|Sunday, April 9, 2000,
IFFCO introduces new fertiliser
Debt recovery tribunal starts
Excise hike leaves biscuit makers
NEW DELHI, April 8 Lay-offs and closure would mark the day if the excise duty hike of 8 to 16 per cent is not roll-back, the biscuit industry today warned.
Biscuit is an item of mass consumption and should be treated at par with tea, coffee and namkeen. At present, we have been clubbed with luxury items like chocolates, jam, cakes, ice-creams, Mr Nikhil Sen, the President of Federation of Biscuit Manufacturers of India, told newspersons here.
Demanding zero excise duty on biscuits, Mr Sen said the new excise duty was stifling growth of the Rs 1,700 crore organised industry.
The roll-back of excise duty would lead to drop in biscuit prices and fuel a 20 to 25 demand growth, he said, adding that this would result in additional revenue generation for the State Governments by way of sales tax.
Stating that the FBMI met the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, on Friday, Mr Sen said he was non-committal.
If the excise rates are rolled back, we have promised him to drop prices of our products with immediate effect. However, if they continue, about 50 to 60 per cent of the small manufacturers would close down leading to large scale lay-offs, he said.
Mr Sen said it is almost two months since the Budget was announced and we are bleeding. If this goes on for another month or two, we will be seeing closure of several units.
FBMI has also met the Chairman and senior officials of the Central Board of Excise and Customs to highlight the fact that biscuit has been clubbed with other luxury items.
Apart from 100 per cent hike in excise duty, he said various States have increased sales tax on biscuits ranging from 16 per cent in Andhra Pradesh and 8 per cent in Haryana, Delhi, UP, Karnataka. The recent 5 per cent hike in railway freight has pushed up cost of raw material inputs such as sugar, edible oil and packing material.
He pointed out to the roll-back of excise hike in tea last year. The duty on this mass consumption item was raised from zero to 8 per cent, resulting in a dramatic fall in its demand. The duty was subsequently reversed. Biscuits, like tea, are mass consumption items and should be treat at par.
The growth rate of biscuit industry is negligible and the per capita consumption of biscuits in the country is 1.52 kg as compared to more than 12 kg in developed countries.
Contrary to popular belief that biscuits are consumed by the middle and high income groups, Mr Sen said it is actually the only nutritious and hygienic food product for children, lower income groups and the rural population.
According to the NCAER
study, nearly 50 per cent of biscuits produced are
consumed in rural areas and 30 per cent by income groups
earning below Rs 750 per month. Every 100 gm of glucose
biscuits roughly provides 20 per cent of energy, protein
and calcium required by an average adult.
PHAGWARA, April 8 (PTI) RBI Executive Director I.D. Agarwal today said that the note of Rs 1000-denomination will come out in middle of this year. Setting at rest all speculations and rumours, Agarwal declared that the 500 rupee note was not being discontinued.
He claimed that number of counterfeit notes of 500 denomination were not that large. The counterfeit notes had crept into green category printed in 1987 and not in other new prints, he continued.
introduces new fertiliser
NEW DELHI, April 8 With deficiency of zinc and sulphur in the farmlands of Punjab and Haryana causing widespread losses, the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) has introduced a new fertiliser that will take care of this problem.
Developed by the research and development wing of the IFFCO, the new product, NPK 12:32:16 contains 0.5 per cent zinc and 0.5 per cent sulphur and it would be sold at no additional cost.
Mr U.S. Awasthi, MD, IFFCO, said the deficiencies of zinc and sulphur in intensive cultivation areas like Punjab, Haryana and some parts of Western UP were first discovered by the Pantnagar University in 1971 and it has been found to cause premature wilting of crops. Rice is one crops that is affected by the deficiencies.
The farmers in Punjab and Haryana have tried to overcome the problem by adding zinc and sulphur in the fertilisers but quite often it has been found that they have been buying spurious products. IFFCO is launching the product so that farmers can field test the available product in the ensuing Kharif season, he added.
opens stores in Jalandhar, Shimla
CHANDIGARH, April 8 Dominos Pizza India Ltd. opened their outlet in Jalandhar amid much fanfare, today. Gladrags supermodel Anchal Kumar was at Jalandhar for the store opening. While the store in Shimla was inaugurated by Mr Katoch, DGP.
