|B U S I N E S S||
Tuesday, November 3, 1998
Tourism to get export house
over raid on EOU
Anti-dumping duty on
station to bridge the gap
Tourism to get export house status
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 The Union Minister for Tourism, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, today announced that tourism will be accorded export house status.
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Khurana said a decision to this effect was taken recently at a meeting with the Commerce Minister, Mr Ramakrishna Hegde and the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha.
He said a notification to this effect would be issued within a week.
With this, Mr Khurana said, tourism will get all those incentives that are available to export houses and said he hoped the foreign exchange earning would be over Rs 12,000 crore per year.
He said after evaluation of all aspects of the demand by those in the trade, it was felt that there is a need to give such a recognition to the tourism units to boost to foreign earnings, employment and income generation through tourism.
The Ministry also found it necessary to revise downward of threshold limits for eligibility of such status in tourism, he said adding that it would be half of the existing limits for other exporters.
The scheme will be purely as an initial incentive for two years and according to it tourism units earning Rs 6 crore as foreign exchange would be recognised as export houses.
The benefits that are available to recognised export houses includes entitlement of special import licence (SIL), free trading of SIL, import of several equipments under SILs, waiver of bank guarantee for imports and import of cars against foreign exchange earnings.
The units will also be given income tax exemption and as per incentives, it was decided that balance amounts of profits accruing should be allowed to be invested in equity shares of various tourism segments including hotels.
Another decision was that the Ministry will take up with Finance Ministry proposals for reduction in import duties of identified items needed by the tourism industry.
Mr Khurana said the meeting also considered the issue of extending zero duty to tourism units under the export promotion of capital goods scheme and relaxing the threshold limit which at present is Rs 20 crore.
He said it was decided that such limit in case of imports required by the tourism sector will be reduced from Rs 20 crore to Rs 1 crore and in case of imports made by tourism units identified as tourism export houses.
Rs 43 crore net
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 The India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) today presented Rs 12.15 crore dividend cheque to the Union Government. The cheque was presented by the Director-General (Tourism), Mr Ashok Pradhan, to the Union Tourism Minister, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, at a function here.
During 1997-98, the ITDC
achieved a gross operating profit of Rs 60.97 crore and a
net profit after tax of Rs 43.30 crore on a turnover of
Rs 313.20 crore, a corporation release said. The direct
foreign exchange earnings of the ITDC also rose during
the year to Rs 110.65 crore, it said adding that in view
of the performance the corporation declared 20 per cent
dividend amounting to Rs 13.50 crore.
Punjab moots IT corporation
CHANDIGARH, Nov 2 The Punjab Government is likely to set up a Punjab Information Technology Services Corporation to ensure speedy execution of information technology projects of various government and semi-government organisations, according to official sources.
The corporation may be set up under the Companies Act as a new entity or carved out of the existing companies like Punwire, ESPL or PCL by amending the Memorandum of Articles.
The corporation is to consist of a core team of not more than 75 experts with international exposure and a good track record of handling large-scale networking projects.
According to the Punjab Governments Information Technology Plan, IT clusters will be formed under the corporation by involving the best available talent from the government, the private sector and academics.
Department-wise clusters are also proposed for restructuring different departments and streamlining existing procedures and practices.
The organisation will not recruit permanent staff but outsource its requirements. It is proposed to have a core team of highly paid professionals on contract for advising government departments on computer applications.
An important task of the proposed corporation will be the management of hardware and software configurations in government agencies.
It will also work out a
model contracts for sourcing of information systems and
services; (b) guide the development of government
Internet and Internet services linking distributed data
warehouses in different departments, and (c) take up
standardisation of systems.
BOB chief favours equity dilution
MUMBAI, Nov 2 (PTI) Bank of Baroda (BOB) Chairman K Kannan today favoured further equity dilution in the bank by the government to enable it to go in for a sizeable global depository receipts (GDR) issue and maintain capital adequacy ratio (CAR) at the current level of 12 per cent.
Kannan said the government could have control over the bank even with a 26 to 30 per cent holding.
The present 66.22 per cent government holding did not provide BOB with an option to tap the GDR market with a sizeable issue as government holding needs to be kept at 51 per cent.
