|Sunday, September 3, 2000,
Textile industry should be
Punjab may earn $ 7 b via
New UK pilot scheme for
Falling khadi sales render 4 lakh
Transport subsidy for J &
Govt proposes, PSEB
IndusInd goes online
Charges for paging removed
IOC celebrates foundation day
Instant bills on mobile
NEW DELHI, Sept 2 The textile industry in the country needs to undergo drastic changes to remain competitive at the time when the multi-fibre agreement (MFA) comes into force and the Quantitative Restrictions are removed.
This sector necessitates a shift from a small scale to an industrial and organised garmenting sector, which will require dereservation of the garment industry even for domestic though the ultimate market will be exports, said a Ministry of Textiles sponsored study.
The study Implications of MFA phase-out by KSA Technopak said both industry and the government need to realise the importance of foreign direct investment in this sector.
FDI bring in vital financial resources into the country, they help in bridging the gap between the manufacturers, build up interest within the countries, help in market development, the study said.
The study said the country needs to establish garment capacities, strategic relationships in regions that offer cost competitiveness, proximity to markets, tariff exemptions, preferential treatments and quota benefits in order to preserve the textile industry.
These measures, it said would ensure diverse base of buyers of Indian textile products and re-routing of exports to tackle regional preferences and discriminatory treaties.
The potential market for Indian textile industry lies in North African countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Caribbean Basin, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The study observed that the country should modify labour legislation and streamline it in order to facilitate growth in a congenial and globally competitive environment.
In yarns, the country has made significant progress in this sector, and observed that the future does not present many opportunities for this sector as world demand for yarn is not expected to grow substantially.
Indias growth in apparel has been steady but not very impressive, considering the countrys price competitiveness in apparel. With regional trade coming up, this competitiveness is gradually eroding, the study observed.
More than 60 per cent of the apparel exports is targeted towards European Union and USA. In both the markets, it has been observed that Indias apparel exports have tapered off, however, in both the markets imports have increased at higher rate. A positive trend has been an increase in exports of apparel to non-quota markets.
The world trade in textiles and clothing has grown rapidly during the nineties and is poised to growth even further during the current decade.
If India does not act pro-actively to restrict barriers to trade, it would lose out in favour of other bases. Even countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are showing much higher growth rates and are poised to emerge as favourable apparel sourcing bases.
This may have impact even on the Indian textile industry if manufacturers in these countries grow big enough to integrate backwards in textile manufacturing or initiate supply relationships with fabric manufacturers from other countries, the study observed.
The proposed new textile policy envisages an action plan that aims at giving a further boost to exports targetting 35 billion dollars from the existing 15 billion over a five-year period.
With the growth in
population and rise in income levels, the fibre
consumption is expected to touch 56 million tonnes by
2005 from 41 million tonnes in 1995. Since the demand for
textiles and clothing is less income elastic in developed
countries, the real growth will come from the developing
countries like India and other Asian countries and
Eastern Europe including the former USSR.
Punjab may earn $ 7 b via
CHANDIGARH, Sept 2 Punjab is expected to earn a revenue of as high as $ 7 billion through IT and related business by 2008. This will include business relating to software products of approximately $ 1 billion, IT-enabled services ($ 3 billion), IT services, and e-business.
As per the IT and e-governance strategy of the Punjab Government which targets at making the state a favoured industry destination, improvement of the overall state economy, human resource development, encouraging private sector participation and above all providing public-centred efficient governance, the state would also require as many as 2 lakh IT professionals in eight years.
Mr N.S. Kalsi, Director, Technical Education and Special Secretary IT, Punjab, says, Encouragement to the private sector will definitely ensure that plans are implemented properly. We expect tremendous growth and generation of revenue. These expectations, are based on the past experiences which have witnessed a substantial increase in the revenue generation from the IT industry. The overall increase has been 62.9 per cent in 1999-2000 as compared to 1998-99.While hardware exports rose from Rs 300 crore in 1998-99 to Rs 600 crore in 1999-2000 (increase of 100 per cent), software exports registered a 69 per cent growth, revenue from software (domestic) increased by 94.6 per cent in a span of one year only.
To make IT education accessible to all officials say that computers will be introduced as an elective subject in all the senior secondary, high and even primary schools within 2 years. In 2,500 schools ,polytechnics and ITIs, it has already been introduced.
According to estimates,
the IT scenario will witness a drastic change by 2008.
