Tuesday, March 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






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Price war in personal computers begins
NEW DELHI, March 6 — The price war in personal computers has begun as a result of the reduction in duties on the hardware components proposed in the Union Budget.

Set up disinvestment commission: CII
CHANDIGARH, March 6 — CII has recommended the setting up of a disinvestment commission in Punjab highlighting the problem with regard to disinvestment in the State PSUs. Mr I.S. Paul chairman, CII Chandigarh Council said the State’s total equity in PSUs stood at Rs 3393 crore with a meagre return of 2.5 per cent.

Punseed survival chances increase
BATHINDA, March 6 — Punjab State Seed Corporation (Punseed) and Punjab National Bank authorities have reached a compromise on the survival of Punseed.

Nasscom seeks package for software companies
NEW DELHI, March 6 — National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) today asked the Government for a comprehensive package for software companies including continuation of tax holidays for new export oriented units and removal of anomalies in the Employee Stock Option Scheme.


Paul Streng, Managing Director of the South African Rand Refinery Limited launches a small gold bar weighing 5 tolas in New Delhi on Monday. Photograph by: Sondeep Shankar
Rand Ref launches gold bars
NEW DELHI, March 6 — The world’s largest gold refinery, Rand Refinery, today launched the five tola bar in India. The bar contains 58.33 grams of gold of 99.90 fineness. The South Africa based refinery had been supplying 10 tola bar to the country’s gold investment and jewellery market.



EARLIER STORIES
 

RBI assures help to exporters
CHANDIGARH, March 6 — RBI in coordination with Punjab & Sind Bank conducted seminar on “Export Credit” for financing bankers and exporters here today.

Toyota Motor Co. President Fujio Cho, right, shares a smile with Yamaha Motor Co. President Takehiko Hasegawa, centre, and Yamaha Corporation President Kazukiyo Ishimura during their joint press conference on their tie-up in Tokyo Monday. Toyota, Japan's largest automaker that plans to enter Formula One racing as early as 2001, announced it will buy a 5 percent stake in Yamaha Motor, the world's second-largest motorcycle maker, to co-develope auto racing projects with Yamaha, as well as design and build automobile engines.
Toyota Motor Co. President Fujio Cho, right, shares a smile with Yamaha Motor Co. President and Yamaha Corporation President during their joint press conference on their tie-up in Tokyo on Monday. — AP/PTI
  The Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha with Pascal Larry, Trade Commissioner of the European Commission in New Delhi on Monday.
The Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha with Pascal Larry, Trade Commissioner of the European Commission in New Delhi on Monday. Photograph by: Sondeep Shankar

Eicher Tractors to launch Valtra 6100
LUDHIANA, March 6 — Eicher Tractors today said it will launch its 61 hp tractor “Eicher Valtra 6100” in Punjab in the next two months. With the introduction of the Valtra, Eicher now offers a complete range of tractors in the small HP and the large HP segment.

Industrial safety awards
CHANDIGARH, March 6 — DCM Engineering Products, Asron, a leading foundry of India bagged the first prize for largest reduction in rate of frequency of accidents for the year 1999 and lowest frequency rate of accidents for the year 1998 besides two Kirat Vir awards announced by the Punjab State Industrial Safety Council.

Price war in personal computers begins
From R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, March 6 — The price war in personal computers has begun as a result of the reduction in duties on the hardware components proposed in the Union Budget.

First jump the line and announce the new price structure is Zenith Computers. And, if the comments of other known brand leaders are any indication, the PC buyers should wait till April one for the best bargain.

Ventron Informatics Limited, a Delhi based PC manufacturing firm, said it would sell Celron Computers for Rs 26,500. Compaq Celeron PC would cost Rs 31,500 and Zenith said its Celeron PC would be sold for Rs 30,250.

The leading computer brand, HCL, is also likely to follow suit. Mr Ajai Chowdhry, chairman and CEO of HCL Infosystems Ltd. said the announcements in the budget would benefit the domestic hardware industry in two ways.

“The reduced prices on critical components will result in a 3 to 4 per cent reduction in prices of PC, whilst also checking the proliferation of the grey market. The branded PC segments will receive a fillip and this has been an urgent industry need,” he said.

