|Wednesday, May 31, 2000,
Export target pegged at 18%
What keeps investors at bay
NEW DELHI, May 30 (PTI) Buoyed by surging exports in recent months,the government has fixed an 18 per cent growth target for 2000-01, Commerce and Industry Minister Murasoli Maran said today.
Though I had said that we would aim at a 20 per cent growth while releasing the exim policy, we have now fixed an 18 per cent growth target as the gem and jewellery sector after a high growth rate of 30 per cent last year is expected to grow by only 12 per cent, he told reporters.
Despite a lower 12 per cent growth of gem and jewellery, we are confident of an 18 per cent growth as textiles, which account for one-third of the countrys total exports, is expected to post a high 28 per cent, he said.
The countrys exports growth in 1999-2000 was a little over the targeted 11.5 per cent at 37.53 billion dollars.
Commerce Secretary P P Prabhu said the surge in exports this year would be mainly on account of projected growth of over 21 per cent in engineering and chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
With the firming up of international prices of iron ore, the government expected 100 per cent growth in shipments this year which could go up to 500 million dollars.
Textiles exports, which recorded 16 per cent growth in 1999-2000, are expected to surge ahead by 28 per cent this year due to increased yarn exports.
Though the Textiles Ministry is confident of achieving a 28 per cent growth, we have asked them to have a re-look as the Commerce Ministry considered the growth projection slightly over-ambitious, Prabhu said.
As part of efforts to enhance the countrys textiles exports to the European Union, in a telephonic conversation with EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, Maran sought a higher export quota of 8000 tonnes under the exceptional flexibility quota.
The minister said an EU delegation would visit India from June 7 to 9 to resolve the issue.
Prabhu said the gems and
jewellery exports grew by an unusually high 30 per cent
last year because of millennium demand and sustaining
that high growth was not possible and hence pegged the
target lower at 12 per cent for 2000-01.
develops website for doctor
Chandigarh, May 30 Harman Singh saw little light at the end of tunnel when he met with an accident four years ago which paralysed him neck downwards.
But today the 26-year-old graduate from Chandigarh has been able to fight the odds, thanks to a cosmetic surgeon. And it is out of gratefulness to this doctor that he has created a website, plasticsurgery chandigarh.com, which has links to over 500 related sites across the globe.
It took me about 90 hours to develop the website which is a tribute to Dr V.D. Singh who saved my life. I did not charge him for my services. But he paid the hosting charges and other related expenses, he said.
It was sheer determination and, of course, inspiration from Dr V.D. Singh that led Harman, who initially knew nothing about computers, to create the site.
Harmans struggle began in 1996 when three months before he was to leave for Canada he met with a road accident in Himachal. It not only paralysed Singh but also mutilated his face.
Harman recalls: I was aware of only my brain and my hands, which were only slightly affected by paralysis, and my wheelchair,
The car accident left me rejected by society and I was resigned to my fate, says Harman.
Then he came across cosmetic surgeon V.D. Singh who operated on his face to make it as good as it was before and also inspired him to forge ahead despite his ailment.
Says the doctor, I wanted to reinforce a sense of confidence in Harman and seeing his determination, I gave him the idea of designing a website for plastic surgery. He accepted the challenge and we started working towards designing the site. The idea clicked and the process worked like a treatment and he started recovering at a faster pace.
Harmans father, Ajaib Singh Sandhu, a retired librarian, was confident about his sons will power. Last year they managed to raise a loan of Rs. 1,50,000 to meet the growing computer related requirements of his son. Now, Harman requires the services of additional hands to help him meet the growing requirements of his work.
Harman now works for
more than 14 hours every day on designing websites and
downloading programmes which will help him build a
career. Harmans site has answers to many frequently
asked questions about plastic surgery, details of defects
and their management, pre and post operative photographs
and free e-mail consultations with the cosmetic surgeon.
NEW DELHI, May 30 (PTI) Prime Ministers Office (PMO) today dismissed as baseless and highly speculative reports in a section of the Press that Atal Behari Vajpayee had pulled up Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha on allegations of capital gains tax evasion by foreign institutional investors using the Mauritius route for investment in India.
A PMO spokesman told PTI that Sinha had met Mr Vajpayee on May 27 and had referred to the allegations of capital gains tax evasion by the FIIS.
Sinha told the Prime Minister that he would file a defamation suit against those levelling such allegations maligning him and his family members.
Meanwhile in Chicago, Sinha described as mischievous reports that the Prime Minister had directed him to clarify his Ministrys position on the allegations.
CPI(M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury demanded to know from Sinha whether it was not a fact that India Fund, incorporated in the U.S.A, in which Sinhas daughter-in-law Puneeta Sinha is an investment manager, routes all its investments through Mauritius to take advantage of DTAA.
MUMBAI, May 30 (PTI) The rupee clocked a new record low closing quote of Rs 44.56/57 per dollar at the interbank foreign exchange (forex) market today, as steady month-end demand for the US currency continued to exert severe pressure on the Indian unit.
Sustained dollar demand from corporates and importers for month-end considerations amidst reduced supplies pushed the rupee down by another seven paise following its overnight sharp 13 paise decline.
Opening around Rs 44.51/52 per dollar, the rupee gradually dipped to intraday lows of Rs 44.58/59, before settling at Rs 44.56/57 at the close, as dollar demand continued to pressurise the rupee.
Persistent light dollar demand from corporates and importers steadily eroded the rupee value and pushed it down to fresh record lows but the forex spot market was fairly stable and devoid of excessive speculation, dealers said.
Dollar supplies were limited because exporters were withholding repatriation of export proceeds in the hope of getting a better bargain later, which in turn put further pressure on the rupee, they added.
The pressure on the rupee continues and it is difficult to hazard a guess as to where the levels of the Indian currency will stabilise in the absence of central bank intervention in support of the rupee. Importers were covering their open positions bit by bit, while dollar supplies have nearly dried up, a forex dealer commented.
NEW DELHI: Hyundai Motors India Ltd and Daewoo Motors India Ltd have submitted an undertaking before the MRTPC that they will not issue any advertisement making comparative statement disparaging the cars of each other.
Stating this in its order, an MRTPC bench comprising two members - Sardar Ali and R L Sudhir - said: We highly appreciate the agreement and statement made by both parties that in the larger interest of the public, both the parties undertake not to issue any advertisement ... till the next date of hearing.
The bench said: With these observations, the application of the complainant stands disposed of with a leave to move an appropriate application in the light of the statement made by the respondent (Daewoo Motors) that they have not given any authority to publish the impugned statement/advertisement.
The commission directed the case to be listed for consideration of the application of the complainant as well as consideration of the main petition on issuance of notice of enquiry on July 10, 2000.
The MRTPC bench further directed to file an application within two weeks to implead the publisher of the impugned statement/advertisement. PTI
Maruti to raise Rs 300 crore
ICRA has assigned the highest rating for the coming Rs 300 crore borrowing plan of Maruti Udyog.
The agency has assigned LAAA rating to the Rs 200 crore long term non-convertible debenture programme and A1 plus rating to the Rs 100 crore commercial paper programme of the domestic car maker.
ICRA, however, did not gave the timing or the interest rates of the issue.
Both ratings indicate highest safety and take into account MULs large production base, efficient capacity utilisation and capital cost advantage arising out of depreciated plants, an ICRA statement said here.
The ratings also factor increased competition in the domestic car market, which led to a decline in MULs market share and profits over the last two years.
ICRA expects competition to intensify further in the future, which could lead to further decline in the MULs market share and keep its margins under pressure, it said.
Responding to the emerging scenario, MUL has taken steps which include a series of new car launches, increasing emphasis on spare part sales, increasing service network and continuous indigensation effort. PTI
Fiat cuts prices of spare parts
Fiat India Automobiles on Tuesday announced an average 30 per cent reduction in its spare parts prices in a bid to boost sales of Uno and Siena models. The company has dropped the prices of most essential parts by an average 30 per cent to make the cars more affordable and to bring down the cost of ownership of these models, Fiat India Commercial Director Enrico Ferrero said in Delhi.
The oft-used parts
include wiper blades, wiper arm, timing belt (both petrol
and diesel), cylinder head gasket, oil filter and fuses.
