|Sunday, April 30, 2000,
Need to check power theft menace
MTNL net up 30.5 pc
VSNL records Rs 799 crore
PMs Council on Trade reviews
NEW DELHI, April 29 The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today announced that he would set up an implementation committee, headed by the Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, to put into action the various recommendations made by his expert Council on Trade and Industry.
The Prime Ministers Council on Trade and Industry comprising leading Indian industrialists, experts and senior Ministers, which has been divided into six special subject groups, has made recommendations on several spheres of economic planning, Secretary in the Prime Ministers Office, Mr N.K. Singh, said here.
The recommendations made cover several areas, including the power sector, textiles, chemicals, tea, education, agriculture, and health.
The two-hour meeting of the Council at the Prime Ministers residence today was attended among others by the Finance Minister, the Commerce and Industry Minister, Cabinet Secretary and leading industrialists, Mr Mukesh Ambani, Mr Sanjeev Goenka, Mr N. Srinivasan, Mr N.R. Narayana Murthy, Mr Nusli Wadia, Mr G.P. Goenka, Mr Rahul Bajaj and Mr Arun Bharat Ram.
The Prime Minister in his opening remarks at the meeting spoke about the strong economic fundamentals of the economy and added that the implementation committee would give a status report on the recommendations of the Council at its next meeting.
Mr Singh said the Prime Minister assured the members of the Council that the Government would continue with a credible disinvestment programme and pursue policies of fiscal consolidation, reforms of banks and financial institutions, besides removal of infrastructural bottlenecks. High priority would be accorded to education, health and rural development, he added.
Elaborating on the recommendations made by the various sub-groups, set up in December 1999, Mr Singh said the group on disinvestment recommended that stronger PSUs should enter the market first, channelising of divestment proceeds for retirement of public debt and entrusting the sell off responsibility solely to the new Disinvestment Ministry.
Mr Singh however, clarified that these were the committees views and the Government had differences on some sensitive issues like disinvestment and dereservation of textile sector.
On the power sector, the recommendations relate to beginning the reforms process with transmission and distribution, increasing tariffs over a three-year period for agriculture, moving subsidisation from SEBs to State budgets and breaking up of monolithic SEBs into different corporations. Private distribution through management contracts, joint ventures or full-fledged licenses and making regulatory commissions independent and autonomous are also part of the recommendations.
On textiles, it has been recommended that structural anomalies be removed, knitting and garment sectors hitherto reserved for the SSI be opened up to improve scale of economies and competitiveness and procedures for relocation and closure of unviable units be simplified. Setting up a brand equity fund for promotion of Made in India label, development of legal and industry knowledge infrastructure and strengthening of anti-dumping mechanism are also among the recommendations.
The committee on tea industry has suggested that there should be a single point Central Income Tax and this should be shared with States, labour productivity should be improved and investments should be made for brand building.
On sugar, full decontrol, setting up a futures market and allowing use of the Sugar Development Fund for modernising existing units have been recommended.
A strategy for a reconvened WTO Ministerial meeting has also been recommended and this includes: re-assert the relevance of special and differential treatment for developing countries; in case of industrial tariffs, demand a substantial reduction of tariffs by industrialised countries on labour intensive and low technology manufacturers; and even while ensuring food security and protecting the interest of farmers, seek greater market access for exportable agricultural products.
The Committee on Avoiding pitfalls of globalisation said that the Government should focus on disinvestment, privatisation and commercialisation of assets, mainly to retire public debt. It cautioned against Government borrowing to ensure macro economic stability and elimination of revenue deficit. It suggested that the capital market be made more broad-based to attract more Indian investors and safeguards be instituted against financial panics by strengthening the SEBI.
Levy of additional tax on areas which increase health care costs like use of tobacco and liquor, and focus of Governments role on primary and preventive health care programmes were also among the recommendations.
The committee on
unshackling the Indian industry said there was a need for
a clear cut compliance policy, defining in unambiguous
terms the list of compliances which an investor has to
meet, computerisation and updating of land records,
allowing contract labour in all non-core activities of a
company and abolishing the need for Government permission
for closure, retrenchment and layoff. It said a unit
should be allowed to close down after it pays a mutually
agreed compensation to the employees.
NEW DELHI, April 29 (PTI) In a bid to promote Information Technology in Haryana, the State would desist from levying any charge on change of land use for IT industry and parks by existing units upto March, 2003.
This along with incentives like preferential allotment of land, uninterrupted supply of power and liberal grant of permission for existing industry to change over to IT are some of the sops offered by the State to promote the IT industry, Vishnu Bhagwan, Principal Secretary to the State Chief Minister said in a statement here.
He said licences for setting up software technology parks would be given on easy payment terms and there would be a 100 per cent relaxation in Floor Area Regulation in areas specifically notified by the State Government for IT units and parks.
Single desk clearance would be provided for obtaining easy clearance and approval of various Government departments, he said adding there would be a 90 per cent rebate for facilities established or leased before June 1, 2001 on their first transaction.
The IT software industry will be totally exempted from payment of sales-tax and the applicable rate of sales tax on computers and computer peripherals will be reduced to 0.25 per cent, Bhagwan said.
Haryana Government would
also take up with the Department of Telecommunications
establishment of reliable, adequate and efficient telecom
and communication infrastructure including Internet nodes
in all the districts of the state, he added.
opens centre in Chandigarh
CHANDIGARH, April 29 Mr Joseph Docherty, Chairman of the Sydney-based Promethean group, organised a seminar at Australian Institute of Management and Technology (Austech) here today.
Mr Docherty said the principle objective of Austech, a new Indo-Australian joint venture, would be to carve out a reputation as being simply the best I.T. and Management Training Institute in city.
The institutes courses are accredited with Australian universities and exceed quality standards stipulated under the Australian Qualification Framework. Courses in I.T., e-commerce, accounting and finance are being made available to 10+2 students, from both commerce and non-commerce backgrounds.
He commented that the
real advantage to Indian students who chose to study at
Austech was the ability to transfer credits to Australian
universities for further studies. Mr Docherty said
Austechs Chandigarh centre would commence
operations on July 3.
check power theft menace
PROBLEMS of consumers of power in business sector are mounting. To reverse the trend a high level debate with PSEB was organised by Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry Punjab on April 26 in which Chairman PSEB, Mr G.S. Sohal along with two members of board Mr A.K. Kundra and Mr Kirpal Singh and other senior functionaries participated.
Although Chairman, PSEB is inducting new thinking in the Board but still old practices are hard to die. In every action revenue is the central aim which in many cases prove counter productive.
Late payment of monthly bill attracts 10 per cent surcharge. There are cases where circumstances are beyond the control of the consumers.
Meters, particularly the electronic meters go erratic in many cases. It was proposed that in such cases consumers should not be penalised and spot committees at the district level may be constituted to waive off penalties.
About the sick units it was proposed that outstanding amount should exclude minimum charges with concession in interest etc so that units can be revived and Board get its sizeable amount of energy consumption. It was proposed that in the case of sick units light load should be provided as equipment worth several crores of rupees is at risk in the pitch darkness Board has provision not to disconnect light load it it already exists can not give new light load separately. These two provisions on the face of it look irrational.
Long standing demand of checking connected load was also debated. It was proposed that boards concern is mainly on the maximum demand which the consumers maintain. So checking of load is a cause of unnecessary harassment.
Provision of clubbing of two 11 KV connection has no meaning as Board does not lose anything in such connections. Consumers have two connections due to business convenience etc.
Due to array of several provisions and less powers to the operational staff consumers face lot of avoidable problems. It was proposed that local grievance committees with participation of consumers should be constituted which was readily agreed to.
Chairman laid stress on
the growing menace of power theft. He asked for the
public participation in this. Chamber gave unqualified
support to this cause as power theft is of more concern
to consumers than board.
STATE-OWNED Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has recorded a 30.5 per cent increase in its net profit at Rs 1693.6 crore for the year ending March 31, 2000 as compared to Rs 1297.2 crore in the previous year.
Whirlpool: Whirlpool of India Limited has turned the corner to post a net profit of Rs 2.5 crore for the three months ended March 31, 2000 against a net loss of Rs 13.86 crore in the corresponding period last year.
Unichem Labs: Unichem Laboratories Ltd has recorded 51 per cent growth in net profits at Rs 15.23 crore for the year ended March 31, 2000 on a 11.31 per cent rise in sales at Rs 205.63 crore as compared to last year. The company had posted a net profit of Rs 10.08 crore on sales of Rs 184.75 crore in the previous fiscal.
Maral Overseas: Maral
Overseas Limited (MOL), announced a 15 per cent rise in
revenue to Rs 259 crore for the year 1999-2000, against
Rs 226 crore recorded in the last fiscal year. The
company announced an interim dividend of 20 per cent for
the financial year 1999-2000.
records Rs 799 crore profit
NEW DELHI, April 29 The unaudited financial results of Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited released today indicate that the company recorded a profit of Rs 799 crore during the fiscal 1999-2000 and the total revenue during the period stood at Rs 7,272 crore.
The Chairman and Managing Director of VSNL, Mr S.K. Gupta, said the traffic growth for the year has been good and VSNL earned a net profit of Rs 799 crore inspite of write down of ICO investmet of Rs 513 crore.
value added services has continued to rise at Rs 603
crore, comprising 8.67 per cent of the traffic revenue
compared to Rs 492 crore (7.25 per cent) in the previous
year displaying a clear shift in favour of these emerging
services, he said.
CHANDIGARH, April 29
A workshop on Energy Management was
organised for practising senior managers and executives
from the pharmaceutical, metallurgical founding industry
here yesterday by FICCI in association with Petroleum
Conservation Research Association (PCRA). The workshop
was inaugurated by Er K.K. Dhingra, Executive Director of
PCRA. He dwelt in details the specific energy consumption
patterns in various industries and the areas where one
could find saving potential. Later a demonstration
vehicle highlighting the energy endeavours of PCRA, was
flagged off by Mr Dhingra.
by K.R. Wadhwaney
International airports need modernisation
Governments decision to upgrade half-a-dozen airports to international specifications is indeed timely. But all-out efforts should be made that the upgraded airports are genuinely of international standards and not merely on paper.There should be no compromise in installing adequate navigational aids like, Instrument Landing System (ILS) category I. This ILS Category I is essential for Amritsar Airport, which is foggy in December-January. If category-I is not installed, it will not be possible for an airport to land and take-off on time during the winter.
Apart from navigational aids, a long runway for wide-bodied aircraft is also required . There has to be adequate facilities, in the form of terminal building, departure and arrival concourses in addition to hold-in area for passengers.
While upgrading new airports, the existing international airports should be be neglected. The Delhi and Bombay airports need modernisation and more stringent security bandobast.
New Hangar: Air Indias new twin-bay maintenance hangar for Boeing 747-400 aircraft has been in operation at Old Airport, Kalina (Mumbai). Inaugurated by Minister of Civil Aviation Sharad Yadav, it can handle two wide-bodied aircraft. It is the largest span hangar in this country without any column support in between.
The entire roof structure of 11,350 square metres weighing 1,150 metric tonnes has been fabricated on the ground and lifted through 21 metres (69 feet) to its final position with 12 hydraulic jacks and welded to end support. The entire operation took about three weeks.
The new hangar has several unique features which will help enhance productivity by significantly reducing down time of aircraft as there will be saving of one day on every A check and three days on every major C check.
In addition, there are
two hangars at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
where line maintenance activities are carried out. The
hangar has been conceptualised by Scott Wilson
Kirkpatrick the (UK) and designed by Stup Consultants.
The entire project was managed by IRCON International.
WITH the equity markets going for a toss, debt market experts predict that the debt segment in India which has always remained in the shadow of its more glamorous counterpart, will finally come of age. And in the debt segment, it is believed that the action will get focussed on bonds. Any takers?
Heres an unpleasant bit of news from one of the biggest bears in the market today actually, a prediction. He predicts that Infosys, the big daddy of the Indian IT segment will soon be targeted for bear-hammering and that its price will have from the current price level. What then will the Sensex be? Any guesses?
The war for financing consumer loans is really hotting up. Even on the vehicle financing front, two leading financial institutions are so competitive that they would undercut and work at no profit rather than let the other bag a deal. Good times lie ahead for Indian borrowers.
Those who kept deferring
their IPOs revising their premium tag upward with
every upswing of the Sensex find themselves in an
unenviable predicament now with investors now fearing
losing money in even par priced IPOs. What ha then to
these IPOs with sensation premium tags attached in the
good days? Your guess is as good as mine.
by Pushpa Girimaji
Make printing shelf-life mandatory on packages
IN the absence of mandatory printing of shelf life on food packages, almost everyone has had the unpleasant experience of having paid for stale food some time or the other. Only recently, a reader complained about a packet of rusk that she bought for her two-year old son. She says fortunately, she happened to taste it first and on finding that it had gone bad, she checked the package for any indication of its shelf life. There was none. The package mentioned the date of manufacture, but that did not help in the absence of any information on how long the product remained good. Was it two days, two weeks or two months? She then noticed that very few rusk manufacturers bothered to print the shelf life. Marking the shelf life on food packages is as important as specifying the expiry date on medicines. Yet, this is an information which is often denied to consumers. Today, thanks to the advances in food processing as well as packaging technology, the number and the types of foods available on shop shelves have increased considerably. And from ready-to-eat foods, bakery products, fruit juices, sweetmeats, salty savouries to milk cream, curds, paneer, dals and flours, almost all foods are packed and sold. However, in the absence of information on shelf life, one does not know how long the paneer stays fresh, even when refrigerated. Or whether the cake can be kept for a few days or needs to be consumed immediately. Similarly, you find potato wafers smelling of stale oil, wheat flour with worms and cheese smelling rancid.
However, there is good news. The Health Ministry has finally recognised the need for food packages to indicate their shelf life. A draft notification, making this mandatory was issued in November last year and the final notification is expected to come out in a months time. As per the draft notification, while packages containing sterilised or UHT milk, soya milk, flavoured milk, any package containing bread, dhokla, bhelpuri, pizza, doughnuts, khoa, paneer or any uncanned package of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish or any other like commodity should declare the days within which the product should be consumed, those with longer shelf life can either indicate the month and year before which the food should be consumed or indicate that it is best before so many months from the date of packaging or manufacture.
While the move is certainly welcome, the Ministry should ensure that the information on shelf life is properly displayed. Already, many manufacturers of processed foods have started printing the best before date, but if you examine closely the manner in which some of them display the information, you wonder whether the manufacturer wants to reveal or conceal the date of manufacture. On several packages, for example, the carton says that the food is best consumed within six or 12 months from the date of manufacture or packaging. However, for this information to be complete, you need to know the actual date of manufacture or packaging and it is only logical that this is displayed close to the best before information. But on most packages, it is not so. As a result, one has to spend a considerable amount of time searching for these two pieces of information on the package, before buying. One may be on the side of the carton, and the other at the bottom or top of the carton. And even here, many times the date of manufacture is embossed and is extremely difficult to decipher. Or sometimes it is stamped and the ink is so light that one has to really struggle to make sense out of it. And different manufacturers have different areas earmarked for the information so it makes it so much more difficult for a consumer to read them.
Now why cant the date of manufacture as well as the best before date be carried together? Or it would be much simpler if, like medicine packages, food packets too indicate the date of manufacture and the date of expiry or the best before date one below the other. And the information should be clear, easy to read and as Rule 34 of the PFA Rules says, there should be a surrounding line enclosing the declaration. And on all packages, this information should be available in a particular spot or area. Given the advances in packaging and printing, I do not see why or how this can be difficult.
In fact if you look at
Rule 36, it clearly says that the types used for
declaration shall be of such dimension that it shall be
conspicuous to a reader. So merely giving the information
on shelf life is not enough. It should be given in such a
way that it serves the purpose for which it is given. And
the Health Ministry should ensure that the new rule
facilitates and not hinders easy access to information on
by Praful R. Desai
Q: Whether payment for overtime work also can be considered as wages as defined U/s. 2(22) of the E.S.I. Act, 1948?
Ans: The Orissa H.C. considered the point in Regional Director, E.S.I.C. v Indian Paints & Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. (2000-I-LLJ-770) thus:
The Lower Court considered the point whether overtime payment should be considered as wages and ruled that it cant be considered in the light of the decision in Regional Director, E.S.I.C. v P.B. Gupta (1994-II-LLJ-19). Hence the present appeal before the H.C.
The H.C. observed that though the conclusion is supported by the decision of this Court, such conclusion can not be affirmed in view of the subsequent decision of the S.C. on the point. In the decision reported in Indian Drug and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v E.S.I.C. (1997-II-LLJ-700 (S.C.)-), it has been specifically held by the S.C. that payment made towards overtime work can also be considered to be coming within the term Wages as defined in S. 2 (22) of the E.S.I. Act.
While arriving at this conclusion, though the S.C. has not specifically referred to the decision of the Orissa H.C., it has overruled other decisions of other H.C. taking similar view. In view of the aforesaid decision of the S.C., it must be taken that the decision of Orissa H.C. (Supra) has been implicably overruled and can not be said to be a good law.
For the aforesaid reason, the appeal of the Corporation is allowed and respondent No. 1 is required to comply with the notice relating to payments of contribution for the period of 5/89 to 3/90.
Such amount may be paid
within a period of one month from today, failing which it
would be open to the appellant to proceed with the
certificate case already instituted in accordance with
law. In other words, now the payment for overtime work
also is considered wages and the employer has
to make contribution accordingly.
|| 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 |