Thursday, November 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Prasar Bharati notices to 15 firms
New Delhi, November 21
With around 60 defaulting agencies owing it Rs 185.26 crore, the Prasar Bharati has gone on a dues recovery spree, issuing legal notices to nearly 15 companies. However, the public broadcaster’s biggest defaulter is the NFDC, which owes it over Rs 20 crore. The NFDC, a government body, has been asked to pay the amount though no legal action has been taken against it.

Rs 200 cr fund for watershed project
New Delhi, November 21
A Rs 200 crore fund has been created for development of watershed project in the country from which State Government can avail loans, the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh said here today.

Spice concessions for mobile users
Chandigarh, November 21
Gearing up for competition, Spice Telecom is offering concessions to consolidate and expand its existing customer base of 2.20 lakh built with an investment of Rs 1,600 crore on infrastructure in Punjab in five years.

IDBI Principal AMC opens office in city
Chandigarh, November 21
Mr Shivender Mohan Singh, Director and CEO, Fortis Health Care today inaugurated the office of IDBI Principal Asset Management Company in Sector 35 here.

Farm sector advances post 5.3 pc fall
Chandigarh, November 21
The current economic situation warrants strong action in terms of investments in industrial as well agricultural sectors, said Mr S.S. Kohli, Chairman and Managing Director, Punjab National Bank (PNB), while addressing the 78th meeting of the State Level Bankers’ Committee(SLBC), Haryana, here today.



EARLIER STORIES

 

Crude oil production dips
New Delhi, November 21
Crude oil production slipped 2.3 per cent to 18.511 million tonne in the first seven months of the current fiscal as opposed to 18.951 million tonne crude oil produced in April-October 2000-01.

SBP net profit rises 45.75 pc
Patiala, November 21
The State Bank of Patiala today declared its gross profit at Rs 286.51 crore for half year ending September 30, 2001. Although the net profit of the bank has shown an increase of 45.75 per cent over last year, atleast Rs 700 crore of the bank’s money is struck as Non-Performing Assets.

Central Bank net at 54 cr
Mumbai
Central Bank of India has posted a cent per cent improvement in net profit at Rs 54 crore during the six month period ended September 30. In the last fiscal year, the net profit was Rs 46 crore after making all provisions towards voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and bad accounts.

Reliance Life may get licence
New Delhi, November 21
Reliance has decided to go slow in its life insurance venture and is expected to get licence from Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) after August 2002.

HLL technique to protect iodine in salt
New Delhi, November 21
Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) has announced a major technological breakthrough that prevents the loss of iodine from salt.

Govt borrowings

ROUND-UP

Smallest mobile phones by China
Beijing, November 21
A Chinese telecommunications manufacturer has started selling the world’s smallest GSM mobile phones, a media report said today.

  • LNJ Bhilwara seeks loan
  • Philips to hike stake in arm

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Prasar Bharati notices to 15 firms

New Delhi, November 21
With around 60 defaulting agencies owing it Rs 185.26 crore, the Prasar Bharati has gone on a dues recovery spree, issuing legal notices to nearly 15 companies.

However, the public broadcaster’s biggest defaulter is the NFDC, which owes it over Rs 20 crore. The NFDC, a government body, has been asked to pay the amount though no legal action has been taken against it.

Among the production houses to which legal notices have been issued are Sanjay Khan’s Numero Uno which owed DD around Rs 16 crore, of which Rs 50 lakh have been recovered, DD sources said.

Numer Uno is also among the 19 companies whose accreditation status has been suspended by the Prasar Bharati because of failure to clear dues. The others include Asia-Pacific Communication Association, Dheeraj Kumar’s Creative Eye, Fame Communications of Mumbai and Ramanand Sagar’s Sagar Enterprises.

These companies have been put on advance payment for current business, the sources said.

The ABCL, which was once its biggest defaulter, has repaid a large part of its dues and owes the Prasar Bharati only the last instalment. Besides ABCL, the Prasar Bharati had initiated legal proceedings against Plus Channel and Multi Channel as well, DD sources said.

The Prasar Bharati has also filed a criminal complaint against Western Corporation Bank, Mumbai, as a bank guarantee given by Srimadhav Poly Production bounced when it was sent for encashment.

As many as 28 agencies have been debarred from doing business with Prasar Bharati which includes Alia Productions, Concept Communications, Advanced TV Network, Kinescope India and Market Movers.

No fresh programme or extension of programmes is given to any defaulting agency or producer unless they agree to come on advance payment for all the running programmes and commit to clear outstanding dues in three or four instalments.

