|Sunday, March 5, 2000,
hints at cut in interest rates
relief for fixed income group
|ST uniformity to help traders
AMRITSAR, March 4 The Punjab Government is contemplating a plan to bring uniformity in the sales tax structure on the pattern of Central Government. Under the new plan, goldsmiths, traders and businessmen will benefit.
job cell to be cemented
declares 20 pc dividend
biscuit makers hit hard
for NFL units
RBI hints at cut in interest rates
GOA, March 4 (PTI) RBI today hinted at a reduction in interest rates saying the withdrawal of interest tax, estimated to cost the exchequer Rs 1,000 crore, would lead to a fall in the transaction cost of banks.
The withdrawal of interest tax in this Budget is also a significant measure as it leads to reduction in the transaction cost of banks and the price, to the extent the tax is passed onto the borrowers through interest rates, Mr Y. V. Reddy, Deputy Governor of RBI, said.
Gains to the financial system as a consequence would be significantly higher than Rs 1,000 crore because of savings on account of transaction and compliance cost, Reddy said addressing the annual conference of primary dealers and fixed income money market dealers here.
He said the borrowings programme of the government for the next year was realistic given the fact that political and economic uncertainties like elections, the Asian crisis, sanctions and Kargil were behind us.
The Deputy Governor said the RBI would seek amendments to lower statutory minimum in respect of the cash reserve ratio (CRR) and Statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) when the government brings legislative changes to give more operational flexibility to the central bank as promised by Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha in the budget speech.
The Deputy Governor said the internal working group set up by the central bank has also suggested empowering RBI to define demand and time liabilities and securities eligible for the SLR purpose.
Reddy said other suggestions of the group, which could be taken up to give more flexibility to RBI, were provisions for future separation of monetary and debt management functions and powers to notify institutions for inclusion in the banking system for computation of liabilities.
RBI expected the Government to soon pass a Bill to allow the electronic mode of transfer of title of government securities and facilitate pledging of securities without actual transfer.
On the proposed Fiscal Responsibility Act, to put a statutory cap on the governments borrowings and expenditure, Reddy said the working group on FRA met two days back to discuss the draft legislation.
The matter is
likely to be considered in a couple of weeks by the Dr
Sarma committee to which the Finance Minister had made a
reference in the Budget speech. We should expect high
priority and expeditious processing of the matter,
No relief for fixed income
JALANDHAR, March 4 City industrialist Rajinder Kalsi has described the Budget for 2000-2001 as a good Budget for the manufacturing economy but leading trader Dhani Ram Gupta says it is directionless.
Contacted by TNS for their reaction yesterday, Kalsi hailed the abolition of three categories of the Central Excise structure and its replacement by uniform tax of 16 per cent. But had the single tax regime been moderated to 12 per cent it would have helped curb tax evasion and generated more revenue for the Government.
Mr Gupta, who heads the Beopar Mandal in the city, said the BJPs promise of simplification of the income tax structure has been belied by the Budget. The tax exemption limit should have been raised to at least Rs 60,000 and surcharge abolished. He asked why make things complicated for individual tax payer by levying surcharge instead of straightway increasing the tax rate.
Mr Gupta said the TDS (tax deduction at source) regime should have been withdrawn, particularly on partnership of firms because it complicated filing of returns. Such firms cannot file their returns without the assistance of a chartered accountant.
He said Sections 80 CC and 80 G should be deleted altogether while raising the exemption limit to simplify the tax structure. Tax payer should have been told in simple terms what relief, if any, and what burden he would have to bear instead of leaving the whole thing complex.
Dr Subash Sharma, professor of laws and also a trade union leader, described the Budget as negative because it has provided no relief to the fixed income group tax payer. He said insignificant increase in the number of tax payers is largely due to the salary group whose number swelled with the implementation of the 5th Pay Commission. The Government otherwise failed to widen the income tax base in the significant way.
