Tuesday, February 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S
Naomi Campbell, right, smiles at a Japanese girl reacting after receiving the British supermodel's signature perfume at a promotion event in Tokyo's Shibuya commercial district on Monday. More than 500 fans turned out to have a glimpse of the charismatic figure among the fashion conscious Japanese youth.
Naomi Campbell, right, smiles at a Japanese girl reacting after receiving the British supermodel's signature perfume at a promotion event in Tokyo's Shibuya commercial district on Monday. More than 500 fans turned out to have a glimpse of the charismatic figure among the fashion conscious Japanese youth. — AP/PTI

SEBI slaps 5 pc margin on 10 scrips
MUMBAI, Feb 14 — The Securities and Exchange Board of India and representatives of five leading stock exchanges at their review meeting, today decided to impose additional 5 per cent margin on top 10 scrips, including Infosys Technologies, to cool down the overheated stock markets.

BSEL Info Systems to issue 1:1 bonus
MUMBAI, Feb 14 — BSEL Information Systems Ltd has declared a bonus in the ratio of 1:1 even as it announced plans to raise Rs 500 crore to fund its future growth.


Skill upgradation programme opens
CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 — Mr N.R. Kannan, Chief General Manager, NABARD, today inaugurated the skill based rural entrepreneurship development programme at Bosco Institute of Rural Development at Kauli, district Patiala for which NABARD has sanctioned a grant of Rs 63,000.



Golden handshake offer by Markfed
CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 — Markfed has decided to shed its flab. The authorities concerned have mooted a proposal to offer a "golden handshake" to its employees.



EARLIER STORIES
 
Softbank Corp. President Masayoshi Son, left, gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with World Bank Group President James D. Wolfensohn, right, in Tokyo on Monday. They announced that the International Finance Corp, a unit of the World Bank, and Softbank will set up a joint venture called Softbank Emerging Markets to provide technology, legal and management support to Internet business entrepreneurs in developing nations.
Softbank Corp. President Masayoshi Son, left, gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with World Bank Group President James D. Wolfensohn, right, in Tokyo on Monday. — AP/PTI
  Thai riot police stand in front of protesters outside the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, in Bangkok on Monday. Protesters in a show of non-violence passed out St. Valentines Day roses to police.
Thai riot police stand in front of protesters outside the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, in Bangkok on Monday. Protesters in a show of non-violence passed out St. Valentines Day roses to police. — AP/PTI

Milk project for Ludhiana
CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 — Milkfed and its affiliated, the Ludhiana District Cooperative Milk Producers Union have taken up a combined project with a capital outlay of Rs 2 crore after an agreement was signed with the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council on February 12.

Capital Bank opens 2 branches
CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 — Capital Local Area Bank Limited, with an area of operation of Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur districts, has become the second local area bank in the country and first in North India to start centrally air-conditioned and fully computerised branches with extended working hours at Nakodar and Samrai in Jalandhar district. Top




SEBI slaps 5 pc margin on 10 scrips

MUMBAI, Feb 14 (UNI) — The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and representatives of five leading stock exchanges at their review meeting, today decided to impose additional 5 per cent margin on top 10 scrips, including Infosys Technologies, to cool down the overheated stock markets.

The representatives of SEBI and leading stock exchanges met here to take stock of the situation. They agreed on various other measures to be taken for the safety of the markets. The group decided to bring the institutional trades under the purview of margins since a significant portion of outstanding position and market is on account of institutional trades.

The five leading exchanges identified 10 scrips in terms of outstanding positions, volume and volatility on which the additional 5 per cent margins would be charged. The scrips included Infosys Technologies, Satyam Computer, Him Fut Com, Silverline Tech NIIT, Zee Telefilm, Global Telesystems, Pentamedia Graphic, Digital Equipment and DSQ Software.

Besides, the 5 per cent additional margins on these volatile scrips, it was also decided that the cash component of additional capital and margin should be increased and standardised. The cash component should reach the level of 50 per cent by the end of March 2000.

The group has recommended that in a move to bring institutional trades under the purview of margins, the flat margins should be imposed against them. The modalities would be worked out after a meeting with the institutions within a week, the SEBI release said.

It may recalled, the regulator body has already directed the five major exchanges, — BSE, NSE, CSE, DSE and ASE — to take incremental additional capital and margins from their top 25 brokers in the form of cash or FDRs only and further asked them to withdraw the existing facility of accepting additional capital or margins by way of bank guarantees or securities.

After today’s meeting, SEBI asked the exchanges that they should ensure that brokers collect margins from clients wherever the margin liability for the client exceeds Rs 1 lakh. The exchanges have been asked to carry out inspections to verify that the brokers are abiding by this request.

Presently, the volatility margin captures six weekly volatility. It was decided that the present system of volatility margin would be further refined and strengthened to capture short term volatility. Modalities in this regard would also be decided within a week.

SEBI has also told the stock exchanges to strengthen their surveillance and monitoring to detect market manipulations in a timely and proactive manner.Top


 

BSEL Info Systems to issue 1:1 bonus

MUMBAI, Feb 14 (PTI) — BSEL Information Systems Ltd has declared a bonus in the ratio of 1:1 even as it announced plans to raise Rs 500 crore to fund its future growth.

The Board of Directors recommended the issue of bonus shares and called for an extra-ordinary general meeting on March 3 to get shareholders’ approval, according to a company statement here today.

The record date for the purpose of deciding bonus entitlement has been kept as May 5, 2000.

Meanwhile, to fund its ambitious growth plans, BSEL plans to raise Rs 500 crore by either tapping the American Depository Receipts or preferential allotment or public issue or any combination thereof, the company said.

Proceeds from the issue would be utilised to part-finance Maharashtra’s first software technology park in the private sector, which is coming up at Navi Mumbai near here at a cost of Rs 40 crore, for setting up a 100 per cent software subsidiary in the USA and starting an additional software development centre in Pune among others, it added.

BSE’s net profit soared by 122 per cent to Rs 8.73 crore on the back of a 182 per cent jump in turnover at Rs 13.98 crore for the nine-months ended December 31, 1999 over the same period last year.

Parke Davis merger: Merger of Pfizer India and Parke Davis India as part of the global wedding of Pfizer Inc and Warner Lambert is likely to consolidate the position of the merged Indian entity to the fifth position in the pharma sector.Top





 

Skill upgradation programme opens
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 — Mr N.R. Kannan, Chief General Manager, NABARD, today inaugurated the skill based rural entrepreneurship development programme at Bosco Institute of Rural Development at Kauli, district Patiala for which NABARD has sanctioned a grant of Rs 63,000. The programme aims at skill upgradation in three trades, viz. tailoring, electrical wiring and welding.

Mr Kannan also inaugurated the dairy shed and production unit of the institute besides handing over the bee-hives to one self help group. The others present on the occasion were Fr. Joy, Director, Bosco Institute of Rural Development, Mr B.M. Batra, AGM (DD), NABARD, Mr G.P. Jindal LDM from Lead Bank, Patiala, Mr P.K. Diwan, DM, KVIB and Ms Surjit Kaur, Deputy Director, Employment, District Patiala.Top



 

Milk project for Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 — Milkfed and its affiliated, the Ludhiana District Cooperative Milk Producers Union have taken up a combined project with a capital outlay of Rs 2 crore after an agreement was signed with the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council on February 12.

The project first of its kind in the country aims at improving dairy farm practices, including better housing, farm management and feeding to enhance productivity of the livestock as well as to provide a clean environment for milk production.

The agreement was signed by Dr Y.S. Rajan on behalf of the Council and Mr Amrik Singh, MD, Milkfed, and Dr S.P. Gupta of the milk union.

The project site has been selected in Ludhiana district. Milkfed is the implementing agency. The Ludhiana District Milk Producers’ Union will house the project.

Under the project in addition to three small farm (15 animals), medium (30 animals) and large (50 animals), a cluster of 25 farms of 15 animals each has been considered from the same milk collection route. Thus, the project covers 28 farms (with 470 animals). All farms are within 10 km from the nearest chilling centre. The total milk output from these farms daily will be 5,000 litres.

Each of these farms and their clusters will be provided with a milking machine detergents, tit dips, drinking bowls, bulk cooler and a generator set. The existing farm sheds will be modified. Testing laboratory equipment facility for Bactoscan, Fossomotic cell counter etc. will be provided for the project.

Experts will provide training to extension workers and farmers in farm management, covering silage making, calf rearing, feeding, nutrition, fodder crops, udder health, veterinary care, bacteriological quality of milk and economics.Top



 

Capital Bank opens 2 branches
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 — Capital Local Area Bank Limited, with an area of operation of Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur districts, has become the second local area bank in the country and first in North India to start centrally air-conditioned and fully computerised branches with extended working hours at Nakodar and Samrai in Jalandhar district. The branches are open on Sundays also.

Mr S.S. Samra, Director of the bank, said in a statement today that the branches will provide world class banking facilities to rural folks. The bank will extend financial assistance to agriculture and allied sectors.

The bank has also launched a Capital Kisan Card scheme. Capital Bank plans to open six branches in the first year. It plans to install ATMs at its branches to provide 24-hour of banking facility to customers and inter-connect the branches.

This Bank entered into business to revolutionise banking industry in the region, setting new standards, offering a wide array of services to meet all banking needs of the local people.Top



 

Golden handshake offer by Markfed
by Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 14 — Markfed has decided to shed its flab. The authorities concerned have mooted a proposal to offer a "golden handshake" to its employees.

The Board of Directors of Markfed has already approved the proposal. It will be sent to the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, for clearance. The exemption from the income tax authorities concerned will also be sought on the amount offered to the employees as part of the package.

Informed sources told TNS today that as per the criteria determined by the board, employees who have completed 15 years of service in Markfed and completed 45 years of age, would be eligible for the offer.

