|B U S I N E S S||
Sunday, August 29, 1999
Protect consumers from
GIC Dmat to pay 10 per cent
SBIs remote log-in facility
Ban on diesel vehicles no
solution to cut pollution
Assocham for tax on Internet
SSI posers to political parties
Esteem Super Screening shows
INDIA with its 250 million-strong middle class population, is emerging as a key market for consumer goods and services. At the same time, there are about 300 million Indians living below the poverty line. This is a paradox with which the consumer movement in India has to live and work with.
The purpose of the consumer movement is to protect consumers from all kinds of abuses. In the case of India, it is not only necessary to protect consumers from market abuses, but also to create consumers by increasing purchasing power of people who are living in poverty.
A fundamental requirement for increasing purchasing power is to sustain an economic growth rate of 6-7 per cent per annum, which will create employment opportunities and raise the living standards.
Creation of consumers, as a major goal of the Indian consumer movement, may not be possible unless sustainable development goals are pursued and there is equitable distribution of income and other resources which has a bearing on social inequalities as well.
The next logical question is, how can there be sustained economic growth of around 7.0 per cent per annum along with a per capita income growth rate of 5-6 per cent per annum and 2.0 per cent population growth rate, given the existing economic and political situation in the country.
An important corollary of economic reforms is reforms in domestic policies due to agreements entered into at the international trade forum. Like any other member of the World Trade Organisation, India too has embarked upon reforms in this vital area affecting consumers across the board. The main objectives of Indias trade policy in the post-1991 era have been to:
Attaining these objectives will have important implications vis-a-vis creating, on a sustainable basis, more and more consumers in the country, i.e. in the process of increasing the purchasing power of the poor so that can become players in the market place, and, at the same time, protecting their interests from market abuses.
Agenda at WTO
A related development at the international level is formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The WTO is a body governing and regulating world trade. It consists of several agreements put into a single undertaking i.e. a member country can only be a party to an agreement if it is a party to all other agreements. In simple words, there is an in-built trade-off mechanism involving different WTO agreements. Thus, negotiations at the WTO are of a give and take nature.
The next relevant question is what could be the role of the Indian consumer movement vis-a-vis domestic reforms and international trade policy making. The importance of putting forward an Indian Consumer Agenda at the WTO stems from two fundamental postulates.
First, international trade policy no longer deals with border measures alone. It has bearings on domestic policy reforms as well, thus affecting Indian consumers across the board. For example, the WTO Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights deals with various IPRs, which are all domestic issues per se, but a trade issue as well.
Secondly, to inform
Indian negotiators about the needs and thinking of Indian
consumers vis-a-vis different WTO agreements. This will
help them in putting forward negotiating tools across the
table in a relatively comprehensive manner, i.e. by
balancing the needs of consumers as well as producers.
MUMBAI, Aug 28 (PTI) GIC Dmat, the innovative scheme from GIC Mutual Fund (GICMF) investing in dematerialised scrips, has announced a dividend of 10 per cent, within three months of allotment of units.
GICMF has also tentatively decided to convert two of its close ended schemes GIC Growth Plus and GIC Balanced Fund into open-ended ones, Chief Executive A.R. Prabhu told reporters today.
The Dmat scheme was launched in March this year and started on a bad note managing to mobilise only Rs 15.28 crore. However post-dividend the schemes net asset value stands at Rs 11.91.
Announcing the dividend, Prabhu said that this may not necessarily be the final dividend but an interim dividend if the performance of the scheme is good.
The scheme reopens for subscription from September 1, Prabhu said, adding that it was their aim to hit Rs 50 crore by the end of the current fiscal.
Originally GIC Dmat funds were to be invested in 71 scrips, but this was pared down to 33 scrips while five new scrips were added those of Ashok Leyland, ITC Bhadrachalam, LIC Housing Finance, Thomas Cook and Zuari Industries.
The decision to declare a dividend before the scheme becomes open-ended was deliberately taken to create confidence among the investors, Prabhu said.
Hinduja Finance Corporation Ltds (HFCL) net profit has dipped 63 per cent to Rs 3.11 crore for the year ending June 1999 but the company has declared a dividend of 10 per cent.
The companys total income from operations has also witnessed a fall of 36 per cent at Rs 21.27 crore, HFCL said in a statement after its board meeting here.
Interest out go during the year came down sharply by almost 55 per cent to Rs 4.69 crore as the company retired its long-term debt, HFCL said.
