Sunday, November 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

EU asks India to sign pact on textiles
New Delhi, November 24
The European Union has asked India to enter into a bilateral agreement on textiles, a move that would help increase exports to the region.

KBC to go off air, return with 2 cr prize
Mumbai, November 24
The super successful game show "Kaun Banega Crorepati", anchored by Amitabh Bachchan, is going off air, but only for a while and will stage a comeback with a Rs 2 crore booty.

A few takers for Indian textile
Chandigarh, November 24
Absence of consistency in the quality and lacklustre government policies are the two main factors deterring foreign textile companies from dealing with their Indian counterparts.

Remedies under VAT laws
Under the provisions of the Haryana Valued Added Sales Tax Act, 2001 intended to be introduced in the state from April 1, 2001, a wide range of powers are proposed to be conferred upon the taxing authorities in the matter of levy of tax and imposition of penalty on the assessees as is evident from Sections 16, 17, 18, 29, 33, and 37.

Nigerian team visits Punjab Tractors
Chandigarh, November 24
A 10-member Nigerian delegation, led by Chief Kola Jamodu, Industry, Minister visited Punjab Tractors Limited here today.



EARLIER STORIES

 
AVIATION NOTES

Airlines continue to woo passengers
Air traffic — be it national or international — is yet to stabilise. People are afraid to travel by air for a variety of reasons. International airlines have been offering discounts but the traffic has shown only marginal signs of improvement.

  • A prestigious award

  • Security measures

  • Grounded

ROUND-UP

FCI labourers get Rs 25,000 a month
New Delhi, November 24
Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Minister Shanta Kumar today came down heavily on the Food Corporation of India for its deplorable work culture, stating that handling charges for each bag of foodgrain were as high as Rs 700 at some places.

  • Bajaj launches sub-250cc bike
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EU asks India to sign pact on textiles
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
The European Union has asked India to enter into a bilateral agreement on textiles, a move that would help increase exports to the region.

According to European Union President Romano Prodi. It has become necessary for India to enter into a bilateral agreement on the lines of those signed by Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This would increase the quota of textiles and textile products for Indian exporters as a trade-off for an enhanced market access in the EU.

India which initially had reservations in signing a bilateral agreement, has changed its stand eversince the EU increased the textile quota by 15 per cent to Pakistan. The move would hit the Indian exporters.

While the Indian and EU authorities have broadly agreed for a bilateral tie-up, the details on quota trade-off for tariff reduction were being negotiated.

Mr Prodi said India-EU relations were poised to increase in scope and depth, including control of terrorism, which could include common arrest warrants in India and Europe and joint training for the police and judiciary.

Mr Prodi said the India-EU political partnership has acquired special importance in the wake of September 11 attacks. India has long been a target of terrorism and it was important that India and Europe team up to bring about stability. The EU was highly appreciative of India’s prompt and unconditional support for the international coalition against terrorism.

The President of the EU also said the Monetary Union was a remarkable success. Besides, the expansion of the EU had been more successfull than anticipated and the transition was smooth.
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KBC to go off air, return with 2 cr prize

Mumbai, November 24
The super successful game show "Kaun Banega Crorepati" (KBC), anchored by Amitabh Bachchan, is going off air, but only for a while and will stage a comeback with a Rs 2 crore booty.

Admitting that KBC was going off air, Samir Nair, chief of programming for Rupert Murdoch's STAR that airs the show on STAR Plus, told IANS: "But only for a while. We're coming back with a new crop of episodes."

"For now we're ending this season of KBC in January with a grand finale. We need to end it on a nice high memorable note. We come back in July-August with the second season. It will be bigger brighter and better. KBC is going to come back.

"We might double the price money from Rs1crore to 2crore. We've got to come back with a bang. Mr. Bachchan, (Indian quizmaster) Sidhartha Basu and I need to sit down and discuss what we can do to improve KBC in the second season. We might even be going live."

STAR also has a new game show on the anvil.

"That's right," confirms Nair. "We're putting on the desi (Indian) version of the British game show 'The Weakest Link' called 'Kamzor Kadi Kaun.' But let me clarify that 'Kamzor Kadi Kaun' isn't replacing KBC."

After approaching Rekha, Sushmita Sen and Shabana Azmi, STAR Plus finally chose Neena Gupta to host "Kamzor Kadi Kaun."

Nair says: "While the compere in the original is expected to be nasty, Neena will be nasty and funny, independent and strong-willed. We needed someone who knows her mind and how to use it. Neena fitted the bill."

Right now Neena is in Taiwan shooting the promos of the Indian version on the sets of "The Weakest Link."

Since audiences in India aren't sold on outright nastiness, STAR intends to modify the original concept. Nair says: "It provides vicarious thrill to the viewer to see someone else getting the answer right."

He reiterated: "But let me clarify, 'Kamzor Kadi Kaun' isn't replacing KBC."

Coming back to KBC, he said Karan Johar was approached to participate with his entire cast of "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham," for a grand finale of this season's KBC, but the negotiations fell through.

Seasonal television is about to come to Indian television in a big way. Says Nair: "Starting with KBC, we'll be doing everything seasonally as it is done abroad. This will keep the shows fresh." IANS
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A few takers for Indian textile
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Absence of consistency in the quality and lacklustre government policies are the two main factors deterring foreign textile companies from dealing with their Indian counterparts. Despite being the second largest in the world in terms of production, the Indian textile industry which performed better than its neighbour China a few years back today held only 3 per cent of the global market share compared to China’s 15 per cent.

Talking to TNS some of the representatives from foreign companies who had come here to participate in the All-India Textile Conference, said that products manufactured in India do not find many takers globally because there is hardly any value addition in the products.

“Acceptance of Indian market is very low not only as a seller but also as a potential investment destination despite the tremendous potential that the industry here holds”, said Mr Keith Stuart Smith of Textilio which is a subsidiary of the Gherzi Textile Organisation, consultants to the textile and clothing industry, London.

Indian has also a disadvantage that it stands outside the two major country groupings. “Regionalisation in the coming days will have even greater influence on international trade and India has a disadvantage in this sphere”, he said. Not being a member of the regional trade pacts will mean that the country will not receive preferential treatment.

Mr Jorg Buchler, Vice-President, Sales of Rieter Textile Systems which manufactures textile machinery, said a very few textile companies are at par with the global standards in terms of adopting the latest technology. “Heavy import duties discourage especially small scale companies from importing hi-tech machinery, thereby proving to be disadvantageous for the industry here”.

While factors like low capital costs and availability of natural and manmade fibre, abundant supply of labour skills, lower per capita textile consumption are the basic strengths, government policies, high energy costs and lack of value additions discourage the foreign investors from entering the Indian markets. In segments like fabric weaving and processing, knitwear and apparel manufacturing, the overall competitiveness is very low.
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Remedies under VAT laws
A.K. Sachdeva

Under the provisions of the Haryana Valued Added Sales Tax Act, 2001 intended to be introduced in the state from April 1, 2001, a wide range of powers are proposed to be conferred upon the taxing authorities in the matter of levy of tax and imposition of penalty on the assessees as is evident from Sections 16, 17, 18, 29, 33, and 37. However, no appropriate safeguards which the state is obliged to provide to the assessees against the possible abuse of these vast powers have been unfortunately proposed in Section 32 relating to appeals before the statutory authorities.

What is ironic is the fact that the aggrieved parties, in legal terminology called appellants, appealing against the unjust, illegal and arbitrary orders of the taxing authorities will be required to deposit the entire disputed amount of tax, interest and penalty as a condition precedent to the entertainment and hearing of appeal on merits and its adjudication. The only exception to this rule, as proposed in the provisions, is that the requirement of pre-deposit of the disputed amount could be dispensed with only if the appellant is able to convince the appellate authority that he has no means to deposit the assessed amount of tax, etc.

In other words, if one happens to be a financially sound person and comes to be subjected to a totally unjust and unlawful order of the taxing authority, he gets no statutory right of appeal unless the amount of tax assessed upon him in the form of tax, interest or penalty is first deposited under the proposed VAT laws.

How can you describe this legislative policy as traders-friendly and the one conforming to the principles of fairness, equity and justice? If the state is not sensitive to the problem of undue hardships being caused to the genuine assessees-tax collecting agencies by the unscrupulous officers by way of taking recourse to unfair and perverse orders raising apparently illegal tax demand, how can one expect of the trade and industry better and maximum tax compliance. The proposal to burden the assessees with the levy of 48 per cent interest per annum in the event of delayed payments irrespective of the circumstances giving rise to such default and the statutory sanction to the insistence upon payment of illegally assessed amount of tax just in the name of adjudication of appeals do not represent the fair and reasonable tax policies and it will lead the state nowhere except effecting a wide gap between the tax administrators and the tax payers.

The prerogative of the state legislature to provide for levy of tax on the sale or purchase of goods under Entry 54 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India cannot be disputed but it has no right to make law calling upon the assessees to deposit the illegitimate tax demand in the guise of providing them with a right of appeal.

For safeguarding the interest of revenue, two remedies in the form of reassessment and revision have been provided but for the protection of the assessees against arbitrary and illegal orders, no mechanism ensuring effective redressal of grievances has been proposed under the VAT laws.
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Nigerian team visits Punjab Tractors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
A 10-member Nigerian delegation, led by Chief Kola Jamodu, Industry, Minister visited Punjab Tractors Limited (PTL) here today.

