Monday, August 21, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, UP Governor Suraj Bhan and Chief Minister Ram Prakash Gupta during the launch of Lucknow's FM channel of AIR and Doordarshan Metro channel on Sunday.— PTI photo
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, UP Governor Suraj Bhan and Chief Minister Ram Prakash Gupta during the launch of Lucknow's FM channel of AIR and Doordarshan Metro channel on Sunday.— PTI photo

Women do not work, so say
men out there

NEW DELHI, Aug 20 — The 1991 census under-reported the contribution of women to the economy and efforts should be made to ensure that the 2001 census does not repeat the mistake, says the Delhi Commission for Women.

Ritu bares her designs
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 — When it comes to ethnic chic, no designer comes close to Ritu Kumar, the woman who is internationally known as the high priestess of Indian fashion.

Government forgets to collect Rs 3,416 crore worth taxes
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 — The government has short levied Rs 3,416.02 crore in direct taxes in 1998-99 due to various mistakes, including wrong assessment of income and allowances.



Women do not work, so say men out there
From Archana Sachdev

NEW DELHI, Aug 20 — The 1991 census under-reported the contribution of women to the economy and efforts should be made to ensure that the 2001 census does not repeat the mistake, says the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW).

The enumerators deployed for next year’s gigantic task of charting the country’s demographic map should be made gender conscious in recording not only women’s reproductive role but also their productive one, it says.

Stating that women’s image as non-productive stemmed from a mind-set rather than from factual reality, the DCW said the 1991 census erred in this regard. Instead of probing women on what kind of work they did, as required of them by the questionnaire, the enumerators were content to interpret work as regular employment or jobs.

Apart from their household chores of the cooking, cleaning, fetching water and tending to children, women’s work includes agricultural labour, collecting forest produce like honey or gums, feeding and milking cattle, weaving and spinning. However, all this labour does not get counted as “work”.

Thus the 1991 census showed the all- India work participation rate (WPR) at 37.5 per cent, the male WPR at 55.61 per cent and the female WPR at 22.7 per cent.

“Thirtynine per cent of country’s population lives below the poverty line. Another 20 per cent is not very far above it. If women in this section did not work and contribute to the family income and production, these families could not survive,” says Ms Rfnana Jhabvala of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in the DCW’s report “Women at Work”.

The non-recognition of women’s productive work leads to low earnings, no assets in their names, lack of training, lack of credit, limited access to government benefits and practically no access to markets. “In other words, women’s image as home-makers rather than workers, leads to them being discriminated in the economy,” she added.

The DCW report noted that the shortcomings lay not in the 1991 questionnaire, which had very detailed nuances, but in the enumerators’ attitude. The enumerators tended not to ask probing questions and generally questioned the males instead of directly asking the women. Male respondents generally answered that “women do not work”.

Stressing on proper training of enumerators, the DCW has also suggested widespread publicity to the issue on the electronic media, besides involvement of NGOs and women networks like “Mahila Samakhya” and ‘anganwadis’ to sensitise both men and women. — UNITop


Ritu bares her designs
From Priyanka Khanna

NEW DELHI, Aug 20 — When it comes to ethnic chic, no designer comes close to Ritu Kumar, the woman who is internationally known as the high priestess of Indian fashion.

Her pret-a-porter “Summer 2001”-”Winter 2000” collection presented at the Lakme India Fashion Week was a treat for connoisseurs of fashion and predictably the high point of the weeklong fashion extravaganza.

Kumar who, according to a study by retail consultants KSA Technopack, is the only Indian with a brand equity to leverage pr_t lines, designs her own textiles and stylises them to give a distinct look that has become synonymous with her label, “Ritu”.

At the show that lasted 40 minutes — an awe-struck spectator called it “the shortest 40 minutes of my life” — the reason why she is the best was for all to see. All her clothes spoke of the country’s ancient textile and design traditions.

Her ‘kurtas’ were in different lengths and for daily office wear she had tops and shirts which were executive though feminine. Her collection made it amply clear that kurtas touching the floor are out. The ‘salwars’ ranged from ‘churidars’ to string pants. For sultry warm nights, Kumar had the whitest whites in organza on which white flower accessories looked ravishing.

“I tried to stay within the prescribed price range of Rs. 800 to Rs. 10,000. However, in some clothes I have exceeded the brief,” Kumar told IANS. “Designing a pret collection was by no means a cake walk,” she said, adding it is more difficult to make a good looking, inexpensive garment than one where the price is no consideration.

