|B U S I N E S S||
Monday, September 27, 1999
eco-friendly technology for housing
Y2K solution for PCs unveiled
Rising fiscal deficit may derail
Hind Wires declared sick
Inflation crosses 2 pc mark
WASHINGTON, Sept 26 (UNI) The group of 24 (G-24) nations, which includes India, last night called for direct and timely involvement of the private sector in the prevention or resolution of the financial crises, thus, setting a limit on the role of the IMF.
In a communique, issued after its day-long deliberations on the eve of the annual meeting of the Interim Committee, the policy-making body of the IMF, said the Fund should be a facilitator and not an enforcer of relations between debtor nations and creditors.
The major challenge for the international community is to develop a market-friendly strategy for involving the private sector in a manner that does not disrupt or unduly raise the cost of capital flows to developing countries, it added.
The G-24 wanted the IMF to spell out certain guidelines on how the process should work instead of dealing with each case in a piecemeal way.
Sri Lankan President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, who presided, became the first woman to chair the group. Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha was also present.
In the light of the recent financial crises, the Finance Ministers of the G-24 consider that the coordination of various elements in the process toward the capital account liberalisation is of critical importance to minimise potential risks.
These elements included a consistent macro-economic policy framework, a sound and well regualated domestic financial sector and an appropriate contingency mechanism, to deal with potential threats to sustainability of open capital accounts regimes.
The group was critical of the limited applicability of the ENW Contingency Credit Line (CCL) established by the IMF to let the countries with excellent economic policies pre-qualify for large-scale financial help. We thought that the CCL would be readily available in the event of a crisis. This is not so. You have to establish your credit line first, Sri Lankan Central Bank Governor Amaranda Jayawardena said.
Asian and Latin American countries were expected to be the first to qualify for the programme, which hold the promise of cash if things go sour but does not involve regular payments.
PTI adds: The the G-24 have called for an increase in the World Bank capital and empowerment of the IMF to make it a lender-of-last resort.
The meeting attended by IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, WB President James Wolfensohn and senior officials of several other international organisations, however, did not discuss sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan after the two went for nuclear tests last year.
Among other things, the forum called for a significant lowering of tariff and non-tariff barriers to the exports to developed countries of products in which the developing countries have a comparative advantage.
cameras enter market
LUDHIANA, Sept 26 Photography in India will remain largely analogous for more than a decade.
There is little likelihood of digital technology replacing conventional photography in India in the near foreseeable future, say Mr Hiroshi Hirano, Technical Adviser, Fuji Photo Film (Singapore) and Mr Shammi Gupta, Director, Jindal Photo Films Limited.
The two were in town the other day in connection with the launching of a Fuji Image Service special outlet.
Talking to TNS, they pointed out that even in a hi-tech country like Japan, the ratio between analogue to digital photography is 70-30.
I feel that the spread of digital technology is directly connected to the Internet connections for computers. The number of Internet connections is still very low in India, points out Mr Hirano. India offers a huge market of Rs 1500 crore annually for the conventional photo films.
And this is increasing every year. Last year, 64 million rolls of films were sold in India. This year, the figure will cross 64 million rolls. The projection for the next year is 70 million rolls.
In keeping with the changing requirements, the photographic equipment companies are now introducing latest cameras in India. Fuji has recently introduced a digital camera available for just Rs 30,000. Similar cameras were earlier sold for up to Rs 5.50 lakh.
A disposable camera which is already available abroad, is also likely to be introduced shortly. Costing about Rs 300, the camera has to be broken open to get at the exposed film roll inside.
Jindal Photo Films is
Indias largest manufacturer of photographic films
allied products and is the market leader controlling over
38 per cent share in the country. The company has an
extensive portfolio including colour films, photographic
colour paper, medical and industrial X-ray films, cine
colour positive, photographic chemicals etc. The company
has a technical and marketing tie-up with Fuji Photo
Films Ltd. of Japan, which is the worlds largest
producer of photographic products in the world.
BANGALORE, Sept 26 (PTI) The Indian Institute of Science (IISC) here has developed an alternative environment-friendly housing technology, which minimises cost and energy, compared to houses built with conventional construction technologies.
Prof K S Jagadish of the IISCs Civil Engineering Department told PTI the new low-cost building procedure laid emphasis on maximising use of local material, reducing energy consumption and recycling building material waste. It also stressed on the use of solar energy to produce building material and providing comfort in the interiors of the house.
Making these houses as strong as conventional structures involved using locally available material to prepare mud blocks, which were then compressed. Besides being thrice the size of ordinary bricks, they saved 70 per cent on energy consumption, he said.
These blocks could be manufactured by mixing industrial and urban wastes like fly ash, mining waste, quarry dust, granite polishing wastes, cement dust and building debris. It could be used in low-cost building material applications like stabilised mud blocks, sand substitutes and plasticising additives to mortar.
Construction technology now depended excessively on bricks, cement and steel, which consumed large amounts of thermal energy in the manufacturing process, apart from incurring high transportation costs, he said.
Though traditional mud houses were low cost ones, they were not of good quality compared to conventional houses. Use of locally-manufactured mud blocks with additives and limited use of bricks and tiles would ensure the quality and strength of the structure, he said.
Jagdish said the department had also developed a manually operated machine, the Mardini Press, to compress mud blocks. These presses could make stabilised mud blocks using red soil, quarry dust and a little cement, fine concrete blocks could be manufactured by using quarry dust, granite waste and cement, while steam cured blocks could be made by using red or black soil, quarry dust and lime.
These manually operated machines saved nearly 70 per cent energy compared to brick kilns, as they functioned without electricity or diesel, he said.
He said the Mardini Press minimised the use of cement to just 5 per cent of the mixture. The machines were portable and mud blocks could be prepared on the construction site itself, saving transportation costs.
This low-cost housing technique had already been used to construct some buildings in Bangalore, he said.
Jagadish also suggested that house owners use solar passive methods to cool the interiors of homes instead of air conditioners.
Air conditioners, apart from costing too much, also contributed to ozone depletion as they used cholorofluorocarbons as referigerants, he said.
Verdict today on big bulls Maruti misadventure
MUMBAI, Sept 26 (PTI) Seven years after the multi-crore securities scam shook the nation, a special court here will tomorrow pronounce its verdict in the Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) case in which the big bull Harshad Mehta and four others face the charge of misappropriating funds to the tune of Rs 38.97 crore.
This will be the first-ever judgement of the special court on the alleged role of the big bull in siphoning off monies from banks and financial institutions in the multi-crore scam.
In the earlier two judgements, the special court of Mr Justice M.S. Rane had convicted stock broker Hiten Dalal who later obtained a stay from the Supreme Court on the verdict convicting him for offences under the various Sections under the IPC.
The CBI, the prosecuting agency in the MUL case, has charged Harshad Mehta and four other MUL and bank officials with entering into a criminal conspiracy to divert MULs surplus funds deposited in its account at its Canara Banks Parliament Street branch in Delhi to the account of the big bull at ANZ Grindlays Bank in the Capital.
Besides Mehta, the other accused are Pramod Kumar Manocha, former Deputy Manager (Finance) of MUL, Ambuj Jain, former Senior Executive of MUL, V.N. Deosthali, former Assistant Manager of United Commercial Bank and R.N. Popali, former officer of Anz Grindlays Bank.
Harshad and his co-accused have been charged with various offences under IPC Sections such as Cheating (420), criminal breach of trust (409), forgery (467), using forged documents by abuse of public offices (468) and misappropriating Rs 38.97 crore (471), besides conspiracy (120-B) read with Section 13 (1) (C) and 13 (2) of the Corruption Act.
According to the CBI, Manocha and Jain, in their capacity as public servants (employees of government-owned MUL), abused their position by allowing surplus funds of the company to be used by Harshad Mehta.
NEW DELHI, Sept 26 (UNI) The prestigeous process technology shield for 1999 for innovation in carbon technology with several advanced applications was bagged by the carbon group of the National Physical Laboratory(NPL) here today. Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for Science and Technology presented the shield and individual awards to a six-member team of scientists led by Dr O.P. Bahl at a function here to mark the 57th foundation day of the Council for Scientific and Industrial ResearchV(CSIR).
The CSIR Director
General Dr R.A. Mashelkar, said the award was given in
recognition of the scientists sustained development
of valuable knowledge base, expertise and several
advanced carbon products of industrial, societal and
strategic importance that had enabled India to move
forward on the path of technological self-reliance.
solution for PCs unveiled
CHANDIGARH, Sept 26 Rizvi Software Consultancy has appointed Golden Datamation Ltd as it sole distributor for the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
It has unveiled the first Indian Mission-Critical Y2K solution for PCs in the form of a software and a hardware fix, viz. Soffix TM and R 2000 TM.
NEW DELHI, Sept 26 (UNI) The continuing rise in the fiscal deficit in the first four months of this year is sending out disturbing signals and if the trend is not arrested, Indias fiscal reform will get derailed, stifling the current industrial and economic recovery, a study has said.The study done by Assocham said the disparate trends in revenue growth and expenditure have led to the fiscal deficit touching 57.4 per cent of the Budget estimate in the first four months (April-July) of this year. The corresponding figures were 46.8 per cent for 1998-99 and 48.9 per cent in 1997-98.
It cautioned that unless revenue and fiscal deficits are immediately contained, Government borrowings would overshoot the budgeted Rs 9955 crore, adversely affecting the availability of commercial bank credit to the industrial sector and push up interest rates.
Official figures show that the share of taxes collected to Budget estimates in the April-July period 18.8 per cent of the Budget estimates is at the lowest level in the last three years. In sharp contrast the proportion of the ratio of the amount spent on the revenue account during April-July, 1999-2000, to total Budget estimates is the highest since 1997-98 even while the proportionate spending on the capital account is at the lowest level.
The 15 per cent increase in revenue expenditures during April-July reveals that the spending has gone up by almost double the levels projected in the 1999-2000 Budget. This is happening even while the spending on the capital account during April-July 1999-2000 has been lowered by more than one-fourth around Rs 5,000 crore below that of the same period in the previous year.
The study says more than the size of the deficit, it is the quality of the fiscal management that is worrisome. The revenue deficit in the first four months has soared to 62.8 per cent of the Budget estimates for 1999-2000 as compared to just 51.7 per cent in the previous year. Even in 1997-98 the proportionate share of the revenue deficit was much lower.
Of more concern to the
industry is the lopsided pattern of the Government
spending in the first four months of the current year.
Though the 1999-2000 Budget has projected only 8.6 per
cent increase in revenue expenditure the figures for the
first four months show that the increase has almost been
close to double the projected figures.
NEW DELHI, Sept 26 (PTI) The Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) has declared Hindustan Wires as a sick industrial company and appointed Industrial Investment Bank of India (IIBI) as the operating agency to look into its revival.
A two-member bench of the BIFR, including its Chairman P.P. Chauhan, said in a recent order that Hindustan Wires would not be able to revive on its own and it was necessary in public interest to take measures for its revival.
IIBI, the bench said, will examine the viability of the company and formulate a rehabilitation package if the company was found viable.
The bench noted Hindustan Wires networth at Rs 9.93 crore was completely wiped off by accumulated loss of Rs 11.81 crore as on March end this year. Investment on plant and machinery stood at Rs 31.15 crore.
In his submission before
the BIFR bench, the Executive Director of Hindustan Wires
said the steel industry as a whole and the wire drawing
industry in particular, was passing through a severe
recession. Problems had been compounded by the reduction
of import duty on imports, he said.
NEW DELHI, Sept 26 (PTI) For the first time in 10 weeks, the inflation rate rose past the 2-per cent mark to 2.02 per cent for the week-ended September 11, due to an increase in the prices of primary articles.
During the week, the
annual rate of inflation rose by 0.08 percentage points
to 2.02 per cent (provisional) from 1.94 per cent in the
previous week. However, the inflation rate was much
higher at 8.36 per cent during the corresponding week
THERE is marked deterioration in facilities and attention to passengers at Indira Gandhi International Airport where arriving passengers look depressed and agitated.
We are tossed about in our own country when we return after years of stay abroad, said two women passengers, emphasising: It is not so in the foreign countries where, if our travel documents are in order, we simply walk out of the airport concourse in style.
There is truth in what the passengers observe as discipline and accountability at the IGIA, which are virtually non-existent.
There was a time when complaints against the Customs authorities were galore. Now the Customs unit has stolen a decisive march over other units. It is, perhaps, the best-managed agency which has learnt to respect passengers, Indian and foreign. Even banks, security, and transport are not sympathetic. A lady presented a Rs 500 travel cheque to a State Bank of India official for conversion in hard currency so that she could pay for taxi, etc. The official refused saying it could be encashed only in the city. Only when the lady started screaming, the official relented and accepted the travel cheque to provide her currency.
The plight of passengers in departure hall is no better. There are three banks in operation. But they are seldom prompt and graceful in transactions. When a passenger wanted foreign exchange, banks officials often adopt delaying tactics which cause harassment.
The pre-paid taxi system, once an efficient service, has gone totally haywire. The touts and middle-men rule the roost. Pilferage of baggage has increased manifold. The approach areas to both arrival and departure concourses resemble to old Delhi railway station. Security personnel are the main culprits in swindling innocent passengers. For making a long distance call, a clerk manning the counter dictates his terms. He charges whatever amount he wants. He does not issue any receipt. There is virtual law of jungle operating at the IGIA.
Fare war: In the fare war, Indian Airlines may have lost some revenue but it has emerged as more stable player than the other two competitors who are said to be passing through a critical phase of existence.
THE Rs 2,300 crore flexible packaging industry comprises three segments: BOPP films, PET films and converters. Besides, there is an entirely separate segment of laminated tubes too. The case of PET films and BOPP films is quite similar to the competition between DMT and PTA in the synthetic fibres industry. Both the types of laminates have their own quality, but could be used by consumers the world over, as per their choice.
The BOPP segment comprises six producers in our country, which include Cosmo Films, Gujarat Propack, Max India, Flex Industries, Biax and Supreme. The total capacity of the BOPP in the country is close to 40,000 tonnes per annum, but the domestic demand for the same is restricted to about 26,000 tonnes. However, another 3,500 tonnes of the product is being shipped out of the country annually, thus bridging the demand-supply gap. Unlike the PET films segment, where at least four or five players are stalwarts for long, there are only two majors, Cosmo Films and Gujarat Propack who have been focussing on BOPP films as their core area. Others are either the diversified companies who got into BOPP films too, or are now in a situation when they want to dispense away with this line due to severe pressure. Over the past two years, the fortunes of the BOPP films segment has also taken a downturn. This is because of the overcapacity and the continuous fall in international prices of BOPP films since 1996. And though the prices of polypropylene, the principal raw material, had also gone down till last year, the same have stabilised for now, thus putting the pressure on the profitability of all BOPP majors. The recovery of this segment is not yet in sight, though it is unlikely that the prices will fall further.
Till date, it has been the foods industry, which has been dominating as the active consumer for the flexible packaging industry. In fact, if include both the food processing and also the beverages, the two account for almost 60 per cent of the clientele of the flexible packaging industry. Fortunately, the outlook for this area, considered as a FMCG sector, is bright in the country, with some of reports also predicting towards a possible brand revolution in foods sector. Smaller pouches of personal care products could make up for that in the years to follow. At the moment, a recovery in the industry is not in sight, considering that the global economy itself has been shaken up.
Cosmo Films: Cosmo Films, a prominent player in the polypropylene films (BOPP) segment, has been unable to bear the pressure on its profit margins following a continuous slide in the prices of BOPP films, and has ended up slipping into the red. This setback has forced the companys management to re-evaluate its strategies. The focus of Cosmo has shifted to the export markets, particularly in the West. The company has targetted Rs 20 crore in the current financial year out of exports. Besides, it has also tried to minimise costs, by raising productivity.
Essel Packaging: Essel Packaging is one of the leading players in the flexible packaging segment. It is unuque, in the sense that it has a slightly different line of laminated tubes. These tubes are flexible ones, which have replaced the earlier metallic kind of packing for personal care products like toothpastes. The company is now a global-sized player in this segment, and has almost 80 per cent of the market share for lamitubes. The company has now spread over its wings through ventures in countries like China and other places. The product is catching on, and is finding wider applications. With no major competitors within the country, Essel Packaging is still ruling the roost in this segment.
Flex Ind: Flex Industries ill-conceived decision to get into backward intergration and to set up lines for BOPP films and also the polyester films segments has cost it dearly. Though both the projects went on stream two to three years back, yet the timing proved to be wrong for Flex Industries, considering that both BOPP and polyester films business lines are facing overcapacities. The subsequent recession in both these areas has proved costly for Flex Industries, since it had to make heavy investments to get into these lines. The result of the entire episode is that the company is now loaded with heavy debt burdens of over Rs 400 crore, most of them being the high interest ones, and the companys performance is slipping year after year. The company has been trying to look for a possible bailout for almost a year now, by substituting its high cost debts with a $ 90 million ECB, but even that has not materialised. Having already become a defaulter, the company has been unable to get the FIs support so far for rescheduling of its loans.
has a capacity to produce upto 15, 000 tonnes per annum
of polyester films. The survival strategy adopted by
Polyplex in the past two difficult years has been to
focus on exports. The company derives almost 55-60 per
cent of its sales volumes out of export markets. The same
has partly ensured that the company was not hit that hard
by the initial glut in the polyester films segment. But
with the international prices of PET films now coming
down sharply, the free fall has eaten into the profit
margins of the company. In case there is any further fall
in international prices of PET films, this company too
will slip into the red.
I sent 100 shares of Rajdoot Paints Ltd with certificate No 22364, Folio No. 0003050 and Distinctive Numbers 6234101-6234200 to your office on 18.4.1999. As such the requisite shares in lieu of Rajdoot Paints may kindly be issued in my favour by the Berger Paints India Ltd.
I sent 300 shares of Padmini Polymers Ltd to the Company Secretary on 2.7.1998 which was received and confirmed by their office on 7.7.98 for transfer of these shares under my name bearing certificate numbers 0406776, 302448 and 302576 with folio numbers 003012, 062512 (100) each respectively. More than one year has elapsed neither the shares has been transferred under my name nor returned back to me.
I deposited Rs 10,000 fixed deposit for 12 months with the Jai Parabolic Springs Ltd, at SAS Nagar, Mohali. The due date was 29.7.99. The company has not repaid the amount till todate.
US-64 dividend ending June 1998 not received despite several reminders. The certificate numbers are 400970200592561 and 62, 400940010042906, 400980011018929.
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