The company has written
off bad debts of Rs 7 crore against Rs 1.78 crore the
previous year, it said and adding that it has made a
provision for diminution in the value of investments of
Rs 22.80 crore against Rs 3.41 crore previous year.
remote log-in facility for customers
CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 Mr Prabhakar Sharma, Chief General Manager of the State Bank of India (Chandigarh circle) inaugurated remote log-in facility for Hero Cycles Ltd. and Malwa Cotton and Spinning Mills, Ludhiana. Now these industrial concerns will be able to see their balances and various transactions in their accounts by overseas branch, Ludhiana and specialised commercial banking branch, Millerganj while sitting in their premises on computer screen.
Mr Sharma said the bank is now offering computerised services at 69 branches in Punjab which shows the banks priority in providing hi-tech facilities to the customers.
For improving the
customer service in Ludhiana, working hours of all the
computerised branches have been extended from 10.00 a.m.
to 4.00 p.m. on full working days and 10.00 a.m. to 1.00
p.m. on Saturdays, Mr Sharma added.
SYDNEY, Aug 28 (DPA) Gays and lesbians will get a chance to invest in their own futures later this year when the Australias Satellite group becomes the first homosexual-focused company to list on any stock exchange anywhere in the world, news reports today said.
Satellite hopes to raise Australian $ 25 million (US $ 16.2 million) through the sale of 50 million shares in its array of gay and lesbian-oriented media and marketing companies.
Satellite founder Greg Fisher said some of the capital raised from the flotation on the Australian Stock Exchange would be used to develop gay-specific retirement homes and resorts.
We expect that well have our first gay retirement home within our first three year of operations, he said.
Also planned is an entry into-e-commerce through products in travel and financial services tailored specifically for homosexuals.
Mr Fisher claimed the company had gained worldwide coverage in the gay and lesbian community that it had become a takeover target for major international financial institutions.
Mr Fisher, a former investment banker dubbed the Pink Baron, said that in Australia alone there was an affinity group of 1.2 million homosexuals which had delivered Satellite publications a circulation base of 6,00,000.
diesel vehicles no solution to cut pollution
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 A decision to ban use of diesel as fuel in private vehicles can be a knee-jerk reaction to the pollution problems of Delhi, as the quality of fuel, better traffic management and absence of a strong inspection, certification and maintenance programme are primary reasons for poor air quality in the capital.
Contrary to popular belief, the main sources of SPM in Delhi is not the transport sector but the industrial and power sector. While industry accounts of 44 per cent (60 tonnes per day), the power sector accounts of 37 per cent (50 tonnes per day) SPM emissions in Delhi. The transport sector contributes 10 per cent ( 13 tonnes per day).
Within the transport sector, 97 per cent of all vehicles in Delhi are petrol driven. Experts point out that diesel driven vehicles, which are only 3 per cent of the total vehicles driven in Delhi, contribute 0.18 per cent of the citys SPM, 0.11 per cent of sulphur oxides and 0.86 per cent of nitrous oxides.
The most polluting, experts point out, are two stroke engines and three wheelers which constitute 60 per cent of the total vehicle population and contribute approximately 70 per cent to vehicular pollution.
Moreover, the SPM problem in Delhi is mainly because of unregulated older generation, in use vehicles. The pollution they create will be reduced by 25 per cent if cleaner fuel is made available. According to experts CPCB figures show that while the number of diesel vehicles has gone up by 50 per cent between 1989-1997, there has been no appreciable increase in SPMs in that period.
The ban diesel campaign is attributed to the Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) a body of experts set up by the Supreme Court to help it is addressing issues on pollution and emissions.
In a report submitted to the Court in early April 1999, the EPCA recommended to the Supreme Court that it should ban any further registration of diesel driven private vehicles.
In addition, old generation, in use vehicles, which are not regulated, are the major contributors to pollution have not been given adequate stress. Experts point out that studies have shown unless something is done to improve their emissions performance urgently there will be little or no impact on the current pollution problem.
recommendations made by EPCA include: improvement in fuel
quality, improved traffic management, phasing out of old
vehicles, conversion of buses over eight-year-old to CNG,
use of alternative fuels, and a proactive inspection,
maintenance and certification programme.
NEW DELHI, Aug 28 (PTI) Assocham has recommended seven services including Internet, cellular and e-mail and dry cleaning to be brought under the tax net.
Apart from this, the chamber has also suggested levying of tax on 13 other services which were either exempted from the levy or could bear some additional burden.
Such a move, according to Assocham, will help the Government to mobilise additional Rs 10,000 crore in the first year. In a representation to the Government, Assocham President K.P. Singh said to maximise the revenue to the Government, the services need to be optimally taxed.
Other services that can
be brought under the tax net are transport services,
motor vehicle repair and servicing, rail travel agents
and work contracts. The 13 services which could bear some
additional burden include big private hospitals private
nursing homes, advertisements in newspapers, and
magazines, beauty shops and health clubs, firms of legal
consultancy and life insurance business.
to political parties
ELECTIONS are around the corner. It is pertinent to pose a few questions to the candidates and the parties before exercising franchise.
Lot of hollow debate has been going on the issue of dereservation of items reserved for SSI sector. Facts no doubt demand re-thinking in the matter. There are items which really deserve reservation while others need scrapping. Bicycle, sewing machine, some auto parts and few other items which are labour intensive should certainly be protected. However, there is high degree of concentration of items in only few hands. Thus, 90 SSI reserved items are reported to be manufactured by only one unit at the national level and a total of 529 items are worked by six or even lesser number of units (Courtesy-Study of Economics Times.) Parties should clarify their stand.
Finance to SSI unit is the most crucial area of concern. Study has shown that of the total NPAs of banks SSIs share is only 30 per cent. Even this figure is the result of transitional period of economy going from administrative mode to market mode. Big projects worth several hundred crores are financed without any collateral security and many of them have gone sick in the past few years. Should not SSI sector be entitled for collateral free finance?
SIDBI is under IDBI. This arrangement is inimical to SSI sector. Should not SIDBI work directly under RBI?
FICCI study has shown that credit worthiness rating of SSI units should be different from that of large units. It is an irony that SSI units are being charged bank interest which is 3 to 4 per cent higher that PLR. On the contrary banks purchase commercial papers of large units at a lower rate than PLR. Hardly any spokes person for SSI sector high-lighted this point. Ask for the parties views and commitment on this very vital issue.
A proposal is afoot to treat bank dues from SSI recoverable as land revenue which means treating this sector as criminal. Should it happen? There is a vivid recent instance where a very large company has defaulted on foreign loan and degraded the countrys rating. The same company is also a big defaulter for several hundreds of crores of rupees. What is the view of parties on these contrasting situations; soft on one and harsh on another.
Revival of sick units is the vital issue today. Large units have full protection and are given all out assistance to revive. Shouldnt there be similar arrangement for SSI sector?
Delayed payment Act has not served any useful purpose. Shouldnt it be replaced? SSI units should be given the facility of bill discounting of receivables from large units.
New ideas on credit to tiny and SSI units are coming. One such idea is the credit guarantee scheme involving industry associations. The RBI is thinking to encourage SSI associations to organise guarantee co-operatives. Will it be given the logical end?
Stress on SSI units is in the larger national interest. This sector is the job creator to ensure socio-economic balance. During 1991-96 India received $ 4.47 billion of FDI which created only 12.08 lakh jobs. Between 1978-91 organised sector ensured job growth of 1.62 per cent which dropped to 0.92 per cent between 1993-96. In Gujarat Rs 45,000 crore investment created only 50,000 jobs while Tamil Nadu with Rs 22,000 crore investment ensured only 11,000 jobs. With this scenario is it not worth-while to concentrate on SSI sector.
The SSI sector is vital
for the prosperity and to ensure peace in the country. It
is this sector which is being hammered by State
Governments in particular. It is the bounden duty of new
Government to protect this sector through positive
policies. Business person in general and SSI in
particular should ensure that their voting rights goes in
the right direction; overlooking other considerations.
Super Screening shows
CHANDIGARH, Aug 28 Maruti Udyog Limited, with an All-India market share of 38 per cent for three successive years, is celebrating its success by inviting customers in Esteem Super Screening shows in the metros and other major cities of India. MUL has already created 1,14,000 satisfied Esteem customers in India and is adding 17,000 Esteem customers every year.
In the Esteem Super
Screenings, three English blockbusters are being screened
tomorrow in three different shows organised at a cinema
house at Chandigarh. Lots of entertainment and prizes for
the lucky Esteem owners is in store during this Esteem
Q:Was termination an act of victimisation for workmens espousal of other employees cause?
Ans: In Delhi Press V.R.N. Mehrotra (1999-I-LIJ-1156) the Delhi H.C. took the view thus:
The claim before the Trinbunal arose from a challenge to the dismissal of the respondent workmen, respondent 2 and 3, by the petitioner. The claim of the management was that there was an automatic termination of the workmens services in terms of appointment and it was neither a case of wrongful dismissal nor a case of wrongful discharge.
The Tribunal has noted that the appointment letters issued were initially for a period of one year and henceforth were extended on year to year basis and it is the stand of the petitioner company that the workmens services automatically came to an end at the expiry of the term stipulated by the last appointment letter. It is also admitted that no letter of termination was given to the workmen.
The Tribunal had disbelieved the stand of the management that the services were terminated as workmen themselves did not make any request for continuation of their services after the expiry of the last appointment letter.
The HC held that the writ petition does not make out any ground for interference with this finding the Tribunal has also recorded a finding that the dismissal was an act of victimisation occassioned by the respondent/workmens espousal of the cause of other employees whose services were also terminated in a similar manner. This finding of fact is also unassailable under Act 226 of the Constitution of India.
Q: I have recently joined job with the Punjab Government. I am expected to get 1,05,000 per annum. With saving of 12,000 per year 1999-2000. Kindly guide me the procedure to calculate the Income Tax and timely suggestions so that I may save myself from Income tax and difficulties later on.
Rajiv Kumar, Amritsar
Ans: From your salary income you would be entitled to standard deduction. You have also contemplated that you are going to make savings for tax rebate u/s 88. Thereafter, on the facts stated by you there will be no liability to Income Tax. However, you must file your income tax return in time.
Q: I am a retired pensioner. I have some income from house property which I have given on rent. While filing my Income Tax Return Form No. 3, I have come across a column Deductions claimed u/s 23. Kindly let me know What are the deductions which can be claimed u/s 23 regarding Income from house property.
2. My Total taxable Income for the Financial Year 1998-99 is 1,30,530. Please let me know which Income Tax Return Form should used by me.
R.C. Sehgal, Dharamsala
Ans: While calculating you income from house property, you will be eligible to claim tax deduction equivalent to žth of the annual value on account of repairs and collection charges. This deduction is available irrespective of the fact whether you spend the money on repairs or not. You are also eligible to claim deduction in respect of actual municipal tax paid by you for the house property. You should file your Income Tax return.
Q: I have purchased a house costing Rs 3,47,400 in the year 1989 by raising loan from the HPHB and HBA from my employer. The interest component on the above was calculated as Rs 1,43,132. Since 1991, I am claiming tax deduction on interest within the limits specified for a self occupied house. So, upto 1997-98, I have claimed tax deduction on interest amount to Rs 56,000. Repayment of the principal amount will continue upto the year 2000 @ Rs 2,000 p.m., whereas the interest component will be paid at the same at the same rate from 2001 to 2004. So, kindly clarify the following:
(a) Whether the annual interest on the balance of loan i.e. Rs 4,250 (after deducting the amounts of instalments paid) or annual accrued interest i.e. Rs 85,000 will be taken into consideration for tax deduction during the assessment year 1999-2000.
(b) Can I continue to avail rebate vide section 88C and tax deduction on interest during the year 2001-2004.
R.N. Barwal, Kulu
Ans: On the facts stated by you will be eligible to claim tax deduction on annual accrued interest to the extent of Rs 30,000 per Financial Year. You cannot avail rebate u/s 88 on account of interest payment. Please remember that the tax rebate u/s 88 is permissible only on payment for purchase or construction of residential house and will include any instalment or part payment of the amount due under any self-financing or other scheme of development authority/housing board etc. etc. It is clearly provided in section 88 that the expenditure in respect of which deduction u/s 24 is available will not be eligible for tax rebate u/s 88.
Q: I invested a sum of Rs 1,33,125 in Incan Mutual Benefit Ltd. a non-banking financial company, during financial year ending March 31,1999. The amount was invested in their short term fixed deposit schemes and Rs 18,000 in Saving Bank Account. The company has shown their inability to pay even the capital invested. They have given a notice to the investor giving a four years long-term paying plan.
I request you to kindly advise about this events implications on my tax liabilities. You may kindly answer in detail as a large number of income tax payers are effected by this event.
H.S. Gur, Hisar
the facts stated by you no benefit is available under the
Income Tax law in respect of non-realisation of money
invested with a non-banking financial company. The
benefit of bad debt deduction is permissible only for
persons having business income. Unfortunately in your
case the irrecoverable amount will be a capital loss and
no tax benefit will be available the same.
Dont move paddy out of Punjab
WE strongly condemn the decision of the Food Ministry to move paddy and brown rice out of Punjab. There is sufficient milling capacity in the State. Rather large capacities are lying idle as the Government policies are not very conducive to smooth milling of paddy. Once the existing policies regarding milling charges and the ratio of rice to paddy are reviewed in the light of ground realities, it will ensure smooth milling of paddy and avoid wastage.
But the decision of the Food Ministry to move paddy out of Punjab will not only adversely affect the working of the rice milling industry but will also create difficulties for so many other industries which are based on by-products of this industry. Solvent extraction industry is dependent upon the rice milling industry for its raw material i.e. rice bran.
At present there are about 80 solvent extraction units in Punjab having a capacity to process 9000 metric tonnes of rice bran daily. But most of these units are either partially working or are lying closed due to scarcity of raw material. The decision of the Government to move paddy or brown rice from Punjab will further add to the woes of this industry.
Gold Std Rs 4010
Gold 22-Ct Rs 3860
Silver Ready Rs 7810
Silver delivery Rs 7815
| Punjab | Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir |
| Chandigarh | Editorial | Sport |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | World | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |