Thursday, February 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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B U S I N E S S

Language software to boost PC penetration
NEW DELHI, Feb 9 — The dream of India becoming IT super power and the industry reaching the size of $ 100 billion by 2010 could be achieved if the personal computer penetration in the country were increased and if the local language software and country oriented contents were developed, a study said.

A videographer tries to pull a sign away from anti-fur protesters after they jumped onto the runway during the presentation of Oscar de la Renta’s Fall 2000 show, Tuesday, at Bryant Park in New York
NEW YORK : A videographer tries to pull a sign away from anti-fur protesters after they jumped onto the runway during the presentation of Oscar de la Renta’s Fall 2000 show on Tuesday, at Bryant Park in New York. — AP/PTI
Maruti pulls back launch of diesel Esteem
NEW DELHI, Feb 9 — Maruti Udyog Limited has, for the present, decided to apply brakes on the launch of diesel version of its mid-size offering Esteem. The company has for long been toying with the idea of introducing diesel hearts on Esteem as also Gypsy.

‘Waive sales tax on cement’
NEW DELHI, Feb 9 — The cement industry today asked the Government to waive off sales tax and reduce excise duty on cement to reduce cost and improve consumption levels.


Hackers sabotage five big web sites
NEW YORK, Feb 9 — Five high profile web sites, including Yahoo! and Amazon.com, were assaulted and shut down in the last two days, leading to fears that an individual or a group may be trying to wreck havoc on the world wide web, even as the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had plans to investigate the hacking.




EARLIER STORIES
 
Neptune Information
NEW DELHI, Feb 9 — The Gurgaon-based Neptune Information Solutions Ltd, an IT solutions company, plans to develop around 100 business relationships within the country and 10 such tie-ups in the African continent this year.

Exempt pre-payment of excise: Assocham
NEW DELHI, Feb 9 — An apex industry chamber today asked the government to exempt pre-payment of excise on supplies to multilaterally-aided infrastructure projects to make the exporting community competitive in international bidding.

Members of the ParliamentaryStanding Committee on Transport and Tourism on a visit to IGI airport here to take stock of the problems faced by tourists, passengers and taxi drivers.
New Delhi: Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport and Tourism on a visit to IGI airport here to take stock of the problems faced by tourists, passengers and taxi drivers. Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, TDP MP Yerran Naidu, Kerala Congress MP P.C. Thomas are also seen in the picture — PTI photo

HRD mission to Chennai
CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — In keeping with its initiative to sensitise industry about the best practices in Human Resource Management, the TQM and HRD sub-committee of CII (Northern Region) has taken a mission to select companies in Chennai on February 10 and 11.

Mayer & Cie opens service centre
LUDHIANA, Feb 9 — World’s leading circular knitting machines manufacturer, Mayer and Cie has established its service centre in Ludhiana.



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Language software to boost PC penetration
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 9 — The dream of India becoming IT super power and the industry reaching the size of $ 100 billion by 2010 could be achieved if the personal computer penetration in the country were increased and if the local language software and country oriented contents were developed, a study said.

“When will local language software take off?”, the study carried out by the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIT-B), Bangalore, was released here today by Prof Kenneth Keniston, Director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT), US.

“India needs unique solutions for unique Indian needs for improving IT penetration in the country. Local content is the major drive force of IT penetration be it China, Japan, Germany or France,” he said.

Prof Keniston said diversity of the Indian culture when brought together with IT opens doors to unlimited opportunities — be it multimedia or entertainment or news or even education.

“Indian entrepreneurs have a large domestic market at their own doorsteps, they need not look beyond,” he said.

And, to cash in on the market potential, Microsoft Corporation plans to launch its first Hindi software “Microsoft word India” soon. Punjab software is under the company’s consideration.

The software is expected to be launched along with “Windows 2000”, the new operating system.

Hindi, Marathi, Konkani and Sanskrit in Devnagiri script and Tamil are among the 134 international languages the new operating system has been designed to support.

One of the major reasons cited for poor IT penetration is the problem of interface. “In a country where only 3 per cent to 5 per cent of the population is fluent in English, PC’s with applications and operating systems in English are a major bottleneck for effective usage,” said the past president of Manufacturers Association for Information Technology (MAIT), Mr Manu Paria.

The PC penetration in the country is low at 3.5 per thousand as compared to 500 per thousand in the USA and over 6 per thousand in China. The current internet penetration is 0.1 per cent and 60 per cent of the country’s export are from 10 companies alone.

The major issue facing the IT industry were the lack of universally accepted standards, lack of familiarity with user interface (keyboards) and also resistance to use. Another underlying problem is the use of English as a defacto standard and the aspiration to use English among individuals, said Prof S Sadagopan, founder director of IIT Bangalore.

The PC penetration and local language software is likely to play a significant role in enabling the country to become an IT super power. The industry is expected to grow 20 times by 2010.

