Sunday, June 25, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



HP sops for investors
SHIMLA, June 24 — Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today invited entrepreneurs from all over the country to invest in the information technology sector.

Shopping in style at Dubai
THE name Dubai has become synonymous with duty-free shopping, because the International Airport in Dubai offers the widest range of products to the common man/woman as well as the elite customers from both worlds.

Canada immigration centre
CHANDIGARH, June 24 — Mr Natha Singh Dalem, Information and Public Relations Minister, Punjab, today inaugurated Malhi and Basra Immigration and Allied Services office at Manimajra which is the first office of Basra & Basra World Wide Immigration and Allied Services, Toronto (Canada).


Wendt India’s: a non-ICE pick
N a recent holiday in Bangkok, I remember scaring the wits out of an Indian group of tourists at a dinner table by joking that the Sunsex had crashed and that Infy’s price had dipped below Rs 5000.


Reassess evidence
Is Revisional Court entitled to reassess evidence itself or should it remand the case?
Allahabad H.C. was considering this question in George Peter v VIth Addl. Dist. Judge, Bareilly (2000(1) RCJ 262).


When consumer courts become generous
Y and large, quantification of damages by consumer courts is still conservative and I have often discussed this issue in my columns and have pleaded for more realistic or liberal computation of compensation. 



HP sops for investors
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, June 24 — Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today invited entrepreneurs from all over the country to invest in the information technology sector (IT).

Dhumal, who had an interaction programme with the entrepreneurs at Bangalore organised by Nasscom, said according to a plan prepared by the government, annual revenue from IT-related industry could be Rs 20,000 crore by 2010. Out of this, Rs 14,000 crore would come from exports and the remaining from the domestic market.

After IT, next revolution was going to be in the field of biotechnology (BT) he said, adding that those investing in IT now would ultimately get market in the BT sector. The state government had already given priority to this sector.

Himachal Pradesh was at the threshold of industrial development and the state government has decided to give boost to industrial development by exploiting available industrial potential expeditiously by involving private, joint and government sectors. He said HP offers incentives to the entrepreneurs. The procedure for transfer of land for setting up of industrial units has been simplified and to facilitate the entrepreneurs the provision of single man clearances and escort services for a particular project has been made.

Besides concession in state taxes, new projects have been exempted from payment of sales tax for certain period and transport subsidy has been extended up to 2007.

He said there was a scope for setting up horticulture, agriculture, floriculture, medicinal and mineral based industries.

The Chief Minister said Vardhmans, Birla Textiles, Oswals, Ranbaxy, Dabur and Morepan had already set up their units in the state and Marubeni of Japan, Barbour Camble of Ireland and Kawasaki of Japan have also chosen HP for industrial investment. Investments of about Rs 3,000 crore had already been made in large, medium and small sector industrial units.

He said HP had identified hydel potential of about 23,000 MW which comes to about one fourth of the entire potential available in the country. The state government has decided to harness these at the earliest and would also welcome participation of the private sector in it.

The state government has made a big leap forward in this respect during last two years by starting work on 2051 MW Parvati Hydel project and on various other projects having generation capacity of about 3000 MW. The NTPC for the first time has entered in hydel power generation and is executing 800 MW Kol Dam project in the state. A number of other private firms had signed agreements for various other projects.

Mr Ajay Tayagi, Secretary, Science and Technology, Himachal Pradesh, gave a visual demonstration of Himachal Pradesh — IT Vision 2010.

Mr Ramaswamy, General Manager, Nasscom, said it should go to the masses keeping in view the potential of employment. Nasscom has drafted IT policy for the state.Top


Shopping in style at Dubai
By G.P. Sahu

THE name Dubai has become synonymous with duty-free shopping, because the International Airport in Dubai offers the widest range of products to the common man/woman as well as the elite customers from both worlds.

But retailing in Dubai is much more than just duty-free shopping. Shopping is an experience here and probably one of the finest in the world.

Retaining activities in the true sense of some professionalism can be traced to the late sixties when Supermarkets like Choithram and Lal’s Al Maya mushroomed in the nooks and corners of Dubai. Today both put together have got about fifteen Supermarkets in Dubai. Although these stores are air-conditioned and have got the typical SKUs (stock keeping units) for display of products; the store size are just average-between five to the thousand square feet in carpet area.

For instance, the Bur Dubai Spinney’s has got a small cafeteria, a Kodak colour lab, a video parlour with all the latest collection and a 24 hour ATM counter, of course, the automatic sliding doors and a 2000 square-feet lobby are just some of the other advantages of this mega showroom.