The installed base of personal computers is expected to
reach a high of 20 million as compared to 4.3 million
now. It is estimated that the number of Internet users
would increase by 96 million and the cable TV subscribers
by 33 million. While the number of television sets is
expected to increase from the present 75 millions to 225
millions in 2008.
New UK pilot scheme for
ON 25 July 2000, the UK Government announced a pilot scheme aimed at entrepreneurs with innovative ideas who wish to set up a business in the UK. The pilot scheme will run for two years and applications can be submitted from September 4. The details of this new business slot category have been culled out from information circulated by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate.
This is a new category designed to attract and select outstanding entrepreneurs whose business proposals will result in exceptional economic benefit to the UK.
It is open to applicants with plans for establishing a business in any sector but is especially tailored to those entrepreneurs who plan to exploit the economic opportunities of the rapidly developing science and technology-based sectors, including businesses specialising in e-commerce.
The difference from the previous existing categories is that amongst other requirements, people wanting to set up businesses in England must invest 200,000 pounds of their own money. And overseas entrepreneurial investors must prove that they have one million pounds at their disposal of which they are willing to invest 750,000 pounds in government bonds and shares or corporate bonds. The existing business channels continue to exist.
In contrast, to requirements for the two above mentioned categories, no minimum investment is required in this new slot. Arguably, this is the major strength of this new scheme, especially in the South Asian context on account of feeble exchange rates. Third party funding is permitted, which is not the case at all in the 200,000 pounds category. Furthermore, there is no requirement for personal funds to be invested.
To qualify as an innovator, the applicant will need to show a combination of entrepreneurial ability, technical skills and a viable business proposal. This combination should advance the development of e-commerce or other new technologies in the UK.
The Home Office acknowledges the fact that those with the brightest business ideas and know-how in the new technologies are not easily categorised. For this reason, they claim to have designed an assessment system which is selective but highly flexible so that a wide variety of people from different business and educational backgrounds may be able to qualify. The system will reward an individuals strengths and allow them to be compensated for weaknesses in other areas. For instance, if you are lacking in academic qualifications you may make up for that in your business experience, or vice versa.
The applicant must qualify the three minimum requirements. The proposed business must lead to the creation of two full-time jobs. This unique business person should maintain a minimum 5% shareholding of the equity capital. Very importantly, as part of the tightrope, the person should be able to maintain and accommodate himself and any dependants without recourse to other employment or public funds until business provides you with an income.
If the application meets these minimum requirements then the same application will be assessed through a points scoring system. Personal characteristics and economic benefits of the business plan will be subject matter of scrutiny.
To apply as an innovator, the applicant should normally obtain an Entry Clearance before travelling to the UK as an Innovator. The papers should be submitted to the British mission in the country of normal residence.
Prior entry clearance is normally required but the Home Office may exceptionally consider an application lodged within the UK, direct to the business Case Unit. It is very important to note that the application will not be considered if you are in the UK as a visitor. In that case, you must leave the UK and apply for an entry clearance.
The amount and type of evidence required to support the application will vary widely depending on the applicants experience and the nature of business plans. The purpose of the evidence is to support the statements made by the applicant.
It should be ensured that the catalogue of evidence submitted is of a high standard, is from a clear source and is relevant to the application. Submitting large quantities of superfluous documentation will slow down the consideration process. All applications will be considered in the Business Case Unit of the Home Office in London.
If the application is successful, permission will be given to stay for 18 months in the first instance. Towards the end of the period, if the applicant intends to remain as an Innovator, he/she should apply to the Home Office for an extension of permission to stay. If the necessary requirements are met at that stage, the applicant will usually be given further permission up to a total of four years.
If the applicant is granted permission to stay as an Innovator for four years and decides to stay permanently, he/she can apply towards the end of that period for permanent residence (otherwise know as indefinite leave to remain or settlement). The spouse of the applicant and dependant children under the age of 18 may apply to accompany the applicant.
In conclusion, applications will be assessed in order to identify and select those which will bring exceptional economic benefits to the UK. Presumably, this new category is carved out to attract core commercial talent, who will contribute to English taxes, as the previously introduced category for millionaire investors did not have many takers worldwide.
Falling khadi sales render 4 lakh
CHANDIGARH, Sept 2 Khadi is struggling to survive in the face of an onslaught by multinational companies in not only the urban markets but also in the countryside. And not-so-benevolent attitude of the central and state governments over the past few years has further affected the future of the Khadi industry, which provides employment to an estimated 58 lakh artisans in villages.
According to Mr Mahesh Dutt Sharma, Convener of the Haryana Khadi Mission and Secretary of the Bharatiya Khadi Gramodyog Sangh (Northern Zone), the Khadi institutions have been starved of their working capital because they have not received rebate claims worth about Rs 240 crore from the Centre and the states. This rebate claim has already been passed on to customers by the Khadi institutions.
To make Khadi competitive a rebate of 10 per cent is given to the customers round the year. During Gandhi Jayanti the Centre allows another 10 per cent special rebate for a period of 60 days. While the Haryana Government chips in a 5 per cent rebate, the Khadi Mission also matches it with equivalent rebate of 5 per cent. While the Centre owes about Rs 140 crore, the states are to pay about Rs 100 crore. The Haryana Government is to pay about Rs 1 crore.
Due to the shortage of working capital the production of the khadi institutions, which stood at Rs 5112.38 crore during 1998-99, has been reduced by almost half. The sale of khadi has also come down by over 35 per cent from Rs 5601 crore in 1998-99. This has resulted in the stockpiling of khadi worth Rs 750 crore. The decline in production has, Mr Sharma says, rendered about four lakh artisans jobless.
A couple of months ago a delegation of the Khadi Mission met the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and the Union Minister of State for Small Scale Industries, Mrs Vasundhara Raje, to highlight its difficulties. Disappointed with the response of the two leaders, it was decided to close all khadi bhandhars from August 1 and to hold a rally at Rajghat in Delhi on August 9.
However, after the bhandhars were closed for five days, the Centre and the Khadi and Village Industries Commission requested the Khadi Mission to withdraw its Jan Andolan. A few of its demands were also accepted. The Mission was also assured that its other demands would be accepted before January 26 next.
Mr Sharma says while the Prime Minister is keen to solve the problems of the khadi sector, unfortunately the bureaucracy had implemented his instructions in a wrong manner. Certain State Governments, too, are apathetic towards the khadi sector, he says.
Mr Sharma says the Centre should prevail upon the states to immediately release the rebate amount due to the Khadi Mission. To create liquidity with the khadi institutions short-term loans should be given to them. To enable these institutions to off load their stocks, the period of special rebate should be increased from 60 days to 90 days. The percentage of special rebate should also be increased from 10 per cent to 20 per cent.
Under the garb of uniformity of sales tax, the khadi products should not be taxed as is being done by certain States like Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, interestingly both of which are ruled by the Congress.
Mr Sharma says to
generate employment for 5.6 million persons during the
Ninth Five Year Plan, financial assistance to the tune of
Rs 16,800 crore should be given to the Khadi sector as
recommended by a high-power committee headed by the then
Prime Minister, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao.
Transport subsidy for J & K,
NEW DELHI, Sept 2 The Minister of Textiles, Mr Kashiram Rana, today announced a special component within Deen Dayal Hathkarga Protsahan Yojna to provide transport subsidy for the transportation of finished goods from Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim and North-Eastern states.
The scheme being a Centrally-sponsored scheme will be shared mostly in the ratio of 50:50 between the Central and state governments.
Mr Rana told newspersons here that the scheme would entail an expenditure of nearly Rs 690 crore during the remaining period of the ninth Plan and the full 10th Plan period. The share of the Centre would be nearly Rs 360 crore and the states would get roughly Rs 330 crore.
The scheme will focus at taking care of a wide gamut of activities such as basic input like looms and accessories, working capital loans, product development, infrastructure support, institutional support, training to weavers, supply of equipment and marketing support for the handloom sector.
Mr Rana said handloom is among the largest decentralised sectors providing employment to 65.5 lakh people which is next only to the agricultural sector. The new integrated and comprehensive handloom development scheme would encourage new design inputs, processing facilities and opening of new avenues of marketing of handloom fabrics.
Most of the schemes of
the handloom sector till now have aimed at assistance to
weavers only in the cooperative fold and this
comprehensive scheme envisages assistance to weavers both
within and outside the cooperative field.
Govt proposes, PSEB
POWER which is the prime mover of any economy has been given a very harsh treatment. Euphoria of reforms has in fact further distorted the power sector. Privatisation is resulting in a sort of loot done in a very subtle manner. Although much has been written on Enron project but nothing came to the surface though much can be found in the bottom. Hirma project in Orissa is offering power @ Rs 1.65 per unit. Mangalore power project is ready to decrease rate by 18 to 20 paise from Rs 2.40 per unit. Enron power is costing Rs 5 per unit. Leaving this sorry state of affairs at the macro level things are taking bad shapes at micro level too.
Punjabs power sector has been in a way mauled by political power. Add to this sorry political muddle the lack-lustre management of PSEB you grasp the reasons for pitiable plight of Punjabs industry. The present management has completely shut itself from the consumers as if to add to the woes.
After hiking power tariff PSEB has raised minimum charges for industrial consumers by almost 100 per cent. Minimum charges of Rs 200 per KW for medium and large consumers simply means paying much more than the actual consumption. Board has not realised that modern industry in the competitive era has to use power in some operations for just a while. Board while sanctioning power connection it does so on the basis of contract demand but charges on the connected load. Contract demand is generally 50 to 60 percent of the connected load. Consumers contract with Board is thus the CD and not the CL. So minimum charges should be fixed in relation to CD and not CL.
Punjabs industrial policy emphasises on rural development. What government proposes PSEB destroys. If a big unit is put up in rural area it is asked to pay for the expenses for the entire line from the parent sub-station of 220/132 KV; how-so-ever lengthy it may be. It simply means that industrial unit can only be put up near these sub-stations. The place may otherwise be not fit for industrial on other considerations. Tomorrow Board may say that its parent station is Ropar, Bathinda or Ganguwal. This is negating the policy of industrialising rural areas.
There is very interesting case near Rajpura. A unit is given connection at 66 KV and is asked to pay for the double circuit line from parent station 18 to 20 km away although 66 KV line is available for this load. Board prefers to dismantle this and erect new one. What an economics?
Board agreed to certain proposals put by industry several months ago but decisions are pending. Board itself agreed to charge 2 per cent interest for late payment of bills but it is merrily charging 10 per cent.
If some unit goes sick and enters into dispute with board for the arrears it is denied even light load of say 2 KW against the running load of over 2000 KW. Large industrial premises with machinery worth several crores of rupees become vulnerable to thefts in darkness. On the other hand if such a unit has separate light load it can continue. What a reasonable thing? Agriculture sector can consume 30 per cent of power free of cost but if unfortunately industrial unit becomes sick it can not light up the premises by making payment. Three cheers to democracy and right of natural justice.
IndusInd goes online
CHANDIGARH, Sept 2IndusInd Bank has signed an agreement with Financial Software and Systems for acquisition of the BASE 24-ATM switch as a turnkey solution for ATM/POS switching, debit and credit card processing and for management systems, Internet Banking and e-commerce.
This will facilitate integration of the front-end delivery channels (like ATMs, POS, Internet Banking), E-Commerce Pament Gateway (B2C & B2B), Smartcard Payments, IVR and Call centre, Utility bill payments and other delivery mechanisms with back-end Banking Host Systems. It will also make indusind.com a financial supermarket on the web.
K.R. Maheshwari, MD, IndusInd Bank said, We are also planning to introduce innovative web based transaction services, mobile banking facilities and e-broking. It would enable ATMs to talk to other networks like Mastercard, Visa, SPNS etc. The bank has plans to invest Rs 15 crore towards IT, Mr Maheshwari added.
Charges for paging removed
NEW DELHI, SEPT 2 (PTI) The government today removed a component of Rs 100 per pager per annum from spectrum charges paid by radio paging service operators to promote growth of paging services in the country.
The waiver is in line with the decision of the Group on Telecom and it convergence headed by Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, an official release said here.
Radio paging is a
relatively small industry which provides cheap and
effective mobile connectivity to low-end of the market,
it said adding that the waiver of Rs 100 is expected to
promote the growth of paging services in the country thus
benefiting the common people.
IOC celebrates foundation
CHANDIGARH, Sept 2 Indian Oil Corporation celebrated its 37th foundation day yesterday. The General Manager of IOC, Mr G.C. Daga, said IOC had maintained its position as the lone Indian presence in the Fortune global listings of the worlds largest corporations.
In the latest fortune
listings based on data for the fiscal year of 1999,
Indian Oil is ranked 232 when the yardstick of revenue is
applied. This is 46 places ahead of its last years
position. The IOC is also ranked 100 in revenue in this
years Forbes International listing of 800 largest
Instant bills on mobile
NEW DELHI, Sept 2 Mobile phone users in the country would now be able to instantly view their bills on their handsets with WAP enabled Bill coming to India.
Through the new solution, the users can instantly recall almost any details about their bills - the amounts payable, due date, against their total outstanding and even the duration of the calls made, said Mr Ankur Lal, CEO of Infozech Software, whose company has developed the solution.
by Pushpa Girimaji
Specify on package the best before date
SUPPOSE you buy a packet of biscuits in September 2000 and find that the date of manufacture printed on the package is October 2000, you will be perfectly justified in demanding an explanation from the manufacturer. And this is exactly what a consumer did when he found two packets of biscuits that he bought in May, carrying the date of manufacture as June. In fact he went one step further and filed a complaint before the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission, accusing the manufacturer of misleading consumers and indulging in unfair trade practice.
