|Saturday, February 26, 2000,
Railway Budget may cost-push
Sparks fly over cess on
Mantra eyes Chandigarh
Railway Budget may cost-push
NEW DELHI, Feb 25 The Railway Budget evoked mixed reaction from the industry. Welcoming the move to spare the passenger fare hike, industry cautioned that the across-the-board 5 per cent hike in freight charges could cost-push inflation.
The Federation of Indian Export Organisation said the export sector would be badly hit by the increase in freight hike and the imposition of service tax.
Mr Navratan Samdria, President of FIFO, said: The hike may affect the export sector which has barely started recovering from the difficult phase it has been passing through in the past two to three years.
He said the Railway Ministers move to impose 5 per cent service tax on transporters, which is estimated to rake in Rs 5,000 crore per annum, may further hit the export sector.
However, Mr G.P. Goenka, FICCI President said: The Railway Minister has taken utmost care to minimise the burden on the common man by not increasing the passenger fare and moderately increasing the freight. However, care has to be taken that the freight charge increase across-the-board, barring certain essential commodities, does not result in cost-push inflation.
He said it was heartening that the Railway Minister has set a target of achieving 50 per cent of the freight movement.
Mr Goenka, however, expressed concern over the Budget not spelling out any policy relating to the rationalisation, retraining and redeployment of the massive work force with the Railways.
The PHDCCI said the 5 per cent hike in freight charges would lead to a similar increase by road transporters and was against the Railway Ministers intention to divert goods traffic from road to rail by 10 per cent.
PHDCCI President K.S. Mehta said the freight hike could have been avoided as in the case of passenger fares to send right signals to trade and industry.
He said the Chamber was also expecting the Railways to reduce the over Rs 3,000 crore social obligation expenditure, reduction in manpower through rationalisation of working and a fewer number of new trains.
It is also surprising that passenger catering services shall continue to be run by the Railways instead of involving the private sector, Mr Mehta said.
Assocham said the Budget had, however, missed the opportunity of carrying out fundamental reforms and rationalisation of the tariff structure.
Expressing concern over the 5 per cent rise in freight rates, the Chamber said this would raise the production cost of industrial goods at a time when most of the companies were experiencing low profitability margins and may find it difficult to absorb the hike input cost.
The companies would be forced to pass on the hike to consumers which would be inflationary. In a globalised scenario this would be detrimental to the Indian industry as it would become less competitive in the international market, it said.
Assocham said the opportunity to rationalise the railway tariff in the face of growing competition from the roadways had been missed.
Sparks fly over cess on generators
AMRITSAR, Feb 25 Industrial associations today condemned and opposed the move of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for imposition of cess and for claiming arrears for the last five years on power generating sets installed in the state.
A meeting of the associations held under the Presidentship of Mr H.S. Makhni, Honorary General Secretary, Textile Munufacturers Association decided to take up the issue with the Government for immediate withdrawal of his cess and fee.
The meeting took a serious note of the PESBs notices to the industry for seeking again permission to install generating sets. Mr H.S. Makhni said that such permission is already being taken from the Chief Electrical Inspector, Patiala after complying with various requirements.
He said that now additional burden has been added on the industry to take such permission and also pay additional fee to the PSEB for which there is no justification.
Industry, trade and domestic sector have been compelled to install generating sets which as a matter of fact helps the Board in meeting the gap of shortage even during peak load hour. The industry is of the strong view that the Government should instead provide subsidy and incentive in case where generators are installed but was discouraging them and imposing new rules, regulations as also financial burden upon them.
Does the Government want the industry and trade to be shut during peak load restriction, disruption of supply, power cuts etc?, he added.
LUDHIANA: A deputation of various trade and industry outfits led by the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) met the Chairman of the PSEB, Mr G.S. Sohal yesterday and apprised him of the various electricity problems being faced by the industry.
Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, President and Mr Avtar Singh, General Secretary of the Chamber informed that they told the chairman that the electricity duty being charged from April 1, 1995 to date for consumers having diesel generator sets, would create problems for the industry. Mr Sohal, said that this levy was being imposed by the Chief Electrical Inspector and State Government, but assured to take up this matter with the Government.
As regards the creation of police stations, it was agreed by the Chairman that he would give a second thought to it and also assured that no innocent person would be harassed by the department.
Regarding the amount
deposited by the consumers in the year 1986 under ARPC
scheme, the chairman issued instructions to the Chief
Engineer (commercial) that the amounts deposited by the
consumers should be started to be adjusted in their bills
from March 2000 onwards. In the case of theft of power,
the delegation of the chamber informed that the chamber,
too, wanted that this menace should be curbed with heavy
hands but like-wise the officials/officers under whose
jurisdiction the theft is detected should also be made
accountable to which the chairman agreed in principle.
Freight hike hits Hyundai, Telco
NEW DELHI, Feb 25 (UNI) Prices of passenger vehicles, particularly of Hyundai and Telco, are likely to witness an upward revision following a 7 per cent hike in motor car transportation by rail as announced in the Railway Budget.
While agreeing that this would translate into a hike in the landed cost of vehicles in different cities, the manufacturers said a final view on whether the cost increase would be passed on to the consumers would be taken only in April.
The manufacturers stated that they are awaiting the Union Budget 2000-01 to take a decision on price hike.
Price tags of Mahindra
and Mahindra vehicles are also likely to be altered.
We use both road and rail for transporting our
vehicles. The quantum of impact of this proposal is yet
to be calculated, a senior company official said.
BSE changes trading timings on Budget day
MUMBAI, Feb 25 (PTI) The Bombay Stock Exchange today announced changes in the trading timings on February 29 on account of the Union Budget.
According to a BSE statement, continuous trading will take place from 11.00 a.m. to 5.40 p.m.
Mantra eyes Chandigarh
NEW DELHI, Feb 25 Mantra Online will launch its services in Chandigarh and Ludhiana by September, the Chief Executive Officer, Mr N. Arjun, told The Tribune here today.
We are holding talks with the Department of Telecommunication for offering Internet service free to our subscribers, he said.
Bharti Enterprises today announced the launch of free Internet service mantrafreenet in Madhya Pradesh.
Mr Rajan Bharti Mittal, its Joint Managing Director, said Mantra Online and AirTel have come together to provide free Internet service to AirTel customers.
Corporation Pvt. Ltd. has bagged exclusive marketing
rights for the telecast of the Railway Budget and the
Union Budget 2000. The Union Budget will be telecast live
on Doordarshans national network from 2 p.m.
onwards followed by an analysis of the Budget. The
telecast will run into 8 hours winding up at 10
p.m.Nimbus had earlier marketed The World This
Week on DD.
AMRITSAR, Feb 25 The income tax authorities here have employed a novel way to make residents of the holy city file their income tax returns positively by February 29.
The Commissioner, Mr S.J.S. Pall, told newsmen here today that under the department had launched an awareness drive through school children with an appeal Pay tax and be proud
Here is another sample:
Dear papa and mama, have you filled income tax form 2-C and the last date of filing return is February 29, 2000. Please save yourself from penalty and prosecution.
Philips net up 134 pc
Philips India Limited has earned a post tax profit of Rs 2.81 crore for the year ended December 31,1999, registering an unprecedented 134 per cent growth from the previous 12 months.
On the basis of the results the Board of Directors of the company, which met is Calcutta on Thursday, had proposed a dividend of Rs 2.5 per share, company sources said.
Shareholders of HCL Infosystems on Friday gave the go-ahead to the companys plans to set up an Internet subsidiary, to raise up to Rs 400 crore for acquisitions and float an employee stock option programme (ESOP).
This decision, by the
shareholders, was taken at the companys
extraordinary general meeting in Delhi. On the Internet
subsidiary, the shareholders authorised the company to
issue shares or financial instruments such as warrants,
debentures or any other financial instrument on
preferential/private placement to raise Rs 125 crore.
C S meet
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