An engineer, who did not want to be named, said what was the point in privatising the power sector when the Power Ministry was unable to make full use of even budgetary allocation. When existing capital was not being used optimally what was the point of attracting private capital in the capital-intensive power sector.
Dr Sharma said there was no escape from liberalisation. Even when China was knocking at the door of the WTO, India could not afford to be isolated.
Dr V.K. Tewari, a teacher, said the Budget has failed to address the problems facing the education sector, adding that the goal of 6 per cent of GDP allocation for the education sector had been left as a distant dream.
Gold market unorganised
CHANDIGARH, March 4 A two-day gold jewellery exhibition, Swarn Sambandh, was inaugurated by the city Mayor, Ms Shanta Abhilashi, here this morning.
The exhibition is being organised by the World Gold Council in association with Sercon India, a Delhi-based marketing.
Is it wise to buy gold jewellery when gold prices are falling? Mr G.S. Pillai, Manager North, World Gold Council, said: It is better to buy gold than a costly saree. At least gold can be resold.
Going by the response to the exhibition, women did seem to heed to his advice and trooped to Hotel Shivalikview, the venue.
The gold in market India remains highly unorganised in terms of the number of artisans and the quality of the finish, with little or no standardisation at the national or international level. To get certain standardisation in place, a quantum effort needs to be made. The World Gold Council along with Sercon India is doing just that through exhibitions all over India, adds Mr Pillai.
included Nikka Mal Babu Ram, Goel Jewels, Nks
Meghraj, Shri Radhye Jewels, MV Jewellers, Orna Fine
Jewellery, Spectacular Jewellers, Dwarkas Deepak
Brothers, VBC Jewellers, MP Jewellers, Dipriya, Gems and
Jewellery Magaz, World Gold Council and Akays Exports.
ST uniformity to help
AMRITSAR, March 4 The Punjab Government is contemplating a plan to bring uniformity in the sales tax structure on the pattern of Central Government. Under the new plan, goldsmiths, traders and businessmen will benefit.
This was stated by Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, a minister, Punjab, while talking to deputations of traders here today. Mr Garg informed the traders that the State Government had already constituted a sub-committee headed by Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Minister Local Government, which would submit its report soon.
Mr Amrit Lal Jain, President, Punjab Beopar Mandal, said there were more than 70000 goldsmiths in the city. However, due to the disparity in the tax structure on gold, silver and other items, the trade was not going well. He said while there was 1 per cent tax on gold and silver in the rest of the country it was 8 per cent in Punjab.
Earlier, many trade
leaders, including Mr B.K. Bajaj, President, Indo-Foreign
Chamber of Commerce, Mr Ram Lubhaya, President, Sarafa
Association, Mr Devinder, General Secretary, Beopar
Mandal, Mr Om Parkash, President, Punjab Swarnkar
Association, Mr Raj Arora, Vice-President, Beopar Mandal,
Mr Chhotu Bhai Patel, Tea Association, while speaking at
the civic reception of Mr Garg urged the Chief Minister
to give him a portfolio relating to the trading
Overseas job cell to be cemented
AMRITSAR, March 4 The Punjab government will soon constitute crisis management groups at the state, district and subdivisional levels to take care of industrial safety.
Punjab Minister for Labour, Employment and Local government Balramji Dass Tandon announced this here today at a state-level function to celebrate the 29th National Safety Day while disbursing the Punjab safety awards, Kirt Shiromani and Kirt Vir Awards.
Mr Tandon said the overseas employment cell of the department will be strengthened with the latest infrastructure with the inclusion of details of employers and job seekers. The website can be assessed at overseas punjab.com to get the latest information.
CHANDIGARH: Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited received nine Punjab Safety awards at a State-level function held at Amritsar.
These awards were presented by Mr Balramji Dass Tandon at the function organised by the Directorate of Factories, Punjab.
Mr B. Vasudevan, Deputy General Manager and Mr T.L. Easwar, Plant Controller from Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., received the awards for lowest accident frequency rate and reducing accident rate in chemical industry during the year 1998 & 1999.
UTI declares 20 pc dividend
MUMBAI, March 4 (PTI) Unit Trust of India has declared a 20 per cent dividend on its growth-oriented interval fund UGS 10000, whose current net asset value stands at Rs 18.07.
Record date for the dividend, which will not be subject to distribution tax and was also tax free in the hands of the unitholders, has been set for March 21, 2000, UTI said and added that the dividend amounts to Rs 2 per unit.
UGS 10000 will remain open from March 6 to 13, 2000 for fresh sales and repurchase, UTI said in a statement.
NAV of the fund, which invests predominantly in stocks of multi-national companies and other liquid stocks, has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 10 per cent since its inception on May 25, 1998.
As on February 23, 2000, the fund has invested 36.1 per cent of its corpus in software and media stocks, 23.4 per cent in consumer goods, 11.4 per cent in pharmaceuticals, 6.8 per cent in engineering and 6 per cent in bank and finance stocks.
Infosys Technologies heads the list of top equity holdings representing 75 per cent of the funds portfolio as on February 22, 2000. It accounts for 9.55 per cent of the portfolio by market value.
Garment, biscuit makers hit hard
NEW DELHI, March 4 The garment industry has urged the Government to roll back the move to withdraw in phases income tax concessions, as it will affect the countrys foreign exchange earnings.
The proposal to phase out exemption to export earnings is ill-timed and will adversely affect the growth of exports which are now at a crucial stage with the imminent abolition of quota restrictions and emergence of trade blocks, Mr Rakesh Vaid, President of the Garment Exporters Association, said.
The government should provide necessary fiscal relief to garment exporters to enable them to face the emerging challenges which demand fresh strategy to further intensify export promotion measures, Mr Vaid said.
President of the Travel Agents Association of India Pradip Madhavji, said it is not only unfortunate but also demoralising that no recognition has been given to the benefits accruing from the new sunrise industry of the new millennium.
The Government rather than extending additional incentives and support for the industry has sought to phase out exemption granted under Section 80 HHD.
Exports during April-December 1999 witnessed a significant turnaround with a growth rate of 12.9 per cent against a decline of 2.9 per cent for the corresponding period in the previous year.
The buoyancy is attributable partly to the revival of world trade on the heels of the East-Asian recovery and also to the modest recovery in some global commodity prices.
The Union Budgets move to rationalise the excise duty has resulted in 100 per cent hike in taxes on biscuits.
The excise duty on biscuits have been raised from 8 to 16 per cent.
It is regrettable
that the Government has clubbed a common mans food
item like biscuit with elitist product like jams and
chocolates to levy excise duty whereas packed tea,
regular coffee, namkeens have been exempted from the
excise duty, Mr Nikhil Sen, President of the
Federation of Biscuit Manufacturers of India, said here
Awards for NFL units
NEW DELHI, March 4 The Nangal unit of NFL has been accorded the ISO-9002 certification by KPMG Quality Registrar for its quality system under the American National Standards Institute for Quality.
The Bathinda unit of NFL
has won five safety awards for 1998 and 1999. These
awards have been given to the unit on account of the
largest reduction in the accident frequency rate in
chemical industries, lowest frequency rate of accident in
chemical industries and the largest accident free period
in factories employing more than 500 workers. Three
employees of the Bathinda unit Mr J.S.Randhawa, Mr
K.S.Bhullar and Mr Raghubir Singh have been
honoured with the Kirt Vir awards.
Q: Whether a decree for eviction can be passed without considering the partial eviction of rented premises?
Ans: Rajasthan HC was considering the point in Abdul Jabbar v Smt Vahida (199 9(2) R.C.J. 402) as under:
It is well settled in law, said the HC that once the personal and bona fide requirement of need is satisfied, the court has to further consider under S.14(2) of the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950. Whether the need or requirement would be substantially satisfied by evicting the tenant from a part premises only.
Thus, a decree for eviction cannot be passed, in the opinion of the HC without considering the partial eviction of the rented premises. The Court has to consider the question of partial eviction before passing a decree of eviction.
If the parties have led their evidence on the question of partial eviction, then, the non-framing of issues would be immaterial. Both the Courts below, on the basis of the evidence, produced by both the parties, have considered the question of partial eviction on the suit-premises and have given a concurrent finding that partial eviction of the suit premises would not meet the requirement of the plaintiff-landlord.
Both the Court below have held that partial eviction of the suit-premises, is not possible, nor desirable. Both the Courts below have given finding against partial eviction, after considering the evidence and material on record, and their finding does not suffer from any perversity or illegality.
In the instant case in hand, held the HC there is sufficient evidence and material on record to decide. This question, and both the Courts below have indeed considered the question and decided it against the partial eviction. Therefore, it is apparent that both the Courts below have considered and decided the question of partial eviction and after giving the finding against the partial eviction, the decree of eviction has been passed. There is no illegality or infirmity in the concurrent finding and decisions of the courts below.
800 IA officials retired in haste
INDIAN Airlines officials, including some Deputy Managing Directors, are greatly agitated and disturbed. Their grouse is considered logical by all those who know the functioning of public sector undertakings.
To retire as many as 800 officials on February 29 as a result of rolling back of the retirement age from 60 to 58 years is one thing but to virtually hound them out of the organisation does bring no credit to the national carrier.
Most of the 800 employees were issued letters of retirement on February 28, while some senior officials were served the letter on the morning of their retirement. What was the need to treat dedicated workers with such contempt and haste? They had helped airline become a profitable national carrier and they deserved better treatment than meted out to them.
Among those who retired were Capt J.R.D. Rao and Mr Gurdeep Singh. Both were of the status of Deputy Managing Directors. In addition, Capt Rao was Chairman of Alliance Air and was heading an internal committee on evaluation of new aircraft by the airline. Others who relinquished their offices were six Directors, six General Managers, four pilots and several flight engineers.
A question that retiring persons are asking is that if the idea was to cut expenses through early retirement then why should contractual assignments be offered to pilots and flight engineers?
Ugly scenes, calling of names and accusation of corruption and nepotism are once again an order of the day at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) where most of the carriers are guilty of off-loading passengers with confirmed and reconfirmed bookings. Some passengers were even heard as saying that favourites were picked up while others were off-loaded.
The passengers, who are
generally off-loaded, are those who had bought their
tickets abroad. The are returning passengers and had an
extended holiday in this country. The airlines prefer
passengers who have purchased tickets in this country.
This boosts their sales and travel agents secure sizeable
portion of over-riding commission.
Haryana extends ST date
HARYANAS self-assessment scheme, 1999, has evoked an over-whelming response from trade and industry. This new method of simple assessment came into operation following insertion of Section 28-C to the statute book and a notification promulgated in this behalf commencing the operations from January 1, 2000.
No examination of books of account takes place according to this scheme for the purpose of self-assessment. What is all required under clause (4) of the self-assessment scheme, 1999 is simple production, of a copy of trading-cum-manufacturing account along with a statutory declaration that the figures disclosed therein are really based upon the books of accounts and no error is involved.
Also where the statutory lists are not available on the record of assessment, the assessees have been obliged to submit the same to the appropriate assessing authority along with a reconciliation statement explaining away the difference, if any, between the periodical returns and the trading account.
However there has been confusion in the mind of the sales tax authorities as well as lawyers as to the interpretation of the expression within sixty days of the commencement of the scheme as occurring in clause (4) which relates to the last date for submission of the requisite documents by the assessees desirous of availing of the benefit of this scheme.
