|Saturday, May 27, 2000,
Govt decides to privatise Air
Companies default on PF
decides to privatise Air India
NEW DELHI, May 26 (UNI, PTI) The Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment (CCD) today decided to reduce the governments holding in the loss-making international aviation carrier Air India to 40 per cent from 100 per cent.
The CCD has also decided to sell 40 per cent of equity to the strategic partners, including up to 26 per cent to foreign partners, Minister of State for Disinvestment Arun Jaitley told newspersons after the Cabinet meeting this evening.
The decision was a dilution of an earlier proposal to sell 40 per cent, which was opposed by Civil Aviation Minister Sharad Yadav at the last CCD meeting. That time the matter was referred to the Group of Ministers, which had submitted its report recently. The report was considered by the CCD at todays meeting.
The Minister said that 60 per cent shares of Air India would be sold to various groups, to individuals and domestic financial institutions.
Mr Jaitley said that the CCD has agreed to sell 10 per cent equity to domestic financial institutions as well as individuals and the balance 10 per cent will be offered to workers under the Employees Stock Option (ESOP) Scheme.
With this the controls of Indians in Air India will be 74 per cent, Mr Jaitley said.
The decision to sell the governments equity in Air India was taken after consideration of the Disinvestment Commissions recommendations, the minister said.
The disinvestment decision of the airline is expected to set in motion the much-required fleet replenishment process.
The CCD has also recommended the appointment of a global adviser to advise the Cabinet Committee on Disinvestments on details of the management plan.
The minister did not give any time frame under which the 60 per cent equity of Air India would be sold.
Defending the decision of selling up to 26 per cent equity to foreign partners, the minister said: The Indian holding at any point of time will be a minimum 74 per cent.
The disinvestment of Air India follows a tussle between the Civil Aviation, Finance and Disinvestment Ministries over the pattern of disinvestment.
Civil Aviation Minister Sharad Yadav expressed his reservation and was not happy with the Governments intention to sell 40 per cent of the airline to a foreign carrier. He was of the opinion that the control of Air India should be with Indians.
The government has constituted a group of ministers for considering the Electricity Bill 2000 to consolidate and amend the existing electricity Acts.
The group, constituted by the Prime Minister, will consider the proposals from the Ministry of Power for bringing in the Electricity Bill, 2000 that would consolidate and amend the existing electricity laws of the Indian Electricity Act of 1910, the Electricity (Supply) Act 1948 and the Electricity Regulatory Commissions Act, 1998, Power Minister P.R. Kumaramangalam said.
The group comprises Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission K.C. Pant, Power Minister, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Suresh Prabhu and Minister of State Planning and Programme Implementation Arun Shourie, official sources said.
The Electricity Bill 2000 is a revolution of sorts as the proposed new Act has a lot of foresight. After the approval of the group, the Bill would be taken to the Cabinet for its nod and then would be placed in Parliament during its monsoon session, Kumaramangalam said.
The Power Ministry had appointed the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) to prepare a draft legislation for the power sector.
The government today decided to allow payment of income tax through all computerised branches of public sector banks from August 1, official sources said.
Presently the facility is available only in a limited number of designated branches of nationalised banks. The sources said this was expected to help the income tax payers greatly.
The government is also considering to pay income tax refunds directly into the bank accounts of assesses provided they disclose their bank account numbers.
NEW DELHI, May 26 (PTI) Fortis Healthcare Ltd, floated by the late Dr Parvinder Singh of Ranbaxy Laboratories, is planning to acquire healthcare units in speciality health segments like orthopaedics and neurology.
We are looking at acquisitions of healthcare units in speciality segments like orthopaedics and neurology to make a foray into these segments, Harpal Singh, Chairman, Fortis Healthcare, told PTI.
Fortis is setting up a superspeciality heart institute at Mohali, near Chandigarh, at an investment of Rs 155 crore.
He said the company is focussed only on speciality healthcare segments and is eyeing segments like orthopaedics and neurology other than cardiology for growth.
Asked how Fortis would fund its acquisition programme, he said the company was looking at various options including raising funds from the capital markets.
The company was also talking to US-based cardiology institutes for entering into a collaborative relationship for introducing high quality cardiac care in the country and will finalise the tie-up by June-end.
We are in talks with the leading cardiology centres in the USA like Johns Hopkins for entering into a collaborative relationship but without an equity partnership, he said.
As a part of the expansion of Fortis Heart Institute, the company will set up six medical centres in north India including Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Shimla to act as support centres for the heart institute, Singh said. These centres would be directly linked to the Mohali institute and would act as referral centres.