Not surprisingly therefore the major chunk of the Spinney’s customers are either Americans or Europeans. Continent is all poised to the ‘mumero uno’ in customers choice and preference. The merchandise selection is very minutely planned keeping the customers choice, liking and taste in mind.

The answer is simple — apart from the basics, a range of dry-fruits for the locals, a rainbow of spices for the Indians and Pakistanis, and a selection of seafood for the Philippines among others what brings in customers. To top it all, at the end of each row of SKUs there are heaps of money-savers with bold price points. The range of these products varies from cassettes to crockeries, from cosmetics to confectionaries, from soft drinks to soft toys.

On a Thursday or Friday evening the store virtually gets jam-packed with customers. At its busiest, the vast area gives the impression of being small with the moving trolleys, dashing customers and noisy surrounding filling the available space. Believe it or not, Continent is the major contributor in the success story of the City centre.

Specialty Retailing emerged as a major force to be reckoned with especially with the introduction of a series of Nike stores by Sun-n-Sands at one end; and a battery of Reebok stores by Health Line Middle East on the other. These stores are exclusive in terms of product classification and immaculately planned so far as interiors and ambiance are concerned.

It is truly Toys-R-Us, which gave Specially Retailing the right kind of boost with a massive showroom right in the heart of Dubai. The showroom that is garnished with all American basics but moulded to the local taste with the division of departments and category displays; which is a major customer puller since day one.

Another group in the name of Landmark has spread its tentacles over the territory of Specially Retailing. Under the umbrella of Landmark, there are six highly specialised and professional companies. These Companies are:- Baby Shop, Splash, Shoe Mart, Home Centre, Super Bowl, First Choice.

Out of these six companies, Dubai has got three; with two outlets each of Baby Shop and Shoe Mart, and one outlets of Splash.

Moving over to another concept is Sana Fashions. This chain of companies have got two Sana outlets in Dubai. Though garments are the life-line of these stores, still one can scan over for greeting cards, gift items, footwears and related items. Hence these stores by and large may fit in to Variety Store concept.

The quality of service that is being rendered in these luxury hotels leaves nothing more to be desired. Besides the health clubs, hair styling saloons, car rentals and dry cleaners do provide a variety of cut-about class of services.

The chain of western-fleets like KFC, McDonald, Pizza Hut, TGI’s Friday and Baskin Robbins are doing brisk business in this glittering and glistering city. Well the Indian restaurants like Frontier, Kamath, Royal Garden, Chappan Bhog and Copper Chimney are on the heels for a close second place. Specialists like Rangli for Gujrati food or India House for South Indian delicacies are also in the popular slot.

But any discussion of retailing would remain in complete without a glimpse of gold. Yes, Dubai probably has got world’s biggest Gold Souk. With a guarantee of product authenticity and price genuineness Dubai invites flocks of internationals tourists to its Gold Souks to see-fell buy a bit of these luxuries in different shades.

That is what Dubai is, a tiny city with a titanic step towards the finest retailing revolution in the world.



Canada immigration centre
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 24 — Mr Natha Singh Dalem, Information and Public Relations Minister, Punjab, today inaugurated Malhi and Basra Immigration and Allied Services office at Manimajra which is the first office of Basra & Basra World Wide Immigration and Allied Services, Toronto (Canada).

Mr Dalem said immigration companies should create confidence among immigrants as at present most of the agencies are playing with the future of the youth by deceiving them.

Mr Sam Basra said Canada needs professionals and skilled workers. The company first arranges job and then hand over job evaluation certificate to the immigrants.



From Ashok Kumar in Mumbai

Wendt India’s: a non-ICE pick

ON a recent holiday in Bangkok, I remember scaring the wits out of an Indian group of tourists at a dinner table by joking that the Sunsex had crashed and that Infy’s price had dipped below Rs 5000. Will its price actually drop below Rs 5000 this year they wanted to know, after being reassured that it was merely a prank I had played. Well, it could, I had predicted and I came dangerously close to being correct less than a month ago. Notwithstanding the fact that the share price of this scrip has bounced back to close to Rs 9000, I for one still feel that there is one more downside story in this scrip before it bounces back yet again, perhaps on the back of a bonus announcement or yet another stock split.


After all the excitement and crying from the roofs by the BSE and NSE authorities, index futures trading got off to a quiet start and from the looks of things it will be a while before the action hots up on this front. As for the theoretical assumption that it will be a great hedging mechanism, well, my take here is that, given the amazingly large number of punters with little more than a mere gambling instinct at the Indian bourses, the name of the game will more often than not be — all or none. As for hedging, methings it will be a while before such scientific investment methods get deployed.


The response to the ADR although not surprising should not be viewed as too much more than a manifestation of the resurgent ICE wave. Closer home, I have always felt their site is weak on content, especially of the business variety. The real test will come along a couple of years down the line when the competition gets hotter and the boys get separated from the men. Talking of dot coms, a merchant banker friend of mine tells me that nearly two dozen such companies had lined up at SEBI’s door in March before they disappeared into thin air following the post-Budget market crash. Hopefully, all of them will not return to the market in a hurry.


One of the scrips our research team has been looking at is Wendt India Ltd. (WIL). A joint venture between Murugappa group and Wendt Germany, is a niche player in the abrasives industry. WIL, which focuses on super abrasives, is a leading manufacturer of grinding machines, grinding and dressing tools for difficult-to-machine materials. Its various user industries range from ceramics to steel and automobiles to aerospace. Recently, Wendt (India) expanded the capacity for electroplating and has introduced new products like reverse plated diamond dressing rolls for piston manufacturing, electroplated beads for marble wire saws, side and surface calibrating wheels for piston notch and chamfer grinding.

WIL also provides application-specific technology solutions that help achieve high productivity and close tolerances on precision components. Wendt has proved this by developing grinding technology for hard materials such as hard metals, ceramics, steel and the polycrystalline hard materials. With the industry on a recovery path and automobiles (the main user industry) showing a progressive trend, much better times are ahead. On the financial front too, the company has been a fair performer over the years. Those looking for some non-ICE stocks to diversify their portfolio holdings could perhaps keep an eye on this counter and pouch this scrip at declines.



In the wonderland of investment
By A.N. Shanbhag

Q: I would like to know up to how much salary onwards a person has to pay tax. 

A: This depends upon whether you are a male or a female. As a male, if you earn Rs 75,000 as salary, the standard deduction would be Rs 25,000 leaving Rs 50,000 and income up to that level is not taxed. In the case of females, the limit is higher, because of the special rebate proposed to be granted to all female assessees by the recent budget.

If her salary is Rs 1,00,000, she also gets the standard deduction of Rs 25,000 bringing her taxable salary to Rs 75,000. The tax is Rs 4,000 and the rebate is Rs 5,000. Good! She can get extra rebate of Rs 1,000 but it is wasted. Bad!!

Why is it wasted? Suppose she gets a salary of Rs 1,00,100. The standard deduction gets reduced to Rs 20,000 bringing the taxable income to Rs 80,100. The tax is Rs 5,020 and after the rebate of Rs 5,000, the tax payable works out at Rs 20. Add surcharge and she has to pay Rs 22.

Q: I had booked a flat in May 1989. The flat was completed in 1991. Cost Rs 1,51,500, I have sold this flat in March 2000 for Rs 4,95,000.

Simultaneously, I have bought a resale flat (585 sq ft) for Rs 7,75,000. I have applied for Rs 6 lakh loan and will get the loan in April 2000. Besides the loan amount, balance amount for the flat (Rs 2.1 lakh) will be paid out of sale value of my previous flat.

What is my tax liability due to above transactions?

A: The cost inflation index for ’89-90 was 172 and for 99-00 was 389. Therefore, the indexed cost is Rs 3,42,637 (=151500x389/172). The capital gain is 4,32,363 (=775000-342637). You have applied Rs 2,10,000 lakh for purchase of a new flat. Therefore you have to pay tax on Rs 2,22,363 (=432363-210000).

Firstly, the what you had paid for in ’89-90 was for a right to occupy the house and not a house. You have merely stated that it was completed in 1991. If you have taken the possession during January to March, the cost inflation index for 90-91 would apply and the index for the next year thereafter. I wish you had given me the exact data.

The 2nd error is that the exemption from capital gains is available if you acquire a house within some specified period. How you have raised the funds is of no consequence. You can borrow (or beg or steal)

You can claim the exemption in toto.

Q: FA00 has brought units of UTI/MFs under the definition of ‘securities’. I presume that now I can pay tax @10 per cent without indexation or @ 20 per cent with indexation, whichever is beneficial. I have got some carry forward long-term capital loss on my hands. In case I desire to claim the benefit of paying tax @ 10 per cent should I compute the long-term capital losses also without indexation?

