|Saturday, April 22, 2000,
No objection by USA to WB loans
VSNL to spread wings
Unitech interested in ITDC
BPL, Citibank alliance
Small units output
Sondhi Travels bags Airways award
More gateways likely in aviation
Software to rectify dyeing units
cell phone for rural customers
Markfed ahead in wheat procurement
LIC posts record premium growth
Decision on PF interest on April
IDBI Bank net zooms
Allahabad Bank cuts rates
WASHINGTON, April 21 (PTI) In a significant move following President Bill Clintons recent visit to India, the USA has said it will no longer object to the World Banks development loans to New Delhi.
Since President Clintons trip to India, US objections in Indian non-military areas no longer exist, a spokesman for the United States National Security Council told reporters here yesterday.
The first loan that is expected to be cleared under the new policy pertains to $ 300 million funds for Indias hydroelectric power programmes. The bank has said it will probably move quickly.
The Clinton administration had blocked four World Bank development loans to India for electricity and highway projects worth $ 1.6 billion under the sanctions imposed in the aftermath of 1998 nuclear tests.
This is the first concrete positive economic impact of the highly successful Clinton visit to India last month. Under the post-nuclear sanctions, the USA and its allies permitted loans related to basic human needs which they interpreted narrowly, knowing that in developing countries like India, all such international projects relate to basic human needs.
Earlier Mr Clinton lifted similar restrictions against Islamabad on the ground that Pakistans economy would collapse unless the sanctions were lifted while India could bear such pressure.
From the very beginning,
India pointed out that these restrictions were against
the charters of the World Bank (WB), the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and
other multilateral financial bodies. The charters clearly
enjoin the donors to take decisions on projects purely on
economic basis, leaving politics outside their doors.
NEW DELHI, April 21 (PTI) State-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) is planning major expansion during the current fiscal by forming new joint ventures, investing heavily in optical fibre systems and entering new areas such as international value added services. As per an MoU, signed between Department of Telecommunication Services (DTS) and VSNL today, the public sector company will commit to undertake a number of major projects and complete them on schedule, an official release said here.
The MoU, signed between Secretary DTS P.S. Saran and Chairman and Managing Director of VSNL S.K. Gupta, also seeks to increase the internet subscriber base by over 9 per cent during the year to touch four lakhs from current 3.66 lakh subscribers.
It also outlines performance targets for VSNL, defines commitment levels of DTS and identifies key projects for VSNLs performance during 2000-01.
The goals set under the MoU include achieving 2,480 million telephones paid minutes in 2000-01, reducing cost per unit of different services and achieving a gross margin profit before interest, tax and depreciation (PBITD) of Rs 23,297.
The agreement between VSNL and DTS commits the Government to give assistance to VSNL and freedom in wide ranging areas for flexibility in planning and operations, it said.
The commitments made by the Government would also include freedom given to VSNL to decide on the choice of transmission medium and to establish its own links for interconnecting its gateways and earthstations.
VSNL would also have the freedom to provide any value-added service or consultancy services either on its own or in association with parties both from India and abroad after obtaining due licences, it said adding that the company would also be able to provide local loop connectivity by installing its own point to multipoint systems.
NEW DELHI, April 21 (PTI) Unitech Ltd, one of the latest entrants in the hotel sector, has evinced interest in acquiring stake in state-owned ITDC (India Tourism Development Corporation) and HCI (Hotel Corporation of India) properties.We are keeping an eye on the ITDC and HCI disinvestment plans and would be interested in those hotels located in the smaller cities, Dr S.P. Shrivastava, Managing Director of Unitechs hospitality division told PTI.
After operating the Radisson Hotel in Delhi for over a year in collaboration with Carlson Hospitality of US, Unitech was more confident of managing the hotel business and planned to buy existing properties besides constructing its own hotels, Shrivastava said.
Unitech would be ready to buy some of the ITDC hotels either by itself or by tying up with a partner, he said.
ITDCs three-star property in Varanasi is one of the properties it has been interested in besides the ones at Ooty and Jaipur.
The smaller cities would be more suitable for our game plan as we already have one hotel in Delhi (Radisson) with another one coming up in Bangalore, he said.
MUMBAI, April 21 (PTI)
BPL Mobile Communications Ltd and Citibank have
entered into a strategic alliance for providing their
respective customers the convenience of transactional
mobile banking under the umbrella of mobile
Commerce. The alliance allows our subscribers
holding Citibank credit cards and accounts to conduct
financial transactions on the mobile phone using the BPL
mobile network, A.P Parigi, Chief Executive
Officer, BPL Mobile, told reporters here late last
evening. Clients of BPL Mobile and Citibank would need to
register with the latter giving details of account and
mobile numbers as also date of birth, he said.
boycott Indian leather
CHANDIGARH: Following international protests, three major US retailers Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic have just agreed to stop using leather from animals killed in India.
Gap Inc is the second largest clothing retailer in the USA. The company made its decision after actions in which People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) members protested outside Gap stores, showing shoppers photographs of how cruelty Indian cows and buffaloes are treated on their way to becoming jackets and handbags.
PETA is now eyeing Florsheim shoes, Hush Puppies, and other stores that use Indian leather and plans to announce the next target of its anti-leather campaign in May a release issued by PETA says.
Demand for cheap leather in the West has spawned a grotesquely cruel underground industry in India. Since it is illegal to slaughter cows and young cattle in most Indian States, corrupt skin-traders use bribes to smuggle animals at night across State borders. Cows and calves, who are bought under the pretence that theyll live out their lives on rural farms, are marched for days and crammed into lorries in direct violation of the Constitution. Those who collapse have chilli peppers and tobacco rubbed into their eyes and their tails broken in an effort to keep them moving.
In addition, PETAs campaign to expose the horrific conditions that Indian cattle are kept in during transport has drawn the attention of numerous celebrities.
Superstar Pamela Anderson Lee appears in PETAs video of the Indian leather trade, shot during visits by PETAs President Ingrid Newkirk to Tamil Nadu Kerala, Maharashtra and other States where the illegal trade is rife.
The former Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, has written to the Indian Prime Minister, asking for protection for cattle as has Arun Gandhi grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, who has urged the Prime Minister to enforce existing laws that are designed to protect cows and buffaloes. Musician Crispian Mills of Kula Shakur also sent a letter to the Prime Minister saying. Without animal protection, the principle of dharma is in a state of collapse.
leather, called pleather is
growing rapidly in popularity overseas and has become a
major trend in the USA and Europe. Many celebrities,
including Woody Harrelson, Drew Barrymore and Alicia
Silverstone, are setting stylish and compassionate trends
by choosing synthetic materials over real animal skins.
Famous designers Todd Oldham and Stella McCartney use
pleather instead of animal skin, and
animal-free synthetics are becoming available everywhere,
from the most expensive boutiques to discount shoe
NEW DELHI, April 21 (PTI) Output of the small scale industries has been valued at Rs 5,80,000 crore for 1999-2000 higher by almost 36.5 per cent from the intended target of Rs 4,24,000 crore, according to the SSI Ministrys performance budget for 2000-01.
Value of production in the small scale units in 1998-99 aggregated to Rs 5,27,000 crore and the upward trend continued over the next fiscal indicating that the sector was robust and set for a good performance in the current fiscal.
The Government, however, seems to be modest in fixing production targets even though achievements have been overshooting the targets in the last two years.
Despite achieving value of production of over Rs 5,20,000 crore, the target for 2000-01 has been fixed at a mere Rs 4,57,000 crore.
Though there was overshooting of targets in production, the performance in exports is none too impressive with achievement falling short of targets.
The SSI sector exported goods worth Rs 50,000 crore in 1998-99 against a target of over Rs 57,000 crore a shortfall of almost 12 per cent.
Travels bags Airways award
CHANDIGARH, April 21 Sondhi Travels of Jalandhar have bagged the top performance award for the top 10 awards of British Airways during 1999-2000. The awards were presented by Mr Alan Briggs, General Manager, South Asia, and Mr Alok Sawhney, Manager, India, at a function held at Jalandhar recently.
Other award winners on the basis of their annual turnover were, Mr Akash Sharma (Akash Travels), Amrit Airlinks of Chandigarh, BOAC Travel Adviser; Mr Mohinder Singh Bajaj of Bajaj Travels (Chandigarh), Chopra Foreign Travels, Capital Travels, MJ Travels , Mr Jeet Sagar of Sagarsons (Ludhiana) and Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Kuljit Singh of Universal Travels.
Mr Briggs accompanied by
Mr K.L. Nijhawan and Mr Shyam Nijhawan of Nijhawan Travel
Services, the general sales agent of British Airways
earlier visited Sanjeevani, a home for disabled children,
and presented a cheque of Rs 6 lakh towards construction
of building for the home.
gateways likely in aviation sector
NEW DELHI, April 21 Private sector participation will be allowed on all sub-sectors of civil aviation in India, Secretary of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Ravindra Gupta has indicated.
Speaking at a meeting organised by the PHDCCI here, Gupta said the Government was also contemplating to put in place an autonomous civil aviation authority that would subsume in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and provide the necessary regulatory framework.
More international gateways are likely to be opened making it viable for a smaller aircraft to operate in the hinderland of the country.
It is not commercially viable for large jets to operate in shorter routes, the Secretary said, adding that the opening up of more international gateways was part of the policy to give a fillip to the general aviation sector. The draft new policy is already available on the Internet.
It has also been decided to allow tourist chartered flights to be brought to all customs and immigration airports, he said, adding that the limitations on aircrafts size for charters moving out of India has also been substantially removed.
to rectify dyeing units faults
PANIPAT, April 21 The Northern India Textile Research Association (NITRA) has developed a Management Information System (MIS) software which will enable the dyeing units and processing houses to avail an online data of each stage of processing, its analysis and instant access to technical information for taking corrective measures.
The software will help the dyeing units to rectify the faults in their process, take immediate preventive measure and reduce value loss. The software which has been put on trial use at some dyeing units in Ghaziabad will be shortly introduced to the units at Panipat.
The Manager of the NITRAs textile testing laboratory and powerloom service centre, Dr. K. Dhawan, said though a few modern textile mills in the country are using this kind of a system in spinning, weaving and quality control, it has not been much practised in the field of wet processing. The process house plays a vital role in imparting value addition to the fabrics and the worth of the finish fabric largely depends upon the chemical treatments.
There are different stages of chemical processing of woven cotton and other blended fabrics like designing, shearing, scouring, bleaching, mercerising, intermediate washing, drying, dyeing, printing, print fixation. The demand of machinery, process, quality control parameters, controls of raw material are numerous and vary at each stage of chemical processing. Deviation in any variables beyond the tolerance limit at any stage of chemical processing results in undesirable product quality, leading to higher value loss due to chemical processing.
Dr Dhawan said in the
current global scenario it had become imperative that the
occurrence of variable beyond the tolerance limit should
be controlled, hence this software named WP-MIS (Wet
processing Management Information System) is ideal
for processing houses. The software will provide the user
processing reports, stock valuation report.
NEW DELHI, April 21 (PTI) Private cellular operators are now targeting the rural customer to bring modern communication to the doorstep of every villager.Companies like Escotel, Koshika and Tata Cell are now eyeing the villages as a promising area.
Targeting about 2000 villages in the States of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala, Escotel which recently launched the Grameen phone project, says the project with its highly subsidised calling charges and cost of mobile handsets emphasises more on welfare than revenue generation.
Under the new telecom policy, the Government has laid down a target of one village telephone for every village, but a lot of villages do not have any means of communicating with the outside world, says Manoj Kohli, Chief Executive Officer, Escotel.
Can Indian villages repeat the story of Bangladesh where the Grameen banks came forward to fund the highly successful Grameen cell phones?
The rural customers are today a ripe area for cellular phone companies. In a village, one does not make a local call, villagers walk across to talk and they need communication for long distance calls, which is ideal for mobile phones, says T V Ramachandran, Executive Director, Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI).
For the villager, the cell phone is important for the purpose of receiving calls from relatives from abroad or anywhere outside, for keeping a tab on market rates and taking the agricultural produce to the market, he says.
In Bangladesh, women are empowered as a result of the grameen cell phone out of which they earn a margin by running across houses to give messages.
The same is true of those in India as cell phones augment a source of income in the villages, says Ramachandran.
So how does the grameen phone work?
In September 1998, Escotel introduced prepaid services under the brand name V-tel which was launched in Haryana and Kerala in May last year.
Under the scheme, each of the villages that are covered by a district would be offered a handset package with a V-tel card at a subsidised package price of Rs 5565 with a talktime of Rs 750 in Haryana and subsidised packaged price of Rs 5450 with a talktime of Rs 750 in Uttar Pradesh.
The concept is based on the fact that presently more than 1200 villages in UP (West) and 450 in Haryana are being covered by Escotel, says Kohli noting that there exists a potential in terms of covering these villages and providing one telephone connection as a PCO per village, says Kohli.
The airtime charges are Rs 4.50 per minute for incoming calls and outgoing calls, says Kohli.
Our project began four months back and over 300 grameen phones already have been installed, he says adding over 2000 villages in UP and Haryana will eventually benefit, he says.
For a PCO, under the DoT service structure, one pays about Rs 8 per minute and Rs 2 service charge for a 100 to 200 km band but what we pay with the mobile phone is Rs 4.50 plus Rs 1.25 plus Rs 3 compared to the DoT structure. The moment it goes to 200 km band, DoT charge is Rs 15.60 but the charge on the mobile phone does not change, says Vivek Chandel, Deputy General Manager, Marketing, Escotel.
Here the village operator also benefits as he makes Rs 3 to Rs 5 per call (depending on local conditions) as service charge, says Chandel.
The operator will charge from the customer making call on this phone Rs 3 to Rs 5 per call as service charge plus amount indicated by the account balance inquiry on V-tel.
CHANDIGARH, April 21 Out of 13.84 lakh metric tonne (MT) of wheat procured by State agencies, Markfed has purchased 3.70 lakh MT wheat till April 20, which is the highest in comparison to all other procurement agencies.This is 21.2 per cent of the total procurement made by all Government agencies. Disclosing this here today, Mr D.S. Bains, Managing Director, Markfed, said it has been asked to procure 16.20 lakh MT wheat during the current season, which is 18 per cent of the total procurement to be made by the Punjab agencies. Till to date the Food and Supplies Department has procured 1.94 lakh MT, PUNSUP 3.21 lakh MT, PSWC 2.97 lakh MT and PAIC 1.95 lakh MT wheat.
Mr D.S. Bains has asked the District Managers to procure the allotted quota of wheat and there should be no delay in lifting the procured wheat.
Regarding the delivery
of rice to the FCI, he said till April 19, Markfed has
delivered 6.48 lakh MT rice to the FCI which is 59.8 per
cent of the total rice to be delivered to the FCI.
Efforts are being made for milling the entire paddy
within stipulated period which is the end of June.
MUMBAI, April 21 (PTI) Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has announced its highest growth rate in a decade of 35.41 per cent with a new business premium income of Rs 4,393.90 crore for 1999-2000.The income includes pension and group schemes and single premium policies.The new individual policies sold during the year totalled 169.77 lakh, registering a growth of 14.37 per cent, while the sum assured under these policies peaked to Rs 91,213.42 crore, a 21.11 per cent growth, LIC said in a release here today.
The corporations excellent results in the first year of the new millennium reflect the growing confidence of the insuring public in the organisation in an era of competition, LIC Chairman G. Krishnamurthy said.
Record performance levels were also achieved in pension and group schemes, it said, adding that individual pension schemes registered an increase of 111 per cent at 2,23,345 new policies, raking in first premium income of Rs 311.80 crore, a leap of 181 per cent over the previous year.
Under the group insurance portfolio, the organisation insured 13.93 lakh lives by collecting a premium of Rs 598.42 crore, a growth of 10 per cent and 35 per cent respectively, it added.
The Eastern, Southern and South-Central zones contributed significantly to the good performance, with the Eastern region topping the list, it added.
LUDHIANA, April 21
Mr Vijay Chopra, Editor, Hind Samachar Group,
Jalandhar inaugurated here today the printart-2000
an exhibition of printing material and machinery,
organised by the Offset Printers Association,
NEW DELHI, April 21 (PTI) The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees Provident Fund will meet here on April 25 to declare the rate of interest for the current financial year.
The meeting, to be chaired by Labour Minister Satyanarayan Jatiya, will be held in the backdrop of the Centres decision to reduce the rate of interest on GPF to 11 per cent from April this year, an official release said.
The Finance and
Investment Committee of the CBT at its recent meeting had
decided that if the 11 per cent interest on the GPF was
declared as statutory rate, upto which income tax
exemption is available, declaration of rate of interest
over and above statutory rate would attract the
provisions of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS).
THE Board of IDBI Bank Limited today recommended a 12 per cent dividend on the back of an impressive 98 per cent increase in its net profit at Rs 60.99 crore for the year ended March 31, 2000 over the same period last year.
The bank, which had declared 9 per cent dividend the previous year, has posted a 44 per cent rise in interest income at Rs 423.64 crore while its other income encompassing non fund based activities vaulted by 92 per cent to Rs 55.14 crore.
Demat accounts, whose numbers grew exponentially this year, coupled with income from treasury substantially boosted our bottomline, M.S. Verma, Chairman, told reporters here.
Interest expenditure of the bank for the year increased by 44 per cent to Rs 332.61 crore and gross profit before tax, depreciation, provisions and contingencies was up by 108 per cent to Rs 91.93 crore.
Depreciation on fixed assets stood at Rs 8.29 crore (Rs 5.71 crore last year) and provisions for contingencies was Rs 5.33 crore (Rs 3.30 crore). Profit before tax was up by 122 per cent to Rs 78.31 crore.
Total deposits of the bank increased by 25 per cent to Rs 3,448 crore while total customer assets (loans) grew by 46 per cent to Rs 2,380 crore during the year.
We are aggressively targeting savings bank deposits, which saw a 126 per cent growth this year over the previous year, as this has brought down the cost of funds by almost half a per cent, Verma said.
The banks net non performing assets stood at 1.61 per cent while the gross non performing assets was 2.26 per cent as on March 31, 2000.
Hughes net up: Hughes Software Systems reported a 157 per cent growth in net profits for the year 1999-2000 at Rs 37.70 crore compared to Rs 4.66 crore last year.
The total income of the company shot up by 73 per cent to Rs 120.75 crore during the year from Rs 69.82 crore last year, a Hughes statement said.
Last years figures are on an annualised basis as the accounting period was for 15 months.
Cadbury net at 10.66 crore: Cadbury India Ltd has posted a net profit of Rs 10.66 crore for the first quarter ending March 31 as against Rs 9.27 crore last year.
Net sales were up by 20.06 per cent at Rs 139.34 crore during the first quarter against Rs 116.05 crore in the corresponding period last year, according to unaudited results released after the board meeting.
1:1: The Bangalore-based telecom software
company Subex Systems Ltd (SSL) has declared a bonus
issue in the ratio of 1:1 (one share for every share
held) on the back of a 400 per cent leap in its net
profit to Rs 5.03 crore during the year ended March 2000.
Issue of bonus shares would increase the companys
capital base to Rs 7.12 crore and promoters have 56 per
cent stake in SSL, he said. Agencies
Bank cuts rates
CHANDIGARH, April 21 Allahabad Bank has revised its interest rates for domestic term deposits for the period of 15 days to 29 days is 4.5 per cent. The interest rate for the period of 30 days to 45 days has been revised to 5 pc from 5.5 pc.
The deposit rate for the
period of 46 days to 90 days will be now 6 pc from the
previous 6.5 pc. The interest rate for the period of 181
days to less than 1 year, it will be now 7 pc. The
interest rate for the period of 1 year to less than 2
years, it will be 8.5 pc and for 2 years to less than 3
years, it will be 9 pc. The interest rate for the period
of 3 years upto 7 years, it will be 10 pc.
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