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Japanese minister unhappy with inter-state trade barriers
New Delhi, August 13
The inter-state trade barriers in India, poor infrastructure, especially in transport and power sectors, have discouraged the Japanese companies to invest in India, Ms Yoriko Kawaguchi, Foreign Minister of Japan said here today. “India is not currently a single economic space.
Ficci President Yogendra K. Modi and Senior Vice-President Onkar S. Kanwar with the Japanese Foreign Minister, Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, at the luncheon meeting in New Delhi on Friday.
Ficci President Yogendra K. Modi and Senior Vice-President Onkar S. Kanwar with the Japanese Foreign Minister, Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, at the luncheon meeting in New Delhi on Friday. — PTI photo

Rs 700 metro flight, courtesy Air Deccan
New Delhi, August 13
Come August 26 and hordes of air-travellers will be able to fly on metro routes by paying just about train fares, which will not only have an impact on the existing domestic airlines but also on the Indian Railways.


A model displays an outfit by the students of the National Institute of Fashion Design
A model displays an outfit by the students of the National Institute of Fashion Design during a fashion show in Kolkata on Thursday.— Reuters

 

Products patents Bill soon: Nath
New Delhi, August 13
A new products patents Bill in conformity with the WTO mandate is expected to be taken up by the Union Cabinet shortly.

Don’t misuse PSUs, warns PM
New Delhi, August 13
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has cautioned his ministers against the misuse public sector undertakings (PSUs) and asked them to strictly follow the guidelines on appointments of senior officials.

Dalmia eyes Baddi to set up unit
Chandigarh, August 13
Dalmia Consumer Care is scouting for locations at Baddi in Himachal Pradesh to set up a manufacturing unit for its tobacco-free line of products.

PHDCCI urges Punjab to identify SEZs
Chandigarh, August 13
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( PHDCCI) has urged the Punjab Government to identify suitable Special Economic Zones ( SEZs) in the state so as to provide a platform for creating infrastructure and integrating the state economy with the global market.

EARLIER STORIES

 
Hong Kong woos Bollywood
New Delhi, August 13
Having put behind all hardships faced during and post Sars era, Hong Kong is now eyeing Bollywood and has put on offer a number of exotic locales for the Indian producers and directors to take advantage of.


Megastar Amitabh Bachchan with his wife Jaya and actress Tabu at the premiere of “Kyun? Ho Gaya Na!” in Mumbai on Thursday night. — PTI photo
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan with his wife Jaya and actress Tabu

SIC Bank slaps notice on Somaiya
Mumbai, August 13
South Indian Cooperative Bank Ltd (SICBL) issued a legal notice to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for making a defamatory and false statement on Wednesday against the bank’s financial health.

Graphic: Industrial Growth by Sector in Percent


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Japanese minister unhappy with inter-state trade barriers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
The inter-state trade barriers in India, poor infrastructure, especially in transport and power sectors, have discouraged the Japanese companies to invest in India, Ms Yoriko Kawaguchi, Foreign Minister of Japan said here today.

“India is not currently a single economic space. Every step forward towards that goal will make India that much more attractive as an investment candidate,” Ms Kawaguchi said while speaking at an interaction session organised by Ficci.

She said Japanese companies have often complained that red-tapism in India was a major hindrance in attracting foreign capital. Consequently, bilateral trade between India and Japan had failed to rise due to misconceptions about each other as well as slow growth of Japanese economy over the past few years.

Japanese companies have often complained, she said, that while shipping of goods from Japan to India took just two hours by air but takes up to 150 days to transport goods across state borders in India.

Referring to complicated permit and licencing procedures, Ms Kawaguchi said it was not the best strategy to keep investors waiting. She disclosed that Japan was already impressed by India’s success in software and other sectors.

However, perception about India is changing in Japan. “The news that Japan’s Shinsei Bank installed a computing system developed here in India by the company i-flex Solutions, was highly publicised recently as having been developed at one-tenth the cost and in-one third the time it would normally take for a new system for a bank,” she stated emphatically.

The Foreign Minister of Japan disclosed that she and her Indian counterpart, Mr Natwar Singh, have agreed to cooperate on the reforms for the UN, including offering mutual support for each other’s candidature for the permanent membership of the Security Council.

Further, she said, both countries have agreed to set up a joint study group to investigate “measures to strengthen relations.”

Appreciating the initiatives of the UPA government, the Foreign Minister of Japan said: “Japan is watching with keen interest the economic policies of the new Indian government to see how it will balance the need of poverty alleviation with economic growth. That is forthcoming as a result of improved infrastructure, reforms in labour and tax laws and the promotion of privatisation.”