The company has aggressive plans to expand its network and aims to add 50 stores each year, thereby having 200 outlets by the end of 2002. Stores would be opened in 23 cities in the next 12 months besides increasing the number of outlets in the existing cities.
recovery tribunal starts operations
CHANDIGARH, April 8 Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) has started functioning from today at the premises located in PNB House, Bank Square, Sector 17-B, here.
Justice A.L. Varma, Presiding Officer, said the DRT at Chandigarh has been established by the Government of India, whose area of jurisdiction will include Himachal, Punjab, Haryana, J&K and Union Territory of Chandigarh. Prior to the establishment of DRT here, all the cases of banks/financial institutions located in Northern India were being decided by DRT located at Jaipur.
Mr Varma said that more than 2500 cases of this region are pending with the DRT Jaipur. Out of 2500 cases SBI has 447, Central Bank of India 140 and UCO Bank 96.
Mr A.K. Bhargava, General Manager, Punjab National Bank, said that the banks and financial institutions have been facing difficulties in recovery of their dues on account of long proceedings in civil courts. The banking industry is having total NPA to the tune of Rs 58,000 crore and a sizeable chunk of this amount is locked in litigation. The DRT was established with the basic objective of speedy culmination of proceedings, especially in respect of debts due to banks and financial institutions above Rs 10 lakh.
Mr Bhargava, handed over the first case from PNB to Justice Varma, for registration.
SBI has taken a lead by
opening a special recovery and rehabilitation branch for
recovering high valued NPAs at SBI House in Sector 17
here and all cases of Rs one crore and above in Punjab,
Haryana, Himachal, J & K and Chandigarh have already
been transferred at this branch and started action on
that, said Mr R.L. Vig, DGM, SBI, and in charge of the
by Praful R. Desai
Q: When the tenant was absconding who was involved in a criminal proceedings, and his brother was looking after the shop, can it be said that such a person is a sub-tenant?
Ans: The Supreme Court was answering the question in Resham Singh v Raghbir Singh 2000 (1) RCJ 91 (SC) thus:
The question of sub-letting is a conclusion on question of law derived from the findings on materials on record as to the transfer of exclusive possession and as to the said transfer of possession being for consideration. S.15 (5) empowers the HC to call for the papers so as to satisfy itself as to the legality and propriety of such orders.
The SC added, it is settled position of law that to establish sub-letting the onus is on the landlord to prove through evidence that sub-tenant was in exclusive possession of the property in question. Further, that between the sub-tenant and the tenant was relationship of lessee and lessor and that the possession of the premises in question was parted with exclusively by the tenant in favour of the sub-tenant.
In the present appeal it is not disputed that both the respondents are brothers and Respondent No. 1 Rajbir Singh who was the tenant was involved in some criminal proceedings and he was absconding for a considerable period. Being an absconder it was not possible for the tenant Rajbir Singh to physically present in the premises in question. It is but natural to allow his brother Kuldip Singh to look after the shop and this fact would not amount to sub-letting, opined the SC.
There is further, no evidence regarding parting of possession of the suit premises by respondent No. 1 Ragbir Singh in favour of his brother respondent No. 2 Kuldip Singh and that said Kuldip Singh was in exclusive possession of the suit premises. There is again no evidence of relationship of lessee and lessor between the two.
by A.N. Shanbhag
Q: What is the impact of the tax that will be levied by the budget on software exports?
Rajesh, rajesh Iyer8@Hotmail.com.
A: The share market went into a downs pin when Mr Sinha announced a creeping tax on 20 per cent of the income on all exports per year for the next 5 years, at the end of which any exporter will be at par with the normal taxpayer. It was a shabby presentation. He should have simultaneously pointed out that those in any free trade zone or electronic hardware technology park or software technology park or certain 100 per cent export-oriented undertakings. Then again, these companies paying tax abroad will be eligible to the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement if any, existing between the two countries. Even if such an agreement does not exist, the Act provides some concessions. As I said, the Budget was presented without much foresight. Fortunately, after the players in the market realised that there is no much encroachment of the bottom line of such companies, it started going northwards.
Q: Dividend has been declared for Kothari Tax Shield @80 per cent. If I choose the reinvestment option the same will be credited to my account in the next financial year. Can I use this amount for claiming u/s 88?
A: Excellent question but the answer is in the negative. The dividend is tax-free u/s 10(33) and therefore, it is not construed as income. Sec. 88 requires contribution out of income chargeable from tax. Therefore, if you desire to earn the rebate from the dividend of Kothari, do not opt for reinvestment option. Collect the dividend, use it for your day-to-day expenses and contribute an equivalent amount out of your normal income chargeable to tax to Kothari Tax Shield (or any other ELSS you like at that juncture). I never liked any automatic actions. It is always better to keep the choice with you. If you continue to like the scheme, you can collect the dividend and deposit it in the same scheme. Reinvestment saves some effort and paperwork for you but robs you the opportunity to opt for greener pastures.
Q: I have purchased some software shares 6 years ago. Now the prices are looking good. I want to sell, but I find that I dont have my share purchase contract. Even the broker has disappeared after he was bankrupt. Now if I sell these shares, how to calculate the tax? Purchase price to be taken as share transfer date? What proof tax authorities may ask me or I need to execute an affidavit?
54 EA gave you the opportunity of investing the entire
sale proceeds with a lock-in of 3 years for saving tax on
the capital gains whereas you could invest in Sec. 54EB
and avoid the tax by investing only the capital gains.
Obviously, in the case of 54EA, no proof of the cost and
date of purchase was required, other than proving that
the holding period was over one year. You have lost this
opportunity because the budget proposes to replace both
these with a new Sec. 54EC. This requires investment of
only the capital gains and has a lock-in of 5 years
against the 7 years of EB. I have a strong feeling that
the returns on these new avenues under the new Sec. 54EC
will be very poor.
by Pushpa Girimaji
Provide ombudsman for tourist complaints
I DO not Know how many of you have had this experience, but a tour operator or a travel agent can make or mar your holiday, depending on the quality of service that he renders. In fact a look at the complaints filed before the consumer courts in the last decade gives an insight into the variety of problems that consumers have faced in the hands of inefficient or careless tour operators or travel agencies.
Take the case of Mr M.J. Kamder and his two friends. As per the conditions governing the excursion fare or ticket issued to them, they had to stay in Moscow for a minimum of ten days. However, the travel agent did not inform them of this. And by oversight even issued them confirmed tickets to return from Moscow on the sixth day of their departure from Vellore. It was only when they reached the airport to take the flight back from Moscow that they realised that their ticket was not valid unless they stayed on for ten days. Needless to say that with limited funds and a six-day visa, they had a harrowing time. However, in this case unfortunately, the complaint was filed against Air India and not the travel agent and the consumer court held that Air India was not liable for the action of its travel agent.
However, in a number of cases, consumers have been awarded compensation for the poor service rendered by travel and tour operators. In the case of Dr M.S. Punia vs Haryana Tourism Corporation, for example, the Delhi State Commission said the Corporation had indulged in an unfair trade practice by not providing the promised super deluxe coach for the 21-day package tour. Similarly, in Ajay Gupta vs Travel Corporation (India), the court held the travel agency guilty of deficient service for failing to ensure the hotel booking in Kathmandu. More recently, the District Forum in Ahmedabad awarded compensation to a family for the inconvenience suffered on account of poor arrangements made on a package tour by Karnavati Tours and Travels.
So if you are planning to go on a holiday this summer and are thinking of hiring the services of a tour operator or a travel agent for the purpose, here are some tips:. First and foremost, choose your travel or tour operator carefully. The department of Tourism, Government of India, has a scheme of granting approval to travel agents, tour operators and tourist transport operators on the basis of guidelines drawn for the purpose. So go for an agency that is approved by the department.
Next, give detailed instructions in writing on the arrangements that you expect the agency to make. If you are travelling out of the country, ask the travel agent about the discounts and special schemes offered by various airlines. If you are taking discounted tickets or making use of special schemes or changing tickets at the last minute, do ask about the conditions governing them. It is also better to check with the airlines about the status of your ticket. I remember the case of Mr K. Senthilrajan, who was issued a confirmed ticket by the travel agent to travel to Singapore and back. However, on reaching Chennai airport, he found that his ticket was only wait-listed. On the advise of the airlines, he bought an executive class ticket and travelled to Singapore. For the return journey when he arrived at the Singapore airport, he was told that since he had not used his original ticket for the onward journey, he could not use it for the return!
While thats about
what consumers can do, there are a few things that the
department of tourism and the travel industry need to do.
First of all, we must have performance standards for the
services offered by the travel industry, so that these
services can be rated by an independent rating agency..
Secondly, we need to have specific laws or regulations to
ensure a fair deal to consumers vis-a-vis these services.
The United Kingdom, for example, has a comprehensive
Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours
Regulations 1992. Thirdly, the industry should provide an
independent ombudsman to redress tourist complaints in
the quickest possible time..
by K.R. Wadhwaney
IA flights to Nepal may be delayed
THE resumption of Indian Airlines flight to Kathmandu and back may be delayed for a while as two Governments have been unable to decide about method of security bandobast.
Following bitter experience of lax security arrangements which led to hijacking of the IA flight on December 24, 1999, the Indian Government naturally wants that the arrangements should be tightened to the extent of being fool-proof so that there is no recurrence of hijacking. Indian delegation and IA desire that there should be check at step-ladder.
Surprisingly, the Nepal delegation has opposed this move. It is not understood why Nepal should be opposed to this timely and judicious demand. How is Nepals sovereignty affected if there is step-ladder check?
Nepal is defending the indefensible that hijacking did not take place because of lax security arrangements at Tribhuvan International Airport (Kathmandu). The arrest of key conspirator Kumar Bhujel from Kalimpong near Darjeeling proves beyond doubt that the arms were delivered to five hijackers while they were boarding the plane at Kathmandu. He was third person to have been arrested. The other two Lateef and Nepali have already been arrested for organising hijackers travel documents.
In the meantime security arrangements at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGTA) have been considerably beefed up. The issuance of passes has been restricted. But there are still many who keep floating around without any business. There are touts and agents who spoil the broth. Also there are areas around cargo warehouse (complex) where security should be tightened. There are weak zones from where one can walk across the tarmac or on the parking.
The Singapore International Airlines (SIA) and Austrian Airline are among some aspirant carriers which have been wanting to have a larger share of traffic ex-India. They have joined the Star Alliance. This is a group of airlines which has been endeavouring to provide seamless travel to passengers.
Mr Harald Hans, chairman of the Star Alliance Steering Committee and General Manager (South Asia), Lufthansa Airlines, was optimistic that his group would help promote traffic and also help travelling passengers. While emphasising that his group carried 20 per cent passengers of the world, Mr Hans said: Every 10 second one Star Alliance flight takes off.
While expressing satisfaction at STAs joining the group, Mr Hans felt that traffic in the eastern region would now get the much-needed boost.
The joining of STA and Austrian Airways raises the strength of Alliance to 11. If British Midland and Mexican Airlines join, the strength will jump to 13. Maybe, this 13 figure will be luckier for the Alliance!
No baby blue
British Airways has introduced flat flying bed for babies. BA, which carries 60,000 infants a year, has evolved a new carry-cot to provide all the more comforts to infants. We care for passengers regardless of their ages, said BA official.
BA has 1,000 cots fitted to its long-haul fleet of aircraft, including Boeing 747s, 767s and 777s. Tested vigorously on the ground and also in-flight, they however, cannot be used during turbulence.
There is a marginal
improvement in punctuality chart on Indian Airlines
flights. Maybe, another week or about, normalcy in flight
operations will be achieved. The IA officials are
optimistic of flying more than satisfactory punctuality
chart. The flights had been disrupted because of go
slow of engineers.
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