|Friday, February 18, 2000,
Cement sector grows by 15 pc
Otis announces100 pc
No action on 2nd wave of reforms: World Bank
NEW DELHI, Feb 17 (PTI) The World Bank has said investor confidence has taken a beating as the reforms process in India has slowed down over the last few years and warned that the economic growth can slip further unless the second wave of reforms is implemented soon.
Without implementation of a second wave of reforms, Indias GDP in 1999-2000 will be similar to the long-run trend (1979-98) growth of about 5.8 per cent and can slip even further in future, says the latest World Bank study India: policies to reduce poverty and accelerate growth.
Rueing the fact that despite all recent government talk about the second wave of reforms, reforms have slowed down creating uncertainty among investors.
Expressing serious concern over the countrys poverty situation despite it being among the worlds fastest growing economies, the report outlined the route for future reforms the country ought to take.
As per the reports findings, poverty reduction has been particularly sluggish over the nineties in rural India, which comprise over 70 per cent of the countrys poor.
The World Bank report has asked India to reduce implicit and explicit subsidies drastically to raise resources to fund infrastructure needs in water, road, power and telecom.
Funding for roads, public and private, could be increased by further increasing the cess paid by consumers on petrol and diesel fuel for road construction. Any subsidies that remain should be limited and paid for by the Government rather than through cross subsidies, the bank said.
Advocating privatisation of transmission and distribution of power, corporatisation of department of telecom (DoT) and separation of port operations from public statutory for improving infrastructure in the country, the report said improved infrastructure would help reduce poverty and support growth.
Construction of infrastructure would not only boost growth but would also provide employment thereby reducing poverty, it said citing the experience of Punjab and Haryana.
A major expansion in the
availability of safe water would improve health among the
poor greatly, the report said, adding construction of
infrastructure would increase labour demand, given the
labour intensity of construction.
Well done, says Duff & Phelps
CALCUTTA, Feb 17 (UNI) Duff and Phelps India, an affiliate of Duff and Phelps credit rating company of the USA, in its monthly research report on the Indian economy, today said containment of fiscal deficit was the key area of concern for the government in the reform process.
It, however, noted that the Indian government has accelerated the implementation of the second phase of reforms.
The report economy update said the decision to sell off 74 per cent of its equity stake in Modern Foods and 51 per cent in Indian Airlines was an indication of the Indian Governments commitment to privatisation.
It noted that the high combined fiscal deficit at the Centre and state levels threatens the potential of economic growth and advocated tough measures like reducing non-merit subsidies, following an aggressive privatisation strategy, widening the tax base in the coming Union Budget.
Although the cumulative growth for the first nine months of the fiscal 1999-2000 was robust, indicating that the Indian economy was on the recovery path, the report said the performance during December, 1999 suggested a slowdown, as the low base effect was tapering off.
The agricultural sector,
which was an important growth driver last year, was
likely to show only a marginal growth of 0.8 per cent
this fiscal, which would pull down the overall GDP growth
rate, the report said.
Microsoft launches Hindi-enabled Windows 2000
NEW DELHI, Feb 17 (PTI) Microsoft Corporation today launched its Indian language enabled operating system as part of the worldwide launch of Windows 2000 focused at businesses on the Internet.
Windows 2000 supports Devnagari script, including Hindi, Konkani and Tamil and is Microsofts first step towards localisation, Sanjay Mirchandani, Managing Director of Microsoft India said here.
The operating system is available in three flavours - Professional for business desktops and laptops, server for file and print servers, and Advanced server for e-commerce applications.
The new system, developed after three years research costing one billion dollars, is designed for increased scalability, reliability, manageability and security.
The Windows server version is priced at Rs 40,000 and Rs 20,000 for upgradation while Windows Professional would be priced at Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000 for an upgrade.
The operating system which supports a multilingual user interface permits creating, reading and editing documents in Hindi and other local languages.
The system would not have an Indian language based menu, but only support writing applications in these languages, Mirchandani said.
Shyam ACeS India on Thursday announced the successful launch of its ACeS International-owned Garuda satellite for providing mobile communication services in India at competitive rates.
The Garuda satellite, launched on February 12, will have a life of 12 years and is one of the largest and most powerful communication satellites ever to be launched with 14 kilowatts of power, Shyam ACeS said in a statement here.
Shyam ACeS has a gateway contract with Lockheed Martin to provide mobile telecommunication services in India with a project cost of $ 30 million.
The joint venture company proposes to commence services with a dual mode handset costing less than $ 1000.
The Garuda satellite will enable telecommunications from a geostationary satellite to a hand held shirt pocket size dual mode handset that is no different from the existing GSM phones.
Wilnet in Delhi
Wilnet Communications, an Internet service provider (ISP) and a company of the Rs 400 crore Cadila Pharmaceuticals, group, will soon launch Internet access and other value-added service in Delhi.
Wilnet Online, which is the service brand name, will be the first ISP in the country to offer WEB based e-mail accounts to its subscribers facilitating them to access their e-mail from anywhere in the world.
Systems America has chalked out an expansion plan envisaging an investment of over Rs 80 crore, about Rs 50 crore of which will be raised through an initial public offering (IPO).
We are also planning a war-chest of Rs 25 crore for acquisitions, either in India or abroad, out of the proceeds of the IPO to be made during this calendar year, Systems America CEO Adesh Tyagi told newsmen in Mumbai on Thursday.
Venture Capitalists Chrysalis Capital has taken up Rs 10 crore equity in education portal eGurucool.com to provide learning, education and social activities to students all over India.
India to be No. 2
Peter Woicke Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation has said India is likely to emerge as the second largest player in the information technology sector in the next few years.
India would overtake
Europe in information technology sector. I have
found a different India - an India that is optimistic.
The IT sector is driving a lot of this optimism,
Woicke told reporters in Delhi on Wednesday.
Why action with publicity: Jilani
NEW DELHI, Feb 17 (UNI) Mr Rashid Jilani, Chairman and Managing Director of a leading Punjab National Bank, who has been asked to go on leave a few days before he is to retire after an extended tenure of 10 years, says that the punishment was given to him with adverse publicity without listening to his case or considering his side.
Mr Jilani, who served Punjab National Bank for 37 years, 10 years as CMD, said that the action against him was taken on the basis of a complaint by an employee of the bank who had been dismissed from service.
The term of Mr Jilani as CMD was extended for another five years after the first term of five years.His renewed term is to expire on March 6, but he has been asked to proceed on leave following an FIR filed against him.
In a communication to the Finance Minister, he has said Mr J.K Sawhney, General Secretary of a small union, was dismissed from service on March 26, 1997, following all formalities. Mr Sawhney, who thinks that Mr Jilani is responsible for his dismissal, had sent a petition on behalf of his union to the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and others, he said.
The All-India PNB Officers Association sent a representation to the Prime Minister on January 3 asking that action on the petition be taken only after proper verification.
The main complaint related to two loans totalling Rs 13 crore given to two firms. According to Mr Jilani, the loans were given by PNB Caps Ltd, a subsidiary with its own MD. He was only ex-officio Chairman.
When it became difficult
to recover the loans, the company filed winding up
petitions in the Allahabad High Court, as it was felt
that this was the most stringent course, Mr Jilani said.
A sum of Rs 2.10 crore was recovered much before the FIR
was registered, but after the amount was written off.
Cement sector grows by 15 pc
NEW DELHI, Feb 17 (PTI) The infrastructure sector grew by a healthy 8 per cent in the first 10 months of the current fiscal powered by steel, cement and petroleum refineries paving the way for industrial recovery.
The strong growth in six infrastructure sectors against 2.9 per cent increase recorded in April-January 1998-99 is despite a slower growth of 5.2 per cent in January 2000 due to poor performance of electricity and crude sectors.
While steel sector rose by 11.7 per cent in April-January this fiscal, cement sector grew by 15.3 per cent and petroleum refinery by 23.6 per cent, an official release said.
However, crude petroleum
sector declined by 1.4 per cent while electricity sector
rose by 6.9 per cent and coal sector recorded a measly
growth of 0.1 per cent.
Oil import bill to touch 54,000 cr
NEW DELHI, Feb 17 (PTI) The unprecedented rise in international crude prices will take the oil import bill to a staggering Rs 54,000 crore, Petroleum Minister Ram Naik said here today.
The international crude oil prices have been volatile for the last six months and are likely to stabilise in the next one to two months, Naik told reporters here.
Asked whether the prices of petrol and diesel would be increased, Naik said the Petroleum Ministry had mooted a proposal to the Finance Ministry to make adjustments in the Customs duty for the import of crude oil during the 2000-01 Budget.
The Petroleum Ministry
had sought up to 10 per cent cut in the import duty of
crude so that the affect of global oil prices shooting up
is not passed on to customers.
Otis announces 100 pc dividend
The Board of Directors of Otis Elevator Company (India) Limited today recommended a dividend of 100 per cent (Rs 10 per share), including a special one time millennium dividend of 25 per cent (Rs 2.5 per share). The companys sales for the year ended December 31, 1999 were Rs 294.41 crore (against Rs 186.78 for nine months ending December 1998) and net profit was Rs 20.09 crore (Rs 15.32 crore), the company said in a statement here.
Carrier Aircon is likely to register a 5 per cent dip in turnover this fiscal against Rs 400 crore in 1998-99, due to decreased production and price reduction effected to beat stiff competition from new multinational entrants. Our production was down by 30 per cent for three months last year due to labour unrest. We produced 4,000 lesser units of Window ACs each of these three months, Managing Director of Carrier Aircon Anil K. Srivastava told PTI.
Wipro said it had not yet decided on any timeframe for an overseas listing. In a statement here on Thursday the company said it had not made or filed any application for an overseas listing with any authority.
Technologies (India) Limited offered three lakh employee
stock options at Rs 875 a share at current market price
of about Rs 1,800. This works out to be 43 per cent
discount on current market price. ITIL said 250 employees
will be offered this scheme in the first phase and all
the 900 odd employees will be covered by this year end.
Incoming calls at flat rate
NEW DELHI, Feb 17 (PTI) Essar Cellphone today announced introduction of its new post paid plan which allows customers to receive calls at a flat rate of Re 1 per minute.
The post paid plan
called listen more is directed at customers
who receive a lot of incoming calls and is being offered
at a basic rental charge of Rs 525 per month, a company
release said. Out-going calls will be charged at a flat
rate of Rs eight per minute.
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