|Sunday, April 2, 2000,
QRs lifting to flood
markets with imported goods
SEZs an attempt to replicate
Chinas free trade zone
Hero Honda posts 43.5 pc growth
Rathi new BSE chief
Exports keep pace with target
Badal to meet
Convention centre for city
Bank of Punjab enters housing
QRs lifting to flood markets with
NEW DELHI, April 1 Shopping experience in India will not be the same again for consumers as a wide array of foreign goods will be available across the counter in a majority of shops.
The availability of choice follows the Governments decision to lift quantitative restrictions on 714 additional items at the behest of the World Trade Organisation.
The items where import restrictions have been lifted are simply mind boggling and range from meat products to fabrics, kitchen stoves to electronic items and fruits and vegetables to chutneys and pickles.
The items would however, be available for a price as they would be levied customs duty at the peak rate of 35 per cent along with countervailing duty and surcharge which would be an additional 15 per cent.
The list of items where import restrictions have been removed with effect from yesterday included a large variety of meat products, including meat of swine, sheep and lamb.
For the vegetarians they can choose from a wide array of milk products including milk for babies, milk and cream with varying concentration, whole milk, condensed milk and other products consisting of natural milk constituents.
Fresh or chilled cucumbers and gherkins, coconuts, plums and soles, fresh litchi, coffee, maize and rice flours and pellets of other cereals topped with imported common salt would also help whet the appetite of those who have a palate for foreign food.
Those with an expensive taste can feast on caviar and exotic varieties of fish and for those who dont like it can have a tin of imported potato chips.
Morning beverage could include aromatic coffee or various kinds of tea like instant tea, quick brewing black tea or aromatic tea.
There is news for cheer for the pets at home as import of dog and cat food has also been freed.
For smokers and tobacco chewers, a wide range of imported bidis, hookah tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff and tobacco would be available at the paan shop.
Tired of swadeshi paper, one can now use imported paper and other stationaries.
The much sought after imported suits, jackets, track suits, swimwear and trousers as well as rubber footwear, waterproof footwear would now be available off the shelves of departmental stores.
Jewellery items like natural pearls, garnets, emeralds, ruby and sapphires, rolled gold jewellery and German silver jewellery would be available at the jewellers shop.
Kitchen and tableware, LPG cylinders, brass and copper utensils and combined refrigerator freezers fitted with separate external door can be imported freely under the new Exim policy.
Electronic items like dictating machines, tape recorders, video cassettes, and projectors too would be available.
For those with a penchant for imported perfumes, import of scent sprays have been permitted.
attempt to replicate Chinas free trade zone
NEW DELHI, April 1 The Exim policy announcement of the creation of special economic zones (SEZ) is an attempt to replicate the success story of free trade zones of China. Such zones contribute nearly 40 per cent of Beijings total exports, the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Murasoli Maran, said here today.
The governments aim was to replicate the free trade zones in China but added that the SEZs in the country would be subjected to the liberal economic policies of the liberal democracy, Mr Maran told a post-Exim policy interaction organised by FICCI.
The underlying philosophy of the Exim policy was to prepare the exporting community to face global competition with minimum artificial support, said a senior government official.
The effort is to send a message to exporters to stand on their own feet, said Mr N.L. Lakhanpal, Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
Participating in a open house discussion with exporters organised by PHDCCI, he said the objective of setting up special economic zones was to enable hassle free manufacturing and trading activity. The units in these zones will not be subjected to any pre-determined value addition, export obligation, input-output/wastage norms.
Regarding setting up of exclusive marketing companies to boost exports, the DGFT said that these companies should essentially be in the private sector. The Government can only facilitate the growth of such companies by providing support on the basis of specific requirements of the exporters.
The objective of the new policy was to liberate exports from inspector raj, the Union Minister said the government was well equipped under WTO regulations to check all sorts of predatory pricing, dumping or cartel operations in the aftermath of removal of quantitative restrictions (QRs).
We have enough weapons under the WTO to check any predatory pricing, dumping or cartel operations. In the event of surge in imports we will not keep quite and these weapons will be used, he said.
He had announced removal of QRs on 714 items following a ruling by the dispute settlement panel of the WTO on a petition filed by the United States contesting maintenance of QRs on balance of payments ground.
NEW DELHI, April 1 (UNI, PTI) Hero Honda has registered a sales growth of 43.5 per cent to 7.61 lakh motorcycles during the just concluded fiscal against 5.3 lakh units in 1998-99. During March , the company sold 84,144 motorcycles compared to 52,454 in 1998-99, a growth of 60 per cent.
