119 years of Trust B U S I N E S S THE TRIBUNE
Tuesday, November 2, 1999
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Agnieszka Zakreta of Poland, centre, raises her winning trophy after she won the Miss Tourism International Pageant 1999 in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. Posing along side her are first runner-up Racquel Uy from Philippines, left, and second runner-up Ruut Kangas from Finland. — AP/PTI

Maruti to be dearer?
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 — Maruti Udyog will soon hike prices of its cars as it is unable to absorb the extra cost of up to Rs 30,000 per vehicle for compliance of emission norms.

 

SC rejects TRAI appeal on CPP regime
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 — The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India challenging the Delhi High Court stay on the implementation of free incoming calls for cellular phone users under the calling party pays regime.

CPP still a distant dream


Bid to tide over fiscal crisis
Minister against new taxes
PATIALA, Nov 1 — The Punjab government will lay stress on improving the realisation of existing taxes and not go in for fresh ones besides implementing a blueprint expected to take the state out of the red in six months.
ST laws made stringent PRTC ‘bachat card’ scheme
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‘Banks need to be knowledge driven’
CHANDIGARH, Nov 1 — A week-long management development and special training programme for top executives and senior managers of Bank of India was organised by CRRID on its campus here.

  The Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr S.M. Krishna, inaugurating Bangalore IT.Com '99 at Bangalore on Monday. Standing next to him is the US Ambassador to India, Mr Richard Celeste
The Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr S.M. Krishna, inaugurating Bangalore IT.Com '99 at Bangalore on Monday. Standing next to him is the US Ambassador to India, Mr Richard Celeste — PTI

New drug for respiratory infections
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 — Hoechst Marion Roussel has introduced in the Indian market a drug for the treatment of respiratory tract infections.

‘Reforms not just about cars & TV’
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 — Former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao said today that multiplication of consumer items like cars and television was not the basic objective of the structural reforms process initiated in 1991.

Exports up in September
NEW DELHI, Nov 1— India’s exports continued to show an upward trend with exports during September registering a 12.01 per cent growth in dollar terms and 14.68 per cent in rupee terms.

PACL GM gheraoed
NANGAL, Nov 1 — The union members of Punjab Alkalis and Chemicals Ltd gheraoed the General Manager and 10 other members of the local management for 32 hours.

ITC Agro-Tech reports loss
ITC Agro-Tech has reported a net loss of Rs 7.2 crore during the second quarter ended September 30, 1999, against a net profit of Rs 2 crore in the corresponding quarter of previous year.

 

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SC rejects TRAI appeal on CPP regime

NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (PTI) — The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) challenging the Delhi High Court stay on the implementation of free incoming calls for cellular phone users under the calling party pays (CPP) regime.

“We do not think it is appropriate to interfere with the order of the High Court or in the proceedings there as the matter is still at a preliminary stage,” a Division Bench comprising Justice B N Kirpal and Justice S Rajendra Babu said while dismissing TRAI’s petition.

TRAI through CPP had announced to provide from November 1 free incoming calls to cellular users but the same was challenged in the high court by MTNL and another public interest litigation which alleged that MTNL was going to lose substantial revenue under the new regime.

Under CPP, while the cellular phone owner on receiving a call from public service telephone network (PSTN), known as fixed telephone, would pay no money whereas the PSTN user would pay Rs 3.30 per call. Of the Rs 3.30, MTNL would get Rs 0.90 and the cellular operators would get Rs 2.40.

Under the existing arrangements, for each call made from PSTN, MTNL gets Rs 1.10 and for receiving the call of three minutes, a cellular user would pay around Rs 12.

The High Court on October 28 had stayed the proposed CPP regime saying the TRAI order “is a hostile discrimination” against department of telecom (DoT) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).

The bench, before hearing counsel for TRAI Ashok Desai, observed. “It is very strange on the part of TRAI to come before Supreme Court at this stage.”

