|Sunday, March 26, 2000,
beverage of the next millennium
India, USA sign MoU on
IOC, Govt sign MoU
Tea beverage of the next
NEW DELHI, March 25 The rising popularity of youthful beverages like carbonated soft drinks has prompted the global tea industry to reposition the cup that cheers as a health drink and market it as a beverage of the new millennium.
With a slackening of demand for tea in key markets, tea planters from all over the world assembled for a three-day India International Millennium Tea Convention here and concluded that the only way to beat the challenge was to reposition tea as a health drink.
Representatives of Plantation Associations from several countries presented several research papers pointing out that extensive research done internationally has provided convincing evidence that polyphenolic antioxidants present in green as well as black tea are capable of affording protection against cancer. Research has also shown that tea consumption may lead to the prevention of heart disease by strengthening blood vessels and decreasing the cholesterol level in the bloodstream.
The convention felt that though the medium and long term prospects for tea industry were favourable, some immediate concerns were that of the challenge posed by the soft drinks industry.
The Chairman of the Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations, Mr R.S. Jhawar, said the tea industry has taken note of the challenges thrown by other beverages and had decided to gear up to meet them in the market place.
A need has been felt to create new connectivity with consumers by repositioning tea as a new age beverage, which has a positive impact on health.
The health experts who presented their papers included leading names like Dr John Weisburger of American Health Foundation, Dr Chang S.Yang of Rutgers State University, Dr D.K. Ganguly of Indian Institute of Chemical Biology and Dr Hassan Mukhtar of Case Western Research University.
The convention said there was a need to increase the per capita consumption of tea globally. Currently, the per capita consumption of tea in India was one cup and internationally, the figure was even less impressive at half a cup. The tea industry set a target to increase the per capita consumption to three to four cups per day.
One sure way of achieving the target was through credible, consistent and simple communication on the health benefits over a period of time, Mr Jhawar said.
WASHINGTON, March 25 (AP) The Microsoft Corporation faxed a detailed proposal to government lawyers to settle its landmark anti-trust case after the trial judge warned he will deliver his verdict on Tuesday, people close to the case said.
It was unclear what was contained within the proposal, described as technically complicated, that government lawyers were carefully reviewing late yesterday.
US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson imposed the Tuesday deadline during a private meeting with lawyers earlier this week in Washington. It lent renewed urgency to the negotiations, being overseen in Chicago by a respected federal appeals judge, Richard Posner.
But none of the top lawyers in the case had travelled to Chicago by early evening yesterday. It was unclear whether face-to-face talks were expected over the weekend.
Other sources close to
the anti-trust case have indicated government lawyers are
backing away from proposals to break up Microsoft in
order to restrain what the judge has characterised as the
companys abuse of its monopoly power over the
BAGHDAD, March 25 (AFP) Iraq has announced it will reduce its oil exports if the United States continues to hold up contracts for essential goods, the official INA news agency has reported.
Iraq has informed the United Nations that it will reduce its oil exports if America continues to turn down contracts for the purchase of essential goods, the agency reported Trade Minister Mohammed Mahdi Saleh as telling the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram yesterday.
Iraq will need at least $ 100 billion for reconstruction, not to mention new projects and investment opportunities after the lifting of sanctions, the Minister said in the interview to be published today.
NEW DELHI, March 25 (UNI) India and the United States signed a memorandum of understanding was on promoting cooperation in renewable energy.
The objectives of the MoU entered between the national renewable energy of the US and the Solar Energy Centre of India here include promotion of scientific and technological cooperation between the participants as well as the institutions of the two countries in renewable energy.
SEOUL, March 25 (Oana-Yonhap) Daewoo Motors will become the first auto-maker in the country to sell its vehicles through the Internet.
This e-commerce transaction is expected to begin by May, Daewoo Motor Sales announced here yesterday.
Daewoo will sell 10 per cent of this years production through the Internet and increase the amount to 30 per cent next year.
The auto manufacturer is looking into attracting cyber customers through discount and other benefits, apart from forming alliance with other Internet shopping mall operators.
Consultants opens office in city
CHANDIGARH, March 25 Oceanic Consultants Ltd opened its immigration consultancy division in Chandigarh to assist the people interested to migrate to Australia. While opening the division, Mr Naresh Gulati, MD, said that he handles as full time migration agent in India registered with Migration Agents Registration Authority in Australia. The full list of the accredited migration agents in Australia is available at the web site http://www.themara.com.au/mara/ register/.
Government has introduced the migration agent
registration scheme in 1992 to ensure that those lawyers
and migration agents giving migration advice met
stringent standards and work under the strict compliance
with a code of conduct. Later changes were made to the
registration scheme, introducing a requirement for
continuing professional development for all migration
agents. Mr Gulati said Oceanic Consultants will open more
branch offices in major cities of India soon.
