|Wednesday, September 20, 2000,
Indias growth above average:
Maruti suspends production for 2
days after stir
Haryana handloom corpn
Bathinda power plant capacity to
Vijay Chopra elected President of
Girls challenge UTI plan
to kill Rajlaxmi
Analjit to be Max Chairman
Indias growth above
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 Indias economic growth rate of about seven per cent in 1999 was above average, said the Geneva based UNCTADs Trade and Development Report, 2000, released here today.
The economic growth of Asia was the big success last year. Growth turned strongly upwards, exceeding 5 per cent, said the report.
It underlined that the big economies of India and China, where growth was around 7 per cent, performed above average.
Indian growth was based on the dynamism of industry and services. Even with a sharp slow down in agriculture, the economy expanded by close to 7 per cent in 1999 and the growth momentum is expected to continue this year.
The UNCTAD report said for both India and Pakistan the negative effects of the economic sanctions following nuclear tests were no longer in evidence.
In Pakistan, the economic sanctions were partially waived in January 1999 and international financial institutions subsequently resumed their assistance.
The acceleration in growth in India is accounted for by industry and services, where faster growth more than offset the sharp slowdown in agricultural growth to less than one per cent from 7.2 per cent in the previous year, as a result of erratic monsoon in some areas and serious damages caused by a cyclone that struck the Orissa coast in October 1999, the report said.
The economic performance of the countries of South Asia, the report said, was mixed. The acceleration in GDP growth from 4.5 per cent in 1998 to 6 per cent for the sub-region is primarily a reflection of the strength of the Indian economy.
In Pakistan, continued political stability, acute balance of payments problems and macro economic imbalances resulted in a moderate slowdown in 1999. Growth also slowed in Bangladesh, where manufacturing was seriously hampered by floods during the first half of 1999 and by political instability as well as in Sri Lanka due to declining industrial output.
For most countries in the sub-region, notably India and Sri Lanka, fiscal imbalances continue to be a cause for concern. Nevertheless, growth momentum is expected to continue in 2000, with modest improvements in some countries, the report observed.
Oil price hike
The outlook for oil prices is highly uncertain. With demand and supply tightly balanced and inventories low, the oil market remains potentially volatile.
However, the report projects that oil prices in the second half of the year are expected to decline moderately and thus to average about $ 24 a barrel for the year as a whole.
The oil price hike helped world trade values pick up last year, with only the transition economies missing out. Strong import growth in China, Japan and the US kept the market buoyant, and the developing countries posted a big turnaround in exports, growing over 8 per cent with a contraction of 7 per cent in 1998.
A simulation exercise
carried out by UNCTAD indicate that the price of oil,
instead of remaining at this higher level during the
entire simulation period, is projected to decline
gradually to less than $ 29 per barrel by 2015.
Maruti suspends production for 2 days after stir
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 (PTI) Maruti udyog today suspended vehicle production for two days attributing it to high inventory level but its employees union claimed the ongoing agitation had forced it to take such a step.
The current level of vehicle stocks are marginally higher than normal levels...In order to achieve stock correction at the plant, the company has decided to reschedule its production for two days, a maruti statement said.
Marutis stock of vehicles rose due to slowdown in the month of June and the company has on various occasions, rescheduled its production to check the inventory levels.
On the other hand, maruti udyog employees union president Sudhir Kumar told PTI: MUL officials have ordered to stop production following our agitation. The plant is fortified by the police but we are continuing our peaceful agitation.
The union threatened to go on strike if its demands, including new pension scheme, finalisation of annual production target and incentive scheme, were not met immediately.
In a representation to divisional manager (pers. & adm.) Asim Talukdar, maruti udyog yesterday, union general secretary Mathew Abraham said the management had misunderstood our endeavour to settle our demands cross the table as our weakness.
maruti employees were informed yesterday about the suspension of work for two days.
MUL deputy manager (employee-management relation), P. Sudhakar, in a communication to all departments, said as the market conditions continue to be sluggish, it has been decided to suspend production operations on September 19 and 20.
