Saturday, March 4, 2000,
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Aptech, the Global Information technology Corporation CEO Ganesh Natarajan announcing the company's new venture named Bconnect B.Com, an initiative for e-commerce
Aptech, the Global Information technology Corporation CEO Ganesh Natarajan announcing the company's new venture named Bconnect B.Com, an initiative for e-commerce — Photo by : Sondeep Shankar


Villagers rush to get rid of Rs 500 notes
BATHINDA, March 3 — Thousands of Rs 500 currency notes worth more than Rs 3 crore have been deposited in various banks and exchanged with notes of smaller denomination in this district and surrounding areas in the last two days following newspaper reports of fake currency being in circulation.
Accept all 500 notes: RBI

PDS sugar allotment to go up from April
NEW DELHI, March 3 — The increased price of sugar in the ration shops notwithstanding, families below the poverty line will now be entitled to draw around 21 per cent more sugar every month.

Sensex may cross 7000-mark: DSE
NEW DELHI, March 3 — The volatile Bombay Stock Exchange sensitive index, which has been fluctuating since the presentation of the Budget, is all set to cross the magical 7000 mark in the next three months, analysts said here today.

IT Ministry seeks DoT’s explanation
NEW DELHI, March 3 — The Ministry of Information Technology (MIT) has blamed the Department of Telecom (DoT) for the delay in facilitating district-level Internet access and sought its explanation.



EARLIER STORIES
  ‘Haryana rules hit investments’
New Delhi, March 3 — Investments in industry in Haryana have been marred by red-tapism and immediate measures should be taken to remove it, the PHDCCI said here today. The State Government should compress “over 30 clearances to not more than 10” to attract new investments in the industry.

Diversify into cash crops: NABARD
CHANDIGARH, March 3 — At a two-day state credit seminar for Haryana held by NABARD which concluded here today, Mr L.M. Goyal, Financial Commissioner (Cooperation), Haryana, exhorted banks and other agencies to exploit the State’s potential.

Cycle parts makers seek relief package
LUDHIANA, March 3 — The United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association today blamed the “wrong policies” of the State Government for the crisis facing the cycle industry.

PSEB plans to rationalise power tarrif
CHANDIGARH, March 4 — The PSEB will soon rationalise the power tariff slabs and the new tariff structure will have only four slabs domestic, commercial industrial and agricultural.



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Villagers rush to get rid of Rs 500 notes
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, March 3 — Thou-sands of Rs 500 currency notes worth more than Rs 3 crore have been deposited in various banks and exchanged with notes of smaller denomination in this district and surrounding areas in the last two days following newspaper reports of fake currency being in circulation.

Bank sources said that three branches of different banks at Gidderbaha have received Rs 500 notes worth more than Rs 44 lakh. Similarly, Rampuraphul’s bank branches have received Rs 500 notes worth more than Rs 35 lakh.

Bank officials pointed out that people had got panicky over the repeated reports that appeared in every type of media regarding the large scale seizure of fake currency in nook and corner of the country allegedly being pumped in to the country by the Pakistan.

Mr Shiv Lal Gupta, Manager SBI, Jaitu, and Mr B R Chawla, Manager, SBI, Kotkapura, when contacted said that earlier the Rs 500 notes were in great demand but now the situation had reversed.

A few banks located in Bathinda, Malout and other towns of this region also face a rush of customers trying to get rid of Rs 500 notes. Some Managers note down the names of depositors along with the amount deposited.

Mr Updesh Singh, Manager, Punjab and Sind Bank, Rampuraphul, said that the bank staff was telling people that there was no Government proposal to withdraw any series of Rs 500 notes.

Bank officials fear shortage of smaller notes in the coming days if the trend continues. Shopkeepers are also reluctant to accept Rs 500 notes.

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Accept all 500 notes: RBI

BANGALORE, March 3 (UNI) — RBI has clarified that it has not issued any list of Rs 500 currency notes unacceptable by banks as reported in a section of the Press.

In a press release here, RBI reiterated that all Rs 500 notes issued by it from time to time should be freely accepted by the public and the banks. In Calcutta the All-India Reserve Bank employees Association had asked the central Bank to evolve a reliable mechanism for detection of fake notes.

NEW DELHI: The Government on Friday told the Lok Sabha there is no proposal to withdraw Rs 500 denomination notes from circulation with a view to stopping fake currency bills in the country.

