Saturday, November 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Ease EU visa restrictions: PM
New Delhi, November 23
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today urged the European Union to ease visa restrictions for IT professionals in India saying this would help the EU harness its comparative advantage. In Video (28k, 56k)

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with his Belgian counterpart and President of the Council of the European Union Guy Verhofstadt at the second India-EU business summit special plenary session in New Delhi on Friday. — PTI photo

Chamber proposals for growth adopted
Chandigarh, November 23
The Chief Secretaries of the Northern region unanimously adopted recommendations of PHDCCI Task Forces of Infrastructure, Export and Human Resource Development as a vehicle to achieve 8 per cent growth in the 10th Plan period at a summit organised by the PHDCCI today. At the same time, striving for a political consensus was emphasised to implement economic policy reforms.

Govt to build District Complex at Moga
Chandigarh, November 23
The Punjab Government has decided to construct a District Administrative Complex at Moga at a cost of Rs 20.75 crore. A decision to grant the construction work to a Delhi- based company was taken in a meeting of the Empowered Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora here today.



EARLIER STORIES

 

India unwanted in world trade fora?
I am in a mood to make final judgements today.
My first one: The WTO was created with a bad intention — to take trade and investment outside the UN framework to bring them directly under the rich nations. As such the WTO can never be a sound pillar of the global system. It will remain a self-serving instrument of the rich and powerful to coerce the poor.

Cut in direct tax rates ruled out
New Delhi, November 23
The Central Board of Direct Taxes today ruled out reduction in direct tax rates as they were “reasonable” and “comparable” with the rest of the developing countries and have paid dividends in terms of voluntary compliance.

Harshad’s police remand extended
Mumbai, November 23
“Big Bull” Harshad Mehta and his brothers Ashwin and Sudhir were today further remanded to police custody till December 7 by a special court here in a case involving fraudulent sale of shares worth Rs 250 crore.

Modern Automobiles tops in Maruti sales
Chandigarh, November 23
Chandigarh-based Modern Automobiles has been declared No. one in sales of Maruti vehicles in the entire North-II Region comprising Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Union Territory of Chandigarh, J&K and major part of Haryana.

Coop conference held
Chandigarh, November 23
Interest on cooperative loans will be reduced to help the farmers of Punjab. This was disclosed by Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Cooperation Minister, Punjab, while addressing a state level Cooperative Awareness Conference at Chohla Sahib organised by Puncofed.

PNB opens information centre
Chandigarh, November 23
Punjab National Bank, opened a high-tech Public Information Centre at its seven-day banking branch, in Sector 26, here today for attending to the queries of general public and providing information on various schemes and products of the bank.
Top








 

Ease EU visa restrictions: PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 23
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today urged the European Union to ease visa restrictions for IT professionals in India saying this would help the EU harness its comparative advantage.

Delivering the keynote address at a special plenary session of the second India-EU Business summit, organised by CII and FICCI here, the Prime Minister said there was great demand for the expertise of Indian software professionals in the EU.

In his address the Prime Minister covered the need for joint initiatives between India and the EU to counter the global economic slowdown; to ensure that the promises made at the Doha Ministerial would be fully implemented; focus on infrastructure to reverse slowdown in the Indian economy; India’s move towards greater integration with the global economy and the need for greater access for Indian goods and services in developed countries.

The other speakers at the session were the President of the European Commission, Prof Romano Prodi, the Prime Minister of Belgium and President of the Council of the EU, Mr Guy Verhofstadt and Minister for Commerce and Industry, Mr Murasoli Maran.

In their speeches, the Heads of State at the session shared a sense of achievement at the successful conclusion of the Doha round, the need to counter global terrorism and a sense of hope and confidence in the progress of economic reforms in India.

Mr Vajpayee said there was pressure on India to open up its markets to foreign goods and services and the developed world should also open up areas where India enjoys comparative advantage.

The Prime Minister said India was moving towards a more open trading regime having removed all quantitative restrictions, including those on politically difficult agricultural goods.

“In keeping with our commitments under the WTO agreements, we have abolished most quantitative restrictions on imports. This also includes agricultural goods, even though this is as politically sensitive in our country as it is in the European Union,” he said.

Mr Vajpayee mooted the idea of a collective and concerted global action to eliminate poverty worldwide as was being done to end terrorism in Afghanistan. A selective or piece-meal approach would not work to fight poverty.

Expressing hope that the economic slowdown would be temporary, the Prime Minister said one of the root causes of the sluggishness of the global economy was the widening divide between developed and developing countries.