The union said the management had agreed to implement a company- based pension scheme to be funded by MUL and employees equally with better benefits than the employees pension scheme 1995 but the management has not implemented this clause of agreement, signed in February, 1998.
Haryana handloom corpn
CHANDIGARH, Sept 19 With an accumulated loss of more than Rs 4 crore recorded against its name, the Haryana State Handloom and Handicrafts Corporation is a quintessential case of mismanagement of a government enterprise.
CAGs report on the HSHHC, which was tabled in the recently concluded session of the state Assembly, said the company was in the habit of spending funds meant for various schemes for its day-to-day expenditure. In 1997 the company received Rs 14 lakh for development of exportable products and their marketing. Out of Rs 14 lakh, only Rs 14,000 was spent for the development of samples and Rs 1.36 lakh on salaries of staff deployed for this scheme, while the remaining Rs 12.50 lakh was diverted for its day-to-day activities.
The HSHHC also did not implement a welfare scheme providing healthcare to weavers and an amount of more than Rs 7 lakh received in March, 1997, from the Central Government for this was also diverted for day to day to expenses.
Between the 1995-98 period, the company received more than Rs 22 lakh for imparting training and providing infrastructural facilities like looms to the weavers. The company, however, only provided training to the weavers for which about Rs 4 lakh were spent. No infrastructural facilities were provided and the balance funds of more than Rs 18 lakh were diverted towards its day-to-day expenditure.
The scene regarding the network of emporia, which are being run by the company for selling handloom and handicraft goods, is no better. While there was an overall profit of more than Rs 15 lakh by its 21 emporia and one sales counter in 1994-95, the loss sustained by the emporia amounted to Rs 31.70 lakh in 1998-1999. Moreover, it was found that out of its 22 outlets, 19 were running in loss. CAGs report stated that the main reason for the losses was the declining trend in sales in the outlets because of its excessive rates, and increase in administrative expenditure.
Surplus manpower, unrealistic projection, delay in decision-making and casual approach of the management were the other factors which led the company to its current moribund stage, CAGs report stated. Two incidents demonstrate the grotesque casual attitude of the management toward the company.
In response to a request of the company the Haryana Government in 1988 posted on HCS officer as the Regional Manager for supervision of the showrooms located in the Southern states. In July, 1990, the HSHHC requested the state government for the withdrawal of the RM. However, in September 1990, the company again approached the government for retaining the post but in August, 1999, it again informed that there was hardly any justification of the post.
The post was
discontinued after the resignation by the RM. It was
found from scrutiny of the records that the officer had
never visited any showroom except headquarters at
Chennai. Similarly, in May, 1990, the company felt that
there was no necessity to operate the post of the General
Manager. However, the request to withdraw the post was
made only in October 1994, to the the government and the
post was abolished eventually in January, 1995. The
government had spent more than Rs 8 lakh for these two
officers even though it was not clear whether they were
needed at all.
Bathinda power plant capacity to
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has given techno-economic clearance for the addition of 2x250 mw thermal generating capacity at Guru Hargobind Thermal power station at Bathinda.
The project, owned by Punjab State Electricity Board, is estimated to cost Rs 1790 crore including interest during construction to the tune of Rs 278 crore.
The Punjab Government plans to invest Rs 554 crore and the Power Finance Corporation has been tied up for arranging loan of Rs 1236 crore. PFC as the lead finance manager would assist PSEB in firming up the financial package which is to be submitted to CEA within six months.
With the addition of 2x250 mw units, the total generating capacity at the thermal power station would touch 920 mw. Like the existing generating units, the new units would also be using coal as the prime fuel. For this purpose a coal linkage of 1.86 million tonnes per annum has been tied up with Eastern Coal Ltd. The Railways has agreed to transport the coal to the power station.
Vijay Chopra elected President
CHANDIGARH, Sept 19 Mr Vijay Kumar Chopra of Hind Samachar Publications has been elected President of the Indian Newspaper Society for the year 2000-01 at its 61st annual general meeting.
While Mr Pratap G. Pawar (Sakal) has become Deputy President, Mr Abhay Chhajlani (Nai Dunia) has been elected Vice-President and Mr Vishwa Bandhu (Daily Tej) the Honorary Treasurer of the society.
The members of the
Executive Committee include Mr R.N. Gupta of The Tribune,
Mr M. Vekatraman (The Economic Times), Mr C.B. Sen
(Business World), Mr N. Murli (The Hindu), Mr K.N. Shanth
Kumar (Deccan Herald), Mr Atul Maheshwari (Amar Ujala),
Mr C.R. Irani (The Statesman), Mr Rajan Kohli (The
Hindustan Times, Patna), Mr Shekhar Gupta (Indian
Express), Mrs Mohini Bhullar (India Today) and Mrs
Shobhana Bhartia (The Hindustan Times).
Girls challenge UTI plan to kill Rajlaxmi
NAGPUR, Sept 19 (PTI) The Nagpur bench of the Mumbai High Court has issued a notice to the UTI and its western zonal office to show cause why an abrupt decision was taken to prematurely terminate Rajlaxmi scheme meant for girls, from October 1.
Justice J N Patel and Justice S D Gundawar, in response to a writ petition filed by four girls from akola, directed the respondents to appear and explain their stand by September 27.
The petitioners contended that UTI invited investment in September 1992 for the benefit of minor girls and under the scheme, the girl-child below the age of one year on an investment of Rs 1,000 was due to get Rs 21,000 on attaining the age of 21 years.
As per the scheme, the girl-child would have got 17 per cent annual interest. Similarly under the rules, the scheme could not have been terminated by either parties. Several persons had invested in the scheme to the tune of Rs 500 crore.
Analjit to be Max Chairman
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 (PTI) Max India today announced major operational restructuring in which promoter Analjit Singh will take over as the new Chairman and present Managing Director Vivek Jetley will head the newly created IT business group.
Mr Analjit Singh takes over from Mr S.S. Baijal on September 22 after Mr Baijal completes two years as Max India Chairman, a company statement said here.
Mr Jetley will simultaneously head the newly-formed IT business group which comprises all IT-related activities, including IT services, e-business solutions, medical transcription and satellite communication services.
The company also plans to aggressively grow its IT and IT-enabled services and has already made Rs 125 crore investment in these businesses.
Noni Chawla, currently CEO of Healthcare, is also being appointed as the Managing Director of Healthcare business unit which comprises Healthcare Services and Clinical Research Business, it said.
Last week, Max had announced appointment of Mr Tony (Anuroop) Singh as the Managing Director of Max New York Life Insurance the joint venture floated by Max to foray into life insurance.
Max speciality and pharmaceutical businesses will now be headed by Mr K.S. Ramsinghaney and Mr Vishal Malhotra respectively.
In an attempt to instil
corporate governance, Max India has imposed an age limit
of 70 years for non-executive directors, limiting the
term of any non-executive director to 10 years in two
five-year terms, and formation of three active
sub-committees for audit, investment and one for
appointments compensation and governance.
services to be out of tax net
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 The Union Minister for Information Technology, Mr Pramod Mahajan, today said all Information Technology enabled services would be exempted from Income Tax within two weeks and a working group to tap potential of women in IT would be set up within the same time frame.
Inaugurating the India IT enabled services 2000 conference here, organised by Nasscom, he said since the Finance Minister had promised exempting all IT enabled services from income tax net, there would not be any problem in implementing it.
Central Board of Direct Taxes and Nasscom have to be blamed for not notifying it so far. Now that it has been brought to my notice, a CBDT notification would be done within two weeks, he said.
Presently only a few IT enabled services units can claim tax exemption under 80 HHE of the Income Tax Act.
Nasscom had already provided a list of IT enabled services that are to be exempted from paying tax under 80 HHE of the Act.
The government needs to issue this notification at the earliest so that IT enabled services units which have done their tax planning based on the announcement by the Finance Minister are not put to any inconvenience, Nasscom President, Mr Dewang Mehta said.
IBM is Whirlpools outsourcing partner
NEW DELHI, Sept 19 (PTI) Whirlpool of India has selected IBM India as its IT outsourcing partner for the next 10 years.
The move will allow Whirlpool to ensure its technology stays up-to-date, enable it to communicate more effectively with its remote offices and help the company meet its business objectives.
This alliance is in line with our strategy of increasing focus on our core competency. We found that IBM would best meet our current and long-term needs, Whirlpool of India Executive Director Finance John Pinto said in a statement.
As per the terms of the agreement, IBM India will maintain Whirlpools Information Technology infrastructure, including the management and operations of their multi-location date centres, local area networks and technical support.
Catch your MLA on Net
MOHALI, Sept 19 (PTI) Raman Online Media Network (Rolmnet), the Internet content service of Mohali-based Weblink Infonet Pvt Ltd, has launched a unique service Catch Your MLA on its portal on Punjab.
With this service, people in India and abroad can address their collective concerns and problems to the respective MLAs.
Members of the public can fill a simple form provided on Rolmnets Punjab on the Net which is a comprehensive Internet-based information service on Punjab to send their messages to the MLAs.
Berlin welcomes IT star
BERLIN: A software specialist from Chennai dubbed der erste echte Computer-Inder (the first real computer Indian) by the German media started work on Tuesday after arriving here to a flowery welcome that almost embarrassed him.
Vivek Bhardwaj (23) is described by his German employers as the first computer expert to come here directly from the Indian subcontinent under a green card scheme that allows German firms to recruit foreign personnel.
As Bhardwaj landed, there was a sudden burst of flash bulbs from the cameras of the waiting media which had picked up scent of the arrival of the first real computer Indian.
Seeing the excitement over his arrival at the airport, Bhardwaj modestly told reporters that he was no star to merit such attention.
Bhardwaj, who studied at PTU, Jalandhar, will develop software programmes for his employers who have rented a small apartment for him in Berlin. Bhardwaj also carried a small English/German dictionary which he will, however, not be needing at his place of work where most of his colleagues speak English. IANS
Fake father-to-be steals nurses pay
TIRANA: A man posing as an expectant father gained admission to Tiranas maternity hospital and stole the wages of nurses and other staff totalling around $ 13,000, an Albanian newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Koha Jone newspaper said that after telling a guard they were visiting a new mother, the thief and an accomplice broke into the accountants office where staff wages were kept in a safe.
They took the safe, put in their car and left, pretending the babys delivery had been all right, the newspaper added.
The safe was small enough to be carried by the two men. It was not clear why the guard failed to prevent the thieves leaving with their booty. Reuters
No place like prison!
COUNCIL BLUFFS, lowa: For a bank robber, 76-year old Marvin Stewart didnt pose much of a threat.
The frail senior, who uses a cane to walk and told the police he was suffering from colon cancer, was arrested in a bank parking lot in Council Bluffs, lowa, on Monday after he demanded two $ 50 bills from a bank teller and then told bank employees hed be waiting outside for the police. He did not use weapons or threaten violence.
Detectives who interviewed Stewart said he told them he wanted to go back to federal prison after spending the last several months homeless, travelling from town to town in his car.
Stewart knew what he was getting into. He previously was sentenced to five years in prison for robbing a bank in Ohio but was paroled in 1987 after serving 17 months. Reuters
Car-free day causes headache
BANGKOK: A world car-free day later this week is causing a headache for at least one Thai government minister expected to set an example and leave his vehicle at home he is having trouble figuring out how to get to work.
I am doing serious, quiet research on how to get to Government House from home... and would like to encourage everyone to start thinking about how to get around that day, said Savit Bhothiwihok, Minister in charge of Energy Affairs at the Prime Ministers Office.
Savit will have to choose whether to turn to Bangkoks crowded public bus service, take a canal shuttle ride, or use the air-conditioned elevated-rail mass transit system, known as the skytrain, to get to work on Friday.
He lamented that the Bangkok canal shuttle and skytrain only covered part of the 10 km that he would have to travel on September 22 to get to work.
People with many errands to run will have to choose between private cars and public transport. The city bus service will probably be stretched to its limit if everyone turns to it, the minister said.
Thai officials hope 10
per cent of 1.3 million Bangkok car owners would
participate in the car-free day campaign, which is being
mounted in 24 countries. Bangkoks traffic is
notoriously congested. Reuters
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