(units) with less
BUDGETS of State Governments are gradually getting reduced to mere dry accounting exercises laced with political rhetorics. Punjabs Budget is no exception to this rule. Bulk of tax revenue has been garnered through out the year by hiking rates and levying new taxes. So claim of mere Rs 100 to 150 crore tax burden is a mere eye wash.
Budget claims to promote small and medium industries. No known economist is required to tell that the very basic thing for this to reduce the cost of energy of sorts. Energy is the prime mover of industrial economy. Budget proposes to hike duty on the sale of electricity to 5 per cent on ad valorem basis from the fixed mode of 11 paise per unit. This comes out to be 15 paise per unit.
Cost of power in Punjab has been jacked up due to four extraneous factors; cross subsidisation due to free power; octroi on power; now hike in duty and burden of theft which is rampant. All these factors are avoidable in the interest of industrial economy. It is pertinent to note that even hike of one paisa a unit can raise the production cost of steel by Rs 10 per MT. This has multiplying effect on user industry which gets over 80 per cent of steel from local steel manufacturers. So hike in duty should be withdrawn.
Budget claims to have higher sales tax revenue during the current year by over 40 per cent over the last year. At another place Budget says that the Governments financial crisis is due to stagnant tax revenue. If 40 per cent hike comes under stagnation then even sky may not be the limit for revenue realisation. Budget proposes to have growth on sales tax revenue of over 42 per cent. Obviously bulk of this growth will come from hikes in rates or levying fresh taxes. Exercise of smart tax administration is a mere rhetoric. Here again claim of normal tax burden seems to be hollow. Levy of renewal fee of Rs 2000 per year for registered dealer should be with- drawn as it is a retrograde provision.
Industry and trade is feeling the pan of harsh pinch of sales tax department. With computerised barriers Government assured that goods carriers shall not be intercepted en route. Interceptions are now rampant under section 14-B. When goods are to cross computerised barriers where is the need to detain them for days together? This is hardly a step to promote industry as claimed in the budget.
On sales tax issue instance of hosiery sector is worth quoting. Ludhiana uses about 3000 MT of acrylic fibre a month. This material comes from big plants which generally enjoy sales tax exemptions. About 2500 MTs of yarn is produced from this fibre and government is not getting matching revenue. Is it smart administration?
To compensate this lapse very small dealers who trade in wastes of fibre yarn and hosiery are being squeezed. First stage sales tax of 4 per cent has been levied on wastes at all stages of manufacturing. Interestingly hosiery products from wastes are used by poor sections of society. This retrograde step will erode the trading base of large number of dealers and manufacturers.
Budget claims provide productive employment to about 50,000 persons rendered jobless from various projects. How to do it is the missing part. As per the prevailing industrial environment government can expect a matching number of jobless persons from industry as well.
The avenues for absorbing such a large number of employed are not visible on the horizon. The Government has to give serious thought to this vital area in consultation with industry.
Slogan of the Budget
To do more with less has open ended meaning.
As per the past performance of the Government vis-a-vis
industry some may interpret this as; Destabilise
more industry with less efforts.
NEW DELHI, March 25 (PTI) Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) today entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Centre for the year 2000-01 under which the company has set higher targets in all its key areas of operations.
The 12th MoU was signed here between IOC Chairman M.A. Pathan and Petroleum Secretary S. Narayan, a company statement said.
As per the MoU signed
for 2000-01, IOC has given highest weightage of 60 per
cent for continued financial performance wherein the
target for gross margin has been hiked by 30 per cent
compared to the previous year.
by A.N. Shanbhag
Q: The recent Budget has amended Sec. 54F to allow assesses claim the exemption for tax on capital gains even if they hold a house. Does this mean that I can buy 2 houses in case the capital gains earned by me are rather high?
Sahil Sharma, New Delhi
A: This is an excellent example of appearing to give something without giving.
Exemptions U/s 54 as well as 54F are available if the assesse purchase or constructs a residential house within stipulated periods. The villain causing confusion is the article a used before residential house. The word seems to imply that the exemption would be available if and only if the assesse invests in the one residential house and the amount of exemption would be limited to the cost of that one house.
However, it is my considered opinion that such a strict connotation of the words defeats not only the intention of the authors of the Act but also is against the principles of fairness and justice. An assesse qualifies for exemption U/s 54 even when he possesses more than one house prior to the sale whereas Sec. 54F now allows him to own one and only one house.
Unfortunately, the rest of the restrictions are not constructively amended.
The amended provision is
Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall apply where-
a: The assesse,
i) Owns more than one residential house, other than the new asset, on the date of transfer of the original asset; or
ii) Purchases any residential house, other than the new asset, within a period of one year after the date of transfer of the original asset; or
iii) Constructs any residential house other than the new asset, within a period of three years after the date of transfer of the original asset;
Let us see what this means.
Imagine you have no house and have incurred a large amount of capital gains by selling Tisco shares. To begin with you buy one house. This is the new asset. After about 5 days you buy another house. Now you find that you cannot claim capital benefit on the new asset because you have purchased another house within a period of 1 year. The situation remains the same even if you sell, Tisco shares after 6 months and earn capital gains thereon.
This essentially implies that if you claim capital gains benefit one one house, you cannot claim benefit by purchasing another house within a period of one year or constructing a house within 3 years.
I really wonder whether this is a intention of the legislation.
Q: The recent Budget has brought units of UTI/MFs under the definition of securities. I presume that now I can pay tax @ 10 per cent without indexation or @ 20 per cent with indexation, whichever is beneficial.
I have got some carry forward long-term capital loss on my hands. In case I desire to claim the benefit of paying tax @ 10 per cent should I compute the long-term capital losses also without indexation?
A: The rate on capital gains charged to NRIs is @ 10 per cent without indexation but they get protection against the exchange risk. There was long standing demand of the Resident taxpayers for extension of the benefit of 10 per cent to them. This was granted last year. Accordingly, the resident assesse was given the option as mentioned by you. Protection against exchange risk for residents is meaningless and therefore in my opinion this is also an instance of appearing to give something without giving much.
You will find that most often the previous taxation of 20 per cent with indexation is superior to 10 per cent without indexation. I hope you have carried out your computation correctly before deciding to opt for 10 per cent.
If you are sure of your grounds, I have a suggestion
1. Compute your total long-term capital gains with indexation.
2. Knock off the carry forward loss against the gains.
3. From the remainder of the gains knock off the benefit of indexation on a pro-rata basis.
4. Pay tax @ 10 per cent on the capital gains thus arrived at.
I have yet another
suggestion. Sec. 54EA/EB will become history on 1.4.2000.
However, you will be allowed to invest within a period of
six months from the date, when you earned the gains, in
any of the avenue under the umbrella of these Secs. The
Budget has offered an alternative in terms of Sec. 54EC
but I strongly feel that its tax slashing edge will be
quite blunt. Therefore, if you have already earned
capital gains during the current year and the period of 6
months has not expired then this is your last chance.
by K.R. Wadhwaney
Double check at Kathmandu?
ALL hostages of the hijacked flight IC-814 have unanimously emphasised that the security bandobast at Kathmandus Tribhuvan International Airport has been good for nothing. Many of them have gone on record as saying that while the baggage is often screened, passengers walk to aircraft without being frisked at all.
Many senior commanders, who have flown in and out of the TIA, have endorsed the observations of the hostages. Some pilots have even said that TIA is one of the worst airports in the world.
Following hijacking, the Nepal authorities sacked a few persons and suspended all the security and customs officials on duty on December 24. The Nepal authorities have now somersaulted. The findings of the high-powered committee are shocking. It has fully absolved airport staff. The report has added an insult to injury by saying that security officials cannot be blamed because arms of hijackers could have been fake.
The committee, headed by former Nepal Police Chief Khim Bahadur, among other observations, says that the arms and ammunition in the possession of the hijackers were not taken on board at Kathmandu Airport. The committee, however, does not spell out as to how it had reached its conclusion that the arms were fake and how they were not taken by hijackers on board the flight.
The Nepal authorities objection that Indian Airlines cannot have its own security to check baggage and passengers is not supported by logic and international rules. When American airlines not long ago were flying ex-Delhi, they invariably had their own security to check baggage and passengers. They even checked passports of passengers. The sovereignty of Nepal cannot be under threat if IA stations its own team for security purposes. If IA can have a station manager at Kathmandu so can it have security manager or officials. Why should Nepal be so averse to the just cause in the interest of smooth operations ex-Kathmandu? If British Airways or Lufthansa, for example, post their own security personnel to check passengers and baggage at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIAO), what objection can India have?
