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Power tariff reduction on the cards
New Delhi, July 21
The government is working on a comprehensive strategy to bring down the power tariff shortly in the country through restructuring of tax duties, easy financing and improving the functioning of the power-generation units. The industry experts claim that the power tariff, especially for the hydel sector, could come down by 30 per cent in the near future if the government takes required steps, besides checking power pilferage.

TCS to pay Tata Sons Rs 2,300-cr as net asset transfer after IPO
Mumbai, July 21
Ratan N Tata Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will pay Tata Sons Rs 2,300-crore as part of net asset transfer after the initial public offer.

Chairman of India’s Tata group Ratan Tata speaks during a news conference in Mumbai on Wednesday. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd kicked off the promotion of Asia’s second-biggest tech IPO this year as investors predicted strong demand for the offering. — Reuters photo

HDFC acquires equity in Intelenet Global Services


Head of DaimlerChrysler Workers Council Erich Klemm arrives for a meeting at the German carmakers headquarters in Stuttgart on Wednesday.
Head of DaimlerChrysler Workers Council Erich Klemm arrives for a meeting at the German carmakers headquarters in Stuttgart on Wednesday. The IG Metall union said it expected a deal with DaimlerChrysler over a dispute that has threatened to undermine Germany’s decades-old system of collective pay deals.
— Reuters

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
Russian oil major YUKOS’ main office in Central Moscow is seen in this Wednesday photograph.
Russian oil major YUKOS’ main office in Central Moscow is seen in this Wednesday photograph. Russia will sell YUKOS’ main subsidiary, the government said on Tuesday, in a move which would rip the heart out of a company pumping a fifth of the country’s oil. — Reuters

Transaction tax cut buoys bourses
Mumbai, July 21
The announcement by Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram that the transaction tax would be reduced during the fag end of trading on the Bombay Stock Exchange saw the Sensex cross the 5000-mark on improved market sentiments.

NGOs want standards for soft drinks
New Delhi, July 21
The national coalition of 55 leading voluntary organisations in association with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) today demanded the setting up of mandatory quality standards for soft drinks.

EARLIER STORIES

 

Men get rich with well digging, women with transplanting
New Delhi, July 21
The highest paid activity among the agriculture occupations for men is well digging. It is transplanting for women as per a survey. According to the rural labour enquiry data of Labour Bureau released here today, the next highest-paid activities for men are ‘ploughing’ and ‘sowing’ and for women ‘harvesting’ and ‘thrashing.’

CORPORATE NEWS

Britannia to set up Rs 552-m plant in Uttaranchal
Mumbai, July 21
Britannia Industries Ltd today informed that it is in the process of setting up a greenfield project in Uttaranchal to augment its biscuits capacity at an estimated project cost of Rs 552 million, according to a company notification on the stock exchange, Mumbai.

  • Reliance Energy

  • Birla Corp

  • ABB

Graphic: Loans to farmers

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Power tariff reduction on the cards
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
The government is working on a comprehensive strategy to bring down the power tariff shortly in the country through restructuring of tax duties, easy financing and improving the functioning of the power-generation units.

The industry experts claim that the power tariff, especially for the hydel sector, could come down by 30 per cent in the near future if the government takes required steps, besides checking power pilferage.

Power majors, including National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and state electricity boards are pressing upon the Centre to bring down the excise and custom duties on power generation equipment and coal, besides income-tax exemption on the profit of power sector.

Union Power Minister P.M. Sayeed in a written reply to the Lok Sabha today informed that to bring down the power tariff rates, the government has decided to extend benefits under the mega-power policy to all inter-state projects which fulfil the basic criteria of minimum capacity of 1,000 MW for thermal and 500 MW for hydel projects. The benefits will include zero custom duty for import of capital equipment and deemed export benefits for domestic suppliers.

Further, he said: “The government has also decided to reduce the customs duty on coal and electricity metres from 25 per cent to 15 per cent. In addition, under the accelerated power development and reforms programme (APDRP), projects will be financed to reduce system loss reduction. All these steps are likely to reduce to cost of delivery of power.”

Industry experts claim the power tariffs are substantially higher in India for the manufacturing and commercial sectors even when compared to China. It adversely affects the competitiveness of the economy in the global market.

On the other hand, the state electricity boards, including Punjab State Electricity Board and power utilities in Haryana opine that recent hike in the coal prices by over 16 per cent has further affected their bottom lines.

Officials in the power ministry admit that high cost of power and erratic supply in northern states like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan are the major hurdles for attracting investors to these land-locked states. At present, power tariffs for the industry are in the range of Rs 2.50 to Rs 2.85 per unit in Himachal Pradesh as against Rs 3.35 to Rs 3.90 per unit in Punjab and Rs 4.12 to Rs 4.45 per unit in Haryana.