He said the company was looking at various options, including collaborative association with local entrepreneurs and doctors for setting up these centres.
shift Noida office
ROPAR, May 26 The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertiliser, through a communication, has directed the NFL management to shift its corporate office at Noida, to any of the operating units at Nangal, Panipat, Bathinda or Vijaypur.
The NFL authorities say the decision has been taken due to the diminishing profits and the high establishment cost of maintaining the office at Noida.
However, the immediate reason for this decision is stated to be Rs 3 crore penalty slapped by the Noida development authority, on the NFL, for not utilising the entire area allocated to them.
The net profit of NFL has decreased from Rs 189 crore in 1997-98 to just Rs 11 crore in 1999-2000. There are about 400 employees in the corporate of NFL at Noida and the cost of maintaining them there runs in crores.
The NFL management is now considering the option of selling off its corporate office. The NTPC has already offered Rs 80 crore to NFL for its corporate office building.
The elegant corporate office building at Noida was brought up by the NFL management a few years ago at a cost of Rs 40 crore despite that it owns another spacious building in New Delhi.
According to sources, the entire corporate office of NFL might be shifted to Nangal. The NFL Naya Nangal unit is being considered as an ideal place for shifting the corporate office, due to adequate infrastructure available in this unit. The well-furnished colony and the plant of the NFL at Naya Nangal, are spread over about 3600 acres.
Moreover, 300 persons are going to retire with immediate effect in this unit of NFL, after the refixing of the retirement age to 58 years. The NFL board has already given consent to refixing age. The case is now pending with the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers for final consent.
Earlier after the decision of the Cabinet Committee to implement the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) in all the Public Sector Units, the NFL management had presented their case to the ministry for the implementation of this scheme.
The ministry had them asked to first refix retirement age to 58 years, before the implementation of the VRS. This was done to deny the benefits of VRS to those who are on extension after increase in retirement age.
The sources now say that the refixation of the retirement age was being delayed by the ministry, to include the board members in this refixation of retirement age.
Since the government appoints the board members the present decision of refixation of retirement age, is not applicable to them.
The sources also revealed that due to the shifting of the corporate office most of the employees there are now considering to opt for VRS.
in tax Ordinance
CHANDIGARH, May 26 Even as the industry in Haryana is up in arms against the imposition of the Local Area Development Tax (LADT), taxation experts have found a loophole in the Ordinance through which the controversial tax was imposed.
The experts say that if big manufacturers take the benefit of the loophole, they can minimise the impact of the LADT.
The LADT has been imposed at the rate of 4 per cent on raw material imported by the manufacturers from outside the State. It can be off set to the extent the manufacturers pay scales tax on goods sold within Haryana. But those manufacturers who transfer their goods either on consignment basis or transfer the goods to their branches outside the State, cannot escape the liability of the LADT.
The industry asserts that with the imposition of the LADT, it has come under double taxation. Since it has to pay 4 per cent Central Sales Tax (CST) on the raw material imported from outside Haryana, now the industry will have to shell out 8 per cent tax on the imported raw material, which will make the finished products uncompetitive. Haryana market is not big enough to consume the entire production of the States industry, which has to export the goods outside the state.
The experts point out that the Ordinance levies the LADT on manufacturers but not the traders. The big manufacturers can ask their suppliers of the raw material to open their branches within Haryana and supply the goods within the State.
Of course the manufacturers, in that case, will have to pay 5 per cent purchase tax. They will not only save 3 per cent on the CST and the LADT combine but can also adjust the purchase tax against the sales tax payable by them.
Meanwhile, a delegation of the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by its President, Mr Manmohan Singhal, met the Haryana Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Raj Kumar, and pointed to him that the LADT ordinance violated the decision taken by the high-power Cabinet subcommittee on December 8 last that the entry tax would affect only those units which sold their goods through their offices located outside the State. No other units were to be hit by it.
The delegation, which
included, among others, the chambers senior
Vice-President, Mr N.C. Jain, said in case of several
products, like agricultural implements, which were
exempted from sales tax, the manufacturers would have to
pay the LADT making their products costlier. In this case
the manufacturers would not be able to off set the LADT
against the sales tax. It also demanded that all goods
exported outside the state should be exempted from the
MUMBAI, May 26 (PTI) The rupee ended sharply lower against the US currency at the interbank foreign exchange (forex) market here today following sustained heavy dollar demand from corporates and importers, despite the central banks measures to arrest the slide.
The Indian unit closed at Rs 44.36/38 per dollar, steeply lower from overnight closing levels of Rs 44.10/15 after trading in a broad range of Rs 44.0900 and Rs 44.3900 in fairly volatile business. The rupee opened at Rs 44.06/09.