Among the other steps taken by Prasar Bharati to recover its dues are monthly monitoring and regular reminders, asking agencies to follow payment plan to wipe off arrears in three months and forfeiture of bank guarantees.

Of the Rs 185.26 crore of outstanding dues at present, the figure stood at Rs 46.97 crore till 1998-99, at Rs 10.34 crore in 1999-2000, Rs 96.96 crore in 2000-2001 and Rs 30.99 crore in 2001-2002. PTI
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Rs 200 cr fund for watershed project
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 21
A Rs 200 crore fund has been created for development of watershed project in the country from which State Government can avail loans, the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh said here today.

He said of the corpus of Rs 200 crore, the NABARD has contributed Rs 100 crore and an equal amount has been given by the Agriculture Ministry.

Addressing the inaugural function of the national land resource conservation week, the Minister said that in view of the increasing population, efforts should be made to bring about a second agricultural revolution in the country. He said that for the farmer credit has been a big problem, which is being addressed by the government.

The Minister said there should be no apprehensions among the farming community that government is going to end farm subsidies. He said that instead subsidies are being rationalised so that it actually benefits the farmers and there is no leakage.

Pleading for providing input subsidies to the farmers, Mr Ajit Singh said that increasing subsidy amount from input to output side has not really benefited them. He said that the national agriculture policy aims at promoting technically sound, economically viable environmentally non-degrading and socially acceptable use of the country’s natural resources to ensure sustainable development.

Mr Ajit Singh said unutilised wastelands are proposed to be put to use for agriculture and afforestation. Referring to the often raised proposal to tax farming income, Mr Singh said it was a non-issue.

“Since there is a land ceiling of 12 acres for agriculture and average income is Rs 5000 per acre total earnings are Rs 60,000 which leaves hardly any scope for taxation,”.

The minister pointed out non-taxable limit was Rs 50,000 and most of the farmers owned less than one hectare of land so the question did not arise of taxing farm income.
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Spice concessions for mobile users
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Gearing up for competition, Spice Telecom is offering concessions to consolidate and expand its existing customer base of 2.20 lakh built with an investment of Rs 1,600 crore on infrastructure in Punjab in five years.

A resident of Punjab and Chandigarh can now own Spice mobile phone for Rs 2,850 — Rs 2,500 as the cost of a hand-set and Rs 350 as the rental.

As a result, the number of mobile users is growing rapidly in Punjab. This reflects in the sales figure of Spice Telecom, which has doubled in the last six months. The number of subscribers, which stood at 1.37 lakh in the last calendar year, has shot up to 2.20 lakh now.

The Mohali-based company today came out with two new plans — Spice Bonanza and Spice Bonus. Explaining them, the company Managing Director, Mr Vinod Sahney, told The Tribune that the Spice Bonanza scheme offers free incoming calls for a one-time fee of Rs 6,000, benefiting high mobile usage consumers who will get 35 per cent reduced outgoing rate and save 56 per cent in the monthly airtime charges.

The other plan Spice Bonus offering lower rental is targeted at the entry-level subscribers who use their mobile phones primarily for receiving calls. These plans will come into effect from the next billing cycle for the existing subscribers, but are available for new subscribers immediately. The Existing subscribers can log in requests for change on the IVR number 996 and deposit the membership fee.
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IDBI Principal AMC opens office in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Mr Shivender Mohan Singh, Director and CEO, Fortis Health Care today inaugurated the office of IDBI Principal Asset Management Company in Sector 35 here.

“IDBI Principal AMC is the first provider of Life Stage Investment Solutions in the country and in keeping with its expansion plans, the company now looks forward to provide its global expertise in the investment management services business to the retail investors and business community here”, said Mr Sanjay Sachdev, CEO and MD of the company .

The branch will offer investment options like cash management fund, income fund, balanced fund, child benefit fund, growth fund, tax savings fund and equity fund of IDBI Principal and its other financial products and services, Mr Sachdev added.
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Farm sector advances post 5.3 pc fall
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The current economic situation warrants strong action in terms of investments in industrial as well agricultural sectors, said Mr S.S. Kohli, Chairman and Managing Director, Punjab National Bank (PNB), while addressing the 78th meeting of the State Level Bankers’ Committee(SLBC), Haryana, here today.

The performance of bank in Haryana between September 2000, and September, 2001, was reviewed at the meeting which was convened by PNB .

He said the disposal of recovery certificate cases filed under the Haryana Agricultural Credit Operations and Miscellaneous Provisions Act was quite low and 17,364 cases worth Rs 29.11 crore were still pending. At least 76 per cent of these cases were pending for more than a year and member banks need to ensure expeditious disposal of the cases.

Mr Kohli said the agricultural production is expected to register a growth of 7.5 per cent this year compared to last year’s negative growth of 5.8 per cent. The encouraging agricultural growth is likely to spur growth in the industrial sector as well. The banks have been advised by the Finance Minister to cover all eligible farmers under the Kisan Credit Card scheme within three years and to provide personal insurance package to them.

He emphasised the need to improve the performance of the banking sector in financing to Self-Help Groups for upliftment of the poor in the state.

Speaking about the performance of the banks he said 19 new branches of commercial and regional rural banks were opened during the review period. While the total deposits increased from Rs 17,843 crore to Rs 20,809 crore (16.6 per cent growth), the advances increased to Rs 8,222 crore during the period.

The growth in advances to the agricultural sector registered a decline of 5.3 per cent. The growth this year was 15.3 per cent compared in 20.6 per cent last year.

Mr LM Goyal, Chief Secretary, Haryana, said despite liberalisation and consequent changes in the economic policy, the priority sector and rural development continues to be the priority of the state and therefore, timely credit facilities must be made available to agriculture, rural development, small scale industries and the export sector.

Mr Virendra Nath, Financial Commissioner, Institutional Finance and Credit Control, Haryana, Ms Keshani Anand Arora, Director Institutional Finance and Credit Control, Mr A.K. Bhargava, General Manager, PNB (North zone), Mr U.S. Kohli, GM, Punjab and Sind Bank, Mr A Ramanathan CGM Nabard, Mr Ayub, GM, RBI, the New Delhi and the senior officers of banks and state were also present during the meeting. 
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Crude oil production dips
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 21
Crude oil production slipped 2.3 per cent to 18.511 million tonne in the first seven months of the current fiscal as opposed to 18.951 million tonne crude oil produced in April-October 2000-01.

Crude oil production, however, rose 1.1 per cent to 2.80 million tonne in October 2001 as against 2.769 million tonne produced in the same month last year, according to latest data released by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural gas.

While refinery production at 8.998 million tonne in October 2001 was 3.3 per cent lower than 9.309 million tonne in the same month last year, refinery throughput was 2.6 per cent higher at 61.268 million tonne in the first seven months of current as compared to 59.739 million tonne in April-October last year.

Refinery capacity utilisation was lower at 94.1 per cent in October as compared to 97.4 per cent last year. However, in April-October 2001, refinery capacity utilisation was 92.8 per cent, higher than 90.7 per cent of the same period last year.
Top


 

SBP net profit rises 45.75 pc
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 21
The State Bank of Patiala today declared its gross profit at Rs 286.51 crore for half year ending September 30, 2001. Although the net profit of the bank has shown an increase of 45.75 per cent over last year, atleast Rs 700 crore of the bank’s money is struck as Non-Performing Assets.

Net-profit per employee of the bank on annualised basis has increased from 1.23 lakh as on March 2001 to 2.06 lakh. The authorities also informed that Kisan Credit Cards for an amount of Rs 78.97 crore have been issued up to September 2001.

Speaking on the occasion Mr A.K. Purwar, MD of the bank said that the bank has a total number of 334 computerised branches and plans to computerise another 72 branches by March 2002. He added that various steps are being taken to improve the ambience and interiors of all its branches .

Likewise earnings per share on share of Rs 100 improved to Rs 992 on annualised basis from Rs 651 as on March, 2001.

Mr Purwar informed about the various new loan schemes like Total Home Loan for the purchase or construction of houses and purchase of home accessories. A special loan scheme under the name of’ “Annapurna” has also been started to facilitate women to sell food tiffins. 
Top


 

Central Bank net at 54 cr

Mumbai
Central Bank of India has posted a cent per cent improvement in net profit at Rs 54 crore during the six month period ended September 30. In the last fiscal year, the net profit was Rs 46 crore after making all provisions towards voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and bad accounts.

Disclosing this, Bank Chairman and Managing Director Dr Dalbir Singh said that the performance was in line with the expectations as the bank completed the first year of its five-year revival programme. Under the programme, it would reduce its Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) to below 2 per cent by the end of fiscal 2005 from the current level of 9.1 per cent. UNI
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Reliance Life may get licence

New Delhi, November 21
Reliance has decided to go slow in its life insurance venture and is expected to get licence from Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) after August 2002.

IRDA Chairman N. Rangachary said today Reliance Life has obtained “in principle” approval, but it would get the licence once it submits its infotech plans expected by August 2002.

Reliance, which decided to go solo for yet another green-field venture, has already obtained licence for its general insurance venture.

Currently, IRDA is awaiting capital infusion from Dabur CGU and AMP Sanmar before giving them the licence. The two companies have obtained in principle nod from IRDA.

IRDA is also processing the applications of Sahara Life and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) General Insurance proposals. PTI
Top


 

HLL technique to protect iodine in salt
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 21
Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) has announced a major technological breakthrough that prevents the loss of iodine from salt.

HLL’s breakthrough technology has been patented in India as well as several other overseas countries.

The new technology encapsulates iodine in a manner that it not only prevents its loss during storage and transportation but also during Indian cooking conditions.

Executive Director (Foods) of HLL Gunender Kapur said that Annapurna, HLL salt brand, will made available immediately in the market which will be processed under the new technology.

Professor Madhu G Karmarkar, Senior Adviser, the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, said iodine deficiency is one of the serious health issues facing the country.

“In India 278 million people are at risk of iodine deficiency disorders which leads to goiter and has an impact on the mental development of growing children”.

Mr Kapur said the new technology enables the minimising of loss of iodine, especially in storage, transportation and cooking and, therefore, it assumes importance.

According to M.R. Gandhi of the Central Salt and Marine Chemical Research Institute, “one of the main problems of iodised salt is the loss of iodine under conditions of storage and cooking”.

Even under the regulations of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act it is being recognised that up to 50 per cent of iodine may be lost in storage and transportation alone. In addition, there are losses arising in Indian cooking conditions which further reduce the actual intake of iodine, he said.
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Govt borrowings

New Delhi, November 21
Centre’s gross borrowings would amount to Rs 1,03,750 crore constituting 87 per cent of the borrowing target for 2001-02 after the successful issue of floating-rate bonds issue worth Rs 2,000 crore today. PTI
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ROUND-UP

Smallest mobile phones by China

Beijing, November 21
A Chinese telecommunications manufacturer has started selling the world’s smallest GSM mobile phones, a media report said today.

Two types of the phones — known as the C6088 and C6288 — are about 70 per cent of a name card in size and 66 grams in weight, or 70 per cent lighter than the mainstream mobile phones, a spokesman for the Beijing Shouxin Co. Said yesterday.

The sleek mobile phones have been developed in cooperation with US-based electronics major, Agere Systems, the report said. PTI

LNJ Bhilwara seeks loan

NEW DELHI: The LNJ Bhilwara group has sought Rs 600 crore loan from ICICI, IFCI and the Power Finance Corporation to part-finance the 192 MW Allain Duhangan hydro-electric power project in Himachal Pradesh. Its Chairman Ravi Jhunjhunwala told PTI here.

To begin with the project, for which 90 per cent of clearances are in place, will be financed in 70:30 debt-equity ratio and may ultimately go up to 80:20 debt-equity ratio, he said. PTI

Philips to hike stake in arm

MUMBAI: Royal Philips Electronics (Philips) of the Netherlands, the parent company of Philips India Ltd, today informed SEBI of its intention to make an open offer to the minority shareholders of Philips India to buy 17.1 per cent representing the outstanding public holding in the company, at a price of Rs 105 per share.

The company also intends to exercise its option of delisting the company if its shareholding crosses 90 per cent.

A company release here stated the offer price of Rs 105 per share offers a premium of 35 per cent over the closing price of Philips India at BSE on November 20, 2001 and a premium of 48 per cent over the SEBI mandated price. UNI

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BIZ BRIEFS

IRDA Hq
New Delhi, November 21
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) would shift its headquarters from Delhi to Hyderabad by February, IRDA Chairman N. Rangachary said here today. PTI

ICRA rating
Chandigarh, November 21
ICRA has assigned an A2 rating to the Rs 100 million commercial paper programme of Hero Corporate Services Limited (HCSL). This rating which indicates high safety takes into account financial strength of the Hero group and their expression of support for the rated instrument. TNS

Shalimar Paints
Kolkata, November 21
Kolkata-based Shalimar Paints said today it was planning to shortly launch state-of-the-art Colour Tinting Systems (CTS) for its premium range of products. PTI

Sony
New Delhi, November 21
Japanese electronics major Sony today announced its first B2C, (business to consumer) initiative ‘Sony-Sambandh.com’ for targeting the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) consumers. PTI
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