|Sunday, May 14, 2000,
okays advancement of rabi marketing year
business from bedroom
States in reforms agenda
to lay stone of oil refinery
clears decks for IT Bill
CCEA okays advancement of
rabi marketing year
NEW DELHI, May 13 The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today cleared a large number of proposals including advancing the marketing year for rabi crops from April-March to March-February.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Pramod Mahajan, told newspersons after CCEA meeting that the Government approved the suggestion of Madhya Pradesh Government to advance the marketing year in view of the fact that some farmers of rabi crops failed to get the benefits of revised Minimum Support Prices.
He said since some crops were marketed much before April 1, they would not be able to get the benefit of revised MSP for the rabi marketing season, which becomes effective from April 1.
Mr Mahajan said with new technologies available, some crops were produced in lesser time, forcing the Government to change the marketing year.
Credit Guarantee Scheme the Government today approved setting up of a Rs 125 crore Credit Guarantee Fund for Small Industries (CGFSI) to tackle the problem of collaterals and provide necessary comfort level to banks lending money to small scale units.
The scheme approved by the CCEA would be operational from 2000-01 and would be implemented by a trust to be set up by the Small Industries Development Bank of India. Mr Mahajan said the scheme would guarantee loan up to Rs 10 lakh extended by commercial banks and well-performing regional rural banks to SSI units without collaterals including third party guarantee.
Power Project the CCEA also revised the capital cost of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (RAPP) three and four at Rs 2511 crorebase cost Rs 1711 crore plus Rs 800 crore interest during construction.
The CCEA also approved the revised cost of estimate for Karnatakas Kaiga one and two at Rs 2896 crore. On completion, 440mwe installed capacity would be added to Southern grid and would generate 2,420 Mus every year at a 62.8 per cent normative capacity factor.
The CCEA also approved a proposal to buy back 21.3 lakh shares of the Power Finance Corporation at a buy back rate of Rs 2170 per share against the face value of Rs 1000. About 17 lakh shares of the Rural Electrification Corporation are proposed to be bought back at Rs 1150 each against the face value of Rs 1000.
The buy back of shares would yield an amount of Rs 792.92 crore to the Government.
The CCEA also approved the revised cost estimate of Dhauliganga hydro-electric project stage one in Uttar Pradesh in the central sector at a cost of Rs 1578.31 crore.
Power from this station would be allotted to UP, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Chandigarh.
Vessel for Lakshadweep
The CCEA also approved acquisition of a passenger-cum-cargo vessel by Lakshadweep Administration for Rs 130 crore to meet the increased shipping requirements of the islands. The 700 passenger-cum-160 mt cargo vessel, to operate on mainland-Lakshadweep sector, would be purchased from Hindustan Shipyard on cash basis, Mr Mahajan said. The new ship would be built in 29 months.
The CCEA sanctioned an outlay of Rs 105 crore for the development of coconut production and production diversification during the Ninth Plan period under the central sector scheme on integrated development of coconut industry in India. The objectives of the scheme are to increase production and productivity of coconuts, bring additional area under coconut, elevate the income levels of small and marginal farmers, generate ample employment opportunities, develop new technologies for product diversification and to build sound information base for coconut industry.
The CCEA today decided to extend the transport subsidy scheme to Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim for another seven years. The scheme would also be extended to eight hill districts of UP, Darjeeling district in West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep till March 31, 2007.
An analysts diary
GONE are the days when management classrooms witnessed heated discussions of the pros and cons of joining a business house with an accepted brand name or joining up at a place the name of which would indicate that the person had arrived in life having landed, with what was perceived as a secure job with a big name and of course with a monthly remuneration commensurate with the said name.
Likewise, it hasnt been long back, when those with a conservative bent of mind, would insist that the future lay in the FMCG industry and that this new craze for information technology would sooner than later reach a stagnation level whereafter, those continuing to flog it would find themselves out on the lurch.
But that hasnt happened. Instead what has happened is that the IT industry has only got stronger with each passing day; each comprising without any exaggeration perhaps, of at least one new innovation to the existing technology levels. So what has been the natural outcome? A large scale inflow of entrepreneurs who are willing to risk riding the wave of the world of information technology. A new terminology came to be coined to describe this wave, i.e. The new economy.