The value of spare parts sold during the financial year was Rs 100 crore, an increase of 43 per cent over the sales in the previous fiscal, a company release said here today.
The company claimed that its market share in the motorcycle segment had gone up to 42 per cent in 1999-2000 from 37 per cent in 1998-99.
The company had already declared an interim dividend of 100 per cent of Rs 10 per share.
Hyundai sells 8000 cars
Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL) has surpassed its sales target for the 1999-2000 fiscal by more than 25 per cent having sold over 75,000 units of Santro and Accent as against the targeted 60,000.
In March, the company operated at 103 per cent capacity utilisation and achieved total sales of over 8,000 units with accent accounting for slightly over 2,000 units, company sources told UNI here today.
Santro sales also remained consistent at over 6,000 units. The company had sold 6,203 units of Santro in February and 7,402 units in January 2000. Accent sales stood at 1,270 units in February and 1,243 units in January.
MUMBAI, April 1 (UNI) Mr Anand Rathi (53) was today re-elected as the 22nd President of the 123-year old Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), for the year 2000-2001.
Mr Rathi, who underlined mission-2000 and drew vision-2005 during his one-year term was the unanimous choice of the 19-member governing board of the BSE which met here today to elect the new President and other office- bearers.
The elections, held in the morning at the BSEs Board Room at Jeejeebhoy Towers here, also saw the re-election of Ms Dina Mehta, the lone lady member among the nine elected directors as Vice- President.
The board also elected Mr Himanshu Kaji as the treasurer for the year 2000-2001.
Before the scheduled
meet, the elected directors held an informal meeting to
elect new office-bearers and their decision was later
approved unanimously by the entire board members, sources
at the BSE said.
keep pace with target
NEW DELHI, April 1 Indias exports continued to keep pace with the targeted 11.3 per cent growth for the year 1999-2000 with exports in the first eleven months of the fiscal (April to February) registering a 11.2 per cent growth.
Exports during April to February were estimated at $ 33,316.72 million which was 11.2 per cent higher than the level of $ 29,983.06 million in the same period of the previous financial year. In rupee terms, the exports grew by 14.48 per cent during this period.
According to the latest trade data, exports during February 2000 were valued at $ 3092.98 million which was 9.74 per cent higher than the level of $ 2818.44 million in February 1999. In rupee terms, the exports were Rs 13,489.62 crore, which is 12.71 per cent higher than the value of exports during February 1999.
Indias imports during February 2000 were valued at $ 3,844.05 million representing a growth of 21.78 per cent over the level of imports valued at $ 3156.65 million in February 1999.
Imports during April-February 1999-2000 are estimated at $ 42,002.21 million which is 10.07 per cent higher than the level of $ 38,159.16 million during the same period last year. Oil imports during April-February 1999-2000 are valued at $ 8791.94 million which is 66.37 per cent higher than oil imports valued at $ 5284.64 million in the corresponding period last year. Non-oil imports during April-February 1999-2000 are estimated at $ 33210.27 million which is 1.02 per cent higher than the level of imports valued at $ 32874.52 million in April-February 1998-99.
meet industrialists soon
LUDHIANA, April 1 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has demanded that the portfolio of Union Agriculture Minister, lying vacant since the resignation of Mr Nitish Kumar, be given to a leader from Punjab, on the basis of merit.
Mr Badal was talking to mediapersons after laying the foundation stone of two new units of Vardhman Spinning group to be set up at the cost of Rs 300 crore here today.
Mr Badal said that he would soon call a meeting of the captains of industry and other organisation to discuss the unemployment issue and find ways and means to absorb maximum Punjabi rural youth in large, medium and small industries.
He also stressed on the need for setting up more tiny industries in the State to encourage young boys and girls to set-up their own venture for earning their livelihood.
Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and Secretary, Industries said that in spite of widespread recession, the industrial growth had remained over 12 per cent this year. This is mainly due to more than 100 IT units coming up in the area during the past year, he said.
The Principal Secretary said with the implementation of an ambitious composite plan of e-governance in the State, Punjab would soon emerge on the world IT map.
Mr S.P. Oswal, Chairman of Vardhman group, said that their industrial house is one of the largest textile houses in the country with turn-over of Rs 1,450 crore and more than 17,000 employees on its role. He said that the group has spinning capacity of 5,00,000 spindles and to produce over 50,000 metres per day.
centre for city demanded
CHANDIGARH, April 1 The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI) comprising Haryana, Himachal, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP, Chandigarh, J&K and Delhi held its managing committee meeting at Udaipur recently. The meeting was chaired by Mr B.K. Gupta, President, HRANI.