Technically, the complainant was right when he accused the manufacturer of post-dating his product. But legally, he had no case against the manufacturer and the MRTPC said so when it held that the manufacturer had not committed an unfair trade practice. I am sure you are surprised and even a little perplexed by this. Well, blame the law makers for creating this situation by providing for such post-dated declaration of month of manufacturing or packing, under the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 1977.
These Rules make it mandatory for packed goods meant for sale to carry certain information such as the name and address of the manufacturer or the packer, the quantity, retail price and the month and year of manufacture. Now if you look at Chapter II, Rule 6, pertaining to declaration to be made on every package, it says under (i) (B) ...... where any such packaging material is exhausted before the expiry of the month indicated thereon, the packaging material intended to be used during the next succeeding month may be used for pre-packing the concerned commodity.
As a result you sometimes see products claiming to be manufactured a month after they have adorned the shelves of retailers! And if you go strictly by the date of manufacture, you are buying a product and consuming it when it is not even manufactured. Or by the time it is manufactured or packed, it has already been bought and may be even consumed! Suppose you buy in March a packet of potato wafers, indicating the date of manufacturers as April, technically, in March when you bought and consumed the product, it did not even exist as it was manufactured only in April!
Not only is this rule absurd, but also inconsistent with the aim of the Packaged Commodities Rules, which is to protect the interests of consumers. It in fact takes away the sanctity of the printed information on packages, besides creating confusion and doubts in the minds of consumers about the date of manufacture. In fact there have been several cases before consumer courts too on this issue, filed by consumers unaware of this particular provision in the law. In January this year, a railway passenger complained about a mineral water bottle supplied to him during a train journey in January. When he opened the bottle, he found the water smelling foul and on checking the date of packaging, he says he was shocked to find that it was dated February 2000! He has lodged a complaint with the railways.
What is of particular concern here is the fact that this provision could actually mislead consumers about the shelf life and thereby usability of a product, particularly food products and those with short shelf life. In fact the incongruity of this provision is particularly glaring when juxtaposed with the recent amendment to the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act which makes it mandatory for all food products to mention the shelf life. If for example, the amendment had insisted on manufacturers specifying the month and year of expiry as in the pharmaceutical products, then perhaps this provision allowing the use of post-dated wrappers would not have affected consumers as much. But given the fact that most food labels mention the best before date as so many months from the date or month of manufacture, this sort of future dating could result in miscalculation of shelf life by consumers.
Let me give an example: Suppose a food product manufactured in September has been packed in a wrapper meant for October and the label says that it should be consumed within six months from the month of manufacture. Now, instead of calculating six months from September, the consumer will look at the date of manufacture and calculate it from October. As a result a consumer may well buy or use an out-dated product, thereby defeating the very purpose of mentioning the shelf life.
The Union Ministry of
Consumer Affairs should have deleted this provision or at
least this part of the provision when the Union Ministry
of Health decided to make it mandatory for all food
packages to specify the best before date. Hopefully, at
least now the ministry will make the necessary changes in
the Rules, keeping in mind the interests of consumers.
by Praful R. Desai
Q: Whether communication by another officer than the one who passed the order, would make an order of termination bad?
Ans: The S.C. gave the answer in Union of India v Sumitra Devi (2000-II-LLJ-225) as under:
The only question for consideration of the SC was whether the General Manager who was competent authority to terminate the services of the plaintiff passed the order of termination or not.
The SC request the Addl. Solicitor General to produce the relevant file dealing with the termination of the plaintiff and pursuant to the request, the entire file had been produced before the SC.
On going through the said file there is no manner of doubt that it is the General Manager who passed the order of termination which was of course communicated by some one else, subordinate to him since the competent authority has passed the order of termination its communication by any other authority, will not make the order of termination bad, in the opinion of the SC.
Earlier, the plaintiff-respondents had filed the suit challenging the order of termination on the ground that the order of termination had not been passed by the competent authority. The H.C. in appeal, held that it is not the G.M. who has passed the order of termination and hence it is bad in law.
In the view of the SC, the HC, was wholly in error, in interfering with the judgement of the first appellate Court. Consequently, the S.C. set aside the impugned judgement of the HC and confirmed the judgement and order of the First Appellate Court.
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