So what is this new economy and how does it differ from the traditional one, one may well ask? Simplistically put, the new economy merely does away with the old and conservative styles of functioning or operating a business. It does away with the concept of a typical work environment wherein one is required to adhere to fixed time schedules, follow certain expected protocol, dress code, etc. etc.
A work environment herein could well be ones bedroom with office equipment comprising the latest available computer hardware and an Internet connection. The staff? Well they too could be attending to work affairs from the privacy of their homes, at perhaps timings suited to their convenience!
In such a changing scenario, one would of course want to know exactly which kind of business is likely to do well? That is what kind of a business enterprise would make the kind of profits one dreams of while setting up a business? Almost anything would be a wild guess for what we are really talking about here is intellectual capital and unlimited ingenuity.
In e-business as it is called one finds services of an assorted variety. The most commonly found is of course, wherein items of daily usage are offered on the net. All a consumer is required to do is to browse what the site has to offer and place his order, which will be delivered at his door within a stipulated time frame. Net shopping, by doing away with the retailer also, brings goods to the user at a lower price than otherwise available.
Needless to say, while this kind of services have been reasonably well received a major limitation thereof is that fact such ventures can really be successful in metros in a developing nation such as ours, for it is only in the cities that one finds a rapidly increasing proportion of the Net savvy.
* * *
There have been a large number of entrants into New Economy enterprises which sunk faster than they were floated. But then what business venture is free of such risks? Business acumen along with a solid backing of funds is required to sustain such forays at least in the medium term or till such a time the enterprise has found its foothold or at least a semblance thereof. Thus what really has changed is merely the concept of ones style of working rather than the working of a business itself. As far as the product goes, it could be anything from goods of the FMCG industry, to food items, to books, medicines, health guidance, or any other conceivable concept under the sun.
Entrepreneurs of such ventures stand to gain enormously in the event of success. For example did the promoters of Yahoo ever imagine that their idea would turn out to be a success story discussed by any techie with the itch to make it on his own? Same with the founders of the Hotmail. There have of course been numerous such attempts which followed, but not all of them were as successful if successful at all. Then there have been other success stories such as Rediffusion which has brought consumer goods as mentioned earlier to our doorsteps. If successful, entrepreneurs stand to gain anything in terms of monetary remuneration anything from the imaginable to the unimaginable. Perhaps it is for that very reason that one finds announcements of dot.com companies on a daily basis. Not only that, even established companies and institutions find the need to join the bandwagon, which by itself is evidence of the fact of the rapid increase in internet users. Of course here comes the difference between an educated net user and of the other variety. It is the use by the former that makes all the difference.
Every business needs finances some more than the others. A venture of this kind could of course be perhaps be started off on with only intellectual capital to boast of, but a long term sustenance certainly stands in need of a strong financial backing. Perhaps that is what has given rise to a new breed called venture capitalists. Financing a business venture as these, is by itself is a major risky venture as the concept of the business when presented, is bound to be purely on paper minus any diagrams or models, market research reports, tangible proofs of previous success stories, etc. On one hand, the required investment herein would be on a lower scale than for a traditional business industrial venture yet nevertheless the risks do exist. But like the entrepreneurs, the investor too stands to reap in huge profits for placing their faith in the entrepreneurs.
In view of these it is
perhaps small wonder that even offsprings of business
scions too find themselves bitten by the tech bug and
attempt to take the plunge into the dot.com arena. Of
course herein we are talking of those without the need
for outside financial support. Thus all a member wishing
to become a part of the New Economy needs is intellectual
capital and the ability to market it. This accompanied
with the required finances and we could have yet another
runaway success story of a new generation entrepreneur.
Involve States in reforms
CHANDIGARH, May 13 Arun Bharat Ram, President, CII outlined new initiatives that CII would take in the the year 2000-2001. The main initiative would be to involve State Governments in the reforms agenda. CII would constitute State Task forces in AP, Delhi, Karnataka, J & K, Maharashtra and West Bengal to help improve efficiency and attract investors. The focus would be on facilitating e-commerce by using the CII IT network to help state departments to implement IT and e-governance.