“There is a strong perception among the developing countries that they have not got all anticipated gains from globalisation,” he said. This was also the perspective that guided India’s participation in the just-concluded WTO meeting at Doha, the Prime Minister added.

In his address, Mr Maran said New Delhi was ready to provide a framework for a joint consultation to increase flow of foreign direct investment from the EU to India.

Prof Romano Prodi said with the Euro replacing the individual currencies, the EU was at the threshold of a historic change. With an inevitable move towards a greater integration in Europe both institutional and social, Europe would have more in common with India, itself an amalgamation of diverse cultures.

The Prime Minister of Belgium focussed on the future of the European Union. He pointed out that the EU presented a huge single market for the business community. The Euro, on the other hand would bring the EU into everybody’s pockets, he quipped.
Top


 

Chamber proposals for growth adopted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The Chief Secretaries of the Northern region unanimously adopted recommendations of PHDCCI Task Forces of Infrastructure, Export and Human Resource Development as a vehicle to achieve 8 per cent growth in the 10th Plan period at a summit organised by the PHDCCI today. At the same time, striving for a political consensus was emphasised to implement economic policy reforms.

Keeping in view the scarcity of public funds, the private sector will be required to play a more meaningful role for which states agreed to create a more conducive environment. A transparent mechanism to involve the project developers, state governments and financial institutions will be undertaken to carry further economic reforms in the state to achieve faster economic development.

In infrastructure, consensus to involve the private sector and urban services of water supply, sanitation, waste management on the basis of recovering cost of services was endorsed. The principle that user must pay to partially meet the cost of operation and maintenance was accepted.

The recommendations on exports underlined the urgency to make domestic industry cost competitive and enhancing the quality of goods for the exports market. In this connection the need to exempt export products from local taxes and levies, which have a cascading effect on pricing, was accepted for consideration. The Chief Secretaries resolved that what is required is a strong infrastructure supported by minimum government interface to push the exports forward.

The summit was hosted by Mr A.P. Verma, Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh and the other participating Chief Secretaries were Mr L.M. Goyal from Haryana, Mr P.S. Bhatnagar from Delhi, Mr Harsh Gupta, from Himachal Pradesh, along with senior officials from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttranchal.

Earlier, Mr Sushil Ansal, President, PHDCCI, urged the Chief Secretaries to accelerate the pace of economic reforms because since 1991 except for the telecom sector, the role of private participation in infrastructure in the northern states has been marginal. He called for an environment in which the private and professionally managed corporates are encouraged to maximise public benefit.

Mr Ashok Khanna, Chairman, the Northern Regional Development Council, PHDCCI, referred to the North-South divide in terms of economic development and called for closer partnership between the states to achieve the objective of common market.

The need for enhancing the interstate corporation was emphasised by Mr A.P. Verma, Chief Secretary, UP. The subjects suggested for the next summit local levies, including stamp duty, VAT and NCR Plan which has the involvement of the states of UP, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi.
Top


 

Govt to build District Complex at Moga
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The Punjab Government has decided to construct a District Administrative Complex at Moga at a cost of Rs 20.75 crore. A decision to grant the construction work to a Delhi- based company was taken in a meeting of the Empowered Committee, under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora here today.

Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Chief Administrator of PUDA, said the allotment of work had been effected after calling for competitive tenders from the 10 short listed construction agencies, the estimated amount of the work as per the Detailed Notice Inviting Tenders (DNIT) being Rs. 22.31 crore. As a result of competition among the tendering agencies, the work was being allotted at 7 per cent below the DNIT amount.

The architectural design of the District Administrative Complex, which is situated on State Highway, near the Zila Parishad Complex, has been prepared by the Chief Architect, Punjab. The building comprises seven storeyed block and shall accommodate all offices of the civil administration, including that of the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police.

The complex is divided into four blocks, two for the office of the DC and two for the office of the SSP and the allied offices. This building will be an RCC frame structure, designed to take the seismic load. It had provision for car parking at the ground floor. The judicial courts are proposed to be shifted to the present Deputy Commissioner’s office building in due course.

Mr Sidhu said the project would be funded entirely from the sale proceeds of the government properties in Moga district. Already, PUDA has negotiated the sale of four properties to the Improvement Trust, Moga — at a mutually agreed amount of Rs. 2.70 crore.

Another important decision taken by the Empowered Committee was that an amount of Rs. 78.75 crore, deposited by PUDA with the Finance Department by raising loan from Hudco against the Government properties was transferred to it. It was decided that the Finance Department would examine the possibility of making a provision in the supplementary estimates of the current financial year, but with effect from the next financial year. 
Top


 

India unwanted in world trade fora?
M.S.N. Menon

I am in a mood to make final judgements today.

