SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

8 pc growth difficult, says Chidambaram
Pegs GDP rate at 6-7.4 pc

P ChidambaramNew Delhi, July 12
Finance Minister P Chidambaram said today 8 per cent GDP growth would be “difficult” this fiscal on the back of high 8.2 per cent attained in 2003-04. “It is difficult to achieve 8 per cent growth this fiscal on 8.2 per cent of last fiscal.

Restore 12 pc rate on EPF, say trade unions
New Delhi, July 12
Central trade unions today demanded restoration of 12 per cent interest on provident fund subscribers on the eve of the crucial EPF board meeting. The demand was raised during the meeting of top officials of central trade unions, including CPM-affiliated CITU and CPI-affiliated AITUC here today.

Industrial output subdues to 6.2 pc
New Delhi, July 12
There has been a marginal dip in industrial production in May this year, recording a growth of 6.2 per cent as against 6.4 per cent in the corresponding month of the previous year. However, the overall growth as reflected in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) was higher, both in the cumulative period of April and May this year.

Set up agri-export zones, chamber to HP Govt
Shimla, July 12
The PHDCCI has identified tourism, agro-processing, horticulture and hydropower as the key sectors which, if developed expeditiously, can provide a solution to the problem of unemployment in the state. Mr Ravi Wig, president of the PHDCCI, said the state should take full advantage of the package of incentives announced by the Centre and take steps to create an investor-friendly environment.

Airtel crosses 1-m mark in Punjab
Chandigarh, July 12
The mobile scenario in Punjab got a fillip with Airtel, the first GSM provider in India, having crossed the 1 million customer milestone in just 27 months of operations in the state. As per Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) figures, the customer base of Airtel Punjab was 1,039,528 as on June 30, 2004.


A model displays a creation by Indian designer Suneet Varma at the 2004/2005 Fall Winter collection show in Rome
A model displays a creation by Indian designer Suneet Varma at the 2004/2005 Fall Winter collection show in Rome on Monday. — AP/PTI

EARLIER STORIES

 
Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag poses for the media
Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag poses for the media after signing an agreement as brand ambassador of ‘Dabur India’ in Sahibabad on Monday. — PTI

National biotech policy in 6 months
Bangalore, July 12
The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, will have a “Cabinet endorsed” national biotechnology policy in about six months, the department’s Secretary, Dr M.K. Bhan, said here yesterday.

IndusInd Bank plans acquisition
New Delhi, July 12
Having merged Ashok Leyland Finance with itself last year, IndusInd Bank today reported a three-fold growth in net profit to Rs 262.07 crore in 2003-04, and said it wants to acquire a bank or a NBFC in near future.

Proposals on unified licensing this week
New Delhi, July 12
Moving a step closer towards a fully unified licence regime, TRAI will submit its draft recommendations to the government for discussion this week. “We will give the proposals on unified licence this week. The draft is ready”, TRAI chairman Pradip Baijal told PTI.

UTI-I to foreclose two income plans
Mumbai, July 12
Faced with changed economic environment and falling interest rates, UTI-I has decided to foreclose its two monthly income plans — MIP 1999 (II) and MIP-2000 — from August 1, 2004.


Video
After clothes it's upholstery used for fashion design!
(28k, 56k)

Top


 

 

 


 

8 pc growth difficult, says Chidambaram
Pegs GDP rate at 6-7.4 pc

New Delhi, July 12
Finance Minister P Chidambaram said today 8 per cent GDP growth would be “difficult” this fiscal on the back of high 8.2 per cent attained in 2003-04.

“It is difficult to achieve 8 per cent growth this fiscal on 8.2 per cent of last fiscal. The 8.2 per cent growth of 2003-04 was on the back of a low 4 per cent in the previous fiscal, which is slight statistical illusion,” he said at a CII post-budget meeting. After 8.2 per cent growth, he said projections of 6.5-7 per cent was reasonable.

“I have said it will be between 6-7.4 per cent and any number close to 7.4 per cent, I will be happy,” he said.

Dwelling at length on reform measures unveiled in the Budget, Mr Chidambaram said the reform programme would be carried out in five years and the UPA government under Manmohan Singh would last for five years to deliver.

“I am old-fashioned. I am here to play a 5-day Test match and not to play a 1-day international. The government is to last full five years and we will be here to deal with all concerns,” he said. While admitting that all concerns cannot be addressed in one Budget, he said “Main Hoon Naa (I am here to address all your concerns).”
— PTI
Top

 

Restore 12 pc rate on EPF, say trade unions
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
Central trade unions today demanded restoration of 12 per cent interest on provident fund subscribers on the eve of the crucial EPF board meeting.

The demand was raised during the meeting of top officials of central trade unions, including CPM-affiliated CITU and CPI-affiliated AITUC here today.

Sources said union leaders also asked the government to reconsider the decision on 8 per cent interest rate on small savings, including special deposit schemes.

Among other things, the meeting discussed the impact of various budget proposals particularly having a bearing on working class and controversial issues like enhancing FDI cap on telecom, civil aviation and insurance sectors.

The trade unions also urged the government to scrap the decision of dereservation of 85 items on the list earmarked for small scale sector and sought concessional credit to small scale and tiny sector.
Top

 

Industrial output subdues to 6.2 pc
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
There has been a marginal dip in industrial production in May this year, recording a growth of 6.2 per cent as against 6.4 per cent in the corresponding month of the previous year.

However, the overall growth as reflected in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) was higher, both in the cumulative period of April and May this year, official figures released by the government today said.

For May, 2004, the General Index stands at 191.2, which is higher by 6.2 per cent as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

The IIP for mining, manufacturing and electricity sectors for May, 2004, stood at 149.1, 198.4 and 178.7, with the corresponding growths of 4.9 per cent, 6.7 per cent and 3.6 per cent as compared to May 2003.

The cumulative growth during April to May 2004-05 over the corresponding period of the previous year in the three sectors were 7.2 per cent, 7.6 per cent and 6.9 per cent, with the overall General Index being 7.5 per cent.

As many as 10 of the 17 two-digit industry groups have shown positive growth during May, 2004, as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

Basic chemicals and chemical products ( except products of petroleum and coal) have shown the highest growth of 25.6 per cent, followed by 20.4 per cent in machinery and equipment other than transport equipment and 18.9 per cent in beverages, tobacco and related products.

On the other hand, food products have shown negative growth of 16.7 per cent followed by a decline 11.5 per cent in jute and other vegetable fibre textiles (except cotton) and 7.9 per cent in textile products (including wearing apparel).

As per use-based classification, the growth in May, 2004, over May, 2003, is 3.1 per cent in basic goods, 10.4 per cent in capital goods and 11.5 per cent in intermediate goods.

The consumer durables and consumer non-durables have recorded growth of 8.3 per cent and 2.4 per cent, with the overall growth in consumer goods being 3.8 per cent.
Top

 

Set up agri-export zones, chamber to HP Govt
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 12
The PHDCCI has identified tourism, agro-processing, horticulture and hydropower as the key sectors which, if developed expeditiously, can provide a solution to the problem of unemployment in the state.

Mr Ravi Wig, president of the PHDCCI, said the state should take full advantage of the package of incentives announced by the Centre and take steps to create an investor-friendly environment. While the response of the industry was overwhelming much was required to be done to facilitate new investment. The state machinery must be geared up to ensure that the new industry was set up in remote areas and not concentrated at certain selected locations.

The state could consider setting up of agri-export zones to take advantage of the plan of the Centre to double the horticulture produce from the existing 150 million tonnes to 300 million tonnes by 2012.The state had immense potential for production of apples, olive, pears, strawberries and medicinal plants which could fetch foreign exchange to the tune of Rs 170 crore.

The state government and financial institutions should with help of private sector make efforts to put quality industrial infrastructure by establishing townships in the potential industrial areas and connecting roads to national highways.

Expeditious harnessing of the hydropower potential could also help improve the financial position of the state as execution of projects with aggregate generation capacity of 7500 MW would help bring a revenue of Rs 1,000 crore annually on account of free power as royalty. The scenic locations of hydropower projects could be developed into tourists resorts to take pressure off from the existing tourist destinations.
Top

 

Airtel crosses 1-m mark in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The mobile scenario in Punjab got a fillip with Airtel, the first GSM provider in India, having crossed the 1 million customer milestone in just 27 months of operations in the state.

As per Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) figures, the customer base of Airtel Punjab was 1,039,528 as on June 30, 2004. It has been growing in Punjab at the rate of 15 per cent every month (between April ’03- April ’04) , as against the national average growth rate of 4.6% (April ’03-April ’04). Airtel, Punjab has added the last one lakh customers in just 50 days. They claim to enjoy a market share of 45 per cent in the GSM space in the circle.

Mr Sunil Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises, who belongs to Punjab and hails from Ludhiana terms it to be a remarkable achievement. “The achievement also reflects the level of trust and confidence enjoyed by the AirTel brand. The credit for this feat clearly goes to all our stakeholders, including our valued customers and channels partners.’’

Latest data from mobile operators in the state has shown that the number of mobile phones in the state are at present 6-7 lakhs more than the landlines and this feat would only further add to the numbers.

“Airtel Punjab has become the fastest millionaire in the history of Indian telecom and that is primarily due to the confidence our customers repose in us and also the services we promise and deliver,’’ Mr Vinod Sawhny, CEO and Director Mobility, Bharti Mobile Ltd, said.

The thrust would always be on providing quality services . Airtel has the largest network with the widest coverage in the region.
Top

 

National biotech policy in 6 months
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, July 12
The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, will have a “Cabinet endorsed” national biotechnology policy in about six months, the department’s Secretary, Dr M.K. Bhan, said here yesterday.

Towards that end, two commissions would be set up by the end of July, one to evolve the national biotechnology policy and another to look into investment and models for ideal public and private sector partnership, he said, delivering the keynote address at the inaugural session of the conference on ‘Biotechnology for a Billion People,’ organised as part of the Bangalore Bio 2004 being held between July 11 and 13.

Steps were also being taken to create a single regulatory authority and substantial changes were being made to the Mashelkar Committee recommendations, following which an announcement would be made in August, he said.

Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal was closely studying intellectual property issues and the ministry was aiming to have a TRIPS compatible IPR policy in place by 2005. The enforcement mechanism was not yet in place, he admitted, and that was something the department was looking at as well.

The department was currently evaluating 15 proposals for biotechnology parks around the country, but he believed that only those should be supported where other components of success existed.

“Should every state have a biotechnology park? I don’t think so,” he told reporters later. All proposals will be scored on elements like presence of research institutions, the right business people, other infrastructure and the like. Apart from Bangalore and Hyderabad, Lucknow and Pune were also coming up, and potential existed in Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, he stated.

As many as 38 cooperative agreements existed with various countries, out of which seven or eight were on “top-class” work, he said.

Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD of Biocon India, said though Karnataka had attracted $8 million of venture capital funding last year, only 10 out of the 70 venture capitalists had contributed, and that too in the late stages of a company’s growth. “We need more support for start-ups.” A seed fund should be set up by the government for this purpose, she said.

Earlier in the day, Karnataka Chief Minister Dharam Singh inaugurated the annual biotechnology event and pledged support to the IT and BT industries. He announced Rs 10 crore towards the planned setting up of a biotechnology park for which 100 acres had already been acquired.
Top

 

IndusInd Bank plans acquisition

New Delhi, July 12
Having merged Ashok Leyland Finance with itself last year, IndusInd Bank today reported a three-fold growth in net profit to Rs 262.07 crore in 2003-04, and said it wants to acquire a bank or a NBFC in near future.

“Our plans include the likely acquisition of a bank or NBFC,” InudsInd Bank Executive President Moses Harding told reporters adding that the bank has declared a total dividend of 22.5 per cent for its shareholders for 2003-04.

Refusing to comment on the proposed acquisition, Harding said the bank board has already started legwork in this regard.

Elaborating on the initiatives for this year, he said the bank may set up a capital market subsidiary, mutual funds and consultancy services in a phased manner, apart from opening an overseas branch.

Indications are that the bank might convert the existing representative office in London into a branch. “The bank's net profit grew by 190.64 per cent to Rs 262.07 crore against Rs 90.17 crore in 2002-03,” Harding said.

The Board of Directors has recommended a total dividend of 22.5 per cent for the year that includes special dividend of five per cent given earlier by the bank to its shareholders on the occasion of 10th anniversary of the bank.

After merging the Rs 4,200 crore worth assets of Hinduja Group’s commercial vehicle financing arm, Ashok Leyland Finance with itself, the bank’s asset base stands at Rs 15,000 crore, he said. — PTI
Top

 

Proposals on unified licensing this week

New Delhi, July 12
Moving a step closer towards a fully unified licence regime, TRAI will submit its draft recommendations to the government for discussion this week.

“We will give the proposals on unified licence this week. The draft is ready”, TRAI chairman Pradip Baijal told PTI.

The recommendations would be discussed with the stakeholders and the Department of Telecom (DoT).

The idea behind unified licensing regime was to give a technology-neutral proposition to subscribers as well as to bring in a balance between technology and service, he said.

In November last, the regulator had issued preliminary consultation paper on full unification. It had sought opinions from stakeholders on the total unified licensing regime covering all communication services, including long distance (both STD and ISD), Internet telephony and satellite services. — PTI
Top

 

UTI-I to foreclose two income plans

Mumbai, July 12
Faced with changed economic environment and falling interest rates, UTI-I has decided to foreclose its two monthly income plans — MIP 1999 (II) and MIP-2000 — from August 1, 2004.

The changed economic scenario and falling interest rates have led to a decline in the income generated under these two schemes, necessitating declaration of lower income distribution of 3.5 per cent annually for the four months ending July 31, 2004, the Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (UTI-I) said in a statement here today.

“Keeping in view the interest of the unit holders, it has been decided to foreclose these two Plans and return the capital to the investors earlier than the original maturity dates,” the release said.

MIP 99 (II) matures on October 31, 2004 while MIP-2000 matures on March 31, 2005, the release added. — PTI
Top

  bb
BRIEFLY

Reliance plans
New Delhi, July 12
Reliance Infocomm today announced Plan 290 for its Fixed Wireless services with a monthly commitment of Rs 290, which includes 150 free call pulses worth Rs 180 besides value added services. The plan, which has one of the lowest monthly commitments, also provides free CLIP, free call divert facility, free call hold facility, free three way conferencing facility and free voicemail facility with message retrieval at local call rates. — UNI

SBI network
Jalandhar, July 12
The State Bank of India (SBI) has decided to network all its 13630 branches to adopt a Core Banking Solutions (CBS) system by linking the data base of all branches in a centralised way. Mr R.N. Ramanathan, Deputy Managing Director (Information and Technology), SBI, said that the bank had already computerised all its branches and it would soon link all its branches. — TNS

ICICI Bank
Mumbai, July 12
ICICI Bank is planning to raise $ one billion through issuance of medium term notes (MTNs) for funding the growth of its overseas operations. The MTNs would be of three to five years tenure and the amount would be raised over a period of time and currently the modalities are being worked out, an ICICI Bank official said here today. — PTI

Canara rates
Bangalore, July 12
The Canara Bank has revised its interest rates on FCNR (B) deposits effective from today. A bank release here said today the revised rates on deposits in pound sterling for one year to less than two years would be 4.99 per cent as against five per cent earlier. — UNI

Matrix Lab
New Delhi, July 12
Matrix Laboratories Ltd has said that Vera Laboratories Ltd., which is currently being merged with the company, has received the US Food and Drug Administration approval for Trazodone, an anti-depressant drug. — UNI

BoB dividend
New Delhi, July 12
Bank of Baroda today paid Rs 68.60 crore to the Central Government as final dividend for the last fiscal. The bank has already paid Rs 58.80 crore as interim dividend to the government. BoB Chairman and Managing Director P.S. Shenoy gave the cheque to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. — UNI

PNB rate
New Delhi, July 12
Punjab National Bank (PNB) has reduced, with effect from tomorrow, interest rates on Foreign Currency Non-Residents (Banks) Scheme for USD, GBP and Euro deposits. The rate of interest on USD deposits has been revised from 2.13 per cent to 2.00 per cent for maturities of one year to less than two years. — UNI

ONGC pact
New Delhi, July 12
ONGC has signed an agreement with Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services for setting up a gas-based power project in the North-East. — PTI

Sumo Victa
Jalandhar, July 12
Tata Motors launched the Sumo Victa, a facelifted version of its best selling multi-utility vehicle — Sumo — here today. — TNS
Top


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |