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Saturday, March 13, 1999
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SEBI sets up panel on corporate governance
NEW DELHI, March 12 — The Securities and Exchange Board of India has set up a committee for the improvement of corporate governance and accounting standards in the country.

HUDA may lose industrial estates
GURGAON, March 12 — The Haryana Government is likely to shift the jurisdiction of HUDA relating to industrial estates to the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation.

Mobil, Birlas eye Bathinda project
NEW DELHI, March 12 — Leading groups like Mobil, Petronas, Mittals and Birlas have evinced interest in joining hands with state-owned HPCL in the Rs 13,000 crore Bathinda refinery project from which US Multinational Exxon has walked out.


HDFC slashes interest rates
MUMBAI, March 12 — Housing Development Finance Corporation today cut interest rates on housing by 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent on all loan slabs above Rs 10,000, with effect from March 15, 1999.

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Infosys listed on Nasdaq exchange
BANGALORE, March 12 — Taking a big leap in Indian corporate history, software major Infosys Technologies Limited has become the first Indian company to list directly on a US stock market with its trading on the “Nasdaq stock market”.

Parliament clears Bill on buybacks
NEW DELHI, March 12 — Parliament today approved the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 1998, with the Rajya Sabha endorsing the measure by a voice vote after the Opposition, barring the Congress, staged a walkout.

 

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SEBI sets up panel on corporate governance

NEW DELHI, March 12 (PTI) — The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has set up a committee for the improvement of corporate governance and accounting standards in the country.

The 15-member committee headed by the Y.H. Malegam, former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, will look into the improvement in the accounting disclosure norms in line with the listing norms of stock exchanges.

“Members of the committee will suggest on better transparency in presentation of the financial statement of companies and audit report of auditors,” SEBI Chairman D.R. Mehta told reporters after a seminar on convention on people’s campaign against corruption.

He said the group comprises officials of the Department of Company Affairs (DCA), Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI).

In addition, SEBI officials are also members of the committee.

Mehta said industry chambers or big corporates might also be included in the committee in near future.

The SEBI Chairman said the new committee had been set up so that corporates could adopt accounting standards on an international level which in turn would help better corporate governance.

The objective is to move towards generally accepted accounting practices system.

Group accounting is also an important area in which the committee would look into along with the provision of deferred tax payment liability.

The market regulator is also looking into educating investors about their rights through media campaigns.

Sebi has already started the investor education programme through Unit Trust of India (UTI) and Reliance Industries.

A booklet, published by Sebi, containing details of investor protection measures along with their rights has been sent to investors along with the annual reports of UTI and Reliance.Top


 

HUDA may lose industrial estates
Tribune News Service

GURGAON, March 12 — The Haryana Government is likely to shift the jurisdiction of HUDA relating to industrial estates to the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSTDC).

Speaking at the CII Haryana annual session here today, Mr M.L. Tayal, Haryana Industries Secretary, said a decision has been taken to liberalise the policy for transfer of industrial plots. Plots will be provided across the shelf for projects worth Rs 3 crore and Rs 5 crore. The Industry will also have the benefit of sales tax deferment of the expansion and diversification of the existing projects.

Mr Tayal said henceforth no plots will be given in the industrial estates till fully developed. Certain industrialists had alleged that they had paid all dues, yet facilities like water, sewerage system and roads were not provided in some of the industrial estates.

The Managing Director, HSIDC, Mr Y.S. Malik, the Director Industries, Mr Rajeev Arora, were among those present.

Later a delegation of officers and industrialists visited Maneshar. Briefing newsmen about the township, for which over 1,700 acres had been acquired, Mr Malik said the township would be fully developed in 30 months. The township is claimed to be the first of its kind in the country with provisions for hospital, helipad etc.Top


 

HDFC slashes interest rates

MUMBAI, March 12 (PTI) — Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) today cut interest rates on housing by 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent on all loan slabs above Rs 10,000, with effect from March 15, 1999.

For loan amounts ranging from Rs 10,001 to Rs 2 lakh the interest rate has been cut by 0.50 per cent to 13.50 per cent.

For loans of over Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh and above the interest rate has been reduced by 1 per cent to 13.50 per cent and 14.50 per cent, respectively.

HDFC, in a release here, said the cuts were in response to the 1999-2000 Budget measures to boost housing activities and the recent reduction in the bank rate by the RBI.

Interest on loan amounts up to Rs 10,000 has been retained at 12.50 per cent, while on loans above Rs 15 lakh will be 14.50 per cent for 10 years and 15 per cent for 15 years.