Mr Bharat Ram said the CIIs initiatives would broadly cover areas such as R&D, technology and bio-informatics, focus on small and medium enterprises, privatisation of public sector enterprises, WTO services, corporate governance, competitiveness services, setting up of a services council, enabling state governments, initiatives in infrastructure, and financial sector reforms.
CIIs initiatives in R & D would include working with the industry, CSIR and R & D labs to raise awareness and spread the use of R&D, strengthen the patent office and setting up of an enterprise development fund to help R&D start ups.
In the small and medium enterprises sector, Mr Bharat Ram said that the year 2000-2001 would also see a major expansion of CIIs activities in the sector with the setting up of sub-contracting exchanges, an enterprise development fund and the SME-IT network.
Stressing that promoting competitiveness would be a core focus area, the President revealed that CII had undertaken the most detailed study ever done for the World Bank which involved firm-level analysis of competitiveness of 1200 companies in 8 industry sectors across 11 cities. A full-fledged and autonomous non-profit CII TQM Institute would also be set up in Chandigarh for providing more wide-reaching quality consulting for the industry, he added.
Spelling out the CIIs theme for 2000-2001 as new economy, old economy: moving ahead together , Mr Bharat Ram said there should be no clash between the old and new economy. Both are important, interdependent and complimentary to each other, he said adding the CII initiative will be to transform the old economy into knowledge driven economy by embracing and leveraging tools of new economy.
Mr Bharat Ram gave CII
projections for the Indian economy for the year 2000-2001
as: GDP growth : around 7 per cent with Agricultural
Growth: 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent, Industrial Growth 8.5
per cent, Services Growth 9 per cent, WPI - based
inflation: 5.5 per cent to 6 per cent etc.
Vajpayee to lay stone of oil refinery
NEW DELHI, May 13 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would lay the foundation stone of an ambitious oil refinery to be built in the port city of Paradeep in Orissa at an estimated cost of Rs 8,300 crore.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met Petroleum Minister Ram Naik here to finalise the programme for the foundation laying ceremony, tentatively scheduled for May 23 or 24, State Government sources here said today.
The project of the Indian oil Corporation would have a capacity of nine million tonnes per annum.
Patnaik also met Human
Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and
demanded setting up of branches of the Indian Institute
of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management,
besides an Institute of Information Technology in the
Cabinet clears decks for IT Bill
NEW DELHI, May 13 (PTI) Union Cabinet today cleared the decks for passage of the Information Technology Bill by approving changes, including punitive measures to combat cyber crime, based on recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
The Bill, introduced in Parliament last December to provide a framework for electronic commerce, is likely to come up for consideration during the ongoing Budget session, sources said.
Grain prices stable
NEW DELHI, May 13 (PTI) The prices moved in a limited range on the grains and pulses market today on small alternate bouts of trading and held unchanged.
Marketmen said arrival and offtake was at a low ebb which also reduced the volume of business.
Tight money market was another reason for restricted trading activities.
The following were todays quotations per quintal:
Grains: Wheat desi 647-697, wheat (MP) 900-1030, wheat dara 635-640, chakki atta (90 kg) 650, roller mill atta (90 kg) 595-605, maida 680-690, sooji 730-735, rice basmati (Lal Mahal) 5300, rice basmati (Lal Quila) 4800, rice basmati common 2300-2850, rice IR-8 850-875, permal raw 950-1100, kabli gram 2100-2700, peas white 1000-1150, peas green 1010-1060, bajra 590-630, jowar yellow 530-585, jowar white 940-1000, maize 600-650, barley 550-650 and gowar white 1100-1200.
