Thursday, October 11 2001, Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Infosys net profit rises 30.87 pc
Bangalore, October 10
Despite the global slowdown of economy, Infosys Technologies has registered a record 30.87 per cent rise in its net profit at Rs 201.56 crore for the quarter ended September, but the software major said the escalating tension over Afghanistan might impact its business in the coming months.

Canada 3000 flight lands in India
Chandigarh, October 10

While Canada 3000’s inaugural flight, the first non-stop commercial flight between North America and India which took 14 hours and 17 minutes, arrived in New Delhi yesterday, many international carriers, as a fallout of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the USA, have either discontinued or reduced their operations in India.

British tycoon Richard Branson uses his mobile phone after arriving at Changi International Airport in Singapore on Tuesday. Branson predicted the crisis-hit global airline industry would turnaround in as little as six months and ruled out further job cuts at Virgin Atlantic, according to a local media. —Reuters

 

 

EARLIER STORIES
 

Term of commission on labour extended
New Delhi, October 10
The Centre has extended the term of the Second Commission on Labour, which was set up in 1999 for undertaking a comprehensive review of the labour laws in the country, till February next year. Meanwhile, one of the six study groups set up by the commission, namely on “Women and Child Labour”, in its report submitted today said globalisation and mechanisation have caused job losses among women in some states.

Asia maintains PC potential: Microsoft
Hong Kong, October 10

Despite global economic sluggishness and personal computer sector gloom, Microsoft Corp believes Asia has the ingredients for a PC boom. Rising consumer affluence, aggressive broadband deployment in markets, including South Korea and Taiwan, and low PC penetration rates compared to the USA and Europe will continue to make Asia a relatively strong market for the maker of Windows, said Michael Rawding, President of Microsoft Asia.

Corpn Bank to open 15 ATMs in region
Chandigarh, October 10
In wake of rapidly increasing competition and changing business environment, Corporation Bank has decided to focus on computerisation and connectivity this year. The bank has plans to computerise 93 per cent of its business by December this year.

BSNL opens WiLL exchange at Panipat
Panipat, October 10
The rural telecom scenario is all set to be revolutionised as BSNL has decided to provide 6 lakh wireless in local loop (WiLL) connections in villages. BSNL has decided to cover remaining four lakh Panchayats under the “Panchayat Ghar Telephone (PGT) scheme, besides other rural areas under the WiLL network, which till now has been the exclusive preserve of the urban areas, Mr Prithipal Singh, Director (operations), BSNL Board, told The Tribune after inaugurating the 1000-line WiLL exchange for the city. 

Fertiliser industry asked to raise efficiency
New Delhi, October 10
The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr S.S. Dhindsa today asked the decontrolled fertilizer industry to take effective measures to increase its efficiency and over all performance in order to make local fertilisers cheaper than imported fertilisers.

Govt prepared to dilute stake in key PSUs
New Delhi, October 10
Minister for Heavy Industry Manohar Joshi said today the government was open to the idea of divesting majority stake in five key heavy industry public sector units. These units are BHEL, Heavy Engineering Corporation, Bharat Ophthalmic Glass, HMT and Hindustan Photofilms.

SBI organises rural mela
Chandigarh, October 10
All branches of State Bank of India located in Karnal district jointly organised a grand multi-purpose rural mela. Mr D.L. Manwani, General Manager, Chandigarh Circle inaugurated the mela. Mr S. Nagarajan, Project Director of Directorate of Wheat Research Centre was also present on the occasion.

ROUND-UP

Cable TV services by MTNL
New Delhi, October 10
MTNL is planning to enter the Cable TV segment in the current financial year and will soon apply for a licence to start services in Delhi.

  • Tata Info program for professionals

  • Sinha launches Credit Card

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Infosys net profit rises 30.87 pc

Bangalore, October 10
Despite the global slowdown of economy, Infosys Technologies has registered a record 30.87 per cent rise in its net profit at Rs 201.56 crore for the quarter ended September, but the software major said the escalating tension over Afghanistan might impact its business in the coming months.

The rise in the net profit by 30.87 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year is the highest in any quarter.

Quarter-on-quarter net profit has grown by 6.1 per cent, which beat analysts’ expectations.

The company’s income for the reporting quarter rose to Rs 650.13 crore, an increase of 45.74 per cent over the June-September figure of last year. On a sequential basis, the income growth has been an identical 6.1 per cent.

The Board of Directors today declared an interim dividend of Rs 7.50 per share (par value Rs 5 each), compared to Rs 2.50 for the corresponding period last year.

Basic earning per share has gone up to Rs 30.47 from Rs 23.28 per cent in the corresponding period last fiscal.