The new rates, the lowest since May 1981, will apply for all new loans approved on or after March 15, 1999.

Interest rates on loans to NRIs have been reduced from 13.50 per cent to 13 per cent for a five-year term and home improvement loans range from 11 per cent to 14 per cent.

HDFC has also revised interest rates on deposits. For a three-year deposit, the rate has been reduced to 10.50 per cent from 11.50 per cent and for a 5 five-year deposit to 11 per cent from 11.50 per cent. The interest on trust deposits will be 0.50 per cent higher than individual deposits.Top


 


First know who gives information

NEW DELHI, (PTI): Information technology (IT) revolution has ushered in wider public access to information but it would benefit humanity at large only if credibility is maintained, prejudices are eliminated and users are educated, leading global media experts said here on Friday.

“While newspapers and news agencies continue to do their job, a time may come when people will know more about “Yahoo” (search engine on worldwide web) than New York Times or Australian Associated Press (AAP) and with the news not being credited to anyone on the Internet, credibility becomes a critical issue,” AAP Chairman Lee Casey said.

Internet browsers needed to be educated on what they were reading and whether that was credible, Casey said at a seminar on “IT revolution: Impact on media” organised as part of PTI’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations.

“The quality of information is in real danger. We need to educate people on what to know and what to believe,” he said.

Director of Dainik Jagran Narendra Mohan said that human mind remained prejudiced and self-seeking and as such it was important to understand as to who was passing the information and to whom it was passed.

Former Union Minister K. Natwar Singh said any information revolution which had no place for human values and which “trivialised serious issues” held no meaning for the masses.

Tech Exposition

CHANDIGARH (TNS): Tech-nology Exposition ’99 a joint demonstration of Microsoft and Segate products, was launched here on Friday. “We are trying to reach new audiences said Mr Rajiv Popli, a Director at Microsoft India.

On display are previews of Office 2000 and Windows 2000 applications. Office 2000 has features like install and demand, self-repairing applications and multilanguage editing, which will support 60 languages, including Hindi, said Mr Karthik Padmanabhan, Marketing Manager.

As for Windows 2000, it is not an upgrade of Windows 98. It is based on the Windows NT Workstation platform, with promises of more stability, higher degree of security, etc.

Segate, a hard-disk manufacturing company, demonstrated here on Friday its entry-level Medallist, mid-level Barracuda, and high-end Cheetah disk drives, which have capacities as high as 36 GB. It also showed tape drives like Sidewinder AIT.

Cannon

CHANDIGARH (TNS): Cannon has started aggressively marketing its Bubble Jet printers that can turn into scanners too. Simply replace the ink cartridge with the colour image scanner cartridge, and you can scan any sheet of paper, said Rony Ghosh, here on Friday and proceeded to show how it was done.

HP tie-up

NEW DELHI (TNS): Hewlett-Packard India and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced on Friday their tie-up to provide small and medium businesses a complete accounting solution.

The solution includes HP hardware, TCS next generation accountancy software, finance options, training and support at an entry level prices of less that Rs 50,000.Top


 

Mobil, Birlas eye Bathinda project

NEW DELHI, March 12 (PTI) — Leading groups like Mobil, Petronas, Mittals and Birlas have evinced interest in joining hands with state-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) in the Rs 13,000 crore Bathinda (Punjab) refinery project from which US Multinational Exxon has walked out.

Highly placed Petroleum Ministry sources said HPCL could also tie up with another state owned company like Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) to execute the project.

When contacted Minister for State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Santosh Kumar Gangwar told PTI “we have not scrapped the project. If Exxon has pulled out many others are in line and our doors are open.”

“We will see that the project materialises,” Gangwar asserted.

HPCL could also take on the project independently if no partner is found by HPCL, he added.

The foundation stone for the nine million tonnes grassroot refinery project was laid by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during the second week of November last year.

Exxon had pulled out from the joint venture project stating that the refining margins for the project would be low due to the subdued international oil prices.

Other refineries coming up in the Northern states of the country could also affect margins, the multinational had said.

Exxon had been asked by the Punjab Government to convey its decision regarding equity participation during the first week of December last year.

The US multinational had the option of picking up 26 per cent stake in the project, which is presently being held by the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC) with the majority 74 per cent being held by HPCL.

The refinery project, which also envisages a 750 MW power project, had received the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) clearance during the second week of November 1998.

The cost of the power project is estimated to be around Rs 3,000 crore. The proposed refinery project would receive the crude through a pipeline from Mundra Port in Gujarat, Petroleum Ministry sources said.Top


 

Infosys listed on Nasdaq exchange

BANGALORE, March 12 (PTI) — Taking a big leap in Indian corporate history, software major Infosys Technologies Limited has become the first Indian company to list directly on a US stock market with its trading on the “Nasdaq stock market”.

The Bangalore-based Infosys with a market value of approximately $ 1.9 billion began trading under the symbol “Infy” in its debut yesterday on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, a highly preferred US Stock Exchange of technology companies.

“It is a small step for Nasdaq, but a giant leap for Infosys and the Indian software industry”, Infosys Chairman and Chief Executive Officer N.R. Narayana Murthy said, as the event at Nasdaq site in New York was telecast here.

At the Infosys headquarters here, it was all celebrations in the presence of Nandan Nilekani, the company’s Managing Director and John T Wall, President of Nasdaq International, who cut the cake, even as Infosys employees burst crackers.

Infosys technologies is a publicly held company providing information technology consultancy and software services to “Fortune 1000” companies.

Nasdaq stock market lists nearly 5,100 companies and trades more shares per day than any other major US market.Top


 

Parliament clears Bill on buybacks

NEW DELHI, March 12 (PTI) — Parliament today approved the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 1998, with the Rajya Sabha endorsing the measure by a voice vote after the Opposition, barring the Congress, staged a walkout.

The Bill provides for buyback of shares and eases procedures for transfer of company shares. It replaces the Company (Amendment) Ordinances promulgated in January 7.

The Opposition, led by the Left parties, contended that Minister for Company Affairs M. Thambi Durai had not replied satisfactorily to their query on whether the companies could borrow from the bank for buyback of shares and walked out even as the House approved the Bill.

Replying to various queries Thambi Durai said the government would frame rules and guidelines for buyback of shares of domestic companies.Top


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  Workshops
CHANDIGARH, March 12 (TNS) — The Canara Bank will arrange training workshops for women. In Punjab workshops on tailoring, embroidery and weaving of cane chairs will be held at Khanna and Mohali, while workshops on quilting and garment manufacturing will be organised at Kalka and Karnal in Haryana. Manimajra will be the venue for training in making mats and wall hangings from rags. In Shimla and Jammu workshops will be on toy and pot making.

VSNL
NEW DELHI, March 12 (TNS) — Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) today announced a discount of 20 per cent on the subscription charges for all categories of Internet accounts. Customers who renew their accounts with VSNL will now be eligible for discount. The TCP/IP tariff structure will be Rs 3,000 normal charges for 100 hours and the charge on renewal will Rs 2,400. The normal charges for 250 hours will be Rs 6,500 and Rs 5,200 will be the charge on renewal. For 500 hours, the normal charges will Rs 10,000 while the charge on renewal will be Rs 8,000.

New servers
BANGALORE, March 12 (PTI) — IBM announced on Friday a new powerful line of AS/400 servers for e-business and key solutions like supply chain management, business intelligence and server coordination.

Forex rates
MUMBAI, March 12 (PTI) — The following were interbank forex and RBI rates (in rupees per unit):
US $ Rs 42.43/44
Stg Rs 69.37/39
Euro Rs 46.37/39
Jap Yen (100) Rs 35.43/45
The RBI reference rate was Rs 42.45.

Gold improves
NEW DELHI, March 12 (PTI) — Both the precious metals, silver and gold, improved on the bullion market today on scattered buying by local parties influenced by better overseas advices and closed higher. The quotations: Silver .999 (ready) 7910, delivery 7930, coins buyer 10,500 and seller 10,600. Standard gold 4465, ornaments 4315 and sovereign 3800.

Loan schemes
CHANDIGARH, March 12 (TNS) — State Bank of India yesterday organised a dealers/traders meeting which was presided over by Mr D.P. Singhal, AGM of the bank. Mr Singhal explained various loan schemes to them. The bank will start home banking from March 15.

SBP rating
CHANDIGARH, March 12 (TNS) — ICRA has reaffirmed the term deposit programme rating of the State Bank of Patiala (SBP) at MAAA and the Certificate of Deposit Programme at A1 +. The reaffirmation takes into account the dominant presence of the bank in North India, which is selected by a strong deposit base and the good quality of credit portfolio particularly in agriculture and personal segments.

IDBI Bank
CHANDIGARH, March 12 — IDBI Bank Ltd today announced a cut in its prime lending rate from 16 per cent to 14.50 per cent p.a. from March 15, at its board meeting held at Hyderabad where Mr M.S. Verma formally took over as the Chairman of IDBI Bank.
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