The company has slashed the price tag of fuses for both
Uno and Siena by 83 per cent and of Uno wiper blade by 66
per cent. The price of timing belt for Siena has been
trimmed by 61 per cent and of exhaust pipe (petrol) by 54
per cent. UNI
investors at bay
NEW DELHI, May 30 Policy glitches in key infrastructure sectors like power, telecom, transportation, roads, energy and urban infrastructure have dampened foreign investors interest in India, with FDI inflow after a decade of liberalisation remaining miniscule of $ 20.2 billion, said Assocham.
Policy impediments are restricting FDI flows into India in the telecom sector, the chamber said, and there is a need to formulate a clear-headed policy. The unceremonious exit of the telecom regulator after protracted conflict with the Department of Telecom and continuing preference in official circles for using telecom as a means of maximising short-term revenues for the government through high licence fees have hindered the flow of funds to the sector.
In oil and gas, there
exists a distorted price regime, full of irrational
subsidies. There is no decision yet on infrastructure
status for pipeline projects and only limited foreign
participation allowed in downstream units.
small man with big ideas
Sohrab (Soli to his friends) Godrej, who passed away the other day, was a rare kind of Indian businessman. He was a businessman who cared, not just about his business but about the country as a whole. He was concerned about the lack of progress and our continuing social backwardness. If we are going to make a smooth transition from a largely public sector-led, command economy to a market economy, the country needs more businessmen in his mould. He did not have the flamboyance or charisma of the late and legendary J.R.D. Tata. He was short in stature and self-effacing. But both men shared much the same values. Great values.
Briefly, these were that business was more than just making money. It included concern for the common man and his welfare, concerns which included issues like the environment and population stabilisation. The noble concept of trusteeship permeated both J.R.D. Tata and Sohrab Godrej, a concept that Mahatma Gandhi fostered.
A trustee has no heir but the public, Gandhi used to say. As B.K. Karanjia points out in his excellent book on the Godrej family, Ardeshir, the uncle of Sohrab, who established the Godrej empire on a firm footing, went a step ahead of Andrew Carnegie, the American who first spelt out the gospel of trusteeship of wealth. While Carnegie left what remained of his fortune to his wife, Ardeshir gave everything away. He did not believe that wealth should be inherited or bequeathed. Such beliefs may not be practical in this day and age, but they indicate how his mind worked.
There was also considerable emphasis in both the Tata and the Godrej family in aiding charitable work and funding research institutes. As much as 32 per cent of the profits of the Godrej companies go to various philanthropic causes.
The Tatas and the Godrejs are Parsis, a community known for helping others, not only their own community. It is rare to see a Parsi beggar. Good thoughts, good words and good deeds are also fundamental to the Zoroastrian faith. Which explains why Parsis are widely trusted as a community and known for their integrity. Banks in Mumbai, for instance, employ a large number of Parsis.
Sadly, some of these wonderful traits are missing in Hinduism. Except for the Ramakrishna mission, there are no significant Hindu organisations which do charitable or social work. Perhaps because of the caste system, charity has not been an integral part of the Hindu ethos.
Whats more, hardly any of the leading Hindu business houses are known for giving a substantial part of their profits for philanthropic causes. The Birlas, for instance, were at one time, easily the biggest business house in India. However, except for setting up an Institute of Technology, they did little outside their immediate business concerns. Yes, they have built a lot of temples but few temples of modern India, as Jawaharlal Nehru labelled the Bhakra Nangal Dam. They could have done so much more with the wealth that they possessed. The same is true of the Ambanis.
Hopefully, the new generation of Indian industrialists will be different. What saved American capitalism from degenerating into a crass money-making machine, with no redeeming features, was the fact that many of the most prominent American capitalists were also big philanthropists, setting up foundations, trusts, research centres and universities, such as the Rockefellers, the Carnegies and the Ford family.
The late Vasant Sheth, who built the Great Eastern Shipping Company into one of Indias leading business houses, was one of the few exceptions in this country. He was a visionary who looked beyond his immediate business concerns. It was no coincidence that he was close to both the Godrej family and the Tatas.
