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First large taxpayer unit by July 1
Bangalore, March 27
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today said the first of the five initially proposed Large Taxpayer Units (LTUs) was expected to be operational from July 1 and the remaining four by the end of this year.

Himachal hydel potential interests Ukraine
Shimla, March 27
The state government would explore the possibility of collaboration with the Ukranian government, especially in hydel power generation, for which there is a potential of 20,000 MW in the state.

Infosys gets more land in Bangalore
Bangalore, March 27
Karnataka may well succeed in ensuring that Infosys continues to retain its main campus in Bangalore with the government approving the company’s proposal to acquire 845 acres of land adjacent to its present headquarters in the city.

Aveo hatchback in two months
Chandigarh, March 27
General Motors India plans to invest Rs 100 crore this year for increasing the annual plant manufacturing capacity from 60,000 units to 85,000, stated Mr Rajeev Chabba, President and Managing Director of General Motors, here today. 
       Rajeev Chabba

India launches auction of 55 oil, gas blocks 
London, March 27
Launching a major global initiative for attracting foreign investment in the hydrocarbon sector, India today held a roadshow here for auctioning 55 oil and gas exploration blocks.

TRAI reprieve for small players
New Delhi, March 27
TRAI today exempted small players from the purview of the Accounting Separation Regulations and said only operators having a turnover of over Rs 25 crore for the preceding fiscal needed to submit their accounts.



A Chinese model displays a local designer’s creation during a show to kick off the 14th China International Fashion Week in Beijing on Monday. — AFP


EARLIER STORIES

 
Indra Nooyi, who is currently President and Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Indra Nooyi, who is currently President and Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Turkish Airlines to fly daily
New Delhi, March 27
Turkish Airlines has decided to increase the frequency of its flights into India by commencing three times a week service to Mumbai in addition to its earlier four flights a week from Delhi to Istanbul.

MUL mulls 15 driving schools
Kochi, March 27
Maruti Udyog Limited today announced it would set up 15 world-class driving schools in India in the next three months, as it launched two such institutes in Kerala.

LIC MD
Mumbai, March 27
Mr Thomas Mathew has taken over as the Managing Director of LIC of India. Mr Mathew (53) has held important assignments in different parts of the country prior to taking over his new post, an official press note said today.

Bank Account
IndusInd ties up with UAE bank
Mumbai, March 27
IndusInd Bank today tied-up with the UAE-based Union National Bank (UNB) for business opportunities generated by expatriate minority communities, especially NRIs, in the UAE.

Corporate News
Sharp gets FIPB nod for trade in electronics
Mumbai, March 27
Consumer electronics goods maker Sharp India Ltd has received Foreign Exchange Promotion Board’s (FIPB) approval for its trade expansion plans in the Indian market.


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First large taxpayer unit by July 1

Bangalore, March 27
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today said the first of the five initially proposed Large Taxpayer Units (LTUs) was expected to be operational from July 1 and the remaining four by the end of this year.

Addressing a seminar on Formation of Large Taxpayer Units in India here, Mr Chidambaram said the first unit would hopefully start functioning from July 1, adding, he would like to see all of them in place by the year-end.

The government had earlier announced a proposal to set up LTUs, which would act as a single-window facilitation centre for all large entities paying excise duty, corporate tax/income tax and service tax, initially in the cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.

He, however, did not say where the first LTU would start functioning.

Quoting preliminary figures, Mr Chidambaram said the potential number of taxpayers to be served by the LTUs in these five cities is about 843, including 96 in Bangalore.

He said it was not mandatory for the large taxpayers to be served by LTUs.

Making a strong pitch for large taxpayers to get served by the LTUs, he urged them to give it a “fair trial.”

“We promise you a modern, efficient tax-payer friendly environment and office using most modern technology. You will have a relationship tax executive who will help you” in tax-related matters, he said.

Mr Chidambaram said India “are laggards” in some sense in introducing LTUs, noting that as many as 13 countries in Asia, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, had launched such a service.

The LTUs have been found to reduce compliance and transaction cost of taxpayers and increase efficiency in tax administration, according to him.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Y.V. Reddy would soon decide on measures to improve liquidity in the banking system, the Finance Minister said.

“The RBI Governor will respond to the issues related to liquidity in the banking system. Wait for the Governor’s meeting with the bankers, which is expected to be held either today or tomorrow, “ he told reporters.

The proposed meeting between Dr Reddy and the banks’ committee is expected to discuss whether to cut the cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 1 per cent to ease liquidity and initiate a policy action on the excess statutory liquidity ratio (SLR).

The public sector banks also wanted the central bank to relax rates on non-resident Indian (NRI) deposits to make them more attractive for NRIs.

Reacting to media reports on India being excluded from the proposed Asian currency unit (ACU), he said the proposal was still at an initial stage and discussions were going on among the members of the Asean region.

“I don’t thing anybody has been left out. I think some people are getting to talk about it. The ACU proposal is still at a discussion stage,” he added.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) had recently proposed a common currency in Asia on the lines of euro in Europe to create a single market for promoting economic cooperation in the region, including trade among the member countries.

Besides the Asean countries, China, Japan and Korea are being roped in to join the ACU. India is expected to join at a later stage. — PTI, IANS

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Himachal hydel potential interests Ukraine
Tribune News Service

Shimla, March 27
The state government would explore the possibility of collaboration with the Ukranian government, especially in hydel power generation, for which there is a potential of 20,000 MW in the state.

A high-level delegation from Ukraine met Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh here today. “Our government would welcome any kind of investment and expertise with the Ukranian government in various sectors, including hydel-power generation,” he said.

The Company Chief Executive Officer of the Ukraine Petrovich Company, Mr Khan Madad Ullah, expressed his willingness to invest in hydel power projects in Himachal.

“Our company is keen to join hands with the Himachal government, especially in the field of hydro-power generation, in which we have experience and expertise,” he said.

The CM said that the hydro-power potential of 21,000 MW in Himachal, if harnessed expeditiously, would not just meet the electricity requirement of north India but also generate additional income.

“The state has about 12 per cent of the total biotechnology potential of the country which can become a major source of income to the locals,” he said.

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Infosys gets more land in Bangalore
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, March 27
Karnataka may well succeed in ensuring that Infosys continues to retain its main campus in Bangalore with the government approving the company’s proposal to acquire 845 acres of land adjacent to its present headquarters in the city.

The approval may make the company think twice about its plans to move a major part of its operations to Hyderabad. Infosys is already in an advanced state of discussions to establish its largest campus in Shamshabad, on the outskirts of Hyderabad. The company is looking at establishing a 500-acre campus.

Despite earlier indications that it would expand its operations in other states, Infosys Chief Mentor N R Narayana Murthy has welcomed the development. Speaking at a function organised by the Indian Disabled League here yesterday evening, Mr Murthy said he was grateful to the government for approving the project and that the company would buy land at market rates through a government subsidiary.

Mr Murthy said the new software park would create more opportunities in the IT sector with the company planning to hire around 20,000 personnel for it. The park will be created at a cost of around Rs 1,500 crore.

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Aveo hatchback in two months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
General Motors India plans to invest Rs 100 crore this year for increasing the annual plant manufacturing capacity from 60,000 units to 85,000, stated Mr Rajeev Chabba, President and Managing Director of General Motors, here today.

Mr Chabba, who was here to launch Aveo, said the company would launch hatchback model Aveo U- VA in another two months to compete with Swift and Getz.

“Eyeing a 15 per cent to 20 per cent share in the car market ,we have introduced competitive prices for Aveo ( less than Ford Fiesta and Honda City). Even spare parts are cheaper than other cars on the same segment,” he said.

The Managing Director said the company proposed to expand its dealership network from 77 to 110 by the end of this year. The number of workshops would also increase from 82 to 110.

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India launches auction of 55 oil, gas blocks 

London, March 27
Launching a major global initiative for attracting foreign investment in the hydrocarbon sector, India today held a roadshow here for auctioning 55 oil and gas exploration blocks.

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora offered for sale the onshore and offshore blocks to potential investors, including Brazil’s Petrobras, BP (British Petroleum) and Malaysia’s Petronas.

