director. UN-Apctt, and Mr Vivek Singhal, President, All India Biotech Association.

Dr Bischoff said India’s growing population can benefit immensely from the use of technology and genetic engineering for new product development in pharmaceuticals, nutrition, agriculture and the environment sectors. As the biotechnology industry develops in India, it promises to be an important business sector in the future.

He felt that a proper balance between strategic research, product planning and effective collaboration will help to support biotech growth in India. India’s research technology base will help it to develop its strengths and help to make the crucial transition from bulk formulation producer to the development of innovative products for the international market.

Prof G.P. Talwar said biotechnology research is ready for industrial exploitation. Citing the example of Shanta Biotech and Bharat Biotech labs of Hyderabad which developed the vaccine needed for immunisation against Hepatitis B and liver cancer, he emphasised that by commercialising bio-technology research, prices can go down steeply at a level were the health delivery structure can absorb it in government and public programmes.

The conference, being organised by the United Nations — Asian and Public Centre for transfer of Technology (UNAPCTT) began with a panel discussion on the relevance of biotechnology to India. Key speakers were Dr K. Ghosh-Adviser, Dept of Biotechnology, Dr P.L. Gautam-Director, National Bureau for Plant Genetic Resources, Dr H.C. Bhandari — Director, Kothari Fermentation and Biochem Ltd, Dr Akhilesh Tyagi. Professor and Head, Plant Molecular Biology, South Campus, Delhi University and Dr Malathi Lakshmikumaran -Teri. Top



 

Shanta Kumar to open Sugar Tech
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 — Sugar Tech 2000, to be held in New Delhi from March 2, will showcase the entire gamut of sugar machinery and equipment, with over 30 companies from India and overseas expected to participate.

Being organised by CII, Sugar Tech 2000, will be inaugurated by Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Shanta Kumar, a CII release said here today.

A concurrent exhibition on farm equipment and inputs ‘Sugar Expo 2000” will also be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The highlight of the expo will be a special plenary session involving the Chief Ministers of leading sugarcane producing States, where issues relating to the development of cane and sugar industry will feature, a CII release said here today.

Also on the agenda is a national conference on “Sugar: Policy and Technology Imperatives.”Top



 

Move to privatise NFL opposed
From Our Correspondent

NANGAL, Feb 16 — The unions of the National Fertilisers Ltd have condemned the decision of the Cabinet to disinvest 51 per cent equity in NFL .

The members of the co-ordination committee of all unions of NFL held a meeting here today to discuss the issue of disinvestment. The members of all unions of NFL from Nangal, Bathinda, Panipat, Vijaypur plants and those from the corporate and marketing offices took part in today’s meeting.

The union leaders said it was unfortunate that the Government has decided to disinvest in an organisation like NFL which has never sustained losses, whereas many sick PSUs have been left out.

In the entire history of NFL not even a single working day has been lost due to labour problems and all plants of NFL were working beyond their capacity. Moreover, all the plants of the NFL have been awarded for maintaining high safety and production standards.

The leaders alleged that in the last few years the profitability of the company has decreased only due to corruption or mismanagement. The company has lost Rs 133 crore of the working capital in the urea scam. Moreover, the Government has forced the company to give soft loans to many organisations.Top



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BIZ BRIEFS

Forex
US $ Rs 43.60/61
Stg Rs 69.70/72
Euro Rs 42.75/77
Yen (100) Rs 39.96/98

SBI loans
CHANDIGARH, Feb 16 (TNS) — SBI’s Air Force Station branch here organised a programme on Tuesday to create awareness about various bank schemes among the Air Force personnel. The programme was attended by the AOC, No 3BRD AF,Chandigarh besides other officials. Mr C.L. Sethi, AGM, Punjab zone, apprised them of education, car, housing and consumer durable loans, besides SBI Card.

PNB branch
DHARAMSALA, Feb 16 (TNS) — The Nagrota Bagwan branch of Punjab National Bank has been approved for certification for the ISO 9002.

Pentasoft
AMRITSAR, Feb 16 (FOC) — Pentasoft computer education centre was opened here today by Mr Gurtej S Mangat. Pentasoft is the part of Pentafour Communications Ltd.

Hyundai offer
NEW DELHI, Feb 16 (TNS) — Hyundai Motor India campaign “Kab Hoga Ek Lakh” asking Hyundai customers to guess the exact date when one lakh sales will be achieved. It open to customers who buy a Hyundai car within a specified time period, the campaign offers “Hyundai Accent” as the first prize and free holiday destinations as weekly prizes. The winners will be chosen through a random draw.Top




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