Persistent hectic dollar demand continued to exert severe pressure on the rupee, as the dollar demand/supply imbalances took a further heavy toll in the rupee value, inspite of the Reserve Bank of Indias (RBI) overnight measures to contain the slide of the Indian currency, dealers said.
The rupee opened on a
stable note around Rs 44.06/09, but immediately fell to
Rs 44.17/20 and then tumbled down to Rs 44.28/31 in late
morning deals. It then stabilised around Rs 44.30/33 in
the afternoon and steadily declined to Rs 44.36/38 at the
default on PF deposits
LUDHIANA, May 26 A number of companies in Ludhiana, including some big industrial houses, have been found defaulting when it comes to deposit their share of provident fund in employees account with the Resident Provident Fund Commissioner.
Well placed sources told TNS here that the list of defaulters included some big names like Punjab Woolcombers of the Malwa group, Rita Mechanical, the manufacturers of Rita Sewing Machines, and Kohinoor Woollen Mills. The outstanding dues run into lakhs.
Officials of the Regioinal Provident Fund office have already initiated action against several defaulting units. During the last financial year, a penalty of Rs 67 lakh was imposed on 314 defaulting units for late payment.
There are about five lakh Provident Fund account holders in Ludhiana from over 4,000 units. Although most of the units deposit the provident fund amount of the employees regularly on time, a number of unis have defaulted. Obviously this goes on without the knowledge of the unsuspecting employees. Some units have not been depositing even the amount deducted from the employees salary on account of PF.
Big industrial houses with a huge turnover at times also fail to deposit the employees PF on time. Sources said the only remedy to this problem can be the vigilance by the employees themselves. Otherwise it is very difficult to monitor the deposits of about five lakh account holders of over 4,000 units that are covered under the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Act.
Officials of the Provident Fund Commissionarate organise regular yearly inspections of the units. Proceedings are launched against the defaulters under Section 7 A of the EPF Act. At times, recovery of the pending amount is effected after initiating action against the defaulters under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code. This may include arrest and attachment of defaulters property.
The official of the
Resident Provident Fund Commissioner also receives
regular complaints on the basis of which assessment of
defaulting units is made. The list of 10 top defaulters
is notified in the beginning of the year and is given
full publicity. On an average about 5,000 cases of
different nature are settled by the Resident
Commissioners office in a month here.
PATIALA, May 26 Development projects to the tune of Rs 16,500 crore have been brought to Punjab in the last two years by the SAD-BJP combine with assistance from the Central Government.
This was announced by Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, while addressing employees of Escorts Goetze company at Bahadurgarh, near here, today.
Fear strikes bazaars
KARACHI: The busy bazaars of Pakistans commercial capital are sombre and semi-deserted on the eve of a government sweep to bring a $ 60 black economy into the tax net.
Look at the shops down there, said Abdul Rasheed, a wholesaler of imported ropes at Jodia Bazaar, pointing towards an alley almost devoid of buyers or business.
There used to be only heads there, and look at it now. Can you imagine this is the same market? Rasheed said.
Rasheed and other traders in the countrys largest commodity market said that buyers were staying away because the sellers have run down whats on display before the Army arrives tomorrow to conduct an unprecedented tax survey.
They hope that with less stock, their tax burden will be smaller.
The bazaar is usually crowded with carts full of items ranging from rice to metal, but many were idle in the run-up to the weekend survey, which the military-led government is determined to conduct.
The survey is the first step to documenting an economy that is almost equal to a gross domestic product of $ 60 billion in a country where the tax-to-gdp ratio is 13 per cent, one of the lowest in the world. Reuters
WASHINGTON: The party is over for weak dot.com companies after the battering in the stock market.
Venture capitalists or angels who would pour money into any start-up dot.com company are getting more choosy now, looking towards the present bottomline and future prospects if any, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
As a result, many web companies which could count on venture capitalists pouring in more money whenever the coffers ran dry now find that web investors are in brutal triage mode, on the lookout for losers and cutting off their cash.
Get ready for a pileup of corpses in the land of dot.coms, it said.
Earlier this week, Walt Disney Co. shut down Toymart Inc, an online toy start-up in which it owned a majority stake.
The failed companies include Craft Shop.com, a Connecticut-based retailer of craft supplies, which has sought bankruptcy court protection after its backers decided to withhold a promised second round of funding. PTI
NEW DELHI: Captain Devi Sharan, Commander of the Indian Airlines plane that was hijacked from Kathmandu on December 24, has been honoured with the Safe Skies Award by the World Development Federation.
The $ 10,000 award was presented to IC-814s pilot during the global super projects conference in Atlanta on Wednesday.
The Indian Airlines Commander won the award for showing extraordinary coolness and courage in life-or-death circumstances. It was instituted by the McKinley Conway World Development Foundation to recognise extraordinary efforts to protect air travellers from acts of terrorists.
The award truly belongs to all my colleagues and the passengers who collectively showed exemplary fortitude and courage against adversity. All of us in the aviation industry and millions of passengers whom we, the pilots, fly worldwide, live in the shadow of hijacking threat. Hijacking is an international crime which the world should be one in condemning on unequivocal terms, Capt Sharan said after receiving the award. UNI
SYDNEY: Media Tycoon Kerry Packer has again overwhelmed his rivals to remain Australias richest man, adding 1.8 billion Australian dollars (one billion dollars) to his net worth in 1999, a survey of the countrys top fortunes showed.
Packer rode high above the rest to post personal wealth of 8.2 billion Australian dollars, with Westfield Holdings Ltd property developer Frank Lowy in second place with 2.8 billion Australian dollars, the Business Review weekly magazine said.
The annual list of
Australias richest welcomed 40 newcomers, more than
half from the volatile technology sector, although the
magazine said a pack of wanna-bes missed out
after the recent stock market belting of high tech
HDFC to launch mutual fund
NEW DELHI, May 26 (PTI) HDFC today said it will foray into mutual fund segment by launching three schemes on July 1.
We will be launching three schemes to begin with, HDFC managing Director Deepak Satawalekar told PTI here adding that the schemes will be in the form of equity, balanced and fixed income funds.
HDFC has tied up with Standard Life Plc for the Asset Management Company (MAC), where the foreign partner will hold 26 per cent, Satawalekar said.
Krone Com ties up with ITI
BANGALORE, May 26 (PTI) Krone Communications Ltd, today announced a strategic tie-up with Telecom major ITI for marketing its cabling and connection systems to address the large enterprise networking market. Krone, which in recent years had diversified into the growing voice and data markets in India, and ITI would jointly address vast opportunity in the high-end networking market, top executives of the two companies told reporters.
Nicholas, Banner sign MoU
MUMBAI, May 26 (PTI) Nicholas Pirmal India Ltd and Banner Pharmacaps (India) Pvt Ltd have signed a memorandum of understanding for manufacturing several of the formers products such as soft gelatine capsules.
Banner Pharmacaps is reputed for its innovation and high quality standards and is also known for producing innovative drug delivery systems for clients, company President and Managing Director Vikram Tannan said.
Asiana Hotels net down 22.5 pc
NEW DELHI, May 26 (UNI)
Reflecting the downtrend in the tourism sector,
Asian Hotels Limited has recorded a 22.57 per cent
decline in net profit for the 1999-2000 fiscal at Rs
36.15 crore as against Rs 46.69 crore a year ago. The
companys sales for the year stood at Rs 115.88
crore, down 14.76 per cent from Rs 135.95 crore in the
CHANDIGARH, May 26 Millennium Group of Companies (ISO 9002) launched here yesterday Millennium range of Personal Computers for Punjab, Haryana & Himachal after the first Millennium Channel Partner Meet which was addressed by Branch Office Director Harmeet Singh.
NEW DELHI, May 26 Surya Herbal Limited, a new venture from Surya Roshni and Surya Soft-tech, was launched here today by the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani. The herbal unit will produce a large number of traditional herbal medicines.
NEW DELHI, May 26 Mahindra & Mahindra today launched the first of its series of new generation horizon tractors, the Mahindra Arjun 605 Di (60 hp). The new tractor has an all-new 60HP engine developed with the latest international technology from AVL, Australia.
MUMBAI, May 26 (PTI) State Bank of India Chairman G.G. Vaidya today met RBI Governor Bimal Jalan and handed over a cheque for Rs 78.58 crore, being the interim dividend for 1999-2000 on the equity held by the APEK bank in SBI.
CHANDIGARH, May 26 Applogic Systems Limited developing a package for dental doctors and a package for the ISP (Internet service providers) billing system. The companys B2B portal helps farmers sell their products directly in global markets and procure required materials.
CHANDIGARH, May 26
The following have been elected unanimously the
office-bearers of the Derabassi Industries Association:
President Mr. Shanti Lal Sethia; Sr. Vice
President Mr Ashok Goyal; Vice President
Mr. Vijay Singla; General Secretary Mr. Rakesh
Rattan Aggarwal; Joint Secretary Mr. Vivek Gupta
and Finance Secretary Mr Rajiv Aggarwal.
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