The meeting was preceded by a seminar Tourism Prospects in North India: an integrated approach. The seminar was presided over by Dr Girija Vyas, M.P.
Representatives from different States demanded a uniform excise policy in the North on lines of sales tax uniformity. The member felt that there is a difference of several lakhs of rupees for a similar licence in neighbouring States.
Representing Chandigarh, Mr Man Mohan Singh expressed the need for establishing a convention centre to promote convention tourism in the city.
At the seminar it was felt that the North has not been able to encash the business. The entire Himachal barring Shimla does not have a convention facility although at some points it has beds exceeding thousand in number. Dr Girija Vyas in her address said the Centre is not paying enough attention to tourism.
Punjab enters housing finance
CHANDIGARH, April 1 Bank of Punjab Ltd, after making successful foray into retail lending products like auto loans, second hand car loans, two wheelers etc has now ventured into housing loans to individuals and corporates.
The home loans range from a minimum of Rs 2 lakh to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh, upto a maximum of 85 per cent of the cost of the property/construction cost.
The bank has launched its housing loans scheme for residents and non resident Indians for the purpose of purchase, construction, extension and also purchase of land-cum-construction of a house/flat.
The loan scheme is being launched in six cities viz., Chandigarh, Delhi, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jaipur and Ahmedabad in the first phase. Very shortly the scheme will be extended to its more than 50 branches across India.
The bank is offering home loans scheme at interest rates as low as 14 per cent with flexible repayment options, the interest is calculated on daily reducing basis adjusted quarterly.
The bank has also tied
up with an insurance company for a comprehensive
accidental insurance cover for both personal accident and
property for the term of loan on one time front end
payment of the premium.
PANIPAT, April 1 Mr Sandeep Garg, Deputy Commissioner, Panipat on Friday launched the Grameen phone service of Escotel at Chandholi village, 10 km from Panipat.
Mr Garg lauded the
grameen phone project service of the Escotel and observed
that such services have brought a revolution in
day-to-day life of the people and the services are
reliable and affordable.
by Praful R. Desai
Calling for interview
Q: Whether interim order of the High Court directing the Electricity Board to provisionally appoint writ petitioner, as Executive Engineer subject to the result of the writ petition can be sustained in law?
Ans: The S.C. in Maharastra State Electricity Board v Vaman (2000-1-LLJ 208) held thus:
The appeal has been filed against the interim order of the H.C. The H.C. in this case was concerned with a writ petition filed by the respondent in which the prayer was that he should be called for an interview for the appointment to the post of Executive Engineer. The said post was required to be filed by direct recruitment. Admittedly, the petitioner had not been called for interview. Notwithstanding this, an interim order was passed by the H.C. as under:
To do justice to the petitioner, we direct the respondents to provisionally appoint the petitioner as Executive Engineer which shall be subject to the result of this writ petition. Notice is made absolute in above terms. There shall be no order as the costs.
The S.C. was conscious of the fact that normally it would not interfere with the interlocutory orders passed by the H.C. The order in question, however, to say the least, is opposed to all well recognised principles of service law where by way of an ad interim order, the writ petition filed by the respondent has in fact been allowed and he has been directed to be appointed as an Executive Engineer in the direct recruitment quota, without his undergoing any process of selection.
The S.C. was doubtful whether such a relief could be possible even if the writ petition of the respondent was allowed, namely, he being directed to be appointed without being interviewed or any other process of selection being undergone. The order of the H.C. was clearly uncalled for, in the opinion of the S.C. The S.C. consequently allowed the appeal, set aside the order of the H.C. which required the appellants herein to provisionally appoint the respondent as an Executive Engineer.
A couple of weeks ago, we had mentioned how the New Bull had been trapped by a veteran BSE operator and his cartel. Having escaped their clutches finally, this Bull it seems has turned wise, and pulled out a major portion of his remaining funds from the market and decided instead to become a venture capitalist. Should we rename him the Wise Bull then?
Inspite of the recent fall in its already below par share price, a veteran BSE broker is slowly but steadily accumulating this scrip Shri Niranjan Ayurveds. The grapevine has it that he expects this scrip to touch the 3 figure mark within six months.