But the richness and quality of Kumar’s clothes certainly make the investment worth it. As an international buyer agreed: “Among all the shows I have seen so far this is the only one I have found of interest. The ones before were Western lines whereas we are looking for Indian stuff.”

There are a handful of international retailers at the “fashion week” which began on August 17 and which has a complete line-up of India’s top-notch style gurus and national and international ramp sizzlers.

The event organised by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) is part of concrete efforts by the Indian fashion fraternity to enter the Rs. 550 billion ready-to-wear industry. At present the combined turnover of the whole fashion mart is a mere Rs.3 billion and it is described as a cottage industry.

The gala event is being held at the Taj Palace hotel and some of the other big designers whose works are being showcased are Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, J.J. Valaya, Ashish Soni, Gitanjali Kashyap and Rina Dhaka. Ritu Beri’s pret line was presented on the very first day and was well received. — IANSTop


Government forgets to collect Rs 3,416 
crore worth taxes

NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (UNI) — The government has short levied Rs 3,416.02 crore in direct taxes in 1998-99 due to various mistakes, including wrong assessment of income and allowances.

This has been intimated to the Finance Ministry through 16,792 audit observations on underassessment in Corporation Tax, Income Tax and other direct taxes, according to the latest report of CAG on direct taxes.

During the audit the Tax Department was also found to have done over assessment in 76 cases involving a tax amount of Rs 28.4 crore.

Of these observations, 5,844 cases related to Corporation Tax and Income Tax involving a revenue effect of Rs 2,302.59 crore pertaining to incorrect computation of business income, income escaping assessment and irregular set of losses.

Out of 16,792 cases, 870 cases with a tax effect of Rs 873.86 crore have been issued to the Finance Ministry as individual draft paragraphs. The Ministry accepted 352 cases involving a revenue effect of Rs 298.64 crore, the CAG report said.



by J.C. Anand

This bull is here on a temporary visit

LAST week, the stock market gained a 3.70 per cent increase in the Sensex and a 3.10 per cent rise in the Nifty. The software scrips led the rally. The market sentiment was bullish after a long time. But will the “bull” stay and keep bellowing? This week’s trading is likely to provide some indication.

I do not believe that the bull rally will continue. One reason for the bull rally last week was purchases by FIIs. They had bought equity shares worth Rs 472.6 crore in the past three days’ trading last week. The traders followed their lead. I do not think that the FIIs will continue to enter the market in a big way for quite some time.

I am persuaded to argue in this way for two reasons. The rupee has not yet settled in its exchange value for the dollar despite some drastic measures taken by the RBI. It will take another fortnight or so before it could be said whether the rupee would drift lower or gain stability around the present exchange rate. The FIIs will return to the market in a big way only when the rupee gets stable. The foreign analysts expect the rupee to stabilise around Rs 47, for a dollar.

The second reason is the rise of petroleum prices at the international level. It has been said by government officials that the petro-good prices might have to be raised in the country in case there is no decline in the international prices of petroleum. This would tell heavily on the Indian economy in terms of increase in the cost structure of industry, consumer goods prices, transport charges etc, and raise inflation rate. The corporate sector in that eventuality will suffer in profitability, which has already been affected to some extent by a raise in interest rate on borrowings.

The market prices of many bluechip equities have touched a new low. There are no buyers, for the small investor is interested only in small gains in trading. The focus of trading being the new economy shares, these bluechip equities remain neglected. The mutual funds and institutions have already been hit so hard by the fall in the market price of their portfolios and withdrawals by the clients that they have no spare funds to pick up the old economy shares as long-term investments.

Just consider Vardhman Spinnings at Rs 44 (paying 42 per cent dividend), Colur-Chem at Rs 890 for its Rs 100 face value share (paying 65 per cent dividend), BASF India at Rs 95 (paying 40 per cent dividend), Canfin Homes at Rs 16 (paying 23 per cent dividend), Vikas WSP at Rs 368 (paying 100 per cent dividend).

Vikas WSP scrip can now be recommended with an easy mind for all the charges of falsification of accounts by the company levelled by a leading financial daily have been disproved. The books and accounts of the company have been inspected by a team of four officials from the Union Bank and IDBI Bank and the team has upheld the correctness of its audited and declared accounts, including its turnover data. The company stands in the clear.

The scrip is being placed under compulsory demat category from August 28,2000. This fact explains why the scrip is still being quoted at a relative low rate. In fact, there is a gap of Rs 20 or so even now between demat version of the scrip and that which is not.Top


by R.N. Lakhotia

Q: 1) I am a retired government employee (Retired on 31.1.99).

My total pension, interest on bank savings and monthly income scheme for the F.Y. 1999-2000 is as under:-

(1) Total pension 72133

(2) Interest on post office 40800 Monthly income scheme (Joint A/C)

(3) Bank interest on savings 8000

Please let me know my total tax liability and the schemes which will be more beneficial for investment & the total amount to be invested enabling me to get relief from the Income Tax.

— Madan Lal Bhasin, Patiala

Ans: From your total income as mentioned above you will be eligible to claim standard deduction from pension income to the maximum extent of Rs 25,000. Out of your interest on post office monthly income plan as well as bank savings interest the maximum amount that would be exempted would be to the tune of Rs 12,000 u/s 80L. On the balance amount you will be required to make payment of Income Tax. As the previous year is already over you cannot take any advantage of investments so as to save Income-tax. However, for the current Financial year assuming your income is the same as mentioned above it is recommended to you that you may make investment in public provident fund and claim tax rebate u/s 88 of the Income-tax Act, 1961.

Q: I am working as an officer in State Bank of India. I was sanctioned housing loan from my bank in October 1997 for Rs 3,00,000/-. The last instalment of the loan was disbursed to me in April 1999. In July 1998, I was promoted as Assistant Manager. As such, I was sanctioned additional housing loan for Rs 1,80,300 in April 99. In the same month i.e. in April 99, I was disbursed Rs 1,80,300 along with last instalment of Rs 15000/- (which pertains to loan for Rs 3,00,000 sanctioned to me earlier). The completion of house construction completed in April 99. I started repaying the loan from May 1999 @ Rs 2700 per month.

2. The interest application on the loan amount Rs 4,80,300 (Rs 3,00,000 + Rs 1,80,300) will be Rs 50,000 approximately. Please clarify:-

1. Whether I am entitled to claim deduction on account of interest accrual to the tune of Rs 50,000 under Section 24 of ITA.

2. Whether I am to treat both loans separately and obtain separate interest application certificates from bank to get the benefit of enhanced limit of exemption of interest on housing loan of Rs 75,000 which is applicable to loans which are raised after 1.4.99.

— Rajinder Gupta, Theog

Ans: Yes, on the basis of your obtaining two separate interest application certificates from the bank, you would be able to enjoy the tax deduction in respect of interest payment for self-occupied house property to the full extent of Rs 50,000. Please remember that a deduction in respect of housing loans taken up to 31st March 99 was Rs 30,000 while the enhanced limit of Rs 75,000 is applicable on the loan for housing taken on or after Ist April, 99. In your case you have paid interest for the old loans up to 31st March, 99 which is within Rs 30,000 and an additional interest on loan is being paid by you for loans taken after Ist April, 99. Hence, you will be able to claim the tax deduction for both the interest within the overall limit of Rs 1,00,000. Please remembers that this deduction has been increased by the Finance Act, 2000 effective from the Assessment Year 2001-2002.



by Ashok Kumar

Sri Adhikari likely to fare well

Q: Do you advise a long term investment in Shri Adhikari Brothers?

— Tanaz Bibi , Rohtak

Sri Adhikari Brothers Television Network Ltd has emerged as one of the leading video software companies. It is planning to produce serials on its own to preserve the rights to its programmes with it.

For the year that ended in March 2000, the company posted sales of Rs 40 crore and was working at an OPM per cent of 37.9. Net profit for the year stood at Rs 13.9 crore and the EPS at Rs 16.5. It intends to have innovative programme formats. SABTNL is all set to tap the export market to exploit the appetite for Hindi entertainment programmes among large migrate population from the Indian sub-continent in United Kingdom and United States. It has entered into a 50:50 joint venture with business groups in Indonesia and Sri Lanka to produce programmes for the local channels. With a focus on it’s business objective, the company is likely to fare well in the future, thus one could consider investment in the scrip at lower price levels.

Q: Please advise on the future prospects of Alok Textiles.

— Kamal Kapur, Chandigarh

Alok Textiles has taken a stake in Chrysalis Information Systems Ltd (CISL). CISL has a 100 per cent subsidiary IT company in the United States of America, namely, Trilogy Software Inc. Alok is also setting up a subsidiary IT company called Globus Technology Limited in a joint venture with CISL, for developing net-based business-to-business (B2B) solutions which will facilitate e-commerce in the textile related areas.

On the financial front, the company’s performance has been satisfactory. For the year that ended in March 1999, the company posted sales of Rs 267.1 crore and was operating at an OPM% of 16.5. Net profit for the year stood at Rs 15 crore and the EPS worked out to Rs 6. For the quarter that ended in December 1999, sales was Rs 100 crore, OPM% 17.4 and the net profit was Rs 6.7 crore. Considering the company’s proactive stance towards its business it has potential to fare well in the future.

Q: Is it advisable to invest in Grasim Industries?

— Gurpreet Hans, Patiala

Grasim’s performance has been satisfactory. During the year that ended in March 2000, the company posted sales worth Rs 4272.6 crore and the OPM per cent stood at 17.3. It recorded a net profit of Rs 233.1 crore and an EPS of Rs 24.5. Few sore points that might negatively impact the profit margins of the company are the declaration of its recently acquired Shree Digvijay Cement as a sick unit and closure of the Mavoor Plant, necessitating sourcing of pulp requirements of the company. Considering its ambitious plans to consolidate itself as a leader in the cement segment, the company presents an encouraging outlook for the future. Thus, discerning investors could invest in this scrip with a medium-term perspective.Top



by K.R. Wadhwaney

Four task forces to improve AI image

LEADERS connected with the Civil Aviation Ministry, unfortunately, have possessed negligible knowledge about airlines and their functioning. They do little home-work to study currents and cross-currents obtaining in this industry, which urgently needs a genuine trouble-shooter at the helm to bring about the turnaround of two national carriers instead of little-knowing politicians.

A global adviser has been appointed to assess the value of Air India. Regardless of its route-utilisation and projected losses, the valuation of the airline is much more than the speculations made by different sources and agencies. The analysts are of the view that it is being done to help potential buyers.

Minister for Civil Aviation Sharad Yadav has constituted four task forces to improve the Air India’s image and services. The minister is convinced that airline’s several “blues” can be overcome, if additional aircraft are inducted. This indeed is airline’s immediate need. But will the minister be able to help airline obtain aircraft without any further loss of time?

The first task force is designated to further improve in-flight services. There is already considerable improvement but may be more attention will have to be paid to passengers so that the flight becomes more enjoyable and comfortable than has been the case at present.

The second task force relates to improvement in security on ground and on board the flights. Air India can improve security bandobast on flights but security on ground can improve only when all agencies work hand-in-hand. There are several agencies connected with security, but there is little rapport among them. There has to be someone to coordinate their activities.

The third task forces pertains to ground handling services, including services provided to other airlines. Here analysts feel that airline needs a lot of improvement because staff at airports, particularly in Delhi and Mumbai, is not as attentive to the passengers.

The fourth task force relates to the rationalisation of emoluments, such as productivity-linked incentive, early rate of payment and shortfall applicable to different categories of employees. This is a ticklish issue. The pilots and engineers are tough customers. The more they get, the more they demand.Top


A fat-cat Indian donor

LOS ANGELES: Among the fat-cat donors accorded all the special invitations and privileges at the Democratic National Convention here was the Indian American Chairman of InfoUSA, Vinod Gupta, who has contributed millions of dollars to the party over the years.

Gupta, an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) alumnus, runs InfoUSA, an Internet-based marketing company based in Omaha, Nebraska, with $300 million in annual revenue and an estimated 2,000 employees.

Since the convention began here, Gupta has attended the star-studded concert in Mandenville Canyon estate featuring singers Diana Ross, Toni Braxton, actress Shirley MacLaine, and actors John Travolta and Ted Danson in tribute to President Bill Clinton; midnight dinner with the President, First Lady and selected celebrities; lunch at diva Barbara Streisand’s Malibu home with about 70 other guests.

Gupta acknowledges that like a few thousand other Democrats in town for the convention, he would have done almost anything to get into the quintessential A-list party, the luncheon at Barbara Streisand’s cliff-top Malibu estate. He gushed to the Los Angeles Times, “I’d park cars to get into her house.” But thanks to “soft money,” and the insatiable appetite of both the Democratic and Republican parties for it, Gupta had no need to don a valet cap.

Gupta, (54), who has shelled out more than $1.2 million this year alone to Democratic causes, “has hit so many parties that he has been transformed from Omaha outsider to Hollywood insider.” He said, “I talked to Brad Pitt for a long time. We’re buds now”. — IANS

Punjabi ‘Roots in the Sand”

SAN FRANCISCO: In 1899, four men in turbans walked off a boat in San Francisco with hopes of earning enough money to buy land in their home country of India.