Mr Manish Aggarwal, director marketing of Ventron Informatics Limited, said the reduction in customs duty has been a significant factor in the reduction of PC prices.

“The ideal PC for a home user is the one which is competitively priced without compromising on features, quality and after sales support,” he said.

The Budget has reduced duty on items which comprise 30 to 40 per cent of a PC’s total cost.

Mr Balu Doraiswamy, MD, Compaq India, said the budget will provide advantage to those assembling and manufacturing systems within the country. The reduction in duties on parts and components will facilitate the setting up of vendor hubs within the country.

The Union Budget has proposed reduction in duty on finished goods from 20 per cent to 15 per cent, duty on critical components reduced from 5 per cent to nil. This includes ICs and microprocessors, storage devices, HDD, FDD, CD ROM drives and colour data graphics tubes.

Duty on populated PCBs reduced from 20 to 15 per cent. The 4 per cent special additional tax (SAD) continue on imported components. However, it would now be applicable on finished goods imports and the excise duty, with simplified procedure, remains at 16 per cent.

The Manufacturers Association of Information Technology said the duty differential between finished goods and imported components increased to foster local manufacturing.

Price of fully imported systems to be marginally less by 0.5 per cent and that of locally manufactured to be less by 3 to 4 per cent. If SAD is not applicable on critical components, the prices will reduce by five per cent, said Mr Vinnie Mehta, MAIT director.

According to a study by Indian Market Research Bureau the unbranded assembled computers have 38 per cent of the country’s PC market. The market share of Indian and MNC brands last year reduced from 23 per cent and 29 per cent to 21 per cent and 22 per cent respectively from the previous year.

Leading PC manufacturers said the prices of PC would fall by 4 to 5 per cent but the biggest benefit of the reduced duty is that it enables the branded PC makers to take on unorganised market with the duty differential reduced.

The PC penetration in the country is as low as 3.5 per thousand as compared to 500 per thousand in the U.S.A and over 6 per thousand in China.Top




 

Set up disinvestment commission: CII
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 6 — CII has recommended the setting up of a disinvestment commission in Punjab highlighting the problem with regard to disinvestment in the State PSUs. Mr I.S. Paul chairman, CII Chandigarh Council said the State’s total equity in PSUs stood at Rs 3393 crore with a meagre return of 2.5 per cent. The PSUs debt stood at Rs 4743 crore and the State guarantees in respect of PSUs amounted to Rs 7838 crore.

CII has urged the State Government for immediate closure of non-viable PSUs; mergers of similar PSUs; massive disinvestment and even sale of equity to the employees of the PSUs. As an immediate step, CII has called for the closure of 12 corporations accounting for 2,590 employees only out of a total of 39 PSUs/corporations and institutions accounting for 113,000 employees.

Mr Paul also demanded immediate reversal of Government decision on free electricity and water to the agriculture sector as also for rationalisation of pricing of public utilities such sewerage, higher education and public transportation. CII also called for freeze on new recruitment and rightsizing of surplus staff by sending them on two years paid leave.

With a view to providing a fillip to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Punjab, CII has recommended immediate disbursement of sanctioned subsidy as also relief on repayment of interest free loans (IFL) wherever the IFLs were not disbursed on time.

CII has made several suggestions with regard to enhancing the Sales Tax revenue from the present level of Rs 1200 crore to Rs 3500 crore. Single identification number for collection of all types of taxes; adoption of HS code for commodity classification as is the case with Excise and Customs Department; rationalisation of items for first / end point taxation and establishment of Electronic Data Interface (EDI) in the ST Department.

Mr Paul advocated a three-pronged strategy to ensure Punjab’s economic revival. Firstly, there was a need to integrate the agri-industry development through the Corporation of Agriculture and value addition through export of vegetables; dairy products and diversification of wheat and rice into exportable and processable varieties.

CII has also made a case for introduction of the Management Information Systems (MIS) in agriculture as also introduction of changes in land laws pertaining to the Tenancy Act and Laws of Control. Secondly, there was a need to expedite the setting up of a Software Technology Parks of India at Mohali as also introduction of IT in higher secondary schools in a few districts in Punjab.

The confederation has requested the Punjab Government to make a budgetary provision of Rs 25 crore for an IIIT at Mohali in this year’s Budget. The Finance Minister has accepted the proposal, in principle, according to a CII release. It has called for rejuvenating Punjab’s SMEs through simplification of laws and procedures.Top



 

Punseed survival chances increase
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, March 6 — Punjab State Seed Corporation (Punseed) and Punjab National Bank authorities have reached a compromise on the survival of Punseed.

Official sources said the PNB authorities had agreed to take Rs. 7.33 crore from Punseed against its total liability of more than Rs. 60 crore. This agreement was reached when the PNB authorities accepted the offer of the Chairman of Punseed, Mr Ashok Dhir, recently.

The Punseed authorities had failed to return Rs. 7 crore loan from the bank. As the instalments of loan could not be paid, the liability of Punseed reached Rs 60 crore.

Punseed was facing closure as the PNB authorities had filed a suit in the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Jaipur, to recover Rs 60 crore from the corporation. Punseed had hypothecated all its three seeds plants to the bank.

As per the agreement Punseed will deposit the amount (Rs. 7.33 crore) in three instalments.

In case of default in repayment of any of the instalments all concessions given to the corporation will be treated as withdrawn and the bank is free to recover its dues with interest.

Punseed and PNB will move a joint application before the DRT for obtaining a consent decree with the default clause on the terms and conditions of approval.

Mr Ashok Dhir said the corporation would approach the Punjab Government for a loan to arrange necessary funds for making repayment to PNB.

He pointed out that employees of the corporation had also decided not to take DA slab with their pay for three years to make the corporation financially viable.

Dhir said some parts of the profit of the corporation would also be used to repay the instalments of the bank loan. He had also surrendered his official residence at Chandigarh to the corporation to save the money.Top




 

Nasscom seeks package for software companies

NEW DELHI, March 6 (PTI) — National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) today asked the Government for a comprehensive package for software companies including continuation of tax holidays for new export oriented units (EoUs) and removal of anomalies in the Employee Stock Option Scheme (ESOP).

In a post Budget memorandum to Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, Nasscom asked for gradual phase out of Section 10A/10B of Income Tax for tax holiday for software technology parks (STPs), EoUs and Export Processing Zones (EPZs), Nasscom President Dewang Mehta said here.

“The Budget proposal that new EoUs, STP and EPZ units registered after April 1, will not be eligible for the 10 year tax holiday is discriminatory against new units,” he said.

Nasscom has therefore suggested that 2009-10 be taken as a cut off year for extending the tax holiday.

“Units that register in 2000-01 should get tax benefit of tax holiday for nine years, those who register in 2001-02 should get benefits of tax holiday for eight years and so on,” Mehta said adding that the suggestion has found favourable response from the Finance Ministry.Top




 

VirtualSoft Tech

VirtualSoft Technologies Ltd today launched the World’s First ASP (Age Specific Portal) in Chandigarh. It aimed at the most sought after age group. Mr Vineet Raj Kapoor, MD said the site is aimed solely at youth aged between 16-21. The prime on objective of the site is to provide fulfilment to this category of people. This site will grow into an e-commerce site to allow youngsters to shop online. It is www.16-21.com.

Other features are: Career planning and guidance, Self growth through vocational training, preparation for entrance examinations, making friends and finding a life-mate, adventure travel like hiking etc.Top



 

RBI assures help to exporters
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 6 — RBI in coordination with Punjab & Sind Bank conducted seminar on “Export Credit” for financing bankers and exporters here today.

Mr Jagmohan Singh Kathuria, Deputy General Manager & Chief HRD, Punjab & Sind Bank informed the participants about the impact on changing economic scenario with reference to international trade and finance. He said this seminar will provide opportunity to deliberate on strategic and relevant issues pertaining to the financing of export activities of our country.

Mr M.G. Srivastava, Executive Director, RBI inaugurated the seminar. He laid stress on reaping the fruits of changing IT scenario the world over. He was optimistic about starting real time payment system and instant settlement of transactions through networking facilities which were now available in abundance everywhere.

About exports, he assured that the RBI is helping the exporters community to boost their exports. The Indian exporters should find out new markets and explore new items which could be exported to earn foreign exchange and quality should be the hallmark.

Apart from senior executives from RBI, about 150 delegates from export financing banks, exporters, export promotion organisations, Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, Export Import Bank and Foreign Exchange Dealers Association of India attended the seminar.Top




 

Eicher Tractors to launch Valtra 6100
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, March 6 — Eicher Tractors today said it will launch its 61 hp tractor “Eicher Valtra 6100” in Punjab in the next two months. With the introduction of the Valtra, Eicher now offers a complete range of tractors in the small HP and the large HP segment.

The Valtra has been designed and developed along with Europe’s leading tractor manufacturer “Valtra Inc” of Finland.

Speaking at the roll-out of the Valtra in Eicher’s Bhopal unit. Mr R.C. Jain, Managing Director of Eicher tractors, said, “our entry into the higher HP segment heralds the realisation of our vision of providing a complete range of tractors.Top




 

Rand Ref launches gold bars
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, March 6 — The world’s largest gold refinery, Rand Refinery, today launched the five tola bar in India. The bar contains 58.33 grams of gold of 99.90 fineness.

“The product has been launched keeping in mind growing demand among gold merchants in India for five tola bars, and to meet the country’s voracious appetite for gold,” said Mr Paul Streng, Managing Director of the refinery.

The South Africa based refinery had been supplying 10 tola bar to the country’s gold investment and jewellery market which in turn supplies to a number of different bullion banks.

According to the World Gold Council’s quarterly “Gold Demand Trends” India remains the largest importer of gold in the world.

“Almost 50 per cent of our annual gold export is to India, Mr Streng said. The refinery exported about 500 tonnes of gold last yearTop



 

Industrial safety awards
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 6 — DCM Engineering Products, Asron, a leading foundry of India bagged the first prize for largest reduction in rate of frequency of accidents for the year 1999 and lowest frequency rate of accidents for the year 1998 besides two Kirat Vir awards announced by the Punjab State Industrial Safety Council.

Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Minister for Local Bodies, Labour and Employment (Punjab) gave away the awards. DCM also organised a safety exhibition.

JCT Electronics: JCT Electronics has been awarded five Safety awards for the year 1998 and 6 safety awards for the year 1999 from the Directorate of Factories, Punjab. The awards were presented by Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Minister for Labour Employment and Local Government.Top




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BIZ BRIEFS

Bullion
Gold Std Rs 4550
Gold 22-Ct Rs 4400
Silver Ready Rs 7845
Silver delivery Rs 4400

Forex
US $ Rs 43.57/58
Stg Rs 68.72/74
Euro Rs 42.04/06
Yen (100) Rs 40.70/72

Hero-Puch-EZ
LUDHIANA, March 6 (FOC) — The new model of Hero Puch, Hero-Puch-EZ was launched here, today, by Mr O.P. Munjal, Chairman, Hero Cycles. The new model would cost around Rs 25,000 with a mileage of approximately 50 km.

Reliance Ind
NEW DELHI, March 6 (TNS) — Reliance Industries today announced the launch of “Analog cotton trouser fabric” under the “Vimal” brandname.

BLB shares
NEW DELHI, March 6 (TNS) — A leading stock broking company, BLB Limited, has decided to split the face value of its equity shares from Rs 10 at present to a face of Re 1, company release said today.

ANZ Bank
NEW DELHI, March 6 (TNS) — The ANZ Grindlays Bank today launched “corporate executive accounts,” which provides value added services like cash delivery at their office, cheque pick ups from the office and a first year fee waiver on the bank’s global credit card.

ISO 14001
CHANDIGARH, March 6 (TNS) — JK Industries, today received the ISO 14001 certification for Environment Management Systems. JKI is the first tyre company in India to receive this certification for its multi-location operations. Mr B.R. Chodhary, Minister for Forests and Environment, Rajasthan presented the certification to Mr Raghupati Singhania, MD of the company.

Motorola
CHANDIGARH, March 6 (TNS) — Motorola manufacturer and marketer of cellular phones, today introduced the dual band Motorola V2088, from the distinctive Motorola V series family, as the latest entrant in its cellular portfolio.Top




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