Friday, March 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S
Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha presenting the recommendation report of "Group on India Hydrocarbon Vision -2025" to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in New Delhi on Thursday
Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha presenting the recommendation report of "Group on India Hydrocarbon Vision -2025" to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in New Delhi on Thursday — PTI photo
100 pc FDI in refining sector mooted
NEW DELHI, March 23 — A new hydrocarbon policy statement recommending 100 per cent foreign direct investment in the refining sector and disinvestment in a phased manner in oil public sector units was submitted to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee today.

Budget anti-industry: traders
LUDHIANA, March 23 — The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings here today described the Punjab Budget as anti-industry and anti-trade.

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Murasoli Maran, US Secretary of Commerce William Daley and CII President Rahul Bajaj at the CII conference on "Indo-US Trade and Investment — an agenda for action," in New Delhi on Thursday.
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Murasoli Maran, US Secretary of Commerce William Daley and CII president Rahul Bajaj at the CII conference on "Indo-US Trade and Investment — an agenda for action," in New Delhi on Thursday. — PTI photo




EARLIER STORIES
 
   NEW YORK : Monica Lewinsky shows off one of the handbags from her spring collection at a New York department store,  on Wednesday. Lewinsky has put an "Inc." after her name, and is selling a line of high-end handbags on the Internet and at one of New York's toniest designer shops. She's also a spokeswoman for the weight-loss company Jenny Craig. AP/PTI
Monica Lewinsky shows off one of the handbags from her spring collection at a New York department store, on Wednesday. Lewinsky has put an "Inc." after her name, and is selling a line of high-end handbags on the Internet and at one of New York's toniest designer shops. She's also a spokeswoman for the weight-loss company Jenny Craig. AP/PTI

India Gypsum forays into housing segment
CHANDIGARH, March 23 — India Gypsum Limited, a C.K. Birla group company, here today announced the launch of its “Gyphome centres” to mark the company’s entry into the housing segment.

Three UT units get awards
CHANDIGARH, March 23 — Ms Vineeta Rai, Adviser to the UT Administrator, has emphasised the need for hi-tech, electronically well- equipped and pollution-free industries to develop and grow here.

Credit offtake picks up in Haryana
CHANDIGARH, March 23 — Mr K.R.Chabria, Executive Director, Punjab National Bank, said here today that 40 mini banks and four branches of cooperative banks are likely to be opened in Haryana.

Canam signs MoU with PSIEC
CHANDIGARH, March 23 — Canam Technologies Ltd., an associate concern of Canam Consultants Ltd., is diversifying into high end IT education and training in collaboration with the Electronics Corporation of Punjab.

 

 

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100 pc FDI in refining sector mooted
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, March 23 — A new hydrocarbon policy statement recommending 100 per cent foreign direct investment in the refining sector and disinvestment in a phased manner in oil public sector units was submitted to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee today.

The policy statement called “Hydrocarbon Vision-2025” has been prepared by a high-powered group headed by the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, and comprising the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Ram Naik, Minister of External Affairs, Mr Jaswant Singh, Deputy Planning Commission Chairman, Mr K.C.Pant and Secretary in the PMO, Mr N.K.Singh. The group was set up by the Prime Minister early last year to work out a specific framework for assuring energy security by 2025.

The Petroleum Minister, Mr Ram Naik, told mediapersons here that he would be placing the report before Parliament in the current session and the Vision Statement would work as a policy guideline for the oil sector.

To achieve the objectives in the medium term, the group has recommended continued exploration in producing basins, taking up exploration in non-producing and frontier basins, and finalise a programme for appraisal of the Indian sedimentary basins to the extent of 25 per cent by 2005, 50 per cent by 2010, 75 per cent by 2015 and 100 per cent by 2025.

It has also recommended that internationally competitive fiscal terms be provided in order to attract major oil and gas companies in exploration and optimise recovery from discovered and future fields.

The long term action plan involves 100 per cent exploration of the Indian sedimentary basins by 2025, leapfrog to technological superiority and conserve resources and adopt clean technologies.

On restructuring and disinvestment, the group said there was a need to announce a policy in regard to specific PSUs in alignment with the overall disinvestment policy of the Government, complete the internal restructuring of oil PSUs, implement proposals of mergers and alliances of oil PSUs with the objective of enhancing shareholder value and disinvest in a phased manner in oil PSUs down to appropriate level to realise best shareholder value.Top


 

Budget anti-industry: traders
From Tribune Reporters

LUDHIANA, March 23 — The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings here today described the Punjab Budget as anti-industry and anti-trade.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the chamber, said the revised registration fee and levy of sales tax on bakery goods would burden the industry and trade. He said these Budget proposals should be withdrawn to save the industry which was passing through a financial crunch.