“No such proposal is under consideration at present,” Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said in a written reply.
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PDS sugar allotment to go up from April
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, March 3 — The increased price of sugar in the ration shops notwithstanding, families below the poverty line will now be entitled to draw around 21 per cent more sugar every month.

According to the Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Mr Shanta Kumar, with effect from April 1, 2000, the average per head, per month allotment of levy sugar would workout to 454 gms against the effective average allotment of 375 gms before January 1, 2000, which is an increase of 79 gms.

Though the Government has increased the retail price of levy sugar from Rs 12 per kg to Rs 13 per kg with effect from March 1, the impact of this increase on the consumer would be nominal. It works out to around 10 paise per head, per month or about 50 paise per family, per month or Rs 6 per family per year, due to increased quantity of levy sugar to be supplied under the PDS.

On the Government’s decision to exclude income tax assessees and their family members from the levy sugar distribution under the PDS, Mr Shanta Kumar said the population covered under such exclusion was estimated at 7.65 crore.

It has also been decided that levy sugar under the PDS would be allocated on the basis of the projected population as on March 1, 1999, instead of the present 1991 census.

The Registrar General has projected the population as on March 1, 1999, at 9813.25 lakh as against 8463 lakh in the 1991 census.

Based on the 1999 census, the population to be covered under levy sugar distribution under the PDS is estimated at 9048.25 lakh, which is an increase of 585.25 lakh over the 1991 population.

In the case of PDS foodgrains, Mr Kumar said that the Government has doubled the monthly grain allocation from 10 kg to 20 kg for below poverty line families, while hiking the central issue price by only 68 per cent each for wheat (from Rs 2.50 per kg to Rs 4.20 per kg) and rice (from Rs 3.50 per kg to Rs 5.89 per kg).

He said the annual consumer subsidy for the country’s 35 crore BPL population has actually gone up from Rs 5240 crore to Rs 7457 crore. The elimination of subsidy to above poverty line population would save the Government Rs 2360 crore.

Also, with the doubling of grain allocation for the BPL segment, Food Corporation of India’s carrying cost of maintaining buffer stocks would also come down from Rs 2463 crore to Rs 1,385 crore. All put together, the total annual food subsidy bill would go down from Rs 9338 crore to Rs 8124 crore.

On diversion of foodgrains, Mr Kumar said according to a survey carried out by Tata Economic Consultancy Services, the diversion was estimated at 36 per cent for wheat and 31 per cent at national level.

To prevent large scale diversion, one of the measures considered has been to peg the BPL rates as a percentage of the economic cost for BPL families. The APL families would now pay the economic cost.

Many socio-economic scientists have been propagating the need to reduce the gap of price differential between the Central Issue Prices and the price in the open market to reduce the diversion. Suggestions have also been received that the quality of foodgrains meant for poor should be such that it is self targeting. This should be done without compromising the food safety standards.

It its broken percentage, lustre (of rice) and wheat is such that better-off people do not want to have it. The wholesome but cheap foodgrains meant for the poor would reach them and there would be no diversion.

However, these are emotive issues and need to be debated before a consensus is arrived at and the Government takes a view on these, Mr Kumar said.

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Sensex may cross 7000-mark: DSE
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, March 3 — The volatile Bombay Stock Exchange sensitive index, which has been fluctuating since the presentation of the Budget, is all set to cross the magical 7000 mark in the next three months, analysts said here today.

“The market will stabilise in the next fortnight and the rally towards the magical mark commence soon,” said Mr Bharat Bhushan Sahny, the President of the Delhi Stock Exchange.

The sensex dropped by 300 points immediately after the Budget and picked up 200 point the next day to drop again by 100 point the day after.

On Friday too, the market continued its volatile trend.

“The market had expected positive trends in the Budget. However, as they were explicitly lacking, the sensex plunged, indicating the market sentiments,” he said.

The DSE President, however, cautioned that the sensex touching the magical mark would have little impact on the “Group B” shares, held mostly by individual investors.

“The shares, upon which the index is based, however will zoom in the coming months,” he said.

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IT Ministry seeks DoT’s explanation

NEW DELHI, March 3 (PTI) — The Ministry of Information Technology (MIT) has blamed the Department of Telecom (DoT) for the delay in facilitating district-level Internet access and sought its explanation.

As per recommendations of the National Task Force on Information Technology, DoT was to set up Internet Access Nodes (IANs) in 327 telecom districts across the country by January 26 this year to facilitate Internet access.

“DoT has informed us that it is planning to set up only five Internet access nodes by March 30 this year against the targeted 327 nodes covering the entire country,” the Action Taken Report (ATR) of the MIT Ministry says.