Consequently, a large number of steel and other units are shifting to Baddi in Himachal Pradesh to save power bill. The industry representatives of the steel re-rolling mills and auto units have proposed to the government to bring down power tariff in the near future to enhance the competitiveness of the industry and push exports in the near future.

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TCS to pay Tata Sons Rs 2,300-cr as
net asset transfer after IPO

Mumbai, July 21
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will pay Tata Sons Rs 2,300-crore as part of net asset transfer after the initial public offer (IPO).

Tata group Chairman Ratan N Tata today said the motive behind the IPO for TCS was to give it a separate corporate entity and this separate status was required in the international market.

Addressing newsmen here today, Mr Tata said the IPO would give an additional mileage to TCS in the domestic and international market other than being a Tata Sons’ division.

“After the IPO, TCS is planning to expand the board by inducting eminent personalities from India and outside,” Mr Tata said.

About the global listing, Mr Tata said it would be considered at a later stage and he informed the IPO money would be used for expansion of Tata Sons, including the expansion of Tata Group companies and of companies in new areas.

Meanwhile, TCS has registered a net profit of Rs 519 crore in the June quarter of 2004-05 against Rs 303 crore in the corresponding quarter in 2003-04, thereby marking a 71 per cent growth. The revenue of the firm shot to Rs 2,134 crore in the same quarter from Rs1,526 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. — UNI

HDFC acquires equity in Intelenet Global Services

Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC) has decided to acquire 50 per cent shareholding in Intelenet Global Services Ltd from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for a consideration amount of Rs 161 crore.

Informing the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the HDFC has said that the Committee of Board of Directors of the corporation at its meeting held today had decided to acquire an equity stake in Intelenet Global Services.

With this, Intelenet Global Services would become a 100 per cent subsidiary of the HDFC.

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Transaction tax cut buoys bourses
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 21
The announcement by Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram that the transaction tax would be reduced during the fag end of trading on the Bombay Stock Exchange saw the Sensex cross the 5000-mark on improved market sentiments.

After breaching the 5000 barrier, the BSE bellwether Sensex, however, dropped to 4993 points on profit-booking, still a gain of 36 points over the previous close.

Nifty ended slightly below the 1600 level at 1581.

However, there were sectoral fluctuations. Cement stocks fell on expectations of a weak monsoon, affecting rural demand. Grasim, ACC and Gujarat Ambuja were in the negative territory.

The other losers included Colgate, Dabur, P&G and ITC.

Auto scrips like Hero Honda, LML and TVS Motor gained more than 1 per cent while Bajaj Auto and Tata Motors remained constant.

However, banking scrips gained. The Bank of Baroda was up nearly 4 per cent while IDBI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Karnataka Bank, Vijaya Bank and Punjab National Bank gained Steel stocks gained as well.

The biggest gainers were oils scrips.

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NGOs want standards for soft drinks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
The national coalition of 55 leading voluntary organisations in association with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) today demanded the setting up of mandatory quality standards for soft drinks. It took exception to the norms notified by the Health Ministry which pertain to only water used in manufacturing them and not the final product.

“As provided under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA), the standards should be for the final product which in this case is soft drinks and not restricted to only the raw materials used in its manufacture,” CSE chief Sunita Narain told newspersons here.

Reacting to Health Ministry’s notification for following the same standards for water used in manufacturing soft drinks as in case of bottled drinking water, she said the norms must be extended to soft drinks as well.

Ms Narain said the PFA regulates the quality of the final product and even contaminants from raw materials could not be carried to the finished produce.

These proposed standards must not be voluntary in nature as is the case at present and must be instead made mandatory like the norms for bottled and packaged drinking water. She welcomed the draft voluntary standards for soft drinks prepared by the Bureau of Indian Standards on which public comments have been solicited before their notification. If notified, these would be the first quality standards for soft drinks in the world, she added.

Unlike the Health Ministry norms, the proposed BIS standards, though voluntary in nature at present, are quite comprehensive as they even set limits for caffeine, pesticides, and PH value (acidity) in soft drinks, she added.

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Men get rich with well digging, women with transplanting
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
The highest paid activity among the agriculture occupations for men is well digging. It is transplanting for women as per a survey.

According to the rural labour enquiry data of Labour Bureau released here today, the next highest-paid activities for men are ‘ploughing’ and ‘sowing’ and for women ‘harvesting’ and ‘thrashing.’

The average daily water rates in well digging at all-India level varied from Rs 81.14 in July 2002 to Rs 85 in February 2003.

The survey said the average wage rates for men in well digging were the highest in Kerala and the lowest in Madhya Pradesh throughout 2001-02 and 2002-03.

The all-India average daily wage rate for women in transplanting ranged from Rs 46.54 in September 2002 and Rs 49.77 in June 2003.

‘Herd keeping’ was observed to be least remunerative occupation for all categories of workers. The annual daily wage rates for men and women were as low as Rs 40.36 and Rs 31.60, respectively, during 2002-03.

Amongst the non-agricultural occupations, ‘masonry’ was the highest-paid occupation for men followed by ‘carpentry’ and ‘blacksmithry’. The all-India average daily wage for male masons ranged from Rs 114.58 in July 2002 to Rs 117.63 in June 2003. For women, ‘sweeping’ was the highest-paid occupation as their all-India average daily wage varies between Rs 47.15 in October 2002 and Rs 51.15 in March 2003.

The data revealed ‘sweeping’ to be the lowest-paid occupation for men while ‘masonry’ was found to be lowest-paid for women.

The other notable feature of the survey was that average daily wage rates for women were found to be generally lower than those of men in most of the occupations during 2001-02 and 2002-03. None of the female worker was found employed as carpenter, blacksmith, cobbler and tractor driver.

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CORPORATE NEWS

Britannia to set up Rs 552-m plant in Uttaranchal

Mumbai, July 21
Britannia Industries Ltd today informed that it is in the process of setting up a greenfield project in Uttaranchal to augment its biscuits capacity at an estimated project cost of Rs 552 million, according to a company notification on the stock exchange, Mumbai.

The company has posted a net profit of Rs 60 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2004 as compared to Rs 28.6 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2003, an increase of 110 per cent.

Announcing the first quarter results of the current fiscal, Britannia Industries said its total income (net of excise) has increased from Rs345.5 crore in the JQ-03 to Rs 435.8 crore in the quarter ended June 30, 2004.

Reliance Energy

Reliance Energy Ltd today reported a 24.7 per cent rise in net profit for the quarter ended June 30, 2004 at Rs 110 crore as against Rs 88.2 crore posted in the corresponding period last fiscal.

The board in its meeting held today has recommended a quarterly dividend of 11 per cent (Rs 1.10 per equity share).

Total income during the June quarter rose to Rs 1,019.7 crore as compared to Rs 804 crore in the same period of 2002-03, the company told the Bombay Stock Exchange here.

Birla Corp

Birla Corporation Ltd has posted a net profit of Rs 29.4 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2004, as compared to Rs 20.24 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2003. Total income (net of excise) has increased from Rs 260.62 crore in the June quarter 2003 to Rs 301.7 crore in the quarter ended June 30, 2004.

ABB

ABB Ltd has posted a net profit of Rs30.61 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2004, as compared to Rs 45.26 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2003.

Total income has increased from Rs 337.91 crore in the June quarter 2003 to Rs 527.17 crore in the quarter ended June 30, 2004.

ABB India envisages a capital investment of around Rs 800 million for capacity enhancement, plant upgrade and modernisation as well as range expansion. — TNS and Agencies

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BRIEFLY

DaimlerChrysler
Chandigarh, July 21
DaimlerChrysler India has today announced the launch of its “new-look” Mercedes-Benz C-Class range in India. The C-Class, available in two engine variants, the petrol C 200 Kompressor and the diesel C 220 CDI, now comes with a greater visual and the suspension and steering now have a sportier configuration. — TNS

SBI staff
Chandigarh, July 21
On a call given by All-India State Bank of India Staff Federation, members of the Chandigarh circle launched a stir against the deteriorating trend of industrial relations in SBI. Employees held lunchtime demonstration today and have declared that they will join the nationwide strike on August 9. — TNS

M & M
Chandigarh, July 21
Indian auto giant, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, today announced its foray into the South African automobile market. As per the company release, Mahindra and Mahindra South Africa (Pty Ltd) will import the vehicles. The company will also provide after-sales service and supply of spare parts. — TNS

Canara Bank
Chandigarh, July 21
Canara Bank has posted a net profit of Rs 336.44 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2004, as compared to Rs 255.85 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2003. Total income has increased from Rs 2063.22 crore in the June quarter 2003 to Rs 2185 crore in the quarter ended June 30, 2004. — TNS

Ind-Swift
Chandigarh, July 21
Higher exports have enabled Ind-Swift Laboratories to register a 106 per cent growth in the net profit during the three months ended June 30, 2004. The company registered a net profit of Rs 285.95 lakh during the first quarter against Rs 138.4 lakh registered last year during the same period. Sales grew by 15 per cent to Rs 4,400 lakh as compared to Rs 3,819.10 lakh the previous year. Exports during the quarter saw a jump of 52.50 per cent. — TNS

Tanishq offer
Kolkata, July 21
Tanishq today announced the launch of the ‘19k=22k’ offer, an exchange opportunity for those who seek the assurance of pure gold. Under the scheme, customers can bring in their jewellery and exchange it, even if it is of a lower karatage, for pure 22 k Tanishq gold jewellery without incurring any additional cost on the difference in the karatage. — UNI

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