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Maruti pulls back launch of diesel Esteem

NEW DELHI, Feb 9 (UNI, PTI) — Maruti Udyog Limited has, for the present, decided to apply brakes on the launch of diesel version of its mid-size offering Esteem.

The company has for long been toying with the idea of introducing diesel hearts on Esteem as also Gypsy. “But, increasing demand for our petrol versions and a slight softening of demand for diesel cars have forced us to put off the launch of diesel Esteem for the time being”, company sources told UNI here.

As per an internal launch schedule, the diesel Esteem was timed for launch in December 1999. “However, the car is now not likely to hit the roads soon... we would be concentrating on our recent new launches, including Baleno and Wagon-R. Besides, the petrol versions are also in great demand and we are utilising all our resources to meet the demand.”

The diesel version of Esteem has already been developed and tested. The car also sports the Peugeot Tud 5 engine that powers the Zen-Diesel.

Company Chief General Manager Rohtash Mal, when contacted, said that a time-frame for launch of the diesel Esteem is yet to be finalised.

“The testing of various options and product variants is an on-going process at MUL, Esteem diesel being one of them... the Esteem diesel would be introduced at an appropriate time, and as per the market requirement as is the case with all other products from MUL stable,” he said.

The company, Mr Mal said, is also exploring the feasibility of introducing its luxury car in two new versions — diesel and station-wagon.

Meanwhile, the company is reportedly gearing up to set up its fourth plant to raise production capacity to beyond 500,000 units annually. The existing three plants have an installed capacity of 350,000 units and the company hopes to sell more than four lakh units in the current fiscal. The company has been functioning at over 130 per cent capacity utilisation for the past few years to meet the growing demand for its cars.

Kinetic launches Y2Kinetic

Pune-based two wheeler manufacturer Kinetic today launched an upgraded fuel efficient scooter under the tag — Y2Kinetic series — that will contribute to increased sales of the company.

“Kinetic scooters would now deliver highest mileage of about 50 km per litre on road. This we expect would grow their sales very significantly,” Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Executive Director, Kinetic Motor Company Ltd said in a statement.

The new scooters which sport higher performing, advanced Lean Burn Technology (LBT) engines would have lower levels of noise, vibration and emissions, it said adding that the millennium scooters would be available in metallic colours.

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Hackers sabotage five big web sites

NEW YORK, Feb 9 (PTI) — Five high profile web sites, including Yahoo! and Amazon.com, were assaulted and shut down in the last two days, leading to fears that an individual or a group may be trying to wreck havoc on the world wide web, even as the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had plans to investigate the hacking.

On Monday, Yahoo! was out for three hours while CNN.Com, Buy.com, eBay and Amazon.com suffered the attacks yesterday.

All five assaults were said to be what are known as denial-of-service attacks, which entails someone bombarding a site with mock traffic. What results is an Internet traffic jam, effectively blocking out users.

All of this week’s attacks appeared to be coordinated efforts from multiple points on the internet.

Buy.com site was paralysed for three hours on the day it was going public. Popular auction site eBay was attacked and went offline for two hours. This was followed by attack on CNN.Com and Amazon.com, a major online bookstore.

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‘Waive sales tax on cement’

NEW DELHI, Feb 9 (PTI) — The cement industry today asked the Government to waive off sales tax and reduce excise duty on cement to reduce cost and improve consumption levels.

“Cost of cement can be reduced if State Governments waive sales tax on it in the interest of the public and Central Government reduces excise duty as these two alone amount to a sizeable 20 per cent of the sale price today,” Secretary General of the Cement Manufacturers Association, R. Partha Sarathy said at a seminar on Concrete roads here.

At present, cement manufacturers have to pay royalties on coal, limestone, taxes on power and raw materials, he said, adding that while the Centre had given duty drawback facility the same had not been extended by the State Governments.

The excise duty on cement amounts to 67 per cent on the cost which is very high and if costs have to be brought down, this duty must be made more reasonable, he said, adding that the industry was hopeful that the Union Budget would include this measure.

“The domestic production of cement in the calendar year 1999 was around 99 million tonnes and is expected to increase by another 10 million tonnes this year, he said.
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Neptune Information
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 9 — The Gurgaon-based Neptune Information Solutions Ltd, an IT solutions company, plans to develop around 100 business relationships within the country and 10 such tie-ups in the African continent this year.

The products that would be streamlined to small and medium enterprises through the business relationship include “Dream House”, “Liberty Bell” and “Trident ERP Solutions.” The nature of our business relationship is that we would back up our partners with the solutions and their job is to market and configure our products, Mr Rakesh Garg, president and CEO of the firm, a Jindal group of company, said.
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Exempt pre-payment of excise: Assocham

NEW DELHI, Feb 9 (PTI) — An apex industry chamber today asked the government to exempt pre-payment of excise on supplies to multilaterally-aided infrastructure projects to make the exporting community competitive in international bidding.

“Supplies to multilaterally-aided infrastructure projects without insistence on pre-payment of excise would go a long way in making the exporting community competitive in international bidding,” Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry said here today.

This was imperative in view of the expected increase in infrastructure building activities in core sector such as roads and port construction, power and mining projects and possibility of such projects being financed by agencies like World Bank and Asian Development Bank, Assocham President Shekhar Bajaj said in a pre-Budget memorandum.

Bajaj said export benefit refund of terminal excise duty on projects financed by multilateral agencies would be an incentive for domestic manufacturers as it would cut down on paper work and delays involved in making excise duty payment initially and applying for refund later.

“In case exemption from payment of excise duty was not possible, the Government should fix a time limit for refund of terminal excise duty under export import policy handbook,” he said adding refunds beyond the specified time limit should be subjected to payment of interest.
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HRD mission to Chennai
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — In keeping with its initiative to sensitise industry about the best practices in Human Resource Management, the TQM and HRD sub-committee of CII (Northern Region) has taken a mission to select companies in Chennai on February 10 and 11.

The mission is to generate awareness regarding the good HR practices in Lucas-TVS Limited, TI Diamond Chain Limited and in Ford India Limited. The mission provides an opportunity to the delegates to obtain first hand exposure to various innovative and successful HR practices implemented at these visited companies. Over 30 Human Resource Managers from companies like Apollo Tyres, GSFC, STP, Thermax, Shriram Fertilisers & Chemicals, GKN Transmission, Hindustan Construction, Eicher Tractors, Delphi Automotive Systems, Nalco, BILT, Bannari Amman Sugars, Escorts Yamaha, Maruti Udyog, Hero Honda Motors, Indo Rama Synthetics India and Apollo Hospitals based in Pune, Kota, Mumbai, Bhubaneshwar, Gurgaon, Coimbatore, New Delhi, Vadodara etc. have participated in this HR mission.
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Mayer & Cie opens service centre
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Feb 9 — World’s leading circular knitting machines manufacturer, Mayer and Cie has established its service centre in Ludhiana.

The service centre was inaugurated by Mr H. Bitzer who is MD of the MSL (Mayer Service and Leasing), Mr D. Klinger Marketing Manager and responsible for India sales was also present. Service and sales support for Mayer and Cie is now available from Ludhiana.

The training activity of this centre began from Monday, with the first workshop being conducted by Mr Wissmann — Training Manager at Mayer and Cie.
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CORPORATE NEWS

Preferential allotment by Morepen Lab
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 9 — The Board of Morepen Laboratories today approved an allotment of 25 lakh equity shares of Rs 10 each at a premium of Rs 640 by way of preferential allotment to various FIIs, domestic financial institutions and mutual funds aggregating to Rs 162.5 crore.

This is in accordance with the resolution passed in the EGM held in November last year.

According to a company release, the major allottees of the preferential allotment are UTI, LIC, HDFC, GIC, Canara Bank, New India Assurance, Gem South Asia Income and Growth Investment Co. BNP, Gun F&C, Reliance Mutual Funds, Birla Mutual Funds and SICOM.

Hewlett Packard

Computing and imaging solutions company Hewlett Packard India Ltd (HPIL) said it expects to clock a turnover of about Rs 1000 crore in the current fiscal and will incorporate a new competitive pricing strategy for its range of products from printers to net servers and colour scanners.

“We hope to reach a total turnover of about Rs 1000 crore in the current financial year and the new products are the one in the line to help us reach that target,” Marketing Manager (Consumer Hardcopy) of HPIL Ashwini K Aggarwal told reporters here. — PTI


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Bullion
Gold Std. Rs 4730
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Forex
US $ Rs 43.60/61
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Euro Rs 43.21/23
Yen (100) Rs 40.13/15

Bausch & Lomb
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — Bausch and Lomb, today launched ‘Soflens Starcolors’ range of disposable coloured contact lenses in India. The new range consists of seven exciting shades. Coincinding with Valentine’s the new range is available in both powered and non-powered.

Farmer clubs
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — The State Bank of Patiala Raipur Rani branch today launched two Farmer Clubs at village Barouna Khurd and Mandalai. The clubs were inaugurated by Dr Sukhbir Singh, General Manager, Nabard. Mr Ashok Verma Branch Manager, highlighted the main objectives of the clubs and schemes of the bank for the overall development of the villages.

SBI exam
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 9 — On account of Assembly elections in some States, the written examination for recruitment of Probationary Officers to be conducted by Central Recruitment Board (State Bank Group), slated for February 13 has been postponed throughout India.

Syndicate Bank
SHIMLA, Feb 9 (PTI) — The Syndicate Bank would start seven-day banking in its main branch at Shimla from February 13 next and offer services to the customers on Sundays also, a spokesman of the bank here said.
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