Friday, December 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India







National Capital Region--Delhi

B U S I N E S S

Haryana sops for IT industry
Chandigarh, December 27
The Haryana Cabinet, which met here today under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala has decided to amend the policy for change of land use permission for units of information technology and licences for cyber parks and cyber city.

RBI may amend secrecy law: Patil
Bhubaneswar, December 27
Union Minister of State for Expenditure, Banking and Finance, Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, has said the Reserve Bank of India was seriously considering amendment of the secrecy law to enable publication of names of wilful bank defaulters.

GDP growth pegged at 4.8 pc
New Delhi, December 27
The National Council of Applied Economic Research today painted a bleak scenario ahead for the Indian economy revising GDP growth downward at 4.8 per cent while projecting a poor export performance during the current financial year.

Economy runs out of steam
New Delhi, December 27
Yashwant Sinha’s belief of an Indian “miracle in the making” notwithstanding, the report card, as suggested by most parameters, indicates that the economy has run out of steam.



EARLIER STORIES

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
 
Expert: evolve recycle-oriented solutions
Chandigarh, December 27
Environment management efforts in the 21st century will be directed towards evolving a “recycle-oriented society” for sustainable development , said Prof Saburo Matsui of Kyoto University in Japan, who is an internationally renowned expert on environment technology, while addressing an interactive session on environment management organised by the CII here today.

 

ROUND-UP

OPEC’s plan to cut output ups oil prices
New York, December 27
Crude oil futures rocketed above $ 21 a barrel as officials from OPEC repeated assurances that the group will announce an output cut when it meets on Friday in Cairo, Egypt.

  • Crossdomain ties up with ICICI Bank

  • ADB loans for five countries

  • OBC forays into Gulf region

  • Xavient Technology opens centre
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Haryana sops for IT industry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The Haryana Cabinet, which met here today under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala has decided to amend the policy for change of land use permission for units of information technology and licences for cyber parks and cyber city.

The land requirement for cyber city, cyber park and IT units will be a minimum of 50 acres, five to 15 acres and one to five acres, respectively. In case the project is not completed within the specified time period, conversion charges and licence fee will be levied on commercial rates uniformly for both cyber park and cyber city. This penalty will be imposed only on the IT area of the project.

The time period for the completion of the project in case of cyber park will now be three years. The facility of non-charging of conversion charges has also been extended to cyber parks in case 30 per cent of the IT area is completed within three years.

In the case of misuse of space, penalty would be imposed on the licencee for the misused area only, instead of the entire area sold or leased out by the promoter to the defaulting entrepreneur. The height limit for both cyber city and cyber park will be 60 meters. The IT industry can have a three-tier basement to meet the requirement of parking, subject to clearance from the public health point of view. No manufacturing units would be allowed in the cyber city. IT enabled services would also be allowed in cyber parks and IT units as in the case of cyber city.

The Director, Town and Country Planning, will issue licence for additional area upto 100 acres in case of cyber city at his own level but with the prior concurrence of the government. It will be subjection to the condition that the additional area should be contiguous to the existing licenced area and is in a compact block and the land has been procured within one year of the date of licence.

The Cabinet also decided to set up a well-planned and ultra-modern mega medicity at Gurgaon to provide state-of-the-art medical facilities at one place.

The HUDA will develop the medicity in a systematic and phased manner in Sector 38, Gurgaon. The floor area ration for the medicity will be increased from one to 1.50.

HUDA will develop 53 acres in the first phase and it will also earmark a large area for commercial use in the medicity. In the second phase, focus will be laid on setting up medical infrastructure required to support the medicity, in the form of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and bio-informatics research laboratories, followed by research and testing facilities in all areas of diagnostics, teaching and training facilities in medicine, surgery, medical services, nursing and hospital management.

The Cabinet also decided to transfer 18.113 acres, adjoining the Jind railway line from Plot no. E-55 to Pucca Kabari Phatak, to Municipal Committee, Panipat, which would develop it and allot to the encroachers. The land would be allotted for residential purposes at the rate of Rs 300 per sq. yd. and for commercial purposes at the rate of Rs 600 per sq. yard.
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RBI may amend secrecy law: Patil

Bhubaneswar, December 27
Union Minister of State for Expenditure, Banking and Finance, Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, has said the Reserve Bank of India was seriously considering amendment of the secrecy law to enable publication of names of wilful bank defaulters.

The non-performing assets (NPA) of public sector banks had gone up to Rs 54,000 crore and the government would not spare any wilful defaulter, Patil said after inaugurating the regional office building of the Allahabad Bank here yesterday.

A survey conducted by a government agency had revealed that there were over 250 wilful defaulters against whom legal action was being initiated, he said.

The minister explained that as per the existing secrecy law, names of defaulters not referred to the debt recovery tribunal (DRT) could not be published.

Referring to criticism that small defaulters were being hauled up while the big ones were allowed to go scot free, Patil said the government would not spare any one of them.

The banks, he said, had been instructed not to ask for any postponement while negotiating recovery. “If they do so, they will have to explain it.”

Proceedings of the DRT would not be delayed because of the banks, the minister said adding that all loopholes in the debt recovery process would be plugged with the active support of the government.

The Indian Banks Association (IBA) was being consulted on this, he said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the credit-deposit rates of banks in Orissa were quite low at 44.2 per cent which must improve. Banks should invest more in the state to ensure increased deposit mobilisation, he said. PTI
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GDP growth pegged at 4.8 pc

New Delhi, December 27
The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) today painted a bleak scenario ahead for the Indian economy revising GDP growth downward at 4.8 per cent while projecting a poor export performance during the current financial year.

“We forecast a growth of 0.6 per cent in exports in dollar terms, down from 20 per cent growth witnessed last year. Even this is an optimistic scenario,” the NCAER said in its latest Macro Track.

Amidst this, the NCAER revised the fiscal deficit upward at 6.5 per cent of GDP, up from 5.8 per cent in the August forecast and up from the Budget estimate of 4.7 per cent.

The impact of the global recession on the Indian economy will be mainly through trade, Delhi-based economic think tank said, adding that both merchandise and services such as IT, tourism and aviation sectors will suffer in the months to come.

Even on the agricultural front, the council said the last monsoon turned out to be less than “satisfactory” in terms of its distribution across regions and over the months during June-September, 2001, and estimated the growth of real GDP from agriculture at a moderate level of 3.8 per cent during 2001-02.

The industrial output comprising mining and manufacturing growth in value of output is estimated at 4.8 per cent down from 5.7 per cent estimated in August by the NCAER.

Expecting global economy recovery after second half of 2002, the NCAER said it was unrealistic to expect strong export growth, either in goods trade or in invisible receipts, in the second half of the current fiscal.

Software exports that brought in about $ 6 billion in revenue last year were expected to grow by less than $ 1.8 billion or a growth of less than 30 per cent.

Tourism earnings that stood at about $ 3 billion in 2000-01, were unlikely to witness any growth, the council said, adding that private transfers, accounting for over $ 12 billion, might decline with rising unemployment in North America.

The investment scenario in the Indian economy also looked gloomy in the coming months with no indications of stepping up public investment, the NCAER said and pointed out that “private sector investment climate has worsened despite fiscal and monetary policies aimed at providing a conducive macro-economic environment.”

“Neither the tax relief in the Central Budget nor the easy liquidity and lower interest rates have led to the desired response,” it added. Except construction activity, which is strongly influenced by household spending, investment continues to be low.

On the exchange rate front, however, the council was optimistic of a comfortable position saying “in the coming quarter if oil prices remain low as current expectations suggest and if there is no perceptible pick up in the economy pushing up India’s non-oil imports, the import bill might not rise.” PTI
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Economy runs out of steam
Gaurav Choudhury
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 27
Yashwant Sinha’s belief of an Indian “miracle in the making” notwithstanding, the report card, as suggested by most parameters, indicates that the economy has run out of steam.

A few facts are in order: As of May 2001, growth of manufacturing index was down to 1.6 per cent. All categories within manufacturing — basic, intermediate, capital and consumer goods — have been hammered like never before in recent history. The capital goods growth is in the negative zone. Basic goods growth is down from a peak of 9.7 per cent to 2.4 per cent.

The most worrisome, however, is consumer goods. An industry that clocked healthy growth since the early 1990s, has been struggling to achieve 3 per cent growth. Add to that the post-September 11 developments and its impact on India’s external economy, the picture is dismal to say the least.

“Is the downturn in growth a temporary aberration, or could we be looking at lower long term growth rates? If it is the latter, that would say a great deal about the lack of sufficient growth of rural income in the last few years. As yet, we do not have data to test this hypothesis — but it surely needs testing”, an economist said.

The euphoria of a “near perfect” budget and the resultant kudos from the industry proved to be pretty short-lived with the stock-market scam and the UTI fiasco diverting the attention from the core issues and in the process decelerating the implementation of the blue-print laid down in the Budget.

“Little has happened in terms of reforms. Even if there is a flurry of reforms in the last quarter of the current fiscal, it is unlikely that their effects will be evident until the first half of 2002-03. That has been the usual lag, and there should be no reason why it should be different this time”, a Delhi-based economist said.

For the Finance Minister though, it appears that achieving a GDP growth rate of 7 per cent will serve as the panacea for the ills currently plagueing the economy. The line of argument is that if a GDP growth rate of 7 per cent is achieved 10 times over, then poverty in India would be a history.

“If we are able to achieve this, it has a historic significance, we would be the last generation in India to have experienced mass poverty around us. We would be able to tell our grandchildren stories about a fourth of India experienced deprivation, but they would not see deprivation around them”, Mr Sinha told a gathering of top business delegates from India and abroad recently.

Unfortunately, however, the facts seem to be otherwise as for the first time in many years the growth rate might drop below the 5 per cent mark. As an industry captain noted: “the recipe to a poverty-free society is much beyond a 7 per cent rate of GDP growth. It is also about consistency in implementation of macro-economic policies”.

The developments in the fiscal sector are also a cause for great concern. Net tax revenue of the Central Government in the first half of the fiscal year is down by one tenth — i.e. 10 per cent. On the other hand, the overall expenditure of the Central Government has gone up by 11.5 per cent during the first half of the year, the highest increase over the last three years.

The most worrisome aspect of the fiscal deficit is that states are becoming more profligate than before and as an economist said “this has much to do with the political economy of running fragile coalition governments — where the state level allies can get away with their pound of fiscal flesh”.

Therefore, given the current economic outlook — domestic as well as global — and the state of economic governance in the Centre and the states, prima facie it does not appear that a major upturn might occur in the near future.
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Expert: evolve recycle-oriented solutions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
Environment management efforts in the 21st century will be directed towards evolving a “recycle-oriented society” for sustainable development , said Prof Saburo Matsui of Kyoto University in Japan, who is an internationally renowned expert on environment technology, while addressing an interactive session on environment management organised by the CII here today.

While global warming, ozone depletion, etc. are related to the industry, others are related to ecology, he said, calling for recycle-oriented solutions as appropriate.

Captain Alok Sharma, Vice-President of the sub committee, CII (North), described the various services provided by the environment management division of the CII. With the thrust on building inhouse capabilities in the Indian industry to address environmental issues proactively, the services provided by it include advice on environmental policy, technical services, in company.
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ROUND-UP

OPEC’s plan to cut output ups oil prices

New York, December 27
Crude oil futures rocketed above $ 21 a barrel as officials from OPEC repeated assurances that the group will announce an output cut when it meets on Friday in Cairo, Egypt.

February crude oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange ended $ 1.65 higher at $ 21.27 a barrel yesterday, up 8 per cent on the day.

Earlier yesterday, Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said there was a “100 per cent” chance that OPEC would go ahead with its decision to cut production. Naimi spoke as he arrived in Cairo ahead of a meeting to discuss OPEC’s plan to cut output by 1.5 million barrels a day. AP

Crossdomain ties up with ICICI Bank

Bangalore
Crossdomain, a leading business process outsourcing (BPO) company, and ICICI Bank have entered into a strategic alliance to provide payroll processing solutions to ICICI Bank clients across the country.

As a result of this ICICI Bank will seek to increase the range of services it offers to its power pay clients by extending salary credit services to salary processing plus credit services, a Crossdomain release said. PTI

ADB loans for five countries

Manila
The ADB said today it is extending a total of $ 2.4 million in technical assistance grants to the Philippines, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.

The Philippines will get a million-dollar grant to formulate a 15-year urban regeneration plan for the over-congested and highly-polluted capital of Manila, the ADB said here.

Vietnam will get $ 800,000 to build its capacity to fight poverty in the central region, where ethnic minorities have been left behind in economic development, the ADB said in a separate statement. AFP

OBC forays into Gulf region

Dubai
New Delhi-based Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) has forayed into the Gulf region by signing up an agreement with a local exchange center for swift money remittances to India.

OBC Chairman and Managing Director B.D. Narang said in Abu Dhabi yesterday that under the arrangement with the United Arab Emirates Exchange Centre, Indian expatriates would be able to draw drafts from any of the ten branches of the UAE centre in favour of OBC. UNI

Xavient Technology opens centre

New Delhi
A US based information technology solutions provider Xavient Technology today launched its first offshore centre here, saying India’s IT services revenue, which was $ 5.7 billion in 1999, was likely to reaches $ 30 billion by 2004.

IT services outsourced to India are growing at a compound annual growth rate of more than three times that of the global market, making it an ideal investment destination, Xavient Technologies said. UNI
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BIZ BRIEFS

Labour forums
New Delhi, December 27
Union Labour Minister Sharad Yadav today made a strong case for representation of unorganised workers along with trade unions in various tripartite labour forums. Addressing a national workshop on “Towards Solutions of Problems of Workers in the beedi industry here, Mr Yadav said workers in the unorganised sector, constituting 92 per cent of country’s work force, should get themselves organised so that they could fight for their rights. TNS

Birla Plus
Jalandhar, December 27
Grasim Industries launched a high quality cement “Birla Plus” here yesterday. Mr Jayant Dua, Senior Vice-President (Marketing) said the presence of alfa quartz in high reactive silica used in measure proportions has enhanced the strength and durability of the cement. OC

Philips India
Chandigarh, December 27
Philips India has launched the Lifestyle Micro Music System-MC 70. The new system has features including 1500W PMPO, three CD changer, three level wOOx Dynamic Amplification Control, two way Bass Reflex Speaker, Speaker System with detachable grill, logic tape deck with auto reverse, sub-woofer ready, bass and treble control. TNS

Bentex
Chandigarh, December 27
Bentex has launched an exclusive and premium collection of steel and rodium formal wrist watches for both men and women. Priced in the range between Rs 1,500 and Rs 3,500. TNS

Samsung India
New Delhi, December 27
Samsung India Electronics Ltd has won the first prize at the National Convention on Quality Circle organised by the Quality Circle Forum of India. The award was in the manufacturing stream from among 150 participants. UNI

Apollo Hospitals
Mumbai, December 27
Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd will hold a general meeting of shareholders on January 21, 2002 following a Madras High Court directive asking it to seek their approval for the scheme of arrangement between the company and Apollo Mumbai Hospital Ltd. UNI

Hind Motors
New Delhi, December 27
C.K. Birla group company Hindustan Motors will introduce ‘Pajero’ as completely-built-units and may launch the vehicle in the form of completely-knocked-down kits (CKDs) after reviewing the response. ‘Pajero’ will be priced at Rs 30 lakh while as CKDs the vehicle would sport a price tag of Rs 20 lakh, he said. PTI

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