However, Desai pointed out that the TRAI order was consumer friendly and was going to benefit a large number of cellular phone owners as the incoming calls were going to be free of cost.

He said it was wrong on the part of the high court to stay the order of a regulatory authority as the apex court had time and again held that courts should not interfere in matters pertaining to fixation of tariff.

“The fixation of tariff in commercial matters and matter of public interest were quite different,” the Bench observed and said as the High Court has fixed November 16 for further hearing on the matter, TRAI should point out these anomalies there.

Appearing for MTNL, senior advocate c s Vaidyanathan contended that the corporation stands to lose a huge chunk of its revenue as it would receive only Rs 0.90 as against the present Rs 1.10 per call made from fixed telephones (PSTN) to cellular phones.

The CPP regime was announced by TRAI on September 17, it was gazetted on September 21 and was to come into effect from November 1.

The High Court had also restrained TRAI from taking any penal or coercive action against the government agencies and the operators for not implementing the new scheme.Top



 

Minister against new taxes
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Nov 1 — The Punjab government will lay stress on improving the realisation of existing taxes and not go in for fresh ones besides implementing a blueprint expected to take the state out of the red in six months.

Disclosing this here today while talking to The Tribune, Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh said he would advise the Cabinet not to impose any fresh taxes. He said at present the state government was earning only Rs 700 crore through Sales Tax from traders while the total Sales Tax collected in the state amounted to Rs 1400 crore. He said of this the most amount was collected from Sales Tax levied on foodgrains.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said this dichotomy needed to be corrected and Sales Tax collection from the business sector should be increased. He however, could not reply as to how this would be achieved in the face of disbanding of the Enforcement Wing in the Excise and Taxation Department. He said his department only had the power to regulate expenditure.

The Finance Minister said a blueprint for the state had been prepared in the 1999-2000 Budget which had been made a model by the central government. He however, said as the model could not be implemented due to the election process, its implementation would start now within a month.

He said under the blueprint five per cent reduction would be effected in non-plan expenditure. He said besides this a special employment cell would redeploy around 35,000 employees who were surplus. He said steps would also be taken to increase Sales Tax collection as presently the expenditure was Rs 750 crore per month and monthly revenue income only Rs 650 crore.

Capt Kanwaljit said some other steps taken by his department were also bearing fruit. He gave the example of the small savings which were Rs 900 crore when he took over but presently stood at Rs 2,500 crore. He said besides this while the rate of growth in collection of Sales Tax was only one per cent in 1994-95, it had been nine per cent last year. He said, however, a much larger growth rate was necessary if the state was to come on a par with states like Kerala and Rajasthan which had a growth rate of 16 per cent.

While not commenting on whether financial emergency should be enforced in the state or not, Capt Kanwaljit said the situation had come to such a pass due to wrong policies of the previous government. He said the earlier government had depended on loans to tide over the state’s financial crisis due to which the present government had to pay as much as 31 per cent of its revenue on repaying loans. He said the tax collecting structure had also been demolished leading to more problems.

While saying that the measures being taken by his department would improve the state’s finances in six months time. He said a lasting solution could be found only if the financial resources of the state were raised by making them more autonomous.

Earlier the Finance Minister addressed a meeting of the youth wing of the district Shiromani Akali Dal at Dukhniwaran gurdwara. The meeting saw various youth leaders airing their views on the need to replace district youth president Lakhbir Singh Lot. Speakers also urged party youth wing president Amrik Singh Aliwal to replace Mr Lot. Top



 

ST laws made stringent
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Nov 1 — The Punjab government for the first time has made certain Sales Tax evasion offences punishable with rigorous and simple imprisonment and fine by carrying out an amendment in the Punjab General Sales Tax Act.

According to a notification issued by the Department of Legal and Legislative Affairs, Punjab on September 29, under the amended Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1999, the Sales Tax evaders and violators of provisions of the act would be liable for imprisonment varying from six months to two years. Earlier, the Sale Tax evader was liable only to monetary penalty.