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Rs 700 metro flight, courtesy Air Deccan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
Come August 26 and hordes of air-travellers will be able to fly on metro routes by paying just about train fares, which will not only have an impact on the existing domestic airlines but also on the Indian Railways.

Air Deccan, the no-frills airline started in south India, will now be flying to New Delhi also, with it having secured parking slots at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport. It will launch two daily flights connecting Delhi from August 26.

However there is a catch in this. Not only would the passengers seeking this fare, have to book tickets at least 90 days in advance, but just about 45 seats on every flight will be available at prices starting Rs 500 per seat to Rs 3,000.

Incidentally, Air Deccan will launch its inaugural flight on metro routes on August 25 and all tickets will be priced at Rs 500 plus Rs 200 as passenger service fee (PSF) for that day. Bookings will be through the Internet (airdeccan.net) or through the company’s call centre.

As per the new concept called dynamic pricing yield management, the next range will be for 90 seats costing between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 and the third range of 45 seats will be available between Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 (prices Delhi-Bangalore sector). Those who purchase tickets will automatically fall into the next bucket in this transparent system.

The Bangalore-Delhi flight will depart at 5.50 am, Delhi-Mumbai at 8.55 am, Mumbai-Bangalore at 11.30 am, Bangalore-Mumbai at 1.45 pm, Mumbai-Delhi at 4 pm and Delhi-Bangalore at 6.30 pm.

As domestic airlines struggle with soaring fuel bills and falling yields per passenger, Air Deccan plans to expand its network across the country and compete head-on with big players like Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Sahara on main routes.

A Delhi-Bangalore ticket on these airlines costs over Rs 10,000. On Air Deccan, it will be for around Rs 7,000.

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Products patents Bill soon: Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
A new products patents Bill in conformity with the WTO mandate is expected to be taken up by the Union Cabinet shortly.

“I will take it to the Cabinet in the next 20 days and to Parliament after that. I am aware of the January deadline,” Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said while speaking at a meeting organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) here today.

Meanwhile, experts have said that the introduction of the product patent regime in India by 2005 as mandated by the WTO need not be averse to the cause of public health and viability of the Indian pharma industry as is perceived.

Academic experts, industry players and policy professionals participating at a session hosted by the Unctad felt that public health concerns in the patent new regime would need to be addressed at the policy level.

Experts felt that the coming of the product patent regime would pose challenges to the Indian pharma industry but not undermine its essential strengths.

Mr Kamal Nath said that India must use the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to its advantage. “It is a recognised fact that progressive liberalisation in the bilateral and regional spheres builds the necessary confidence in our domestic industries and makes them globally competitive,” he said.

On the Preferential Trading Arrangements (PTAs) and FTA that India was engaged in, Mr Kamal Nath said the oldest PTA India had was the Bangkok Agreement, which was at present operational among India, China, Bangladesh, Korea and Sri Lanka.

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Don’t misuse PSUs, warns PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has cautioned his ministers against the misuse public sector undertakings (PSUs) and asked them to strictly follow the guidelines on appointments of senior officials.

In a letter to all ministers of the UPA government, the Prime Minister said proper and efficient functioning of the PSUs was of paramount importance to accomplish the goals as envisioned in the national Common Minimum Programme (CMP).

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Dr Singh has directed the Cabinet Secretary to “closely monitor compliance” of the guidelines while making appointments of senior management personnel in PSUs.

He said the Cabinet Committee on Appointments has come out with standing instructions and guidelines on appointment of senior officials in the PSUs.

The Prime Minister in his letter said it was mandatory not to deviate from these guidelines and policies.

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Dalmia eyes Baddi to set up unit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Dalmia Consumer Care is scouting for locations at Baddi in Himachal Pradesh to set up a manufacturing unit for its tobacco-free line of products. Giving this information, Mr Sudershan Banerjee, Managing Director of the company, said negotiations were on and they proposed to set up a manufacturing unit for their tobacco-free chewing gum - Chabaza, thereby targeting the rural segment in this region.

Mr Banerjee was in the city to address management professionals, CEO’s and entrepreneurs on “ How to build a winning organisation”. In an interview, he said, the mission of their company was to prevent people from tobacco intake and said 8 lakh Indians died every year due to tobacco usage.

The company has launched tobacco-free bidi and would also be launching tobacco-free cigarettes shortly. Research for the same was still going on, he said. The task at hand is no easy as it is difficult for smokers to shun nicotine. “Though in taste, such tobacco-free products come closer to that of tobacco, yet they are not addictive”, he said.

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PHDCCI urges Punjab to identify SEZs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( PHDCCI) has urged the Punjab Government to identify suitable Special Economic Zones ( SEZs) in the state so as to provide a platform for creating infrastructure and integrating the state economy with the global market.

The Central Government has already made announcements in this regard, a PHDCCI press note said, adding that the chamber would help expedite industrialisation and growth in terms of export and employment in the state.

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Hong Kong woos Bollywood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
Having put behind all hardships faced during and post Sars era, Hong Kong is now eyeing Bollywood and has put on offer a number of exotic locales for the Indian producers and directors to take advantage of.

Hong Kong is making a fervent bid to attract some business keeping in mind those Bollywood producers and directors, who are always hunting for new locations. The country hopes that from just three movies shot in Hong Kong over three decades, the number would swell.

Addressing the media here, Mr David Leong, who has been given the charge to promote Hong Kong tourism in the Asian countries, said here that the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) believes the movie-making linkage provides a real business opportunity. Surveys disclose that almost 15 per cent of visitors to Hong Kong are interested in seeing those locales where Hindi movie scenes have been shot.

He said while Hong Kong was already a film production centre of international repute, it needs to be promoted among Indian filmmakers.

As a result, the HKTB is not only willing to have more interaction with the Indian filmmakers but has already taken some of them to the exotic locales there. Besides, it is also willing to play the role of a ‘middleman’ in promoting joint film production between Indian filmmakers and those from Hong Kong.

Incidentally, arrivals into Hong Kong during the first six months of this year has crossed the 10 million mark.

Mr Leong was particularly happy with the Indian contribution, which has already exceeded the figure of 1.2 lakh visitors during the first six months.

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SIC Bank slaps notice on Somaiya

Mumbai, August 13
South Indian Cooperative Bank Ltd (SICBL) issued a legal notice to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for making a defamatory and false statement on Wednesday against the bank’s financial health.

Announcing the decision of the bank, Mr Raghavan Sarathy, chairman, SICBL, told reporters here today that legal notices have been sent to Mr Kirit Somaiya, head of BJP’s economic cell.

He said Mr Somaiya has presented a false financial statement about the bank in his press statement. — UNI

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BRIEFLY

Inflation up
New Delhi, August 13
After the last week’s sudden spurt, inflation rose marginally by 0.1 per cent to 7.61 per cent for the week ended July 31, mainly due to a surge in the prices of fruits and vegetables, edible oil and other manufactured products since June. — PTI

Trinamool Mahila Congress activists carry candles to protest against the recent hike in petroleum and LPG prices
Trinamool Mahila Congress activists carry candles to protest against the recent hike in petroleum and LPG prices in Kolkata on Friday.
— PTI

Small savings
Chandigarh, August 13
Mr Surinder Singla, Finance and Planning Minister, Punjab while speaking at the state level prize distribution function of the 25th Lucky Coupon Scheme of Small Savings at Bathinda yesterday said that the unique feature of the Small Savings schemes was its professional marketing strategy for motivating the investors and encouragement to agents. He said the net collections during the financial year 2003-04 was Rs.3239 cr as compared to Rs.2904 cr of 2002-03. — TNS

Akiko Callnet
New Delhi, August 13
Indo-American joint venture Akiko Callnet, a call centre and BPO training institute chain, will open four new franchisees in Delhi, taking its total number in the Capital to 15 and in the country to 80. — TNS

Telecom base
New Delhi, August 13
The telecom customer base in the country has crossed 81 million with 16 lakh subscribers being added during June 2004 while 44.8 lakh phone subscribers were added during the period April to June 2004. — TNS

Ashok Leyland
Pune, August 13
The Reserve Bank of India has approved the private sector IndusInd Bank to convert 52 branches of the erstwhile Ashok Leyland Finance company into bank branches following the ALF merger into the bank recently. — UNI

IT raids
Mumbai, August 13
The Income Tax authorities today raided the premises of a leading IT company and a glass manufacturing firm in order to unearth certain unaccounted transactions. The raids were conducted in Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi simultaneously. — UNI

Reliance tariff
Mumbai, August 13
Reliance Infocomm today announced a reduction of 60 per cent in the prepaid tariff of Reliance India Mobile. The move comes on the eve of India’s 57th Independence Day celebrations. — UNI

Spice
Chandigarh, August 13
As part of Independence Day celebrations, Spice Telecom today announced a “freedom bonanza offer” for its post-paid and pre-paid subscribers. Customers will be able to download and forward ringtones, logos, animated wallpapers, polyphonic tones and picture messages based on the freedom theme. — TNS

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