|Friday, May 5, 2000,
Pak, India join hands on
Doctor takes on MNCs
Two Indians plan massive
Government to protect local
Protest against PSIEC
Grossip portal launched
Revive SCL: committee
Spice plans green drive in Punjab
HDFC cuts RPLR by 25 basis points
RPL opts for ST benefits
ISLAMABAD, May 4 (IANS) Pakistan and India are considering joining hands to thwart the US bid to capture a patent on a strain of Basmati rice, senior government officials here have said. A team of British scientists from Nottingham University is conducting a DNA test on the genetic composition of Basmati as the US authorities are trying to prove that their Texmati is the real Basmati, not the variety grown in the subcontinent. Texmati has a genetic composition similar to that of Basmati, a long-grained aromatic rice grown in Pakistan and India.
To counter this move, Pakistan and India have decided to collect information on the history of Basmati rice to prove they are the historical and original producers of this variety, NNI news agency reported. Officials said New Delhi and Islamabad would be joining hands in the near future.
To thwart the US designs, Pakistan has already provided sealed and authenticated samples of Basmati rice to the experts conducting DNA test in Britain.
Meanwhile, a delegation comprising representatives of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), Rice Botanist and the Rice Research Institute has also briefed the British experts about the history and origin of Basmati rice.
The subcontinent was taken aback by the US claim to being the home of this variety of rice despite knowing that Pakistan and India have been growing it for decades and the aromatic rice from the region is famous all over the world.
takes on MNCs
SANGRUR, May 4 After getting a distorted map of India rectified from a drug company, Dr Surinder Kumar Singla, a specialist in TB-clinic at the Civil Hospital here, is waging the same battle against two other multinational drug companies.
Though spirited to get the maps corrected, the doctor is into the battle all alone as no help has come forth from the government ranging from the district administration here to the president of the country.
The two companies Unichem Laboratories Ltd. and Parke-Davis of Mumbai had in an identical mistake printed a distorted map of India in their literature circulated recently to doctors and chemists along with their products information brochures in the country.
The mistake was quite similar to that of another drug company which later rectified the distorted map at the doctors behest. All the three multinational companies have shown Indian map minus the upper half portion of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Some part of the deleted portion is a disputed property between India and Pakistan but according to the approved maps by the Survey of India the deleted portion is very much a legitimate part of India. Even in the world map, the portion is with India.
Stressing that it was a mischief and not a simple inadvertent mistake, the doctor showed a file of letters he had written to the President and the Prime Minister of India, the Chief Minister of Punjab and the District administration, Sangrur, calling their attention to the regular violation of the countrys boundaries.
The doctor says due action should be taken against such companies under the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1990. The Act says that whoever publishes a map of India not in confirmity to the map published by the Survey of India can be punished with imprisonment of six months or fine or both.
NEW DELHI, May 4 (UNI) Fiat India Automobiles Limited (FIAL) today slashed prices of its mid-size car Siena by Rs 30,000 in an attempt to boost sales of the world car.
Fiat stated that the prices are being dropped following the companys decision to pass on benefits of its localisation programme to its customers.
With this, the Siena ELX petrol will sport a price tag of Rs 5,91,000 while the diesel model would be priced at Rs 6,89,000. The car is currently available in seven versions.
The ELX-PS version of Siena is now priced at Rs 5,91,288, down Rs 16,293 from Rs 607,581 earlier. The top-end version of Siena ELX is now priced at Rs 659,704 as against Rs 675,995 earlier.
The price tags of diesel-driven Siena have been trimmed to Rs 636,810 for the EL version, Rs 689,771 for ELX-PS and Rs 758,186 for the fully-lodged ELX variant as against Rs 653,101, Rs 707,062 and Rs 774,478 (all prices ex-showroom Mumbai) earlier.
Ford Ikon ZXI is priced at Rs 645,000 for the petrol version and Rs 728,000 for the diesel version. Hyundai Accent GLS sports a price tag of Rs 637,000.
In addition, the company has also reduced prices of its spare parts by 10-30 per cent.
Opel Corsa: General Motors India Limiteds latest offering the 1.4 litre Opel Corsa has been adjudged the best lower mid-sized car by leading auto magazine Overdrive.
This followed a month-long test on seven cars in the mid-size segment Ford Ikon 1.6, Opel Corsa 1.4, Opel Corsa 1.6, Hyundai Accent, Maruti Esteem MPI, Honda City 1.3 and Fiat Siena.
Indians plan massive IT merger
NEW YORK, May 4 Two Indian American-owned companies i2 Technologies Inc. and Aspect Development Inc. have announced that major barriers to completing the proposed acquisition of the latter by i2 have been removed.
Sanjiv Sidhu is founder and CEO of i2 and Romesh Wadhwani heads Aspect Development.
The Federal Trade Commission has granted early termination of the waiting period, effectively lending its approval to the acquisition. Likewise, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) notified the companies of a no review decision with respect to the registration statement filed by i2 on April 18, clearing the way for shareholders to vote on the proposed acquisition. There are no other regulatory approvals anticipated.
Under the terms of the proposed stock-for-stock transaction, i2 seeks to acquire all of the outstanding stock and stock options of Aspect Development, with each outstanding share of Aspect to be exchanged for .55 share of i2 common stock. Stockholders of each company will now vote in their approval.
Owners of i2 Technologies that were shareholders of record on April 14, 2000, will have the opportunity to vote their shares on June 8. Owners of Aspect Development stock that were shareholders of record on May 1, 2000, will have the opportunity to vote their shares also on June 8.
Combining the strengths of the two companies, i2s Trade Matrix (TM) business-to-business (B2B) e-marketplace solution will be significantly expanded with Aspects e-commerce content, product design collaboration and direct procurement capabilities, the companies said.
Once the merger is completed, the company estimates the combined revenues of i2 and Aspect in the year 2000 will make it one of the largest providers of software and content for B2B e-marketplaces, with 4,000 employees and a research and development budget of nearly $1 million per business day.
At closing, Aspect will become a subsidiary of i2 with Wadhwani becoming Vice-Chairman and a member of i2s Board of Directors.
The merger will create a
B2B marketplace powerhouse with unmatched solution
breadth and depth of functionality, unparalleled content
and a laser-focus on value creation, said Sidhu. Already
the two companies have delivered $10 billion in value to
customers, he said. IANS
NEW DELHI, May 4 (PTI) The Government today said that an Internet exchange facilitating transfer of call from one Internet service provider (ISP) to another would be set up soon.
An Internet exchange where calls can be transferred from one ISP to another should be set up by all providers and not some leading ones, P.S. Saran, Secretary in the Department of Telecom Services (DTS) said at the inaugural session of a two-day seminar on VSAT and Internet India 2000.
He said the process for installing an Internet exchange was already underway and would be operational within the next nine to 12 months.
Talks are already in the advanced stages with ISPs like Satyam, VSNL and the others and an exchange would be operational soon, Saran said.
He said with the opening up of the National Long Distance Telephony VSAT players can become infrastructure providers and link their bandwidth to other people.
to protect local industry: Maran
NEW DELHI, May 4 The Government today said it was determined to use all available mechanisms to ensure that imports do not cause any serious injury to the domestic producers, especially those in the small scale industry.
Replying to a Calling Attention notice regarding the adverse effects of liberalisation of trade and free import of items manufactured by Indian industry, the Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Mr Murasoli Maran, said the Government had the option to utilise the mechanism of raising tariffs within the bound rates and also take measures such as anti-dumping action, imposition of countervailing duties and safeguard actions which are permissible under the World Trade Organisation agreement.
Mr Maran said the Government has decided to introduce a Bill to amend the provisions of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992, so that safeguard action in the form of quantitative restrictions could also be applied, if required.
The Minister said that the removal of QRs were provided for under the GATT as far back as 1947, but India had avoided doing this by taking recourse to the exception provided in GATT for maintaining such QRs owing to balance of payment difficulties.
However, from 1995 onwards, with substantial improvement in Indias BOP position, certain members questioned Indias continued justification for maintaining QRs on BOP grounds and the United States had filed a dispute against India in WTO, where the dispute settlement panel ruled against India. India filed an appeal before the appellate body of WTO against the findings of the panel but the appellate body upheld the findings of the panel. Consequently a bilateral agreement was signed between India and the US and QRs on 714 items were removed with effect from April one, 2000 and QRs on remaining 715 items are to be removed by April one, 2001.
Mr Maran said this is not the first time that QRs have been removed as at the time of initial announcement of tariff-line wise import policy on April 1, 1996, out of 10202 tariff lines, 6161 tariff lines were already free. Subsequently QRs on several hundred tariff lines were removed.
Mr Maran said a perusal
of import data reveals that there has not been any surge
of imports as a consequence of removal of QRs. In fact,
the rate of growth of imports which stood at 35.40 per
cent in 1995-96 has come down progressively over the
years to 13.2 per cent in 1996-97, 11 per cent in 1997-98
and 14.2 per cent in 1998-99.
LUDHIANA, May 4 Ludhiana Electroplaters Association has voiced its protest against the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) for its failure to pass on the rebate allowed by main producers of iron and steel to the small scale industrial units and selectively passing on turn over discount at the cost of actual users.
In a memorandum submitted to the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the association President Joginder Kumar has lamented that the PSIEC, which was setup to supply the raw material to small units on no-profit-no loss basis, was in fact working against the interests of the SSI sector. The main producers of iron and steel were allowing a rebate of Rs 470 per metric tonne to the PSIEC, which in turn was passing on just Rs 180 per tonne to the SSI units. The users have to bear loading, unloading and cartage charges which almost neutralise the amount of rebate allowed. Repeated pleas made by the SSI units to the PSIEC to raise the amount of rebate have gone unheeded.
Calling for the
intervention of the State Government to streamline the
functioning of the PSIEC, the memorandum alleged that SSI
units were given a shabby treatment and were not given
proper information about rates and delivery schedule.
NEW DELHI, May 4 (PTI) Delhi has finally got its very own lifestyle and gossip portal Delhigossip.com, projected as a one-stop shop for information on the city.
NEW DELHI, May 4 (PTI) The Government needs to take urgent steps to revive the loss-making PSU Semiconductor Complex Ltd (SCL) and make it a nucleus of growth for future technology in India, a Parliamentary committee has said. For the year ended March 31, 1999 the PSU posted a net loss of Rs 28.05 crore against a net profit of Rs 34 lakh in the corresponding period the previous year.The committee observes that it (SCL) is facing financial and infrastructural difficulties despite possessing capability/strength generated indigenously in the key area of integrated circuits, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests said in its latest report.Among the steps the committee has recommended were designating SCL as the sole national manufacturer of Smart Cards and helping the PSU to sell its Electronic Energy Meters at pre-determined prices.
We recommend that, if necessary, with a little orientation the Government should consider designating SCL as a sole Smart Card manufacturer to the Nation, the apex committee said.
It said SCL was in the unique position of becoming an indigenous supplier of Smart Cards considering the infrastructure, technical background and experience of the company as also the potential the chip holds in the present culture of the country.
In another recommendation, the parliamentary committee has also sought promotion of comprehensively indigenous Electronics Energy Meters.
We feel that SCL should be helped to play a major role in the manufacture and supply of these meters to various State Electricity Boards (SEBs) by the Government, it said.
This could happen if the Government tied up loans for the purpose to SEBs from Power Finance Corporation (PFC) for the purchase of these meters from SCL at pre-determined prices, which shall be competitive vis-a-vis market price, the committee said.
SCL was set up for developing indigenous capability in the hardware sector for strategic reasons, keeping in view the larger national considerations of self-reliance.
programmes are to design, develop and manufacture new
VLSLs to meet telecom, watch and clock industry and other
industrial electronic market sector requirements,
the Government said while explaining SCLs role to
plans green drive in Punjab
CHANDIGARH, May 4 Spice Telecoms subscriber base crossed the one lakh mark yesterday. With this Spice Telecom becomes the first among the operators in the B circle and the second in the non-metro circle to reach this figure. The company plans to celebrate the mark by initiating a greenery drive in major cities of Punjab.
Spice Telecom now covers 90 per cent of the urban population and nearly 35 per cent of the total population in Punjab. This has been achieved through coverage of all district headquarters except Mansa and Fatehgarh Sahib.
MUMBAI, May 4 (PTI) HDFC today announced a reduction of 25 basis points in its retail prime lending rate (RPLR) to 12.50 per cent per annum with effect from May 8, 2000.
Consequently, the revised rate of interest on housing loans up to Rs one crore would be 12.50 per cent for adjustable rate home loans and 13 per cent for fixed rate home loans, HDFC said in a release here.
The interest rates for NRIs taking loans up to Rs one crore with a repayment tenure of up to five years under the fixed rate and adjustable rate loan option were 11.50 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, it said.
NEW DELHI, May 4 (PTI) The Government today said that about two-thirds of the Central Sales Tax under-recoveries on account of inter company sales of controlled petroleum products of Reliance Petroleum Ltd (RPL) moved inter-State would be reimbursed to oil marketing companies from oil pool account.
RPL have been granted eligibility certificate for sales tax incentives by the State Government of Gujarat and the scheme permits RPL to avail sales tax exemption and/or deferment benefits, Minister for State for Petroleum and Natural Gas E Ponnuswamy said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
RPL has opted for
sales tax composite benefits. RPL has conveyed that they
would absorb 33 per cent of the sales tax amount payable
on their controlled petroleum products moved
inter-State, he said.
Alfa Laval to invest in mutual funds
NEW DELHI, May 4 (PTI) Alfa Laval India Ltd has received nod from its Swedish engineering parent company to invest 25 per cent of its reserves in mutual funds to get a better return for the investment, a top company official said. The Swedish parent conglomerate is conservative about investment and till date was more comfortable with instruments floated by banks and only recently gave a go-ahead for mutual fund option, Satish Tandon, MD, Alfa Laval India told PTI.
Information Tech plans 20 portals
NEW DELHI, May 4 (UNI) Information Technologies (India) Ltd today said it will be investing close to Rs 100 crore in setting up about 20 horizontal and vertical portals. We will be setting up about 20 portals ranging from the general news to sports, women, entertainment, cookery etc, company Chairman Vinay Rai said here.
Kale Consultants bags software contract
MUMBAI, May 4 (PTI) Kale Consultants Ltd has bagged a software development contract from US based internet and wireless company healthaxs.com that entails a Rs one crore first phase development of a patient scheduling, billing and physician referral system. The system, which is expected to be ready for the first pilot tests by August 2000, would use state-of-the-art technology features for the server as well as the front-end side, the company said in a statement here today.
Snowcem net climbs 76 pc
MUMBAI, May 4 (UNI) Snowcem India Ltd has recorded 76 per cent increase in its net profit to Rs 15.01 crore for the year ended March 31, 2000. Net sales of the company also registered 36 per cent up to Rs 15.13 crore as compared to the previous year of 11.11 crore.
Strides Arcolab net up 169 pc
MUMBAI, May 4 (UNI) Strides Arcolab Limited, a Bangalore based exporter of generic branded pharmaceutical products, has reported a 169 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 24.57 crore for the year ended March, 2000 as compared to Rs 9.13 crore last year. Total income for the year ended March this year was up by 52 per cent to 165.79 crore last year.
Gorden Herburt acquires Selectronic
NEW DELHI, May 4 (PTI) Usha group company Gorden Herburt has acquired Delhi-based IT enabled services firm Selectronic Equipment focusing on medical transcription, for an undisclosed amount. With the takeover, Gorden Herburt plans to position itself as a premier medical transcription company in the country, S.K. Mittal, MD, Information Technologies India Ltd, told PTI.
BSL to pay 18 pc interim
CHANDIGARH, May 4 (TNS)
The Board of Directors of BSL Ltd., a company of
the over Rs 1500 crore today announced the annual results
of the company for the financial year 1999-2000. The
company recorded a net profit growth of 30.29 per cent at
Rs 4.86 crore as against Rs 3.73 crore in the last fiscal
year. It recorded a turnover of Rs 153.49 crore (Rs
146.77 crore in 1998-1999). The Board of Directors of BSL
Ltd. had recently announced an interim dividend of 18 per
cent to its shareholders for the financial year 1999-2000.
|| 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 |