The company said it is on course to meet revenue and earning targets for the third quarter and the current fiscal.

“At this point in time, we reiterate our estimates of revenues and earnings per share for the quarter ending December 31, 2001 and the year ending March 31, 2002”, Chairman and CEO, N.R. Narayana Murthy, said.

Speaking at a news conference after the Board Meeting, he, however, said: “There may be a business impact due to the extraordinary situation arising out of the escalating tensions in Afghanistan”.

Numbers for the second quarter have exceeded analysts’ expectations, who had projected a 2.2 per cent sequential uptick in revenues and a slight earnings decline of 0.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, Infosys has acquired 28 new clients in the September quarter, including ING Group, National Health Service, JDS Uniphase and Vivendi Water Systems, compared to 26 customers in the previous three months.

As many as 11 clients were added after the September 11 terrorist strikes in the USA, said Phaneesh Murthy, Director and Head Sales and Marketing and Communication and Product Services.

Managing Director, President and COO, Nandan M. Nilekani said the net addition of employees during the quarter was 607 as compared to 116 during the quarter ending June 30, 2001. Gross addition was 833, including 92 lateral hires.

Deputy Managing Director and Head-Customer Service and Technology, S. Gopalakrishnan said the market continues to be challenging and pricing pressure continues for the company.

Utilisation rate, including trainees, was 68.8 per cent as compared to 69.5 per cent in the quarter ended June 30, 2001.

The company had free cash flows of Rs 84.33 crore after capital expenditure of Rs 129.77 crore during the quarter, and Director, Head (Finance and Administration), T.V. Mohandas Pai said cost control measures the company undertook were beginning to have a positive impact. PTI

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rcCanada 3000 flight lands in India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
While Canada 3000’s inaugural flight, the first non-stop commercial flight between North America and India which took 14 hours and 17 minutes, arrived in New Delhi yesterday, many international carriers, as a fallout of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the USA, have either discontinued or reduced their operations in India.

There is a considerable recession in the aviation sector, both domestic and international, during the past one month.

In view of the steep fall in air passenger traffic, United Airlines, which had introduced “Around the World Travel” from India only in April this year have stopped all its operations here. The airline was initially planning to introduce, on the lines of Canada 3000, a polar flight, from North America to India from October 28 this year. United was planning a direct flight from Chicago to New Delhi.

But United Airline has not operated even a single flight to or out of India since September 12.

North West Airline of the Netherlands, too, has stopped its Indian operations.

Scandinavian (SAS) Airlines, too, has announced its decision to wind up its India operations from February next year. Certain other European and North American air carriers are also thinking on the line of rescheduling their flights anticipating a fall in air passenger traffic from South Asian subcontinent to both Europe and North America.

Austrian Airlines has also decided to discontinue its Toronto and Chicago operations. And British Airways has decided to extend the suspension of its Heathrow-Islamabad (Pakistan) flight till further notice.

It is not only frequency of flights but also the economics of operations which are being given a new look. All international air carriers have decided to reduce from next year the commission for agents from 9 per cent to seven per cent. Besides, to meet contingencies, almost all airline have started levying “insurance cess” on each ticket. While majority of North American carriers have started levying US $8 per ticket, Indian Airlines and Air-India have started charging Rs 100 per ticket as insurance cess.

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Term of commission on labour extended
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
The Centre has extended the term of the Second Commission on Labour, which was set up in 1999 for undertaking a comprehensive review of the labour laws in the country, till February next year.

Meanwhile, one of the six study groups set up by the commission, namely on “Women and Child Labour”, in its report submitted today said globalisation and mechanisation have caused job losses among women in some states.

At the time of submission of report of the study group headed by Ms Renana Jhabvala, Chairman of the Commission Ravindra Verma said the findings of the report were only of a recommendatory nature and these would be further studied by the commission before being made a part of the Commission’s final report.

Mr Verma said he expected the commission would be able to submit its report to the government within the extended time frame.

Ms Jhabvala said almost 96 per cent of the country’s women workforce was engaged in the unorganised sector. Also, this sector contributed as much as 63 per cent to the national economy, that would mean that women contribute a major share of the national economy.

The report has recommended that labour laws should be amended to make them more positive for women workers in the unorganised sector as 95 per cent of women workers were employed in the unorganised sector and 40 per cent of the workers in that sector were women.

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tAsia maintains PC potential: Microsoft

Hong Kong, October 10
Despite global economic sluggishness and personal computer sector gloom, Microsoft Corp believes Asia has the ingredients for a PC boom.

Rising consumer affluence, aggressive broadband deployment in markets, including South Korea and Taiwan, and low PC penetration rates compared to the USA and Europe will continue to make Asia a relatively strong market for the maker of Windows, said Michael Rawding, President of Microsoft Asia.

“We think a lot of factors are there for an explosion in terms of the PC marketplace throughout Asia,” Rawding said in an interview.

Asia has been Microsoft’s fastest-growing region for the past few years, and accounted for about 20 per cent of global revenue in the fiscal year ended June 30.

Over the next two or three years, Rawding said, “because of the macro-economics we think there is a good opportunity for Asia to grow faster than other regions.”

Rawding said Microsoft saw a dropoff in demand in Asia during the days following the September 11 attacks on the USA, “but basically, it hasn’t been extreme since then.”

He added, “we’re trying to get back to a normal mode of business, given the economic situation we’re dealing with.”

Microsoft is set to report earnings for its first fiscal quarter, which ended September 30, on October 18.

For now, Rawding said, the company is focused on making the launch of its Windows XP operating system, set for October 25, a catalyst for consumer excitement and ultimately for industry recovery.

“Whether or not that’ll happen right away given the overall environment is hard to say, but that’s a variable that is outside of our control,” Rawding said.

Windows XP will appeal to PC users who increasingly employ digital media such as photos and music: “They want a way to better organise that, make that more accessible.”

Global personal computer sales fell for the first time in 15 years during the second quarter of 2001.

Rawding noted that Microsoft used the Asian financial crisis of 1997 “as an opportunity to expand our infrastructure” while many firms were downsizing.Reuters

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Corpn Bank to open 15 ATMs in region
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
In wake of rapidly increasing competition and changing business environment, Corporation Bank has decided to focus on computerisation and connectivity this year. The bank has plans to computerise 93 per cent of its business by December this year.

This was stated by Mr S. Jayakara Shetty, General Manager, while talking to newspersons here today. He was here to visit the bank offices.

Mr Shetty said 450 branches out of the total more than 650 will be interconnected by year-end. The bank will open 250 more ATMs, including 15 ATMs for the Chandigarh zone (Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Chandigarh).

While speaking about new schemes, he said the saving bank campaign launched in August this year has added more than one lakh accounts and is expected to generate another three lakh accounts within three months. "The bank has laid focus on extending housing finance to people and set up more than 100 special housing finance cells in major centres across the country", said Mr Shetty.

"The zone's productivity has crossed a level of Rs 2 crore and has recorded an impressive growth and segment wise credit. The profits of the bank were Rs 17.86 crore for the zone by the end of March 2000-01 .

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stiBSNL opens WiLL exchange at Panipat
 Tribune News Service

Panipat,October 10
The rural telecom scenario is all set to be revolutionised as BSNL has decided to provide 6 lakh wireless in local loop (WiLL) connections in villages.

BSNL has decided to cover remaining four lakh Panchayats under the “Panchayat Ghar Telephone (PGT) scheme, besides other rural areas under the WiLL network, which till now has been the exclusive preserve of the urban areas, Mr Prithipal Singh, Director (operations), BSNL Board, told The Tribune after inaugurating the 1000-line WiLL exchange for the city. About 2 lakh Panchayats had already been covered under the scheme.

Under the new scheme, which will get the concrete shape in six months’ time, the emphasis will be laid on providing the WiLL connections in the “technically non-feasible” rural areas where the underground cable network is virtually absent.

Giving details of the new schemes, Mr Prithipal Singh said equipment had been procured for providing 5 lakh connections, both fixed and mobile, in the urban areas.

Regarding the monthly rental of BSNL mobile phones, he said the Nigam had urged TRAI to lift the ceiling on lowest tariff of Rs 450 per month. The lower monthly tariff for the cellular services would pave the way for healthy competition among telecom companies, besides giving economical and better services to subscribers.

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Fertiliser industry asked to raise efficiency
 Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
The Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr S.S. Dhindsa today asked the decontrolled fertilizer industry to take effective measures to increase its efficiency and over all performance in order to make local fertilisers cheaper than imported fertilisers.

There is enough scope to implement energy saving devices and take cost cutting measures across the industry, he told a workshop on Concessions Scheme for Decontrolled Fertilisers.

Mr Dhindsa said concerted efforts should be made to put pressure on the suppliers of raw material and intermediates including phos acid for bringing down their prices.

The possibility of setting up joint ventures abroad should be explored for bringing their inputs and products into the country on sustainable basis and at more competitive rates, he added.