In fact, I first met Sohrab Godrej at the house of Vasant Sheth. We had a common interest in the population problem, which was an abiding concern of his, as it was with J.R.D. Tata. Both men had direct access to whichever Prime Minister was in power Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai and Rajiv Gandhi. Both tried to impress on each Prime Minister the urgency of tackling the exploding population of the country, 340 million at Independence and over one billion now.
Without stabilising population growth, there could be little progress, they argued. But to little avail. Sohrab Godrej gave substantial donations to the Family Planning Association of India and was for a long time head of the World Wildlife Fund in India.
I last met Sohrab only a
few days before he passed away, at a farewell party for
the outgoing French Ambassador. Sohrab was about to go on
a trip abroad, to attend a meeting connected with one of
his many passions. Though 88 years old, his mind was as
alert and active as ever, full of ideas and plans. When I
read in the papers that he had suddenly died in London
after a brief illness, I shed a silent tear for a man who
was full of compassion, and who, despite his wealth,
lived simply, yet thought grandly.
NEW DELHI: TAIT Electronics of New Zealand is launching an innovative two-way radio communication taxi service in Delhi using the Automatic Vehicle Location System (AVLS) and the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) through Mega Corporation Ltd.
The Mega Cab service will start its operations in the Capital by June-end with a fleet of 500 luxury cars says Mega Corporations Chairman Kunal Lalani.
Mega will run only CNG Cielo mid-size cars for the service which will cater to Delhi and its surrounding areas including Faridabad and Ghaziabad.
The taxis will be connected via satellite to the main control room where the tracking and communication will be done. Whenever a person makes a call at a centralised number for a taxi, the control room with the help of GPS based vehicle tracking and computer aided dispatch will send the nearest available taxi to the customer.
The AVLS and GPS systems allows the central control room to speak to the driver and even control the speed of the car in case of an emergency.
We are planning to set up interactive kiosks at the airports, railway stations and major market centres, Lalani said. Daewoo and Maruti Udyog will train drivers.
Mega Corporation is one of the six companies which have been given licences for running eco- friendly taxi service in the Capital.
We would also provide printed bills and credit card services in addition to tamper-proof electronic fare meters to make the service similar to the ones run in other developed countries, Lalani added. PTI
Plain-speaking by Army chief
NEW DELHI: The Chief of Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, has accused the bureaucracy whether in civil clothes or in uniform, of causing procedural impediments in defence production.
Addressing a CII meeting here on Tuesday, General Malik said there are two major hurdles. These are attitude or mindset and procedural impediments. Both are typical of our bureaucracy whether in civil clothes or in uniform.
The Army chief said lack of decentralisation of authority commensurate with delegated responsibility and accountability was another serious impediment. He called for a major reform in the government procurement procedure by reducing layers of decision-making and by integrating decision-making channels of the Ministry and Army Headquarters.
On the growing need of defence-industry partnership, the Army chief said: National defence is everybodys business: industrys as much as that of the military and the government. UNI
Why rent-free phones to em?
NEW DELHI: The move to distribute rent-free telephones to the staff of the Communication Ministry has drawn flak from an expert.
As a fall-out there might be a clamour for rent-free telephones from the staff of other departments like Civil Aviation, the Railways and Power, says P.K. Sandell, a telecom expert and Chairman of the Telecom Committee of Assocham.
Communication Minister Ram Vilas Paswan yesterday gave a twin bonanza for telecom employees: a rent free telephone and 70 days bonus for 1999-2000.
The announcement has coincided with the telecom service officers protesting the appointment of Vinod Vaish as the new Secretary of the Department of Telecom Services (DTS). UNI
Now Made in India
CHICAGO: What is the hottest Made in India item selling in the world market?
Indian professionals, according to Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha.
The comment on Monday night by the minister at a meeting of non-resident Indians (NRIs) drew laughter and cheers here.
A questioner had commented that first it was Made in Japan and then came Made in China. When will it change to Made in India, he asked.
Sinha said professionals across the world carried the Made in India stamp.
Recently, Germany had
decided to allow 20,000 professionals to work in the
country and everyone said most of them are going to be
Indians. So that is a major Made in India
contribution of the country, the Finance Minister said.
3:5 bonus by Asian Paints
MUMBAI, May 30 (UNI) The Board of Directors of Asian Paints today decided to issue bonus shares in the ratio of 3:5 (for every five equity shares held, the shareholder will get three shares). The bonus share offering would take the companys equity capital to Rs 66.86 crore from the current level of Rs 40.12 crore. The company had earlier announced and distributed dividend of Rs 10 per share (100 per cent) to its shareholders for the financial year ended March 31, 2000. The bonus resolution will be placed at the annual general meeting of the shareholders on July 12 and the Board will hold its meeting on July 24 to adopt and approve the proposed resolution.
Novartis India net up 38 pc
NEW DELHI, May 30 (UNI) Novartis India has recorded a 38.42 per cent in the net profit for 1999-2000 fiscal at Rs 103.4 crore as against Rs 74.7 crore a year ago. The companys sales for the year were Rs 824.4 crore, up 10.35 per cent from Rs 747.1 crore in the previous year. The companys Board has decided to treat the interim dividend of 150 per cent announced on March 27 as final dividend for the year.
Zee Tele picks up stake in Aplab
MUMBAI, May 30 (PTI) Zee Telefilms is picking up 26 per cent stake in Aplab Ltd, which is in hardware business supported by software technologies, as part of its strategic initiatives in convergence businesses. Aplab will allot its public listed shares to ZTL on a preferential basis at Rs 90 per share, aggregating to Rs 11.7 crore.
Rallis India net falls 10 pc
CALCUTTA, May 30 (UNI) Rallis India has registered a 10.40 per cent decline in the net profit during the financial year 1999-2000 at Rs 24.58 crore against Rs 27.47 crore last year. Net sales during the year increased to Rs 1432.51 crore from Rs 1256.19 crore, while other income came down to Rs 13.88 crore from 15.17 crore.
Satyam Info ties up with VeriSign
CHENNAI, May 30 (PTI) Satyam Infoway (Sify) today announced its partnership with VeriSign to provide managed digital certificate-based authentication services in India. This make Sify a member of VeriSighs Global Affiliate Network, a group of global service providers utilising common technology, operating practices and infrastructure to deliver interoperable trust services over the internet.
Computech nets Rs 16.81 cr
CALCUTTA, May 30 (UNI) Computech International has reported a higher net profit of Rs 16.81 crore during the fiscal 1999-2000 compared to Rs 10.63 in the previous fiscal. Income from operations during the year came down to Rs 72.36 crore from Rs 77.58 crore last year whereas other income increased to Rs 0.76 crore from Rs 0.51 crore.
Eicher net soars 103 pc
NEW DELHI, May 30 (PTI)
Eicher Motors today reported a 103 per cent jump
in the net profit to Rs 15.86 crore for 1999-2000 on a
turnover of Rs 352 crore and said it was investing Rs 100
crore in capacity expansion. The company is investing
over Rs 100 crore in its Pithampur plant to create an
integrated capacity of around 20,000 vehicles per annum.
CALCUTTA, May 30 (PTI) William S Pinckney has been appointed Amway Indias new MD and CEO following the resignation of Sudershan Banerjee. Pinckney, who was acting as Senior General Manager (distributor relations and marketing) of the company, took over as the new head on May 15 last.
NEW DELHI, May 30 (PTI) Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts today announced a tieup with travel management company Cox & Kings to provide pre-paid vouchers for hotel bookings.
NEW DELHI, May 30 Alcon plans to acquire Summit, manufacturer and marketer of ophthalmic laser systems designed to correct common vision disorder, for $ 19 per share in cash, for an aggregate consideration of about $ 900 million.
NEW DELHI, May 30 (PTI) BHEL has bagged the All-India Trophy for Top Exporters in the category of Engineering Consultancy Technical Know-how and other engineering services exporters for 1998-99.
LUDHIANA, May 30 Kohinoor Woollen Mills here has clarified that it has been depositing the PF of the employees regularly and on time. Enquiries reveal that it is Kohinoor Woollen and Textile Mills which has defaulted on PF deposits. The error is regretted.
CHANDIGARH, May 30
NetSoft, a Microsoft Certified Technical Education
Centre, will launch its e-commerce curriculum for
aspiring computer professionals tomorrow. Termed the
future dotcom curriculum, it includes comprehensive
training on technologies from Microsoft, IBM and Lotus.
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