Saturday, April 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

CII forecasts 7 per cent GDP growth rate
NEW DELHI, April 28 — The gross domestic product would grow at a rate of 7 per cent during the fiscal 2000-01, CII said, while it restrained from making any projects for the fiscal deficit.

Credit policy evokes mixed reaction
NEW DELHI, April 28 — The credit policy announced by the Reserve Bank of India evoked mixed reaction from the industry. The flow of credit to certain important sectors such as agriculture, micro credit institutions, small scale industries and housing would increase due to the policy, Mr Shekhar Bajaj, President of Assocham said.

Punjab Motors joins Ashok Leyland network
CHANDIGARH, April 28 — To give representation of its heavy vehicles, Ashok Leyland gave dealership to Punjab Motors for the districts of Patiala, Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar and Gurdaspur and for the entire state of Himachal Pradesh.

Louis J. Boccardi, right, president and CEO of The Associated Press, accepts the Overseas Press Club President's Award for lifetime achievement from Roy Rowan, president of the Overseas Press Club, in New York, on Thursday.
Louis J. Boccardi, right, president and CEO of The Associated Press, accepts the Overseas Press Club President's Award for lifetime achievement from Roy Rowan, president of the Overseas Press Club, in New York, on Thursday. The club cited Boccardi's success in moving the news cooperative into television and digital photography and his leadership on freedom of information and First Amendment issues. — AP/PTI photo

GE Plus Terminal opens in Chandigarh
CHANDIGARH, April 28 — Mr Scott R. Bayman, President and CEO of GE India last evening inaugurated GE multi-producer gallery, GE Plus Terminal in Sector 26, Chandigarh.



EARLIER STORIES
 

Keep IT Bill flexible: experts
NEW DELHI, April 28 — As the Information Technology Bill comes up before the Parliament next month, experts says it should be “technically neutral” and “visionary” enough to take care of any possible glitches which do not render it infructuous.

Morepen, Siemens, Exide net up
M
OREPEN Laboratories reported a jump of 46 per cent in net profits which rose to Rs 50.1 crore in the financial year ending March 31, 2000 from Rs 34.3 crore in 1998-99.

LIC new premium up 35.41 pc
NEW DELHI, April 28 - The Life Insurance Corporation of India’s new business premium income registered a growth rate of 35.41 per cent amounting to Rs 4393.90 crore during the fiscal 1999-2000.Top



CII forecasts 7 per cent GDP growth rate
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 28 — The gross domestic product would grow at a rate of 7 per cent during the fiscal 2000-01, CII said, while it restrained from making any projects for the fiscal deficit.

“We are not sure as to how much would the Government be able to mobilise this year through disinvestment exercise. And so, we are being cautious and not making any forecasts on fiscal deficit,” the newly appointed Vice President of CII, Mr Sanjiv Goenka, told a press conference.

“Fiscal deficit should be viewed keeping in mind the drought situation, changes, in any, in subsidy rates, and revenues from disinvestment,” Mr Arun Bharat Ram, the newly appointed CII President, said.

The CII said to attain this growth rate agricultural should grow at 1.5 to 2 per cent, industrial should grow at 8.5 per cent and services should grow at 9 per cent. The WPI-based inflation should be around 5.5 to 6 per cent, saving rate 25 to 26 per cent, import growth 11 to 12 per cent, export growth 11 per cent, exchange rate at Rs 44.5 per $1 by March 2001 and forex reserves $42 to $43 billion.

Mr Bharat Ram said CII’s initiatives would broadly cover areas such as research and development, technology and bio-informatics, focus on small and medium enterprises of public sector enterprises, setting of of a service council, initiatives in infrastructure and financial sector reforms.

On the issue of reservation for small medium enterprises, Mr Bharat Ram said removal of quantitative restrictions has made the issue of reservation redundant and inimical to our national interest.

On the initiative for an Indo-US free trade agreement, he said “it is a draft paper we are in the process of developing with out counterparts in the US... it would not mean free trade but freer trade. Though this we want to increase trade between the two countries.”

He said the CII is joining hand with Rajiv Gandhi Foundation for rating the competitiveness and investor friendliness of the states in the country.

The ratings would be released every six months. “We believe foreign investors want to know the ground reality in each State to decide on whether to invest there or not. Through this rating exercise, we intend to provide them this information,” he said.

The chamber would not involving any official rating agency for this purpose. “We are doing it in association with the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and the first results would be announced shortly,” Mr Bharat said.Top



 

Credit policy evokes mixed reaction
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 28 — The credit policy announced by the Reserve Bank of India evoked mixed reaction from the industry. The flow of credit to certain important sectors such as agriculture, micro credit institutions, small scale industries and housing would increase due to the policy, Mr Shekhar Bajaj, President of Assocham said.

“The RBI should have considered further reduction in both CRR as well as bank rate. This could be done at an opportune time prior to busy season credit policy in order to boost the economic growth,” he said.

The Federation of Indian Export Organisation the policy has belied the expectations of exporters in terms of a reduction in export credit rates.

Mr Navratan Samdria, president of FIFO, said “this would have been an opportune time to reduce the interest rates since inflation had been contained at a single digit level for over the past year.”

The outgoing President of CII, Mr Rahul Bajaj, said the decision to reckon lending by banks to NBFCs for on-lending to agriculture as priority sector would also incentivise and increase the flow of credit to the agriculture sector.

“The action plan for upgrading the technological infrastructure by extending the coverage of the Indian Financial Network to a hundred odd commercially important centres in the country would contribute to the development of a structured financial messaging network,” he added.

He said the enhancement of the loan limit to the tiny sector from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh without any collateral, would promote credit flow to small borrowers. The increase in the composite loan limit from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh would also benefit the tiny sector.

The non-food credit adjusted for investment in commercial papers, shares, debentures and bonds to PSUs and private sector is projected to increase by around 16 per cent, the president of FICCI, Mr G P Goenka, said.

While welcoming the monetary policy and drought relief, the President of PHDCCI, Mr K S Mehta, said the disturbing factor is high fiscal deficit and Government borrowing programme of Rs 17,000 crore which would crowd at the borrowing by the trade, industry and corporates.

The credit policy should have come with specific guidelines for service sector particularly software, resurgent project, construction project to generate demand.Top


 

Punjab Motors joins Ashok Leyland network
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 28 — To give representation of its heavy vehicles, Ashok Leyland (AL) gave dealership to Punjab Motors for the districts of Patiala, Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar and Gurdaspur and for the entire state of Himachal Pradesh.

Addressing a press conference here last evening, Mr Amol J.Sandil, Executive Director, Ashok Leyland said the extension of AL agencies has been made easy due to relaxation in the rules for maximum production of vehicles.

Mr Sandil said the reputation of Punjab Motors and having workshops every 60 km mostly along state and National Highways and the technology and product strengths of Ashok Leyland will create a new success story.

The turnover of Ashok Leyland for the year ended March 2000 was with all-time high figures of Rs 2602.68 crore and net profit Rs 78.49 crore. Ashok Leyland has an all-India dealer network with 137 outlets, 38 of them are in northern region.

Mr Sandil said the bus which ran between Delhi and Lahore was designed by us keeping in mind the needs of an inter-country bus. It also exports vehicles to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The company plans to set up a drivers’ training school in Punjab on a 25 acre land. It hopes to get land shortly at Fatehgarh Sahib. An AIDS awareness programme is also a part of the syllabus. Top



 

GE Plus Terminal opens in Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 28 — Mr Scott R. Bayman, President and CEO of GE India last evening inaugurated GE multi-producer gallery, GE Plus Terminal in Sector 26, Chandigarh.

Pace Mercantiles has been appointed the GE distribution for GE Plus Terminal which will serve as a one-stop shop for building, construction, electrical and lighting needs in the city and the adjoining areas of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal.

Mr Bayman said: “This is our second GE Plus Terminal in India, the first being in Hyderabad. He said GE operates in more than 100 countries all over the world. It’s last year’s revenue was $ 112 billion and the net profit $ 10.7 billion.

GE Plus Terminal will offer the entire GE range of lighting products, low voltage electrical distribution and control equipment, fractional horse power motors, plastic resins and plastic sheets and silicone adhesives and sealants etc added Mr Bayman.Top



 

Keep IT Bill flexible: experts

NEW DELHI, April 28 (PTI) — As the Information Technology (IT) Bill comes up before the Parliament next month, experts says it should be “technically neutral” and “visionary” enough to take care of any possible glitches which do not render it infructuous.

“The Bill should be technically neutral so that it does not become obsolete in a few years time — after all changes are taking place in IT very rapidly,” says Pravin Anand, a cyber legal expert noting ‘legislations’, take a long time to come.

Though there is no international cyber law at the moment e-commerce is governed by the UNCITRAI model code but then that too is not binding on any country.

In the wake of growing cyber needs, the government last year introduced a draft IT Bill which would evolve an e-commerce legislation besides framing legal provisions relating to piracy, defamation, advertising, taxation and the most important issue of copyrights and trade secrets in the cyberworld.

“But there are two provisions in the draft bill which need to be changed before the draft Bill is passed into law,” says Anand noting the government should keep the technology neutral so as not to force development along a particular course but to let the market decide on the most appropriate method.Top


 

Morepen, Siemens, Exide net up

MOREPEN Laboratories reported a jump of 46 per cent in net profits which rose to Rs 50.1 crore in the financial year ending March 31, 2000 from Rs 34.3 crore in 1998-99.

Siemens: Siemens Limited has reported a net profit of Rs 35.72 crore during the first six months of financial year ended March 2000 against a net loss of Rs 5.64 crore in the corresponding period last year.

Exide: Exide Industries Limited reported a 22.65 per cent higher net profit of Rs 48.89 crore during the financial year 1999-2000 against Rs 39.86 crore in the previous fiscal.

ICICI: ICICI has posted 21 per cent increase in its net profit to Rs 1206 crore from Rs 1001 crore a year ago.

SKF Bearing: SKF Bearings India Limited announced a net profit of Rs 3.4 crore for the first quarter 96 this year as against a loss of Rs 9 crore in the corresponding period last year.

Goodricke Group: Goodricke Group Limited has registered a net loss of Rs 15.98 crore during the first quarter of 2000 which was marginally lower compared to Rs 16.59 crore in the corresponding period last year.

IDBI: Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) declared a dividend of 45 per cent on the back of a 33 per cent fall in its net profit at Rs 947 crore for 1999-2000.Top



 

LIC new premium up 35.41 pc
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 28 - The Life Insurance Corporation of India’s new business premium income registered a growth rate of 35.41 per cent amounting to Rs 4393.90 crore during the fiscal 1999-2000.

LIC Chairman, Mr G Krishnamurthy, said the new individual policies sold during the year totalled 169.77 lakh, registering a growth rate of 14.37 per cent, while the sum assured under these policies peaked Rs 91,213.42 crore, registering an increase of 21.11 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, the growth rates being 10 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.Top


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CORPORATE NEWS

Aptech declares 1:1 bonus

NEW DELHI, April 28 (TNS) — Aptech Ltd today declared a 1:1 bonus following its annual general body meeting. Aptech shares become ex-bonus from April 26 on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and May 2 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, the company said in a statement today.

Maharishi Housing Finance to loan NRIs

CHANDIGARH, April 28 (TNS) — Maharishi Housing Finance Corporation Ltd has been pemitted by RBI to extend loans to NRIs also. Hitherto this facility was restricted to only housing companies promoted by the public sector. The company plans to sanction individual loan to the tune of Rs 100 crore to both residents and NRIs during the current financial year.

SQL Star signs MoU with Telstra

NEW DELHI, April 28 (TNS) —SQL Star International Limited has signed a MoU with Telstra Vishesh Communications Limited to identify business opportunities in the field of telecommunication, information technology and IT enabled services, a company release said today.Top



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BIZ BRIEFS

Bullion
Gold Std. Rs 4360
Gold 22-Ct Rs 4210
Silver Ready Rs 7660
Silver delivery Rs 7675

Forex
US $ Rs 43.65/66
Stg Rs 68.43/46
Euro Rs 39.52/55
Yen (100) Rs 40.69/71

Price index
SHIMLA, April 28 (UNI) — The All-India consumer price index number for industrial workers (CPI-IW) on base 1982=100 for the month of March, 2000 has increased by four points to stand at 434 points, according to the Labour Bureau here today.

Essar Cellphone
CHANDIGARH, April 28 (TNS) — Essar Cellphone resumed its cellular services in the Haryana and Rajasthan circles on April 26. The company has announced free airtime for all its subscribers till May 31. The company has also decided not to charge any fixed rentals on its post-paid cards till that time.

Xerox
NEW DELHI, April 28 (TNS) — Xerox Corporation and Microsoft Corporation have joined forces to launch ContentGuard Inc. a new internet company that will deliver comprehensive software solutions to protect and manage books, documents, music, software and other valuable content distributed over the web.

Ansal Buildwell
NEW DELHI, April 28 (TNS) — Ansal Buildwell Limited and the Choudhary Group (Nepal) have forged a joint enterprise to take up construction and development work in the Himalayan KingdomTop



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