Of the 55 blocks available for bidding in the New Exploration Licensing Policy - the Sixth Round (NELP VI), and the Coal Bed Methane - Third round (CBM III) of bidding in India, 24 are in deepwater, six in shallow water and 25 onshore.

Ten onshore blocks are available under the CBM III round of bidding, he said.

“Recent explorations in the Krishna Godavari basin off India’s east coast and Rajasthan in the north have proved India has large reserves of hydrocarbons, so this is a good opportunity for investors,” Mr Deora said at the roadshow held at Hilton Paddington in central London. —PTI

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TRAI reprieve for small players

New Delhi, March 27
TRAI today exempted small players from the purview of the Accounting Separation Regulations and said only operators having a turnover of over Rs 25 crore for the preceding fiscal needed to submit their accounts.

The new stipulation effectively brings all access providers, national and international long- distance operators under the regulation’s ambit, which would help TRAI identify anti-competitive practices, including predatory pricing.

As most service providers with low turnovers were providing services like PMRTS, Internet, radio paging etc, for which tariffs were foreborne, their reports would not be of great relevance.

Hence, TRAI decided that only service providers, with a minimum turnover of Rs 25 crore for the preceding financial year, needed to submit their audited ASR reports.

Some of the service providers earlier wrote to the authority that the filing of accounting separation reports based on the regulation was not only difficult for them as they were small/standalone operators providing single products/network services, but burdening them financially.

Further, the authority also decided that service providers except access providers, NLDOs and ILDOs would be exempt from the requirement of preparing accounting separation reports based on replacement cost accounting, TRAI said today. This is because the authority is presently regulating only interconnect usage charges and a few tariffs like international private leased circuit and domestic leased line for which reports based on replacement cost for services other than access providers, NLDOs and ILDOs might not be required in the near future. — PTI

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Turkish Airlines to fly daily
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 27
Turkish Airlines has decided to increase the frequency of its flights into India by commencing three times a week service to Mumbai in addition to its earlier four flights a week from Delhi to Istanbul.

The airline will operate with seven flights a week from Delhi and Mumbai to Istanbul with further connections to over 100 cities in Europe, the US, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Far East and West Asia. The service will operate on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from Delhi and on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from Mumbai.

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MUL mulls 15 driving schools

Kochi, March 27
Maruti Udyog Limited today announced it would set up 15 world-class driving schools in India in the next three months, as it launched two such institutes in Kerala.

The Maruti Driving schools (MDS), opened at Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, are the first in the country. Among the cities where MDS would be opened are Jammu, Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore, and Chennai, MUL Director (Marketing) K. Saito told reporters here.

As part of a pilot project, Maruti opened driving schools at Bangalore, Chandigarh and Kollam last year and taking into consideration the overwhelming response, it was decided to start more such schools, he said. — PTI

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LIC MD

Mumbai, March 27
Mr Thomas Mathew has taken over as the Managing Director of LIC of India. Mr Mathew (53) has held important assignments in different parts of the country prior to taking over his new post, an official press note said today. — UNI 

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Bank Account
IndusInd ties up with UAE bank

Mumbai, March 27
IndusInd Bank today tied-up with the UAE-based Union National Bank (UNB) for business opportunities generated by expatriate minority communities, especially NRIs, in the UAE.

With this tie-up, IndusInd Bank will further also look at markets such as the UK, US and South-East Asian countries.

“We will look at those markets where our stakeholders and clients have strong business interests,” bank’s Managing Director Bhaskar Ghose told mediapersons here.

Deutsche Bank jobs

Germany’s Deutsche Bank will re-locate almost half of its back-office jobs in its sales and trading operations to India by the end of 2007, a media report said today, but the bank said that the story was “nothing new”.

The European edition of the Financial Times said the plan would mean Germany’s biggest bank tripled its global markets staff based offshore to nearly 2,000.

It was seeking to increase its research staff offshore from 350 to 500 out of a global research workforce of 900. Those measures were part of its plan to axe 6,400 jobs worldwide, including nearly 2,000 in Germany.

SBI Cards tie-up

Low-cost airline SpiceJet today announced a tie-up with SBI Cards in an effort to capture a fast-growing segment of consumers with high disposable income.

The co-branded credit card is in association with MasterCard International, a global payments industry leader with acceptance at over one million ATMs and 24 million locations worldwide.

The SpiceJet SBI MasterCard is loaded with complementary air accident insurance cover worth Rs five million, purchase protection and flexi-pay features. The facilities also include loss of baggage cover worth Rs 10,000 and delay in checked in baggage cover worth Rs 5,000.

CBoP shares

Centurion Bank of Punjab today sold four crore shares at a price of Rs 24.5 a share aggregating to Rs 98 crore which it will utilise to make provisions for bad assets.

The bank sold the shares held by Centurion Bank Stock Trust on the Bombay Stock Exchange through Ambit Capital Private Limited, the private bank said in a press note.

The proceeds from the sale would be used by the bank primarily for purposes of prudential provisioning on its asset book so as to further strengthen its balance sheet, it said. — Agencies

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Corporate News
Sharp gets FIPB nod for trade in electronics

Mumbai, March 27
Consumer electronics goods maker Sharp India Ltd has received Foreign Exchange Promotion Board’s (FIPB) approval for its trade expansion plans in the Indian market.

The company has been authorised by FIPB to trade in audio visual systems, home appliances, office automation and communication systems, information and document systems and integrated circuits components and solar systems, it informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

TVS Electronics

TVS Electronics Ltd has decided to acquire Sravanaa Properties Pvt Ltd, a company engaged in the business of development of properties, for Rs 5 lakh.

The Board at its recently held meeting had proposed to acquire 100 per cent stake in Sravanaa Properties, thereby making it the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, TVS Electronics informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

DCW plans

In order to finance its expansion plans DCW Ltd, a manufacturer of basic chemicals, will raise $25 million through issue of securities in international or domestic markets.

The Board of Directors have approved the issue of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds, Global Depository Receipts, equity shares or any other securities for an aggregate amount up to $25 million to foreign or domestic investors by issue of the securities on rights basis, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The issue of securities is proposed to be made to part finance the company’s expansion cum modernisation projects of conversion of mercury cells to membrane cells in the caustic soda plant and setting up of iron oxide pigment plant.

ANG Auto

ANG Auto Ltd has entered into a technical collaboration with China-based Shanghai Fulangji Import & Export Company Ltd for manufacturing their products in India.

Shanghai Fulangji, manufactures heavy duty, multi-axles transport equipment and speciality transport vehicles including defence applications, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Rico Auto

Rico Auto Industries Ltd today said it would raise the investment limit of Foreign Institutional Investors from 24 per cent to 40 per cent of paid-up equity share capital of the company. The shareholders at the extraordinary general meeting held today approved the increase in FII limit, Rico Auto informed the Bombay Stock Exchange. — Agencies

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BRIEFLY

HSIDC plans tech park at Rai
Chandigarh, March 27
The HSIDC will develop a technology park at Rai on the lines of parks being set up at Manesar and Panchkula, Mr Rajeev Arora, Managing Director, said here today. Mr Arora said the technology park at Rai would be set up over an area of about 56 acres of land located along NH-1 adjacent to the existing industrial estate and food park. The applications for allotment of land in the technology park at Rai would be invited shortly. Prospective applicants with an investment proposal for Rs. 100 crore and above shall be eligible for the allotment of land in this park.Mr Arora said the IMT Manesar Technology Park, spread over 140 acres, had received 37 project proposals for allotment of land. Allotment of plots of various sizes had been made to 12 anchor units. Prominent amongst these were: Agilent Technologies, HCL Technoparks, Shapoorji Pallonji (Tata Group), T3 InfraTech Private Limited and Primrose Projects Private Limited. The Manesar Technology Park was expected to generate direct employment opportunities for about 12,000 trained professionals. The technology park at Panchkula was also in an advanced stage of implementation. HUDA had already handed over 97 acres of land for the first phase of the park. The Corporation had completed the topographical survey of the area under the campus development norms. — TNS

Mazda to invest Rs 6 crore
Mumbai, March 27
Mazda Ltd today said it would invest Rs 6 crore for setting up new manufacturing units. The Board considered and approved the company’s expansion plans, which entail setting up of new manufacturing units and capital investments in plants and machineries. The investment would be financed by a combination of debt and equity. — PTI

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