The amended act provides that whoever knowingly produces false bill, cash memo, vouchers, declaration, certificate or any document before the Commissioner or any other officer appointed for the purpose to evade Sales Tax worth more than Rs 25,000 during a period of one year will be liable for rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years and with fine.

The act also provides that whoever produces false accounts, information, documents of return before the Commissioner or any other officer as provided in the act and thus evade Sales Tax worth more than Rs 25,000 during a period of one year will be liable for rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend up to two years and with fine.

The amended act says that whoever carries on business as a dealer without being registered in wilful contravention of other provisions of the act or fails to make an application for the cancellation of registration or fails to furnish information on the basis of which certificate of registration may be cancelled shall be punished with simple imprisonment for term, which may extend to six months and with fine.

The amended act has made sale or purchase of goods by a unregistered dealer, non-maintenance of record or accounts, issuance of false bill, cash memo or voucher to any person by trader as punishable with imprisonment of different terms.

The act further says that no court shall take cognisance of any offence punishable under this act or the rules made thereafter except with the previous sanction of the Commissioner.

In another significant amendment made in the act any person who acting as consignor or consignee of the goods detained by Sales Tax authorities does not produce the documents as required under various provisions at check posts and information collection centre will be liable for penalty which shall be 50 per cent of the total value of the goods. The fact that whether that persons is avoiding or evading tax or not is immaterial.Top



 

PRTC ‘bachat card’ scheme launched
From Our Correspondent

KAPURTHALA, Nov 1 — The Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) today launched a new “bachat card” scheme at a function here today.

Mr Raghbir Singh, Transport Minister, who inaugurated it said the scheme had been launched in depots of the PRTC at Kapurthala, Bathinda, Faridkot, Patiala, Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Sangrur and it would be introduced in the remaining depots soon. He said with the purchase of the “Bachat card” for Rs 110, a passenger would be able to undertake a one day journey to any place. Children would be able to buy this card for Rs 40. He said the card would be introduced in Punjab Roadways buses soon. The scheme would be applicable only in the state and Chandigarh.

Mr Raghbir Singh announced that 200 more buses would be added to the existing fleet.

He further said the Punjab Government had decided to requisition the services of 81 buses of private operators for plying them at a rate of Rs 6.95 per km.

He said the PRTC was suffering a loss of Rs 25 crore annually which would be made up by reviewing the free travel facility.Top


 

‘Banks need to be knowledge driven’
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Nov 1 — A week-long management development and special training programme for top executives and senior managers of Bank of India was organised by CRRID on its campus here.

The workshop was inaugurated by Mr S. Rajagopal, CMD, Bank of India, who emphasised that in the increasingly deregulated environment to ensure profitability, Indian banks would have to be more knowledge driven, technology dependent and customer oriented, offering diversified services.

Mr Rashpal Malhotra, Director, CRRID, called for establishment of marketing information cells in the banks. He outlined various issues, including risk management, human resource development and changing mindsets.

The workshop was attended by 25 top level executives of Bank of India from all over the country.

Among the distinguished speakers were Prof A.M. Khusro, Prof S.R. Hashim, Member, Planning Commission, Dr L. Mishra, Secretary, Labour, Mr T.K.A. Nair, chairman, Public Enterprises Selection Board, Prof S.S. Johl, Mr R.V Gupta, former Secretary & Dy Governor, RBI.

Professor Khusro said some amount of inflation is tolerable provided that national output is on the rising side. Professor Hashim stressed that the deficiencies with which the present index suffers, should be taken out and the index should be put at a stronger footing.

Mr Nair stated that financing priority sectors is on increasing scale required to meet the needs of rapid economic development, price stability and social justice.

Professor Johl emphasised the need for close participation of bankers and farmers, as partners in business and also on the scope of injecting finance in agricultural sector for capital formation.