These four were the first in a long line of Punjabi men who eventually settled in southern California’s Imperial Valley, married the Mexican women who worked the land alongside them, and started the large Punjabi-Mexican community that still thrives there.

Recently, television station PBS, in association with the National Asian American Telecommunications Association and Latino Public Broadcasting, announced that they would air a film “Roots in the Sand”, a documentary about the Punjabi-Mexican community, in September.

The film, produced and directed by Jayasri Majumdar Hart, is a multi-generational portrait of the Punjabi-Mexican families who first settled in Imperial Valley over a century ago.

The film documents the hardships and struggles faced by a community that grew out of the need for economic survival in the face of prejudice. The Punjabi men who arrived in this country at the turn of the century were not allowed to become citizens, nor could they bring brides from back home. Instead they turned to the Mexican women who toiled beside them — often to face even more difficulties. — IANSTop


SELL Larsen and Toubro, the company has declared a disappointing quarterly result and market participants are of the view that the next quarter will be bleak as well.

  • On news of an impressive jump in the top and bottom lines of Mastek, an eminent fund adviser recommends investing in its shares on successive declines.
  • Book profit at the Silverline counter, for despite being in the limelight prior to its New York Stock Exchange listing, the scrip is losing ground consistently.
  • Bullish expectations on the Wipro counter makes it an extremely attractive buy, says a leading portfolio adviser.
  • Accumulate Nestle for short-term gains, asserts a renowned market researcher who appears impressed with the phenomenal growth in the company’s bottomline.
  • On the back of unsatisfactory result posted by Himachal Futuristic, marketmen are of view that the company will find it difficult to register exponential growth in the coming years.
  • Market players feel that Infosys shares have value to offer at this price.
  • Zee Telefilm’s decision to acquire Asianet Communication has been put on hold, this might see the stock plummet under selling pressure, opines a leading financial researcher.
  • Watch out for price movements at the Reliance counter as many fund managers are extremely bullish on this stock in the medium term.
  • Speculative unwinding at the Global Tele Systems counter saw its share price nosedive, a prominent punter has advised close tracking of the scrip.
  • A veteran portfolio manager has recommended a strong buy on Dabur, as the market is abuzz with rumours that the company board is contemplating a stock split.
  • One can expect Colgate to witness a short-term rally as the scrip has featured in the priority list of many players, avers a Mumbai-based broker.
  • The Glaxo counter is attracting a lot of fund based buying; informs a leading market researcher.
  • Hold the share of ICICI Ltd with a medium term perspective, avers a renowned fund adviser, who is of view that the scrip has potential to appreciate within this period.
  • Buy Hero Honda, opines a well-known market observer, who holds an optimistic outlook at this counter.
  • Sell Castrol, which has disappointed all market participants with its extremely lackluster financial performance.
  • Notably, Novartis is one scrip that despite negative sentiments on the bourses has remained steady; encouraged by the same a prominent fund manager has advised to accumulate shares of the company.
  • Moser Baer with its high-growth product portfolio has emerged as dark horse bet, asserts a market punter.
  • Investors looking for medium-term moderate returns on their investment could consider, including Gujarat Gas in their portfolio, which has embarked upon many expansion projects in the recent past.
  • Below expectation performance of Telco and bleak prospects for the commercial vehicle segment in the medium term, warrants immediate disinvestment of the company’s shares.




Inflation dips
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (PTI) — The annual rate of inflation fell by a sharp 0.65 percentage points to 5.75 per cent for the week ended August 5, mainly on account of a drastic 1.1 per cent decline in the prices of primary articles. The rate of inflation, based on WPI, fell to 5.75 per cent (provisional) from 6.40 per cent (P) in the previous week.

Shaw Wallace
MUMBAI, Aug 20 (PTI) — In line with its increased focus on the wine business, Shaw Wallace and Co is planning to set up a state-of-the-art winery in Bangalore with foreign collaboration.

Max India
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (PTI) — Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) has valued Max India’s investments in its multifarious businesses, including joint ventures and subsidiary companies, at Rs 464-510 crore.

ICI India
NEW DELHI, Aug 20 (PTI) — ICI India is open to acquisitions of brands and companies that synergise with its core competency and portfolio “Aditya Narayan, Managing Director, ICI India, told PTI.


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