Talking to reporters after
a press conference held to brief on the banks
performance during April-September 1998, Kannan said the
Narasimham Committee had also recommended dilution of
government equity stake to 26 per cent.
Indigenisation of technology vital
CHANDIGARH, Nov 2 Indigenisation of technology of services has been of paramount importance. But we had lagged behind in this area, in the past, said Lieut-Gen BKN Chhibber (retd), while inaugurating Air98 at CII here this morning.
The two-day show has been jointly organised by the CII and 3 Base Repair Depot.
The General said that the nuclear explosions by the neighbouring country, terrorism and economic sanctions have changed the threat perception of the country. The need of the hour was to modernise defence forces and keep them in operational readiness all the time. With disintegration of the erstwhile Soviet Union and financial crisis faced by the CIS countries, it was very expensive and difficult to import spares needed for weaponry and equipment of defence forces of the country. Reliance in spares was the only solution. Though the process of indigenisation was initiated in the 70s, it did not pick up the requisite pace.
General Chhibber further said that the aviation field was providing a major economic opportunity to the industry in the country. He called upon industrialists to take up this opportunity and maintain high standards and stringent quality controls to meet the demands of the defence forces.
Air Marshal S.S. Gupta, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, said that indigenisation was the only way to maintain the equipment efficiency. The yearly requirement of spares ran into a couple of thousands of rupees and since there has been 300 to 800 per cent escalation in their prices, it was better to support indigenisation for self-sufficiency.
He said that the life span of defence equipment, including aircraft, was 30 to 40 years. For the entire life span, this equipment had to be in a state of total readiness and there cannot be any compromise on its quality and service. The Union Government was targeting to achieve 70 per cent indigenisation by 2003. The IAF wanted to achieve self-sufficiency in some areas of indigenisation in the next couple of years, he added
Air Commodore Arvinda Aggarwal, Air Officer Commanding, 3 Base Repair Depot, said that Air98 was an effort to forge a long-term, synergic and mutually beneficial relationship with the industry.
Earlier, Mr IS Paul, Chairman, CII Chandigarh Council, said that it was the third event of its type. The first one was held in Nasik and the second in Bangalore where the defence forces and industry were interacting. Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, Deputy Chairman, CII, Northern Region, said that because of economic recession everywhere, the industry was on a look out for new areas. Defence was one such sector.
General Chhibber also
inaugurated an exhibition of various products which have
been either indigenised or need to be indigenised. The
major attraction of the show, however, has been a MI-17
helicopter of the IAF, which landed in front of the CII
headquarters here and remained there throughout the day
for the general public.
Agitation over raid on EOU
LUDHIANA: The ongoing dharna by traders against the Sales Tax Department started following a raid on an export-oriented unit here. The department wanted details of the sale of an import licence which could be obtained through a mere letter.
The department has started an intensive campaign on the plea that growth in sales tax revenue is just 0.9 per cent when the adjoining and other states are showing a hefty growth of 12 to 15 per cent. The campaign has a green signal from the Chief Minister and the Finance Minister.
Ever since the installation of a popular government in 1992 sales tax collection has become a thorny issue for industry. During Presidents rule when military was at its peak the growth in C.S.T revenue went up as high as 35 per cent. On the face of it the charge of large-scale evasion by industry and trade looks hollow.
The sales tax Act amended by the previous government to give sweeping powers to officials. Amended Section 14-B has become a dreaded weapon against the dealers. Goods-carriers are intercepted at will on flimsy grounds like papers look suspicious; hand writing of bill and goods receipt is the same etc
During recession when sales are down, revenue cannot go up. A mere comparison with other States does not justify the strong hand in tax collection. Haryana, for instance, has had more capital investment on industry which is turning into higher revenue. It has to put more sale tax burden on the public to compensate loss due to prohibition. Unlike Punjab, passenger and goods tax is with the Sales Tax Department. On computers and other costly electronic goods tax rates are very low compared to Punjab.
Similar is the case with
Chandigarh. Buyers in Punjab, therefore, buy most of such
things from outside causing revenue loss. The entire
trade and industry has joined hands in this agitation.
The government should defuse the situation by withdrawing
the F.I.R against the exports unit.
Anti-dumping duty on acrylic fibre
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 The Commerce Ministry has levied anti-dumping duty on the import of acrylic fibre from Japan, Portugal, Spain and Italy.
According to trade sources, the significant portion of the notification issued by the anti-dumping division in the Minister is the proposal to levy variable duty by fixing the reference price for each country. The duty levied will be in the range of a minimum of Rs 20 a kg to Rs 28 kg.
This mean that any exporting unit trying to intensify dumping would be adequately punished. This would give a boost to the sluggish fibre market which has been witnessing an accumulation of stocks.
Earth station to bridge the gap
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 The setting up of the countrys most advanced dedicated earth station at International Technology Park in Bangalore will bridge the gap between the advanced multimedia environment available overseas and that which is currently offered in India.
According to Mr Amitabh Kumar, Acting Chairman and Managing Director of the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), which set up the facility, the dedicated high capacity earth station facility will bridge the gap between the advanced multimedia environment available overseas with the narrowband infrastructure currently being offered in India.
The VSNL will make available very high band with ATM and Internet access over local area networks to provide a multimedia operating environment at the IT park complex in Bangalore he said in a statement here.
The earth station, inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, yesterday has been constructed at a cost of Rs 30 crore on the roof of the IT complex. It has been named Sir M.Viswesweriya satellite earth station after the great statesman and engineer of Karnataka.
It is for the first time
in the history of Indian communication that such a large
earth station has been set up exclusively for a software
complex to providing complete multimedia corridor within
the complex linking to the global multimedia super
highway around the globe
PAKISTAN has avoided defaulting on foreign loans by paying the World Bank over $ 36 million, thus paving the way for a high-level World Bank IMF team to come to Islamabad later this week to finalise a $ 5.1 billion bailout package.
The debt service payment was made ahead of the expiry of the 60-day grace period.
The World Bank-IMF team is tentatively scheduled to arrive on Wednesday (November 4), but may be delayed by a day or two.
The visit of the delegation has been made possible by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who assured the resident chiefs of the World Bank and the IMF about the government decision to abide by the terms of donors.
The government has taken significant steps, including constitution of a high-level committee to deal with the controversial Independent Power Producers (IPPs) which would submit the report within 30 days. ANI
Just when international lending institutions are hesitant to bail out Pakistan from its current financial crisis, foreign banks have begun denying confirmation of this countrys letters of credit.
Because of this denial, Pakistan failed to get any response for its international tenders to import one lakh metric tonnes of fertilisers about two weeks ago. The Frontier Post of Peshawar has quoted sources to say that the required fertilisers cost $ 140 million but no foreign bank wants to take risk of confirming letters of credit due to liquidity crunch faced by Pakistan. UNI
The Privatisation Commission of Pakistan has given Rs 3.6 billion to 3,000 employees of the 87 state-owned enterprises under the golden handshake and voluntary retirement schemes.
A large number of workers in the public sector had been laid off with a view to making the enterprises viable.
Workers in 11 cement plants, seven engineering plants, 18 edible oil units, 20 rice and roti plants, five newspapers and seven from miscellaneous organisations have been given the golden handshake and accompanying benefits.
The additional benefits paid to these employees were more than what the International Labour Organisation (ILO) had prescribed. ANI
Radio fee loss
The Pakistan government is losing Rs 400 million every year in radio licence fees following a sharp decline in the number of radio set owners in the country.
Pakistan, with a population of 130.5 million, has less than half-a-million radio sets, that is, one radio set for every 300 Pakistanis.
Figures from the Pakistan
General Post Office show that only 4.7 million radio
licences were issued between July 1997 and June 1998 this
year. However, five years ago, nearly 700,000 radio
licences were issued.
NEW DELHI, Nov 2 (PTI) Silver continued to roll down on the bullion market today on the lack of buying support and closed with further losses. Gold reduced by 82 cents at U.S. $ 292.48 per ounce. Todays quotations: Silver .999 (ready) 7450 and delivery 7480. Silver coins buyer 10,800 and seller 11,000. Standard gold 4300, ornaments 4150 and sovereign 3700.
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