My first one: The WTO was created with a bad intention — to take trade and investment outside the UN framework to bring them directly under the rich nations. As such the WTO can never be a sound pillar of the global system. It will remain a self-serving instrument of the rich and powerful to coerce the poor.

My second judgement: As economic decisions are finally made by millions of greedy entrepreneurs, financiers and traders, the system they produce can never be altruistic. Any talk of capitalism with a “humane face” in these circumstances is a myth.

Third: Economic policies are framed by governments, and not by business and industry. This creates an impression of fairness and responsibility. This has hoodwinked the innocents of the world.

The USA set about with two economic objectives in the post-war years — to open up world markets and to destroy the advantages enjoyed by the developing world. With the help of the IMF and World Bank, it has achieved the first objective and with the help of the WTO it is now well on the way to success in the second.

WTO Director-General, Michael Moore admits that the developed nations spend $ 1 billion daily on farm subsidies. After this, the rich insist that the poorer countries should give up all subsidies! Such is the arbitrary nature of the global economic system and the farcical nature of the negotiations going on in the WTO.

Be that as it may, with tariff barriers coming down, global trade has gone up by leaps and bounds. World trade grew from $ 2.1 trillion to $ 5.7 trillion between 1986 and 1999. As for exports, it grew from $ 378 billion in 1950 to $ 6,627 billion by 2000. Indeed, commendable. But it is the rich who have gained most from this. Today, the advanced countries account for three-fourths of the world trade. Naturally, it is their trading interests which dominate the discussions in the WTO. India, with a share of 0.6 per cent of world trade, does not even figure in the concerns of the rich.

The developing countries are agricultural. Have they benefited from the WTO? The answer is a firm no. The WTO made great promises to the farmers of poor countries. Yet it is in agriculture that the failure has been most dismal. The rich have refused to make any concessions here.

America blames the European Union for giving farm subsidies to the farmers and the EU, in turn, accuses the USA for giving export credits. The clash between the USA and EU continues. Neither can prevail, for both are powerful. So the poor suffer. Today, the EU conceals its subsidies in what are called “blue box” payments.

But are the advanced countries entirely responsible for our failure in agriculture. We are merely trying to palm off our guilt to others. We have failed to catch up on yield, and priced ourselves out of the world markets in most of the farm products because of our procurement policies. In fact, the politics of agriculture is the villain. As a result, we have millions of tonnes of unwanted foodgrains which we cannot sell abroad.

India’s agriculture is today deeply mired in politics and unless we free it of this shackle, it will continue to be a drag on our economy.

Today, what is important is not what WTO can do for us, but what regional economic associations can do for us. Seen in this light, SAARC is irrelevant.

It is unfortunate that India is not favoured by other Asian economic associations like APEC, ASEAN and the Gulf Council. Nor does it appear to be wanted in the new free trade area that China had just sponsored. Thus India has to discover its own devices. In these circumstances, India has no other alternative but to depend on the USA, EU and the old Moscow connection.

If India is competitive, there would have been less anxiety. But that is not the case. In a study on competitiveness of 47 countries, India was placed 43rd and in infrastructure it was at the bottom. These should have alerted the country. But there is no response. Politics is all-how to stay in power.

I believe India should be concerned about two developments: 1) Patent colonialism and 2) China’s entry into WTO. Through an aggressive patent regime, developed countries are adopting a new strategy to dominate international markets at the expense of the less developed. We have been standing by helplessly as more and more indigenous products and processes are being appropriated by multi-national companies (MNCs).

And China’s entry into the WTO will throw up a new challenge to India. Unless India is ready to face it squarely, we will be swamped by Chinese goods.
Top


 

Cut in direct tax rates ruled out
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 23
The Central Board of Direct Taxes today ruled out reduction in direct tax rates as they were “reasonable” and “comparable” with the rest of the developing countries and have paid dividends in terms of voluntary compliance.

Addressing a conference on taxation and corporate law reforms, organised by the Assocham here, Mr O.P. Srivastava, Chairman and Special Secretary CBDT said the department expected the number of assessees to more than double to five crore by March 31, 2004 from 2.2 crore as on March 2001.

He said the government was finetuning the tax policy to build in the emerging trends in globalisation and computerisation and expressed satisfaction that the share of direct tax collections in the total revenue kitty had gone up from 19 per cent in 1991 to 36 per cent in 2001. He was confident that this share would touch the 40 per cent mark by March 2002.
Top


 

Harshad’s police remand extended

Mumbai, November 23
“Big Bull” Harshad Mehta and his brothers Ashwin and Sudhir were today further remanded to police custody till December 7 by a special court here in a case involving fraudulent sale of shares worth Rs 250 crore.

They were arrested on November 9 after CBI registered a case against them alleging that the trio had misappropriated the amount from 27 lakh shares of 90 blue chip companies attached by a special court in the multi-crore scam. CBI has charged them with selling these shares in benami names.

Harshad and Sudhir were produced before Justice S.H. Kapadia, Ashwin was not produced as he has been admitted to hospital after he complained of giddiness yesterday. The court ordered CBI not to interrogate him until he was discharged.

The judge turned down the plea of the accused to allow electronic diary during consultations with lawyers.

Defence lawyers Mahesh Jethmalani and Prenav Badheka filed bail application seeking Ashwin’s bail but did not press for his liberty. They said the accused had volunteered to remain in police custody in the interest of investigation.

CBI lawyers V.C. Gupte and Raja Thakre submitted that investigations were at crucial stage. They said the accused were confronted with several persons through whom these shares had been sold in the market. CBI claimed that it had got material admissions from witnesses to indicate involvement of Mehta brothers in the alleged crime.

Harshad argued that these shares had been stolen from his office. His brother Ashwin had lodged a complaint with the custodian on July 15, 1999 in this regard and the court had ordered CBI to probe the “missing” shares. PTI
Top


 

Modern Automobiles tops in Maruti sales
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Chandigarh-based Modern Automobiles has been declared No. one in sales of Maruti vehicles in the entire North-II Region comprising Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Union Territory of Chandigarh, J&K and major part of Haryana.

According to a communication received from Maruti Udyog Limited, Modern Automobiles have also ranked number one in the recently conducted Q2 (Quarter Two) J.D. Power Study in the whole of North-II Region (Customers’ Service Satisfaction Index) for CSI rating says Mr Madhu Sudan Vij, Chief Executive Officer, Modern Automobiles.

Modern Automobiles as dealers of Maruti Udyog Limited is an ISO 9002 certified company having state of the art dealership outlets alongwith after sale service facilities at Ambala, Karnal, Hisar and Chandigarh. 
Top


 

Coop conference held

Chandigarh, November 23
Interest on cooperative loans will be reduced to help the farmers of Punjab. This was disclosed by Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Cooperation Minister, Punjab, while addressing a state level Cooperative Awareness Conference at Chohla Sahib organised by Puncofed. Rashbeg Singh Dhillon, Chairman Puncofed, Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, Chairman, SADB, Gurbir Singh Mangat, MD, Puncofed, S.B.S. Pawar, Joint Registrar, Jalandhar division, Gurbachan Singh Karmuwala, Chairman, CCB, Tarn Taran and Captain Swaran Singh Pakhopur, Chairman, DCU, Amritsar were also present. TNS
Top


 

PNB opens information centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Punjab National Bank, opened a high-tech Public Information Centre at its seven-day banking branch, in Sector 26, here today for attending to the queries of general public and providing information on various schemes and products of the bank.

This unique centre was inaugurated by Mr S.S. Kohli, CMD of the bank. Mr U.S. Bhargva, General Manager (Northern Zone), Mr A.K. Bhargava, General Manager (Head Office), Mr V.K. Sood, DGM were also present.
Top


  bb
BIZ BRIEFS

ICICI Bank
Chandigarh, November 23
ICICI Bank today inaugurated its 16th Banking Office at LIC Building, Urban Estate, Dugri, Ludhiana. Mr Surindra Kumar, Regional Director, RBI inaugurated the office. Mr Anand Kumar, Regional Head, ICICI Bank emphasised that with the opening of this office, the bank has moved one step closer to its customers.  TNS

Cross Roads
Ludhiana, November 23
The Cross Roads, launched its 24-hour car help line operations here today. Under the scheme, the members would be provided emergency car repair and first aid service in and around the city. TNS

SBI trophies
Chandigarh, November 23
The State Bank of India, Chandigarh LHO felicitated the top performers amongst the Branch Mangers in a function by admitting them to the Chief General Manager’s Club — 2000 on 22nd November 2001. Mr Rajendra Kakker, CGM of the bank gave away the trophies to six Branch Managers for their excellent performance in their respective Modules. They are: Mr Hans Raj (Ludhiana); Mr O.P. Poonia, (Amritsar); Mr Vipan Kapoor, (Jalalabad); Mr S.C. Bhatnagar, (Hisar); Mr M.R. Dhiman, Kangoo and Mr S.L. Dhar, Mendhar. TNS
Top

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
|
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
|
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |