SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

FDI proposals worth Rs 1,290 cr cleared
Decision deferred on 27 proposals
New Delhi, March 23
The reasons for deferring the proposals has not been given The government today approved 14 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposals worth Rs 1,290 crore. However, as many as 27 proposals were deferred

The reasons for deferring the proposals has not been given

India a land of opportunities, says Buffett
Bangalore, March 23
Famed billionaire investor Warren Buffett today said his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway would look at possible acquisitions in India as and when there were opportunities.

Indian hospitality overwhelming
Warrenn Buffett with Infosys CEO K Gopalakrishnan at a CII function in Bangalore on Wednesday Bangalore: Indian hospitality today received a strong endorsement from the world’s third richest man, Warren Buffett, who said he was treated much better here than back in the US.

Warrenn Buffett with Infosys CEO K Gopalakrishnan at a CII function in Bangalore on Wednesday. — PTI



EARLIER STORIES



SEBI announces new code of conduct
New Delhi, March 23
Taking cognizance of rumours spread by stock brokers and their employees through blogs and e-mails on stock movement, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has directed that a strict code of conduct be put in place.

FCI not to pay farmers directly
Chandigarh, March 23
Punjab is likely to contribute 11 million tonnes of wheat to the Central pool in this procurement season. However, this year, too, farmers will not get direct payment for their produce from the procurement agency, the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

Demand for additional power security amount irks industry
Ludhiana, March 23
Punjab’s industry, already facing a liquidity crunch, might soon have to shell out more cash. The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission has directed the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) to take additional security amount from industrial consumers. Incidentally, even the PSPCL has been delaying the issue of notices it has to pay a steep rate of interest on these deposits.

Hyundai launches spruced up Accent
New Delhi, March 23
Having lost market share to increasing competition, the country’s second largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), today launched a spruced up Accent 2011 edition. It will be available at a price of Rs 501,900 (ex-showroom, New Delhi ).

Strike at GM plant enters second week
Halol (Gujarat), March 23
Labour unrest at carmaker General Motors India's Halol facility entered the second week today, causing a loss of production of over 100 units each day.

Lottery operators demand tax hike rollback
Chandigarh, March 23
Lottery operators across Punjab have urged the state government to roll back the hike in taxes imposed on lottery draws of other states. Sanjay Agnihotri, president, Lottery Stockist Association, Punjab, said that arbitrary increase in lottery tax by Punjab government would encourage illegal lottery trade in Punjab, besides hitting tax revenue from industry to state exchequer.

 





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FDI proposals worth Rs 1,290 cr cleared
Decision deferred on 27 proposals
Sanjeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 23
The government today approved 14 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposals worth Rs 1,290 crore. However, as many as 27 proposals were deferred, including four projects in which investment was to be routed through Bangladesh.

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), which falls under the Finance Ministry, gave its nod to Kolkata-based Dhunseri Investments’ FDI proposal worth Rs 715 crore. The company had proposed to issue and allot equity shares to the non-resident shareholders upon demerger.

Ghir Investments got the approval of the Board for induction of foreign equity in an investing company. The Mauritius-based company proposes to bring in FDI worth Rs 530 crore. Pipavav Shipyard’s proposal to undertake additional activity relating to defence sector was also approved.

However, a decision on the proposals of Essar Capital Holdings, Forbo Holding AG, Switzerland, Punj Lloyd, Netmagic, Ut Starcom, Kale Consultants, Sejong, Korea, Arshiya International among others was deferred.

Punj Lloyd had put in a proposal to undertake additional activities of manufacture, assembly and repair of defence equipment. Proposals from Rahimafrooz Batteries, Bangladesh, Pran Beverages, Southern CNG, Kolkata and Mango Holding, Bangladesh related to were also deferred.

The reasons for deferment were not spelt out in the FIPB’s official statement. 

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India a land of opportunities, says Buffett

Bangalore, March 23
Famed billionaire investor Warren Buffett today said his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway would look at possible acquisitions in India as and when there were opportunities.

“This is a country (India) on the move,” the legendary investor said at an interactive session organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Prefer not to be born rich

Warren Buffett today said he had been enormously lucky with his business ventures but added he would prefer not to be born rich. When asked how much of luck had contributed towards his success, the world's third richest man admitted: "I have been enormously lucky. I had very, very lucky genes." 

The 80-year-old, who is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, is on his maiden visit to India. India offers "all kinds of opportunities," he said.

Buffett noted that when some large Indian entity looks for a new permanent home, they do not forget him. At some point in the next six months or two years or five years, when some large Indian corporation looks for a "permanent new home" and believes that Berkshire Hathaway is "best place in the world", they "don't forget me", he said.

The conglomerate had recently forayed into the Indian non-life insurance sector as a corporate agent of Bajaj Allianz General.

Buffett, often called the "Oracle of Omaha", said India is a very big country with a large number of significant businesses.

Praising India and China, he said both the countries were "exploding" in terms of opening up human potential. It's not as if the two countries are working harder than before; it's just that they are working smarter, and responding to the needs of their societies, he added.

On Tuesday, Buffett said his company continued to look at large countries like India because it needs to make "large commitments". "India is the logical place to look (to make large commitments). So, I hope I spend some money here (India)," he had said.

Terming his company's entry into India as "better late than never", the world's third richest man had said that he understood (companies) that are into soft drinks and chewing gums rather than IT. The legendary investor would be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and insurance sector regulator Irda's Chairman J Harinarayan among others later this week. — PTI

Indian hospitality overwhelming

Bangalore: Indian hospitality today received a strong endorsement from the world’s third richest man, Warren Buffett, who said he was treated much better here than back in the US.

"I am just overwhelmed by the welcome I have received from the moment we got here. They treat me much better in India than they do in the United States," said the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway at a brief meeting with Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa early this morning.

"I want to transport all this... I believe in free trade," he said in a lighter vein.

"We had a great dinner last night... I met some very interesting people, had a great conversation. I couldn't feel more welcome and more delighted to be here," said Buffet, who is staying at Taj West End during his visit to the country.

“This is my first trip to India and the first foot I placed on Indian soil was in Bangalore... and it won't be the last,” said the 80-year-old billionaire.

"When I come back, I will be 100 in 2030," he joked, but quickly added that he planned to come back much before that and was hopeful of seeing business expand here by then.

"We want to be where the action is and the action is here," Buffett, who yesterday admitted to having made a late entry into India, said. — Agencies

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SEBI announces new code of conduct
Sanjeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 23
Taking cognizance of rumours spread by stock brokers and their employees through blogs and e-mails on stock movement, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has directed that a strict code of conduct be put in place.

In a circular issued today, SEBI said that it had been observed that unauthenticated news related to various scrips are circulated in blogs, chat forums and email by employees of broking houses and other intermediaries without adequate caution as mandated by the regulator.

SEBI has directed that employees of market intermediaries do not encourage or circulate rumours or unverified information obtained from client, industry, any trade or any other sources without verification. It has said that access to blogs, chat forums, messenger sites should either be

restricted under supervision or access should not be allowed and any such logs for usage should be treated as records and maintained properly.

It added employees should be directed that any market-related news received by them either in their official mail, personal mail or blog or in any other manner should be forwarded only after the same has been seen and approved by the concerned intermediary’s compliance officer, failing which SEBI would initiate action.

SEBI also pointed out that in various instances, the intermediaries did not have proper internal controls and did not ensure that proper checks and balances governed employees’ conduct.

Due to lack of internal controls and poor training, employees of such intermediaries were sometimes not aware of the damage, which can be caused by circulation of unauthenticated news or rumours. 

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FCI not to pay farmers directly
Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
Punjab is likely to contribute 11 million tonnes of wheat to the Central pool in this procurement season. However, this year, too, farmers will not get direct payment for their produce from the procurement agency, the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

Sources in the FCI said that they will not be able to start the system direct payments to farmers this season.The FCI had tried to start the system of making direct payment of minimum support price (MSP) to farmers last year. However, the implementation was halted, just before the start of the procurement process - allegedly under pressure from the middlemen (commission agents).

However, the corporation would continue to make payments to 90 per cent of commission agents using RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement). The transfer of money takes place from one bank to another on a one-to-one Bill settlement basis. The transactions are settled as soon as they are processed.

Of the 11 million tonnes of wheat expected to arrive in over 1,700 mandis this year, FCI, Pungrain, Markfed and Punsup are expected to procure 22 lakh metric tonnes of wheat each.

The state still has about 52 lakh metric tonnes of wheat stocks lying from the previous years. FCI officials say they are making efforts to move out these stocks so that enough storage space is available for the new produce. “We have been moving 1 million tonnes of wheat from Punjab to other states each month. This month, we are moving over nine lakh metric tonnes of wheat,” he said. 

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Demand for additional power security amount irks industry
Manav Mander/TNS

Ludhiana, March 23
Punjab’s industry, already facing a liquidity crunch, might soon have to shell out more cash. The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission has directed the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) to take additional security amount from industrial consumers. Incidentally, even the PSPCL has been delaying the issue of notices it has to pay a steep rate of interest on these deposits.

PSPCL consumers with bi-monthly bill cycle have to deposit security equivalent to 2˝ months of consumption. Those with monthly bill cycles have to deposit 1˝ months of consumption as deposit.

The Regulatory Commission issued orders for additional security two years ago. At that time, the industry protested and the matter was suspended. “The issue of additional security deposit from industrial consumers of power has surfaced once again. There are various issues involved. No government in Punjab has sympathetic attitude towards industry, although this sector is the ultimate savior of the state," said PD Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Gurpargat Singh Kahlon, president, Auto Parts Manufacturers Association, said the amount in question runs into several lakhs, the industry could not afford to deposit that.

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Hyundai launches spruced up Accent

New Delhi, March 23
Having lost market share to increasing competition, the country’s second largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), today launched a spruced up Accent 2011 edition. It will be available at a price of Rs 501,900 (ex-showroom, New Delhi ).

The new car has a chrome finish front grille. The body coloured waistline moulding now comes with chrome inserts and the Accent 2011 edition also has a chrome garnish over the licence plate.

Arvind Saxena, Director, Marketing and Sales, HMIL said, “The Accent 2011 edition comes with elegant styling which makes it more sophisticated and desirable. It is our effort to gauge customer preferences and keep introducing new features in our products. — TNS

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Strike at GM plant enters second week

Halol (Gujarat), March 23
Labour unrest at carmaker General Motors India's Halol facility entered the second week today, causing a loss of production of over 100 units each day.

On March 16, workers resorted to strike at the Halol facility in Gujarat that has an installed capacity of 85,000 units a year, protesting transfer of some employees to dealership outlets and opposing a long-term wage settlement agreement signed in December last year.

GM India Vice President P Balendran told PTI: "Of about 900 workmen, 550 have reported, while 350 are still absent. Currently we are producing in only one shift." The company is rolling out about 70 units daily compared to 190 units earlier. "The production loss so far is about 600 units," he added. — PTI

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Lottery operators demand tax hike rollback
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 23
Lottery operators across Punjab have urged the state government to roll back the hike in taxes imposed on lottery draws of other states. Sanjay Agnihotri, president, Lottery Stockist Association, Punjab, said that arbitrary increase in lottery tax by Punjab government would encourage illegal lottery trade in Punjab, besides hitting tax revenue from industry to state exchequer.

Punjab has recently raised taxes per draw on card games, keno games and 4 digit lottery. Ever since the hike in taxes, lottery traders have suspended the draw of these lotteries across the state. Several lottery traders were conducting 27 draws per day of lotteries (of Government of Sikkim and Nagaland) and are paying taxes to the tune of Rs 50 crore per annum to Punjab government.

Owners said that instead of increasing the tax, the state government should itself start a four digit lottery. ‘‘We will also start more lotteries of other states which will yield additional revenue. We are planning to add 24 draws of lottery of government of Mizoram from next month, which would generate additional revenue of Rs 40 crore to the state,” he said. 

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BRIEFLY

Parmod Sharma AIBOC Secretary
Chandigarh:
State Bank of Patiala Officers Association’s Organising Secretary Parmod Sharma has been elected Secretary, All India Bank’s Officers Confederation (AIBOC) Punjab Unit. AIBOC is the largest body of officers of public sector banks as well as some private sector banks. — TNS

Ind Swift Labs
Chandigarh:
Ind-Swift Laboratories Ltd has got the USFDA nod for two more drug molecules Temozolomide and Telmisartan. — TNS

Clarification
In a news item, "Three New 5-Star Hotels in Chandigarh" that appeared in these columns on September 13 last year, it was inadvertently mentioned that Gurvinder Juneja is the honorary secretary of Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India. He is not an office bearer of the Association. The error is regretted. — TNS

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