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Kelkar proposes a new-look taxman
New Delhi, July 23
Unveiling far- reaching fiscal reforms to improve the tax mop up and wipe out the revenue deficit by 2009, the Kelkar panel today proposed a single countrywide goods and services tax, removal of the tax exemptions and raising the income tax slab to Rs 1 lakh.

More Indo-UK flights in the pipeline
New Delhi, July 23
Travellers to and from India to Britain will have more flight options on hand in the near future with the two countries agreeing in principle to enhance the number of flights and also the frequencies between the two countries.

TCS issue to close on August 5
Chandigarh, July 23
Ajoyendra Mukherjee Software major Tata Consultancy Services is all set to launch its initial public offering on July 29. Addressing a press conference here today to announce about the company’s IPO, Mr Sanjay Bajaj of TCS, said the company will issue 55, 452, 600 equity shares of Re 1 each at a premium through a cent per cent book building process.



EARLIER STORIES

 

Azim Premji Wipro’s profit up by 73 pc
Bangalore, July 23

IT major Wipro today reported a 73 per cent jump in its net profits at Rs 357 crore for the first quarter ended June, as against Rs 206.1 crore posted during the same period last year. The Bangalore-based company posted a revenue of Rs 1,759 crore during April to June, up by 48 per cent over Rs 1,198 crore reported during the first quarter in 2003, officials said.


The UK’s biggest supermarket chain Tesco says it is moving 420 jobs to Bangalore
The UK’s biggest supermarket chain Tesco says it is moving 420 jobs to Bangalore, India, from its three centres. The move of business support jobs to Bangalore will affect staff in Cardiff, Dundee and Welwyn Garden City, the company has confirmed, while adding that the affected UK workers will be offered new jobs in the company, provided they are ‘flexible.’ — Reuters

A view of the pavilion of India at the Beijing International Tourism Expo 2004
A view of the pavilion of India at the Beijing International Tourism Expo 2004 on Friday. — PTI

ICICI reports 26.61 pc rise in profit
Mumbai, July 23

The ICICI Bank Ltd has reported a 26.61 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 430.74 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2004, as compared to Rs 340.2 crore in Q1 of previous financial year. Total income during the period under review, however, declined to Rs 2,853.49 crore from Rs 2,938.55 crore in Q1 of fiscal 2003-04, the country’s second largest bank said in a release here today.

Lodha seeks dismissal of Birlas’ caveat
Kolkata, July 23
In an interesting turn of events, Mr R S Lodha, the auditor of the Birlas who was bequeathed assets worth Rs 5000 crore by the purported will of Priyamvada Birla, today petitioned before the Calcutta High Court seeking the dismissal of the caveat applications filed by the Birlas. Mr Debanjon Mondal, a partner in the solicitor firm Fox and Mondal, said they had filed a petition before the High Court in this regard.

Remove inter-state barriers, suggests Tourism Minister
New Delhi, July 23
The Centre has called upon the states to rationalise their road tax structure and remove inter-state barriers to promote tourism, Union Tourism Minister Renuka Choudhary said while interacting with a PHDCCI delegation today. “Travelling within India is like travelling to different countries. However, there exists smooth movement between all EU countries by road,” Ms Choudhary said.

Corporate News
Nine-fold jump in Bharti’s profit
New Delhi, July 23

Powered by strong operational and financial efficiencies, Sunil Mittal-promoted Bharti Group today announced a net profit of Rs 296 crore during the first quarter ended June 30 compared to Rs 31 crore in the corresponding period a year ago.

  • Castrol

  • Indo-Gulf Fert

  • Tata Chemicals

  • Tata Telecom

  • Indo Rama

GRAPHICS: 
Performance of Infrastructure Industries
Wholesale Price Index
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Kelkar proposes a new-look taxman

New Delhi, July 23
Unveiling far- reaching fiscal reforms to improve the tax mop up and wipe out the revenue deficit by 2009, the Kelkar panel today proposed a single countrywide goods and services tax, removal of the tax exemptions and raising the income tax slab to Rs 1 lakh.

The Task Force on Implementation of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, headed by Finance Minister’s advisor Vijay Kelkar, also proposed sweeping measures to expand the tax base with fewer and lower rates.

The panel, in its report - Implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act - strongly recommended the removal of the tax exemptions, simplification of the tax procedures and reduction in the cost of compliance to increase government’s revenue collection.

The panel favoured the raising of the income tax exemption limit to Rs 1 lakh while suggesting 20 per cent tax rate for income between Rs 1 to 4 lakh and 30 per cent for income beyond Rs 4 lakh.

Proposing a single tax for goods and services, the panel said the GST would be a countrywide value-added tax that would replace excise, cenvat, and services taxes levied by the Centre and sales tax, octroi and other local taxes levied by the states.

A standard GST of 12 per cent has been proposed to replace the Cenvat of 16 per cent.

This is to be supplemented by a standard state GST (VAT) of 8.0 per cent. “ The 20 per cent total VAT is comparable to OECD standards. The cooperative effort proposed in the report between the Centre and the states for GST would ease the complexities of tax administration as seen by the companies and state governments,” it said.

The panel has proposed a reduction in the corporation tax rate from 35.8 per cent to 30 per cent for domestic companies. It further said the all existing tax incentives relating to the corporate sector were to be “grandfathered” for the existing units but removed for new units. It also favoured a reduction in the general depreciation rate from 25 per cent to 15 per cent.

Incidentally, Finance Minister P Chidambaram has already indicated that the Kelkar report would serve as a guidepost for the future tax policy. — PTI
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More Indo-UK flights in the pipeline
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23
Travellers to and from India to Britain will have more flight options on hand in the near future with the two countries agreeing in principle to enhance the number of flights and also the frequencies between the two countries.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel and his British counterpart Alistair Darling in London yesterday. The minister is in Britain for the Farnborough air show and had the meeting with his British counterpart as a part of his official programme.

An official spokesperson said here today that the decision was taken in view of the need for further expanding and strengthening bilateral ties and the fact that the traffic potential and passenger demand for international air services being on the rise. Besides the government is looking at opening up the Indian skies further, which would allow the domestic carriers to fly on long haul routes.

One of the major routes that these airlines would be looking at is the Delhi-London sector, besides some other nearby destinations.

During the meeting it was also agreed that the bilateral talks between the two countries would be expedited held either in August or September. The talks were earlier scheduled for March this year but had to be postponed indefinitely due to the announcement of elections in India.

The meeting, which lasted 45 minutes, was also attended by British Aviation Minister Tony McNutty, Civil Aviation Secretary Ajay Prasad and High Commissioner of India to the UK S S Paul.
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Jet Airways under scanner

The Union Government is examining alleged financial irregularities, sources of funding and other aspects of the functioning of Jet Airways, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

Replying to a written question whether any probe had been initiated against Jet Airways regarding the financial irregularities, sources of funding, legality and status of ownership of the airline, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel said the matter was being examined by the government. — PTITop

 

TCS issue to close on August 5
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Software major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is all set to launch its initial public offering (IPO) on July 29. Addressing a press conference here today to announce about the company’s IPO, Mr Sanjay Bajaj of TCS, said the company will issue 55, 452, 600 equity shares of Re 1 each at a premium through a cent per cent book building process.

Mr Ajoyendra Mukherjee, vice-president of the company said the price band for the issue has been fixed at Rs 775 to Rs 900 per equity share of Re 1 each. The issue will close on August 5 and would aggregate between Rs 4297.57 crore and Rs 4990.73 crore at these indicative prices.

He said that of the 55,452,600 equity shares of Re 1 each on offer, the company was making a fresh issue of 22,775,000 shares and the remaining 33,677,600 shares were an offer for sale by Tata sons Ltd and other shareholders of the company.

He said that there would also be a green shoe option of 8,317,880 equity shares of rupee one each to be offered by Tata Sons aggregating between Rs 644.6 crore and Rs 748.6 crore.

Mr Mukherjee said that of the total offer, the company had reserved 5,545,260 equity shares for allotment to employees and directors of the company. “The net offer to the public would be 49,907,340 shares, amounting to 10.43 per cent of the post offer capital,” he added.
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Wipro’s profit up by 73 pc

Bangalore, July 23
IT major Wipro today reported a 73 per cent jump in its net profits at Rs 357 crore for the first quarter ended June, as against Rs 206.1 crore posted during the same period last year. The Bangalore-based company posted a revenue of Rs 1,759 crore during April to June, up by 48 per cent over Rs 1,198 crore reported during the first quarter in 2003, officials said.

The NYSE-listed firm added 35 new clients during the quarter with employee additions being 3,015.

“As the IT spending environment stabilises, customers are increasingly demanding integrated services backed by high quality service delivery. Our early identification of this trend and proactive investments have resulted in record revenue for us,” Wipro Chairman Azim Premji said in a statement here.

Wipro, for the second quarter ending September 2004, has forecast a revenue of $ 318 million from its global IT businesses.

“Sequential growth of 8.4 per cent in revenues and expansion in operating margin for the fourth consecutive quarter were primarily the result of sustained volume growth and an improving pricing environment,” Wipro Vice-Chairman and President Vivek Paul said. — PTI
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ICICI reports 26.61 pc rise in profit

Mumbai, July 23
The ICICI Bank Ltd has reported a 26.61 per cent rise in net profit at Rs 430.74 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2004, as compared to Rs 340.2 crore in Q1 of previous financial year. Total income during the period under review, however, declined to Rs 2,853.49 crore from Rs 2,938.55 crore in Q1 of fiscal 2003-04, the country’s second largest bank said in a release here today.

On a consolidated basis, the ICICI Bank group’s net profit and total income in Q1 of FY-05 stood at Rs 399.57 crore (Rs 336.89 crore in Q1 of FY-04) and Rs 3,500.49 crore (Rs 3,251.34 crore) respectively.

Net interest income, on a stand-alone basis, increased 39 per cent to Rs 631 crore (Rs 455 crore) while fee-based income rose 77 per cent at Rs 418 crore (Rs 236 crore). — PTI
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Lodha seeks dismissal of Birlas’ caveat

Kolkata, July 23
In an interesting turn of events, Mr R S Lodha, the auditor of the Birlas who was bequeathed assets worth Rs 5000 crore by the purported will of Priyamvada Birla, today petitioned before the Calcutta High Court seeking the dismissal of the caveat applications filed by the Birlas.

Mr Debanjon Mondal, a partner in the solicitor firm Fox and Mondal, said they had filed a petition before the High Court in this regard.

He, however, refused to disclose the content and reason for filing the petition.

The move by Mr Lodha came even as the Calcutta High Court today served a notice on the Birlas. — PTI
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Remove inter-state barriers, suggests Tourism Minister
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23
The Centre has called upon the states to rationalise their road tax structure and remove inter-state barriers to promote tourism, Union Tourism Minister Renuka Choudhary said while interacting with a PHDCCI delegation today.

“Travelling within India is like travelling to different countries. However, there exists smooth movement between all EU countries by road,” Ms Choudhary said.

She informed the delegation that the Tourism ministry would further strengthen its marketing campaign abroad. 
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Corporate News
Nine-fold jump in Bharti’s profit

New Delhi, July 23
Powered by strong operational and financial efficiencies, Sunil Mittal-promoted Bharti Group today announced a net profit of Rs 296 crore during the first quarter ended June 30 compared to Rs 31 crore in the corresponding period a year ago.

The consolidated revenue of Bharti Televentures, the service arm of Bharti Group, registered a growth of 65 per cent at Rs 1,705 crore in Q1 over the same period in the last fiscal.

“This growth is a result of operational as well as financial efficiencies achieved by the company. BTVL’s strong performance in the Q1 has demonstrated its ability to maximise the full benefits of scale and size”, Sunil Mittal, chairman and group MD, said in a statement.

During the fourth quarter (Jan-March 2004) of the last fiscal, Bharti had clocked a net profit of Rs 304 crore. The revenue during the same period was Rs 1,553 crore.

With a leadership market share of all India GSM mobile customers at 26.3 per cent, the total customer base of Bharti was 83.7 lakh as of June 30. BTVL has posted over 100 per cent increase in customer growth over the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, Bharti Televentures today said it will launch American Depository Receipts (ADRs) of up to 200 million equity shares, whereby foreign stakeholders can offload parts of their equity.

Castrol

Castrol India Ltd has posted a 15.36 per cent rise in its net profit at Rs 47.14 crore in the second quarter ended June 30, 2004 as against Rs 40.86 crore in Q1 of 2003-04.

The board has recommended an interim dividend of Rs 4 per share for the year ending December 31, 2004, the company said in a release here said.

The net sales for the reporting quarter rose to Rs 360.73 crore as against Rs 308.22 crore in April-June 2003, the company said.

Despite the increase in the base oil prices, the company improved its performance through better portfolio management and higher unit price realisation, it managing director N. Kshatriya said.

The net profit and sales for the first half (January-June 2004) stood at Rs 74 crore (Rs 76.6 crore in H1 of 2003) and Rs 649.1 crore (Rs 556.9 crore) respectively, it said.