The purpose of this visit, it is learnt, was to have a first hand information regarding the products beings manufactured by the Swaraj group of companies. These products include tractors, harvester combines, forklifts, Swaraj Mazda buses, ambulances troop carriers and trucks.

Chief Kola Jamodu appreciated, the high standards of quality and technology involved in manufacturing these products.

The minister evinced keen interest in the product range.

Mr A.M. Sawhney, Senior Vice President (Marketing) and Mr R.P. Sehgal, Executive Director (Manufacturing), Punjab PTL welcomed the delegation and held detailed discussion with them.
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AVIATION NOTES

by K.R. Wadhwaney

Airlines continue to woo passengers

Air traffic — be it national or international — is yet to stabilise. People are afraid to travel by air for a variety of reasons. International airlines have been offering discounts but the traffic has shown only marginal signs of improvement.

As traffic to the USA and Europe has been adversely affected following recent air crashes in New York, the airlines have started promoting tours to east Asia. Heavily discounted tickets, as also complimentary hotel accommodation, are being offered to woo passengers.

Several airlines are offering packages to undertake trips to the Gulf, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Japan. Low fares available are said to be valid until December 20. But, according to airlines and travel agents, these offers will be extended as passenger load is not normalising.

A prestigious award

Whatever may be the aviation and tourism scenario, Creative Travel Chairman and Managing Director Ram Kohli has got the World Travel Market Global award for his contribution to twin industries.

Security measures

With a view to preventing stow-away incidences, Air-India will observe several checks, although the domestic passengers will continue to fly along with the international passengers.

Two important measures are: All domestic passengers will be seated together in one area and they will be issued differently coloured boarding tickets.

Grounded

Two co-pilots and three members of cabin crew of a private airlines have been grounded as they failed in an alcohol test.

“This is first time five members of crew of an airline have been grounded, according to senior official.

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ROUND-UP

FCI labourers get Rs 25,000 a month

New Delhi, November 24
Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Minister Shanta Kumar today came down heavily on the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for its deplorable work culture, stating that handling charges for each bag of foodgrain were as high as Rs 700 at some places.

This was due to frequent strikes resorted to by its workers, Mr Shanta Kumar said, and called for the implementation of “no work, no pay” concept in the country.

The minister was speaking at the Economic Development Conference, organised here by the Institute of Trade and Industrial Development.

Mr Shanta Kumar further said the FCI was paying Rs 13 to contract labourers for each bag handled on an average, while the amount was 10 times higher at Rs 130 in the case of permanent labourers. On an average, each labourer was getting Rs 25,000 a month - Rs 9,000 as wages and Rs 16,000 as overtime payment, he said. UNI

Bajaj launches sub-250cc bike

Mumbai, November 24
Bajaj Auto today launched here the first motorcycle to be marketed under the Bajaj brand. Pulsar, in the sub-250 cc premium bike segment, is developed in association with Japanese design house Tokyo R&D after investing Rs 100 crore over three years, company president Rajiv Bajaj told reporters today. PTI

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BIZ BRIEFS

Amartex MD awarded
Chandigarh, November 24
Mr Arun Grover, Managing Director, Amartex Industries Limited, was honoured with the Punjab Rattan Award at the Desh Sewa Diwas function organised by the Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society in Ludhiana yesterday. Mr Grover was presented with a citation, a trophy and a shawl. Bollywood celebrities like Dr Ramanand Sagar and Dr B.R. Chopra were among the recipients. TNS

NHPC dividend
New Delhi, November 24
The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) has paid a dividend of Rs 30 crore to the Central Government for the year 2000-01. This is the highest ever dividend paid by the NHPC. During the year under review, the NHPC has made a net profit of Rs 4,434 million. The sales turnover of the corporation during the period was Rs 12,766 million. TNS

UHBVN scheme
Chandigarh, November 24
The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has extended its surcharge waiver scheme till this month end. The scheme, for all domestic and agriculture consumers in the state initially launched last month was extended till November 15. Now, on persistent demand of consumers, it has been extended for another 15 days, an UHBVN release said today. UNI

Finolex net up
Mumbai, November 24
Finolex Industries has posted a net profit of Rs 97.78 million during the quarter ended on October 31, 2001, as against Rs 54.19 million for the corresponding period last year. The net sales of the company increased from Rs 1403.11 million in the quarter ended in last year to Rs 1544 million in this quarter. UNI

Business awards
New Delhi, November 24
Four Indians, including Mr Premji of Wipro, Mr Narayan Murthy of Infosys, Mr Ramalinga Raju of Satyam Computers and Mr K.V. Kamath of the ICICI have figured among the 10 finalists of the inaugural Asian Business Awards 2001. Three of the 10 finalists will be named corporate citizen of the year, innovator of the year and Asian business leader of the year, respectively, on November 29, in Singapore. UNI

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