On the concession scheme for decontrolled fertiliser, the Minister said the Government has tried to simplify and rationalise the procedure not only relating to the mode of payment of concession to the fertiliser industry but also the certification of sales by the State Governments.

The Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Satyabrata Mookherjee said that the problem of low on-account rate vis-_-vis the final rate will now no longer pose a problem to the industry with the introduction of a three stage payment scheme. 

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Govt prepared to dilute stake in key PSUs
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
Minister for Heavy Industry Manohar Joshi said today the government was open to the idea of divesting majority stake in five key heavy industry public sector units.

These units are BHEL, Heavy Engineering Corporation, Bharat Ophthalmic Glass, HMT and Hindustan Photofilms.

Mr Joshi, who is insisting that the government should retain majority holding in these units as they will strategic units, today said “we were no longer insist on this”.

He attributed the change in stance to the mounting losses in some of these PSUs saying losses can be tolerated only for four to five years. “After that the units will have to be closed down” he added.

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SBI organises rural mela
 Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
All branches of State Bank of India located in Karnal district jointly organised a grand multi-purpose rural mela. Mr D.L. Manwani, General Manager, Chandigarh Circle inaugurated the mela. Mr S. Nagarajan, Project Director of Directorate of Wheat Research Centre was also present on the occasion.

To make the farmers aware of the agricultural and other related activities, various government and development agencies participated in the mela so that they are made aware of various innovative techniques in the field of agriculture.

Mr Manwani said that during the present era of competition the farmers and the industrialists must be aware of new techniques, so that they can face the challenge of international agriculture and industry.

Mr S.K. Mishra DGM and Mr Jagdish Kumar, AGM from Haryana Zonal Office of the Bank were also present at the mela attended by more than 500 farmers.

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ROUND-UP

Cable TV services by MTNL

New Delhi, October 10
MTNL is planning to enter the Cable TV segment in the current financial year and will soon apply for a licence to start services in Delhi.

“Since we have most of the infrastructure already in place including optical fibre connectivity and nearly 200 exchanges in Delhi, we have decided to enter the cable TV segment,” MTNL Chairman and Managing Director Narinder Sharma said. PTI

Tata Info program for professionals

New Delhi
Tata Infotech Education has taken the lead by pioneering the first Tata Infotech Certified Networking Engineer Program (TCNE) for the networking professionals.

The company is eyeing the fast growing network integration market and plans to create high-end skilled resources that can service this market, with the introduction of the TCNE program, according to a press release. ANI

Sinha launches Credit Card

Hyderabad
Yashwant Sinha today launched Syndicate Bank’s “Retail Credit Card,” designed to benefit small entrepreneurs and self-employed artisans, at a function organised at the coastal city of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh.

The retail credit card, on the lines of Kisan credit card, provides credit facility up to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh and is valid for three years, bank’s spokesman said here. PTI

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BIZ BRIEFS

Conclave
Chandigarh, October 10
To familiarise SMEs in the region with concepts like Venture Capital Financing, Credit Guarantee Schemes and Factoring Services, CII organised a Conclave on Alternative Financing and Cost Management here today . Mr B Sukuraman, MD, Canbank Factors, Deepa Srivastava, Regional Manager, OTCEI, Mr Rishi Sahai , Infinity Venture Funds, Mr NK Khanna CGM SBI Factors and Commercial Services and Mr Rajesh Dubey of Credit Guarantee Fund Trust spoke on the occasion.TNS

Silver City
Chandigarh, October 10
Silver City, an Indo-UK joint venture and PUDA approved modern housing complex has received ISO 9002:1994 certification from International Certification Services in recognition of its quality oriented progress. This was informed by MD Mr Rajat Kakkar in a press release today.TNS

Overnite Express
New Delhi, October 10
Overnite Express has entered into an association with United States Postal Service and the indiatimes.com for delivery of message to anywhere in India. Under the arrangement, any Indian in the US can log on to indiatimes.com and leave a message for a person located anywhere in India. The message shall be hand delivered to the recipient at his door-step within a period of three days.TNS

Network market
New Delhi, October 10
The network integration market is expected to grow at a rate of 25 per cent per annum and cross over Rs 600 crore in 2001-02, according to IDC, a US based technology consultancy firm. The network market has grown from Rs 399 crore in 1999-2000 to Rs 512 in 2000-01.

Mr. Harbhajan Singh, Editor of Indian Observer and author of several books, who has been has been elected President of All-India Small and Medium Newspapers Federation for the year 2001-2002.TNS

Jiggs Kalra
New Delhi, October 10
The country’s leading culinary expert Jiggs Kalra has been appointed by Daawat, the leading Basmati rice brand, as its brand ambassador today.TNS

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