Markfed, one of the biggest cooperative institutions in Asia having a turnover of Rs 4000 crore, has about 3500 employees. Its annual salary bill is nearly Rs 50 crore. Markfed is engaged in the task of the procurement of paddy, wheat and manufacturing of edible oils, pesticides, cattle feed and packaging of rice, vegetables and various other foods. It has also planned to install a sugarmill in Malout.

However, due to various reasons, including mounting cost of the establishment, its profit had come down to a few lakhs of rupees last year from Rs 70 crore in 1993-94.

Informed sources said that there was surplus staff due to the closing down of certain units of Markfed. For instance, the combine harvest unit, the agro-aviation unit, the cement pipes unit and certain fertiliser plants were shut up a few years ago and employees posted in these units were adjusted elsewhere. A number of drivers have also become surplus due to "own your car" scheme introduced at the officers level.

Moreover, as the authorities have decided for the computerisation of all the administrative sections, a part of clerical staff will also become surplus. Keeping in view all these factors, the authorities concerned decided to moot such a proposal.Top




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THAT'S IT

Cyber cop to check Internet hacking

A NATIONAL software cyber cop committee comprising government and industry officials will be set up on March 1 to tackle hacker attacks on Internet sites.

The 11-member committee will have police officials, software experts and government representatives, Nasscom President Dewang Mehta told newspersons in Delhi on Monday.

Releasing the Nasscom findings on Internet usage in India, he said: “We expect the first international gateway for private ISPs to be operational by June 2000, which will result in a dramatic increase in Internet usage and connectivity in the country.’’

According to the survey, Internet connections are projected to go up to 14 lakh from the current 6.1 lakh connections, while Internet users are expected to more than double to about five million by March 31,2001 from the present 2.1 million.

E-commerce transactions in the country are expected at Rs 450 crore in 1999-2000. “With the cyberlaws likely to be cleared and implemented by mid-2000, Nasscom expects a 500 per cent growth in 2000-01 with Rs 2,500 crore worth of online transactions in India,’’ Mr Mehta said.

The concept of cyber cop committee was formed in the backdrop of the huge potential of Internet economy and the latest wave of hacker attacks on popular portals like Amazon.Com and Yahoo.Com.

Raise FII limit: Nasscom has recommended an increase in the FII limit in infotech companies to at least 40 per cent from the existing 30 per cent limit.

Currently, FIIs are allowed to invest up to 24 per cent of the total paid-up shares of a company in India. However, the companies are authorised to increase this limit to 30 per cent for their own respective companies after taking approval from the respective boards.

Nasscom has also demanded:

  • a three-year moratorium on new take on e-commerce transactions.
  • implementation of the recommendations of the national I.T. task force
  • retention of the zero import duty regime on computer software.
  • freedom to Indian infotech companies to acquire overseas companies.
  • freedom to commit to an acquisition of up to one billion dollars without any prior approval or 30 per cent of their market capitalisation, whichever is lower.
  • under ESOP employees should be asked to pay tax only at the time of selling the stock.
  • continuation of income tax exemption to software exports under Section 80 HHE.

Real estate portal: Real estate portal indiaproperties.com on Monday announced its tie-up with leading housing finance companies — Citibank, HSBC and The Associates to provide various housing finance options to customers.

As per the agreement, details of various housing finance will be available to the viewers online at the portal and the customers can submit their requisition to pre-approve themselves from these HFCs, a company statement said in Delhi on Monday. — UNI, PTITop



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BIZ BRIEFS

Bullion
Gold Std Rs 4800
Gold 22-Ct Rs 4650
Silver Ready Rs 8030
Silver delivery Rs 8050

Forex
US $ Rs 43.61/62
Stg Rs 69.40/42
Euro Rs 43.19/21
Yen (100) Rs 40.30/32

ICICI Bank
Mumbai, Feb 14 (PTI) — ICICI Bank has filed an application with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise upto US $ 125 million through American Depository Receipts in the international markets.

M.S. Shoes
NEW DELHI, Feb 14 (PTI) — MRTPC has accepted M.S. Shoes East Ltd’s application against SBI Capital Markets for alleged failure to discharge its obligations as underwriter to the company’s Rs 15 crore fully convertible debentures.

Aptech tie-up
NEW DELHI, Feb 14 (PTI) — Aptech Ltd today entered into an alliance with e-learning infrastructure company Saba to offer e-learning solution to corporates worldwide. The alliance will help companies have a unified solution to assess, plan, deliver, test, track and improve learning and competencies of suppliers, employees, partners and customers.

E-commerce
SINGAPORE, Feb 14 (AP) — Countries that decide to impose tariffs and taxes on electronic commerce transactions will be committing economic suicide, World Trade Organisation chief Mike Moore warned today. Moore said the domain of the Internet, and electronic commerce in particular, should remain tax and duty-free to benefit smaller and developing countries.Top





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