The other speakers included Prof H. Bhattacharya, Dr Pradeep Singh, Mr G. Kathuria, Prof A.K. Bagchi, Mr K.K. Bhatnagar, Dr S. Chandra, and Prof Vidhu Mohan.Top



 

Item once sold...

NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (UNI) — The label “item once sold will not be taken back under any circumstances” is not in consonance with the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and is illegal and unethical, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs V. Sreenivas Prasad today said.

In the developed countries the position is reverse, where the label declares that “in case you are not fully satisfied with a product, you can bring it back within a month either for replacement or return the money.”

Speaking at a workshop on “Consumer movement towards the new millennium” organised by the Consumer Coordination Council, the Minister said it is a paradox that the customer is advertised as the “king” by the sellers and service providers but in actual practice he is “meted out a shabby treatment.” He said it is time to end this illegal trade practice. Top



 

New drug for respiratory infections

NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (PTI) — Hoechst Marion Roussel (HMR) has introduced in the Indian market a drug for the treatment of respiratory tract infections.

Marketed under the brand name Tavanic, the drug Levofloxacin, is the latest generation molecule to treat moderate to severe respiratory tract infections, an HMR release today said adding that it was particularly effective against drug resistant bacteria.

The advantage with Levofloxacin is that it needed to be administered just once a day and the same dose can be administered either orally or by injection.Top


 

ITC Agro-Tech reports loss

ITC Agro-Tech has reported a net loss of Rs 7.2 crore during the second quarter ended September 30, 1999, against a net profit of Rs 2 crore in the corresponding quarter of previous year.

Finolex Cables’ revenue from sales and other Income during the six months to September 30, 1999 registered a growth of 62 per cent to reach Rs 2433 million compared to Rs 1502 million in the corresponding period. Profit before tax for the half year stood at Rs 430 million up by 107 per cent Rs 208 million.

Shaw Wallace and Company Limited has reported a net profit of Rs 0.29 crore till the first quarter ended September 30, 1999 against Rs 0.09 crore in the corresponding period previous year.

The company had reported a net profit of Rs 23.82 crore during the financial year ended June 30, 1999.

Sales during the quarter decreased to Rs 208.68 crore from Rs 223.35 crore and gross profit at Rs 0.90 crore (Rs 0.60 crore) after interest charges of Rs 14.93 crore (Rs 15.26 crore).

Dalmia Cements (Bharat) Limited on Monday reported a decline in net profits to Rs 8 crore for the second quarter of the current fiscal from Rs 10.1 crore for the same period last year. The half year net profits dipped marginally at Rs 16.60 crore from Rs 16.88 crore last year.

BIRLA VXL’s net loss came down to Rs 6.67 crore during the quarter ended September, 1999, (Q1) from Rs 7.23 crore in the corresponding quarter of previous year.

Otis Elevator Company (India) Limited has registered a 14 per cent increase in its gross profit for the quarter ended September 30, ‘99 at Rs 9.9 crore as compared to Rs 8.7 crore of the corresponding period of previous year. Sales increased by 7 per cent to Rs 63.01 crore from Rs 58.9 crore.

Hindustan Organic Chemicals: has posted a 124 per cent jump in net profit to 3.22 crore during the first half of the current fiscal against Rs 1.44 crore in the same period last year.

During the period, production and sales increased marginally to 1.30 lakh tonnes and 99,799 tonnes from 1.28 lakh tonnes and 95,049 tonnes in the corresponding period of 1998-99, a company release said on Monday.

Paramount Communications Ltd, a telecom and power cable manufacturer, has reported a 154 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 1.39 crore during the first half of the current fiscal as against Rs 0.54 crore corresponding period last year.

The net sales was up by 64 per cent from Rs 28.42 crore to Rs 46.71 crore for the first six months ended on September 30 in comparison to the same period last year.

Chambal Fertiliser and Chemicals Limited, a Birla group company, has reported a decline of Rs 9.54 crore in net profit during first six months of 1999-2000 at Rs 64.67 crore against Rs 74.21 crore in the previous fiscal. — agenciesTop


 

‘Reforms not just about cars & TV’
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 1 — Former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao said today that multiplication of consumer items like cars and television was not the basic objective of the structural reforms process initiated in 1991.

“ Instead of solid infrastructure, phenomenal multiplication has occurred in the manufacture of passenger cars, TV sets and many such consumer items. This may no doubt be good, but I should point out that this was not basically what was intended when the liberalisation scheme was conceptualised”, Mr Rao said.

Delivering the 2nd JRD Tata Memorial Lecture, he said the “Government’s burden on infrastructure does not seem to promise to come down as was expected, nor the government’s capacity to step up outlay’s on human resource development”.

Mr Rao said the economic reforms programme runs the risk of getting derailed unless the gulf between the the affluent beneficiaries and the disadvantaged sections is bridged through a simultaneous and systematic devolution of resources to the rural and urban poor.

“Time has come to have an intensive look back on its overall results and the benefits that accrued to the people, class-wise and section wise”, Mr Rao said at the lecture organised by Assocham here.Top



 

Exports up in September
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 1— India’s exports continued to show an upward trend with exports during September registering a 12.01 per cent growth in dollar terms and 14.68 per cent in rupee terms.

Exports during September were valued at $ 3087.96 million (Rs 13443.42 crore) as against $ 2756.92 million in the same period in the previous year.

Exports during April-September, 1999, were estimated at $ 17,461.40 million which was 7.39 per cent higher than the level of $ 16260.04 million in April-September 1998. In rupee terms, the exports grew by 11.13 per cent during that period.

India’s imports during September 1999 were valued at $ 3956.88 million representing a growth of 7.49 per cent over the level of import valued at $ 3681.21 million in September 1998.

Imports during April-September this year was estimated at $ 22474.28 million which was 5.60 per cent higher than the level of $ 21,281.73 million during the same period last year. Top



 

Maruti to be dearer?

NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (PTI) — Maruti Udyog (MUL) will soon hike prices of its cars as it is unable to absorb the extra cost of up to Rs 30,000 per vehicle for compliance of emission norms.

In a circular, MUL has asked its dealers to plan for such a development for the “year ahead” saying “our capability of absorbing such large cost increase is indeed not there as it was in the past, and car prices will have to be increased”.Top



 

PACL GM gheraoed
From Our Correspondent

NANGAL, Nov 1 — The union members of Punjab Alkalis and Chemicals Ltd (PACL) gheraoed the General Manager and 10 other members of the local management for 32 hours.

The gherao which started at about 1 p.m. on October 30, ended at 7.30 p.m. yesterday, only after the intervention of district administration. The employees were agitating against the non-payment of bonus.

According to the agreement between the worker union and the management of PACL all the employees were to be paid a bonus, 20 per cent of the basic pay before October 31. However, this year the bonus was not paid during the stipulated time.Top



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Forex
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Jap yen (100) Rs 41.53/56

IT exhibition
BANGALORE, Nov 1 (PTI) — The Karnataka Government today announced incentives for the information technology sector as Bangalore IT. Com ’99 began today. Karnataka Chief Minister S.M. Krishna said 100 per cent exemption from payment of entry tax would be given on computer hardware, peripherals, accessories and raw materials and other inputs used in the IT industry.

IT seminar
CHANDIGARH, Nov. 1 (TNS) — IT&T and Computer Associates launched a joint initiative on enterprise management software in the region at a seminar on Saturday. The software will allow institutions, public and private sector enterprises to install different modules of the enterprise management suite from Computer Associates.

Award
CHANDIGARH, Nov 1 (TNS) — Mr Vijay K. Talwar, Director (Personnel), Engineers India, has been honoured with the Distinguished Alumnus Award — 1999 by Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology, Patiala.

Enkay Texo
NEW DELHI, Nov 1 (PTI) — The MRTPC has restrained Enkay Texofood Industries from marketing its “Onjus” kinnow juice as natural orange juice.Top



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