DoT has instead informed the Ministry that to compensate for the massive delay, it would levy local call charges in the remaining 322 telecom districts.

“To make up for the infrastructural delay, DoT has said it will levy local call charges in the remaining 322 telecom districts,” the ATR says, adding that this could at best be an interim measure, besides leading to a revenue loss.
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‘Haryana rules hit investments’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 3 — Investments in industry in Haryana have been marred by red-tapism and immediate measures should be taken to remove it, the PHDCCI said here today.

The State Government should compress “over 30 clearances to not more than 10” to attract new investments in the industry.

“For projecting an image of responsive administration, the departments of Sales Tax, transport, power distribution companies, town and country planning and the state pollution control board should be computerised for efficient service to the industry and trade in the State,” the chamber said.

The rules of business should be amended to facilitate quick decisions at district level by empowering the Deputy Commissioner to take decisions on behalf of various government departments after interacting with their representatives for small scale and medium projects.

To be competitive in the global environment, PHDCCI urged the Haryana Chief Minister for endorsing the employers “right to manage business” under the labour law sacrosanct with a condition of adequately compensating the employees on being relieved.

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Diversify into cash crops: NABARD
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — At a two-day state credit seminar for Haryana held by NABARD which concluded here today, Mr L.M. Goyal, Financial Commissioner (Cooperation), Haryana, exhorted banks and other agencies to exploit the State’s potential.

He suggested that vigorous efforts for deposit mobilisation at the grassroots level by the mini banks would help the cooperative banks in increasing their deposits substantially.

Mr S.R. Gaur, Managing Director, Haryana State Cooperative Bank, suggested that all agencies should come forward for financing all sectors to achieve the overall the credit growth.

Mr N.R. Kannan, CGM, NABARD, called for diversification of agriculture towards cash crops and horticulture. The State should go in for the development of commercial dairy, development of fisheries, poultry and other innovative activities in a big way.

The heads of the State development departments, including agriculture, animal husbandry, irrigation and industries along with senior officers of banks participated in the seminar.
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Cycle parts makers seek relief package
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, March 3 — The United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association today blamed the “wrong policies” of the State Government for the crisis facing the cycle industry.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr G.L. Pahwa and Mr D.S. Chawla, President and Senior Vice-President of the Association, said the sales tax which was only 5.5 per cent on cars had been fixed at 6.6 per cent for bicycles and 8.8 per cent for tricycles.

Barriers set up last year were creating problems. Dealers were being called along with their books at the borders. This practice should be stopped and enquiries, if any, should be done at the local headquarters.

C-Form was required to be submitted at the time of assessment to the Sales Tax Department. But due to the regular shortage of this form, cases are pending for years together. C-Form should be immediately abolished as has been done by the Maharashtra government.

The bicycle and parts exports, which touched nearly Rs 750 crore in 1996, have fallen to about Rs 400 crore now. “We demand a special package on the pattern of the textile industry,” they said.

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PSEB plans to rationalise power tarrif
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 4 — The PSEB will soon rationalise the power tariff slabs and the new tariff structure will have only four slabs domestic, commercial industrial and agricultural. This was stated by Mr GS Sohal, Chairman, PSEB during an interaction organised by CII here today. He said that a revision of load classification of industrial consumer is also in the offing in view of industrial units getting more and more mechanised.

Earlier, Mr KL Khurana, Chairman, CII Punjab State Council, highlighted the power-related problems faced by industry.

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SBI gold
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, March 3 — SBI, Civil Lines branch here yesterday mobilised 44 kg of gold in a single day under the SBI Gold Deposit scheme, achieving the total deposit of 97 kg of gold till date. Mr B.R. Malhotra, AGM, said the figure was the highest in the North and the bank would exceed the target of 100 kg of gold by March 31.

ATM facility
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — Mr D.L. Manwani, GM, SBI, today inaugurated an ATM facility at the bank’s Model Town branch in Jalandhar. The Model Town branch will now work on all seven days a week. Mr Manwani said the bank has introduced a scheme for granting loans up to Rs 40,000 to pensioners drawing pension from its branches.

Maruti carnival
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 3 — A two-day Maurti Carnival showcasing latest Suzuki models will begin at the Sector 12 ground at Karnal on March 4. The programme includes free check-up camps and test drives, drawing competitions for school children, rangoli competition and cultural functions by The Planets group from New Delhi. Carnivals will also be held later in Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

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