Indo-Gulf Fert

Indo-Gulf Fertilisers Ltd has posted a net profit of Rs 7.98 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2004 as compared to Rs 12.25 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2003, a decline in profits by 35 per cent.

Announcing the results, the company said its total income has increased from Rs 52.35-crore in the JQ-03 to Rs 101.18 crore in the quarter ended June 30, 2004.

Tata Chemicals

Tata Chemicals Ltd has reported a 6.49 per cent drop in its net profit at Rs 45.64 crore in the first quarter ended June 30, 2004 as against Rs 48.81 crore in Q1 of the 2003-04.

The net sales for the reporting quarter rose by about 26 per cent at Rs 520.42 crore from Rs 414.58 crore in Q1 April-June 2003, the company said in a release here today.

Sales across the sectors including urea and edible salt businesses demonstrated healthy improvement, the company Managing Director Prasad Menon said.

Tata Telecom

Tata Telecom Ltd, today announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended June 30, 2004 showing profit after tax (PAT) at Rs 8.14 crore up by 80 per cent as compared to Rs 4.51 crore in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. Announcing the results, the company said it achieved a turnover of Rs 96.47 crore in JQ’05 as against Rs 75.12 crore in JQ’04, a growth of 28 per cent.

During the first quarter of 2004-05, Tata Telecom continued to focus on bringing best-in-class converged communications solutions to the Indian enterprises, according to Niru Mehta, vice-chairman, Tata Telecom.

Indo Rama

Indo Rama Synthetics India Ltd has posted a net profit of Rs 6.71 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2004, as compared to Rs3.59 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2003, an increase of 86.9 per cent.

Announcing the results, the company said its total income (net of excise) has increased from Rs 374.25 crore in the JQ-03 to Rs 420.23 crore in the quarter-ended June 30, 2004. — Agencies
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BRIEFLY

Inflation rises
New Delhi, July 23
Maintaining its upward spree for the third consecutive week, inflation rose substantially by 0.36 per cent to 6.52 per cent for the week ended July 10 even as primary items, including food articles like vegetables and fruits and some of the manufactured products, became cheaper. — PTI

Re at 1-year low
Mumbai, July 23
The rupee ended at a one-year low against the US dollar at 46.32/34 today, extending its losses on the fifth straight session on persistent corporate dollar demand and drained foreign fund inflows, even as few state-run banks reportedly sold dollar in an apparent bid to check the local currency’s free fall.— UNI

ADB’s grant
New Delhi, July 23
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to extend financial assistance for the railway sector, with the quantum in the first two phases amounting to around $600 million, the Rajya Sabha was informed today. The objective of the assistance is to improve the performance of the sector by financing priority investments to overcome railway capacity bottlenecks and improve operational efficiency. — UNI

Bank of Punjab
Chandigarh, July 23
Bank of Punjab has brought the latest international banking facilities to Phillaur with the inauguration of its 126th banking office at Punjab Police Academy, G.T. Road, Phillaur. Mr G.S. Aujla, ADGP, Punjab, inaugurated the branch. — TNS

Airtel launch
Jammu, July 23
Airtel is all set to open the booking for mobile connections here on August 2 and SIM cards would be issued simultaneously to the applicants. The entry of Airtel will break the monopoly of the BSNL in J&K. — TNS

Hrani meet
Jalandhar, July 23
Aiming to promote tourism and hotel industry in Punjab, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI), has decided to hold its next annual general meeting in Punjab in September. It is for the first time that the HRANI will be holding its annual general meeting in Punjab since its inception in 1950. — TNS

PFC rates
Chandigarh, July 23
The Punjab Financial Corporation has decided to reduce the effective rate of interest for its existing regular borrowers, who availed loan for setting up or expanding industrial projects and were earlier being charged higher interest rates, ranging from 13 per cent to 19 per cent and as was applicable at the time of availing loan, to 12.5 per cent per annum. The Chairman of the corporation, Mr G.P.S Sahi, said a decision to this effect was taken at the Board of Director’s meeting held yesterday. — TNS

Paul Merchants
Chandigarh, July 23
Paul Merchants Limited, a primary agent of Western Union Money Transfer, has tied-up with the State Bank of Patiala, for providing Western Union Money Transfer services from the network of their branches spread all over India. The agreement was signed between Mr C.S. Roy, General Manager, SBOP and Mr S. Paul, Chairman of Paul Merchants Limited, in Patiala on Thursday. —TNS
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