The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries flayed the levy of electricity duty on sale of power. It also condemned the registration fee for grant of sales tax registration certificate.

Mr Joginder Kumar, president of the federation, said the industry was already reeling under recessionary trend and was unable to absorb these levies.

The Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association said the Budget had frustrated the industry and trade as no incentives were announced.

The association said certain positive steps to improve the fiscal health of the state were proposed but the negative steps would add to the troubles of the industry and trade. The hike in registration fee, steep hike in the prices of LPG and kerosene by the central government was also condemned by the association.

The state unit of the Bharti Kisan Union welcomed the Rs 200 crore state government plan as “mission for a second push in agriculture” in the Budget.

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president, and Mr Manjit Singh Kadiyan, general secretary of the union, said the plan would go a long way to give boost to the agriculture production and improve the financial condition of farmers. The BKU also appreciated the proposal to boost milk production and creating the Punjab Livestock and Dairy Development.

The Government Pensioners’ Association in a press release today said that the Punjab Budget presented in the Vidhan Sabha had disappointed pensioners. It alleged that nothing had been done to implement the long-pending recommendations of the Punjab pay panel report. The association alleged that only one of the 10 recommendations of the panel had been implemented.

AMRITSAR: Mr Amrit Lal Jain, president, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal on Thursday termed the Punjab Budget as “anti-beopar” Budget. He said the government should withdraw new taxes imposed in the Budget. The traders threatened to launch an agitation if the government did not withdraw it.Top



 

India Gypsum forays into housing segment
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 23 — India Gypsum Limited, a C.K. Birla group company, here today announced the launch of its “Gyphome centres” to mark the company’s entry into the housing segment. Gyphome centres will be set up in six cities. The Gyphome centre, located in Sector 22-C, is designed in the form of a room with the walls, ceilings, cornices, skirting etc made by using Gypboard sculptures.

Also on display are designs that were traditionally done by skilled labour using “Plaster of Paris” on walls and ceilings. These are now imparted on gypsum walls or ceilings through a special technology. Mr S.K. Kejriwal, Manager-marketing, said “India Gypsum will for the first time in this industry provide a one-stop solution to modern designing and construction needs”.Top



 

Three UT units get awards
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 23 — Ms Vineeta Rai, Adviser to the UT Administrator, has emphasised the need for hi-tech, electronically well- equipped and pollution-free industries to develop and grow here.

Speaking at a function organised by the UT Department of Industries to honour outstanding small units at the UT guest house today, Ms Rai invited entrepreneurs to establish more IT centres and IT-related services because Chandigarh has well developed infrastructure, pollution free environment and skilled manpower.

She said the administration is considering the creation of a software technology park for which land is being identified.

The State Awards winners are: Mr H L Mahajan of Rama Health Care Ltd. first, Mr. L D Gupta of Manu International Ltd. second, and Mr. R S Narang of Punjab Agro Industries, third. The recipients of the award got trophies, certificates and cash prizes of Rs 15,000, 10,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively.

Ms Rai also asked the industry office-bearers to come up with more suggestions for improving the industrial performance of the region.

Home Secretary M.P. Singh Industries Director R.K. Kaushik and CITCO MD Satish Chandra were also present.Top



 

Credit offtake picks up in Haryana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 23 — Mr K.R.Chabria, Executive Director, Punjab National Bank, said here today that 40 mini banks and four branches of cooperative banks are likely to be opened in Haryana.

Addressing the 72nd meeting of the State level Bankers Committee of Haryana, Mr Chabria observed that credit off-take is gradually picking up and the State registered a satisfactory growth of 13.8 per cent in December, 1999.

From December 1998 to December, 1999, Mr Chabria said 28 new branches of commercial banks and regional rural banks were opened. The total deposits of the banks in the State increased from Rs 13,365 crore to Rs 15793 crore during the same period.

Mr R.S.Verma, Chief Secretary, Haryana said that the State Government has launched a drive for developing infrastructure, including roads and power sector reforms.

While lauding the performance of banks, he expressed concern over the low credit-deposit ratio in the State and urged the participants to draw strategies to reach a minimum level of 60 per cent.

The meeting was also attended by Ms Keshani Anand Arora, Special Secretary and Director, Institutional Finance and Credit Control, Mr N.R.Kanan, CGM, NABARD, Mr A.K.Bhargava, G.M., PNB, Northern Zone, Chandigarh and Mr C.P. Swarankar, PNB GM, Head Office.Top



 

Canam signs MoU with Punjab Electronics Corpn
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 23 — Canam Technologies Ltd., an associate concern of Canam Consultants Ltd., is diversifying into high end IT education and training in collaboration with the Electronics Corporation of Punjab (ECP).

Mr Gurnihal Pirzada, MD, PSEDPC, signed the MoU with Canam said India has become the largest provider of skilled software professionals worldwide and the IT industry is likely to witness a significant upsurge in the demand of computer professionals in the domestic as well as international job market.

Mr S. Grewal, Vice President, Canam said that technical collaboration with CAL-C will stimulate the growth of IT industry in North India. The training centres would also focus on developing communication and interpersonal skills to prepare students as per the international IT standards.

The students graduating from Compu-College centres will get an opportunity to work on international software development projects. The venture will set up its franchisee centres in all major cities of India.Top




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NSE FORECAST

by Ashok Kumar

Zee Telefilms, TV 18 good for long term

Big Bill is here, but the big bulls are still missing! That statement, in many ways sums up the current scenario at the Indian bourses.

With the bull war resulting into a bear trap, the markets have bled but with the bears now covering up their positions and there being no immediate signs of fresh blood-letting between the injured bulls, it does seem that the markets are poised for a technical correction.

However, the same could be deferred by another week given the proximity of the financial year end. The markets thus seem fated to be stuck in a trading zone where every upside as well as downside is promptly corrected.

Volumes can be expected to drop and given this backdrop bear operators could sharpen their knives and consider taking up short positions at the counters of Hindustan Lever at Rs 2919 (cover up at Rs 2842) and ITC at Rs 744 (cover up at Rs 696).

Long positions could be considered at the counters of Zee Telefilms at Rs 997 (square up at Rs 1074) and TV 18 at Rs 1199 (square up at Rs 1284).

The dark horse bet of this week is BHEL while discerning portfolio investors can pack a punch in their portfolio by taking a closer look at the price movements of Britannia and pouching it if its share price declines any further.

Yet, given the thinning trading volumes, it would be prudent to take a profit when you see one. Perhaps, Big Bill may have a kind thing or two to say that may cheer the bourses — may be!Top




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CORPORATE NEWS

Hindalco to buy Alcan stake

NEW DELHI, March 23 (PTI) — Hindalco has decided to buy 54 per cent stake of Canadian multinational Alcan in Indian Aluminium Company (Indal). The Aditya Birla group company will acquire the 54 per cent stake at Rs 190 per share. When contacted senior officials in Hindalco and Indal confirmed the deal. There had been rumours of Alcan selling its stake in the Calcutta-based company and the bidders included Sterlite Industries.

Reddy’s Lab to pay 25 pc interim

HYDERABAD, March 23 (UNI) — Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has declared an interim dividend of 25 per cent for 1999-2000. Its Board at a meeting here today passed a resolution to raise $ 200 million through American depository shares (ADS). The company will decide the exact size of the ADS at the time of the issue.

Tata Steel declares 40 pc interim

MUMBAI, March 23 (UNI) — The Board of Tata Steel today declared an interim dividend of 40 per cent for the financial year 1999-2000. The record date for payment of this interim dividend has been fixed as April 24.

Maars Software eyes 2 foreign cos

CHENNAI, March 23 (PTI) — Maars Software is all set to acquire a UK-based company “Technical director” and Belgium-based “company benelux” through its subsidiary in the UK. The total value of the acquisition will be around $ 6 million, company press release said here today.

Citicorp acquires 74 pc stake

MUMBAI, March 23 (PTI) — Citicorp Finance India Ltd today picked up a 74 per cent stake in Nation Wide Finance Ltd for $ 3.4 million. Nation Wide, which offers consumer durable financing, has branches in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and Coimbatore.

Pfizer, Shantha to market vaccine

NEW DELHI, March 23 (PTI) — Pfizer India and Hyderabad-based Shantha Biotechnics today entered into an alliance to co-market the latter’s Hepatitis B vaccine. Pfizer will market the vaccine under the brand name “Hepasheild”.Top



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BIZ BRIEFS

Forex
US $ Rs 43.59/60
Stg Rs 68.78/80
Euro Rs 41.94/96
Yen (100) Rs 40.53/55

Glucose monitor
CHANDIGARH, March 23 (TNS) — Nicholas Piramal has launched in India Roche Diagnostics Germany products called “Glucotrend-2” and “Softclix 2” virtually pain-free blood glucose monitoring for accurate blood glucose control within 30 seconds. Having 125 values memory with time & date, the composite pack of Glucotrend costs Rs 4800.

Satyam Infoway
NEW DELHI, March 23 (TNS) — Satyam Infoway today announced a joint venture with plasticscommerce.com, a Singapore based e-commerce company to launch a portal for the plastics industry in the country.

Bacardi
NEW DELHI, March 23 (TNS) — The global leader in spirit brands, Bacardi, today launched its popular white rum brand “Bacardi Carta Blanca” in the Capital.

Pentasoft
CHENNAI, March 23 (UNI) — 3CRC Technologies group, a division of Pentasoft Technologies Ltd, is setting up an offshore design centre for Ford Motors, USA. Top



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