The Excise and Taxation
Commissioner, Haryana, Chandigarh, Mr Raj Kumar, has
clarified that the department has decided to treat the
date of publication of the notification dated December
31, 1999 as February 24, 2000 and therefore the period of
limitation for the purpose of clause (4) of the scheme
would be taken as April 24, 2000. This has been decided
with a view to providing sufficient time to the assessees
for the submission of the requisite documents.
Commuters taken for a ride by railway staff
WHILE promising improvements in service, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee pointed out in her Budget speech last week that there were many areas of passenger dissatisfaction that could be tackled within the available resources, but with better management and the will to serve.
Improved management and an attitudinal change in the railway staff can certainly make a lot of difference to the quality of service being rendered by the Railways. In fact a look at some of the cases decided by consumer courts highlights this point.
Take the case of Ms Medha Karnik, who booked a ticket for her journey from Tiruchirapalli to Mumbai via Chennai. On reaching Chennai with her one-year old baby, she found to her horror, that Chennai Express, for which she had a confirmed ticket, did not ply on Wednesdays at all. The railway ticket booking clerk had blindly issued her a confirmed ticket without checking this. Worse, even after she brought this to the notice of railway officials at Chennai, they were unwilling to help her. After travelling to Mumbai with the child in an unreserved compartment, Ms Karnik filed a complaint before the consumer court and got a compensation of Rs 7,500.
Similarly, Mr Rama Kant Aggarwal had booked two sleeper berths for himself and his daughter, to travel from Delhi to Mankapur. When he reached Delhi railway station, he found the coach in which he had been allotted berths missing. With no alternate accommodation, he was forced to travel for 12 hours in an overcrowded coach, standing, along with his daughter and grand-daughter, aged one year. The Delhi State Consumer Redressal Commission awarded Mr Aggarwal Rs 2,500 as damages.
Mr J.F. Albert Fernando, who was taking friends and relatives to Bangalore for his sons wedding, had booked 42 seats on Brindavan Express. However, on the day of the journey, he was shocked to find all the seats occupied by other passengers, who also had valid reservation for the same seats. The consumer court awarded him Rs 4,400 as compensation. In yet another case, Dr A.C. Mahajan was awarded Rs 6,000 by the consumer court for the suffering undergone by him and his family. Mr Mahajan had reserved berths for himself and four members of his family to travel from Ambala to Amritsar by Punjab Mail. However, on the day of the journey he found the berths occupied by some other passengers who claimed that the TTE had allotted the berths to them. This is not the only case where the TTE has been held guilty of negligent service and high-handed behaviour.
A 72-year-old man with a valid ticket was forcibly pushed out of a train at an intermediate station by a TTE on the ground that he only had wait-listed ticket. Mr Jayarama Shastrigal was awarded a total of Rs 14,000 as damages for the humiliation and suffering undergone by him. But the matter did not end there.
The National Commission not only upheld the verdict of the Tamil Nadu State Commission, but also expressed unhappiness over the fact that the Railways had not bothered to honour the State Commissions order.
It therefore directed the Railways to pay 12 per cent interest on the amount, besides Rs 3000 as costs.
Another case: Mr Tapan Kumar Dey was travelling from Kanyakumari to Mumbai along with his wife and two daughters. At Cuddapah station, a travelling ticket examiner insisted that one of his daughters was old enough to travel under a full ticket and collected Rs 168 from him. Mr Deys plea that his daughter was only eleven years old and was therefore travelling on a half ticket fell on deaf ears.
On his reaching his destination Mr Dey wrote to the railway authorities along with proof of his daughters age and sought a refund of the excess amount collected. When the Railways failed to respond, he sought the intervention of the consumer court, which awarded Rs 5000 as compensation.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee, in its open report on Redress of Public Grievances by Indian Railways had in 1997 focused attention on the need for an attitudinal change in the railway staff towards commuters.
HSS has been promoted by Hughes Electronic Corporation (HE) with Hughes Network Systems (HNS) as its principle shareholder, holding 56.14 per cent of its equity share capital. Its product portfolio includes a wide range of software, developed for communication & networking systems like wireless networks, intelligent networks, network management, Internet & e-commerce. HSS has two development centres in Gurgaon and Bangalore. Though its sales and support is located in the USA, is also represented in South America, Europe and Asia through its business partners. HSS recently launched its first e-commerce product Swift bill (an electronic bill system). Recently, the company introduced a software the usage of which will enable OEMs & service providers to offer voice solutions over IP. Indias first service for targeted Internet advertising Right serve was launched in November 99. Though the company is a dominant player in satellite business it sold off its underperforming satellite business for a consideration of $ 4 billion to Boeing due to revenue and operating margins. Besides HSS is focusing on fastest growing telecom software sector of the industry. Overall, Hughes Software appears to be a company with bright prospects, and an investment in the share thereof should prove remunerative in the medium to long term.
Visesh Infosystems (VIL) provides ERP solutions, e-commerce services, educational services (of ERP and e-commerce) and IT consultancy services. The company, early this year also ventured into medical data transcription. The company has developed a few products, the most important of them being its ERP product called Businessoft. This product has been implemented at sites of over 200 clients.
The client list includes Tata Honeywell, Gabriel India, Marico Industries, SRF and Max India. The company has started web-enabled processes of its ERP software and is also pursuing a few projects in e- commerce through its US office and tie-ups.
There are also plans to set up new educational facilities in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad. VIL has seen a major jump in performance in the east 9 months ended June, 1999 and given the current scenario in the industry, its future prospects appear encouraging. VIL, expects to report sales and net profit of Rs 15.35 cr and Rs 4.08 cr, respectively during this fiscal. With its future prospects appearing fairly encouraging a watch on the progress of the company is recommended.
Bharat Electronics (BEL) is a professional electronics company in the public sector. Its manufacturing units focus on defence communication, radars, optical electronics components, telecommunications, sound and vision broadcasting and electronic, BEL also offers telecom consultancy, contract manufacturing and calibration of testing and measuring instruments. R&D has been a major source of strength for the company.
The executable orders on hand are at a record high. A MoU with the Government 1999-2000 has been signed and the targeted turnover is Rs 1,450 cr, as against the turnover of Rs 1,199.2 crore achieved during 1998-99 (growth of 21 per cent) Post-Kargil defence expenditure, especially on equipment modernisation (which involves electronics), is bound to increase.
Likewise, the demand for
more advanced surveillance systems will also increase.
The telecommunication sector is also expected to post
strong growth in the years to come. The gradual easing of
sanctions by the US and European countries will give BEL
further flexibility and all these augur well for the
company. In view of these factors, a medium to long term
investment in the shares of the company could prove
MUMBAI, March 4 (PTI) Cadbury India yesterday announced a bonus issue in the ratio of 1:2 (one share for every two equity shares held). Shareholders approval for the boards recommendation will be taken at the annual general meeting of the company convened on April 20, the company said in a statement here.
CHANDIGARH, March 4 Beyond 2000, an electronic brand showroom, showcasing latest products from LG, BPL, Godrej and Sony, was inaugurated by Mr Ravinder Krishan, an advocate, here this morning.
NEW DELHI, March 4 Gujarat Ambuja Cements has taken over the management of DLF Cement Limited by acquiring 42.2 per cent shares in the company. DLF Cement is now under the management of GACL and the board of directors of DLF Cement has been reorganised, Mr Rajiv Singh, Vice-Chairman of the new board said in a release today.
CHANDIGARH, March 4
RBI and Punjab and Sind Bank will hold a seminar
on export credit at the CII complex here on
March 6. On March 7 the 44th All-India Export Advisory
Committee meeting will be held at the CII complex. Mr
M.G. Srivastava of RBI will chair both events.
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