Cant fool all the
people all the time MTNL whose share price got
propped up following its grand announcements of overseas
listing plans is now the pet sell of every fund manager.
Its reported payment defaults seem to have shown it up!
by K.R. Wadhwaney
Engineers use go-slow tactics
FOR the last fortnight or about, Indian Airlines (IA) has been unable to maintain its punctuality chart because engineers have resorted to go slow tactics. It is alleged that the engineers take much longer time to rectify minor snags and defects than they should.
On March 29, the flight carrying members of the Parliament Consultative Committee to Goa was delayed for a considerable time. The fact was that the incoming flight from Madras got delayed because of traffic jam there. The crew cockpit and cabin could not make it on time for the flight from Madras to take on schedule time. The blame was thrown at engineers when they, in this particular case, were unblemished.
The demand of engineers is raise in salaries and perks.
In Goa the Consultative Committee is expected to take vital decisions pertaining to two national carriers, Indian Airlines and Air India.
One of the subjects for discussion is tenure of the Managing Director and Chairman Anil Baijal (IA). His term ends in May. Will he continue or a new incumbent will be inducted? Currently, IA is without two Deputy Managing Directors while the only one serving is scheduled to retire soon.
Apart from promotions, transfers and reshuffle, another important subject for discussion is fleet expansion. Both national carriers require aircraft to push their sales. Private operators and foreign carriers have been wanting to fly ex-India as they feel that India is a tailor-made market for them.
Indian Airlines is expected to resume its flights to Kathmandu before the start of summer rush. The subject for deep discussion is fool-proof arrangements to be made for checking hand-baggage and frisking of passengers. The analysts feel that checking of passengers and their baggage on the step-ladder will be essential regardless of inconvenience cause to passengers. It is better to arrive late rather than play into the hands of hijackers to take charge of the aircraft, said two seasoned pilots.
According to many commanders and knowledge officials, Kathmandu continues to be a difficult airport where mafia in the name of the under-world has assumed control. Apart from lax security bandobast and availability of weak and unguarded zones, locals can be bought over as poverty is so rampant there.
Polluted: The aviation, already in doldrums, has been considerably polluted by unscrupulous agents who provide fake passports and other travel documents to gullible passengers who shell out between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 4 lakh. The strength of undesirable agents has been increasing rapidly in Delhi, Punjab and around.
One agent (Anil Bajaj)
and his two aides have been arrested. Many incriminating
documents have already been seized by the Economics
Offence Wing (Crime Branch) of Delhi Police. These agents
and their aides are also in league with officials at
IGIA. They all combine together to facilitate departure
of passengers travelling on forged and fake passports.
by Pushpa Girimaji
Ensure delivery boys dont steal gas
SOME years ago, oil companies had instructed every LPG distributor to ensure that the delivery boy carried with him a spring balance. This not only helped the consumer check the weight of the cylinder before taking delivery, but also prevented delivery boys from siphoning off part of the cooking gas and supplying underweight cylinders. Unfortunately, this practice was discontinued.
Now with the steep increase in the price of LPG, consumers should demand that this practice be revived and every cylinder be weighed at the consumers doorstep before it is actually delivered.
Today, with the revised price, you are paying roughly about Rs 3.50 more per kg of LPG. (The increase being about Rs 50.) So the loss, in case of underweight cylinders is that much more. A domestic LPG cylinder should contain 14.2 kg of liquified petroleum gas. And at the rate of Rs 198 to Rs 221 (the price varies in different states) a cylinder, each kg of LPG costs around Rs 14 to Rs 15.50 and provides cooking fuel for two to four days of cooking, depending on the usage. If a cylinder, for example, weighs 2 kg less, than you have lost approximately Rs 28 to Rs 31 worth of cooking fuel.
It is not a small amount and consumers should demand that they be given correct quantity. And the only way to ensure this is by asking the delivery boy to weigh the cylinder at your doorstep. To know how much the filled cylinder should actually weigh, you need to see the weight of the empty cylinder marked on it (this may vary from cylinder to cylinder!) and add 14.2 kg to this weight.
Oil companies say that they do take all precautions to ensure that underweight cylinders do not leave the bottling plant, but once they are out of the plant, once cannot rule out the possibility of pilferage at various levels, before it reaches the consumer. So in order to eliminate such a possibility during transportation from the bottling plant to the distributors godown, the dealer or the distributor is required to check the weight of every cylinder before accepting delivery. They are to be weighed again before they are sent out for distribution to the consumer. This is to ensure that the gas is not stolen by unscrupulous employees at the distributors godown. Its a different matter that not every distributor follows these guidelines strictly. But my point is, there are checks on the weight of the cylinder at every stage, except at the time of delivery to the end consumer. And I fail to understand the logic behind this, particularly in view of the fact that most consumer complaints of short delivery are traced to malpractices indulged in by the delivery boys during the course of supply to the consumer. And a spring balance does not cost much and is easy to carry and can ensure that the consumer gets the quantity that he or she pays for.