— Mr Hariharan

A: You will find that most often the 20 per cent with indexation is superior to 10 per cent without indexation. I hope you have carried out your computations correctly before deciding to opt for 10 per cent.

If you are sure of your grounds, I have a suggestion —

1. Compute your total long-term capital gains with indexation.

2. Set off the carry forward loss (with indexation) against the gains.

3. From the remainder of the gains knock off the benefit of indexation on a pro-rata basis.

4. Pay tax @10 per cent on the capital gains thus arrived at.

I have another suggestion. Sec. 54EA/EB will become history on 1.4.2000. However, you will be allowed to invest within a period of six months from the date, when you earned the gains, in any of the avenues under the umbrella of these sections. The budget has offered an alternative in terms of Sec. 54EC but I strongly feel that its tax slashing edge will be quite blunt. Therefore, if you have already earned capital gains during the current year and the period of 6 months has not expired then this is your last chance.

I have yet another suggestion. Now that the finance bill has been passed, some instruments u/s 54EC are likely to hit the market soon. Possibly, you will have a chance of examining their utility and opt for them if you find them more beneficial than 54EA/EB. You are one of the few lucky ones who have this fortuitous chance.

Q: I purchased NSCs worth Rs 25,000 in FY’98-99 and claimed exemption u/s 88. In subsequent years I am claiming exemption u/s 88 for the interest accrued. How is the Income Tax treatment of the amount will receive on maturity of the NSCs after six years? In short, is the interest on NSC tax free like that in the case of PPF?

— Vivek Naidu,

A: The interest of NSC is deductible u/s 80L up to an aggregate limit of Rs 12,000. The interest earned during the first 5 years is also eligible for rebate u/s 88.



by Praful R. Desai

Reassess evidence

Q: Is Revisional Court entitled to reassess evidence itself or should it remand the case?

Ans: Allahabad H.C. was considering this question in George Peter v VIth Addl. Dist. Judge, Bareilly (2000(1) RCJ 262).

The plaintiff had filed certain documents relating to the date of construction of the house. She relied upon a sanctioned map which shows that the building was sanctioned for the purpose of construction in the year 1984. There was meter for electricity connection in the name of the plaintiff. The house tax and water tax was being paid by the plaintiff. These documents, in the opinion of the H.C., were not looked into by the trial court.

Moreover, the relationship between the landlord and tenant was dependent also on the fact as to whether the version of the plaintiff was correct that she had constructed the house. The trial court observed that as there was dispute regarding the ownership of the house in question and there was no documentary evidence to establish the relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties, dismissed the suit.

In case the house in question was constructed by Smt. Kusum Faiswal, the plaintiff, its possession could not have been given by Smt. Vimla Devi to the petitioner. This relevant fact, in the opinion of the H.C., has been ignored by the trial court.

The Revisional Court was, however, not entitled to reassess the evidence itself and if it is found that any material evidence was ignored, the H.C. held that the case should have been remanded to the trial court as held in Laxmi Kishore v Har Prasad Shukla (1979 ACJ 475).

In that way, the H.C. passed an order, remanding the case to the trial court, questioning the order of the first appellate court.Top


by Pushpa Girimaji

When consumer courts become generous

BY and large, quantification of damages by consumer courts is still conservative and I have often discussed this issue in my columns and have pleaded for more realistic or liberal computation of compensation. This week I would like to write about a few cases where the courts have been uncharacteristically generous. Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule and so what is special about these cases, you may well ask. They are slightly different from other cases in that the complaints happen to belong to the same fraternity as the presiding members of the consumer courts.

Of course, the number of such cases that I have come across are a few and the liberal calculation of compensation could be sheer coincidence. Besides, the computation of damages by the courts depends on the facts of each case and the evidence produced before the courts to prove the extent of loss or injury. And the judges either serving or retired would certainly be far better at providing evidence. And like any other consumer, they also have every right to seek redress before consumer courts. However, having said all that, I would still like to write about these two-three cases to highlight the point that consumer courts, on their part, should not only be even-handed in their treatment of complaints, but also appear to be so. In fact two of these cases came up before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in appeal and in both, the highest consumer court held the compensation to be excessive and reduced it.

Take the case filed by a sitting judge of a high court against a time-share company. Here, the time share company promised luxurious cottages on “time share” basis and the complainant and his friend together purchased a week at a cottage for Rs 40,000. However, when the two families went to the holiday resort on the allotted day, what they found were not luxurious, furnished cottages, but incomplete construction. Windows and doors of the cottage were yet to be fixed, there was no water supply nor drainage and to put in a nutshell, the cottage was inhabitable. The alternate accommodation offered by the company was also not satisfactory and the families were forced to find alternate accommodation at different places and their planned holiday was completely ruined.

On return, the judge filed a complaint before the State Commission, which held that the time share company was guilty of unfair trade practice as well as deficiency in service and direct it to pay back Rs 40,000 with 18 per cent interest, cost incurred by the complainant towards the alternate accommodation, Rs 2000 as cost of litigation, besides Rs 1 lakh as compensation for mental pain and agony. (Of course this case was decided by the State Commission in 1994, but in two cases decided in 1996 and 1997, the National Commission has held that complaints pertaining to time-share do not come under the ambit of consumer courts.)

In another case filed by a former judge of a high court, the complaint was that the assembled air conditioner that he had bought had turned out to be defective and had not worked at all. Following a complaint about the non-functioning of the air conditioner, the supplier had taken it away for repair and despite repeated reminders, had failed to re-install it during the hot summer months.

The District Forum, which heard the case, ordered the dealer to refund Rs 19,250 paid towards the product, along with 18 per cent interest, and also awarded Rs 21,800 as compensation for the discomfort and suffering undergone by the complainant in the hot summer months without the air conditioner. The dealer filed an appeal before the State Commission and since the complainant was the President of the State Commission at that time, the case was taken up by the National Commission.

The apex consumer court reduced the compensation from Rs 21,800 to Rs 6500 on the ground that the complainant could have hired an air conditioner for the season at a cost of Rs 5000-6500. It also awarded Rs 3,500 as cost of fighting the case before the District Forum and the National Commission.

In yet another case, the State Commission directed the Railways to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 each to the complainant, a retired judge of a high court and his wife, for the suffering undergone by them on account of the deficient service rendered by the Railways. During the complaint’s journey by first class, the fans were not working, the window shutters could not be operated and worse, the rexin on the berth was torn, thereby exposing two rusted nails, which injured the complaint’s wife.

However, when this case came up in appeal before the National Commission, the apex consumer court felt that the compensation awarded was excessive. It therefore reduced it from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1,500 each. 


Big Bull
THE grapevine has it that after the New Bull retired hurt when the Sensex crashed a couple of months ago, the Big Bull stepped in and started accumulating stocks at his favourite counters. Is the Big Bull behind the latest rally? Watch this space.

HCL Tech
Is there something cooking at this counter? With FIIs and FIs alike chasing this scrip, the buzz is that there might be a private placement round the corner. The rumoured price — well, Rs 2,500.

Sensex crash
The Pune based astrologer who has a fair track record of predicting the direction the markets will move, foresees yet another crash before the big. Divali rally. Any takers?

Reckless VCs
Are Venture Capitalists in India really that reckless? Perhaps so, as the talk in the cocktail circuit these days revolves around the likes of sites like getting funding. The general feeling is — God bless investors if such dot coms finally make it to the bourses.


5-star hotel
(TNS)  — Radisson, the first five-star hotel of Punjab, will be opened here next year by Grand Windsor Resorts in association with the US-based Carlso Hospitality Worldwide. Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Mr K.B. Kachru, Senior Vice-President of Carlson Hospitality said the hotel will offer all modern facilities of international standards. The hotel will be equipped with all Internet connection and interactive television system for every room.

NEW DELHI, June 24 (TNS) — A Delhi based software company Ampersand Info-Tech Private Limited has become the strategic partner for Germany based Impress Software AG, a company release said today.

‘Doon’ rice
NEW DELHI, June 24 (TNS) — KRBL Ltd today launched its premium brand of basmati rice “Doon” priced at Rs 51 per kg, the Doon silky premium is available for Rs 52 per kg.

Aggarwal Global
NEW DELHI, June 24 (TNS) — AGL Global Ltd. has introduced a CD ROM called the EXMIM Cyclopedia which will provide complete information on the Exim Policy procedures.

Workers protest
SONEPAT, June 24 (FOC) — More than 600 workers of Haryana Steel and Alloys Limited, Murthal, took out a procession here yesterday in protest against the closure of the factory by its management.

SBP meet
CHANDIGARH, June 24 (TNS) — State Bank of Patiala organised a customer meet at Karnal to apprise the customers about the house, car and education loans. Mr C.S. Kang, Assistant General Manager of the bank presided.Top

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