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Saturday, August 29, 1998
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Delhi policed with outdated wireless
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 — A modern communication system eludes the Delhi Police as the ministry continues to dither over the selection of an equipment vendor. Two years after it was decided to install an ultra high frequency trunked radio system, there are no signs of the Home Ministry taking a decision.

Gold hits 19-year low
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 — A historic fall in gold prices in Asian market took the domestic bullion market sharply downwards today when both silver and gold collapsing on panic selling and closing significantly lower.

India outperforms Asia-Pacific, says Morgan Stanley
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 — Morgan Stanley Dean Witter’s research team has given India a shot in the arm by picking the country as the relative outperformer of the Asia-Pacific region.


CHICAGO, USA : Sean Lynch sits down on the floor just after the Chicago Board of Trade closed for the day on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 357.36 points on Thursday, extending Wall Street's summer slide to 12.6 per cent. AP/PTI
IT, telecom complex for Gurgaon planned
CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 — The Hartron is developing an information technology and telecom complex at Gurgaon.

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‘Government should keep off business’
CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 — “The government has no business to be in business”, said Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary, Finance, Punjab, while addressing a meeting of the State Level Export Promotion Committee organised by Punjab National Bank here today.

PSIEC to promote cottage industry
FARIDKOT, Aug 28 — The Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation, with the assistance of Central Development Commissioner, handicrafts has set up a dari and carpet weaving training centre at village Panjgrain in this district to promote village cottage industry.

Minimum wages hiked
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 — The Centre has directed the states and the Union Territories to raise the minimum wages from Rs 35 to Rs 40 per day. In a communication addressed to all the Chief Ministers, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee said that this has become necessary in view of the rise in the floor level of the consumer price index during the last two years.

Suitable for software units
CHANDIGARH: “Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula have the ingredients of having a good software industry — good quality of life, excellent educational facilities and communication infrastructure.

‘Intranet increases efficiency’
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 — Intranet solutions can enhance organisational efficiency, experts said here on Friday.Top

 




 

Delhi policed with outdated wireless
Home Ministry dithers about Motorola, Ericsson offers
From T.V.Lakshminarayan
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Aug 28 — A modern communication system eludes the Delhi Police as the Home Ministry continues to dither over the selection of an equipment vendor.

Two years after it was decided to install an ultra high frequency trunked radio system compatible with future systems to replace the existing, outdated and conventional wireless VHF network of the Delhi Police, there are no signs of the Home Ministry taking a decision.

The problem seems to be the selection of the right vendor for supplying the sophisticated equipment.

A specialised sub-committee chaired by the Director, Police Wireless and consisting of members from the Department of Telecommunications, Electronics and the Delhi Police had shortlisted in 1996, the bids by two telecommunication giants, Motorola and Ericsson.

Though in the final best offer made by the two companies, Motorola’s Astro Smart Zone System at Rs 14.21 crore was costlier by over Rs 2 crore than the system offered by Ericsson, the sub-committee selected Motorola as the technical specifications of its system was found more suitable for the Delhi Police.

The sub-committee’s proposal was finally considered at a meeting held on January 6, 1998, under the chairmanship of the then Union Home Minister, Mr Indrajit Gupta, and it was decided to procure the system offered by Motorola.

However, when it came to taking the final decision on the proposal, Mr Gupta decided to defer the issue till the elections were over since, in his view, this important decision committing the government to a heavy expenditure should not be taken by a “caretaker” government.

After the BJP-led coalition government took over, the two firms got active again and made representations for an early decision. Ericsson made various representations to the government claiming that its system was technologically superior to that offered by Motorola. All such claims were duly forwarded to the sub-committee for an examination. However, the committee reiterated its earlier decision and maintained that the system offered by Motorola was technically superior in every respect to the system offered by Ericsson.

Even as the Home Ministry takes its own time to arrive at a decision, there have been alarming reports on the efficiency of the existing communication system with the Delhi Police. Some television and radio sets have reportedly picked up wireless conversation of the police because they work on the same technique as that used in the wireless sets of the Delhi Police.

Several MPs have also made a representation to the Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, saying the latest and sophisticated telecommunication system had become absolutely necessary for the Delhi Police. They expressed concern over the reports that television sets were able to catch Delhi cops’ secret messages.

The Home Minister on his part has carried out an independent exercise to ascertain the genuineness of the sub-committee’s proposal. After a detailed examination, the Home Ministry officials have categorically recommended the case of Motorola.

The Home Ministry also told the Delhi High Court in response to a public interest petition that it proposed to procure a UHF Digital Trunked Radio System, for the Delhi Police.

In a recent affidavit filed in the Delhi High Court, the government reiterated its stand saying it was considering a scheme for modernisation of the police control room by installation of the state-of-art UHF trunked radio communication system to make the police communication system more effective and reduce the response time to distress calls.Top


 

Gold hits 19-year low

NEW DELHI, Aug 28 (PTI) — A historic fall in gold prices in Asian market took the domestic bullion market sharply downwards today when both silver and gold collapsing on panic selling and closing significantly lower.

Marketmen said gold hitting a 19-year lower level at US $ 272.45 an ounce in Hong Kong, almost $ 8.70 lower from previous level, as Australian producers continued selling their holding amidst the melting down of global stocks and Forex markets, was the concern of traders here.

Silver today nose-dived by Rs 230 at Rs 7270 per kilo and gold by Rs 115 at Rs 4060 per 10 gram.

They said Japanese stock index and Australian dollar touching 12-year lows also influenced the trading sentiment.

Some dealers said they were reluctant to identify any key support levels since the market was mainly influenced by the global financial developments.

The weak Australian dollar, which translated into a higher gold price in Australian dollar terms, triggered the producer sales, they said.

Deepening Russian financial woes sent key Forex and bullion markets in Asia spiralling lower on panic selling against any buying support.

A leading Delhi-based jeweller O.P. Verma said a further fall in the rouble amidst falling Forex and stock markets throughout the world influenced the traders’ sentiment and they resorted to panic selling.

Silver .999 (ready) plunged to a recent low level of Rs 7270 per kilo, revealing a loss of Rs 230 from last level. Silver weekly delivery also dropped by Rs 240 at Rs 7320 on lack of speculative buying.

Silver coins were seen quoted Rs 200 lower at Rs 10,200/10,400 per 100 pieces.

Standard gold and ornaments were significantly lower by Rs 115 each at Rs 4050 and Rs 3900 per 10 gram respectively. Sovereign lost Rs 50 at Rs 3400 per piece of eight gram on reduced offtake.

The quotations: Silver .999 (ready) 7270, delivery 7320, coins buyer 10,200 and seller 10,400. Standard gold 4050, ornaments 3900 and sovereign 3400. Top


 

‘Intranet increases efficiency’
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Aug 28 — Intranet solutions can enhance organisational efficiency, experts said here on Friday.

Intranet, unlike LAN and ERP systems, is based on Internet derived technology for internal flow of information.

Participating in a seminar “Intranet : fostering cutting edge technology” organised by the Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad, here. Mr Sanjiva Dubey, Principal, Consultancy Group India, said that “Intranet has the potential to radically reorganise the way information is created and exchanged in an organisation”.

Mr Atanu Ghose, Associate Director, Price Waterhouse, said that “knowledge management” within an organisation can be extremely useful through intranet solutions.

Intranet packages can also help connecting employees across a large organisation by creating “virtual project teams” and “virtual meetings”.

“The employees of an organisation can actually conduct projects and hold meetings without actually meeting each other in reality”, Mr Ghose said.Top


 

India outperforms Asia-Pacific,
says Morgan Stanley

NEW DELHI, Aug 28 (UNI) — Morgan Stanley Dean Witter’s research team has given India a shot in the arm by picking the country as the relative outperformer of the Asia-Pacific region.

The research team has reiterated Morgan Stanley’s over-weight position in India in its Asia-Pacific model portfolio of 12 per cent versus an MSCI Asia-Pacific current weighting of 8.9 per cent.

“The market valuations in India still appear supportive,” the Morgan Stanley team remarked. Although commodity and agricultural sectors show weakness, technology, finance and consumer companies are reporting good numbers, it noted.

Reiteration of Morgan Stanley’s overweight position in India comes within months of some of the international credit rating agencies downgrading the country’s sovereign rating.Many analysts had described the downgrading of rating as unjustified in the backdrop of investors’ confidence being still intact.Against the initial target of about $ 2 billion, the Resurgent India Bonds raked in over $ 4.16 billion, signifying that the overseas Indians still feel confident about their investment in the country.

Observing that the overall results for the first quarter of financial year 1998-99 showed an earnings improvement of 8.7 per cent over year, with sales growing by 8.2 per cent, the Morgan Stanley team predicted a 10 per cent earnings growth in the current financial year.

“On the MSCI P/BV (price/book value), the market is trading at 1.7-times BV and 1.5 times prospective 1998 book. This is a 50 per cent discount to the four-year average.”Although a comparison of India with the rest of Asia may show that valuations on the basis of P/BV are higher in the country, the premium can be justified.

“First, India continues to show earning growth. Second, book value is not being eroded because of losses. Third, the cost of funds is still below the return of equity,” the Morgan Stanley team said.Importantly, it found “India is operating under normal circumstances, unlike most other Asian economies”.

In terms of trailing P/BV on the MSCI, India is 2.2. Since 1990, the Indian market has traded under 2.8-times book in 17 months.

The ensuing 12-month performance of the equity market when it traded under 2.8-times book was 39.7 per cent, with a standard deviation of 34.8 per cent.“This is the second best-performing quartile with the most favourable standard deviation of returns,” it added.Top


 

IT, telecom complex for Gurgaon planned
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 — The Haryana State Electronics Development Corporation (Hartron) is developing an information technology and telecommunication complex (ITT) at Gurgaon over 2.5 acres at a cost of Rs 50 crore to cater to the needs of software exporting, electronics, computer and other related units.

Infrastructure facilities, which include an earth station, tele-conference, Internet and e-mail, are being proposed in this complex.

Stating this here today, the Haryana Minister of State for Electronics, Mr Bhim Sain Mehta, said 40 sheds had been constructed in Gurgaon at a cost of Rs 6.5 crore for the electronics industry and possession would be handed over this year. Twenty five more sheds constructed at the same site would be allotted as per the new industrial policy.

An electronics hardware technology park spread over 50 acres has been set up by Huda and Hartron at Gurgaon.Top


 

‘Government should keep off business’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 — “The government has no business to be in business”, said Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary, Finance, Punjab, while addressing a meeting of the State Level Export Promotion Committee (Punjab & Chandigarh) organised by Punjab National Bank here today.

Emphasising a hands-off policy, Mr Kashyap said the government should develop infrastructure and cut red-tapism to create an industry-friendly environment and to boost exports.

The Punjab Government plans to develop Amritsar, Ludhiana and Bathinda as economic growth corridors. The government has declared 1998-99 as the “infrastructure year”.

Mr K.R. Chabria, Executive Director of PNB, said to boost the sagging exports, the Ministry of Commerce has announced a package of measures, including 2 per cent reduction in interest rates on pre-and-post-shipment credit.

The Centre has set up an eight-member cabinet committee on foreign trade (CCFT) headed by the Prime Minister. The committee would review the export performance and take steps to achieve the targeted 20 per cent growth of exports in 1998-99.

Mr S.K. Chawla, General Manager, PNB, said between April 1,1997, and March, 1998, banks in Punjab handled an export turnover of Rs. 4204.78 crore against Rs. 3641.08 crore transacted during 1996-97. This has been possible due to the co-ordinated efforts of various agencies.

Mr K. Vijayaraghavan, RBI General Manager, said that “Export or perish” is the slogan for the 1990s. The RBI now acts as a facilitator rather than regulator to promote exports.

Mr Vijay Kain, Secretary, IF&B (Pb), Mr C.Roul, Director, IF&B(Pb), Capt Narinder Singh, MD, PSIEC, Mr D.S. Guru, Director, Industries; Mr R.P Gupta, General Manager, PNB, Northern Zone, were amongst those who attended the meeting. Top


 

PSIEC to promote cottage industry
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Aug 28 — The Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) with the assistance of Central Development Commissioner, handicrafts has set up a dari and carpet weaving training centre at village Panjgrain in this district to promote village cottage industry.

In the beginning a batch of 25 to 50 women in age group 17 to 35 will be imparted one year free training. During training they will get a stipend of Rs 250 per month. Different kinds of raw material including woollen yarn will also be provided free of cost for weaving the products.

Steps will also be taken to manufacture best quality items to export them in European markets where there is great potential for handloom items. According to Capt Narinder Singh, Managing Director, PSIEC, 100 more centres will be opened in various villages in Malwa region.

Over 100 such centres are already functioning in Majha and Doaba region in Punjab and nearly 5,000 women have been trained under the scheme. There is also a plan to establish 70 embroidery centres in the Malwa region in the next three months.

The Managing Director said that the state government was approaching the Central Government to allocate adequate funds to visualise cottage industry at mass scale in Punjab.Top


 

Minimum wages hiked
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Aug 28 — The Centre has directed the states and the Union Territories to raise the minimum wages from Rs 35 to Rs 40 per day. In a communication addressed to all the Chief Ministers, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee said that this has become necessary in view of the rise in the floor level of the consumer price index during the last two years.

He urged them to take necessary steps for the upward revision of the minimum wages and requested them to ensure its implementation by periodic inspections. He said this is essential to achieve the objectives of the Minimum Wages Act, an official said today.

Mr Vajpayee pointed out that the national agenda for governance seeks to make labour in both the organised and unorganised sectors, an equal and proud partners in national production and progress. It also envisages that laws relating to equal pay for equal work, both for men and women are strictly implemented.Top


 

Suitable for software units

CHANDIGARH (TNS): “Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula have the ingredients of having a good software industry — good quality of life, excellent educational facilities and communication infrastructure. But the state governments in this region must re-look at policies on information technology (IT) products,” says Mr Ram N. Aggarwal, president, Manufacturers Association for Information Technology (MAIT).

Elaborating, Mr Aggarwal, who represents a body that has 125 corporate members engaged in manufacture or service of IT products, says even though Punjab is considered the richest state in the region, IT penetration in the state is low.

There are two personal computers (PCs) per 1,000 persons in India, as compared to the average of 17/1,000 in China and 450/1,000 in the USA. Given the general affluence in the region, there should be a penetration rate of at least 10 PCs per person, he maintains.

He is not so positive about the political awareness about IT here.There is high political awareness in Delhi but not in other states, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra being prominent exceptions that have a well-defined IT policy. Industry is concentrated in the South, and there is hardly any IT presence in the region, specially in the hardware sector, except in Parwanoo.

This can be remedied by evolving a common IT-friendly policy for the region, maintains Aggarwal, pointing out that while the Centre has given the incentive of no sales tax on IT products, Punjab has a tax of 8.8 per cent, Chandigarh 4 per cent and Haryana 2 per cent.

Achiever
NEW YORK (IANS): An Indian American may have found the key to building the fastest computers yet. Researchers are examining his algorithm to make quantum mechanics the basis of high speed complex computing in the future. “The question arises as to what extra computational power could be gained if a computer could be made to follow quantum mechanical principles instead of the laws of classical physics,” asserts Lov Kumar Grover of Lucent Technologies’ Bell-Labs, New Jersey.

All computers manufactured so far are based on the laws of classical physics. However, Grover says, “the true laws of nature are quantum mechanical” and his formula could greatly expedite the important task of database search.

Grover developed his algorithm in 1996 and since then several new applications have been suggested for it. His work has been written about in several scientific journals as well as popular science magazine and newspapers like The New York Times.

Born in Meerut town in Uttar Pradesh, Grover did his Bachelors in Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, in 1981 and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University, California, in 1984. He then joined Bell-Labs, but took a break to teach at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, during 1987-1995.

Cyber laws
NEW DELHI (PTI): The government is yet to take serious note of legal issues concerning Internet service providers (ISPs) and laws regarding intellectual property rights (IPR) protection over the Internet, says Mr Dewang Mehta, executive director of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom).

A “Digital Signature Act” has been drafted and is awaiting approval of the Ministry of Law and Justice. “Electronic (E-) commerce does not really exist in India,” adds Mr Mehta who was in Delhi on Thursday to attend the world conference on Internet.

With the advent of E-commerce, it would be difficult to keep a tab on the “black economy” as people can easily store and transact cash on the Net, which is a major problem for them with hard currency says, Arun Mehta, Managing Director of Delhi-based Indatacom Pvt. Ltd.

Supreme Court lawyer Pawan Duggal feels though the development of cyber laws is still in its infancy worldwide, India is totally ill-equipped to tackle the onslaught of cyber crimes.

Roaming
NEW DELHI (PTI): Essar Cellphone has launched the country’s first international automatic service between India and Switzerland.

The service will enable Indian cellphones to roam in Switzerland and Swiss phones to roam in India.

Indian subscribers will be billed in Indian rupees for using the facilities in Switzerland.

Essar Cellphone is a member of he global connect roaming alliance which launched India’s first national automatic roaming service in June last.

Languages
NEW DELHI (UNI): Hotmail is mulling the idea of creating Indian language sites, according to its CEO Sabeer Bhatia. The company, which was recently bought over by Microsoft, is planning to introduce instant message service by the year-end, to be followed by e-mail paging services.Top


 

Biz briefs

Bajaj Electricals
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 (UNI) — Bajaj Electricals Limited has reported a net profit of Rs 1.39 crore in the first quarter of 1998-99 against Rs. 1.11 crore in the corresponding period in the previous year. The net sales during the period was higher at Rs 68.26 crore against Rs 55.86 crore. The gross profit before interest, depreciation and taxation also increased to Rs 4.37 crore from Rs 3.50 crore. The sales in previous accounting year ended on March 31, 1998 amounted to Rs 312.65 crore. The Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Shekhar Bajaj said that to take care of additional requirements of funds, it is proposed to double the authorised share capital of the company to Rs 20 crore by issuing one crore redeemable preference shares of Rs 10 each.

SBP drive
CHANDIGARH, Aug 28(TNS) — State Bank of Patiala, Phase 7, Mohali branch organised a tree plantation drive at the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Niper), Mohali. Over 200 saplings were planted. The drive was inaugurated by Dr C. L. Kaul, Director, Niper and Mr J.S. Mann, Assistant General Manager, State Bank of Patiala, Chandigarh.

Forex rates
MUMBAI, Aug 28 (PTI) — The following are Interbank Forex rates (in rupees per unit — buyer/seller. U.S. $ 42.52/53, Sterling 70.10/13, Deutsche Mark 23.74/76, Jap Yen (100) 29.67/69. The RBI reference rate was Rs 42.54.

Car loans
CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 (TNS) — Bank of Punjab has decided to offer loans for vehicles, including all models of Maruti, Opel Astra, Honda City, Ford Escort, Fiat Uno, Cielo, Mercedes Benz, Tata Sumo, Sierra and Estate. depending on the make/model of the car, up to 90 per cent of the value of the vehicle can be financed for a period extending up to 5 years.
Top


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