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Cut in petro prices under study, says Deora
New Delhi, November 6
With a $19 fall in the price of crude oil per barrel in the international market since the oil price hike, Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said today the government was examining the impact of falling prices on oil companies to overcome losses on fuel sales. "We will be happy to reduce (retail) prices, if possible," Mr Deora said.

Banks asked to rebalance credit growth
FM launches tax return preparers scheme
New Delhi, November 6
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today asked public sector banks (PSBs) to re-balance their portfolios and increase deposits to head off any liquidity shortage due to mismatch between deposits and credit growth. At a meeting with the Chairmen of PSU banks, he asked the Indian Banks Association (IBA) to see how banks could increase deposits.

Germany to offer work permits to Indians within four weeks 
New Delhi, November 6
Indian companies, their employees and other Indians having an offer of employment in Cologne will get a German work permit within four weeks of their applications, Mr. Fritz Schrammma, Lord Mayor of the city of Cologne, said here today. Mr Schramma, who along with a business delegation representing German companies, called on Minister of State for Industry Ashwani Kumar this evening, also invited Dr Ashwani Kumar to Cologne next summer.


 



 

Sachin: decision to part ways with Airtel mine
Mumbai, November 6
Scoffing at media reports that his poor performance on the field caused Bharati to dump him as the brand ambassador of Airtel mobile phone services, ace batsman Sachin Tendulkar said the decision to part ways with the company was his own. Tendulkar, who signed a multi-crore contract with Canon to promote its photographic equipment in India said the contract offered by Airtel did not match his expectations.





Canon signs on Sachin: Tendulkar shakes hands with Mr Kazuto Ogawa, President and CEO of Canon Singapore, after signing the agreement of his appointment as a global brand ambassador of Canon in Mumbai on Monday. — PTI photo

Canon signs on Sachin: Tendulkar shakes hands with Mr Kazuto Ogawa, President and CEO of Canon Singapore, after signing the agreement of his appointment as a global brand ambassador of Canon in Mumbai

Rigs shortage derails RIL drill plan in K-G basin
New Delhi, November 6
Facing difficulties in getting rigs, Reliance Industries will drill lesser number of wells than committed earlier on its prolific D6 block in the Bay of Bengal before production starts in mid-2008.

Rare medicinal plant found in Arunachal after 115 years 
New Delhi, November 6
A rare endangered medicinal plant, which was believed to be extinct, has been rediscovered after 115 years by a team of botanists in Arunachal Pradesh's Upper Subansiri district.

Heritage liquor on Palace on Wheels 
Jaipur, November 6
State-run Ganganagar Sugar Mills (GSM), engaged in the production of country liquor, has proposed to serve what it calls 'heritage' liquor on the world's most luxurious heritage train — the Palace on Wheels.

Sodhi: stock market manipulation exists
Chandigarh, November 6
Justice N.K. Sodhi, Presiding Officer of the Securities Appellate Tribunal, has cautioned against too much hoopla over the recent instances of some stock market manipulators being caught and punished. A former Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, Justice Sodhi said, "While SEBI has been adopting a proactive approach to check unscrupulous elements from rigging the market to make quick bucks, these things can't be stopped altogether.
                                                     Justice N.K. Sodhi

Justice N.K. Sodhi

Insurance scheme for diabetics
New Delhi, November 6
ICICI Prudential Life Insurance has launched a first of its kind critical illness insurance scheme “Diabetes Care” for people with type 2 diabetes.

UPL acquires Australian Co
Pune, November 6
Uma Precision Ltd (UPL), a leading precision engineering solution provider, has acquired Australian company Edwards Repetition Pty Ltd.

Hexaware acquires US company: Hexaware Executive Chairman Atul Nishar along with Focusframe CEO Vaughn Paladin  and President Suri Chawla
Hexaware acquires US company: Hexaware Executive Chairman Atul Nishar along with Focusframe CEO Vaughn Paladin  and President Suri Chawla  after Hexaware acquired Focusframe for $34.3 million in Mumbai on Monday. — PTI

HAL ties up with Rolls Royce
New Delhi, November 6
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has signed an MoU with Rolls Royce, a leading global provider of power systems and services, to collaborate on engine component design and manufacturing in India.

Woodland to set up 60 new stores by 2008
New Delhi, November 6
Woodland has embarked upon a major expansion plan that envisages doubling the production capacity and setting up 60-70 new retail stores in the next two years. We would invest about Rs 10 crore to set up three new facilities in Uttaranchal to cater to the increased demand," Woodland Shoes Managing Director Harkirat Singh said.

Intex to invest Rs 100 cr in Baddi unit
New Delhi, November 6
IT hardware and electronics company Intex Technologies will foray into manufacturing of 'Home UPS' systems with an investment of over Rs 100 crore at its existing facility in Himachal Pradesh.

PSB hikes FCNR, NRE interest rates
New Delhi, November 6
Punjab and Sind Bank has hiked the interest rates on foreign currency, non-resident bank deposits and NRE term deposits w.e.f. November 1.

 

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Cut in petro prices under study, says Deora
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 6
With a $19 fall in the price of crude oil per barrel in the international market since the oil price hike, Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said today the government was examining the impact of falling prices on oil companies to overcome losses on fuel sales. "We will be happy to reduce (retail) prices, if possible," Mr Deora said.

The government in June raised the price of petrol by 9.2 per cent and of diesel by 6.6 per cent when the global crude price had soared over $72 a barrel. The move eased a little of the pressure on state-run refineries saddled with losses.

There has been demands for a cut in the petrol/diesel prices from political parties of two extreme shades - the Left and the Right.

CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked for its review following a fall in the international crude prices. From the peak $71 per barrel in May, the crude price has now come down to $55 per barrel, the Left leader wrote, ''I hope you will take necessary steps to reduce the prices of diesel and petrol to the pre-June, 2006, level.''

"We are working out the arithmetics to see if there is a scope for any reduction," Mr Deora said.

However, the companies are making a profit of Rs 4.50 a litre on petrol sale. But on diesel, they are still losing Rs 1.55 per litre. They are losing Rs 151 on the sale of every 14.2 kg LPG cylinder and Rs 14 on every litre of kerosene.

"There is need to have a look at the possible revenue losses to oil public sector companies (PSUs) due to falling global crude oil prices," Mr Deora said.

Mr Deora said a decision on cutting the petrol and diesel prices, which were raised by Rs 4 and Rs 2 a litre, respectively, on June 5, would depend on the extent of oil bonds the government will give to oil companies to cover their losses on LPG and kerosene sale and the contribution to be made by upstream firms like the ONGC.

India imports 70 per cent of its crude oil requirements.

The profit made in the sale of petrol and diesel is used to subsidise the prices of kerosene and LPG under the administered pricing mechanism. However, as per the roadmap for dismantling of the APM for petroleum products, the subsidy on PDS kerosene and domestic LPG was to be phased out by March 31, 2005. This deadline was extended by two years to March 31, 2007. But now the ministry wants to extend it indefinitely.

Mr Deora says the retail selling prices of LPG would have to be raised by Rs 150 per cylinder and PDS kerosene by Rs 14 per litre to bring them at par with the cost of production.

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Banks asked to rebalance credit growth
FM launches tax return preparers scheme 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 6
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today asked public sector banks (PSBs) to re-balance their portfolios and increase deposits to head off any liquidity shortage due to mismatch between deposits and credit growth.

At a meeting with the Chairmen of PSU banks, he asked the Indian Banks Association (IBA) to see how banks could increase deposits.

"If there are any issues to be addressed by the government, we will take care of these and if there are issues to be addressed by the Reserve Bank , I will request the RBI," Mr Chidambaram said.

Later, he launched the ‘tax returns preparers (TRP) scheme,’ that will enable income tax assesses get help of the TRPs in filing returns free of cost up to a certain limit

During the current financial year, 5,000 TRPs would be trained on a pilot basis at 100 centres in 80 cities across the country.

The minimum qualification for undergoing training as TRP, he said, would be a graduation degree in commerce, law, economics, mathematics, statistics and management.

Earlier, he said, banks' credit had been growing at 30 per cent while deposits had been lagging behind at 20 per cent.

There was no liquidity crisis but there could be one in the long run if credit portfolios were not rebalanced and deposits not increased, Mr Chidambaram said.

The Finance Minister said re-balancing of portfolios should ensure that credit to productive sectors of the economy was not denied.

Bankers said sectors like real estate and personal loans had been witnessing excessive credit growth.

Last week, the RBI raised its main lending rate by 25 basis points to 7.25 per cent, noting that demand for bank credit was growing at more than 30 per cent a year for the third year in succession above an objective of 20 per cent set in its monetary review last April.

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Germany to offer work permits to Indians within four weeks 
Bilateral trade up by 35 per cent
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 6
Indian companies, their employees and other Indians having an offer of employment in Cologne will get a German work permit within four weeks of their applications, Mr. Fritz Schrammma, Lord Mayor of the city of Cologne, said here today.

Mr Schramma, who along with a business delegation representing German companies, called on Minister of State for Industry Ashwani Kumar this evening, also invited Dr Ashwani Kumar to Cologne next summer. Dr Kumar accepted the invitation.

Notably, during the first seven months of the current financial year (April-October 2006), two-way trade between India and Germany has registered a record growth of over 35 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Dr Kumar said India would be the partner country at the International Tourism Bourse in Berlin in March, 2007, stressing that this indicated the deepening of Indo-German engagement in recent years.

Foreign Direct Investment FDI from Germany in the recent years has registered a substantial increase making Germany the sixth largest investor in India with a cumulative investment of $1.58 billion.

In the first quarter of 2006, approved investment from Germany in India has increased to euro211 million as compared to euro72 million in 2005 and euro160 million in 2004.

Companies like Siemens and Bosch plan to expand their existing capacities in the country. Siemens plans to invest euro600 million in the next three to four years. It has bagged orders to modernise the hot rolling plant at Bokaro Steel Plant and to build a power plant for the Torrent group.

Companies like SAP AG and BMW planned to expand their business interests in India. BMW's investment in its Chennai plant is expected to generate massive employment.

The Lord Mayor invited Indian IT and bio-tech firms to Cologne and also to develop greater linkages with small and medium enterprises in India. He also expressed interest to have one of the private airlines such as Jet or Kingfisher to consider Cologne as a base for their operations in Europe.

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Sachin: decision to part ways with Airtel mine
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, November 6
Scoffing at media reports that his poor performance on the field caused Bharati to dump him as the brand ambassador of Airtel mobile phone services, ace batsman Sachin Tendulkar said the decision to part ways with the company was his own.

Tendulkar, who signed a multi-crore contract with Canon to promote its photographic equipment in India said the contract offered by Airtel did not match his expectations. “The brand became number one during my three-year association with it,” Tendulkar said. “The contract has now ended... I don't make compromises on contracts," he added. The sportsman, however, did not reveal if the company refused to raise his fees or in fact asked him to lower his price.

Media reports quoting sources from Bharati had stated that the batsman's poor form in the recently-concluded Champions Trophy played a major role in the parting of ways.

Tendulkar along with Russian tennis sensation Maria Sharapova are now the major brand ambassadors of Canon. However, ads featuring Tendulkar is likely to be targetted at cricket-playing countries in general and Indians in particular.

Canon said it had roped in Tendulkar to mark its tenth year of operations in India.

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Rigs shortage derails RIL drill plan in K-G basin

New Delhi, November 6
Facing difficulties in getting rigs, Reliance Industries will drill lesser number of wells than committed earlier on its prolific D6 block in the Bay of Bengal before production starts in mid-2008.

Reliance Industries has revised its development plan for Dhirubhai 1 and 3 discoveries in Block D6 committing to drill only 22 wells before first production as against 34 wells committed in the field development plan (FDP) approved by the government in 2004, Oil Ministry sources said.

While doubling the output from field to 80 million standard cubic meters per day, the company in its revised FDP submitted to upstream regulator DGH last month, committed to drill 50 wells to produce gas from Dhirubhai 1 and 3. But of these, only 22 would be drilled by 2008-09 and the rest later.

The sources said the rise in investment commitment to $5.2 billion in the revised FDP was also mainly due to the 250-300 per cent jump in rig hire charges. Industry pundits said had Reliance continued with the original FDP and not completed the 34 committed wells, it might have attracted severe penalty for not fulfilling commitment.

A senior company official, however, said the interest of the government and consumer lied in delivering volumes, which the company was giving more than it promised and on time.

Meanwhile, the company said today it was in talks with state-run firms Indian Oil Corp and GAIL (India) Ltd to form separate joint ventures for city gas distribution projects.

The company is planning a foray into selling gas to households and commercial units through pipelines and CNG to automobiles.

“We are in talks with both. We have proposed to form a joint venture with GAIL where it has a network and permission to lay pipelines and supply gas to users.” 
— PTI

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Rare medicinal plant found in Arunachal
after 115 years

New Delhi, November 6
A rare endangered medicinal plant, which was believed to be extinct, has been rediscovered after 115 years by a team of botanists in Arunachal Pradesh's Upper Subansiri district.

Begonia Tessaricarpa, last seen in 1890, was found growing in the wild in Upper Subansiri and Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh by Kumar Ambrish and M. Amadudin, scientists of the Botanical Survey India (BSI).

Known to local Adi and Tagin tribes as "Buckuchurbu" and "Rebe", respectively, the plant is used by them to treat stomach aches and dehydration.

"We have found four or five plants of Begonia Tessaricarpa in Arunachal Pradesh," Ambrish, a scientist with the Arunachal Pradesh Field Station of the BSI, told PTI from Itanagar.

The plant was first mentioned by British botanist C.B. Clarke in 1879 and again in 1890, but had not been reported since then.

"This species is still surviving in a few pockets of Arunachal Pradesh and was found growing in damp rocky crevices," said Ambrish, who reported his discovery in the peer review journal Current Science. — PTI 

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Heritage liquor on Palace on Wheels 

Jaipur, November 6
State-run Ganganagar Sugar Mills (GSM), engaged in the production of country liquor, has proposed to serve what it calls 'heritage' liquor on the world's most luxurious heritage train — the Palace on Wheels.

The luxury train, coaches of which are modelled after those that belonged to the erstwhile rulers of the princely states of Gujarat and Rajputana, the Viceroy of British India and the Nizam of Hyderabad, would soon stock these heritage liquor brands too.

Billing the heritage liquor as an innovative product, GSM sources said the brew was based on the formulae and recipes of liquor that was once popular among the 'Thikanas' (house of nobles) in the erstwhile princely states of Rajasthan. But these formulae had fallen into disuse following the merger of the princely states with the Union of India between 1947 and 1950.

Ganganagar Sugar Mills introduced four summer brands in June and another batch of four will be introduced in winter. It will also sell a 16 ml gift pack of such liquor in different airlines and five-star hotels in the country. In all, 16 former royal families have so far entered into a tie-up with GSM, which pays a royalty on the sale of such heritage brews.

However, there are some royal families who have shared the recipes without charging any fee. GSM sources said the initial response to the heritage brand was quite encouraging with over Rs 1 crore having already accrued to the company. Among the brands that have become popular are Royal Jagmohan and Royal Kesar Kasturi.

These liquor varieties, apart from having a link with history and royalty, have strong medicinal and digestive values and are liked by connoisseurs of art and drink, the sources added. — PTI 

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Sodhi: stock market manipulation exists
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Justice N.K. Sodhi, Presiding Officer of the Securities Appellate Tribunal, has cautioned against too much hoopla over the recent instances of some stock market manipulators being caught and punished.

A former Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, Justice Sodhi said, "While SEBI has been adopting a proactive approach to check unscrupulous elements from rigging the market to make quick bucks, these things can't be stopped altogether.

Talking to The Tribune during a short visit to the city, Justice Sodhi maintained that investors' faith in stock markets had not shaken due to acts of the likes of Ketan Parekh and Harshad Mehta.

"After the Harshad Mehta scam, the SEBI Act was amended by Parliament, giving more teeth to the market regulator. But I still feel there is a room for more", he said. Asked whether there was a need to regulate the market in a better way, Justice Sodhi replied in the affirmative.

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Insurance scheme for diabetics
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 6
ICICI Prudential Life Insurance has launched a first of its kind critical illness insurance scheme “Diabetes Care” for people with type 2 diabetes.

Initially, the product will be available in 12 cities in the country with the sum assured variants of Rs 3 lakh, Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh and for the term period of five years.

“With over 20 per cent of the world’s diabetic persons, ICICI Prudential aims to provide better care and financial support to the diabetics,” said company CEO & MD Shikha Sharma.

She said the individual covered would receive payment of the sum assured on diagnosis of any of the six critical illnesses associated with diabetes like cancer, heart attack, renal failure etc. Besides, the policyholders can also get 10 per cent of the sum assured for diabetes-related eye and limb complications.

She also said the product would reward policyholders by reduced premiums by up to 30 per cent.

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UPL acquires Australian Co

Pune, November 6
Uma Precision Ltd (UPL), a leading precision engineering solution provider, has acquired Australian company Edwards Repetition Pty Ltd.

UPL has purchased all assets of the 32-year-old, well-established company, manufacturing precision components for the automobile and white good industry. The deal includes the goodwill of the business and the right to the business name.

UPL had earlier acquired Bangalore-based Gera Auto Industries Pvt Ltd, and acquired a 75 per cent stake in Kontak Comforts Pvt Ltd.

Company MD and CEO Rajendra Z Kankaria said, “We have incorporated a company in Australia, Edwards Repetition Uma Precision Australia Ltd, which will market the products earlier manufactured by Edwards”. — UNI

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HAL ties up with Rolls Royce

New Delhi, November 6
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has signed an MoU with Rolls Royce, a leading global provider of power systems and services, to collaborate on engine component design and manufacturing in India.

The MoU, which would allow a broader partnership between the two companies, could potentially include a variety of work in India relating to design, manufacture and assembly of components for Rolls Royce engines across various aerospace segments, an HAL statement said here.

HAL currently manufactures under licence the Rolls' Adour engine for the Jaguar deep- penetration strike aircraft of the IAF. The Adour-871, to be manufactured by HAL, would also power the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers for India whose deliveries are likely to start next year, it said.

Rolls Royce and US-based Bell Helicopter Textron are also partnering on a proposal to the Indian Army for its Shen Helicopter programme, for which it has offered the Bell-407 helicopter powered by Rolls Model 250 engines. — PTI

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Woodland to set up 60 new stores by 2008

New Delhi, November 6
Woodland has embarked upon a major expansion plan that envisages doubling the production capacity and setting up 60-70 new retail stores in the next two years. We would invest about Rs 10 crore to set up three new facilities in Uttaranchal to cater to the increased demand," Woodland Shoes Managing Director Harkirat Singh said.

The company currently has a production capacity of 6,000 pairs of shoes per day. The new units, likely to be ready by 2007-end, would take its capacity to 10,000-12,000 pairs.

The new stores would come up in metros and Tier-I cities and would take the total number of exclusive Woodland stores to 195. — PTI

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Intex to invest Rs 100 cr in Baddi unit

New Delhi, November 6
IT hardware and electronics company Intex Technologies will foray into manufacturing of 'Home UPS' systems with an investment of over Rs 100 crore at its existing facility in Himachal Pradesh.

The 'UPS-cum-inverter', is an advanced type of inverter which will allow users to run their personal computers, besides other electronic items in their homes and offices. The company's existing plant at Baddi currently produces computer peripherals and some electronic items

"We will invest Rs 100 crore in the next two years to expand our existing facility at Baddi. In the first phase, we will pump in Rs 50 crore in January, 2007, for fixed assets and working capital and another Rs 50 crore in early 2008," Intex Technologies National Product Group Head Shio Thakur said. The company will make an independent division with specialized team and channel network for the new segment at the Himachal unit.

It will manufacture about six models of the 'Home UPS' system, which have been priced in the range of about Rs 10,000-15,000. — PTI 

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PSB hikes FCNR, NRE interest rates
Tribune News Servic
e

New Delhi, November 6
Punjab and Sind Bank has hiked the interest rates on foreign currency, non-resident bank deposits and NRE term deposits w.e.f. November 1.

The interest rate on US dollar deposits has been hiked from 5.30 p.a. to 5.34 per cent per annum for one year to less than 2 years, from 5.09 per cent to 5.17 per cent for 2 years to less than 3 years, from 5.01 per cent to 5.12 per cent for 5 years to less than 5 years, from 5.04 per cent to 5.12 per cent for 5 years.

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BRIEFLY

New Mercedes
New Delhi, November 6
DaimlerChrysler India today announced the launch of its new-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class in India. The debutant replaces its hugely popular predecessor which had already sold over one million units globally since its introduction in spring of 2002. Some 2000 parts in the E-class are new or further developments. The new generation E-class is offered in the E280 (petrol) and E280CDI (diesel in V-arrangement) as well as the E 200 Kompressor, which features a modified engine management system, a more dynamic supercharger and improved pistons that results in increasing the output by 12.5 per cent. —PTI

Samsung awarded
Chandigarh, November 6
Samsung India Electronics has been awarded the prestigious “Electronics Company of the Year Award” from the Consumer Electronics and TV Manufacturers Association. Mr Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, presented the award during the CETMA annual function in New Delhi yesterday. — TNS

BoI in China
Beijing, November 6
The Bank of India (BoI) has upgraded its representative office in the southern city of Shenzhen into a full-fledged branch, a month ahead of China's opening up of its banking sector to foreign competition. The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), China's banking watchdog, has granted approval for converting the representative office in Shenzhen into a full-fledged bank, Branch Manager S. Krishnamurthy said. — PTI

Demat fee off
Mumbai, November 6
The Bank of Rajasthan has decided to waive the annual maintenance charges (AMC) of Rs 300 on demat accounts opened during November. This campaign to widen the demat account segment will end on November 30. — UNI

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