If the oil companies are really serious about improving the quality of service, then they must provide this facility. In addition, they must also instruct the distributor to replace an underweight cylinder immediately without any delay so that the consumer is not unnecessarily harassed. Consumers on their part can then insist on checking the weight before accepting delivery, and if the cylinder is found underweight, inform in writing, the distributor, as well as the oil company. The department of weights and measures too can investigate into such complaints and prosecute those found guilty.
Each LPG deliveryman should carry self-addressed complaint cards issued by oil companies, so that in case of any complaint, including that of underweight cylinders, a consumer should be able to just fill it up and mail it. This must be well publicised so that a consumer can ask for the card and make use of it. Once a complaint is sent, a consumer should get a response from the oil company within a fortnight or a month, explaining the reasons for such underweight cylinders reaching the customer and the action taken by the oil company to prevent it in future.
This will not only generate consumer confidence in the companys willingness to address consumer complaints with alacrity, but also ensure better service. And most important, when a system of consumer complaint redress such as this is in place, neither the distributor nor the delivery boy will have the courage to treat the consumer shabbily.
distributor should be asked to paste on the surface of
the cylinder, certain vital information such as the
telephone number of the complaints cell or the customer
service cell, its timings and the emergency service cell,
in the local language. The oil companies should also make
available to every LPG consumer, the citizens charter
published by them, specifying the rights of the consumers
vis-a-vis the service.
Satyam Infoway to expand network
TIRUCHIRAPPALLI, April 1 (PTI) Chennai based Satyam Infoway Limited, is to extend its operation to another 30 cities in the country to provide internet services. The company had already launched internet services in 38 towns, the last one being inaugurated here yesterday. It proposed to bring another 30 cities, including Siliguri and Aurangabad, under its fold, D. Ravichandran, head of the companys Marketing Division, told PTI.
HAL records Rs 250 cr profit
BANGALORE, April 1 (PTI) The public sector defence undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has posted a profit of Rs 250 crore on a turnover of Rs 2,250 crore for 1999-2000, up 26.20 per cent compared to the previous fiscal.
Nalco approves 15 pc dividend
BHUBANESWAR, April 1 (PTI) The Board of Directors of National Aluminium Company Limited (Nalco) has approved payment of 15 per cent dividend on the paid-up capital of Rs 644.31 crore for the 1999-2000 financial year, according to a company release here today.
Can Fin Homes today announced an interim dividend of 23 per cent for the financial year 1999-2000.
Lubrizol India, which reconstituted its board here today, has declared a 100 per cent interim dividend for the year 1999-2000.
The board of directors of Rajasthan Spinning and Weaving Mills Limited have approved an interim dividend of 20 per cent to its shareholders for the financial year 1999-2000 at their meeting held on March 29. The company has fixed May 10, 2000 as the record date for payment of interim dividend to the shareholders.
Jayant Agro has declared an interim dividend of 85 per cent (60 per cent as interim dividend and 25 per cent as millennium dividend) for the financial year 1999-2000.
The Board of Directors of Maral Overseas Limited have approved an interim dividend of 20 per cent to its shareholders for the financial year 1999-2000.
Chemplast Sanmar Limited today declared an interim dividend of 25 per cent for 1999-2000 on the equity capital of Rs 35.18 crore.
The Board of Directors of Mirc Electronics Ltd, has recommended a fourth interim dividend of 30 per cent for the financial year 1999-2000. The company had earlier declared three interim dividends amounting to 100 per cent. The fourth interim dividend along with the total three interim dividends takes the aggregate to 130 per cent so far. The fourth interim dividend will be paid along with the final divided, if any.
The Board of Directors
of Chaman Lal Setia Exports Limited yesterday declared an
interim dividend of 12 per cent on its equity shares. The
Executive Director of the company, Mr Rajeev Setia, told
newsmen that the company has been paying dividend
consecutively for past five years.
Mr P.D. Sharma, President, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Pb.) who has been nominated member of the Governing Council of the National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, Government of India, New Delhi for three years.
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