Pulses: Urad 1925-2300,
dal 2300-2350, urad dhoya 2450-2700, moong 2070-2120, dal
2220-2520, moong dhoya 2250-2550, masoor 1330-1500, dal
1850-1950, malka masoor 2000-2300, moth 1800-1900, dal
moth 2220-2420, dal 2525-2925, arhar 1675-1900, dal
2100-2400, rajma (chitra) 1750-2200, rajma (Lal)
1575-1875, gram kabli 1800-2200, gram 1325-1400, gram dal
1475-1675, besan (70 kg) 1410.
by K.R. Wadhwaney
Tough time for AI during Haj
JUST as Indian Airlines has to operate flights to the North-East sector to fulfil its social responsibilities, Air India has to operate flights for Hajis to Jeddah and back every year. As there are directional imbalances planes return empty after dropping Hajis, the operation is not a revenue-earning exercise.
Air India is expected to provide several other facilities to passengers on these chartered flights. In Jeddah many unforeseen problems crop up. The main problem is lodging and boarding. Bills are not cleared promptly. Air India and Indian Embassy face needless criticism.
There were about 60,000 pilgrims this year. Of Rs 30,000 fare fixed by the Government, each Haji pays only Rs 12,000 while the rest is contributed by the Government and the Central Haji Committee.
As many as 189 flighs are operated for about a month. Six wide-bodied aircraft are obtained by Air India on lease. Air India also operates its own aircraft to clear backlog.
During the Haj period, Air Indias schedule often gets disrupted without much gain. They are provided facility for carrying baggage more than 20 kgs. When the Haj flights are in operation, the departure lounge is transformed into the old Delhi railway station. But AI ground staff has to be complimented for showing patience and take adequate care in handling the rush.
A few years ago, lodging bills were not cleared and there were numerous problems faced by Air India. Luckily, this years operations have gone through without much problem, thanks to careful handling by Air India at Indira Gandhi International Airport as also at Jeddah.
Prior to the commencement of operation, an unforeseen problem surfaced as the Income tax Department wanted that Air India should deduct tax at source while making payment to Mido Aviation, a company which had leased the aircraft. This situation arose because the leasing company had not paid tax last year.
Haj operations have been
conducted for years. But there are several areas which
remain unattended to. This is because several agencies
involved in this mammoth exercise delay in taking
decisions well in advance. The meetings are held but
vital decisions are deferred.
by Praful R. Desai
Q: While holding the punishment to the disproportionate to the misconduct, HC imposed no punishment. Is this permissible?
Ans: In Depot Manager, A.P.S.R.T.C. v Basha P. (2000-I LLJ 791) the SC opined thus:
The grievance of the Corporation was, whereas the HC had purported to modify the punishment, holding that the punishment was disproportionate to the misconduct, it had in fact, imposed no punishment whatsoever.
On the other hand, the grievance of the workman is that earlier the HC had remanded the matter specifically directing the Labour Court to frame and decide the issue as to the validity of the domestic enquiry held against the workman but the Labour Court had not framed or addressed that issue and the HC too has failed to take notice thereof.
The SC opined at the outlet that there is merit in the grievances of either side.
There undoubtedly was a direction to the Labour Court to decide whether the domestic enquiry against the workman had been proper. The Labour Court did not render a finding therein and, in the order under challenge, the HC failed to notice that the Labour Court had not, in fact, complied with its earlier direction. The SC assumed for the purposes of this appeal that the punishment imposed upon the workman was disproportionate to the misconduct, although the HC have given no reason at all for so holding. Even so, it was necessary for the HC to discuss, what, in its view, was an appropriate punishment. It was not open to the HC while purporting to modify the punishment, to impose no punishment whatsoever, asserted the SC.
In these circumstances,
the SC set aside the order of the HC and restored the
Writ petition to the file of the SC, to be heard and
disposed of afresh. This should be done by judges other
than the two learned judges who passed the order under
challenge. In deciding the Writ petition, the order under
challenge shall not be taken into account, but the
present order of the SC shall be taken into account.
by Pushpa Girimaji
Never forget to collect cash receipt
A cash receipt is the most important proof of purchase. Yet, consumers do not demand and collect a receipt when they buy a product.
Sometime in 1994, as part of a broader survey on the functioning of consumer courts, the Indian Institute of Public Administration undertook a study on consumer behaviour in the selection and purchase of consumer goods. As expected, the study revealed that consumers who bothered so much about the price of a product however never demanded and collected a cash memo after paying for it. Six years hence there is no change in this behaviour. While in some cases, consumers prefer not to take a receipt in order to save on payment of sales tax, in most cases, they do not insist on it because they do not realise the importance of that small piece of paper. In fact members of consumer courts constituted under the Consumer Protection Act say that in innumerable cases, consumers have not been able to get redress before the courts only because they do not even have this basic piece of evidence.
A member of a District Forum in Delhi sometime ago recalled the case of a defective pair of shoes filed before the court. On perusal of the case sheet, the court found that the complainant did not have any receipt to show when, where or from whom he had purchased the pair. Fortunately, the shoe was new and it had the seal of the manufacturer as well as the retailer and so the court directed the retailer to replace the pair. But then, as the member pointed out, it may not be possible to prove the complaint so easily in every case without the cash memo.
Last week for example, a reader complained about a defective air conditioner supplied to her and wanted to know how to go about filing a complaint before a consumer court. As soon as I mentioned the cash receipt, she said she did not have one. It had never occurred to her to demand and get one. Nor had she got a warranty card. It was a locally assembled air conditioner and did not carry any brand name or the address of the person who had supplied it. I asked her if she had paid by cheque and she said part of the payment was by cash and the rest by cheque, but here again, the supplier had asked her to give a self cheque and she had obliged. So there was no proof of purchase at all. I then asked her to go back to the supplier and see if she could collect at least now, a receipt from him or else write a letter, detailing the problems she had faced with the air conditioner. If he bothered to reply, it would at least confirm the sale and installation of the air conditioner by him.
So whenever you buy goods, demand and collect the receipt without fail. Remember: The shopkeeper is not doing you a favour by giving you one. And make sure that the receipt has the name and full address of the dealer and his signature. And ensure that the receipt gives all the relevant details about the product that you have purchased. If it has a brand name, it should be mentioned. So also the batch number and the model, the size or the capacity, etc.. If it is a television set, for example, it is not adequate to say just TV or CTV. It should specify the model, the size of the screen, etc. Similarly, a bill for an air conditioner should mention whether it is a window or a split air conditioner and whether it is a two-ton AC or a 1.5 ton AC. You should also keep the advertisements/pamphlets issued by the manufacturer or the dealer about the product because if it does not measure up to it, then under the Consumer Protection Act, it becomes a defective product. You must also collect without fail, the warranty card, duly stamped by the dealer, along with the date of purchase. And it is also always good to pay by account payee cheque.
If the product gives any
trouble and you have to call the companys service
centre, note down the complaint registration number and
the date on which the complaint is given. Again, when the
complaint is attended to, the company representative
gives you a receipt or a note specifying the nature of
the problem and the rectification undertaken, the date of
receiving the complaint and the date of repair. Read
these notes carefully and preserve them. He may ask you
to sign on a copy, expressing your satisfaction with the
repair work undertaken. If you are not happy with the
work, say so. If you have any other comment to make, put
it down in writing. In short, be assertive and protect
Balco pays Rs 17 cr interim
NEW DELHI, May 13 (PTI) Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd today paid an interim dividend of Rs 17 crore for 1999-2000 to Minister of Mines and Minerals P. Kumaramangalam.
Dr Reddys Lab signs pact
HYDERABAD, May 13 (PTI) Dr Reddys Laboratories and Australian-based Gribbles group of companies today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for establishing a network of 50 pathology laboratories and 200 specimen collection centres across the country. The laboratories, to be set up over a five-year period, will be computer-linked to one another and supported by the collection centres.
NIIT launches e-commerce
NEW DELHI, May 13 (PTI)
NIIT today announced the launch of its e-commerce
and Internet training programme Futurz
aimed at helping students gain an edge in the emerging
e-commerce world. The programme is aimed at giving
students an all-pervasive Internet orientation and 100
per cent computer time to study in NIIT Online computer
rooms where students can interact with each other and
have their queries answered online, besides appearing for
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