The analysts are of the
firm view that, if and when Indian Airlines resumes its
operations to Kathmandu, it should have a double
check outside the entrance of the aircraft. The
double check exercise will reduce the risk of
by Pushpa Girimaji
Experts divided on genetic food safety
A notification issued in December 1989 under the Environment Protection Act of 1986 says that: Food stuffs, ingredients in food stuffs and additives including processing aids containing or consisting of genetically engineered organisms or cells, shall not be produced, sold, imported or used except with the approval of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee. And the Department of Biotechnology, which plays a crucial role in monitoring the developments in biotechnology at national and international levels, says that foods containing genetically modified ingredients or organisms have not been approved for imports. And no transgenic plant has yet been approved for commercial agriculture in India.However, research on a variety of transgenic plants is going on in India at different levels laboratories, green houses and contained field trials to generate data for risk-assessment and safety evaluation. And these include, Bt cotton, Bar-Barnase and Bar-Barstar mustard, Bt tomato, besides rice, corn, soyabean, chilli, cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal, tobacco, potato, pigeon pea, and bell pepper. And eventually, if these are approved for commercial agriculture, we will be eating not just GM foodgrains and oil, but also vegetables. Most of these are engineered to develop resistance to specific pests that attack them. According to the figures for 1998 provided by Consumers International, about 28 million hectares of GM crops were grown worldwide and some 98 per cent of global transgenic crop acreage is accounted for by three countries: the US, Canada and Argentina.
Transgenic pollen escape is one of the major apprehensions being expressed by scientists, farmers, environmental groups and consumer groups. They point out that pollen from GM plants is carried by wind, birds and insects. Once released into the environment, these live, genetically modified organisms can cross-pollinate with conventional plants with unforeseeable impacts on ecological equilibrium. Crops engineered to resist herbicides and pesticides, for example, can pass these traits on to their wild relatives and create pesticide and herbicide resistant super weeds, they say. The implications of the issue of pollen transfer have not yet been satisfactorily resolved.
In fact the international scientific community is deeply divided on the risks vs benefits issue, On the health front, while those in favour of GM foods say that animal experiments have proved their safety, those against it question the adequacy of the tests and wonder whether animal models are sensitive enough or whether there is need for a completely new approach to risk assessment of these foods. Consumer groups are therefore advocating a cautious approach that would respect the consumers right to safety, information, choice and healthy environment.
A national conference on genetically modified foods organised by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society at Jaipur recently to mark the World Consumer Rights Day therefore demanded a blanket delay on the introduction of GM foods and food products in the market till full information on the issue is available to the public. It also called for public review of GM products and mandatory labelling of genetically modified food and food products.
New technologies always
bring in their wake, benefits as well as risks. And where
both risks and benefits are clearly apparent, it is easy
to decide whether benefits far outweigh risks. Not so
with genetic engineering where there are still grey areas
and any hasty decision could have far reaching
consequences not just for us, but for future generations
by Ashok Kumar
Financial year to end on bullish note
AS the financial year draws to a close, it must go down as one of the more bullish years for the bourses. Some really high class IPOs were on offer for investors in the primary market and amongst these the better ones that come to my mind in the order of their appearance on the market-front were Polaris Software Labs, Hughes Software and HCL Technologies, with the latter two making path-breaking book-building issues, which I believe will go down in the history of the Indian primary market as setters of the future norm.
And if you thought that it was infotech all the way on the primary market front, think again, because TV 18 debuted on the primary market front and how! Its Rs 180 priced IPO listed at Rs 1800 and that in many ways made investors realise that media stocks must just be tomorrows winners. Non-believers might be surprised to learn that the shares of Nimbus Communications whose book-building offer is round the corner, were being traded at a sensational premium to the expected price-band in the unofficial grey market not too long ago and well before the IPO was officially announced.
As for the secondary market it never will be the same again! Ever since Infys listing on the Nasdaq, the action on the Indian market front has been flowing thick and fast. The Satyam group too joined the bandwagon with a Nasdaq listing and well, for the record, ICICI too wrangled a NYSE listing.
Ever since the announcement of the previous Union Budget when the Finance Minister sought to salvage the sinking ship of UTIs US-64, the floodgates opened up reviving the Indian mutual fund segment, which had seemed down and out for the count till then. My team and I are personally among those who believe that mutual funds are not the best investment avenue for the small investor.
Of course, their aggressive marketing and selling skills are topics for case studies that I often recommend to my management students. My personal view on this issue is that most informed investors can comfortably outperform most mutual funds. Perhaps, it might be interesting to make a study of the dipping post-Budget NAVs of some of the mutual funds, and even more interesting to find out whether the head honchos at these funds are still as bullish about the Indian markets as they were a month ago.
So, what does financial
year 2000-2001 hold out for the Indian bourses. Well, my
take here is that it holds out good times ahead although
the same can be spoilt by greedy market operators and
manipulators who we can do without given the fact that
the inherent strength of the Indian economy itself can
sustain a Sensex upswing without the machinations of such
Big Bulls and New Bulls. Give us Big Bill anyday
at least his visit led to a clean-up of Dalal Street.
Perhaps, it is time the bigwigs at SEBI stepped in to
crack the whip and monitor the manipulative practices
employed by such operators more closely before cleaning
them out, sending them to the slammer and chucking the
keys to the dungeon into the Arabian Sea. But then, if
wishes were horses
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |